Part of me feels guilty for taking a trip while “out of work.” But the truth is, I am on sabbatical. I am taking the time I need to recuperate and get my head back into the game for a grand 20-year (maybe more) finish to this life.
When I left that horrible job and horrible company, I contacted a great friend of mine and asked if a visit could be arranged. The response I got back was, “of course, but come in September”. So, here I am.
I have been in San Antonio for 2-months now, but it feels like so much longer. Perhaps it is the heat, humidity and general urban experience. Urban living is so unnatural, at least to me. Getting stuck in traffic, being separated from my beloved nature (trees, mountains, water), walking the concrete jungle, and facing my fear of crime, are experiences manufactured by the complexities of modern civilization.
After making some arrangements, the cat and I left for Santa Fe, New Mexico on Friday the 13th. Luckily, we didn’t die or get slashed by Jason on the trip, but we did arrive in Santa Fe for lots of rain.
The contrast between San Antonio and Santa Fe is mainly in size, beauty and temperature. Both towns have a remarkable history with native peoples, the Spanish and numerous governments over the years. The added benefit of Santa Fe include the nearby pueblos, fantastic scenery, and the milder summers (but cold, snowy winters).
Roughly 48-hours in and my soul is happy for the change of scenery. The intimacy, closeness of nature, abundant arts and culture, and a culinary scene to inspire wannabe cooks, are taking their effect on rejuvenating my soul. With inspiration and relaxation in abundance, perhaps it is hard to truly feel guilty about taking this trip. Perhaps this trip is an important stepping to the next 20+ years?
I had planned for a bike ride early this morning. A step in rebuilding after tearing down. I did a bit of research last night and decided to check out part of the Medina River Greenway starting at the Pleasanton Road Trailhead. A nice easy, meandering ride along the Medina River near the Toyota Tundra plant in south San Antonio.
All the best made plans and aspirations tend to fail at times. With a restless night, a few trips to the bathroom and finally being awaken by the cat at 9am, I could feel the bike slip away as my feet hit the floor this morning. Groggy, tired, and perhaps a bit dehydrated, I really wanted a small breakfast and a good cup of coffee. Then we will re-evaluate.
Re-Evaluating the Best Plans
Upon re-evaluating, the oldest trick in the book became my block. I waited too late and the heat of the day was upon us. San Antonio quickly gets warm, shooting up into the 90’s and low 100’s by mid-day. Today was no different. It was warm and that is my block. I worry about getting dehydrated, sun-burned, and doing more damage than good. On the plus side, the heat sends the rattlesnakes to their rock covered dens.
Finding My Workout Gear
While I wavered on my plans, after walking by the duffel bag, I was inspired to see what was inside. I had set the duffel bag out next to the bike because I knew my Cookie Monster Jersey was in it. Upon leaving Colorado, I threw all of my workout clothes, bike stuff, and other related into my workout duffel. My initial reaction was the clothes wouldn’t fit. Good thing I looked!! I found a pair of shorts I forgot I bought, I found some lovely REI workout shirts that fit, and my package of Under Armor super duper workout boxer briefs. I had everything I needed for a gym workout!
Well, everything but a heart rate monitor. My Garmin GPS HR device was nowhere to be found. I think it ended up in one of my electronics boxes during the move. Finding it would be difficult. So, I decided to run the risk of using my Amazon Fit Bip. When it comes to heart rate monitors, this thing sucks. It only refreshes once per minute (I know I could change that), and it is highly inaccurate. Typically when my HR is high, it shows me resting. Would it work this time?
Let’s Do This!
I got dressed and headed down to the “fitness room” of my apartments. It is more of a fitness closet than a room, but with three machines (treadmill, recumbent bike, and elliptical) and a weight machine, it is really only big enough for one, maybe two in a pinch.
So, here I am, in my tiny little gym. You know what happened? I got excited. I got inspiration. My inner kid said, “bring it on!”.
And bring it on we did. But we played it safe. We initially started with a goal of one mile on the elliptical. Then the goal increased to 15min. My quads were feeling it, my lungs were surprised, and my head was on cloud 9. The Amazon Bip was useless. It did not record many “steps” and the heart rate said I was sleeping, not working out. Using the HR function of the machine, the heart seemed to stay around 170 bpm. That felt accurate.
After the elliptical, I couldn’t help myself, I had to use the weights machine. I had visions of my workouts from 10-years ago. I started with a split squat press. Morphed into an anti-rotation twist, and then ended with one my most favorite exercise, squat and row.
A Corner Stone Established
OMG… life is good again. I did it. My first official workout of my new journey is in the book. While total time was only 25 minutes, it is a start. I remember when 25 minutes would just be a warmup. But then I cannot compare myself today to the person I became 10-years ago, a triathlete. I can use those visions for inspiration, but not for personal shame. The reprogramming will go on.
And so the workouts with go on. An initial workout has been checked off the to do list. This is the foundation for greatness ahead. Or at least until the “runner’s high” wears off.
Tear it all down. Go ahead. It is okay. Just be a merciful.
After a disastrous first half of 2019 and the need to establish a more positive path forward, I needed to tear myself down. I needed to reduce myself to my most basic self. Let go of adult responsibility (to a point) and let my inner kid out.
Dairy Queen, oh yes!
In’N’Out double double with animal fry, heck yay!
Sleeping in till noon, why not?
Binge on Hoarders, sure!
Wear my pajamas all day and not even shower, YASS!
Look for a job, hahahahaha! no way jose!
Let the boundaries, let the rules, let the adult critic inside take a week or two off. Let’s be a kid again. Eventually, the adult in me will come back, fresh and new, and help me rebuild and move on as we near the 2019 holidays.
What will this adult rebuild? Not sure yet. Between junk food binges and Hulu outages I have been exploring thoughts. Some of these thoughts are more realistic than others. One thing is certain, a career change is imminent. The new career will not be dependent upon the technology that is tearing up our society. I have spent so much of my life behind a computer, I feel my time is served. I just need to listen to myself a bit more and let Mr Adult in me formulate a plan and find more balance between what is real, myself, and that technology no one can escape.
We get pushed, pulled, twisted, and stretched as we conquer our fears, chase our dreams, accept our limitations, and diligently execute on our responsibilities.
Sometimes we make a change seeking something different and better, only to fall down and wish we had never made a change. It takes us longer to get back up and moving again with another change to change course on the original change.
After moving to Seattle from Santa Barbara, I fell. My heart was still in paradise and my inspirations were swept away with the grey, dreary rain and cold of a Seattle winter. Not only did I learn about my allergy to high humidity and barometric pressure changes, but I learned how much being true to yourself and your values is far more important than making any new life work. There is much more to this story which will be revealed as I move into this new beginning.
This fall, I am relocating to Colorado. The area of Boulder and Louisville at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. I was born in Englewood, so I feel like I am coming home. Unlike Seattle, Colorado has a lot more sun during the winter even though it is significantly colder with periodic snow.
You can tell a lot about whether you are in the right place by how you feel. We humans have an instinct which helps protect us. From the start, I never felt great about living in the Puget Sound area. By contrast, I am happy in Colorado with a collected, calm head.
This is a new beginning. A restart of my love for fitness, cycling, and triathlon. I have 25 “Seattle” pounds to shed and a training program to rebuild. But I’ve done this before and have fond memories of my triathlon journey. I am looking forward to not only meeting a bunch of new people, but also feeling great again.
You know, life happens. But now it will happen a bit differently.
Being a Data Analyst and Triathlete mean race results are super exciting for me. The results are almost as exciting as the real event… almost! I find it interesting to see which Age Groups were fastest and how they compared between the Sprint and Olympic events. Data can tell you a lot about an event, its character and even help you make a smart decision in choosing an event to compete in. If you are a competitive triathlete, do you know how the top 10 stack up?
The blue line is the Sprint, the Green line is the Olympic and the Orange line is the Duathlon event. What fascinates me the most about these lines are their long tails. While there was one person who finished the Sprint in three hours, the Olympic course had a much shorter “long tail” of finish times. The Duathlon was a tiny event and probably a great event for anyone who wanted to place in their Age Group and get a quick medal.
In each of the events, the top 10 stand out as you can see a steep slope from the y-axis, defining the “pro” or “competitive” athlete from a more recreational athlete.
After looking at the counts of Male and Female athletes by event, I was shocked to see that while the Sprint and Duathlon had an equal distribution of M to F, the Olympic event was 2/3 male, 1/3 female. In fact for every female, there were 2.33 men competing.
At the risk of offending someone, I will limit my inferences as to what the male domination of the Olympic means. I will simply say further research and participant interviews will be needed.
What Does Age Have To Do With It?
Looking at the count of participants by Age Group, as well as the Average Age by event, we can see the Olympic event is favored by older athletes. The Sprint histogram by Age Group trails off more steeply after the 40-44 Age Group, while the Olympic event has a sudden drop off at the 55-59 Age Group. (see charts in section above)
The averages by event indicate this as well, the average age of the Sprint triathlete is 36.1 vs 37.5 for the Olympic. Given this insight, the Olympic is clearly dominated by more experienced Men.
So, Are The Old Guys Faster?
Well, yes. This is where we see a major difference in the results between the Olympic and Sprint events. The fastest Age Group for the Sprint is the 35-39 group, whereas the Olympic’s fastest Age Group was the 45-49 (the 65-69 group was fastest but only had one triathlete, so this is statistically insignificant result).
Likewise, in general the Sprint tended to have faster athletes in the younger age groups (<40), but the Olympic tended to have faster times in the older age groups (40+). This makes sense as it takes time to build up the endurance to be a fast endurance athlete. Not to mention speed comes with experience, which comes with age.
What about those Top 10?
The top 10 is an interesting place to look and it certainly illustrates just how competitive each event really is. For instance, the Sprint is the most popular and has the widest range of athletes and abilities, whereas the Olympic has the more seasoned athletes and is the tougher course.
And the results support this. The top 10 for the Sprint had an average finish time of 0:48:10 and an 0:01:56 deviation (4.0% of the average). Not only is this a really insanely fast time, but the top 10 finished closely. Compare this to Olympic which had a finish time of 2:12:52 and an 0:03:40 deviation (just 2.7% of the average). Wow, imagine bustin’ your butt for over two hours and have a top 10 finish come down to less than four minutes. Those older, more experienced athletes know how to race!
One last word on the top 10. The top 10 are both dominated by men (sorry ladies!), with 9 of the 10 Sprint finishers Men and all 10 Olympic being men.
Data is a fascinating that can help each athlete determine the best race for their goal. The 2012 Goleta Beach Triathlon offers very distinct events for triathletes of all types. From a distinctly older Olympic event to the Sprint with its equal Sex mix and faster younger athletes, you can easily see he evolution of the triathlete in the data. Makes me wonder how many of the triathletes in the top 25% of the Sprint will be competing in the Olympic in a few years?