Wednesday, May 2, 2012

When in doubt...burpees!

From one thing, know ten thousand things.
- Miyamoto Musashi
When in doubt do burpees
I'm interested in axioms.  Why?  Because everything you do must have foundations and those foundations must continually be examined, corrected, and transcended.

Euclid brought to the world 5 basic precepts to all geometric thought.  Riemann did an even greater service to the world by eliminating the impossibility of parallel lines meeting and restructuring our perception of the world.  We literally see something different now when we peer at the universe because Riemann simply asked a simple question:  'why'.

Studying the basis for Non-Euclidean geometry will serve an athlete well.  And so studying burpees with discipline and patience will serve an athlete well.

The moral of the story:  always stick to basics from which you build whole architectures.  Stick to foundations and you will build great things.

For me the burpee is grounded in all the important components of fitness and movement.

Never substitute form for achieving higher numbers.  I'll do 2 good burpees over 200 so-so ones.  You are only cheating yourself.  Break down each and every movement of the burpee.  Stop yourself at every point and feel every muscle contracting and flexing.  Go maddeningly slow.  I remember as a musician how hard it is to play slow.  Same for fitness.

(Good luck trying to play this at the original tempo...only a skilled master should dare attempt!)

I fret and fuss over form all the time.  Why?  Because there is the root of all your future successes.  You will never excel beyond the starting line if you are not digging deep into fundamentals for traction.

Here the work of Thomas Kuhn becomes paramount.  Newton was a very smart man but his work could not account for WTF Mercury's orbit was doing.  Einstein, who was nerding out over the foundations of space and time, quite simply solved the equations by looking at foundations.

Why all the links and references to scientific and philosophical heroes of mine?  If I can convey one thing in this post it would be this:

If you want to excel as an athlete, embrace your inner scientist.  If you want to excel as scientist, embrace your inner philosopher.  If you want to excel as a philosopher, embrace your inner athlete.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Run Out for Food

When I get hungry I go for a run.  It helps keep the guilt in check if I feel like indulging.

It helps that my driveway has more elevation gain than the entire Boston Marathon.  It helps that the grocery store is 1 mile away.

I run because I need to get somewhere.  The only obligation in my running is to sustain life.  Why complicate it more than that?

I have to cast my mind back to Swaziland where people ran to live.  And, unfortunately, because there are not just enough calories in that beautiful country, people ran and died all the time.

I think of all the years I penciled in workouts at set times and struggled to show up and get it done.  I think of all the stress I put on myself to perform.  I think of all the bullshit I piled up just so I could carry it with me for a 'relaxing run'.

If you have shoes and need something that is not currently in your home start running.  If you are tired of not running enough start running.  If you hate running start running.
An ounce of performance is worth a pound of promises.

Mae West said something very eloquent that I admire:

An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.

If only we put half the effort we do into delivering the goods as we do purchasing and wishing for them.

It's easy to write checks with your mouth that your body can't cash.  I've written plenty.

But I'm done with that. 

How much would your life change if you forced yourself to run out for groceries?  Or batteries for you TV remote?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Keep it simple.

You run
You fall
You bleed
You get up again

Repeat, often.

That is the instinctual ambition cycling through the DNA of a HUMAN.

I want to run, fall, bleed, and get up again.

So don't ask me why I'm going to run so far.

We're on the same course.  Mine just might have more dirt than most.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Murakami’s Fire

I re-read all the time.

Some people are impressed with reading.  I’m not.

We read all day, long.  Billboards, ketchup labels, any item manufactured for that matter.  So I am not impressed that your read a book a week, or day. 

I’ve re-watched the movie Man on Fire probably 75 times.  I’ve re-read Emerson’s Self Reliance at least 25 times.  These things never get old.

We take for granted that we actually perceived something when we take it in the first time.  The brain registers a stop sign, and you stop at it.  You got it right.

But what about more complicated things like Beethoven’s 4th Symphony?  Or a conversation?

Things are never as they seem if we examine them. 

I think I used to believe I was smarter if I read 25 different books in a month than if I re-read the same book 25 times. 

But these are one and the same.  Reading the same book 25 times is reading 25 different books.

I thought of this as I made a fire this morning.  I piled the kindling and logs and it took off marvelously from one match.

Maurakami wrote a short story where he descries a trio of individuals building a bon fire on the shore.  I never understood it the first two times I read it.   

Now I understand.  I can't wait to re-read it for the first time again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Arvo's Tempo

I was introduced to Arvo Pärt in 2001 by one of my philosophy mentors, Dr. Daniel Kolak. 

I would do research with Dr. Kolak on lucid dreaming.  I’d sleep at night with this fucked up face mask that flashed red LED lights into my eye sockets when I was in REM sleep. 

Blasting through my eyelids and into my visual cortex shit would get mixed up.  A traffic light in my dream would go crazy and I’d have a ‘cue’ that I was dreaming.

Let the lucid dreaming experience begin!

(But this will be another post.)

One day when talking about Wittgenstein, Dr. Kolak name drops this cat Arvo. 

I now use Pärt’s music during many routines.  Mostly for strength and balance routines.  Always when stretching.

Pärt goes into a tempo few can listen to.  Particularly in Für Alina, a masterpiece of an album. 

Essentially 3-4 arpeggios are dissected at an absurdly slow tempo for 45 minutes or so.  Part plays with your sense of reality and calls into question the scary question our perceptual time, our spectrum of awareness, is really that significant.

How do things sound to Mercury in her orbit compared to Pluto shambling along.  We hear things in as humans on Earth in BPM:

Beats Per Minute.

But what if it were beats per million years?

What if a song, a series of numerical values, was at relayed at such a tempo that it took centuries to wrap out the Morse code equivalent of “a”? 

And then imagine this signal had to be broadcast 10’s of millions of light years to find a listening ear.

I’m sure the music is out there.  I’m sure we are surrounded in it right now.  I’m certain of it.

We are saturated in celestial strains beyond our Beat Per Minute mind. 

Maybe a phrase get’s transcribe in history every few centuries.?  We can hope.

Arvo Part taps into this slowed world, this stretched out yawn of a sentence.  It borders being nonexistent.  It’s a white noise of space. 

The same kind of sound you find when you let sand fall across glass:  a drumbeat of 10 million beats per millisecond. 

I just soak it in and stretch.  And breath. 

Thank you Arvo.  Thank Dr. Kolak.

I’ll be snowshoeing 100 miles steep mountain gradients in less than two weeks.  I can’t wait, but I’m not in any hurry.

Today's 2nd workout of the day:

Ready For Bed:
20 minutes yoga
50 burpees
200 squats
20 minutes jump rope

You missed some fun out there at 4am this morning. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Drop

By 4.15 Skrillex is raging throughout my secluded home in Pittsfield, VT.

The juxtaposition of pastoral landscapes cast in mountains against  the dubstep heavy thumpings from a cabin is never lost on me but I find it rather uninteresting.  (I think that's why I fail to blog much.) 

I bought  I think it might describe this post emo-boy musician syndrome of being an urban dropout.  I never managed well as a cool kid.


I'm shy and passive.  Confrontation with people scares the crap out of me.  No man, I'm not going to 'throw down' with you. 

But a mountain?  An event designed to break me?  I've been throwing myself into brutality week in and week out for 6 years now.  I'm confrontational every fucking day - it's just on my own time where I can't bother anyone else.

And every time I say, "Damn, I must look fucking insane to the world" I think instead:  "I have arrived.  This is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing at exactly this time."


I don't know why the hell you are reading this.  In the back of my mind I write assuming that obligatory readings are probably the norm so I want to make the experience as painless as possible, and therefore brief.

There is a story I think I've felt that I've needed to be telling and have, just not been ready. Start exhaling.  I think my training really suffered because of this reality. What is training but an expression of our internal honesty?

I don't know what that narrative is but I'm grateful I realize it doesn't have to fit neatly into a category or pre-fab module.  Thank you for having it unfold by reading my posts.  Please share them if you'd like.  I'd like that.

And somehow we all will get from introverted musician to alter ego rock n'roll singer to Barn Beast of Vermont to a man just laughing at it all and hoping for a modicum of wisdom.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I Shit Sunshine

I shit sunshine because I eat sunshine.  I don't see an artichoke.  I see some sunlight that crash landed 93 million miles from where it was born.

The End

Working Stiff

I have a 168-hour work week.

So do you, actually.  Yes.

Are you working on your sleep so that you can be a happier person?

Are you working on organizing your closet 10 minutes today so it could give you 1 minute more time with your family for the next 20 years as you get to the breakfast table faster?  That's over 6 hours a year...and you are no longer a slob.

People say I have OCD or I'm like that guy Monk on TV.

I just think things are beautiful the way I see them in my head.  And, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone, I'm going to try and make the world match up with what's in my head.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Letter to (X, Y, & Z) & ~ (X, Y, & Z)

Dear (X, Y, & Z),

Sometime something inside you melts and then you understand. I just wrote the following in the last hour. I'm so exhausted I'm not going to look at it again. It might be nonsense but it was like taking a great dump, I feel better. Constipation is an attachment disorder.

        How I Understand Understanding
        by me

        (A): "You CAN do it."
        (B): ""YOU, can do you it".

        (The punctuation of (A) is only a fraction of the picture. I can't post on Facebook the linguistic and logical notation that will reflect the discussion to follow.)

        Spoken, there can be an emphasis on "can", as is the case with (A), and there is a case when you put the emphasis on "you", as is the case with (B).

        In (A) we are doing something analogous to: "I'm supposed to encourage you now, but I'm really thinking about myself."

        In (B) we are saying something analogous to: "I believe in you."

        However, on the meta level the whole thing functions around a person's mind set.

        Say (A) is said while the person is aware of the difference of (A) and (B):

        This speaker is also aware of the difference while he is saying it, he is aware of: "the awareness of the awareness of the difference." It can be expressed mathematically as a repeating decimal, maybe?. This is the mental repeating decimal of the mystical.

        This is the crux. 'Being' a repeating decimal is profound while .333333333 is less so. This is what understanding understanding is.

        It is understanding a paradox.

        It is understanding when "A & ~A" can be understood. The place of the excluded middle is perceptual?

        That is what I'm going with here. We can have empirical knowledge of a paradox but we lack the tools to express it.

        To demonstrate:
        If you are feeling what I am saying, if I have transferred understanding of my understanding, then there is objective proof that we are feeling the objective feeling of the intangible.

        How? Because you believe in me.

        You are going to speak (B) when you speak to me. So we must have a mutual understanding on some level.

        That is what I'm reaching towards. That objective subjectivity.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Governing Principles: Quality Time

It is interesting for me to think that 'mileage' was once the title of this blog in light of the circumstances that I am planning on banishing that concept from my mind space.

I'm guilty of mileage obsession: an unhealthy fascination with the distance I move my body in the semi-forward direction.

To be clear:  my goal in 2012 is to race better, NOT log  extreme miles.

To be clear:  I'll probably log extreme miles, but this is only a consequence of a paradigm shift from distance to time.  Mileage happens as a product of concentrated will.

Quality time:  this is my sole concern.

The most successful hours logged in a week can be spent on bike performance, sometimes on lactate threshold work, and sometimes on long slow, miles.  Notice, only two out of the three deal with logging actual miles.

So the first step in banishing this mis-step in my self evaluation is to fess up and acknowledge that I am a mileage junky.

I develop a sense of self worth from bragging about high numbers of miles.

There I said it.  And it sounds f@cking even more crazy out loud.  Try it.  Are you a mileage junky?

Did you forget what training is about in your perspective, too?

It's about spending quality time with your body and self as you ready yourself for a specific event.  Or not even for an event.  It's about the workout, start to finish -- one workout at a time. 

Miles are a subset...the event the super set of your 'being' while training.  Period.

Of course I will go on 18 or 42 mile runs, but I will not log every single mile on it as if that guaranteed my success.

Concentrated Efforts of Will. CEW.  That is the unit I'll be measuring 2012.

CEW = are periods of time where my body and mind are fully focused on co-development.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

F@ck the System: Don't stir your coffee!

I was just making my favorite-est most refreshing beverage.  Pom juice (blueberry flavored) + sparkling water.  And on sparkling water I sometimes splurge!  I try them all.  I'm a man of the world.

Sometimes after paying 3 dollars for a liter of sparkling water I drink my favorite-est most refreshing drink in a wine glass.  I don't drink anymore.  So this would be my most fancy beverage, I guess.  So I indulge.  I'll sometimes drink 8 glasses a night and can still drive, and am only more hydrated.

Anyway, what does this have to do with 'f@cking the system'?


Allow me to explain.  I was just noticing how lovely my drink looks in a pint glass.  Dark rich purples on the bottom softening into disparate strains of clear up top.  Beethoven underneath Arvo Part!

I realize now that for the last 10 years I've refused to stir my coffee before drinking it.  Sugar, cream, hell even, powdered milk...I just shake the cup a bit if absolutely necessary!

Why?  Homogeneity is boring.  F'ing boring.  I want my drink to change flavors as I imbibe it.  I want the last sip to pack a whallop of whoop ass in the form of un-diluted sugar!  I want my first sip to be nothing but cream. I want to be scared to death of what the next sip brings!

Life is a little short to be frightened of surprises.  Does the 'system' (whatever that is) teach you to fear change and to therefore fall into place.  I don't know.  That is for minds with a better understanding of the world to let me know.  I just have my suspicions.  Healthy ones.  Healthy suspicions are like the vitamins that keep us all honest.

But ultimately, for what it's worth, this guy here is starting a full blown rebellion by not stirring his mixed beverages!

How do you question authority?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Abundant Universal Love

If all available love on the planet that has not been called dibs over gets channeled somewhere, maybe it's through my straw at Lanikai Juice.

The smoothie is the universe condensing down its intrinsic goodness into a medium that gets transferred via tubular plastic and vacuums.  Everything you need to love and live right there in a cup.  (Alas, maybe we can find reusable solutions here?)

Just sayin'.

Lanikai Juice is the first stop on this transport of nourishment and wellness.  Mad props where they are due.  Thank you!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

EpicMan Follow Up: Part I

Some events need some distance between them and their telling.  EpicMan was one such event.  It ranks as one of my greatest athletic performances...I'm surely nothing but proud of my DNF.

The reason?  Ambulance rides are easy.  They are a burden on all your health care costs, too.  I'll own my limits and avoid the drama for us all.  In 2012 I want to do less harm in the world.  Maybe I wised up enough to be part of a solution, not a problem.

That said:  I'll just get more and more fit.  Simple. 

Hats off to a race that breaks me in half and gets nothing but praise.

I'm going to leave things at that for now and will revisit as my mental faculties return.

For now just be sure to keep an eye out for Kelly, the woman who left every man in the dust and won the event.  Chick'd power right there.  Mad props and love to her.  I'll spend my career trying not to get Chick'd if she's in the race.  Love it!

Travel the world to get back to your front porch.  Sometimes a DNF makes a journey out of what would just be a race.