Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Push-Up

On Friday I was sitting at work listening to the National Public Radio show Day to Day, and they were talking about an article in the New York Times, "An Enduring Measure of Fitness: The Simple Push-Up". The idea behind the article is that the ability to do a push-up is actual a good test of overall fitness. The idea is that the pushup doesn't just test arm strength, but the back, chest, hips, legs. The article goes on to say that a 40 year old man should be able to do 27 push-ups.

"Twenty seven push-ups for a 40 year old", I thought, "I'm not quite 40 yet, so my number should be more like 30 push-ups. I should be able to easily do that". However I resisted the urge to drop to the floor in my office and start doing push-ups beside my new office mate (she's pretty easy going, but that might have been a bit much). Besides, for the past several years my test of fitness has been the ability to survive a guided back country ski trip that my brother arranges for me annually. Every year that I live through the trip, I figure I am at least somewhat fit, so 30 push-ups should be easy.

I didn't think about the article again until this morning. As I told my wife about the article she said that she did 25 push-ups just the other day (turns out she did the push-ups where she was on her knees and not toes). So I got down on the floor and started to prove to myself I could do 30 push-ups. One, two, three..., four... (ugh) ... five...(gasp)...eight...(err)...ten. Sadly I was only able to do (um) ten push ups. In all fairness to me, I did have two little girls that thought daddy was playing a fun game and immediately jumped on my back. So for the time being I am giving up on push-ups (at least while my daughters are around), and instead I grabbed my 15 month old (who is surprisingly heavy) and did a few curls with her.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Ski Lessons

This year is my four year old daughter's first year of ski lessons and it didn’t start off too well. During the first 3 weeks of lessons she got more and more apprehensive about lessons (“I don’t want to go skiing daddy! Can we just sit in the car daddy?”). With my love of skiing, this was really breaking my heart to hear her say this. However, it was easy to understand my daughter's attitude; her classes were made up of six of more 4 year olds who had never been on skis and one 16 year old instructor. The instructor was doing her very best, but ultimately the kids spent most of their time sitting in the snow interrupted by an occasional horrific few moments that involved grabbing onto a fast moving rope, ultimately falling over then being dragged up the hill as a lift operator ran behind yelling “Let go! Let go of the rope tow!”

When the scheduled date of the fourth week of lessons rolled around, a huge snow storm hit Cascades. Due to too much snow(!!!), lessons were canceled for several weeks. When the ski area was finally reopened for lessons I wasn’t tooWhen the scheduled date of the fourth week of lessons rolled around, a huge snow storm hit the optimistic about what would happen with my daughter in her lessons; she did not want to go. So I spent the first half of that fourth week of lessons skiing with just her, and the second half skiing with her and her class. It took a lot of bribing with gummy bears, but by the end of that fourth week of classes she was skiing down the chair on her own (even as I write this a tear comes to my eye due to my extreme pride in my daughter right now who now tells me, “Can we go skiing every day daddy?”).

At the end of that fourth day of lessons I had two thoughts: 1)the words of my supervisor back when I was a ski instructor, “No matter how terrible your kids are in classes, the fourth week is a magic week and everyone skis on the chair lift.” 2) I really wish I had brought my camera.

For week number five I did bring my camera, and I wanted to share one of the images of what wife says put the biggest smile she has ever seen on my face. Enjoy!