running

three (1/2) jobs + a state of creative state of mind.

The work-life balance with three (1/2) jobs and a family offers little free time. I continue working this week on an anthology of essays and a social commentary short, as well as a graphic essay/short story. 

I still find reading graphic novels as part of my "work research" these days. Some of my favorites on the nightstand now.

Lucy Knisley "The Age of License"

Demetri Martin "Point This at Your Face: Drawings"

Ros Chast "The Party, After You Left"

More words, ink, and sweat! And I should say, I love all three (1/2) jobs. Awesome hodge lodge of a creative life. (Note: The 1/2 job is running. It's a must-do.)

sketching works in effect. out takes of "working hands."

sketching works in effect. out takes of "working hands."

I rarely shoot images while running. But it felt needed on this day. Much gratitude for such an expansive view and healthy life.... New shoes , better pace. Who knew? They're moving and working for me....as of right now. Training for the next race. 

I rarely shoot images while running. But it felt needed on this day. Much gratitude for such an expansive view and healthy life....New shoes, better pace. Who knew? They're moving and working for me....as of right now. Training for the next race. 

sketch of life, 4 (the meadow)

Most mornings, for hours, now, I spend running or walking our new dog. No headphones. Clean air. Purity of moments. I suppose 2015 goals should be coming along in my head....have a few for life, training, creativity, and work. For now, each day, I look forward to finding this light and hearing the wind, as it always has an answer for something.

pup_run_winter

Morning run in the winter light: the landscape became a black and white version of itself. As a devotee of studying and admiring documentary photography greats--Frank, Friendlander, Mark, Winogrand, Brandt, Bresson, Sander, Salgado, Evans, White--it's a rarity now when the color drains from the world and I get to see again in light/dark tones...I forget to "look" like this as I did so many years ago, when I shot film. It's an Instagram world now...can't stop progress, but I can get nostalgic about film days when I run and see light like this....

Where O Where Have You Been All My Life...

Photo taken from Patagonia advertisement. Shoe is called The Rover. Named by  Outside Magazine  as the Best Gear of 2014. Brilliant.

Photo taken from Patagonia advertisement. Shoe is called The Rover. Named by Outside Magazine as the Best Gear of 2014. Brilliant.

This little Patagonia ad dropped in my inbox the other day...it's like a video of the perfect date day with yourself or someone you love or dig or like.

Must get these shoes...run, climb, bike, run, climb, bike....such a video makes me miss the old SoCal backyard stomping ground of bouldering afternoons, mountain biking, and trail running. J and I crushed so many miles behind our house with our beloved dog....Good thing we can still do this in C.O....just not in winter.

 

 

 

 

 

Minimalist Marathon: How To Be a Tuning Fork

Adding miles each week is a sly proposition. If you could run 12 miles nonstop one week ago, what is another four to six this next week for the long-run day? (A good trainer--see previous post--builds up your momentum and helps you find you groove.) A slow build with cross-training, tempo running, interval running, and weight lifting in between makes the mental game a little more palpable. 

Here is how I have digested, parsed out the distance, which intimidated me in the beginning...

Know six miles by heart.  I have grown to love a six-mile stretch. It’s my map of what each segment of a mile looks like. There are curves and hills to fog any feeling of a straightaway. A straightaway can be daunting because it looks forever in your face and your legs clip at a cadence of approval (or disapproval). Cut the whole distance up into chunks. Chunk it! Only focus on one segment at a time. Knock each one down to know you're one mile closer to the goal.

Inversions: post-run ritual...out with the old blood, force pump the new blood for active recovery. Plus, the vibrations in your legs feel amazing after pounding the pavement for hours. And it just feels good to lay down once you are inside.

Inversions: post-run ritual...out with the old blood, force pump the new blood for active recovery. Plus, the vibrations in your legs feel amazing after pounding the pavement for hours. And it just feels good to lay down once you are inside.

Dive into suffering. The more you try to avoid suffering, mask it with resistance, the more it comes back in various forms and harder then ever. When running, if something aches, I focus on it, shine a light on it in with my mind, and work through it. 

Trust the struggle, the fireball in your legs. Envision a glow ball of light entering through the top of your head into the muscle region screaming and kicking, and let go of the pain...because you are a journey. 

Rule out nothing; engage all senses. The metaphor of the mind-body-spirit paradigm as a tuning fork came from Most Intimate: A Zen Approach by Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara. The distinction between self and other blurs the line when in the zone of Zen. And running is Zen if you allow yourself to get there. It takes practice, awareness, and conscious effort. 

The science of running and the meditation of running together can change the shape of your experience. Check out how mind can alter the science of you by these two medical doctors, one from Harvard Medical School and Tufts Medical School, both of whom authored Super Brain. Their book weaves consciousness with hard science.

All of your senses work together to heighten the realm of experience. This is why I no longer run with headphones, as I think they are a distraction of the real purpose of running, as it has become “movement meditation” for me. I let things come and go to my mind with non-attachment. Slip in and slip out go the thoughts. Miles evaporate. Minutes tear down.

Running can make your thoughts disappear, allowing them to slip in and slip out, without "thinking" about them.

Running can make your thoughts disappear, allowing them to slip in and slip out, without "thinking" about them.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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