Ten Hours

I think my new favorite app on iOS is Screen Time. It reminds me that I spend way too much time looking at social media, and I’ve been actively trying to look at it less. Lately I don’t use my phone when making and eating breakfast. Or an hour or so later when I make my french press coffee. Each of these moments might amount to 10 minutes per day, but over seven days that’s.. 70 minutes. Instead, I’ve been slowing replacing the every-so-often dopamine rush of anger / sorrow / terror with nice things:

  • Reading books on my Kindle
  • Stretching
  • Looking out the window at the vast beauty of the changing leaves

The minutes, the time is still the same. I can’t make the water boil any faster. But I can choose how I spend those moments. Am I feeding my body and mind with good things? Or am I giving away my time and energy to a company overrun with trolls and nazis under the guise of “staying current?”

Ten hours is too much.

Just Try Shit

I’ve been trying some workout apps since, well, I have the upper body strength of a desk lamp. I’ve used the Nike Training Club app for awhile, mostly for the videos since I don’t know a lot of the moves, plus it’s free. There’s HIIT Workouts (from the makers of Daily Burn), which is okay, but recently got into Aaptiv.

There’s no video. You just put in your earbuds and go. You can use it for stretching, running, and there’s even “workouts” for winding down to sleep. It’s not free ($100/yr), but it sure beats trying to find stuff on YouTube, or making up my own programs. Plus, honestly, the “encouragement” from the trainers is nice.

That said – just try shit. For working out, buying a new computer, or embarking on a new adventure.

In my early 30s I left NYC on my bike with my laptop and some clothes stuffed into a messenger bag. I didn’t know a whole lot about that sort of “life style,” but wow, I figured it out. Also figured out overnight bus adventures down south, surviving while broke and still traveling, and I guess I figured out how to run a half marathon, too.

But like I said, just try shit. There are a million things to read and videos to watch and podcasts to listen to, but it’s 1000% to just wing it, fuck it up, and keep winging it.

I remember running on back to back days for the first time.

Will I be okay? Will I hurt something? Is this too much?! How will my body react?

Guess what? I lived. I took it slow, made sure I was rested and hydrated, and I did it. No research, no books, no asking my favorite runner icon on Instagram… I mean, there’s a time and place for lots of stuff to dig deeper, but live is for living, so live it up a bit.

More Screen Time Thoughts

In a week I looked at Instagram for about seven hours. Before I get out of bed, have a look. Waiting for my french press to brew. In line at the bank. After a run. These tiny moments add up.

And maybe it’s not all about all the OTHER things I could have done with that time, like worked, or read a book, or stretched, but all the nothingness I could have done.

To stare out the window, look at the trees, a late night walk. Life can’t just be about maximizing every single hour, right?

Working Out is Hard

If you ask me to run 10 miles in any direction, sure. I can do it.

Ask me to do burpees for 30 seconds and, well… I can do it, but I won’t like it.

My heart rate is just maxed, my shoulders and arms hurt, I’m probably sweating everywhere.

And I know this is why I need to do more working out stuff. Like I said, I can run comfortably for 10 miles. I can bang up some hills, even do a little speed here and there.

Push ups? Leg scissors? Squat jumps? Kill me now.

As Seth Godin recently wrote in “A note from 2030“:

“Twelve years from now, your future self is going to thank you for something you did today, for an asset you began to build, a habit you formed, a seed you planted.”

Dammit, he’s right.

I started running in 2016, and today in 2018 I am super thankful I started then! I really need to honor that note from 2030, and get doing more work out / cross training / weight lifting.

Empty Roads

The end of the week got busy. A Thursday night drive to my friends was thrown off the rails when my rides car broke down. I eventually got where I was going, and Friday was so good. Lots of pizza, good people, and maybe a one too many drinks, but whatever, it all worked out.

Slept maybe five hours on Friday night in Saturday. Had a funeral to attend in the morning, as my aunts husband of some 29 years passed away. Went out to lunch afterwards, then a long drive back home.

I had missed two runs at this point. I was so tired from only sleeping five hours there was no way I could that evening. I fell asleep at about 7pm, I think. I can’t even remember.

Woke up stupid early on Sunday and watched the NYC Marathon which was pretty horrible on ESPN (check out Nicole Bush’s live blog for a good wrap-up). Shalane Flanagan had an awesome pass to take third (and became the “first American woman to make the podium two consecutive times since Kim Jones in 1989 and 1990 with back-to-back second place finishes”).

Afterwards I set out for a long run because, well, it’s Sunday! It was in the 50s, no breeze, and the smells of Autumn in the air. I ran to street where I saw an apartment for rent, just to get a feel for the area (turns out it was a decent area). Then I ran to an pond to run around the dirt trail around it, which then snuck up to a nice paved uphill. Not fast, but felt strong.

Retraced my route coming home, which I never like doing. Turned out the street was closed to traffic because of a parade. There were people on the side of the street, all sitting around, waiting for the parade. And then there was me. On an empty street, which is usually bustling with traffic.

I picked up my pace, into the 9s, which is fast for me! I think it was the fear of being caught by the parade, but that totally didn’t happen. I ran, and kept running, and found more blocked off roads. It was just me, and a completely empty road, with people lining the street.

It wasn’t quite on par with today’s NYC Marathon, but I did hear someone say, “nice day for a run.”

Such a nice run that I didn’t stop to take photos. Hell, I didn’t stop. I kept going, just one foot in the front of the other.

ALSO: This is my third or fourth run in my new New Balance 880v8s, after wearing out my HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 5s, and wow… I mean, I know there was some extra cushion in those HOKAs, but I love the feeling of a more “neutral” shoe these days! I got the HOKAs after my back injury earlier this year, at the direction of my doctor. After many hours of stretching and running, though, I feel great in these new shoes. Quite honestly I don’t know much about any of the different types of shoes, but hey, that’s why you got to a local running shop for guidance (can’t believe everything you read on the internet)!

Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance

Finishing a half-marathon has made me curious. If you would have asked me back in 2016 if I would have signed up for running for over two hours, I would have said heck no! But I did it, at a pace I didn’t think I could maintain. I used some tricks from ‘Endure,’ namely smiling.

Yes, somehow smiling tricks your brain into thinking things are alright.

I mean, you still need to train. I still needed to put in the work, and eat right, and stretch twice a day, but in the middle of all that chilly, windy running, well… smiling helped.

Visualization was something I’ve been doing for awhile, too, something I picked up from Jen Sincero’s ‘You Are a Badass at Making Money‘ (maybe I’ll write more about that book later). I envisioned the last few miles, running a good, steady pace, and feeling good. I imagined smiling at mile 11, 12, and cruising into the finish – and it happened.

Like I said, you need to do the work, but this was a fun read. There’s a lot going on inside that brain of ours, and this book helps you unlock a bit of the mystery inside our heads. [Amazon]

Start It Now

The best time to start getting into shape, learning to play the guitar, starting a meditation practice, quitting smoking was 10 years ago. The next best time now is right now.

Yes sure, I started running back in 2016 and just ran a half marathon and didn’t die. But you know what I didn’t keep doing from way back in 2016? Push-ups.

In my flurry of “I’m gonna eat better, and start running” excitement, I also downloaded one of those “do a 100 push ups a day” apps. I stuck with it for a few weeks, then… just sorta stopped. If I would have kept with it, for over two years?! Damn, my upper body would be stoked right now.

But I didn’t love doing push ups, I loved running in the woods. So, I ran.

These days I want to run farther, and a little bit faster. And allllll the advice I see out there is… doing strength training (that includes push-ups).

I think with any of this stuff, overlooking the temporary pain in the now to get the completely unknown thing in the future. Somehow I figured if I keep running then someday I’ll be able to run farther. Right now, mentally, I can’t put together that equation; if I do a few push ups today, a few years from now I’ll have more upper body strength which will help me run better.



Did I just finish the 2018 Runner’s World Half Marathon?

It’s nearly 2 1/2 years since I started running.

Since I looked at “run for five minutes straight” on my Couch to 5K app and thought, how am I gonna do this?

Since I dealt with shin splints from running too fast at the start of a 5K race.

Since I “bonked” during the Broad St. 10 Miler in Philadelphia back in May, and had to walk multiple times.

Over 2 1/2 years of lacing up the shoes, in the heat of summer, and the stinging cold of winter, of just getting out there and showing up, and I just completed my first half-marathon.

When I ran my first mile back in 2016 it took me 13 minutes. This past weekend I ran 13.1 miles.

Continue reading “Did I just finish the 2018 Runner’s World Half Marathon?”

Yoga Ain’t Just for White Folks

Yoga has always intrigued me, but even as a white man with a bit of a belly I still feel like I don’t fit the proper look. I know I’m wrong, of course, because as a white dude I “belong” everywhere. But damn, these wonderful humans are inspiring and powerful and wonderful. (via, Kottke)

Screen Time is Eye Opening

Over the past few months I’ve done my best to use my time better. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks, “where did the time go?” at the end of the day. And since I work from home, it’s easy for Parkinson’s Law to kick in and then I find myself working at 9pm.

I started using Pomodone App, which syncs with my tasks from Todoist. I then focus on one task at a time, in 5 / 15 / 20 minute bursts. Then when I’m wasting time scrolling through websites when I should be working, Pomodone alerts me. I really like that.

Then I installed the new iOS 12 and started using the Screen Time app. GULP. I averaged 2 hours and 43 minutes of screen time this week. Almost three hour a day, and most of it social media. That’s 21 hours a week.

That’s a lot of billable hours, or reading, or hiking.

I’m still using the iPhone SE – I just like how it fits in my hand, and in my water bottle pouch when I go running. Sure, the new iPhones look amazing, and then paired with a shiny new Apple Watch? But… I think the Screen Time app will actually keep me from upgrading anytime soon.