Friday, March 31, 2017

What happened to March?

My resolutions got away from me a bit this month—no surprise, really. They weren’t that inspired to begin with, and then life got in the way. We made a big trip to Washington state in the middle of the month to watch Mik swim, and I had a big work project I was finishing before and after that. Also, M.H.’s new book (called “Gnatz!”) is getting close to completion, and I am throwing a lot of time and energy at editing that bad boy.

The one thing I did do fully was stop arguing with people on social media. That was a really good idea. The key, I think, is to mute/hide a post as soon as you realize it is annoying you. Otherwise Facebook will show it to you ten thousand times and your determination will crumble. There was one local issue (bike passing restrictions) where I truly thought commenters could learn from a different point of view, so I interacted with people who disagreed with me but was extremely careful not to be argumentative. I wrote a passionate email to a state senator on the same topic, so I guess that sort of half-fulfills one of my other resolutions, which was choosing one issue to direct my activism to.

It certainly wasn’t the issue I was expecting to end up with. Seriously, there are so many things going on right now that could benefit from activism that it could drive a person insane.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Starting from zero

I went out for one short run under my new secret ultramarathon training plan, but then it promptly snowed six wet inches, and that was the end of that. Based on the one run, I think it’s going to be a while before I can jog for even, say, a mile while breathing only through my nose. Apparently “strictly aerobic” for me right now is basically a brisk(ish) walk.

I’m kind of excited about getting back into running, though. At several points in my life I have grown to love it—and if the plan is to go super easy and without an agenda, then I don’t see why I can’t love it right from the start this time around.

I have another secret plan that I’ve been thinking about enacting for the summer. When the weather warms up (it could happen), the swim team kids start practicing in a 50-meter outdoor pool every morning. I could ride to the pool with Mik, swim for a while in the lane allotted for lap swimmers, and then walk/jog the three or so miles home. It just seems like a worthy way to start my summer days, since my shoulder is healed and I have nowhere else to swim. And if the jogging doesn’t work out, I seem to recall that I also have a bicycle.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Secret ultramarathoning plan

I found a copy of “Primal Endurance” at the library and snatched that baby up immediately. I told M.H. it’s probably the most dangerous book I’ll read all year, and he agrees. In fact, he’s extremely concerned that I’m going to catch the ultramarathoning bug like some sort of dread disease, but I assured him that wasn’t the case.
Me: I promise you, I have no current plans to take up ultramarathoning.
Him: Weasel words! Weasel words!
I mean, who knows what I will decide to do in the future? What if the book’s magic training formula makes me discover that it’s fun, easy, healthy, and convenient to train for a 50-mile race?

Anyway, I’m thinking this is a book that is best owned and studied if one were really serious about using it to train for an endurance sport, but the takeaways I’ve gotten so far are interesting. It makes a very strong case for ample rest and a long aerobic base training period in which you never exceed your 180-minus-age heart rate. I really want to see what happens when I run with those guidelines in mind, so here are my rules:
  • I can run only when I feel rested and enthused about it.
  • I can run only as long as I can still breathe through my nose (I don’t have a heart-rate monitor anymore, and that’s a decent way to make sure I’m staying fully aerobic).
  • I have to stop the minute I feel any hint of tightness or injury.
  • I don’t set a time or mileage goal before setting out, but train entirely based on feel and go where the wind blows me.
If that gets me into amazing running shape, well, I can’t be held accountable for what might happen next.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Resolutions for March 2017

I find it kind of sad that I had basically nothing to say here in February at all, but I spent almost the whole month working and being angry about politics, and I don’t really want to use this forum just to vent about that nonsense. This blog is supposed to be about things that are awesome, not things that turn you into a curmudgeon before your time. (And, speaking of awesome, I spent the last few days of the month thinking mostly about swimming, since Mik was competing at the state meet. That turned out to be a good mental vacation, and I feel much better now.)

Anyway, I kept to all my February resolutions, they were terrific, and here’s what I’ve come up with for March:
  • Pick one national issue that concerns me and then do all of the following to fight for it: educate myself, make a donation, write a letter, make a phone call, design a T-shirt, and post on social media. I don’t actually have an issue in mind yet; there are so many upsetting things going on that it might be hard to pick.
  • Stop arguing with people on social media and—as happens much more often—stop thinking about arguing with them. As soon as I see something that I disagree with or that annoys me, I’m going to immediately hide the post so I never have to think about it again.
  • Explore the public-domain art now available on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website and make something cool with something I find there.
  • Shoot for an hour of standing at my standing desk for every hour I spend sitting at my sitting desk. I bought a fancy new mat designed to reduce fatigue and encourage fidgeting, so I want to continue building up my standing endurance.