Training through the Narrows

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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.

True independence

All words have a limited purpose, “for now.” “Independence” is that way. It is needed to get free of false supports, or false assumptions that lead to false needs. False needs erode time, health, and treasure. They tend to be sedimentary and inefficient for us.

We are wise to do an Independence Inventory from time to time to identify the ideas, notions, feelings, things, and habits that have settled in around us that are not aligned with the truest, most honorable, most loving, and most righteous (not self-righteous, but righteous by others) person each of us aspires to be. The “Look-Up” YouTube video of my previous post illustrates a thing from which we need independence.

Why try? Because what we aspire to be is what is in our heart.

Adaptive training seeks to adapt mind and body in service to our true heart, to our reason for being here. This means letting go of falseness, wherever found.

Free of false things, we are better prepared for interdependence in a way that will benefit, not harm others. We may “get up and walk.”

Like farming land, this farming of the heart, mind, and body is the purpose of training the mind and body to find harmony with the decisive, innocent spirit which we were given as children.

As I get older, I see that spirit of decisive innocence to clear the way for genuine love. Instantly, reflecting on this, trying to re-establish harmony with that divine spark, it is easy for me to see all my defects brought to light. My selfishness.

It is then I remember I must stand again, find my heart, and work the fields of this earthly testing ground another day.

Run and Cut

To those who want to expose more muscle anatomy features through their skin:

Run.

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.

Embrace your least favorite element of training

the open sky

the open sky

If you delve into your least favored training areas, be it endurance, primary muscle strength, core strength, or application in sports, arts, or work, you will be raising the level of your foundational condition.

Let tedium become self-training in the gift of focus.

Let hardship be your elevator.

Let slowness be your path to thoroughness in preparation, and prevention.

Cheers!

Running Surfaces: 3 mile run in the cool Spring air

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…

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Trails in Boulder County Open Spaces closed from flooding Monday, so a street hike was the next best thing. Mostly. Except seeing flood damage.

The Go-To Trail, Run, Ride, evolution…

Priorities yesterday precluded a trip to the mountains. And that is the time for one of my Go-To Trails in the hills.

A Go-To (hike, run, ride, routine) is a friend to you and your training days. This friend can enrich your life and make you more consistent. You may see your go-to as a “done that,” yet they are really more like snowflakes.

So yesterday I went to an open space at the edge of a nearby hillside neighborhood with a wonderful view of the place I couldn’t get to: the mountains. There, I start high, go low, then return high up hill. I hiked the downhills, and ran the uphills and flats.

I found new game trail loops, a section of oil and gas service road, and soft, green grass vistas. The ground was softened by recently melted snow. It was about 50F out.

Started with about 30 minutes of sun left, and the hundreds of red winged blackbirds in the wetland draws riving these hills were singing their hearts out. As soon as the sun was patently behind the mountains they all went totally silent.

My Go-To was not what I expected. It was better.

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off-road shoes see first action

Brooks Cascadians

Brooks Cascadians…

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.

How do we deal with Aging and Training?

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the ascents…

How do athletes deal with aging? Answer may differ for each of us.

Something helps me. Remembering what I’m training for besides the immediate feel, look, and function. Or besides the next race, competition, game, event, or expedition. I wanted to share this:

If I find myself running one day with a gait that looks like my knees and ankles have been tenderized with hammers, what will I then be training for? I will be training with the goal that every person who looks into my eyes finds the peaceful warrior’s ageless resolve.

Run, Hike, & Walk for the Sky

Reflections in the Sky

Reflections in the Sky: Often we walk, hike, or run for feel of the road, the passing sights, the way our bodies change. All good. Yet sometimes it’s all about the sky.

10.9 on the Rolling Hills of SouCal

This was a paved run, whereas I had become used to dirt trails of late. The paved run in hybrid barefoot / road shoes did challenge my lower calves and knees with the need to stretch from time to time in the last 3 miles. I pulled a sock off that was pulling my little toes too hard as I ran.

Fair weather for a mileage day.

Fair weather for a mileage day.

the sun inside

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The Sun Inside

in morning stillness

my fingers slowly pull

a shoe on-

onto a porch a

door swings wide

to mottled stratospheres

pink-blue, high

vapors hang, plant-breathed

so fresh their mist is silver

gold-seared sky’s edge

butters the Earth toned bread

as I start to run

friends chirp

melodies

to the risen sun

Burst

Light within my heart

Genesis you

timelessly shine

from my he(art)…

Weight Shifting Is a Shooting and Spending War, Not a Matter of Health Care Alone (Revised)

Defining Terms to Get Results

“Weight-loss” or “weight-gain” are too abstract to help us perceive what is involved in the overweight casualties of the New Millennium.

Truer terms are “Weight-shifting” and “Mind-Body War.” For-profit, the Weight-Shifters strategically bomb us with ill-messaging about food, good-times, and ourselves. We are taught that we are significant because we are brand-supporters. Tactically, we are disarmed by bright lights, warm colors, and enticing photos of food and drink.

Crazily, the image of ourselves as fit can even make us indulge, thinking we can “take it” at the drive-through, or that “fit people eat here.” We are guerrilla stricken during commutes, when we are tired, rushed, feeling deprived, getting in late, and grappling with daily problems. We are “too tired to fix dinner.”

Yet there is hope. There are natural and organic grocers, and grocery sections. There are often free samples of healthy fare at the grocery stores to ease the urgency of hunger. Or just buy a small green juice first, and sip while shopping.

Our Appetites

Our appetites are the most vulnerable, non-critical, and primitive pressure points in this weight-shifting war. Each assault exploits the tensions of the busy-life schema that put us in urgently hungry states of the primitive brain.

Each attack, and each battle lost, takes a permanent toll. The hit-and-run nature of the anti-health raids impels us to hit-and-run ourselves with the false notion that it will only be “this time.”

Mind and Emotions

A sober, stoic war-footing toward these messaging phenomena would help galvanize and unify our minds and emotions against these false-comfort attacks. Think about who you want to be when attacked, not what you want right then.

False comfort is fizzy, melted, hot, salty, sweet, fatty, calming, and ultimately, a Dopamine-dumping chemical frenzy to ease our tension, cull our cognitive dissonance, and crush our health. It also drains our wallets.

True comfort is being truly free and under control of our life direction. Shopping and preparation burns calories, and deepens our relationship to fresher, purer food.

Body

When we eat the refined, processed, sodium-filled, grease-bombs that explode in our tummies and calm our nerves, we are descending into sickness. Thinking the situation through is not so easy.

Thinking outside of our bodily frenzies is the beginning of freedom. Detaching a part of our higher minds to float above our animal-drives can help us become self-aware of our total beings, not just our Pavlovian-Lowest Common Denominator. We can trump our immediate appetites.

Conclusion

Adaptive fitness assumes that eating, drinking, and sleeping are self-trainable behaviors every bit as much as exercise and sport are trainable. We can eat, drink, and sleep in accord with who and how we want to be.

Offering a Book Discount in Honor of my Fellow WordPressers

Feel free to check it out! Use the link below:

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Now Available at Lulu.com: Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness

It’s official. Click on the book cover icon at the upper right side of this screen, and you can go there. The E-book will be available in about one week. For now, it is print on demand, with some extra cost of production. I tried to set as reasonable a print price as possible considering all factors. You can also click here:

Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness

Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness

Let Your Paths Be Many (for sustainable endurance training)

Let Your Paths Be Many

Mileage training navigates many paths in time, space, and season.

Five.Three for Ten in Five

country road take me home...

country road take me home…

Five point Three mile steady state run on long country road blocks; horse manure in the fresh cool air, an occasional barking dog or passing vehicle…

Fifty-seven degrees.

An early toughening run aimed into the future at a ten-miler trail race 5 months and 1200 miles away.

During those 5 months, gradual pace increases, distance increases, multidimensional training in support, and much enjoyment are elements in a loose plan.

Two things let’s remember together:

1. Remember not to give up;

2. Remember to remember not to give up.

3. Try, more than forcing, to let good form in your sport happen.

4. Remind me how to count.

five point five

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Running through…

 

Running well below the profile of average runners, staying slow on purpose, I opened up to the ruddy and wheat hued fragments of crushed pebble and granite meeting my feet; the leafy spring air; the man pulling the bass from the water below me; the odd gait of a man ahead on the trail as he looked up into a tree; the approaching sound waves from the woodpecker he was looking at; then the sight of the downy- feathered, juvenile, white and black woodpecker drumming for breakfast on a dead arm of a great lakeside tree. I later saw the same man on the second pass, walking away from the area, and I got a profound sense of his solitude.

A husband and wife walked their dog around the lake, and on the third pass, we exchanged pleasantries. On my last lap, someone’s feet crunched on the pathway behind me. The first other-runner of the morning, a woman, ran past. For a moment, I almost protested this by boosting my pace. Instead of focusing on her, I looked inside at the impulse to do that, and laughed. I also felt the forces of her passage, and how her presence ahead created a wake in an athletic dimension inviting me to keep pace behind her. I could feel the impulsion to lock onto her pace, keeping a static distance. It was something dynamic in the atmosphere, unique to human beings training in proximity. I resisted this pace-setting force in order to better feel it’s pull, and I have to say, there’s more to it than me, the other-runner, and our minds. The other runner’s effort, whatever pains, feedback, and adjustments were happening, were happening because of her spirit pushing herself through the air and light.

I arrived at the end of this passage of this morning run energized that the goal of re-acclimating and toughening my feet, ankles, knees, hips, lungs, and circulatory system with the simple act of running, had begun again. The first part of my weekend mileage day was complete. I am grateful for another run.