Friday, February 16, 2007

Belly Buttons, or, The Measure of Success

This post spurred on by the comment on the last post, but also developed around a concept I've been discussing with my classes today.

First of all, we all measure our workouts in different ways. Sometimes according to time or distance, perhaps by an RPE (rate of perceived exertion) on a scale of one to four or maybe one to ten. And I swear I have a heart rate monitor somewhere! I've even been wearing the watch part of it on my runs the past couple of months, before which I NEVER ran with a watch, so you can see I am already measuring my progress in measuring my workouts...

So, sweat is another way we can measure our output. Molly and I keep intending to weigh ourselves pre- and post-workout to monitor our water-weight loss. Don't know if she's ever followed through, but I only remember at inconvenient times such as now.

Perhaps more interesting than sweat quantity is sweat pattern. Like snowflakes, no two sweat patterns appear to be the same. I won't detail other people's patterns here, but don't think I haven't noticed! One identifying detail of my own pattern is that I seem to sweat two belly buttons. I can't figure out why this happens, but I get two perfect circles of sweat adjacent to each other right where my (one) navel is located. Hmmmm.

So the other part of my thinking occurs this way...
I have my students do some journal writing on different subjects to practice and develop their critical thinking skills. The idea is to move away from superficial pro/con summaries into a more complicated analysis of a given concept, attempting to understand and explain how it reflects, exemplifies, or influences our cultural values.

Earlier this week I had them respond to an article I had read about Gov. Mike Huckabee's institution of a "BMI report card" in Arkansas and recent legislation in the state senate to repeal it based on the reuted adverse affect on students' self-esteem. Rather than arguing for or against the state implementation of a BMI report, we wrote about and discussed the different elements of the piece. For example, several students thought, as is frequently reported, tat BMI is a measure of body fat. Other students had never heard or used the word "esteem" without a "self" in front of it. We talked about information as a starting point for analysis, eventually moving to solutions--both in terms of BMI reporting and in terms of writing the dreaded English 200 researched essay.

One of the conclusions I drew was that while BMI doesn't measure that much, the relationship among public education, BMI reporting, and self-esteem measures, in ways we can only begin to address, "our" cultural values in what I might describe as a leaky vessel.

Monday, February 12, 2007

It's My Workout

...and my blog and my life. Thank goodness I have so many coaches, friends, and supporters to help me with all of these.
Several of you have let me know it's time for a new post.

I have been keeping up for the most part with my prescribed workout schedule for Eagleman training. After battling (another) cold all week, however, I decided it was okay to sleep through the run repeats Saturday and just show up for cycling. I had felt okay on the bike Thursday, but had had a really hard time on that morning's run with temperatures in the low 20s. I tried to make up my speed workout on Sunday and went with Lauren to the vita course. I ran a mile in about 7:36 and immediately decided against doing the four half-mile repeats that were to follow. Started jogging aroung the course, then slowed to a walk. Then a slower walk. Had the whole internal debate over whether I would feel better if I went ahead and threw up or whether it was worth staving off, and if so, what might be the best method of doing so, or was I even in control, after all? Some spitting, some long swallows, deep breaths. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Swimming with Som was okay--I think the cold temperatures were really adversely affecting my already stuffed up head, but the pool wasn't as bad. I sat out a couple of fifties in the middle of our main set, but other than that, I completed my workout, and actually felt pretty good about some of it.

We were focusing on stroke count, and I usually average 15-16 strokes per 25 on a good day. When we did 4x25 with a decreasing stroke count, I made the mistake of hitting 13 on the first one. I did manage to hit 12, 11, and 10 on the subsequent lengths, but you've never seen so much kicking and gliding!

I have been very proud of my progress on the bike during our cycling classes at Maramarc, and I can't wait to get back outside and see the results. Although I joke that it's my workout and others, including the coaches, should mind their own workouts, I really do push myself to what I perceive their expectations to be. And measure my efforts in the amount of sweat on my top and on the floor below my bike. If the sweat is an accurate measure, my workouts have been tough ones.

So, although I was sorry that Ed's Shenanigans was cancelled this morning due to Ed's Vegas Vacation, I enjoyed every extra minute that I slept in... all 195 of them.