Creativity

A Modern Pastoral Setting

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m sitting on the porch, in addirondack chairs, holding hands with my wife. She is reading wikipedia articles aloud. The topic – Stinky Cheeses.

Mmm, stinky cheeses

Hummingbirds buzz the nearby feeder with one eye on the prize and the other on the interlopers. Potted plants line the porch railing showing off their eager blooms. Tiny gnatty bugs swarm around our heads and bodies, not necessarily because we smell… well, probably because we smell − delicious. A fat breeze from a distant creeping storm sweeps them away. The breeze doesn’t care. The bugs do; meal lost.

We could plan our day but that totally contrasts with the moment, so we don’t. Our dreams and aspirations only reach as far as the garden. We envision it’s imminent bounty.

It is these moments where heaven is so close. All one has to do is inhale

Paleo, Running Thoughts

The Tabata

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It’s kind of a thing in running, if you want to run farther, start running farther. Do some Long Slow Distance (LSD) running. If you want to run faster, start running faster— sprint.

Enter the Tabata protocol. Part of the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) family, the Tabata Protocol is a four minute intense all out sprint program created by Dr. Izumi Tabata (The guy has at least one sneaker and one workout style named after him so you know he’s a fitness badass – alright, I did some further research and the sneaker thing is not true and he self named the workout so this entire paren is false). The protocol consists of 20 seconds all out sprint and 10 seconds of rest, cycled 8 times. It is said to have aerobic, anaerobic, and metabolic benefits that are ongoing hours after the workout is over.

So that’s 20 seconds on, and 10 seconds off. Sounds like a piece of cake when reading a report sitting in an Ikea POÄNG chair. Actually executing it on the street is a totally different challenge.  Not only did it challenge me physically, it also completely challenged me mentally. I carefully noted the bargaining, begging, and pleading my mind experienced as I went through this four minute torture session. If there is bargaining, begging, and pleading, then I’m pretty sure this form of exercise can be labeled as torture. It’s only four minutes though, and it will stop, and I will reap those sweet, sweet benefits hours after the workout has completed. I’m committed to it. It’s how I  keep myself in the optimum physical shape I so enjoy. 

Here for your reading pleasure is my tortured mind going through it’s gymnastics in one of my recent training sessions.

First interval:

3…2…1…Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (running) I am so owning this! Look at me, I’m so frickin’ fast. This session will be a piece of cake. 

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: I’m glad I get a chance to rest…

Second interval:

3…2…1…Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (running) Wait! That wasn’t ten seconds. Oh well, I’m running anyway. Got gas in the tank. Twenty seconds will be up any time now…now…no,n,n…now

…And 3…2…1…stop(10 second walk/rest)

Me: (gasping) Wait…

Third interval:

3,2,1,Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (running with less vigor) You have got to be kidding me! That was not fucking 10 seconds. I can’t make it.

SM (Subconscious Me or Sadomasochist Me, you decide): Keep running you can make it to the buzzer.

Me: Please God make the buzzer sound.

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: Gasp…Gulp…Swallow

Fourth interval:

321Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (running) Maybe this is where my heart stops. Dead runner in the road. It happened to Jim Fixx.

SM: Where’s your speed now Mr. Piece of Cake?

Me: Shut up!

SM: …or what? You’ll give me low self-esteem?

Me: Wise guy!

SM: I am.

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: I can’t take anymore. Maybe I’ll just sit the next one out.

SM: You can’t. You wouldn’t sit it out if there were a berzerking zombie behind you…

Fifth Interval:

3,2,1,Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (running) If there were a berzerking zombie behind me, I would be willing to die a glorious death

SM: You’re slowing down. Keep running.

Me: Fuck you! Okay, I will.

SM: Attaboy

Me: I swear to God this 20 seconds is getting longer and longer

SM: Keep running

Me: I am! My legs are filled with lead.

SM: At least you have legs. Use your gifts.

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: Beyond half way. I can do this

Sixth Interval:

3…2…1…Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (Running) I can’t do this.

SM: Yes you can. Run!

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: That went quickly

SM: You didn’t go all that quickly, but yes the time went quickly

Seventh Interval:

3…2…1…Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (Running) This has got to be the last one.

SM: Then give it your all. Your body hasn’t threatened to throw up yet, so go harder

Me: OMG you’re right. (Runs harder)

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: Hey, they didn’t give the completion signal. There’s another round?!? Damn it.

SM: You whine a lot. Would you like some cheese to go with that?

Eighth and final Interval:

3…2…1…Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (Running) I’ve made it to the end. Just got to get to the buzzer…I’m not going to make it.

SM: You’re going to make it.

Me: I’m not going to make it.

SM: You’re going to make it.

…And 3…2…1…stop

(10 second walk/rest)

SM: You made it.

Me: (Gasping for air) Yeah I did. (More gasping) I made it! (Walks to cool down) That was great. I should try this again tomorrow.

SM: You’re ridiculous.

Running Thoughts

Running Thoughts

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When I go out for a solo run or walk, my brain comes alive. Ideas and poetry-like mantras spill into my thoughts as I travel through space, propelled by my feet. I believe they are pieces that have meaning to me. The meaning is not always clear. Days later it might make sense as that puzzle piece clicks into place. I’ve started to capture them in the voice memo app on my iPhone and repost them here.

Accelerate

As a human being
we come into this world
and all we want to do  accelerate.
Right from the get go,
once we realize we have a body
with limbs,
limbs to propel us
all we want to do is accelerate.
We go from laying on our backs
flailing at the air
to rolling over
to crawling
to cruising
to walking
to running
to flying
We get to a point where we go so fast
our toes barely remain in contact with the ground.
And then the scale tips.
Life starts slowing us down.
We accelerate
just to keep ourselves
from slowing down too fast.
We suddenly realize there is an inevitable.
We have memories of being able to soar.
We have memories of actually soaring.
Now, it’s a fight to stay aloft.
Fighting all the way
Until
we are back on our backs.
Back to the Earth.

Barefoot Observations

Just a Band of Barefoot Runners on the Run

Went on my long run today. Sometimes when I run longer distances I have passages of phrases bounce through my head. It is like I am trying to work out some kind of thought puzzle. Today’s echoing thought comes from one of my favorite Shakespearean “Rah Rah” speeches in Henry V.

Nerd fact 1. I actually memorized this monologue at one point in my life.
Nerd fact 2. While I was running I was playing around with the words to fit the barefoot runners I know.

So with apologies to the bard, my co runners, and myself for being uber-nerdy, this is what was running through my head:

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no running to-day!

KING. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to bonk, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to finish,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my huaraches wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this race,
Let him depart; his Nike’s shall be made,
And crowns from entry put into his purse;
We would not run in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to run with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his Vibrams and show his feet,
And say ‘These soles I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Richie the Kilt, Ken Bob and El Mono,
Wendy “The Toe” Nail and “Henna” Hulseapple, Caballo Blanco and McDougal-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that runs the course with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That ran with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Barefoot Observations

Objects Embeded

I have had two things embed in my feet. One was a piece of glass…erm…in my kitchen. I missed it cleaning up shards from one of the kids broken glasses from the night before. I thought it ironic the real danger was at home and not on the street. The other was a splinter of some sort. Took it right in the arch and was far enough away from any place to have the tools to remove it. Every step was a stinging reminder there was a splinter in my arch. I finally sat down and got creative, using a rock with a pointy edge to remove it. There was a wierd sense of primal accomplishment in dealing with that issue. Totally caveman! I ran home and washed my foot well. No problems since.

Incidentally the splinter incident also happened away from the road. It was on a walkway leading to a high school track.

Barefoot Observations

In life, what do I really need?

When I started running, I geared up like I was going into battle. I had to have the right shorts, shoes (Make that stability motion control shoes), hat, tunes, socks, undies, fuel, tracking device, shirt, watch. As this year has progressed, I have started to not bring things realizing they just weren’t necessary. How much else do I have in my life I just don’t need? Nike started a trend where I believed I needed the right shoe, now I know I don’t need shoes at all. What else has “the man” sold me (my head answered immediately; “The internet?” I then quickly rejected the idea. Sad but true)?

My runs have gotten to be an exercize in zen simplicity. There is no clock, no shoes, socks, music, I just run and enjoy the trip. I mean on a day like today, who would actually need the clothes? Granted some of my associates would complain that they don’t want the vision of a naked me running down the road, but really, seriously…

Just run and enjoy the trip

Barefoot kilt