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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Bridging the Gap of Acknowledgement

We're all in our own little worlds. Bridging the gap to communicate with someone in their world can sometimes be a challenge. It helps if you're more or less on the same plane, experiencing the same flow.... but not always.

For example: Cyclists! That ever strange gaggle of interpreters and complicated communicators. Cyclists seem to scan other cyclists for everything from rider positioning, geometry, kit, components, frame brand, speed, etc. in order to decide whether or not that other rider gets a quick wave or nod of the head or ignored!

Runners aren't a hell of a lot better with each other. The chances of getting a quick wave of acknowledgement decrease over the terrain on which one is running - I'm gonna go with 60% for trails and then decreasing through paths, roads, and sidewalks...

Hikers might be the best at interacting with each other. Kudos! Possibly 8 or 9 out of 10 will initiate or respond for quick interaction. Yet walkers, strangely, have perhaps the lowest score of all: maybe it's all too close for comfort around town at close range and Is that person waving at me a crazy psychopath?

Oh, yeah. Drivers. Sorry. You're last. Not even a turn signal anymore. When was the last time anyone waved at a stranger in a car passing in the other direction. Maybe on a country road somewhere - which brings up the point, of course these percentages are going to change for different regions around the state, country, world... but I'm experiencing this here now and it's probably spreading your way soon if it hasn't already arrived.

Now, back to bridging that gap. If we're going with the highly researched (LOL) 60% best hope for wave back communication between people sharing the same trail running experience, what kind of expectation do we have for cross activity interaction? A cyclist to a runner? Unprecedented! Dismal.

But why? Let's change all that. Let's step outside our little worlds and be a part of the big one! And then, ironically, the world will be a smaller place...

Why, just today, I waved at a driver for intentionally not right hooking me! Amazing.

A wave, a peace sign, a wink... It's all good...

And pretty soon everyone all over the place will be waving and smiling and chatting and getting to know each other and all like, You go ahead... No, you go ahead... No, really, you go ahead, I'm in no rush...

It will be hilariously safe and we'll all get to where we're going 5 minutes late and no one will care because we'll all be on the same flowing plane...

Friday, June 8, 2018

Underwear and How to Wear It

Underwear. You may not think about it too often, but if you're a runner you probably should. Because it does a lot for us as runners with all that wicking and cooling and supporting, etc. But it can also do a lot to us; two words come to mind: Stink and Chafe. Yep.

As far as the stink goes I still have no real clear understanding of why activewear of any kind seems to smell so terrible so quickly. Nor do I have any suggestions on how to address the issue - but I'd love to hear some!

With chafe, on the other hand, I've discovered something. Clearly a lot of research and development has gone into the making of the running specific underwear that is now widely available at your local running shop. It's so soft and sleek and smooth and, I mean, it even looks beautiful! But all too often that smooth beauty is only on the outside. And while those no-see-'em seams do look great in the print ads and websites, they won't do you much good if they're not against your skin... So if your running underwear doesn't have flat inner seams, wear it inside out. Trust me, you're gonna like it...

And, yes, of course there's lube of all sorts these days, and I highly recommend them! But wouldn't it be better if those were less of a necessity and more of a preference...

Thursday, February 22, 2018

a little bit at a time

Sometimes little pieces of conversations linger in our minds. Mottos, mantras, advice - call them what you will. I've had some of these lodged in my head for decades. They surface once in a while. Bits and epiphanies on our longer challenges...

I wonder if the people who spoke these words remember them. If they still hold onto them all these years later as I do or if the words were left where they were spoken - unnoticed and discarded moments of genius...

One of these moments goes back twenty years, more or less exactly. There was a guy going about his work - unloading or loading a truck (it's endlessly one or the other, right?) - and a passerby commented, as they strangely often do, saying something like, "Big job today, eh?!" Our truck guy responded sagely, as if he'd always thought of it this way, "a little bit at a time..." 

And of course! I mean, how else?! You can't unload it all at once! And even if you could there's another ton to load right back up... And then there's tomorrow and the next day and on... 

Another moment that's been surfacing for me recently is from about ten years ago (probably not exactly!). A brief acquaintance of mine was discussing the methodical approach of a good welder. He used a certain phrase to describe the process. It's probably a phrase well used in the welding trade but it was the first and only time I've heard it: "Laying down nickels." He could have said dimes or quarters, I don't remember, but the point is he was talking about one weld about the size of a coin. One coin at a time... a little overlapping the last one... patiently laying down perfect quality nickel-sezied welds... all the way down the line... over and over and over again. No rush. You've got all day... and tomorrow and on... A little bit at a time... 

Just like each step, each stride, each pedal stroke. You can't get there in one giant leap! And you shouldn't even try. It will probably take you longer and lead to injury. Quick steps. Low gears. Again and again... All the way down the line... 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

darkness

The days have been getting longer now for about a month. I can almost get home in the evening without lights on the bike. But not quite. And anyway, it's probably better to overlap significantly into the various shades of dusk. The dream world, however, seems to lag behind a bit - still hung up on darkness. The other night I was riding my bike in darkness, in dream. Isn't it nice to get those extra miles in! I was riding up Arroyo Blvd. A route I take frequently. It's a nice windy road with older homes on the east and the Arroyo Seco natural area and wash to the west. Always, it seems, as I come around one particular bend in the road there is a car parked on the right side which forces me further left into the lane. I usually anticipate this. And it wouldn't be a problem except that, well, you know, why do so many cars take this route? And this night, this dream, was no exception. I rolled around the bend through the darkness, drifting left to move around the parked car. That was when I noticed I'd forgotten my light. I didn't see the beam reflecting off the car. Interesting that we otherwise hardly need lights at night, if we could always be riding alone out there on the streets. And it was then that I heard the sound of two other cyclists overtaking me to my left. I gave a quick wave of the hand which was illuminated in their headlights. They didn't seem to mind that I had no light, understanding that, well, who needs one, if we have the road to ourselves... As they passed I also realized that I'd forgotten my helmet. (At least I had my pants!) And it was fine. Out on a bike in the cool darkness... 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

kefir

For any of us pursuing endurance activities, there's no doubt we've already heard about the benefits to recovery of consuming a certain amount of protein within a half hour or so after any physical endeavor. There's probably some very specific information out there detailing the number of grams that should be consumed within a given number of minutes and what source those grams should come from, etc. For those of us that are trying not to take things to too crazy a degree but want to get some benefit from the studies, I'd say a good middle ground is: have some protein after your run (ride, whatever). In the course of watching various Tours de France and marathons on television I've inevitably been exposed to that commercial featuring that latest triathlon champion coming in from what is presumably some tropical island to island swim and proceeding directly to the business of chugging a bottle of chocolate milk. Apparently it has all the essential nutritional elements needed for optimal recovery from your workout. Primarily, presumably, protein. So, again, in my meager attempt to follow along withe the basic ideals of endurance enhancing nutrition, I've come to emulate this tri hero... in my own way, of course. Somehow, chocolate milk sounds a bit, how should I saw this, un-refreshing. And there must be a lot of sugar in there that might not be necessary for all of us. But, and assuming you've already read the title of this post, this won't come as a surprise, I've discovered that kefir, that drinkable hippy yogurt that I recall from my youth in the seventies, is a great and delicious and easy way to get those several grams of protein. The idea being something like, let your body cool down a bit and then sip some water, probably take a shower and then grab that big bottle out of the fridge and take a swig or two - yes! right from the bottle! Why not? And a bottle will go for a whole bunch of swigs so it could easily last a week or so. The flavored varieties tend to be fruity and refreshing, although, then you're dealing with added sugars again, so I've weened myself down to plain - you get used to it. And even start to believe the claim on the back of the bottle that, indeed, kefir is "The Champagne of Dairy... "