Saturday, April 23, 2011

Prelude to Overwhelming: Before the First Step…


I wish I could tell you why I do what I do.  But I can’t.  It’s an epistemological problem rooted in the inadequacy of language.

While studying philosophy in college I became preoccupied with the axiomatic principles from which everything could be derived.  The stuff buried deeper than Euclid’s five axioms and Riemann’s reduction of geometry to four foundations – those pesky parallel lines meeting after all. 

The substance that makes engraving symbols possible.

I was interested in the existence of 1 and 0.  Something and nothing. The elemental reality that runs my computer and yours.  

It actually runs everything you see and don’t.

For what are all the wonders of calculus without an understanding and explanation of what a number is?  Of what something is as to opposed a nothing (the indefinite article before nothing being a contradiction in and of itself)?

For that matter how can we get to a notion of information or data theory without granting a certain groundwork for existence?  The groundwork for groundwork. 

Kant’s metaphysics and Hegel’s labyrinths’ unravel under the weighty assumptions of their semantic architectures.

In my world everything comes down to:

~(a v ~a)

It is not the case that A can both be A and not be A at the same time.

An object can either be or not be; it can’t be something in-between.  This is the law of the excluded middle.

It’s the nature beneath all mathematics and language.  It’s cemented right into the fabric of your entire phenomenology and empirical existence.

There ensues a chicken and egg question regarding how we evolved to be dependent and interwoven with it

Does reality not have the excluded middle so we can’t see it?  Or do our perceptual frameworks not have the excluded middle so that reality appears not to possess it.  Stalemate ensues.


If we want to have sensible discourse the excluded middle must be left out.  That much is clear.

We really can’t spend much time talking about the banana that is both the banana and not the banana.  Not much get’s done between people speaking in paradoxes.  In nothing but Zen koans. 

That’s why the monasteries are awfully quiet, I’m guessing.

Wittgenstein finished his greatest work with the simple declaration:

"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent." („Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, dar├╝ber muss man schweigen.“)

And I’ll be mum, too.

Yet…

I’m going to run towards that which we can’t speak of.

That is the overwhelming.

That is the mind bursting tears and laughs simultaneous imbuing your fear and pleasure.  Of wanting to die you’re living so much.  The anxiety and dread of being a self and not being a self.  The pleasure and revelatory glory of being a self and not being a self.

To see and not see.  To step into the river and not be in the river.

Somewhere in the run it happens.  Mile 10?  Mile 45?  Mile 125?.  It doesn’t matter how far.  It can happen on your front porch.

Of course, I can’t tell you about it.  And you can’t tell me about it.

I just want to say that it’s overwhelmingly fucking beautiful to me.

That's why I do what I do.


Ultimately, it doesn't matter.  It's nonsense.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ultra Essentials: Supplements via Max Muscle


Where would I be without my nutritionist Matt Showalter?  (mshowalter@maxmusclenebraska.com)

Probably dead.

Ok - that was hyperbolic, but I never would have finished the snowshoe 100...and maybe I would have passed out in a snowbank...and THEN I'd be dead, maybe.  Anyway - Matt's nutritional and supplement wisdom is important!

If I could, I'd be like the Tour de France racers who spend their nights hooked up to IV's getting pumped full of fluids, calories, vitamins, and other important stuff.

Why?

Because the human body can only absorb so much stuff naturally.  And riding your bike they way they do day after day in the world's hardest race, is well, not natural.  It's not possible to do what they do at the speed that they do it 100% 'naturally'.  (Now, let's leave the whole doping question out of this discussion.  What I'm talking about is LEGAL.)

Well, there were no IV's for me to plug into during my 100 mile snowshoe.  Which, arguably is not a natural thing for a human body to do.

Training the way I do wasn't really a requisite of our hunter-gatherer ancestry whose genes I carry.  My digestive track can only process so many nutrients and break it into supporting proteins, carbs, and amino acids so fast.  (Disclaimer:  Nutritionists like Matt are rolling their eyes at all the technical stuff I'm getting wrong and my over simplifications.)  I need my 'foodstuff' delivered in the most effective way.

Fact:  I can't get the nutrients I need from eating food alone.

I need suppements.  Pills and magic concotions of fluids that get my dying muscles as much 'stuff' as they need to keep me alive when working out for 48 hours.

I will follow up with some of my favorite vitamins and supplements in another post.  For now, ask Matt.  He knows his stuff, and whatever it is you are trying to do - he'll get you there.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It's Just A Freakin' Number.

Disclaimer:  Touchy subject - probably worse than religion or politics during holidays after everyone is flush with alcohol.

13.1, 26.2, 140.6...

You see them all over the highway, proudly donned on the back windows of vehicles before you.

Honestly, I find them as uninteresting, uninspiring, and ultimately, less revealing that "I Love My -Insert Breed of Dog Here- ".  

5k, 10k, 50k, 100k...

Finally, American get the metric system...but for the dumbest of reasons.

"What's your distance?"  Runner.
"Sprint, Olympic, Half, Full?"  Triathlete

It's amazing what we cling to as a matter of pride.

And I wasn't immune.  I proudly slapped a 140.6 sticker on my car the day I earned it.  (It sat right beside a 'Buck Fush').  And I imagined myself careening down the highway with every driver pulling their foot off the gas pedal and fading away behind me enamored in my accomplishment.

"Look honey, there goes an Ironman!"

Let's look at reality.  Running a 14:00 5k probably hurts more and takes 100x more training than running a 12-hour Ironman.

Are there olympians and elites out there rocking 5k stickers on their cars.  I haven't seen them yet.  (I'm sure some swimmers have them!)

There is a sense of grandeur with going far.  And pride.  But where does it end?  Who is the most bad ass?  When will far enough be far enough.

Dean K ran 350 miles in 82 straight hours.  Where's his sticker?

Today I ran 31 miles...and you know what, I didn't even blink when I crossed the 26 mile mark.  Why?

a)  I was slow as hell and had nothing to be proud about 'marathon wise'
b)  It's just a number.  It is not hallowed.  It is not sacred.  It is not the end all.  It is 100% arbitrary.

Now maybe you started at a 5 k and dreamed of one day working up to a marathon.  And you did it!

You SHOULD be so freakin' proud of that.  You should tell everyone you know YOUR STORY.

But lay off this number business.  Here's a secret.  No one cars.  The only people who understand it anyway already have their own sticker and aren't impressed anyway.

I don't want to see 26.2 on your window.  I want to hear that you ran a marathon 3 years after becoming a double amputee.  Or that you got your 13.1 after loosing 120 lbs.

And what about 14, 15, 18, 36, etc.

Why don't we plaster these all over the place.  They are equally interesting, no?

I'll tell you what's interesting.

Running.  Or doing triathlons.  I think they are rad, regardless of the distance.  (Hobby stickers, such as 'tri guy' fall into the category of "I Love My -Insert Breed of Dog here- " stickers, btw.)

Overcoming your previous self doubts and exploring the limits of what you thought was possible.  That's interesting.

And that happens somewhere between 100 meters (Track and Field) and 3000 miles (RAAM).

Get out there and go earn your 15.6 and blog about your revelatory experience you had at mile 12 while the sun set over the mountains.

So trash this sticker business.  Do you know what they cost to make?  About 25 cents.  Now don't you really feel like an @sshole for spending $5 bucks on it?