This week, I have been thinking about how tough it is to keep a population (and myself!) focused on the actions necessary to overcome an obstacle.
Regardless of your preferred leader, regardless of your beliefs => nationally, we haven’t defined the problem, let alone agreed on our course of action => the states are, however, trending closer to each other in their response to the virus.
Andy’s thread putting the mind back in time and assessing our response based on the information available (in the past) was an interesting read. It gave me a nudge to go back to my earlier diaries and review how I was thinking.
I mentioned the liberate tweets last week but had forgotten when they occurred relative to our COVID journey.
Below is well-known virus quotes across time – it’s worth a read – we shaped the future we are living right now.
Our next major decision is the return to school. I’m watching what’s happening elsewhere and trying to avoid choosing until late-in-the-game.
In the news, about elsewhere, LA/SD public schools will be opening online only.
Our local university staff starting to get concerned about college kids infecting them. I learned about this through an open letter in our local paper.
Too much uncertainty to make any call on what things will look like in mid-August. This situation is unique. For 20+ years, I’ve had my life mapped forward on a rolling 12-month schedule.
Based on my April posts, we are doing much better than I expected. Below is what better looks like in Colorado.
It is like our governor has an early-warning system. Last week we re-closed the bars and, sure enough, our positives/hospitalizations have popped this week.
We’ve been told our state-wide R0 has gone over 1.0 and are getting clear recommendations on how to reduce:
Wear a mask
Drop interactions to 1/3rd of pre-COVID level, outside as much as possible
Cali did a major rollback of their re-opening program this past week.
Our President commuted the sentence of one of his cronies – some commentary about “Nixon not even doing that.” The comparisons to Nixon don’t ring true to me. Our President reminds me more of Bill Clinton. For younger readers, here is a link to Clinton’s pardon controversy.
Taleb wrote an article about Lebanon that had me thinking about the unintended consequences of the Federal Reserve’s debt buying program. Ponzi to Antifragility.
Saw a headline that the June deficit was $864 billion – went on the White House website to see how that month stacked up against other years. Pretty legit month.
I fear we will waste Trillions before we learn what the Kiwi’s, and East Asians, understood from the start.
I’ve been working on my Athlete’s Journey essay for a month.
It’s become a never-ending project because I keep coming up with new ideas to share with you.
So let’s step back and think about the essential message.
Assume you are graduating from High School, virtually.
What can I share with you about sport?
As an adult:
The pursuit of sport opens your field of potential partners => this isn’t just about sex. Across all fields, all cultures – athletic people are considered desirable.
Structured training crowds out bad habits. Take a look around and you’ll see people getting themselves into difficulties that wouldn’t happen if they were pursuing an athletic lifestyle.
The challenges of athletic training will surface your self-defeating habits. Over a few seasons, it’s certain that you will see your process fail. Process failure is a low-stakes way to get to know yourself.
The stress of competition gives you a non-lethal environment to practice coping skills.
Better opportunities, an ability to see my process break down, a non-lethal field of play for high stakes and less space for getting myself into trouble.
While you are young… find your people.
You don’t get to choose your family. You do get to choose your friends, coaches and mentors.
You are likely to have more flexibility to move around within your athletic life than your academic (working) life.
Great people are out there, to help you become who you’d like to be.
Now, somewhere down the athletic track – decades before the rest of your life starts to decline – you’ll have another opportunity => to begin the transition from Fitness to Function.
What I mean is, you might take a look around and say to yourself, “what am I really up to here?”
In answering this question, I cycled through a process of dig in, quit and adapt. I’m still working through it.
By answering this question, as it relates to your sport, you’ll set the scene for addressing a deeper question of meaning within your life.
Navigating athletic “aging” can be seen as a practice to prepare you for another journey that will likely begin 20 years later, the transition out of middle age and into elderhood.
For me, Bush 41 was the last President to act against his interest. Most the other Presidents, of my lifetime, made a choice to use the strength of the nation for their own interest.
This isn’t surprising, it’s the same dynamic we see in families and CEOs.
Economists call it an agency problem => when your personal interest conflicts with the needs of the nation, business or family => in the absence of well thought out systems, your personal interest wins out.
20 years of poor Federal habits have run into the Corona virus and wow!
The Federal Reserve/Federal Government are spending the nation’s capital like we are in the middle of World War Three.
So, are we, or aren’t we, …on a war footing.
We’re spending like we are in serious trouble but bickering about small details like we aren’t.
We need to make up our mind.
If we’re on a war footing then we should acknowledge it and take collective action: activate the reserves, mobilize our young people through selective service (the draft) and bring as many of the troops home as we can.
If selective service isn’t politically feasible then how about this… stop paying people for not working.
Instead => offer the nation’s unemployed, and under-employed, a job.
Pics are from this week’s field trip to Huron Peak, one of my favorite parts of our state.
One of the benefits of COVID (wiping out my travel schedule) is the motivation to undertake challenging drives.
Huron Peak had a 1:1 drive:hike ratio.
Chalk that up to another thing I wouldn’t have expected to enjoy.
Today is the end of Week 17 and I feel like I’m in the home stretch for lockdown/summer school.
We are 5.5 weeks away from getting real school back. Our district is going full speed towards a reopening on August 19th. Same with our local university.
The reopening has me feeling nervous for what’s in store => September / October. I wonder if I’ll be COVID-free by Halloween.
I’d feel a whole lot better if there was more info on therapeutic options => even if I was using g-medicine to fool myself.
Kids spent this week testing out of their next grade math. Our tutor, who is a district math teacher, wanted to have proof so the kids can jump a year when they return.
I had to come up with something to keep our oldest engaged on Wednesday morning, so I promoted her to the manager of the Kirkland Apple Sauce factory. As factory manager, she had to do production calculations for packaging and apple sauce.
My wife’s birthday is coming up so we’re transitioning from 4th of July decorations to Birthday Week Celebrations!
“Have you made your mother a birthday card?”
“Well, make her another one. She does a lot for you.”
I also got a blank stare when I asked, “Hey, what’s a homopolar motor, anyway?”
We’re chipping away.
Our tutors are gearing up for a return to school so we will be getting less support in August. The kids were bummed. I appreciated the notice so I could give some thought to more outdoor education options.
By the way, my kids’ reaction was a reminder that humans love predictability and routine. You can use this knowledge to drive positive change in your own life.
Start each day by doing a little bit of what needs to be done.
Train for me => read for them.
The comfort is real. Axel forgot his shoes but he remembered his book.
Masking is spreading across the state, even in the parts with an individual, rather than collective, spirit.
Mask use is minimal on the trails. This made me want to confine my 14er trips to weekdays.
Well, I was trying to calculate in my head walking down Huron Peak. However, I can’t calculate the probability of a recurring series of events without a calculator.
Frankly, I struggle to believe the numbers even when I check the formula.
3,000 encounters… what’s the expected chance to stay healthy?
Chance of infection 1:1,000,000 => (0.999999)^(3,000) = 99.7% healthy
Slide up the risk curve 1:100,000 risk => (0.99999)^(3,000) = 97.0% healthy
Your state blows up and your activity has 1:10,000 infection chance, repeat 3,000x => (0.9999)^(3,000) = 74.1% healthy
Low chances, repeated, result in material chances.
Minimizing repeated exposure + reducing the nature of exposure = get sick later
Doing these updates once a week seems to be enough to provide me with a record of developments and not get too wrapped up in the news cycle.
Testing week for me, lifetime best for power clean / push press and nudged my bench best up by 5lbs from three weeks ago. I think I can safely do a bit better.
Time to move on to the next module => SF45 Bravo. I will be swapping back squat for bench squat in the next plan. The risk of injury with (solo) bench squat is too high for me.
Over in Aspen, a friend did the Triple Crown ride with his 15-year-old daughter. Independence Pass, Ashcroft and Maroon Bells => 88 miles and 8,000 vertical feet! It caught my eye for post-COVID goals with my oldest. We’ll have a vaccine deployed in three years, right?!
The Emperor Has No Clothes
Our political class won’t mention this because it will damage their own candidate.
Regardless of the winner of the election, by 2023, we are going to see the need for a constitutional amendment to cap the eligibility age for high office => might as well sort everything at once: President, Senate and Supreme Court.
To get it done, remember the history of the rule for a Natural Born for president. The Founders grandfathered the people who approved the rule. Link to that clause.
Reagan was the most compromised at the end of his term, just before his 78th birthday.
Biden is 77 => gaffes at 77 are not the same as at 57.
My heart sank watching Trump (74) walk down the ramp at West Point.
Sanders (78) came close to the nomination, while having a heart attack in the primaries.
In Denver we are turning away patients at our free testing site because we are short on test supplies. 2,000 tests per day is the limit. I suspect our Governor will be on that in a hurry. Tests ran out at lunchtime yesterday.
Vail Mountain is open for the summer. I hear it is busy but not as busy as last year.
With the virus blowing up in other parts of the US, we should have a clearer idea of the hospitalization rate for young people by the end of July.
I wouldn’t spend any emotional energy on wishing “things were less political” during a Presidential Election year. Everything is going to be political the entire year, and probably after. When people are scared, stressed and angry… tribal instincts increase. It’s the way we are wired.
That said, I’ve started taking notes for a piece on “What To Do?” I know a few members of the 1% and they have been asking themselves what actions they can take.
For you personally, my advice is simple => do something hard.
Take a small step, every single day, to improve yourself. There’s nothing tougher than overcoming ourselves.
In fact, there is a mantra I say when the kids overcome themselves, “We do tough things!“
Not sure about which “tough thing?” What one thing, if it happened, would change everything? One small step, daily, in that direction.
Don’t feed the trolls => early last month, I dropped the three loudest people in my twitter feed. I kinda miss the excitement but I don’t miss the drama. For me, they failed the 30-day test.
White House is shifting from “it will blow over” to a “surrender and deal with it” posture. I’m glad we don’t run our military, or economy, with the strategic thinking we have seen from this administration.
COVID makes me wonder just how bad it’s gotten with our foreign policy.
Australia reported to be locking apart their most populous states => to control an outbreak in Melbourne.
With our statues under attack, I’m reminded of my time at Catholic High School and learning about the Jewish, Protestant, and Muslim dislike for idolatry.
On that topic, the President has a point, made poorly. Right now is not the time to focus ourselves on tearing down (society, ourselves, anyone who disagrees with us). We need to come together. Our collective life is going to get very difficult if the virus runs the table in the second half of this year.
Another point on the President – everybody (pro & con) knows who the guy is and he’s done exactly what he told us he’d do.
The morning after he was elected, I was asked what I thought and observed,
Air Force One, baby. He’s got no interest in government.
I thought this was an excellent idea. County level red alert system – helps keep our economy, and schools open:
Activities by risk profile – so easy my 7-year old could grasp it.
The freedom tweets (to pressure early re-opening) appear to have not aged well.
Each time I read someone ripping on Sweden, I remind myself… Many months to run and current views are not indicative of where we will end up.
Not sure I’ll remember the drama/debate over the hydroxychloroquine cocktail. It’s been flipping back and forth on a 4-6 week cycle. Useful vs not useful.
Like so much, I need to remind myself that I am not qualified to understand the debate.
If you go the Peloton route then they have an intro to power module (here’s their power FAQ).
The target power zone sets the MINIMUM for your workout target – put a floor on work – if you can’t hit your endurance zones, or if your HR pops, then your zones are set too high. Upward zone creep is common across all ability levels!
Heart rate zone sets the MAXIMUM for your workout – put a ceiling on stress – once warmed up, I give myself permission to push the watts up a bit, so long as my HR stays in my target zone. When I consistently generate higher level power, on lower level HR, I know it’s time to retest my zones.
Climbing/Big Gear workouts are a great way to rack up Threshold Watts (Z4) at Mod-Hard Heart Rates (Z3). Example here.
My toughest workouts are crisscross sessions – about an hour a week – warm-up and power is going over/under FTP with recoveries in Zone 3/Mod-Hard. Example here.
Traditional Spin Classes are done for variety, as a pep rally and to build quickness/cadence. Quickness is key as we age. This skill was tough when I started – it came back fast.
Being able to use Peloton to create a “proper” program was a surprise – I thought it was all spin classes and high intensity. Guess I am a bit out of date.
The 20-minute benchmarking test is a “nice” session in itself – kinda hurts at the end. You don’t need, or want, to be doing much truly tough stuff in 2020. There are many better places for you to put your energy.
Peloton has world class coaches – Alex Toussaint leaves me feeling cheerful every_single_time I do one of his classes. Throughout lockdown, I was laughing out loud with his classes. Laughter is good medicine.
Lift weights – moving your power zones up won’t improve your life. Getting stronger will improve your life.
Some specific thoughts on intensity.
When you’re training with power, you can track total work measured in kilojoules (KJ). If you’re a time-limited athlete (running home school, working, cleaning your house…) then KJs are worth noting.
You’ll quickly see that highly intense workouts have a poor KJ-to-Fatigue ratio. You get a lot of fatigue without much work being done.
You might think intensity is a good deal. It’s not. It’s an awful deal because highly intense workouts are stressful and stress makes you eat / crave sugar. Bad deal all around => you can easily gain fat while exercising often and feeling tired. Lose-Lose.
The Win-Win is a cardio program that adds energy to your overall life and helps guide your body composition, an endurance-based program.
Once your endurance is well established 6-18 months, it only takes a bit of tough stuff to get your numbers to bounce.
Your overall program needs to keep you under your sugar threshold. Cravings, and bingeing, are signs of depletion and excess stress.
Aim for a protocol you can do every day for 15 weeks.
Challenge yourself to eliminate the habits that screw up tomorrow’s training.
Given the simultaneous outbreaks we have in the US, our media is going to have plenty of fodder for negative stories this month.
If you follow the news cycle closely, then this could be a tough few weeks for you.
Consider scheduling a few days offline.
If you’re sucking in a lot of negativity then you might find spillover inside your head. The spillover may manifest as a negative voice beating you down internally.
A lot of us aren’t able to “hear” the soundtrack in our heads. As a coach, I would notice it when my athletes had a habit of negative expression in voice and written words.
To counter a habit of negativity, I’d assign an excerise => buy a small notebook and end each day by writing down one positive thing that happened.
Every single day.
Life happens where you focus.
Change your focus, change your life.
Our Science Fair was a huge hit.
Spoiled is when you think your life is difficult but it isn’t.
Living under COVID is difficult in many ways. We are learning to embrace and enjoy our challenges.
It would have been very difficult for me to engineer rapid positive change without the challenges of closures, home school and social isolation.
Personal responsibility is a key value of mine. In the past, this was to the exclusion of maintaining relationships. My kids have helped me do better with finding a balance between hard and soft skills.
Lots of personal responsibility was on display this past weekend: packing our own gear for a climb, learning to recover from a deep bonk (with grace and without blaming anyone), taking care of siblings.
The habit of having to take care of ourselves at home is spilling over into our larger lives.
Money and Kids
An unconditional allowance set at $1 per week, per year of age
Money sits with Bank of Dad and yields 10% APR – I want my kids to get very excited about compound interest – we have a generation of kids growing up in a no-yield environment – this will have a HUGE impact on our societies – don’t know specifics but do know it will change finance for a long time
I hold a veto on any spending out of the “allowance account” – there is no obligation for me to be reasonable – if you disagree with my decision then…
Buy it yourself, kids can earn their own money – own money equals own choices – I want my kids to get excited about providing value to others and earning money for themselves – this is much more important to me than winning in sport
Summer reading prize – read every day across the summer and get a very good prize – it costs me $100 per kid, per summer, to create a habit of morning reading, without being asked!
The incentive structure has been successful.
Our latest addition is babysitting – our oldest taking care of our youngest. We’ve settled into $7 per hour for the oldest with $2 per hour to the youngest at the same time. We give them a written schedule with some easy chores to complete. This is the easiest “kid combo” for us to manage – the older sister/younger brother dynamic hasn’t been figured out, yet.
Another popular product is exterior cash wash at $5 per car, per kid.
Our oldest makes scrunches, masks and children’s stuffies. Orders, pricing, manufacturing, delivery… all sorted by her. Since school ended, she is averaging $75 per week of supplemental income.
Today’s my 15th wedding anniversary. I thought I’d leave something for my daughters.
I was born Canadian and figured if you’re going to marry an American then best to do it on the 4th of July.
In normal times, the benefits of a strong domestic partnership aren’t obvious. These aren’t normal times!
Being locked down with my wife is great. The other night I shared, “I could roll this for another 75 weeks, no problem.”
I saw my wife’s silent reply in her eyes… 75 frickin’ weeks?! Anyhow, she might not feel the same way about lockdown but she’s happy for me.
That might be a good first tip => the capacity to be happy for other people.
I had zero empathy through my 20s. Which bring us to the next tip…
End bad relationships early
You’re unlikely to get to a great marriage via a rocky courtship.
How will you know it is a bad relationship? Turn that question on its head.
Is it going to be the greatest mistake of your life if you let this person go? That’s how I felt when I proposed to Monica.
Be willing to be alone
A good marriage is an outstanding deal. It is worth a lot of effort to get there. There is so much stuff I don’t have to deal with.
However, there’s no rush to get there. It wasn’t until my 30s that I started to show any potential to be “marriage material.”
Don’t marry the prettiest girl in high school
This observation isn’t about being pretty, or being female.
It’s this… being treated like you’re special, for no good reason, from a young age, will skew your perception of the world.
All my best relationships, male and female, have been with people who grew up lower middle-class. The exceptions were financially comfortable but had to overcome significant emotional challenges growing up.
Pretty, gifted, athletic… from an early age… can make the rest of your life seem like a downer.
Don’t peak in high school.
How to spot a husband
Is he kind? Kindness takes time to develop in many people.
Will people work for him? You’ll be doing a lot of work together.
If people like working for him then you’re less likely to resent him. Female-to-male resentment is the #1 trait I come across in unhappy marriages.
Our youngest kids did a great job with their Science Fair project. The project is on a “tri-fold display board” made by Elmer’s.
Getting the electric motor project working for our oldest has been tougher. We got the rectangular homopolar motor to spin but have been struggling to get our “tiny dancer” to rotate.
The first season of Colorado Classroom ended with 14 episodes. We’ve enjoyed the programming so started our 2nd Grader on the 3rd Grade lessons. She sits beside me and we do the class together. She’s a sweet kid and I enjoy our time together.
Got the COVID Blahs? Here’s a list of ideas to shake things up:
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