Monday, June 25, 2012

Embracing The Suffering

I'm obsessing on this book. I actually was dreaming about it last night and got up in the wee hours to cruise through a couple more chapters. I'm really lucky I read so slow. My whole family was gifted with the ability to read incredibly fast but, I unfortunately or fortunately however you look at it didn't receive that gene. At least for me I could say I'm lucky and the books last a long time. 

I'm into an interesting process now that is adding a new dimension to my reading enjoyment. It also is making my reading speed even slower but much more entertaining. Since I seem to only be reading sports related books these days, I got the idea to start pausing my reading and going over to Youtube, or Netflix (which is easy with the Galaxy Tab) and watching the videos of what I'm currently reading. It's truly amazing! 
I had heard of Chrissie Wellington but never really new much about her except for the fact she's a legendary triathlete. As the story progress's I find my self inspired, awed and learning so much about the sport of swim, bike, run and how one person has been so world wide and diverse in their life achievements! I feel very inspired to step it up even in my old age.
check this out:

In all these books about the adventures, techniques and philosophies of what it has taken for these athletes to attain their levels of athleticsim; one common theme runs throughout and that's that they all have learned to embrace the suffering along with keeping a positive attitude with every struggle. One foot in front of the other. It's a technique that can be utilized in everyday life. I'm trying really hard to embrace this attitude and it's extremely difficult and is something that has to be learned over time and reprogrammed in to the psyche on a daily basis.

Sunday was one of the hardest runs to date. I'm over trained, overworked and running on too little sleep and rest. Saturday I had planned on going for a ride but dumb me, I forgot and packed my cleats (we're moving again) so, I just ran anyway. I then got up Sunday and a long slow run planned turned into a fastest half marathon time! Let's just say I was completely trashed when I got home but, I embraced the suffering...
I'm inspired. 
Today I got a confirmation that I've been upgraded to a full marathon next month at the WiPro San Francisco Marathon. I had originally planned on the half but, after 4 months of training decided I was ready for the full. I had requested the upgrade in March and I was starting to get worried I wouldn't get the upgrade...

I am so ready to run!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dreaming The Big Dreams, I Like That, I Like This...

I feel like my running is improving and as time goes by I become more and more inspired to do something really stupid!
As I become more adept at pushing through the pain and dark episodes and as the miles become more intense. This whole adventure in running is helping me in other areas in my life. It's soothing my bitterness I still have for my loss of interest in music which to me feels like it all was a huge waste of my life. It gives me something to focus on through the day of mind numbing work. It's become an interesting if not obsessive hobby that I've joyfully become hopelessly immersed in!
I'm starting to aspire to flights of fancy that I would have never been able to comprehend a short few months ago.
Ultra-Endurance running is calling me into it's evil embrace. I've now decided that I would like to as soon as next year become a pacer for some of the Ultra distance events in Northern California, especially the "Western States 100".

This I'm sure will lead me to actually making a lunatics attempt by competing in one!

This is one Hell of a midlife crisis I've stumbled into. Lot's of guys my age will go for the hot sports car and start chasing around hot ladies less than half their age. I have no money and I'm not what you would call a real I run...

I'm really enjoying being in good health. I rarely touch the junk food anymore and the hardcore health food tastes great to me now. I just had some pure Greek yogurt, berries and honey and it was better than any ice cream that's out there.

The only downside is the aches and pains, which are mainly due to old age. At this point I'm not disabled so I'm good. Ice on the back and hamstrings and some rolling out and in a couple of days I'm good to go.

I like this...

As of the first of the month I start a new job, and a new apartment which makes three moves since 2009. It's not the best paying job and it's probably not a good area of town, yet it's a job and I'm fortunate enough to have a roof over my head.

I like that...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dealing With Life...What Would Dad Do?

Beyonce-The Dog Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest...

She has no idea what I go through to give her a happy life...I couldn't imagine having human children in this world. I don't know where that kind of courage comes from...Seriously! I can't even comprehend it. I don't know if I would be considered a coward or a wise man for not taking the plunge into parenthood. My sister and brothers just dove into it with both feet. It was automatic for them. Even though it was a struggle in the beginning for each one of them, they just headed down that road and didn't look back.

I was never able to establish the confidence in myself and never dared to take that step. They all fared well and were blessed with so much love and happiness in their offspring. At times I feel regret, yes, and even a twinge of jealousy towards them and disappointment in myself.

I do love my dogs and It's been so much work. I'm still afraid of where I am and where I'm going on my career path and financial stability is something I've never known or know if I ever will be comfortable. I'm going through yet another upheaval with my working situation and having to make some tough decisions very tomorrow!

I've heard more than a few times, people comment to me.

"If I come back to earth in another life I want to be born a dog in your family"!

That makes me feel better. I do have the capacity to love and nurture other beings but sometimes I wonder if it's just easier with animals. It's very natural and easy for me and has been that way. Why I fear human children I just don't know. Maybe it's the fact I know that my dogs don't really  have the capacity to judge.
Did I judge my parents? Yes! Who hasn't?

In the end I'm still guided by my fathers principles. He is genuinly a kind man who has made mistakes but in his life but when it comes down to it, I have probably more faith in him than I do for myself. When making a conscience moral decision I would always stop and consider...

What would Dad do?

I love you Dad and you are my inspiration. I hope you are not too disappointed that I went with the grand-dogs and not the grandchildren...

How many Grandfathers can say that two of their grand kids are named "Lady Gaga" and "Beyonce"

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Thursday, June 14, 2012


I feel like I've just tumbled through a wormhole and the Universe has turned me inside out, shaken me up and tossed me into a new  reality of which I was pretty much unaware existed. That Universe is called                            ,,,,,,,,,,,"Ultra-Marathon"!,,,,,,,,,,,,

Little did I realize that back when I was 12 years old I was headed in this direction but, unfortunately my trajectory was rudely interrupted and it's taken me almost 50 years to get back on course. When I was a kid, I would run everywhere. I could go on forever. Along with skating, biking and swimming, I think I had the calling to be involved in sports which unfortunately I didn't heed.
In the past week I've been drowning myself in endless round table running pod-casts! It's a whole new world!

Last night was a profound experience when I took the opportunity to partake in a book signing and fun run sponsored by Fleet Feet Of San Francisco, featuring renowned Ultra Runner Scott Jurek, whose book along with books from other great runners I've had my nose buried in and haven't come up to take a breath. 
Myself with Scott Jurek

So many people, many of who were budding Ultra-Runners were there. Spirits and camaraderie were running high. Scott's a great character and really makes everyone feel comfortable. He talked for awhile and planned to take us all for a run to the bridge and sign books after a short question and answer.
Fleet Feet
The Fleet Feet gang had arranged this event and the icing on the cake was when they arrived with boxes of running shoes for everyone to try out.
I finally got a chance to run in the Brooks Pure Connects! What a great shoe. A bit more minimal than my Pure Flows. Super light and comfortable. I definitely will have to purchase a pair shortly.
Brooks Pure Flow Connect

The run was a total blast and I got time to talk and ask questions. Scott was just amazing and really tuned in to everyone and absolutely enjoying the whole event.

We ran down along the ocean to the Golden Gate Bridge stopping for group photo ops.

When we returned to the start, we all sat and listened to Scott, asked questions and then got in line to get books signed. I'm already bought the kindle version of his book but, bought a hard copy to have signed anyway.
I had Scott sign my arm right under my Lady Gaga Tattoo and my Dean Karnazes tattoo. He got a hoot out of it.
I haven't decided if I'm going to get that tattoo'd yet. It's kind of getting expensive...
So now I'm feeling really caught up in this wave. Not sure what to make of it all but, I'm just gonna like my shoes...flow with it and see where it takes me.

I did get the go ahead from my Doc today for the SF Marathon next month. He told me I'm healthier than any of his patience! Good deal...liking this new Universe.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Two Days For The Price Of One

Escape From Alcatraz (notice swimmers floating out to sea)

On Friday night around 11pm as I was standing in the elevator staring blankly at the door for 5 minutes before I realized I hadn't hit a button yet...I knew I had had enough! Sixteen hour days are a bit much. I feel so trapped into a job I'm not happy with but, I know I have to be grateful to have a job and absolutely need to make this work. My unhappiness and frustration is being taken as being a "bad attitude"! So unfortunate for me.
Onward and downward on the working front.

Saturday I woke up just beat to shit! Feeling like someone in the middle of the night had quietly walked  in while I was sleeping and given me shock treatments. I spent the morning fighting off a viscous wave of  depression. By ten in the morning a full compliment of dogs in the apartment ( big doggy daycare day), brought me out of myself. We went to the dog park which was a bit sad seeing how their closing the park down for a few months to landscape and build money making concessions to help the city dip into the pockets of the Pacific Heights populace to extract more bounty for their greedy little pockets. It's just gonna mess a lot of people up in regards to their dog care.

Afterwards I arrived home and it was all I could do to not just crash in a funk and nap for the day. I really needed to run. I earlier in the week cramped a calf muscle and it was still quite painful. I also threw out my back again (work related)! Just a really bad week.
Somehow I managed to drag my ass out the door and began my slog. I had earlier planned to do a 20 miler but the last two days of work had drained every last molecule of glycogen out of my legs I decided to do the dirty dozen and take a bike ride on Sunday. I hate breaking my training plans, especially on account of work.
I headed down Bush street towards the Embarcadero and then swept north towards Pier 39, Fishermen's Wharf...Big mistake! So many people and I felt like a football player running back a kickoff. By the time I got to the Golden Gate Bridge my spirits picked up a bit and just decided screw it! 20 miler today! It was my first time running the new trail that descends down to Baker Beach in parallel to the main road. It's a beautiful run that offers a sweeping vista of the Pacific Ocean and the bridge.

Right about as I began the climb up to 27th Ave and the bonk began to creep in. I decided it was time to replenish with some electrolyte and food. I was pretty sure this was going to be a tough run from the beginning  but I needed to tough it out. The SF marathon is only a month away.

I'm reading so many different Ultra Running books right now that it's ridiculous! The common theme seems to be that all these runners suffer but, are able to keep one foot in front of the other. Embrace the pain! So I continue on.
Eventually I made it to the park and the halfway turnaround. 
Ultimately, I did make it back but that last six miles was the worst I've ever felt running or biking. I now know I need a couple of day rest before a long run and have to have my glycogen stores up to spiff and more training.

This morning I forced myself up early enough to get down to the "Escape From Alcatraz" and I was glad I did. The weather was incredibly warm which made for perfect viewing. This is something that I may try very soon. I'm working on a plan for swim training in the next year. It was a lot of fun to watch especially the swim leg of the race. Some of the inexperienced swimmers were over shooting the beach landing and rapidly heading for the open ocean!

The change up areas were quite a mass of confusion. Everyone looked to be having quite a bit of fun!
It was a great way to spend the morning and afterwards I surveyed some of the vendor booths and certainly was wishing I had a whole lot of cash to drop on some toys.

Soon after I took off on my bike and got a nice active recovery ride along the waterfront down to AT&T Park where people were beginning to line up for a Giants game.
When I got  home I took the pups out for a jaunt and after went out with Cathy for a very LARGE brunch. I was in need of Carbs and Protein big time!
Afterwards we took a very relaxing power nap and woke up to iced coffee and read my Kindle out under the sun.
I rolled out my muscles on the mat and styrofoam rollers and by the time I finished I was really craving my bike again. I rode down to the bridge and back and felt great when I got back.
I've decided I need to make this Job situation work. If I were to leave I would surely be giving up just way too many things that I'm really enjoying right now. Just like that grueling 20 miler I put myself through, I need to just keep one foot in front of the other and tough it out...

BTW Proof to my cycling buddies I haven't forsaken the bike in the name of running...I did get out there today!...Twice!
Bike ride out too the bridge.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Running, Dancing-Just Move!

Today is "National Running Day"

From the National Running Day Site

I Run to
Get away from the person I would rather not be.
    To experience pure natural freedom
        To feel who I really am.
           To live, feel and learn to embrace suffering
               For the High!

I spent the day working my drudge job and listening to my new found pastime-Podcasts
I know they've been around for awhile and I've listened to them before in the past but, now I live for them. I was so happy to find out there were Podcasts of the Jillian Michael's show! I consider her my Inspirational Guru. I follow her techniques and read all her books and she's made a huge change in my life. The show is actually a lot of fun to listen to, entertaining and informative. She's really quick humored, well thought out and answered all the questions I have about my health and my second  stab at exploring my own athleticism.
This book has made a huge difference in my life and many others.

It was apropos that I would be listening today on this National Running Day. The only sad part was when I finally ended my tiring day I set off for a good run and within 2 blocks my back went out again and it was the old slow limp home. I'm pretty sure work is just killing me mentally, physically and holding me back from keeping on track with my Marathon training. I don't have many options available to me at this point in time so I just take the shit and embrace that suffering.

The other thing real quick...
I'm deeply absorbed in this years series
"So You Think You Can Dance".
The talent is so amazing and they've really raised the bar.
I'm really inspired by some of the younger artists coming up through the ranks. It really makes me hopeful for the future of art in this world.
Here's a performance that just took it to another level...

Short blog tonight...I'm getting less and less time to do the things I want to do these days.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

With My Kindle...I Can Conquer The World!

Ever since I downloaded my

first Kindle App to my old "Crackberry" phone. Once again the world has opened up for me. When I was a kid I would read veraciously! Probably not as much as the rest of the family. I come from a family of avid readers and they could all read four books to my one! That's OK though I really loved the process of reading, especially when during summers back in New England I would lay about in a broken down Chaise Lounge and reading Tom Sawyer, Jaws, lots of books about nature and anything I could get my hands on. I would savor every paragraph and many times just stop to think about and digest what I had read and just float away in a hazy pipe dream while in the distance, sounds of lawns being mowed and birds peacefully singing to one another in their musical language carried on while the sun would would warm me to the soul beneath a blue sky and green canopy of maple trees.

I never stopped reading but, reading became more sporadic as life closed in and things became complicated and messed up. I missed getting back into the calm zone of just relaxing and reading.
Comfort became an issue. The eyes lost a lot, and the hands would get cramped, also just the book holding, body positioning became cumbersome and when I had a moment to read I'd be somewhere where the book wasn't.
When I got the kindle app on the phone and acquired the capability to download a novel in less than 20 seconds with one click! Then I could be anywhere and just read on my phone with back-lighting, desired font size and bookmarks too. That was it for me! No more hard/soft covers for me.

My favorite thing to do now is at night I settle in with the dogs and all the lights off, except for the soft glow of the city lights coming through my windows turn on my Samsung 7 inch Galaxy Tab and just read till my eyes close. I wake up sometimes in the night and pick up where I left off.

I've read countless books in the last couple of years now and I've gotten back a little of the joy I had when I was a kid.
I have a tendency to read multiple books at the same time which is perfect with my kindle. I can instantly jump around. I also have a tendency to read in themes. Right now I'm reading 4 or 5 books (biographies) on running!


Pretty cool! The Kindle books are environment friendly and less expensive, although the publishers are catching on and starting to really jack up the prices. There are many sites to down load free books and share books that are out of copyright. I have an Amazon Prime account and I get free books and some great discounts. I also am able to share with other kindle readers!
Here's a great link to check out:

Well I'm going to get back to some reading, it's Sunday and this is a big reading day!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Something Unresolved...

Aids Life Cycle 2009-All the Fixed gear riders, me included. An amazing event.

I just needed to get this out and writing it down is sometimes therapeutic for the heart and soul. I won't dwell on it too much here and will limit what I'm really feeling inside and what I have to say. The rest of the blog I'll just let the pictures speak. By Sunday I'll have a happier blog on some of the past and this weekends events.

AidsLifeCycle 11 is kicking off this weekend (BTW I've volunteered on Orientation Day and Volunteers still needed)! I couldn't afford or take the time off this year to take part.
The two times I've ridden were just absolutely amazing experiences ALC 7 and ALC 8.

                           ALC Link

The best part of the rides though were finally getting to LA and having my brother there to meet me. He would be so impressed and proud. I loved that. The last time I did it on a fixed gear bike just to step it up a notch! We would hang out for the evening even though I was completely blown out and it would just be a blast. Reflecting on this led me to rehash all the feelings and emotions I had already experienced two months ago but even more intense now...

Without going into the detail in what turned out to be the final gut punch that sent me spiraling into a bottomless pit of grief. I can state the combining elements that finally beat me into submission over the last two days.
It's now been two months since the passing of my my younger brother who was maybe one of my closest friends and my most trusted confidant. In the last month I've been pushing away the thoughts and the  retracing of our lives along with trying not to contemplate the true feelings forcing their way into the forefront of my conscientiousness. Something remains acceptance, a coming to terms and understanding cannot be found...and it's been eating at me and breaking me down.

Myself, Hugh and Wife Karen In LA for his son Hugie's memorial
I just had one of those day's where I can't get him out of my mind. I still have things I need to tell him and I'm still reaching for the phone to call. Like flipping the light switch when the power is out. 

I had had a horrible week at work. I'll spare you the detail...
Chris, Aaron and Hugh at memorial

I just don't know if I can get by it.