minimalism

Minimalist Poet: The Treat of Random Finds

This past summer at Three Creek Lake, while I read a book in a canted position from a portable chair, a large man approached me. He had long sideburn chops, a belly that hung over his rodeo belt buckle, and two handguns strapped to his chest in a holster. He had come out of the Three Sisters Wilderness in the Cascade Mountain Range.

"I'm surprised you aren't reading a Kindle!" he said with a toothy smile.

"I'm no Luddite," I said. "I just prefer roaming the aisles of a library to see what I can find. I don't get that same feeling on Amazon, if you know what I mean."

"I do! I do!"

This strapped stranger and I talked for 20 minutes about books, about his life working the Barrow, Alaska pipeline (he was on his 10-day hiatus from work), and the woman he waited 20 years to catch and marry. The man was a short story in the flesh. I lived this man, this character from being in the world, rather than staying holed up in my studio and thinking up stuff. It was a genuine moment of authenticity. I appreciated him for being strange, vulnerable, and present. This man reminds me to get back to the creative version in me that I hide away during training, volleyball season, and long runs. Winter is coming, which means it's time to buckle down, resort to a warm little room of creativity, and drum up or polish off old projects I left for good weather, a mountain bike, and trainers.

Below is a gallery for you to flip through. Click and flip! Maybe it will bubble up something in you, too.....

This little gallery comes from a rare, free Friday afternoon, when I put up my feet and started to read little library finds: David Lynch's "Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity" and "The Art Spirit" by Robert Henri.

Strange coincidence: wouldn't you know that David Lynch credits this Henri book he read as a high school senior and how it became an influential piece to becoming a painter, then filmmaker. I found these two books independent of each other at the library....I MUST(!) be onto something creatively....awesome synchronicity. Digging back into poetry and film feels good again....

Minimalist Marathon: How To Experiment on the Run

Running long distances influences elites and non-elites in different ways. I am squarely in the non-elite camp. (At this point, my goal is to run a consistent 9:00 pace, with a few upshots of 8:something at the end of the marathon.)  This week I want to talk about something unsavory, so let’s just get it out there. Vomit. I said it. Let’s talk vomit and endurance.

This entry is for the runners in training out there on the verge of hurling during a long run and/or interval training. This week’s blog post may constitute as an “over share,” a TMI-kind-of-post.

Puking, hurling, spewing, el vomit-ola has been on my mind more now than ever, in fact. I agree, this isn’t a very lady-like topic. BUT running brings out certain characteristics in me that, well, are not pretty. I tend to throw out a few expletives when my performance is sad based on the numbers I see in my Garmin Forerunner. I do.

When you're on the verge of hurling from running long distances, sometimes the ground becomes really interesting....?

When you're on the verge of hurling from running long distances, sometimes the ground becomes really interesting....?

The fueling system while distance running has taken on a life of its own. It is just as important as shoes, wicking gear, and socks.

I don’t remember feeling this level of nausea while pushing the limits of my body than during the first trimester of my pregnancies years back. The fueling system while distance running has taken on a life of its own. It is just as important as shoes, wicking gear, and socks. Here is what I learned through trial and error…

Experiment at Will. The intense feeling of hurling comes about half way into a long run, when fuel and nutrition either do or do not agree with what’s going on. The other day while endurance training on the big orange oval track I experimented on myself. A guy with lean veiny forearms at the sports store recommended a fuel block. How could Mr. Ripped be wrong?  Well…

The important thing to do is fuel early, often, and do more than you think you need. I recommend 20g of sugars per hour.
— Andrew Loscutoff, Sisters Athletic Club

What I found was that my stomach made so many noises I could hear its rumblings over the Rolling Stones in my headphones, and mortals, that is not a good thing. You should not hear your stomach twerking at mile six in broad daylight, in public.

Many endurance athletes love the gels, blocks, and performance beans for sports nutrition. These folks are steel, awesome, and admirable. However, when consumed, for some(!), they may have a tendency to sit in the stomach as sludge or molasses, which does not make her feel light on her foot strike and ready for more interval mad pacing. Experimentation is good. Become your own fuel guinea pig way before race day. Don't be afraid to puke. Go with it. Learn.

The A-La-Natural Fuel. If there is something I know about it is fast-acting sugars, as I have two small children living with Type 1 Diabetes, the insulin dependent kind. I have an entire drawer in my kitchen dedicated to fast-acting sugar options—natural and unnatural kinds--to treat their hypoglycemia. By years of experimentation, we know what works on the spectrum of super fast, medium fast, and slow-long burning. 

In many ways, as a long-distance runner, we are doing the same thing with our sugar tank. We have to use our self-indicators—know your body—and fuel before it’s too late, past the point of recovery.

The affable Andrew Loscutoff--a personal trainer, former track star and triathlete, and elite-level mountain bike champion--gave me this advice. "The important thing to do is fuel early, often, and do more than you think you need. I recommend 20g of sugars per hour." (You need to listen to him, too.)

Because I am not a fan of artificial sweet things when on the run or ever, I have experimented with natural products for fuel. The sources that work best for me include:

·      fresh medjool dates

·      figs

·      freeze dried bananas

·      dried cherries

·      raisins

·      fig newtons (ok, these are processed; got me)

All of these are concentrated natural sugars. They add zip and a longer burn, rather than an artificial sugar rush I have found that burn fast, furious, and leave a gross coating in my mouth.

Electrolyte It, Baby.  I never realized how good or bad something tasted until I started running long distances and pulled electrolyte fluids out of my pack. Each run for the past five weeks I have tried a new option—flavors, brands, liquids, and dissolvable tablets. This is self-science.

My point is: experiment on the run. Don’t take anyone’s advice about what will work or not work for you. Only you know if you can pound Gummy Bears down with an electrolyte chaser and run jazzy. Find your own science.

These options run the course of disgusting to nauseating to flourishing. I ended up liking the non-stevia, non-sugar dissolvable tablets. NUUN lemon-lime is good. FIZZ tablets in peach and grapefruit get the thumbs up too from this chick on the side of vomit-ville. 

My point is: experiment on the run. Don’t take anyone’s advice about what will work or not work for you. Only you know if you can pound Gummy Bears down with an electrolyte chaser and run jazzy. Find your own science.

Ask around for recommendations from qualified fitness experts, too. Sometimes they receive free samples and may share and pass along for your experimentation. For example, Loscutoff offered me samples of FIZZ, which felt more like electrolyte Alka-Seltzer on the belly while on the run. They know about food interactions, performance, and physiology. They may hold your little golden ticket to a pleasant run.

Lace up. Hit the road. Fuel.

 

 

 

 

Minimalist Marathon: How To Select the Training Type

For five months I had fallen into a runner’s nightmarish rabbit hole of marathon training advice thanks to curiosity and a Google search window. The more reading I did, the more confused I felt, the less resilient in my stride.

Marathon training was virgin territory for me. Training plans abounded online and in books as one-size-fits-all approach left me self-diagnosing my abilities. I decided to stop thinking I could figure it out and instead enlisted an expert, but finding the right person became a recipe of variables.

Find a Parallel Energy Source. There were two local trainers that I scouted based on their credentials. I tried out their group exercise classes. First up: Mr. Barky Orders. This particular fellow nicknamed me “Rookie” and liked to scream this moniker across his circuit and spinning classes. His tactics were not motivating to me. I did not need verbal breaking down for the inspirational build up; life’s disappointments and a list of failures got that job done. The work itself should do that, not someone’s mouth.

Find the personal trainer who mirrors the energy you want in your life. Decide if his or her methodology will help you weather the ups and downs of training.

Find the personal trainer who mirrors the energy you want in your life. Decide if his or her methodology will help you weather the ups and downs of training.

The other personal trainer: Mr. Buddha-Nature. Andrew Loscutoff is one even-keeled, humble, calm, congenial fitness expert, with a catalog of exercise science, wellness, and health books lodged in his brain. He will not dispense much unless asked. And if you do ask, then he is direct, clear, and to the point. His spectrum of response is quiet to encouraging to everyone no matter his or her fitness level.

Loscutoff, a former collegiate standout athlete and elite-level mountain bike champion, embodies stillness though he labels himself Type A, as he continues to push himself outside his comfort zone and asks that you do the same for your life. “It's that living life in the comfort zone is disrespecting the gift we've been given. A life truly begins on the outside of comfort,” he said.

Seek out the kind of person who motivates and inspires you when taking on a long haul, intense goal, like training for a marathon. Our energies matched.

Find the personal trainer who mirrors the energy you want in your life. Decide if his or her methodology will help you weather the ups and downs of training.

Let Your Guard Down. I have been very honest with Loscutoff about my average 10-minute mile abilities and starting later in life to become a marathoner. I want to break that pace each day I get out there to train.

Being truthful about progress is the opening of your inner sanctuary, sometimes a successful and disappointing place at the same time.

Being truthful about progress is the opening of your inner sanctuary, sometimes a successful and disappointing place at the same time.

He knows I am not out to win the race or place in my age group. I surrender and confide daily training outcomes on a log. Surprises to disappointments dot the worksheet. Lying about progress to him or myself will not make the race easier. Sit your ego down, better yet, strap it down and tell it to be silent.

Surrender to the Poetry in Running. Some people are not very good at quiet—being quiet, listening to quiet, acting quiet. I am great at quiet. I could medal in quiet, of all things. Running and training by yourself requires intense self-time. 

Breaking through resistance, head on, leaves you with a different version of yourself on the other side. Running, you may also find, is a physical poem.

Breaking through resistance, head on, leaves you with a different version of yourself on the other side.    

Breaking through resistance, head on, leaves you with a different version of yourself on the other side.

 

When I hit those times of resistance, whatever day of the week I am training, I remember what poet Charles Wright said in a New York Times interview. “Poetry is the dark side of the moon,” he said. “It’s up there, and you can see the front of it. But what it is isn’t what you’re looking at. It’s behind what you’re looking at.”

Going into the endurance of a mental-body-spirit resistance is where I find the motivation to change and thrive. And sometimes I find the answer in a world where words do not live.

The Zen teaching of Master Lin-Chi once said, “There is a self—a true person of no rank—that just flows in and out of the holes in your face.” May your running shoes clip along the pavement and life flow through you in the cadence of go....

Marathon Minimalism: take 1 (Be Inspired!)

This is one of my photographs for the photo essay that accompanies my personal essay.  An inner side of vulnerability and innocence resides in living out loud your dream.

This is one of my photographs for the photo essay that accompanies my personal essay. An inner side of vulnerability and innocence resides in living out loud your dream.

The marathon training madness has begun, along with some other good stuff (paperwork still in the works to be signed and sealed). BUT, I am crafting a seven-part series on running as a minimalist: training for a marathon.

Here is my first personal essay and photo essay, "Minimalism Marathon: How To Edit Your Life" at Peaceful Dumpling, the vegan lifestyle network.

Enjoy being alive and well, whatever mode of action you select....today is tempo run day on hills. Feel the burn, a good-uncomfortable burn!

Here is a good article on why tempo running populates your inner workings with the right about of natural biochemistry goodies.

Live deeply,

Tricia