Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pushing, and then Pushing Back

One of the things I love about where I work is that I honestly feel like the whole team is working toward the same goal. It may be the first job I've had where I've felt that way.

Now, that doesn't mean we always agree on how to get to the common goal. There are times when disagreements come up and conflicts arise.

When that happens, the beauty of being on the same team and sharing a goal, or vision, is that we can push each other, and then push back on each other without hurting feelings or relationships.

The beauty of all this pushing is that we're not only pushing for what we think is the best way to get things done, we're also pushing each other to look at things from different perspectives and to consider the ideas other people have come up with.

That's the best part of being on this team!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Half Marathon: The Payoff

It took 3 months to prepare for, and 2 hours, 13 minutes and 41 seconds to complete.

Katie and I ran in the Fort-4-Fitness Half Marathon Saturday in downtown Fort Wayne. If you've been following the training log then you know how long and hard we've been working to get ourselves to this point.

Going into the race, neither of us was sure we would be able to make it the whole way without stopping to walk. We ran a 15K race on Labor Day and both needed several walk breaks. Neither of us had ever run more than 10 miles without walking. But, somehow we did it. We didn't walk and finished strong.

I finished at 2:13:41 and Katie finished at 2:13:42. We ran a 10:13/mile pace. I was the 919th overall finisher, the 550th male finisher and the 102nd male in the 30-34 year old division. Katie was the 920th overall finisher, the 370th female and the 76th female in the 30-34 year old division.

Our friends, Craig and Jill, also ran in the race and they did great! They finished together at 1:47:24 (a pace of 8:12/mile). I am so proud of them.

Now, it's time to look back at the last three months and to decide whether it was all worth it or not.

There is no doubt in my mind that the pros outweigh the cons in this scenario. Despite the fact that we had to sacrifice time, comfort and fun to complete the training, I would never go back and change it. The payoff is a sense of great accomplishment, better health, a free shirt and a medal!

Most people will never run a half marathon, and for good reason (it's hard!), but I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I finally committed to regular exercise and stuck with my commitment. I am going to keep running - probably not as much as I have these past 3 months, but enough to keep my fitness level high.

During the race, Katie and I both expressed our lack of desire to ever do a half marathon again, but now that the recovery process is starting, I think there's a chance we might do this again. I don't want to become a marathon runner, or even seek out half marathons to run, but I am going to participate in several shorter runs and may enter the Fort-4-Fitness Half Marathon again next year ... we'll see.

For now, it's one more day of recovery and then Wednesday it's back on the treadmill to start preparing for the Pilots 5K during Bethel College's Homecoming weekend.

Here's a picture of (from left) Katie, me, Craig and Jill after the race. Sorry for my toplessness - I threw away the shirt I was wearing at somewhere around Mile 5!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Training is Over!

Today was the last day of training for the Fort-4-Fitness Half Marathon this Saturday in Fort Wayne. If you've been following along with my training log then you've probably already seen this, but here is today's log entry:

Day 86
Wednesday, September 24
2 miles - 17:41
Days Until Race: 3
Training Miles Completed: 195.5

That's it! Training is over!

Over the last three months I've averaged 2.27 miles per day. If you consider the fact that I usually only ran 4 days per week, then on the days I ran it was nearly 4 miles every time I ran. I usually run a little faster than a 10 minute/mile pace, so I'm estimating that I've spent around 32 hours running during my training.

I was hoping to get to 200 training miles before the race, but I guess I'll just have to stop at the 4.5-mile mark of the race and celebrate ... or not.

Anyway, I was talking with Katie last night about how I was hoping I'd feel more confident about the race and that I'm excited and dreading it at the same time. She said to just remember how much work and time we've put into all this training. We've sacrificed what could have been free time, sleep time, fun time and work time to achieve this goal. So, when we run the race Saturday, it doesn't really matter how fast we run it or if we can finish the whole thing without walking. As long as we cross the finish line, we've accomplished our goal - a goal most people (in their right minds) wouldn't even consider.

Now that training is over I realize that training really isn't over. I won't be on a schedule like I have been for the half marathon, and I don't expect to run nearly the distances I've been running, but I am going to continue to run. We've already signed up for the Pilots 5K during Bethel College's Homecoming weekend on November 8 and we may even find a race to run between now and then. So, the training will continue, but now it will be up to me to set the schedule and stick to it.

If you've been following along with this training log, thanks. I hope now that training is over I can get back to some normal blogging!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Milestone for My Little Girl

Saturday was a big day for Hanah. She lost her first tooth after wiggling it obsessively Friday night and all day Saturday. During dinner, she bit down and the tooth bent all the way forward, causing quite a bit of bleeding and plenty of tears. A few minutes later, Katie pulled the tooth out and Hanah thought it was really cool.

The tooth fairy showed up overnight and left Hanah with a half dollar!

Once again, I cannot believe she is this old. I cannot believe I am this old!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dreading the Next 17 Days

One thing I didn't consider when I first started training for a half marathon was how much time it would take out of my life.

Just consider this: I run somewhere around a 10 minute/mile pace. Last week I ran 31.6 miles. That's more than 5 hours of running.

I can't think of anything else I do outside of work for 5 hours each week, except sleep. That's because by the time I get home from work it is 5:30. By the time we eat dinner and clean up it's 7. The kids usually go to bed at 8, so the hour after dinner is spent playing a little with them and getting them ready for bed. By the time they're fully asleep and we can feel good about doing our own thing, it's usually 9. Knowing that I have to get up at 6:45 the next morning, bed time is 11 at the latest. That gives me 2 hours to be with my wife, or do my own thing.

That schedule doesn't even include running! So the days I run are even worse.

That's why I'm dreading the rest of this training period. I'm tired of this crazy schedule. I'm tired of being sore (feet, ankles, hips). I'm tired of being tired!

As you can probably tell, my motivation is not very high right now. So, it's probably good that there's less than three weeks to go. But, I'm worried that I'm going to slack off and really hurt myself for race day. Hopefully I can push myself hard for just a little while longer and finish strong!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Dan's 16 Team

As requested by Rob, here's the draft results for my team and the subsequent moves I've made. Keep in mind that the scoring in this league makes QBs, RBs and WRs more equal than most leagues.

Round 1 = Randy Moss, WR, New England
Round 2 = Jamal Lewis, RB, Cleveland
Round 3 = Wes Welker, WR, New England
Round 4 = Matt Forte, RB, Chicago
Round 5 = Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
Round 6 = Joey Galloway, WR, Tampa Bay
Round 7 = Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Miami
Round 8 = Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay
Round 9 = DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia
Round 10 = Ben Obamanu, WR, Seattle
Round 11 = Chris Henry, RB, Tennessee
Round 12 = Kolby Smith, RB, Kansas City
Round 13 = James Jones, WR, Green Bay
Round 14 = Tim Hightower, RB, Arizona
Round 15 = Darren Sproles, RB, San Diego
Round 16 = Lawrence Tynes, K, New York Giants

Obviously, I made some poor choices (Ben Obamanu) and some illogical choices (Aaron Rodgers), but overall I think I ended up in a pretty good spot.

Since the draft, there have been moves aplenty for my team - making for what I think is a very solid lineup. Here's the moves:

Traded away DeSean Jackson for Giants' tight end Kevin Boss - wish I hadn't done that one.
Traded away Eli Manning for Dallas wide receiver Terrell Owens - couldn't be happier about that one!
Dropped Ben Obamanu for the Denver defense - needed a defense and Obamanu is probably out for the season so this was a necessity.
Dropped Chris Henry for Lions' kicker Jason Hanson - again, needed a kicker because Tynes is hurt and Henry is buried in the depth chart so this was an easy move to make.
Dropped Darren Sproles for Browns' running back Jason Wright - this was simply a move to backup Jamal Lewis in case his hamstring isn't 100% healthy.

In week one, I beat Derry Prenkert 111-89. My point total was the fourth best in the league. I"m a bit concerned about Moss and Welker because of the Tom Brady injury. That's why I wish I had held on to DeSean Jackson. Decent receivers are hard to come by in this league, so I hope Matt Cassel is a strong replacement.

A League of My Own

For the first time, I am the creator and manager of a fantasy football league. Ever since I started playing fantasy football I've been wanting to set up my own league with a little bit different settings than most leagues. I wanted to change the scoring system around so that wide receivers became nearly as valuable as quarterbacks and running backs.

My reasoning in this is that it seems like whoever has the best quarterback and running back usually wins the league because nobody can consistently score enough points to beat them. Well, if you throw receivers in the mix, then it gives more people a chance to keep up.

So, that's what I did. I don't know if my scoring system is exactly right, but it's definitely different and it definitely makes receivers more valuable than in most leagues.

The other thing I wanted to do with this league was get 16 teams in it to make it really competitive. The deepest league I'd been in up to this year was 12 teams. I wasn't sure I could get 16 guys to commit to a league, especially when most of them are in other leagues already, but I did it and I'm excited to see how it plays out.

So, I give you ...

Recognize any of these guys?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A New Beginning

This is unbelievable to me: Today is my daughter's first day of school.

How did this happen? When did she go from being a baby, to a toddler, to a little girl, to a student?

It's even more crazy because she could have started school last year - she turned 6 in May - and I still think this all happened too fast.

The reality is that she's growing up. She's becoming the girl I always imagined she would be. And now she's a student. I feel really good about where she's at intellectually - she already knows a lot of the things Kindergarteners will be learning.

I also feel really good that she's being homeschooled by my wife. Homeschooling, as a whole, takes a lot of abuse and gets a really bad reputation. I've even heard people refer to homeschoolers as a cult (it was a joke, but just barely). I just don't understand how taking responsibility for your child's education can be viewed as a bad thing.

This is not the forum to start a debate over homeschooling, just know that I'm in favor of it if parents feel it's best for their children. No parent is going to homeschool their child with the intention of doing harm, so any negative outcomes of homeschooling are completely unintentional. I just wish people would support loving, caring, concerned parents more.

There is not a doubt in my mind that staying at home is the best thing for Hanah this year, and maybe for a few years. We're going to re-evaluate every year whether homeschooling, private school or public school is the best option for our kids.

I'm excited about what Hanah is going to learn this year - heck, I'm excited about what she's going to learn today! I am going to try to be part of the whole process, even if it means just helping with schoolwork in the evening.