100 Miles in a Week

I follow a handful of adventurous runners on Instagram, and I sometimes get stuck in the comparison game. When will I ever be able to run 10 miles every single day? When can I run 65+ miles in a 12 hour endurance race.

Actually, though, that pity party last about 2.4 seconds before I throw my phone down, lace up my shoes, and head out the door. I’m not going to be able to run 30 miles a week until I can run 25 with consistency. I won’t be able to run 10 miles on back to back days if I can’t even run an 8 miler every Sunday.

At the start of August I had a nice kick in the pants, from the horrible situation involving Tommy Rivers Puzey.

Rivers Puzey first started to feel sick earlier in the summer. Thinking it could have been COVID-19, he self-isolated at home, but as the weeks passed and his situation failed to improve, he went to the hospital. He stayed there for several weeks, although doctors didn’t give him a diagnosis for some time. On July 24, his brother posted on Instagram to announce that Rivers Puzey had finally been diagnosed, and it was cancer.

From ‘Support Tommy Rivers Puzey in the Run with Rivs virtual challenge

So I joined the virtual event and set a goal of 100 miles, from August 1st to the 9th. I knew I couldn’t run that distance, but I have a bike now, and whatever, I wanted to see if my heart and lungs and body could withstand a 100 mile week.

Sunday to Sunday I ran 34 miles, and biked 67. I ate smart, tried to get to bed early, and made sure to stretch and do some mobility work throughout the week, and wow, it worked.

Taking Monday off was great, and now today, I was up and out the door by 7am for a five mile run.

Running is my “hell yes,” and sets the tone for how I manage my day. Challenges with work, finances, a pandemic… it’s all pretty daunting, but if I can get out for a run or a bike ride, some form of movement where I get my heart rate up and break a sweat, then I’m a happy dude.

Sure, in 2010 or so I was “The Bike Nerd,” and loved biking 25 miles a day, but heck, I didn’t track any of that mileage. I was just riding from bus station to bus station, to a friends house, on some back roads. That was all well and good, but now, a decade later, these adventures feel even more purposeful. For both myself, and for those that running can help in the process.

Turns out a bunch of people did the Run With Rivs challenge, and all told it raised over $180,000.

BANDCAMP FINDS: Amby Downs, Red Fang, BLAKMOTH

Nearly halfway through August already. Unreal how somehow this year is flying. Got some noisy, dark electronic stuff here this week, with of course some up-beat metal going on with Red Fang.

BANDCAMP FIND: Phoxjaw, fernab comp

Busy week, so didn’t get to spend much time on Bandcamp this week as I liked. A colleague turned me onto Phoxjaw, though. A bit of swanky rock, dripping with sass from the UK. Sign me up.

For those times you need some music running in the background while slamming through some work that you’d rather not have on your plate, but it’s gotta get done? Yeah, this is a nice compilation in any capacity.

Bandcamp Finds: Maggot Heart, Wilma Laverne Miner, Ropes of Night

Another week, another few albums of note, starting with Maggot Heart.

I’ve come back to ‘Used To’ from Wilma Laverne Miner, which came out earlier this year. Without road trips and new experiences because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been pretty much the last album that’s become an “album in time” for me.

The album art work grabbed me, and then I clicked play. Not usually into this darker, moody stuff, but I like this from Ropes of Night, which came out a few months ago.

Bandcamp Finds: An Albatross, Noveller

A slow week of Bandcamp digging. The weather has been brutal, so I’ve been doing my work first thing in the AM and doing my best to get outside.

I’ve known Ed Guida since the 90s, when he used to play in Bedford, and I played in a ska band called the Unmarked Cars. Oh, what a wild time that is. Now, 20 years later, we reconnected via Instagram (of course) and our love of running (he’s a big inspiration for me). So now that An Albatross has a new album out, holy shit, I had to devour it in a heart beat.

Noveller is Sarah Lipstate, creating some great cinematic sonic landscapes.

You Are What You Do

From Derek Sivers’ new book,

No matter what you tell the world or tell yourself, your actions reveal your real values. Your actions show you what you actually want.

Hell Yeah or No

There are podcasts I want to start, websites I want to launch, campaigns I want to champion, but more and more I see my focus, my “spare time,” is devoted to running. My physical fitness.

Hours per week not just to running, but stretching, the food prep, more stretching, the cool down, the extra rest time devoted to recovery from a hard or long workout.

Of value to me – right now – is physical well being. Running keeps me focused, it clears my head, it manages my stress, it helps me unwind, it gives me something to accomplish each day that’s not just a check box in Todoist.

It sounds simple, but it’s become either “Hell Yeah or No” for me. I’ve recently turned away work because it was not a hell yeah. A friend wanted me to start a music-based podcast with him, revolving around one of my favorite bands, but it just wasn’t a “Hell Yeah” for me.

Hell yeah is 11 miles in a snow storm. It’s a 13 mile bike ride, then a four mile in the middle of a heat wave. It’s “just another run” when it’s pouring rain outside.

That’s my hell yeah, and I’m getting better at realizing that.

Done Tracking Work Time

For awhile I swore by using Toggl, a tool that let me keep track of all the time I was spending on client work. As I moved between tasks, I was moving between tabs, making sure I’d start the timer. If I went to make coffee, stop the timer!

Come back to work, wait, a new email to check, which leads me to jump into another project – change tabs, start the timer with this other client.

I’m not sure if it was the constant timer going in the tab that wiped me out, or the number of times I’d have to switch tabs to start, stop, and manage my timer, but I quit.

Yeah, Parkinson’s Law says that work expands to the amount of time we give it, but fuck it… I’m tired of trying to super efficient, shaving minutes from tasks, or feeling guilty for only being so far into a task at the 10 minute mark, or the 25 minute work.

Things that usually took 15 minutes were now taking 30 – what’s wrong with my work ethic?! My productivity is lacking!

And then, oh yeah – we’re living in the middle of a pandemic. I can’t go out for an afternoon coffee, go to a show at night to see one of the bands I work, meet a friend for a movie, go to the gym – no, my entire social life and down-time activities have been eliminated.

No wonder I have a problem focusing, and I know others are feeling it, too.

So don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling this. There’s nothing normal about this moment in history that we’re living in. And believe me, 2020 will be talked about for decades, adding to the horrible history of America.

Nothing is Real

This is a refrain I jokingly toss around, especially lately. COVID-19 is tearing through America, billionaires have made more billions during this horrible pandemic, sports leagues think they’ll play this fall, and like.. I don’t know, nothing seems real.

This lightens the load a bit with work, with finances, with everything else in life. If nothing is real, what matters?

Of course, the opposite is true. Everything is real. The tension, the uncertainty, the loss; everything we’re feeling is very real.

Being present helps. Being in the moment, in the now, absolutely helps. The whole “just mediate 10 minutes a day” thing is very real.

Counting your breaths and being very present on an hour and a half run helps, too.

Money Is a Game

In an episode of Akimbo (“Money Moves“), Seth Godin equates money as a game, not as a personal indictment on your self worth or status. (Permalink here to the time stamp of the below text).

All of the things I’ve talked about are strategies around the game of money. That money is always moving, that money grows, that money costs, that cash flow matters. But it’s a game, it’s not personal. And what we need to do as productive artists and professionals who create things, is to say, when money is involved, we have to put our game hat on. That this isn’t a personal referendum on who I am, and what I am worth. It’s a game, and I can play it to make more money, or I can play it poorly. But as soon as we conflate it with who am I as a human, what do I count for, what am I worth? Then we’re going to lose that game.

I’ve been there, and I know friends there now, and friends that have gotten out. It’s up and down, goes in cycles. But we have to be careful to not equate the lack of work, of money, with our own self worth.

Bandcamp Finds: Jukio Kallio, Sierra, Harriet Tubman

I busted out the iPad and Procreate and decided to finally make some “branding” for my Bandcamp Roulette videos (you can see the evolution of those in this YouTube Playlist). I’m super happy with how it turned out, and stoked to be getting back to creating and producing more.

Since I dig through Bandcamp quite a bit, some gems don’t make it into these videos, so here’s some goodies from the past week.

This is from a video game soundtrack from back in 2018 apparently. While I’m not much of a gamer these days, I’ve always appreciated the soundtracks to the games, even the ones I’ve never heard of.

I’m always a fan of heavy, dark, and pissed off music, and this fantastically works.

Sometimes I’m in the mood for something loose and free, and this 2018 release fits the bill. The menacing bass tones and vibe kill me every step of the way.