My new running shoes…shhh don’t tell!

Last week I attended the Newton Natural Running Clinic at Charm City Run. I love my Vibram’s and have had great success in them. I own the Treks, KSOs and now the Bikilas but I haven’t had the courage to run on the trails in them, so I wanted a ‘natural’ running shoe that would protect my virgin trail feet from the miscellaneous rocks, roots, snakes and other unknowns! So I tried these on and they had me at vibrant orange! I have run 11 miles on the NCR trail and 3 1/2 miles at Double Rock Park and I gotta tell you I really like them. I am still convinced that minimalist running is the best thing for me, but I am a little chicken on the rocks and such. I have to tell you though along with my orange running shirts. I am ready for hunting season on the trails that’s for sure!

Shadow Boxing….

So a long time ago, I read The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron and I learned of the term ‘Shadow Artist’. What that means is that you tend to align and surround yourself with Artists – in their shadow. Maybe as a way to be involved with the arts or maybe as a way to feed the craving of your inner artist. My partner believes that I am and have been a shadow artist. I am an architect, but I have never been as much as a ‘DESIGNER’ as I have been a person interested in how to build it.

So now I have a new term for is a shadow athlete. I love and crave sports and somehow being involved. I was always the team manager, or I played for the year but really lacked the discipline and the commitment that showing up every DAY or playing when your hurt or sticking with it when you don’t feel like it requires. I have been reading, studying and watching about cycling, running, triathlons and now Ultra Running. I have done a couple of events, 2 marathons, 2 triathlons and random cycling events. The question is do I have what it takes to come out of my own dark shadows of discipline to truly make a go of it to sign up for some REAL challenging events that require all of me and my focus. Get away from reading about it and…well….just doing it?  I think this year the answer is YES! Stay tuned for the announced schedule and help me stick to it!

The Obstacles….

So YEAH, I got to go break out my new bike and enjoy the 74 degree weather here in Baltimore this weekend! So it got me to thinking as I am struggling to make this government gig work. I have applied, gotten the job, not the offer, struggled to make sense of the application and selection process….I could go on and on!  So I was remembering some things that were emphasized in a Mountain Bike Course as I rode yesterday. Whenever you have an obstacle in your way, FOCUS ON THE EXIT or the end result, where you want to be. Your bike and body will follow thru where your mind and focus is.

Crazy apt metaphor for life. I have always unconsciously lived my life this way and then as you get older, I think the obstacles get more and more obvious and mentally bigger and bigger, as the perception is that more is at stake, your family, mortgage payments, car payments, bills, responsibility….you name it. I let fear of failure keep from remembering to focus on the EXIT, my body and success will follow where my eyes and mind go!



Time….is getting me….waiting for an offer for a government job….this is time in Government HR terms…waiting for this offer is driving me crazy. I checked my email frantically the first few days, then spoke with my new boss and he assured me it was OK, then I felt better, now it’s been two weeks and after much research on the internet realized that it could be a wwwhhhhhillllleeee…..but thankfully I am working now, so all is well.

Meanwhile back on the ranch, I have verified with UPS that these will be waiting for me when I arrive home…..YEAH!  So I am trying to figure if I should go for my noon time run or what and risk running in the rain to run in my new Evo’s who are waitin’ for Momma!

Shamrock Half awaits in less than 2 weeks!

Zen and the Art of Swimming

Please note: I am new and studying Buddhism, so observations are just my perspective, not necessarily THE  ‘truth’, just MY truth at this moment in time.
I have decided that Swimming and Zen are very similar. I assume that a good Zen Master would say they are one, as everything is one…I am new to Buddhism and not quite as new to swimming, being a ‘swimmer’ for three years still makes me a novice. As I was swimming the other day, I had a 1300 meter swim ahead and thinking(picture a little thought bubble floating over the pool, up and down), ‘Oh, man another 1250 meters to go, when will I get done with this?? 20 mintues??30 minutes??? One, two, three, BREATHE…. I have a so much to do when I get home….dishes, figure out groceries…one, two, BREATHE…then I need to fix that darned gate that keeps coming undone….one, two, three….how many laps left…damn…1200 meters…ugh! I am never going to get done with this! I wish I could swim faster. Why can’t I swim so smoothly like the other swimmers? And so on and so on. Then I refocused on my Form. Form in Swimming is PARAMOUNT!  You can somewhat muscle your way thru running and cycling without perfect form. You may never be a champion, but you can be very good. Steve Prefontaine is an example of someone who was a great runner, but did not have the perfect form(as his contemporaries and coaches might critique)….but he won on heart and guts! Swimming is totally different. If you try to muscle your way from one end of the pool to the other, you will drown from exhaustion! It is about every single finger. It is about feeling the water and the water feeling you….being one thing…water and you.

In order to improve my swimming technique and get better, I must be in total synch with my body and focus on every movement and how it feels in the water. Where is my arm entering the water? Where am I catching and pulling the water? How is my rotation in the water?  Does my head keep popping up when I breathe?  When I am focused on, ‘when I am going to be done? how many laps left?’ I can’t focus on that one motion that second. How does the water feel? Am I gliding or pounding my way thru the water?

Zen reminds me of the same thing. When I walk into the Zendo or into my home Zafu to meditate for 30 minutes or whatever, my mind has a hard time settling down and every now and again the monkeys are wondering are we done YET??!!!  I have so many things to do…maybe I will cut this short. My knee REALLY hurts now…OK, it’s SCREAMING at me….GET UP!!  Although there is no goal and no intent when I sit(no goal is the goal), when I… one, two, beathe….I can just focus on now and get that monkey back in line. One, two, breathe…my form is on spot and I am in the right position sitting….one, two, breathe…maybe someday I’ll actually make it to a count of twenty….I know…no goal, gliding with the Zazen!

To Veg or not to Veg??

….that is the question. I have been moving more and more to a vegetarian lifestyle.  I have read enough and believe enough that the government agencies that are meant to protect us from harm have lost their teeth and competence to protect the people they are put in place to guard.  I have watched the movie Food, Inc.

Enough!!  In addition, I really want to get my weight down for the spring and summer race season. I am not Vegan yet, although I really don’t drink milk except soy milk and the only reason I buy that is that it never goes bad. I am going to move that way.

Getting thru and building new goals

So the new Year…a lot going on, so some changes are afoot. Not as a direct relation to RESOLUTIONS but as the evolution of time, my experiences in life and contemplative ways. I have been studying Buddhism and Meditating with a local Sangha …The Baltimore Dharma Group. A great group of people… so maybe it is age, maybe it is practice but I have been more deliberate(in some ways) of contemplation and making very informed descisions and less on impulse. So contemplating some professional changes and opportunities.

Vibram Five Fingers

On the sporting front been studying and training in Minimal Running Footwear and that is kind of banging. I am really enjoying running in my VFF’s.  It is really fun to experiment with as I prepare for the Half Marathon I am training for in March. It makes winter training fun and adventurous. I’ll let you know how it goes!

My Feelings EXACTLY!!

Going Rogue: Buddhist’s for Sarah Palin

Please see this post and it expresses my thoughts exactly on the Mindless idolatry of the Mindless thoughts and leadership of the people who have strangled the real thinkers and believers of the Republican Party. I have never been a Republican, but I do miss the times when the argument was over ideas and principles, not the Karl Rove tactics of detroy first and appologize for getting it wrong later.