Home

EXERCISE!…

Leave a comment

comes in lots of forms

… they all hurt until they feel great.

 

exercise.png

  • Writing this blog exercises my writing mind, pushing me to be as clear in my communication as possible.

I spend a good deal of time writing, rewriting, editing and re-editing these posts to make them as understandable and relevant as I can manage (you may think I fail terribly… oh well!).

It’s frustrating and sometimes hurts my head trying to finding new ideas and new approaches that fulfill my needs while also hopefully finding a message that occasionally intrigues you.

A satisfying payoff comes every 4 or 5 blog posts when I hit on a thought, maybe a metaphor or a way of thinking that sends a chill of thrill up my spine.

It’s like finding a hidden cinnamon bun in the freezer and no one is around to catch you eating it… 0 calories!!

  • Playing and practicing my guitar exercises a part of my brain that requires coordination and memory and nuance of tone, timing, and volume.

I rehearse and practice songs over and over, trying out different keys and styles of approach (is this better in country format, jazzy, or slow and soulful?).

Jackson Browne would sit at his piano practicing a song, or even just one line of a song for hours until he hit on just the right sound he wanted. I think the best musicians follow a similar pattern to Browne’s.

Tonight I’ll sing his song THESE DAYS at an Open Mic with my own interpretation that I’ve practiced over and over.

The hurt heals to delicious pleasure.

Jackson brown piano.jpg

  • Investing exercises another part of my brain.

It’s the numbers part, the analytical and decision-making areas that weigh and decipher and calculate risk vs reward.

There’s a large set of reality-based and psychological components that need assessment and a steady mindset to produce a High-5 satisfactory return on dollars invested.

The level-headedness required to persevere when bad stuff happens to good investments is challenging, but ultimately rewarding when good analysis turns into good returns.

  • Running and other physical activities like spin class, yoga, and boot camp exercise my body.

Physical exertion forces large volumes of oxygen-rich blood to the areas where it’s needed to perform and work hard.

I try to work myself hard for at least a small amount of time each day… sometimes as little as 20 minutes with high intensity stuff. Half marathon training can consume a 2 hour period for long runs in preparation for a race.

I don’t mind if my body screams and hurts a little. Sorry to disagree with the “experts”, but sometimes… a little pain does produce gains.

The best showers are the ones that rinse away a ton of salty sweat.

sweaty guy

Exercise of all kinds comes down to habit and focus. Yes?

Self- discipline. Yes?

We all know that exercise in all forms is important in our lives.

Wrong… MOST of us know.

Here’s what Donald Trump thinks about exercise.

In a book (Trump Revealed) by the Washington Post’s Mike Kranisch and Marc Fisher:

After college, after Trump mostly gave up his personal athletic interests, he came to view time spent playing sports as time wasted. Trump believed the human body was like a battery, with a finite amount of energy, which exercise only depleted. So he didn’t work out. When he learned that John O’Donnell, one of his top casino executives, was training for an Ironman triathlon, he admonished him, “You are going to die young because of this.”

And, like all things TRUMP, I disagree. Every reputable scientific study disagrees… but there I go off on an unfocused tangent. Bad Larry. Yes, I digress.

Exercise is about habit and focus and self-discipline. But we also know that exercise is usually hard, a challenge to body, mind and soul.

Sometimes to pocketbook. OUCH!

For me in my life the hardest exercise is the creative process.

creativity ocean

 

Being creative exercises my sub-conscious mind and my powers of observation and interpretation and Idea Sex.

I can procrastinate my life away when I become lazy and try to avoid the creative process that I both love and hate.

I love the end result. I hate the process that takes me there.

We went to see the movie DEADPOOL 2 this week. WTF, Another tangent?

It’s the kind of movie you either love or hate.

It’s the 21st century equivalent of those 80’s and 90’s movies like AIRPLANE! or NAKED GUN… a bit of silly slapstick, a bit of Monty Python, buckets of blood and comic “violence”, even a kiss of romance.

But OMG, its approach to the superhero genre is so irreverently abrasive and inventive and original and CREATIVE.

I am in awe of the thought process (plus the multi-millions of dollars spent in its production) and independent manner that led screenwriters down this path.

I must have had some exercise in watching the show because my laughter muscles hurt afterwards.

Laughter can be THE best exercise, right? Shower time!

deadpool 2.jpg

 

Nostalgia In The Water…

2 Comments

ironman1990.jpg

There was nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, just arms and legs violently slapping and punching into my head, my legs, my torso.

OMG, what am I doing?

Bedlam and panic ruled for 10 minutes that felt like an eternally long sleepless night before the dawn calmly re-established itself.

A thousand wetsuit-encased bodies thrashed and maneuvered like spawning salmon rushing upstream in claustrophobia for the first few hundred metres… Men, Women, Canadians, Americans, Germans, Japanese, Australians, Brits and so on, all attempting to move forward, immersed in the chilly dark waters of Okanagan Lake.

Raising my head above the roughly churning water, I gasped desperately for air, moving my arms in an unfamiliar breaststroke motion.

Attempting to efficiently freestyle swim wasn’t a possibility without adding to the chaos and physical harm of others.

Momentarily, I distracted myself from the hysteria by trying to guess how many of the swimmers around me were peeing into their wetsuits at that moment. Take a deep breath…

BANG. Oh Shit!

An arm crossed in front of my face and dislodged my goggles, water flooded in and my sightlines suddenly blurred as I coughed up a mouthful of unwanted water from my lungs. Please let me out of here before I drown!

……………………..

You’ll have to excuse me this morning but I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. Funny, isn’t it?

I’m at a time and age where significant events of my past occupy a significant part of my present moments, sweet fragrant flowers blooming over and over again for me to enjoy and savour.

Nostalgic?

Yup, I’m feeling nostalgic over suffering an anxiety attack for the first 10 minutes of an IRONMAN triathlon race that I swam, biked and ran in 26 years ago this weekend. I’ve spoken to many triathletes since that day and my experience of panic was and is a common one.

26.YEARS.AGO.

August 26, 1990.

I had plenty of dark hair, few wrinkles at 33 years of age, and well-defined quad and shoulder muscles.

Although I loved participating in most sports, I was never a great Olympic-style athlete, but here I was razor thin and fit beyond my own imaginings.

I was an ordinary everyday Joe doing something that at the moment felt unimaginable and extraordinary.

My now-grown kids were so little and dependent, wearing tiny cute T-shirts that said stuff like: “Iron BabyandIron Tyke“… Maureen should have been wearing an Iron Widow” shirt given the hours and hours I spent out on the roads training for a full year ahead of time.

Emma Iron Baby.jpg

My youngest Emma gets ‘psyched”…

In so many ways it seems like yesterday and yet I can see a whole generation of people have been birthed, grown up and been schooled, married, started jobs and families all inside that very time frame. And all those years somehow happened in the span of an Okanagan minute.

If anything should send me to the cliff’s edge of a panic attack, that knowledge alone should do it.

Nostalgia is a wonderful, happiness-inducing, but nonetheless bittersweet part of our humanness.

All of our sentimental, happy, heart-lifting moments are harmoniously stirred in a Mix Master with strains of melancholy sadness for times when others we loved – relatives, friends, pets – still inhaled the delicious wonder of the morning air and were a special part of our daily lives.

Inside our heads we hear long-gone voices and laughter, we smell a familiar perfume or cologne, we remember a kitschy expression used only by a grandparent or an aunt we loved.

Time and nostalgia are like ice cubes melting in our glass where we try to catch the best of the potential that exists inside.

Yet slowly and inevitably the energy dissipates until the last vestige of ice disappears and for a time we still enjoy the stimulating chill that fortified us but can never again be re-captured totally.

………………..

Touching the sandy lake bottom 3.8 k. and an hour and 18 minutes later, a brief sense of relief set in. The pressure and worry of the crowded swim portion was burned away in the early morning sunrise.

Strangely now – comically really – the only real pressure I felt settling my chilly bum onto my bike seat for a 180 k. ride through the sultry Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys was the need to hit the finish line ahead of Sister Madonna Buder from Spokane, Washington.

I’m not an uber-competitive person.

I compete to improve myself, not to better others… but I wasn’t going to allow Ms. Buder, aka the Iron Nun – 86 years-old now and still participating in triathlons, but a mere 60 in 1990 – break the finish line banner before me.

My sexist/ageist/secularist ego couldn’t handle that small measure of faux disgrace.

………………..

I’ve learned other life lessons along the way, but the ones that I’d look back and tell my twenty-something self now are: It’s not what you say, it’s what you do; don’t pay attention to how old you are, only focus on how old you feel; and be patient — one of my worst enemies is patience, I’m still trying to fine-tune it so that I’m able to stop and smell the roses.”

Madonna Buder

Madonna Buder.jpg

………………..

It was time now to settle into a rhythm on the bike ride that would last for over 5 hours, followed by a run of a similar time.

The hours passed by like minutes.

There were so many distractions along the way, from tossing used-up water/Gatorade bottles into hockey nets at the numerous Aid Stations, to interacting with other athletes along the route, to watching for salty urine spray coming from the rear bike tires of those who refused to stop at the side of the road and pee. What the…

Making the transition from the cycling motion of the bike to the running motion was like handing me a 50 lb. medicine ball and asking me to go for a light jog.

A quick massage (and the… ummm… surprise of the massage volunteer slipping her hand beneath my shorts to rub my weary gluteus muscles back into running form!) helped the transition go slightly less difficult.

Ironman 1990 Run Larry.jpg

But honestly – truly? – the highlight of the 5 hour marathon run along the shimmering afternoon waters of Skaha Lake was that amazing … sensational… joyful… moment when I closed in on, then passed, the Iron Nun and felt the elation of knowing that my young male ego would survive the long day intact.

The hours passed, I chatted with a panoply of painfully downtrodden as well as cheery runners, one foot ahead of the other plodding at a terribly slow but consistent pace. Amazingly supportive family and friends boosted my spirits throughout the long day.

Finally, I saw the sign at the side of the road: “1 Kilometre to finish line“.

That final kilometre coming into downtown Penticton, as the sun hugged the western horizon over the West Bench was where I lost any sensation of fatigue or pain and ran as if supernaturally possessed.

I had pushed my body for well over 13 hours but the endorphins flooded in, the euphoria pushed me at a pace I didn’t believe possible.

And then… then… the sight of the FINISH banner floating in the twilight haze in the near distance.

Spotlights blazed brightly, rhythmic music saturated the space around me, a huge cheering crowd and the familiar British-accented voice of announcer Steve King in the cozy, thick evening air beckoned me closer and closer to the welcoming light as if I were entering a rapturous near-death experience.

Ironman 1990

………………..

I’m always happy when I feel nostalgic.

Nostalgia means we’ve lived and loved and felt something deeply, memorably.

We should seek out and create the experiences in our lives that lead us both forward and backwards to nostalgia.

Then, when the endorphins fade from those special times, we can sit back with a big bag of popcorn and enjoy our own life movie.

To be laden with nostalgia is a gift, a wondrous Santa bag filled with joy and warmth that supports and sustains us in good times and bad.

It’s a gift we give ourselves even if we have to outrun a nun to get there.

 

 

Are You a Good HABIT… Or a Bad HABIT?

Leave a comment

Sweat3

I like to sweat.

I must ’cause I do it so often.

It’s a sweat habit.

I should have been born with a moisture trap built into my forehead to siphon off the saline river that flows into my eyes.

My boyhood friend Frank had really sweaty palms. I hated shaking hands with him. It was like dipping your hand into a chilled salt-brine bath, a swim in the Dead Sea.

I seem to encounter folks regularly who sweat without even trying. Life and breathing alone bring forth a pop of perspiration. I feel badly for those who don’t even have to try….

Sweat comes from different places, different times in life… hot weather, saunas, exercise, anxiety, anger, spicy foods, afternoon delight, medications, menopause, porn sites (hello – just making sure you’re awake!)...

Salty, smelly sweat is my friend almost every day of the week… a companion that I love to hate… a playmate that I miss terribly if I can’t share some time with… a kindred spirit that brings out the best in me even when I curse up a blue storm and don’t want to share time with him.

My sweat generally wells up while I’m biking or running, lifting weights, studying intensive Spanish, mixing and pouring fluffy blender drinks and Shirley Temples at a frantic pace… and even… it might seem strange to you, even when I’m swimming.

Yup, years back when I was feverishly training for an Ironman race, I’d step on the scale before I hit the pool lanes. After 100 laps or so of the pool, I’d step on the scale once more and my weight would be 3-4 pounds lighter. Underwater sweat. I don’t think it was because I peed in the pool…

I guess you’d call my sweat penchant a habit. A good habit.

Habits can be good or bad.

bad habits

A bad habit? I like to smoke 1 Cuban cigar each week.

I sit outside on my patio in the cool of the morning (usually after some form of sweat session) under the shade of the leafy grape vines on the arbour overhead … or sometimes in the early evening when the sun sinks low and the summer air breezes from the apple orchard next door begin to cool and lightly waft by.

I hold the flaming match to the tip of a QUINTERO or a GUANTANAMERA and enjoy the sweetly fragrant cumulus clouds of smoke rising and spreading in molten marshmallow fluff. It sends me on a satisfying cruise to the long, undulating dance that is the beautiful seawall, the Malecón of Havana, sweet Besame music floating in the Caribbean air.

That’s a bad habit.

We all have a bad habit or two. I uttered a four letter word once… ok, twice but that Douche Nozzle  f*&*ing deserved it.

I probably have a bunch of bad habits that you would be disgusted by, but the good habits are the ones where I try to focus my energies and enthusiasm.

………………….

 HABIT

An acquired mode of behaviour that has become

nearly or completely involuntary.

………………….

I remember years ago when my friend Denise was trying to quit smoking (successfully I might add), where the habit of smoking a cigarette with a cup of morning coffee or at the end of a meal was a killer. A nearly involuntary mode of behaviour.

So she placed a glass cup on the breakfast table half-filled with water.

Each cigarette she finished went into the cup and in time became a disgusting sight and revolting smell that sat staring back at her when she most wanted a morning “fix”.

Her smoker’s “habit” died soon afterwards and she’ll probably live ten years longer as a result.

cigarette butts in coffee

An exercise habit is a great boost to your health and quality of life.

Exercising with some vigour makes napping … and eating… more fun. Shouldn’t napping and eating be fun?

Good habits and bad habits shape our daily lives. Gretchen Rubin, in her book, Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, talks about the importance of habits: “Habits are the invisible architecture of daily life. We repeat about 40 percent of our behavior almost daily, so our habits shape our existence, and our future. If we change our habits, we change our lives.”

Writing a blog has become a habit, playing my guitar daily has become a habit, saving 10% or more of my paycheque each month through forced saving was a habit I had for many years, drinking morning lattes, brushing my teeth twice a day but forgetting to floss (this drives my dental hygienist daughter crazy), sweating at boot camp class … all habits. Good habits.

We’re all a constant work in progress.

Habits are a part of who I am, the stuff that motivates me… overall, my good habit concept is to get rid of anything in my life that doesn’t bring me an inner feeling of enthusiasm, a good habit where time passes in a flash and clocks no longer seem to exist.

My job is to root out those routine, mundane habits that serve no purpose, the ones that suck away the marrow juices that fuel my drive and enthusiasm.

It’s about coming to know yourself.

Once you do, you will know how to change, create, and stick to the habits you want in your life… good habits and maybe even an occasional bad habit.

Choose your habits, don’t let them choose you.

Unless you’re becoming a nun.

smoking nuns

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Lululemon and CrossFit World…

Leave a comment

There are people out there trying to kill you.

Years ago (full disclosure: 25 years ago) I went to something called aerobics classes. I’d go to the school gym in Comox on Vancouver Island where I jumped and stretched and ogled the girls in stretchy crotch camel-toe-creating leotards and leg warmers while moving to the music of Flashdance. It was hard sweaty work but lots of fun, the music was motivating, and we all knew it was good and healthy for us.

At the time, I believed I was giving everything I had, and pushing my physical limits to the extreme.

Aerobics1980

Little-by-little over time I watched the ladies change out of their leotards – figuratively speaking – and into shorts and T-shirts, then fancier Nike technical wear with sweat-wicking properties, and most recently, of course, into the wonderful world of butt-enhancing LULULEMON. This transformation was accompanied by newer forms of exercise:

  • Pilates
  • Zumba
  • TRX
  • Boot Camp
  • Yoga in 50 flavours
  • kickboxing
  • aquacize
  • circuit training
  • BOSU ball class
  • Spin Class

The number of fitness-type classes and styles has exploded.

But back to the ones who want to kill you.

Women Crossfitters

They call themselves CrossFitters. Their bodies look nice (actually they look great!), but they have designs on hurting you badly. At the same time that they break you down in order to build you up, they are wanting to empty your bank accounts, and then have you thank them for it.

There are CrossFit joints springing up all over the place. Their monthly fees are as high as the pain they inflict. CrossFit has risen to the pinnacle of exercise in the church of all that is deemed beautiful with voluntary bodily torture. It’s extreme, it’s tough, and it’s cultish.

And like Moore’s Law of doubling computer chip capacity and capability each 18-24 months, I wonder if we’re not in the era of Moore’s Law for fitness trends.

Crossfit Games

QUESTION: With little time but ample financial resources available to many of us in the 21st Century, and the swollen numbers of Superhero-style movies, are we moving into an era where Joe (Joelyne) Average desires the physique of a superhero?

It’s just not enough to be fit and healthy. The push is on for us to bulge and swell – not like Rob Ford –  so that our clothes require additional wiggle room to accommodate the ripples of musculature we’ve pressed the huge weights to acquire. CrossFit is out there to make superhero bodies.

Of course, who am I to throw stones? Extreme comes in lots of flavours. I participated in two Ironman races in my younger years because I wanted the very same prod administered by CrossFit gyms that I couldn’t manage all on my own. Before I began the training needed to Swim, Bike, and Run for more than 12 consecutive hours, I looked on the sport as total lunacy.

And then I did it.

I just wonder where the limit exists as we press harder and harder. At first, marathons were huge (they still are, believe me), then triathlons, then Ironman-length triathlons, then Ultraman Triathlons. Crossfit latches on to the human goal of striving above and beyond what we believe is possible, especially for the average person on the street who has never dreamed of Olympian effort for themselves.

I want to hate and ridicule CrossFit, but I have to admit I feel a grudging admiration for a group that drives their minions hard and asks for more Herculean effort than we believe we are capable of. It’s as extreme as it is impressive.

And so as I sit here typing away on this amazing computer, wondering what technological miracles will sit at my fingertips in 5 or 10 years, I’m also supremely curious about where we will carry ourselves physically.

But really, and more important to know is that wherever our physical boundaries lie, Lululemon will ensure we look fabulous getting there.

lululemon-athletica-brand