A few days ago I wrote about the effects wide-spread use of hormonal contraceptives and other steroids are having on our water systems. Before having a freaker, I ask for your patience as I provide a viable alternative which is truly green for the environment as well as our bodies, hearts and souls.
Within marriage the Catholic Church encourages couples to practice Natural Family Planning (NFP) as a healthy way to plan for or prevent having children. Many people confuse it with the "rhythm" method. It is much broader and involved both phsycially & emotionally. NFP is taught to couples preparing for marriage as it gets both the husband and wife actively involved in the process of family planning. Quite often this responsibility is placed on the woman via the pill, patch, etc. Contraception in all forms (jam, jelly, plug, drug, pill, patch, shot, condom...) does not allow a couple to completely give of themselves because there is a physical barrier. Instead of the sexual intimacy being one of a self-giving, selfless act it becomes "selfish". When a husband or wife whitholds himself/herself (their fertility) from each other they leave the other without the only thing they can bring - life. This also extends to the emotional & spiritual component of a marital relationship - too many of us are withholding ourselves from giving praise and encouragement. Where is the true freedom for a couple to completely give the full gift of themselves if contraception is being used? The contraceptive culture has been part of an increasingly growing lure to immediate gratification-what's-in-it-for-me attitude. Love is more deeper than sex and orgasm.
Marital love is one in which two individuals completely forget about their own immediate needs, wants and desires. It truly is a giving love versus a taking love. Contraception prevents a couple from completely giving of themselves physically, emotionally & spiritually. Instead of sex being one of a union it becomes an act of self-pleasure. Over time it is based on self-gratification instead of self-giving. Issues with trust, respect and communication may soon become emotional wedges within the relationship.
For non-married couples I offer abstinence as the healthiest way to protect you & your partner physically, emotionally & spiritually. For two people to hook up on a physical level is easy. When the physical aspect is removed from a relationship it lends more opportunity for a couple to sharpen the other, and often more challening, components of a relationship - trust, respect, communication, etc.
If you are reading this in hopes of learning about the latest & greatest eco-friendly sex "toy" - psych :) In my efforts promoting abstinence for today's youth I am constantly trying to keep myself updated on current trends, stats, etc. The birth of contraception (no pun intended :) offerred the notion of unlimited "sexual freedom". Experiencing an increase in unplanned pregnancies, an emipdemic of sexually transmitted infections/diseases and thousands of young people strugling with emotional turmoil I wonder just how "free" we are? Our decisions certainly have an impact on our lives and those around us.
With millions of American women taking the common oral contraceptive, aka "the pill", have you ever wondered where those chemicals end up or how they impact a women's long-term health? Understand I am not in the business of judging people, telling them what to do or how to live their lives. However, it appears these high dosage hormones are now finding their way to our water system, rivers, streams & lakes. In doing so researchers are finding an imablance in aquatic life, namely fish, where male fish are becoming feminized.
Boulder, CO - When EPA-funded scientists at the University of Colorado studied fish in a pristine mountain stream known as Boulder Creek two years ago, they were shocked. Randomly netting 123 trout and other fish downstream from the city’s sewer plant, they found that 101 were female, 12 were male and 10 were strange “intersex” fish with male and female features.
It’s “the first thing that I’ve seen as a scientist that really scared me,” said then 59-year-old University of Colorado biologist John Woodling, speaking to the Denver Post in 2005.
They studied the fish and decided the main culprits were estrogens and other steroid hormones from birth-control pills and patches, excreted in urine into the city’s sewage system and then into the creek.
Woodling, University of Colorado physiology professor David Norris, and their EPA-study team were among the first scientists in the country to learn that a slurry of hormones, antibiotics, caffeine and steroids is coursing down the nation’s waterways, threatening fish and contaminating drinking water.
Since their findings, stories have been emerging everywhere. Scientists in western Washington found that synthetic estrogen – a common ingredient in oral contraceptives – drastically reduces the fertility of male rainbow trout.
Doug Myers, wetlands and habitat specialist for Washington State’s Puget Sound Action Team, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that in frogs, river otters and fish, scientists are “finding the presence of female hormones making the male species less male.”
This summer, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the American Pharmacists Association will begin a major public-awareness campaign regarding contamination that’s resulting from soaps and pharmaceuticals, including birth control.
What the Boulder scientists discovered, however, is that few people care. Or, if they’re worried, they’re in denial.
“Nobody is getting passionately concerned about it,” Norris said. “It makes no sense to me at all that people aren’t more concerned.”
When the story of his finding hit Denver and Boulder newspapers, Norris anticipated an immediate response from environmentalists, who define the politics of Boulder and are known to picket in the streets demanding ends to questionable farming practices, global warming and pesticide treatments.
To the professor’s surprise, however, the hormone story was mostly ignored. - National Catholic Register
Hmm, I wonder if soaking my legs in the creek is going to make my voice go higher?
What comes to mind when you hear the word "stewardship"?? Someone on a boat?? For most of us it prompts the idea of being fiscally responsible or giving of our time, talent & treasure to an organization/cause close to heart. Being a good steward of something is simply taking good care of it. I was recently reminded stewardship really encompasses more than finances. As I see it, we have all been granted many gifts (physical, material, emotional, etc.) from God. Yes, we work hard for these things, but I believe ultimately they are a gift from God.
I think I am in pretty damn good health and try to be a good steward of this gift by living a healthy lifestyle. Okay, maybe racing Ironman and training my arse off is a little extreme for the average joe, but it's all relative. Prior to taking up triathlons I lived a not-so-healthy lifestyle which involved heavy consumption of alcohol and junk food. I used to think my body was a temple for Red Stripe, Jagermeister, Kellogg's Pop-Tarts and late night sliders w/chilli fries. Today I believe I am a much wiser steward of my health.
How about the environment? Don't you dogreen in some capacity? Yeah you can admit to liking the feel of those organic cotton tees or the simple pleasure you experience from co-mingled recyling. Doing your part in being eco-friendly is being a good steward of the environment.
The notion of being a good steward can be applied to just about all life has to offer and certainly does not exclude the emotional or spiritual. Hmm, what in the heck is emotional stewardship?? I guess it's a simply a matter of doing good by others and yourself.
If you were tracking things online during the race you know how freaking hot & humid it was on race day. Throughout race week the mercury seemed to be inching up a bit. This is to be expected on the big island, but man was it toasty. I am grateful for the opportunity to race in my fourth Ironman World Championship and was looking for a better day, but simply could not deliver. Prior to the race I had the privilege of speaking at the IronPrayer service. During my message I shared an ancronym which has been with me in my prep for this race and would carry me through the day - FAITH - Fueling, Awareness, Intent, Trust, Humility. My race encompassed each of these with some serious humble pie :)
Swim (58:56) - My best swim here to date. The start line was filled with the typical jostling and I found myself right next to my buddy Michael Lovato. We both got a good chuckle out of the surf pulling the entire field forward while the surfboarders tried to maintain a firm line. Bang - the cannon sounded and I think I heard Michael say, "oh crap" before he shot away from me. I had a pretty clean start and swam most of the the 2.4 miles with a small group of six to eight athletes.
Bike (5:16) - Shortly out of transition I hit a large bump going through an intersection which launched two bottles off my rear cages. I was not about to embark on this ride without these bottles so eased off to the side, waited for athletes to clear, turn around and get my dang bottles. Michael's wife, Amanda, was standing at this intersection and gave me some encouraging words as I got myself back in the game. I was able to bridge up and pass a few of the athletes with whom I exited the water and rode the first 20-25 miles with Petr Vabrousek (Chech Republic) and a couple of other guys. We had a marshall keeping a good eye on us so it was a clean affair. Petr eventually rode away from me, very much like the last three Ironman events we've been racing together. My focus was on fueling and keeping cool along the exposure of the Queen K and leading up to Hawi. I felt the best I have riding this course and reached the turn-around in Hawi faster than in previous years. I was feeling good and on track for a decent ride. Back on the Queen K and around 95 miles into the ride both legs began to cramp in my vmo muscles. Oh God, not now I thought. It became more difficult to maintain a steady pace as the winds picked up and athletes whom I passed earlier were now returning the favor. I really tried to stay positive, but was very concerned how my legs would respond on the run.
Run (3:00) - I typically have felt very smooth, fluid and fast over the first 10 miles along Alii Drive. Not so much on this day. I found myself in a very uncomfortable place. I think the devil was trying to make some deals with me as my mind had thoughts of, "Now would be a good place to take a break." I struggled to keep moving forward and eventually started to feel a bit better as the run unfolded. Once again though, someone dropped a piano on my back as my pace slowed to what seemed like a crawl. I was in survival mode taking in as many fluids and cooling myself with ice & water through each aid station. Around the 12 mile mark I caught up with my buddy Michael who was walking and obviously having tough go on this day. He gave me some encouraging words to keep running. At this point I guess it's all relative...running, Ironman shuffling, walking, whatever to keep moving forward! Shortly after this I caught Stephen Bayliss and we also exchanged some words of encouragement. He recaught me approaching the turn-around in the Energy Lab. We ran together for a bit and he eventually gapped me as we exited the the lab. Back on the Queen K I was greeted with more words of encouragement from Amanda, Kelly Liljeblad and a few others. Thanks guys as you gave me a good chuckle and inspiration to keep moving forward! My teammate, Jessica Jacobs, was heading towards the Natural Energy Lab and looked very strong. She was able to give me some positive energy and I soon ran up on my teammate Ben Hoffman who was making his Kona debut on a damn tough day. We too exchanged words of encouragement. Hmm, seems like I was having lots of little conversations out there on the course. Over the final five miles I actually started feeling pretty decent all things considered. I was gaining ground on Stephen in hopes of running him down. Approaching the final small incline to Palani Road I could tell I would not catch Stephen, but Petr Vabrousek was now in range. This guy is one of the most consistent Ironman athletes with numerous top five finishes. He has beat me up pretty well in my last three Ironman races and I was determined to catch him. As Stephen passed him I could tell he was looking behind to see if anyone else was present. Shortly after making the turn on Palani I made my move and passed Petr doing so with a pat on his shoulder as a sign of my respect for him. The crowds along Alii were fantastic as they greeted me with a thunderous welcome to the finish!
9:21 & 70th overall
A huge congrats to Chrissie & Craig for their performances.
Mahalo to the thousands of volunteers...they are world class! At one point on the run I missed some cola and a volunteer ran after me to hand me a cup :)
Much thanks to my sponsors for their continued support and of course my family & friends. Your emails, prayers and words of encouragement carried me to the line on an extremely tough day. A special thanks to my homestay, Joanne, during my first week on the big island - you rock!
Opted to ride on the upper highway, also known as the "coffee road", for an easy spin today. Great views at 2,000 feet looking down the lava fields spilling out into the Pacific!
Things are ramping up around town as more athletes converge on Kailua-Kona. It's been great staying with my friend Joanne...quiet, relaxing, comfortable...hard to beat homemade papaya ice cream with papayas from the tree just outside the door :)
Since I began racing IM several years ago I saw it as a great opportunity to race for a purpose, aside from the stylish finisher's t & medal :) Over the years I have been fortunate to have the support of friends & family in raising funds for a stellar non-profit called Mother & Unborn Baby Care (MAUBC).
On October 10th I will be racing the Ford Ironman World Championship to support the work of MAUBC which provides much needed assistance to familes facing an uplanned pregnancy. One of the cool things about MAUBC and why I choose to partner with them lies in the fact they are not in the business of telling people what to do, how to live their lives or making money off them. MAUBC simply wants to be a source of compassion & help. All services are free and include: pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, medical referrals, housing, material goods (baby supplies, clothing, maternity clothing, car seats, strollers, cribs, etc.), peer counseling, adoption information & post-abortion counseling for those who are sufferring from PASS (post-abortion stress syndrome). As a young high school English teacher one year removed from college, I had a student disclose to me she was pregnant and did not know what to do...scared & confused. At the time, I don't think I really knew what she should do! This is where MAUBC comes in to help ease any confusion, offer support & encouragement and answer questions about various options.
If you would like to partner with me in my efforts on the big island you may make a secure, tax deductible, on-line donation by visiting my fundraising website at www.bradseng.com. Your spiritual & financial support is greatly appreciated!