Downtime Thoughts

It’s amazing how we stayed in touch before 2006-ish, before Twitter. Before Facebook. We emailed one another, texted, called. All things we can still do, but none with the endorphin rush of opening up Instagram and seeing the likes, and a peek inside the lives of hundreds of our closest friends.

And IG Stories – oh my goodness! Videos, horror, outrage, kitties – it’s like shots of espresso right into the eyeballs.

Lately I’ve been spending more time on Flickr, as I think I wrote before. Pick a tag, any tag, and get lost in amazing photos. Sort of like Bandcamp, which you all know I love.

It’s the open web. No algorithm. No influencers. No computer-bases trickery to keep me engaged, plugged in, and scrolling. I mean, I love street photography, but there’s only so much I can look at.

The one thing, though I do enjoy with Instagram is the number of runners I follow, and they post some pretty inspiring imagery and stories and videos, and that sometimes helps me get out the door.

Just Get Out the Door

Too hot. Felt sluggish. Didn’t have enough time between eating and this planned run. It might ran.

Fuck it.

Put on my shorts, and it all went away. Shoes, grabbed the keys, and drove to the nearby lake.

Did some speed work yesterday, so I knew I needed to take it easy. You know, you can sort of get to the top of any hill so long as you take your time. You can take one step, rest for a minute, and then take another step. That’s how tonight’s run felt. Pull back, keep it slow, keep that heart rate down. Take more photos, listen to the crickets. Smell the night air.

Got dark quick, but was still able to get back to my car with a bit of day light. Stood next to the lake for a bit, listening to a kayaker paddle back to shore.

Part of How I Make My Videos

My first Bandcamp Roulette in awhile. My roomie watched the series for the first time recently, and said she thought it was great, and of course that was the kick in the pants I needed to make a new episode. OUTSIDE VALIDATION. I need to remember to make these things for me, and to keep discovering fun new music.

Still trying to fine tune my process. I used to sync iPhone video (w/ audio) with screen capture of the Bandcamp slider for the first part of the video, then make another video using the same set up, but screen capturing a different section of the Bandcamp website. As you can imagine that got a bit tedious, more moving parts, more room for error.

Now I just capture the full Bandcamp website and zoom in on relevant sections during post production. More editing, but I like being able to shoot it all in one take, which I think keeps thing more spontaneous.

My video editor of choice is Telestream’s Screen Flow, which I’ve been using since my Skull Toaster days, as you can see in this post from 2018:

At the time iMovie just wasn’t working for me, and though I’ve used Final Cut Pro before, it seemed like overkill for what I was trying to do (as you can see above). I stumbled upon Screen Flow from a software bundle pack and I’ve been using it ever since. There’s a learning curve for sure, but once you figure it out you’ll be making videos in no time.

Say Yes to Stuff For You

My Freelancer Workshop pal (we’ve been talking every week since November 2019) requested that I ask them what they said “YES” to this week. Then I thought about it for myself.

I said yes to a “virtual running form assessment” with Jess Wayashe. I can read all the articles online, and watch all the YouTube videos, but it’ll sure be nice to get some real professional feedback on my run form. I met Jess years ago in Philadelphia, through friends, and we keep in touch on Instagram. She posts a lot of informative running and fitness stuff, so give her a follow (here).

Proper form is important to avoid injury, and I want to keep running as long as I can, so saying yes to this will probably pay off in the long term.

Sweetness is My Weakness

Got this in my inbox tonight, from Spring Energy:

Among all micronutrients, sugars seem to be the most harmful substances for our cells. The human race evolved for tens of thousands of years without significant sources of pure sugar in natural food. This could explain why our body, in general, doesn’t handle sugars very well. From the food intake regulation to metabolic responses, our body reacts to sugars as if they were unknown and causing dysregulation.  

Rafal Nazarewicz, founder of Spring Energy

“Highly concentrated sugar is a foreign substance for your body,” he says, “limit sugars to 15g per day!”

That got me thinking about the brownie I got at Starbucks the other day. I found the nutritional information and it’s got 37g of sugar. More than double what Rafal is suggesting, and that’s in one sitting!

I’m not black and white with this stuff, I just know that if I eat a brownie today, it makes it easier to eat a few cookies tomorrow, and maybe a handful (or a bag) of peanut M&M’s the next. For me it’s a slippery slope, but I don’t torture myself. All this running and biking and stretching – I don’t subscribe to the “you gotta earn your dessert” bullshit, but I also don’t deny myself the occasional cravings. Just not everyday for me.

Slow Down and Stretch

I run about five or six times a week, and do a solid stretching routine every other run. The other times I do some small dynamic stretches, and make sure to take it easy in the first mile.

Stretching is a time to ponder, relax, set the tone for the run. In this busy world it’s easy to think about skipping the stretch altogether, and just get to the running, but hey, work stuff can wait. Everything can wait right now, we’re in the midst of global crisis with this COVID-19 crisis. Take care of yourself, you know that.

Today while stretching I saw a woman prepping her horse to leave, and it got away! It didn’t go very far, just a few yards away to eat some grass, nothing dramatic, but it was something I’ve never really seen before, a horse “getting away.”

Slow down, you never know what you’ll see.

Take it Easy

Found this video via Mario Fraioli’s ‘Morning Shakeout‘ newsletter. The concept is that most of your work outs should be easy, which I’ve mentioned to some newbie runner friends a few times. Yes, running is tough, but you shouldn’t be dying at the end of every effort.

And the thing with slowing down means you can run longer. I don’t mean longer workouts, I mean, longer in life. So many of my runs are slooooow, and that’s enabled me to say relatively injury free for the past four years.

Go fast in spurts. Run hard for 30 seconds and rest, then run hard for another 30 seconds. But trying to sprint a mile is tough on the body, and can really fuck you up.

I’m no professional, nor am I doctor, but just take it easy. So much in life is already hard, but that doesn’t mean your leisure time should be filled with hard stuff, too.

Getting to Fit Seth

Intentionally not posting any “before / after” photos, but I’m sorta stoked on how far I’ve come since I started running in 2016.

Back up. Before my first office job, in 1998, I was pretty trim. I worked at grocery stores in the 90s, and when I wasn’t working I was riding BMX or mountain bikes, or playing basketball, or street hockey.

Then, well… let’s just say that at one point my lunch order was three chalupas from Taco Bell (that’s over 1000 calories). Moved to NYC in 2004 and dropped some weight because I was at least walking around more, running to catch the train, or running between building on campus (I was an A/V tech). Heck, even after leaving NYC on my bike and doing “The Bike Nerd” thing, from about 2010-2012 I was in okay shape, but I still ate like shit.

And you can’t outrun a bad diet.

Then from like 2013-2016 I was just a slug. Lots of processed food, not a lot of activity, and broke as fuck from not being able to find work. I was in a miserable place.

But I started running in 2016, and knocked off about 25lbs in a year or so.

Then did “No Junk June” in 2019 with my roomie, and worked with a nutrionest (Grayson Murphy), and lost another solid 15-20 lbs.

Now, in 2020, I’m about 20 lbs away from my pre-first office job weight.

Most important is I’m eating a lot better. Running and all that is one thing, but to finally be working with a consistent plant-based diet, and still snacking on here and there, that’s the biggest thing. Changing the mindset of food. And straight up not buying cookies at the grocery store because I’ll eat the whole damn box in two days.

So much of this is just showing up every day. I run not because it’s “how I’m going to lose weight,” but because it’s something I can control. It gets me away from the computer, into nature, breaking a sweat. I think whatever you can do, to keep things fun, will probably work for you, too. Long hikes, basketball, dancing, roller skating, whatever… you just have to make sure you’re having fun.