It used to be that I would go out on a run or ride and I’d think about things. I’d distract myself from the fatigue, the pain, the monotony, the cars!, as well simmering in the joys, the uplift, the enlightenments… A title would come to mind as a marker to recall and retell these thoughts through the blog… But then I became an addict—addicted to Strava… which soon led me on to fitbit, etc. Soon my thoughts were converted into GPS files and segment times and numbers and graphs and steps and data, data, data… What was left of my thoughts, those titles, were whisked quickly away from the blog and posted to Strava where I might gain a few Kudos from followers. The Kudos being the new form of acknowledgment of existence and worth. It’s a strong addiction, this cyber side world to fitness and activity. And, honestly, not one I’m willing to give up. However, I do also recognize that there is a lot of value here in the blogspot - and a community of support and inspiration that has given me so much more than KOMs or PRs ever could. So I am still here… riding, running, dreaming…
Friday, September 30, 2016
I’m reading a book right now called Time and Again by Jack Finney. In it, the main character slips back in time about a hundred years and experiences a wintery New York City of 1882. It has reminded me that, although things keep changing everywhere as we move forward in time, there still is a lot remaining from the past all around us. Old buildings and views of mountains, and such, of course. But states of mind, as well. We all experience different layers or ratios of this perception or interpretation at any given moment. Sometimes we are rocketing along with the wave of the future and sometimes we may be quietly reflecting in what could be any era. H.G. Wells (may have) said, “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” I would have to agree—and add a pedestrian element as well. Bicyclists and pedestrians experience a little bit of the world from the past. A world without air conditioning… a world where effort turns into distance… where geography and time are linked… where nothing—and especially not everything!—is 5-minutes away… a world that is grounded… aware… patient. It’s a wonderful space. I’ve been soaking in it as much as possible. And I see others experiencing it, too—and then I understand H.G.’s sentiment.
There’s a house up the street from me, just about at that point on my walk to the train where, if it’s a hot day, I’m starting to flag a bit, to lose that wonderful space. There are wind chimes hanging in the covered front porch. I hear them… and then I see the tree leaves flutter in the wind… And there I am… right there… no place else to be… again.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
More on running form. But isn’t that what we’re here for?
Do you remember that moment when you first tried to run in flip flops as a kid and it was nearly impossible—they either flew right off and you burned the soles of your bare feet on the hot blacktop or they tangled up and tripped you, skinning your knees… Then you tried squeezing your toes together as you ran and that helped a little—keeping the flip flops on but making it hard to run. Maybe that’s as far as you got that summer. Maybe it took a few more hot summers in flip flops to let go—to spread your toes, to reach out with them like the claws that they are, to set your feet free—and the flip flops stayed on—and you ran…
I had that feeling again on a recent run—that claws out feeling. Strangely, maybe, I was wearing my running shoes. But they’re appropriately not too tight and they’re just stating to get broken in nice and cozy—around 300 miles so far.
Just another joyful running epiphany… (epiFootny?)
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
I’ve seen a young woman roller skating through my neighborhood a few times over the last week. It’s hard to guess her age - maybe her roller skates are throwing me off. Maybe late teens or early twenties? She’s not just wobbling around the block, either. She’s got a destination - she seems to be commuting somewhere. She looks so natural and confidant, like she’s been skating her whole life - she flows. And she looks so happy! She always smiles and says Hello! Good morning! She is quite possibly the happiest commuter in the world - and why wouldn’t she be? She probably feels like a little kid playing, enjoying, skating. She makes my day.
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Riding a bike through a construction zone can often be a little challenging. Even when the road construction workers have planned ahead to get parking restrictions and cones set up and traffic flaggers in place it seems they all too often forget about the fact that bicycles pass along these roads, too.
I experienced this today. As I approached the construction zone I noticed the flagman’s face twist in uncertainty. But, to his credit, he recovered quickly and directed me through with a smile and a wave. As I passed by he noticed the empty child seat on the back of the bike - Where’s the baby? he called out. I’m gonna go getter, I responded…
And that I did. We returned, Maz&I, along the same route in reverse…
By then the road workers were on lunch break—but not far from the road. We, Maz&I, zipped along, downhill this time. Our construction friend from earlier waved first this time and as we passed by he called out, There she is!
It was really quite a nice moment…
Monday, May 23, 2016
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Another post on running form! Can there ever be enough?!
Run with your feet…
That’s it. It’s brilliant, right? It may seem pretty simple. That’s because it is. It may seem obvious. But it’s taken me two decades to think about it in this way. There’s a lot of discussion about footwear or lack thereof—about form, posture, stride, cadence, etc… There’s talk of forefoot landing, heel strike, motion control and cushioning. But things change—the body, goals, energy level, terrain… So, I think, perhaps, that, while I still intend to strive for best form, there really is no perfect lesson which will apply to every, or any, runner all the time.
In my recent running, I’ve been letting my feet go, letting them do the running and following their lead. And I’ve had some great runs and even some fast ones in this way. Sometimes this means I land on the forefoot, sometimes on the heel. Sometimes this means my knees lift high, sometimes I shuffle. And often it all gets mixed together on a single run. Trying too hard, forcing your feet to do something they’re not interested in, may not be the best approach to finding that natural stride and form. The foot is not an inanimate block on which we land but a springy complex creative improvisational free floating jazz master!
So run with your feet… run like a jazz master… and the rest will follow…
Thursday, April 14, 2016
I may have mentioned before that there seem to be a lot of runners that live on my street. Or at least live nearby and run on my street. I see several everyday. Two of them are sisters. They may even be twins. And they have the most amazing form—running form! I’ve become a bit of a connoisseur of running form—perhaps because I feel that my own form is far from perfect and it seems to hinder my performance. So I blog about it and I think about it and I practice it as much as I can. Watching other people run with good form may be the best way to understand how it all works. And then imitate to the level that one can. There’s something so beautiful about seeing these sisters run. No doubt it is amplified by the fact that there are two of them and they are fast! It’s inspiring. They get me running and they get me running better. And on a rare occasion they even show that they, too, (two), are human. A few days ago I saw one of them run by. Then a few minutes later the other one walked by, looking rather beat. I was probably a bit happier to see this breakdown than I should have been, but it made me realize that running is sometimes hard even for the best of them. And maybe if one’s form is breaking down it may be better to stop for a bit. To walk for a bit. Rather than practice poor form.
Saturday, April 9, 2016
I don’t do much running or riding in the rain. Here in Southern California it’s usually only a day or two wait until better weather so I just accept it as a rest day. And while this El Nino season hasn’t exactly delivered on the higher than normal rainfall, I have had a few opportunities to get out in the rain. Three days in a row now, actually - run, ride, run. And I’ve noticed something. After some good suffering (not struggling, mind you!) in the rain I find myself calmer and more alert back in the real world, so to speak. A bit like a meditation practice might do—a rain practice…
Thursday, April 7, 2016
I met up with a friend in the pub yesterday evening. He’s someone I’ve done a few long rides with. And a few short runs. So we talked about riding. And running. And the people that seem to rotate in and out of our circles. And we drank beer. Pretty basic. It was a short visit. We both had other things to attend to.
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
So you’ve all heard of the “shower beer…” That’s okay, I don’t think I’d really grasped the widespread nature of the phenomenon either. I guess the idea is that you get home after a long bike ride or run or day at work and you take a nice cold beer with you into the shower to enjoy and get the evening started and/or multitask and/or drink in private/secret, later tossing the can out the bathroom window, hoping to get it over the fence into your neighbors yard where it will sit in the weeds under the rotting ’72 Plymouth. I’m assuming the use of canned beer here although I don’t really know the protocol. I figure No Glass in the Shower is a reasonable policy. Of course, I wonder, too, is the beer sipped? Or chugged? Does one turn the shower off during the period of time when one is drinking the beer and not actually making use of the water which is swiftly running down the drain to the ocean, this being a drought and all and water being a most valuable resource as we head straight away into the future. It does sound lovely. I can imagine it’s like drinking beer in a Jacuzzi. That’s always been fun. I can see the draw. Personally, though, I don’t think I need to find any more places to call drinking places in my life, mine being mostly happy hour after happy hour anyway… I do subscribe to the importance of some quick recovery foods after a period of activity and recently having discovered a small container of almonds and chia seeds left over from a long run in my pocket as I stepped into the shower - yes, why not pre-rinse those stinky synthetic fibers! - I enjoyed my post run protein recovery snack… in the shower.