Archive for October, 2009

Second Amendment Challege

I’ve started two challenges, which together forms the compound phrase: Bare Arms.

Bare: as in barefoot running.

My inspiration for barefoot running is Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run.  I listened to McDougall talk recently.  One of his tenets is that the mechanical advantage from shoes has not reduced running related injuries.  Mechanical advantages have, however, become a large industry for shoe companies.

McDougall cites the Tarahumara culture for his running discoveries, including a recovery from a running-related injury.  He now runs both barefoot and with Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs), but not exclusively. (Check out Barefoot Ted’s opinion of VFFs.)

And so, I am starting to delve into barefoot running with a beginner 5k training schedule to try to develop better form.  The form may in fact make me slower.  I’m perfectly okay with that.  I like running, and I want to keep running, injury free.  Also another comment, I don’t plan on becoming the radical “Barefoot Pete.”  But, I think it would be nice to have the ability to go on easy runs barefoot, and focus on technique.

I’m three workouts in. It’s neat to revisit n00b running experieces: the feeling of relief at the end of the run as well as confidence that I can run a little bit farther the next time.  I don’t look for cushy surfaces, like grass.  I take it as it comes, whether its the silk of the sidewalk, the coolness of the grass, or the grittiness of the asphalt.  I notice my calves are sore after I run.

Arms100 push up challenge.

This is just for fun.  It’s something I picked up from dre.  I’m about half-way through their suggested training plan.  In HB lingo, “I’m getting my chest all yoked.”

I guess in summary it’s fun to have some goals to change things and break any natural monotonies.

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Roadie Snob OC

Similar to Bike Snob NYC, I stereotypically hate roadies.  And by that I mean that I like to make fun of them.  That stereotypical runner or cyclist athlete seems to only care about splits, heart rates, effort zones, gear performance, and a bunch of petty crap. . .  yet at the same time I have interests in some of those areas. It’s rare to see this stereotype oriented towards functional transit (cycling or running), group inclusion, concerned about others’ health,  or having fun.

It is with mixed emotion that I turn from trail running marathon distances to shorter, higher-paced runs, for a bit.  It’ll be great to decrease my resting heart rate and increase my lung capacity.  However to do so, I’ll need to be a little bit more of a slave to a schedule, AKA a freakin’ roadie.

So, I’ll just make fun of their compression socks, their running flats, and pre-run rituals.  Eh, not really, but I don’t want to become one of those do or die competitors.  For me, that’s a recipe for burn-out disaster: my biggest enemy.

At the same time, I want to ride out whatever wave I’m on right now.

I plan to follow a Runner’s World Smart Coach 1/2 Marathon plan, but only as a guideline.  It has a lot of easy zone running, with a few days of harder runs.

Regardless, I’ll get a 1/2 marathon PR at Surf City!  In searching, I just figured out that all my 1/2 marathons were either in 1/2 IronMan’s or bandit runs, oops.

Yeah, first non-roadie move: bandit running!  Think about it.

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I race for fun, including my intentions for this year’s Chicago Marathon.  It’s also nice when you’re having a good time to put down a good time.

Myself and Rooster after the race

This race was so built up that I was fearing it was going to suffer the high-expectations-low-results phenomenon.  Everyone I talked to — on the plane, carrying my entrant bag around, and wherever else — talked this up. “You’ll love it. There are such large crowds.  You get to see a great view of the city.” The afternoon before the race, I remember telling Rooster “I just want to run this already.”

Fortunately, it did live up to its hype.

The crowd was electrifying. The course meanders through many neighborhoods in Chicago.  So, there are diverse types of cheering from the big dragon costumes in Chinatown, the smells in Greek Town, and the mariachi bands in Little Mexico.

My favorite neighborhood was around the eighth mile, Boystown. It’s hard to remember exact details in this stretch because I wasn’t quite prepared for it.  You slowly enter hearing the club music echoing off the buildings and shops.  As you get closer, the people get more and more enthusiastic, and more flamboyant.  I also think it’s fair to say that almost everyone was cross-dressed.  There were multiple performance stages.  Cheerleaders on one. Choreographed dancers with the twirling guns on another.  And, at the aid-station cross-dressed dudes with beards, on a stage, in addition to cross-dressed dudes handing out water and Gatorade . . . and bananas, of course.  It was that try and see as much as possible, without making the awkward eye-contact kind of moment.

As for my paces, I had a hard time holding back at the start of the marathon. My goal was to hang on to a 9 minute mile, and dwindle the pace down to a 8:49 average minute mile, so I could PR.  Instead, I took some risk and slowly brought down an 8:30 minute mile to an 8:11 minute mile, for a 16 minute PR, 3:35:33. Wahoo!

It was a fun race, and it’s always nice to have home town support, including my dad!  The mass-transit adds a neat perspective for spectators.  The L runs parallel to a lot of the course, so you can hop on and catch your beloved little runner at multiple spots.

After the race on the way to the beer tent, we saw Dean Karnazes, who was about to go out for the second loop of his double marathon.  It was neat to see that he has the same effervescence for life, as he writes about in his books.

Now for the first time in a couple of years, I don’t have a big race on my plate.  I didn’t plan it this way, but it is nice to not have something lingering.  I think I am going to veer away from ultra’s for now.  I enjoy the low-key enviroment with all the camaraderie, but I don’t feel as healthy training for those distances.  Nonetheless, there isn’t anything specific in my upcoming race plans.

On my flight into Chicago, someone flying behind me reminded me of an annoying way people from the area end a statement, so. . .

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Moore Good Energy

I saw Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story this weekend.  I like how Michael Moore pushes the envelope, to get a reaction, in his topics.  I applaud him for sharing his true opinions, with his talented multi-media methods.

My problem with Michael Moore is that he presents a slanted hypothesis.  He only shares data that backs his beliefs: support for the Democrats and slamming Republicans.  If one were to only get their information from him, one could easily draw the conclusion that an euthanasia of the Republican voting people would solve our problems.  This is foolish.

The best response I have for this is NAFTA.  Although G. H. Bush started this, Clinton finalized this program to increase the US GDP.  I’m far from a political expert. However, I think there is more to success than GDP, and it this excessive GDP gluttony which Moore sets the tone for in the beginning of Capitalism.

Blame Clinton, too.  Republicans aren’t the only ones that are imperfect.

What I do like about Moore’s newest movie is his positive spirit: his encouragement for people to ban together if they don’t like something that politicians and owners tell them how to live.  He is pro-revolution, via activism.  I also like his advocacy for simple living, as in not judging success by your [appearance of ] monetary wealth.

In addition to activism and a revolution, people should change the focus from differences to similarities; after all, we are much more similar than different. The media — both news shows and opinion people like Moore, Limbaugh, Jon Stewart, etc. — are dividing Americans into binary states: the crazies and us.  They are crazy; we are rational.

I think we should change our paradigm: we’re all crazy, in our own different ways.

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res firma mitescre nescit

I didn’t it! I didn’t use* my car for a month!

In the movie American Flyers, there’s a scene in a gym in Madison, Wisconsin, where the gym owner (the same actor who played the owner of McDowell’s in Coming to America) explains the Latin phrase shown in the gym, res firma mitescre nescit. “Once you’ve got it up, keep it up.”

*In September with a handful exceptions, I essentially went without using my car for transportation.  If you want to get picky, I did use my car, but significantly less that I have been and to a level that could be roughly equivalent to not using my car.  The part that made this easiest was having my car 2 miles away from my apartment, most of the time.  And, for me that is the easiest way to not use a car.

I think it makes my mood much more happy, in general.  I feel stronger.  I feel more attachment to the weather.  I feel more alive.  I feel like an individual.

I missed out on some runs, with great people, that I would have like to do.  I’ve avoided buying a 4′ fluorescent light fixture to make aquaponics more successful.  I didn’t explore as far away places as I could have.

But, I’ve overcome some great obstacles.  Like, our cycling outing to the bowling alley, 6 miles away, on a Saturday night.  I’ve transported my work computer that does not fit into my normal pannier.  And the usual things that you do: groceries, doctor visit, high five festival. . .

The coup de grace came on the last night of the month.  I biked 21 miles to go home from a happy hour.  I smelled the eucalyptus trees along the Irvine Regional bike path as the soft colors of sunset slowly dimmed.  I biked over the bridge at the Newport Back Bay that earlier had ripples from the wind when I ran over it and now was as placid as can be.  I watched some Disneyland fireworks as I biked past the Santa Ana River Trail.  And, I celebrated at the pirate bar with a few more pints with the coolest girl I know.

So to “keep it up,” I think I want to keep cycling in October and start preparing to be without a car.  That includes:

  • getting my red rocket bike weather proof as a back up bike (in case of time commitment and other tiredness problems in the event of breakdown.)
  • getting my current bike weather-proof, i.e. fenders.
  • getting something to haul big stuff.  Since I don’t want another bike, that probably means getting a trailer.
  • look into where to rent a car for the weekend get-away trips.
  • and the most dreaded for me, getting my car ready to sell.  Cleaning, detailing, popping a few grocery car dents out.  meh!

I don’t know how long I want to go without a car.  Maybe 6 months.  Maybe a year.  Maybe until I get my AARP card.  However, I do know that I’m interested in the lifestyle.

I don’t understand why Kevin Costner is credited before David Grant in American Flyers.  David Grant is the main character and protagonist in this movie: winning the final stage of Hell of the West and hooking up with the hippie hitchhiker.  That’s my opinion on that matter.

And another thing: American Flyers is a movie that fits perfectly into the 80s.  That is, every scene immediately foreshadows the plot, i.e. single woman enters into the movie so you know that the single dude will hook up with her.  The older brother has a heart problem so you know that the younger brother will have to step up and keep street cred for the family in a bike race. Et cetera.  I’m not saying it’s a bad movie; in fact, it’s one of my favorites.

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If you don’t like rabbits, then shoo.

Toby Tortoise says don’t be like Max Hare, instead pace yourself.

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