Parked Eldorado Canyon corner store at Highway 93 and ran up Highway 170 through Eldorado Springs, a climber’s haven. Passed through town, past the sheer cliffs, and found Fowler Trail, running it back down to join back up with Highway 170 then back to start. The run was a little over 8 miles, about 50% road and 50% trail.
Forbes entrepreneur blogger Eric Schiffer writes about breaking free of obsessions to reach goals, here.
Obsessing focuses not on what you are doing or even what you want, but on ill-timed imperatives. To set a summit goal then obsess on each stepping stone will tire out the best of ascendants, leaving them on the mountain in the dark, taking forever.
Focus and obsession aren’t the same thing. Focus sees something as it really is in its context. Obsession loses track of what something actually is in favor of processing it, and fears that if it isn’t done now, the sky will fall. Too much tension blows energy, forgets priorities, and trends in error.
A good way to memorize this principle is by singing to yourself the following 38 Special song, or at least the lyrics:
Fitness that adapts stays with you.
There are tracks like this in nearly every city or town with a school or recreation center. Sometimes running in an ellipse in the summer sun is just what I need. In off-hours, frequently, no one else is there. What a great opportunity to make a training meet-up with a friend who is at a fitness level close to yours. Early mornings on a track can also be invigorating. Remember this option; it’s a good one. Use it according to your needs, fitness level, and do check with your physician if there are any known conditions for which you should get a doctor’s OK.
Today for me, this is how I used the track.
warm up: 50 body weight squats (25 half, 25 full).
Ran 12 laps (3 miles)…
One Sprint per lap, or 1/4 mile…
Eleven 50 yard sprints…
Lap 12 was a 220 meter sprint…
1 quarter mile cool down walk…
It was 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
It was 88 degrees out today, and with the smell of firework gunpowder still with me, I ran gentle hills on asphalt in the hot summer sun. I put in two sprint intervals, both uphill. I loaded enough water before starting.
I love our country.
Happy Fourth of July!
There is an old adage as true today as ever: “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a great battle.”
A great battle in a relatively affluent country is being jostled and pulled in too many directions. We become acquainted with deciding what not to do instead of what to do. As many opportunities morph into ‘needs,’ it seems that some primordial, upstream-salmon gene activates in our brains and bodies, pushing us to grasp for more than we can do.
Many opportunities may knock, and when they do, be on the lookout for Mr. or Ms. Burnout at your door. This solicitor has bad teeth, dark circles under his eyes, a dehydrated look, burning flames of ambition receding in the irises, and a smoky smell – not cigarettes – but the reek of the grinding, engine-melting residue of neglect. For if we are not paying the insurance premium of exercise regularly, and descending from healthy habits because of it, succeed as we might elsewhere, we may not be around long enough to enjoy it.
One way to guard against a visit from this phantom of temptation is to adapt to it by physically training during his visit. This ends-justify-the-means ghost grasps at the wheedling, whining frustration of our unfinished goals; our haunting imperfections. It would ride them as your horses, pulling you and your life behind, clinging to uncertain ropes.
Imagine yourself answering the door as he or she knocks, earnestly beseeching you to listen and pointing to the pale horse out front; asking you to get behind this high-functioning stressor.
And you answer wearing your running shoes, shorts, and t-shirt. You tell the ghost you are going for a run, and you would love to listen to the pitch along your running route. As you establish your cadence on the asphalt, on the trail, and through the physical world of sunshine, air, seasonal scents, and sweat, you notice that he is having a very hard time keeping up. It seems you have come down to earth, and by doing so, entered a state of peace that cooled and moistened your brow, eased your mind, and helped you find your heart. Gratitude for what you have dawns in your heart, and you realize how much better you could devote yourself to what you have.
What is most important? Your run gives you a real opportunity to meditate on that. As you let the run go through your body, making you stronger, you let your mind drift over the topography of your life, and realize what are the tectonics, the foundations of your peaks and troughs. Soon you can distinguish between what is wise for you and what is not. You have outrun the pressure sell.
And that is a mighty fine pace for anyone to make.
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To those who want to expose more muscle anatomy features through their skin:
And run more.
And when your body and mind tell you that you can eat extra-extra helpings because of your up-tempo, allow only extra-extra helpings from the fresh produce section.
Everything else, reduce to the high-yield, lean, non-processed versions, and eat less than usual.
Keep it up for at least a month and a half to see how this suits you.
IF YOU HAVE DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR ANY PHYSICAL OR MEDICAL CONDITION, OR NEED QUICK CALORIES TO KEEP HEALTHY AND FUNCTIONAL AT CRUCIAL TIMES, DISREGARD THESE SUGGESTIONS AS NEEDED. MODIFY ALL SUGGESTIONS ON THIS SITE TO SUIT YOUR PERSONAL PROFILE AS ARRIVED AT BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR PERSONAL PHYSICIAN AND OTHER HEALTH CARE ADVISERS WORKING AS A TEAM.
On my road running Altra Torins I ran 3 miles in intervals on the following surfaces:
+asphalt (has some spring, and impact absorption)
-concrete (almost zero spring or impact absorption, hell on joints, hell on eyes in bright sun)
-Ice under snow over asphalt (courtesy of JustDeb who says, “Don’t run on it!”)
+sandy clay (nice absorption, poor drainage, muddy)
+ground red granite gravel (best for all around drainage, absorption, nice on eyes in full sun)
+road base rock (good variety for lower extremity muscles, rougher on shoes)
+dried clay mud (variable, better absorption, sometimes hard / trippy, crackly / dusty)
+wild grass (variable, take a quick break or two to police for ticks – catch ’em early and tweak ’em off)
Can you guess which surface I do not recommend for running but which nearly every short-sighted developer and city planner in my area prefers as a trail building substance between subdivisions and open spaces, and in some cases, through open spaces? I’m sure you can.
Concrete has many positive uses. Running trails are not one of them.
Disclosure: I find it a pain to take photos while running so I cannibalized past photos of multiple surfaces…
A Brooks shoe that finally has a toe box wide enough for me is a trail runner. It pairs up with my Altra Torins for road running. These two pairs make my feet happy for road and dirt running days ahead. The Merrell Barefoots were worn out on the sole, and did not repel the sharper rock impacts from the deep tissues of the foot.
If I don’t blog more about these shoes, you can assume they’re doing their job!
May your running-training days be timeless and full of light.
Yesterday was a sound strength training day, and I found myself reflecting on this thought stream from a recent hike, simplified below:
Truth is so effectual, it needs no anger, pride, fear, or weaponized delivery to be heard. It only needs the telling absent those things, and if possible in love and humility, to resound, reverberate, be received, taken to heart, and possibly passed down for generations.”
As I reflected on this, I realized it has great potential for adaptive training, that is, slipping the punches to self and others that come with anger and fear attached to:
(1) the avoidance of some truth about self, or
(2) fearful or vengeful anger at those who are a source of injustices toward others, self, and worst of all, those we love.
How often does truth go untold or told to shut-ears because the mixture of fear and anger allowed to crowd out the simple, powerful, healing, even nucleus-changing truth?
The truth in matters of all sizes may be scorched, burned, or concealed in the fire and smoke of passions that crowd it, from fear to anger to pride to disgust.
And yet, the simple truth, said, in love and humility, will free the teller as much as those who can hear that truth told. And each one of us will be able to hear it when this untarnished, nourishing truth arrives.
Imagine what energy comes from a body, mind, and spirit un-fettered by fear of the truth, embracing the truth, and working truth through the whole being with every footstep, movement, and every labor.
Look at how truth-to-self was able to do the unexpectedly unthinkably powerful:
By writing this post, I am not claiming I could do what these two women did in their grace and forgiveness, in part imparted through many, in both cases from higher places spacious enough to deliver freedom from the intrinsic assault of traumatic injustice.
I don’t claim any foresight in the field of forgiveness, but I do see a simple truth grasped personally by these two women which makes me wonder…
If much simpler truths about self, or what we witness in the misuse of power were not sources of fear, were unburdened by anger, and unpolluted by pride; if simple truth were told in love however love would wisely tell the simple truths, how much harm, hurt, suffering, and injustice could be extinguished, prevented, and instead nourishing relationships and virtues grown instead?
Like Smaug the Dragon, the eyes of my road running shoes open at the breath of Spring in the air, fair winds blowing upon the great icy mountain of doubt. Stand to train again.
wanna feel cold before your hot chocolate brew?
Many know the relaxation technique of tensing the body’s muscles, head to toe, and releasing them, in a wavelike sequence.
It is a great relaxation technique, yet it is also a superb warming-mobility approach as well. As you well may know, static stretching of muscles without warming up, is now out.
Tensing muscles even more in their tighter states of unreadiness (i.e. when you feel tension binding your body, movement, and coordination), will bring the warming blood flow increase to the targeted muscle or muscle group. Relaxing then, the muscles loosen. Progressively, tensing again, and releasing tension again, brings yet more looseness and pliability to the muscles.
A good example to illustrate is that of leaning over to touch our toes, and stopping at the point of felt-tightness, hanging there a few moments. Feet are flat on the ground. From the ground, from feet through the lower back, including all hip girdle muscles, we tense all of our muscles that we can and hold that tension a few seconds. Then we release. We should then feel our fingertips and entire upper body descend more easily from the waist toward the ground, feeling a bit looser. Repeat the process and see how low you can go.
Remember to breathe, either exhaling or inhaling during tension and the opposite during release, and keep that going. Shake out your body when done.
If you feel dizzy doing this, touch or grab a fixture for balance and slowly recover the upright position. An alternative is to touch the ground, and if loose enough to sit down, sit down and rest until the dizziness is over. If the dizziness is major, you feel you are going to faint or blackout, or if you repeatedly get dizzy doing this, stop exercise and schedule a physical with your doctor and tell your doctor about your experience.
Otherwise, think of the many formerly static stretches you used to do by warming up more generally, and add this specific and gradual tensing, releasing, extending, and repeating process to build flexibility, pliability, utility, and strength in the many, many supporting and dynamic muscles of the body.
Mountains catch light and shadow so subtly and differently from moment to moment, their beauty brings enough surprise to feel transportive. There is a sense of renewal given by myriad conditions.
It is the same way when you hit the road for a walk, run, or cycling. Part of the reason for hitting the road is to put variety in your life. There are so many roads, routes, directions, and orders of taking them that hitting the road will often have reset value for you.
With subtle rises and downhills, fenced horse ranch properties, and long, quiet country lanes, I enjoyed this first mid-range (for me) run on my new Altra Torins. I was looking for any unusual feedback from feet, ankles, knees, and back with the new shoes. Turns out the only feedback I get is from one of the horses I run by in these parts.
When I ran alongside two beautiful brown horses, one trotted alongside, and I am almost sure this horse was on the edge of laughing at me. I’ve heard whinnying and that wasn’t what this horse was doing. And that smile, the one that says, “how can anything go that slow and sound like it’s running?”
I said, “Well, of course. You’re a big beautiful horse, built for running. You must think my pace is a hoot.” At that point, I was glad that this was not Mr. Ed.
Once out of view of the horses, I finished my run with dignity, working on a more efficient form. I had put a full water bladder on my back initially planning to run much longer, and that threw me off a bit.
I am planning to put in a sprint interval next time I run by that fence with those two smart ass horses.
The wind was right Friday for the Kite Master to show herself.
Effortlessly handling the loyal dog-kite, she flew it on the swing; dancing twirls; and even tied it to her dog who also flew it flawlessly.
Dad crashed it three times.
Once, the wind was too strong, even for the Kite Master, pulling the spool and string from her hands.
The spool rose and fell, flying at about 15 knots in an easterly direction. Dad sprinted after it. It crossed a street. Then the kite pulled the spool high and stuck it firmly into the crook of a branch about 25 feet above the driveway of a home where no one was home. The tree flew the kite flawlessly, never losing it, never crashing it.
Using an extension rod fetched from home, I whacked the spool loose from the tree. Fail: could not wrap the string around the extension. Off went the spool again, dipping low, but moving at a clip across another street. I got a break. The kite pulled the string over a garage roof. The spool hung within my reach for about five seconds as I chased it down. As I reached for it, the kite jumped and the spool lifted steadily out of my reach, skittered across the roof and launched off the other side of this house into the adjoining yard on the next block.
Another sprint to locate it. There was the kite, flying true, bobbing and weaving and using all the string. But I could not see where the string was on the ground. Finally we saw the little shrub in a back yard that was now flying the kite. Flawlessly.
After knocking and ringing, there was no one home. We finally seized the spool, and walked the kite home. On the way, the Kite Master handed me the spool. I crashed the kite into a yard. We spent ten more minutes extricating the string and kite from a small spruce tree.
We were all smiling ear-to-ear. It was a kite adventure to remember. And it was a running kite adventure, with sprint intervals, timing, and of course, learning from the Kite Master.
Ran the fine country and ranch roads of Northern Colorado in the cool, sunshiney air and logged 5.02 miles.
The run felt humble in phases, especially during intervals in which I stepped up my pace, however, finishing I felt immediately better and recovered quickly. I think this bug is about gone.
You know how it is when you think it’s gone, you’re trying to tell someone something, and the mere intake of air to speak draws a cough, and you feel like your 400 years old because of it. Still, it didn’t make me feel like staying home today and eating gobs of hot salsa with chips and drinking 400 gallons of water.
Yesterday, though, it did make me feel like eating medium hot Thai fried rice, a veggie spring roll, and a pot of hot green tea. Later, invited out yet again, dinner involved Miso soup and a small flask of hot sake. These are comforting substances at the end of a virus.
Also comforting was letting garlic flakes sit on the back of my tongue, and sort of marinate and waft through the upper respiratory tract with the believed knowledge that garlic is a natural antibiotic. Anecdotally I felt less inflammation around the cough zone in my throat after trying that.
I think we both know you’ve heard enough. I’m just glad you stop by from time to time. It’s a privilege for this writer.