Sunday, April 29, 2012

Run, Walk and Bike Sunday

When I awoke Saturday morning, I knew with the way my body was feeling I would have to dedicate the day as a rest day. Obsession is a two edged sword and I have to deal intelligently with it.

With all the running, biking books I've read there is one phrase that continually pops up-
"Listen to your body"!
In my haste to force myself to become a hardcore runner, I'm trying carefully not push too far beyond my capabilities and injure myself. It's easy to do especially the older you get.
If I wake up sore and a bad state of mind it's usually a sign that I'm over training. As it was so on this morning. I spent the day resting reading and hanging with my dogs.

Today as penance I decided I had to do something challenging. I wanted to ride but, wanted to run so I compromised and decided on both and added a play session in the Dog Park with my pups.

I had a bit of a problem getting out the door. Yet another weekend day of working around the building. This job is 24/7! and I'm getting pretty sick of it.

I started with the bike and set my mind to try and bust some personal records. Punishing myself for Saturday's laziness...

I was successful on recording some new "PR's" and towards the end of the ride I was challenged by a younger guy on a fix gear who had it in his head to try and toast me on a climb through Japan town. I spanked him and left him in the dust and so I was satisfied with my ride and the amount of workout I received.
When I got home I grabbed the dogs and headed for the park. I don't think my girls had my energy and it was a bit hot for them. Being black dogs is a bit of a disadvantage for running around in high temps. I walked home and dropped into the local body shop up the street where two of their friends (both chihuahuas) had a bit of an impromptu play party in their cool garage.

As soon as I got them back, it was time to head out for a run. I was a bit stiff still but warmed up after a time and warmed up thoroughly by the time I reached the Marina Green.
Running Dork bike helmet!

Unfortunately I happened to run into a crazy convergence along the waterfront. There was an organized run-walk along with opening day for sailing on the bay and construction on Doyle Drive.
Construction Doyle Drive

Charity walk

Top of Larkin Street
 I ended up stopping at Sports Basement getting a hat for sun protection and hanging out with some nutty dog tied up at the front of the store while a downed a Vitamin drink. The view was tremendous looking across the bridge...
All in all it was a great day to get out and I think the amount of training I'm putting in with the running is beginning to pay off. I'm enjoying it so much. More and more I'm looking forward to my first Marathon in July.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Born To Move: I Was Born This Way

We were born to run
              We were born to ride
                            We were born to move...

We were born this way and it took me 58 years to finally get it...again!

When I was very young I can remember the exhilarating feelings and my spirit soaring as I sprinted along the beach, through the snow and between the trees in the woods behind my homes. Growing up back in the olden days we always seemed to have a forest on the border of our back yard.

As youngsters, we were forever in motion. Being skinny as a rail, it was no trouble for me to move at light speed either on my feet, biking, skating or swimming. It was only when I was not in motion I would get myself into trouble. When I look back on the troubled periods of my life there's always been one element missing...movement.

As soon as I would get into a mindset to start doing something physical and especially when it became an obsession, things would tend to get much better in my life. My outlook, my socializing and my energy would just skyrocket me into a manic phase. Now I'm trying to figure out what were the things that bogged me down to stop this natural urge for motion. Now as I enter "Older age", I feel myself entering yet a new phase in my life but, really it's the first time I've taken the time to analyze and understand what it's all about.

As I've mentioned before in some of my earlier blogs, I've been simplifying my life as I get older and heading in a minimalist direction. I hate lots of shit around me now, be it people bullshit, material crap or just plain intellectual diarrhea like politics, religion and so on. I HATE SHIT! I cant think with it all around me...I can't move and I just want to run...

...and so I run, and I ride, then hopefully soon I will begin to swim.

We are all evolving mammals and it hasn't been but a burp in time from when our first bipedal ancestors exited the forests, and jungles. Unfortunately unlike  the early humans, we are just not doing what we were born to do and so we struggle with the rapidity of the exponentially expanding digital age where we have no time to contemplate the major changes in our natural flow through life. No time to adapt our primitive selves. Fight or flight without any escape, the killer of us all. It's the reason we're fat, addicted, unbalanced and dying.

I've recently had my head buried in a lot of books about running so, I'm kind of in that annoying evangelistic state of mind over my new found love so please forgive me. It's a whole new world to me and I'm so glad I finally get it!

I've just finished the book "Born To Run". It was an epiphany for me. I really enjoyed it and my eyes were opened to the wonderful history and origins of mans nature to run, to move. Tracking animals and intuitive hunting combined with running are claimed to be the origin of complex intelligence in humans, at least that's what the book claims and it makes for a convincing argument.

Running changes people. It's changing my life, I can feel it. It along with cycling has added a sparkle to my life.
Just wanted to expound a bit here about my new hobby, and now I gotta go run...
My running buddy has started with out me...

A really beautiful video I recently came across...Running changes you.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fog, Riding Simple and Da Bitches

I was forced out of being lazy today after I received a cryptic FaceBook message from my riding buddy Ron-

"I'm going to be up in your neck-o-the woods tomorrow"

Hint, hint? 

I slept like a log last night and I'm really glad I committed to the ride. Ron wanted to do the "Headlands" but, I hate riding across the Golden Gate and especially when one side (the bike side) is closed for repair. I offered a compromise and suggested a route down along ocean beach, Daley City and on to climb San Bruno. Ron took the offer so I met up with Him at 9am in the Sports Basement parking lot.
Ron showing his craft

We headed out in the very cold fog but warmed up through the climb up into the Presidio. After yesterday's fast run and having woken up sore, I was quite surprised to have so much energy and we kept the pace pretty high. 
The climb up San Bruno was a breeze and I'm thinking it's probably due to the amount of running I'm doing lately. Just before the summit I spotted a rider ahead of me and just to be an asshole I decided to drop the hammer and sprinted past him with my heart rate pinned in the red zone!

After I stopped the poor guy rolled up and I approached him and conceded-

"Hey Amigo (he was Hispanic), I was just fucking with you...Lo siento, me siento muy mal ".

We all laughed and then they laughed at my bike. My steel cannonball of a bike with one gear. I really don't think it's a big deal. I ride it so much and haven't touched my road bike in months and months. One gear is just normal for me and I'm well adapted to it at this point.

Let me just say this is all part of the simplification of my life. I aspire to become a minimalist. It's very freeing to have little. This is my quest.

We had a great descent and I was feeling so glad that I got out for a ride and with other people then just being alone. Ron always makes me laugh. We then rode up through the Golden Gate Park and stopped for a cup-o-joe at the "Velo Rouge". Ron came outside with his latte and was truly mesmerized by the goofy little whipped cream design in his cup...
Wow! So easy to entertain!

We parted ways back at the parking lot and I headed off to Puppies and Mrs. Puppy Mama. Puppy Mama made me a kick ass Ceaser salad with fresh chicken and left over Coconut cake and it was off to Nappy land!

When I got up I took my little mutts off to the Park & Bark where they happily yapped their heads off, embarrassed me and chase Pitbulls...god love the little bitches!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Great Day Today But Regret Sometimes Will Linger

The morning started with a great run with the people down at Fleet Feet in the Marina. I almost didn't go as I had planned. The noisy party neighbors across the street, too much coffee with a late dinner was working against me for getting a good night's sleep. I got maybe two hours and didn't quite have the enthusiasm when I got up but, I made myself go anyway. So glad I did. I met up just in time for the run out from the store. I met "Manny" who was really a nice guy and easy to talk to. We talked for awhile and soon I was comfortable and ready to run. It was quite a group that showed up, mixed ages and skill levels.
From the start  the pace was a wee bit more than what's been normal for me and I was just bordering on the high aerobic and red zone level according to my Garmin 305. The legs felt great so I stayed with the front of the pack. We ran along the water to just shy of the bridge and then turned back and went through a few nooks and crannies that I had not yet explored. Around mile 5 and 6 the pace picked up and we were getting around the 8 minutes per mile mark. I had warmed up a bit and felt strong enough to hang with it.
The run went by very fast and we ended up doing just shy of 6 miles.
Back at the store we hung out chatting and I was really happy I had done the run and I could see doing this weekly and I'm quite positive It will improve my speed over time.
Unfortunately, no pictures. I was to caught up in conversation and keeping up with the group.

I've got to get back to taking my camera with me more often. I have the new Droid Bionic which has a fantastic camera on board at 8megapixels. The problem is setting up the shot on the fly. To much manual process to get it out set up and shoot especially while in and active mode.
A Camera is just out of pocket, turn on focus and shoot. Running is considerably more difficult for photography than biking. There's so much more bouncing and steadying of the camera involved. A lot of the time when running alone I have my headphones plugged in to the phone for music so, it becomes even more complex to shoot. The camera is a bit heavy and along with the phone tends to bounce around in the pockets and is a bit annoying.

I was just thinking today how jazzed I've become about running. It's such a fresh novelty. I thought back a little to figure out when the seed was planted. I had had some bad experiences with running when I was younger and not swayed in that direction often. I played a lot of contact sports and I'm now thinking I would have been a lot better off not participating. I've suffered many injuries that still bother me now.

Since acquiring my three dogs, bouncing around with different companies and moving a few times over a four year period, my job has become way too time consuming and I just don't have the many hours that are needed to ride like I did before.

I had signed up for 24 hour fitness a couple of years ago but, last Fall I started to get very bored and sick of the lug-heads that permeate the exercise areas. The good machines were few and mostly broken and with my hours was only able to workout during the busiest times.

I had just finished reading a book called: Unbroken, a story of a famous runner who becomes a prisoner of war during WWII. He staves of insurmountable personal tragedy pain and finally addiction then finally redemption.
I remember running the treadmill and thinking...I could do a marathon!...That was all I needed and here I am today. I began training in earnest on January 1st of this year. four months in I've read countless running books, run about 600 miles and I'm quite invested now.

Today was a beautiful day in the city. I had time to take my dogs to the park to chase other dogs and the returned home satisfied and ready to nap. It's was a bit hot for them but we made it through the day.
Tonight I felt like going off the good food and headed to our favorite restaurant for a good old cheeseburger and fries. Add 5 pieces of coconut cake to that and yes I've fallen off my diet today...

By the way, I was just thinking about how unsatisfying my job has become. I wish I had buckled down early in life and found my calling. If I had it to do over again, I would have become a Veterinarian or a  professional athlete.
I feel like I've wasted a lifetime trying to make it at the things that really didn't mean that much to me.

Oh least I can try to get a little taste of what I want to do. I'm not that broken down yet and I'm sure I have a little more time yet.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Who Would Of Thought?...

April 20th is my birthday. Today was an amazing day of firsts for me. On the day before I turn 58 I can now say I've attained my goal of running a sub seven minute mile, signed up for a full marathon and hit my weight of below 160 which I haven't seen since the early 80's!
Who would of thought that at this stage of my life that I would be drawing most of my inspiration in life from these simple little creatures...
I think in a way I'm probably reading a lot more into these observations but, I think at a time where I'm trying so hard to find answers in my life, I'm using aspects and nuances of their personalities as a catalyst to reason and understand where my thoughts are originating from and how to free think and come up with resolutions to work my way through difficulties that hold me back from moving forward.
Somewhat like a Rorschach test but with Dogs.

Beyonce, who as I carefully observe, seems to analyze and contemplate everything and everyone. All her actions seem to be well thought out and somewhere in that little brain there is an artisan who conspires to get what she wants through creative acting and manipulation. She's a very confident sort minus the physical and athletic attributes of her other sisters but with a cunning wiliness that the others cannot dream of coming close to. She always gets what she wants.

She teaches me to be still and observe. To stop and think then try to carefully edit and choose the words to guide the thoughts of those I am trying to convince to see the direction in which I feel we should go.

        The most athletic. So sleek, agile, competitive in a very dangerous predatory way. She stalks her competition and studies them over long periods of time and when the big move comes it will be executed flawlessly and the prize will be hers.

No matter the size or temperament of the other animal, she has no fear and once committed there's no turning back.

She gives me courage and fortitude. I need to focus on my goals, lose the fear, set my sights and take a leap. If I'm well practiced and fearless I'll will win the prize.

Gaga, my savior. So much courage. She is scarred and mistreated in her previous life but has found love in her true home which she will protect at all costs. Resilient leader and controller of her sphere. She exudes a fearsome aura that all others are afraid to challenge. Those who do suffer the consequences of their actions.
She takes responsibility and protects the ones she loves.

She is what I aspire to be. The protector. Although wounded and scarred can move on and become the strong one and a leader.

Yeah I know it's crazy but, very therapeutic.
I'm even starting to look like them!

Run for the day:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Out Of My Element

Sometimes I just feel like a square peg in a round hole...

As I get older I'm realizing with much chagrin how the game is played. The young guns walk in with too much determination, little real world experience and set their sights on the easiest pray, which in my case is the older employee--of which I am. With hard earned control and a well established system of operation, steady paycheck and strong network built up over years of playing the game, suddenly it begins...
Chip, chip, chipping away at you. It's very sad actually. No matter how hard you fight they will con-volute your methods and reasoning and in the end the firm foundation of which you've built upon inevitably becomes just a dusty useless exoskeleton ready to be captured by the rush of wind from the revolving door of idiots who set upon you scattered into the void.
So, that is what I've been dealing with today and besides trying to decompress with a life changing event of losing a loved one. I can say I'm feeling very, very sad and somewhat adrift...
My mad adventure into the world of running has shifted into a higher gear. Having eliminated some of my physical glitches, for one thing -my knee pain; I can finally start honing in on building some old man speed. I'm focused on trying to get a decent time in May when I run the "Bay To Breakers" race.
 Over the weekend I had struggled through my first time 20 mile run. Seeing how I was on the tail end of a bad cold, a bit fatigued and under nourished I was at least able to make the mileage. Somewhat of a walk for the last mile but, made it anyway. Tonight I ran 8 miles with a very fast mile, one personal record and my first stab at climbing Hyde Street. I still had energy to spare and that's a really good sign.
Onward and upward...
Sunday Run:

Tuesday Run:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Put On Your Sailin Shoes...Running, Biking Oh My

Well the blue does remind me of the ocean...

          After fighting some pretty severe knee pain over the last two weeks I was beginning to get a bit depressed with my running performance. I kind of felt like I was just starting to slip backwards in my training. What's really strange is that the pain is absent when riding my bike but, just like clockwork at around mile 2.5 during my running I start getting a considerable amount of pain in my 
Iliotibial bandNow from what I've been reading about this, is that it's a common syndrome that so many runners suffer from that there are actual support groups dedicated to this problem.

Today I decided I had to take some drastic measures and jogged down to the Marina "Fleet Feet" store to  talk to the experts and get some opinions on what I should do.
Jason an employee at the store greeted me. As soon as you walk in the door at Fleet Feet you get the vibe that your feet are in good hands! After some talk about my experience level and some of the problems I've been dealing he began to make observations of my running style by having me run back in forth through the store, followed by examining the wear patterns on my soles. After some more questions he disappeared and returned with a battery of different running shoes for me to try. It's quite amazing the differences between brands and the degree of specialization in running shoes today. They all looked great too and I finally settled on a pair of Brooks - Raveena 3 shoes. After deciding on the shoes and some more technical talk I cashed out and surprisingly found out that I was due for a loyal customer discount! Shoe total was $83.00 out the door and a free consultation that would have cost me probably a hundred bucks If I gone to a Sports therapist.

I decided to give the shoes a whirl and remembered I needed some GU gels for some future runs and rides. I trotted off to Sports Basement and as I ran the shoes were feeling comfy although a little firmer but somewhat more energetic. I arrived at the Sports Basement and just for the heck of it browsed the running shoe department. They had these on sale...

A bit on the wild side but, kind of cool in a way...

I got my supplies and headed back out for a run...first I took a look at the shoes again and thought...Yeah these look better.

On the way home I worked out at my new favorite Gym. The week I finally cancelled my membership at 24HR Fitness (they suck)! This thing popped up in the middle of the Marina Green...

National Fitness Workout area
I've been here a couple of times this week and really like it. They have Bootcamps on the weekend that you can sign up for. I think I'll be spending a lot of my time here and it's mid-way into most of my runs and bike rides.

Speaking of bike rides. I haven't been staying on top of my blogs and have had a few exciting and tough rides on the weekends with some new "PR's", probably due to the amount of running I'm doing lately.
Recent Ride:

Recent Run:

Saturday, April 7, 2012

In The End, I Would Like To Say- "WOW!! What A Ride"!

I've been completely absorbed in a book I've recently started reading. It's called "Ultra-Marathon Man" By Dean Karnazes. It's kind of having an effect on me and I'm finding it to be a positive one.

In the last decade I've begun to question my motivations behind everything I do. I can't say I've been very happy and not very proud of my bad decisions and some of the havoc I've wreaked on my direction in life. My brother Hugh's untimely death was really a slap off the side of the head to wake up and live life and not run from or, avoid it and worse to feel completely downtrodden as the end draws near.

All through the book there were positive and insightful reflections on how life can be looked approached. I'm at the age now that I should have some sure footing and a perspective on what I want to accomplish and what I should feel at the end of it all. As far as the style of life and the techniques I utilize in meeting lifes challenges there is one quote which really makes me want to lose the safe approach to life...

As told from the book-
-As a running buddy once said to me: Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: “WOW!! What a ride!”

Karnazes, Dean (2006-03-02). Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner (Kindle Locations 3105-3107). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition. 

Today was a remarkable day. I had run last night a little to long and hard. I'm bothered with what I think is some tendinitis in my right knee. A weakness from a pretty catastrophic injury back in the early 80's. I had planned on doing a short run but, once I get started and if I'm feeling good, I tend to overdo it a bit.
When I awoke this morning the plan was to spend some time with the dogs. Haven't had too much time with work and training etc. We all had a blast and ended up spending over two hours playing around and the dogs got to visit some local stores and businesses on the way home. They love that, they're very into humans and lot's of attention. When we got home we just hung out ate lunch and Facebooked,  Tweeted,  phone calls, ending with lunch and a giant snooze.

 The afternoon plan was to just chill out but, the bike was calling...actually it was yelling at me to come out and play! Maybe it's the fact that the Paris Roubaix is going to be raced tomorrow. The bike gears were turning and I just got up, dressed and launched out the door. It was amazing how great I felt even with a little Lactic acid in the quads. 

I didn't bring any music with me and just wanted to think and digest the book I'd been reading and the ideas it fired up deep down in my mind and soul. 
I'm getting old but still in good shape and I've noticed a change in my state of mind in the last couple of years.

I used to be angry all the time. Now I seem to be learning slowly how to ignore the things that don't mean crap! Even with an ugly incident as I left the building today, I was able to just let it go and forgot about it within a couple of blocks. I need to practice this everyday especially since along with losing my brother I've lost the one person who I was always was able to talk to about anything and everything. He would never judge and after our conversations there always would be a laugh and belief that sometime down the line everything will be okay. There are no second chances, we must follow our hearts and dreams now.

I'm sure hoping this state of mind I found myself in this morning is the real deal and not some half assed Bi-polar brain-blast that I'll have forgotten by morning.
It's time to use it and not lose it...