Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Like Shplooge On A Lens So Are The Days Of My Life

Just like this shot of the Space Shuttle flying over the bay from my camera phone in which after seeing the picture realized I never cleaned off the lens before shooting...So is my life. Good things happen and they'll always be some imperfection or I'll come up just short of my goal. In all it doesn't really matter because a tweak here and a tweak there, I can get some value out of it and OK, so it looks a little like an impressionists painting (not a good one), it was sure fun experiencing the art that got me to the that point.

Sometimes in life you just gotta get out the lemon oil and polish that turd! It seemed to happen a lot when I was writing music. There would be an idea that went nowhere fast and after tearing my hair out for hours, finally I'd give a decent burial on to my external hard drive. Periodically I would go through some of these horrid Frankensteinian creations and hear something that caught my attention. I would strip it all down, tweak it, build it back up and voila! A new song is born. Some of my best work was done polishing these wayward turds!

My trail run Sunday was quite an adventure. I've become too comfortable living in San Francisco with it's natural air conditioning. I expected it to be a bit warmer where I had planned to run. I had decided to explore some of the trails of the East Bay and part of the "Wolfpack" Race on October 6th. It's a half marathon trail run along San Pablo Reservoir in Orinda. According to the race roster I will be the second oldest runner. This should be interesting.

I ended up getting quite toasty right from the get go. I did manage to set a Course record on Strava on  a long uphill segment that I didn't know better to stay off. I ended up plowing through my two half water bottles and getting a bit dehydrated before finally securing some water later along the reservoir. I was starting to get headache and bit of a shaky feeling.

After I dunked my head in cold water, refueled and cooled off I was ready to get running again and started my climb up to the San Pablo Dam. I was rewarded with a beautiful vista, a million fire fuel eating goats and a nice buzzy runners high.
Mission accomplished!

I feel more comfortable knowing the terrain more and I worked on some interesting downhill running techniques that will definitely be helpful come race time.
This week has been a little tough. I've feeling a little over-trained and feeling like I may be coming down with something.
After Tuesdays grueling run where I couldn't even get myself down into the 7 minute range, I should probably take 2 consecutive day off and get myself together. On more run over there on Sunday and I should be good to go.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Don't Dope...I'm Just A Dope That Exercises Too Much

As I'm heading into mile 9 of my 1/2 Marathon attempt at a new "Personal Record" I suddenly realize that this was probably not the best day to challenge myself for this particular PR. The headwinds coming up to Aquatic Part were buffeting me like a moth in a wind tunnel. As I rounded back towards the east heading out to the pier I was relieved when my pace dropped back down to the low 8 minute miles.
When I made the pier turnaround and headed back west again...the dream went up in a puff. I pushed up into Fort Mason and things got worse. A couple of young runners, one male, one female were ahead of me so I pushed to keep pace but after 10 miles I rapidly faded. I felt like I was on the verge of a muscle meltdown and things were beginning to lock up.
Somewhere in the middle of mile 12 I made the decision to just turn back and run with the hurricane winds to my back thinking I'd make time. By the end of the 13th mile I was lucky to even be able to walk. I'd never been this beat up. Even after my first Marathon I didn't feel like this.
It wasn't that I was bonked but, my muscles just froze up with pain and exhaustion. 
I was two minutes off my best time but, with this wind I felt like it was OK and didn't let myself feel too defeated. 
After grabbing a GU gel, Sport drink, Cliff bar at Sports Basement I began trying to jog home but my legs wouldn't have it. I did the long walk of shame all the way home.
Sometimes you hit these tough spots or dark places that make you question-
"Why am I doing this to myself"?

It's OK though. Either way I'm benefiting from it. Isolating myself and getting away from negative thoughts and interactions throughout the day have been making a difference in my mood and attitude. I'm in amazing shape although I'm stiff all the time and getting out of bed in the morning is a bit of bother.
I'm just so jealous of these younger runners with their pristine cardio-vascular systems. I'm dedicated sure enough but, those fast times and personal records are so elusive for me.
My weekly mileage is moving up considerably without too much physical aggravation, except for my back which has a mind of it's own...actually physically, that's true. It's is something that will never get back to the way it was 40 years ago. Come to think of it my back wasn't that great then.

Now this brings me to the subject of athletes who dope. I'm reading a book called the "Secret Race". It's the story told from the experiences of Tyler Hamilton, a close friend and competitor of Lance Armstrong. He basically spills it all about how huge the doping conspiracy is in the world of cycling. It's jaw dropping. I respected Lance and for a long time denied that he would be one of these dopers but, now I'm convinced pretty much all of them at one time or another were doping and I now can understand how so many athletes have been easily led into this last resort method of increasing their performance. I've gone from being in denial to angry and now I think If I were them I probably would have done the same thing.
It's a very compelling story and I'm glad I didn't choose to become a professional athlete back in the day.

I now feel bad for Lance and all the other athletes that traveled down that dark road but, I understand how it happened and I hope they can come to terms with their erroneous decisions, put it all behind them and find some peace and happiness in their lives.
The question remains, will this ever end and will there be more ways to cheat against the system to become a winner and make money for the sponsors who are really the motivation behind all this.
Happy Doggy pictures of the week:

Sleepy Gaga

Friday, September 7, 2012

Lap Dogs Be Keepin Me Down...

My reason for my sporadic blogging you ask?...
It's a very lame excuse but, when I stop moving for just one second during the day or night, I immediately am accosted by dogs and puppies! I always seem to have one in my lap, where back in the day it would always be a guitar, keyboard or book. 

I'm not complaining, if anything I'm happy with the affections of living beings. I'm actually grateful and feeling lucky to have all these little mutts around me and I'm happy that they've found a safe haven after what most of them have been through.

I wished I hadn't gorged myself with all that premium chocolate so soon before a long run and then to add gasoline to the fire, I washed it all down with a Mocha Latte.
At around 3.7 miles I felt tired, bloated and the crash after the sugar rush all brought me down to a new low.

I'm trying to get my trail running efficient for for my Fall races. I joined a challenge on "Strava" (online GPS based club and individual journal for athletes who ride, run, walk etc.) I need to run 100 miles of trails in 16 days. In my case with work and everything else in my life I'll probably have less than 10 days to complete this challenge. It's forcing me to toughen it up.

It has been interesting discovering new trails and areas previously unexplored. I'm usually running paved roads, riding roads and bike paths. I have to say it's been eye opening and exciting running trails, up and down cliffs, through wooded areas over sand dunes and never knowing what I'll find around the next turn or over the next hill.
There have been scenic vistas, very interesting people and other trail running athletes. 

On the down side I've found so many camps of homeless people and evidence of the multitudes who live destitute and hidden away from the general public.
I think the problem is so deep and complicated, with  many reasons for this situation. 

Mostly I think it's people that have given up with life and resigned themselves to this lifestyle. Drugs, alcohol and mental issues more than anything are basically the root causes for a lot of this but, that's just my laymen opinion. I've talked to many of these people and most that I've discussed their issues with are just not interested in finding resources to utilize and get themselves moving forward to a better life and just want to be left alone. So on it goes and the problem effects everyone. I have to say it's pretty gross and disgusting having to dodge needles, feces and sleeping bodies while I'm trying to stay healthy and find some relaxation and oneness with nature. I don't mean to sound lofty and arrogant but, I've been through a lot of crap in my life and I have my issues but I could never just give up like that. I'd rather just off myself and not have to suffer through a life like that...maybe I'm just a coward.

Running has been such and adventure and kept me focused and move forward even with so much distracting sideshow activity in my life in the last 8 months.
This weekend I'm heading for more challenging trails in the Marin area. I'm thinking maybe a need a compass and some signal flares...not quite sure what I'm getting myself into here.

Starting to get back to my photography and dabbling in some graphics with a mind of doing some kind of a book in the future. Stories, photos and graphics. We'll see where that will take me. Getting the creative urge again but, probably not with the music just yet.

Cathy and Gaga in Cathy's studio