Whoop and Sleep

I was on the fence a bit about with Whoop, as most of the people I talked mostly mentioned “it’s just about recovery mostly.”

One of my favorite mantras, going back to my Bike Nerd days, is “you can’t fake sleep.”

You can grit out that last half mile to the finish line. You can will yourself up over that big hill. But you ain’t faking your way to nine hours of sleep.

Sure, seeing my “Strain” score for a long run was nice and all, but I kept seeing that my recovery scores were in the 30-40% range. Even dipping down to 29% – that’s red, oh no!

So Whoop has made me think about sleep a bit more.

Okay, get to bed a little earlier. Okay, sure, less screen time before bed.

I kept seeing this sleep mask on my Instagram feed, I think because someone I follow showed it off. So I followed them. It looked neat enough, I guess.

But, before I drop $30+ on a sleep mask, I remember my housemate had a spare sleep mask on hand, from a hotel swag bag. Let me try that first, right?

Well, it looks like a sleep mask sure helped, huh?

So right now, Whoop is worth it, because it got me thinking about sleep, about recovery. I kept seeing my hard runs, all that strain, but I was also forced to see that I’m not recovering enough.

If I’m not recovering, it won’t matter how hard I run, or how many miles I ride.

Sure, $30/mo is a chunk of change, but Whoop is helping me see how rested I am, which helps determine how big of an adventure I should take on each day.

Get a free WHOOP strap and your first month free when you join with my link: https://join.whoop.com/#/B37605

Healthy Gadgets

Whoop: I’ve had this on for about a week, and I love the recovery numbers, in that they show me for real, with lots of numbers and reasons, why I might be tired, or why a run might feel like junk – because I’m not rested. It’s also fun seeing there strain score for each activity, and reminding me, “oh yeah, that’s why I’m tired today.”

Yes, it’s $30/mo, but hey, I’ve owned a FitBit, Apple Watch, and currently use a Garmin. All of them were a few bucks up front, right? And all of them just sort of give you numbers of what you did, but never give you any guidance beyond that. Sure, my Garmin watch tells me “rest for 20 hours” after a good run, but ummm… okay. That’s not giving me much. Whoop offers insights, and information, and I really like that. (Get a free WHOOP strap and your first month free when you join with my link: https://join.whoop.com/#/B37605)

Saris M2 Smart Indoor Electromagnetic Resistance Bike Trainer (link): Setting this up with horrible – shit just didn’t go together like it was supposed to, I didn’t know I needed a different (extra) axle for it to work with my bike, the yellow turn dial thing doesn’t click at all like it says it should… but… once I got everything up and going, and connected to the following health gadget, yeah… it’s pretty damn good.

Zwift: Being immersed in a virtual world is just part of it. Seeing other riders is what gets me going, mostly passing other riders. I mean, I’m no super-fit biking athlete, but since I haven’t passed any human on a bike in the past YEAR, biking with Zwift is very satisfying. And, so far I have not been able to do “just a nice easy ride.” Every time I get going something clicks and before I know it I’m hitting 180 watts (which is something new to me), and my glasses are covered in sweat. Oops.

In all, three fun new health gadgets to help keep me healthy and fit. I turn 45 this year, and I wanna make sure when running races come back this fall (or whenever) I can get some top 10 finishes in my age category.

There’s Always More

More of more I think about “content,” and the notion that more of it is always the answer.

Around 2008 / 2009, a directive we got at AOL Music was “fill the search engines.” Nothing was too small to cover, the idea went, since someone out there could search for it.

Since you have all those stories, then you can post them to socials. I remember thinking back then that since we posted 20 times a day (TWENTY), then we could post all of those things to social media, too. So 20 times a day we got to throw a pebble at anyone would listen.

And that’s just one outlet.

When you got 25 music outlets posting 20 times a day, and posting 20 things to social media per day, that’s 500 “pieces of content” per day. In a week that’s 2,500 posts, Tweets, Facebook updates.

And that’s just music outlets.

It’s 2021 (some 12 years later), and now instead of just posts and Tweets, we have videos to watch, (more) newsletter to read, podcasts to listen to, Instagram Stories, and live streams to add to our calendars.

There’s more stuff, but the numbers of hours in the day is still the same.

Go With the Flow

It was about here, on this long straight that heads down to another road, when I saw it. There’s a church off in the distance. I know about the church. I passed it several times on my bike. But I never ran to it.

“Run to the church,” a little voice said in my head.

Trying my best lately to listen to that little voice in my head.

No voice from god came down, no revelation. I didn’t come across an old grave stone with a long lost family member name on it. No vultures swung by, or eagles. It was just still and quiet.

But then I think… maybe this “detour” kept me from a distracted driver, or a loose dog. Maybe it all worked out for some magical reason that I’ll never know of. I certainly haven’t found any other meaning in it thus far.

Creating But Not Showing

Still plugging away at these, going down wherever roads the sounds take me.

Feeling creatively spent, at least in any sense of trying to do something daily at this point. I learned a lot over 70+ days of making and posting them, so that’s enough for me. I’m still making, still writing, just not on any sort of schedule. During these times of COVID (god dammit, over a year of this shit), I don’t need anything more in life to bring on more guilt.

If anything, the daily posting felt like “the hustle.” If you post consistent, the social media gods will shine on thee. If you post everyday, more people will see it. More people will know what you do. More people, more eyes, more, more, more.

Yeah, fuck all that.

If anything I’m finding more solace in not sharing everyday and working behind the scenes on shit that may (or may not) be released someday. Whatever.

Yeah, I’m tired.

Video by Alan Quirván from Pexels

Did Today Even Happen?

It was around 8pm tonight, when talking to my housemate, where I said it felt like today didn’t even happen. There were conversations, some interactions, a heck of a basketball game (go, UCONN), but… eh.

Plain old days come and go, but not every day needs to be notable, I guess. Sure, be grateful and all, but trying my best to skip the guilt of the “make everyday count” hype.

The Messy Medium

I remember starting to write on Medium a few years ago, here and there, but something always felt off. I just never trusted a place I didn’t pay for with my writing.

“(Ev Williams) keeps talking like this company founded in 2012 is a brand new startup finding its way,” one (employee) told me. “At a certain point you’re not nimble and iterating. You’re just floundering and failing to follow through and execute.”

From ‘THE MESS AT MEDIUM

It’s a bummer, too. Ev Williams was a beloved name to me as I started my internet journey, back in the days of Blogger and Twttr.

Oh well. Find a host, install WordPress, and get writing.

Fundraiser for Maggie Montoya

This fund has been created for Maggie Montoya and her four pharmacy coworkers at King Soopers who survived the mass shooting on March 22, 2021. Many in the running community have reached out wanting to help Maggie. As many of you know, she is a national class athlete, I am part of her team (@JoshCox on social media).

I reached out to her and she was so thankful for the support but wanted the fund to benefit all five in the pharmacy that day (two pharmacists and three pharmacy technicians). 

100% of all funds collected will go to these survivors to aid in their recovery, therapy, self-care, and time away from work.  We are all grieving with them and these funds will help them navigate the long journey ahead.  

Josh Cox

What more needs to be said? I don’t know Maggie, but being a runner I follow her and a few other pro runner folk, and I see her training, her racing, etc. And now this… she was working, at her day job, and… more violence in America.

To think, also, that a Gofundme is even needed. To offset the cost of time away from work, for therapy, for take out, just to survive.

It reminds me of the insurrection. The tales of staffers and Senators who barricaded themselves in offices.

This is America, violent, dark, and scary.

If you can donate, click here.

Live Stream Thoughts

Working in music it’s hard to ignore the whole live streaming thing that a lot of bands are doing (and a lot of bands aren’t doing).

I’m thinking a lot about the smaller acts, the solo performers, the bedroom music makers, and how a lot of times it’s okay to not do a live stream performance. Like, there’s a lot that goes into live streams – the technology, audio issues, video quality, promotion – it’s a lot!

Remember – music videos are still awesome. You can take your time, plan your shots, get better audio / video, and then you have this music video you made, which can sit on Vimeo / YouTube / etc. for years to come.

And you don’t even need to make it about your music. I know, I know, but hear me out: you know all the cool video press you hope to get one day? On big name media outlets? Do that!

Is there a big holiday coming up? Take Halloween, for example. You could record a few clips of you talking about your favorite spooky movies, and release them every Friday in the month of October.

Those “gear talk” videos? Make your own! And make them your own! Drench them with your own style and wit and humor.

Make a video or two, or four, or 12. Get good at making them – nail the audio, the video, the aesthetic…. all that stuff you learn is a foundation, so when someday you really want to plan a live stream you’ll have the tech know-how and skills to make it great!

The Band That Changed My Life

Thanks to MTV and ‘Paradise City’ by Guns N’ Roses, I’m where I’m at today. I was surrounded by people in bands, always making music, then always writing about music, covering music… I’d say this all really started in 1991, when I started playing (my moms) bass. That was 30 years ago.

And I started a music blog in 2001, which really put me on the path to where I am today. That was 20 years ago.

Humbled, grateful, filled with bees at all times.