When I Run, I Run Ugly

I’ve been riding bikes so long it’s easy. I don’t mean easy like I go out and crush Tour stages easy, but 99% – well, ok, maybe 85-90% of the time, when I’m suffering on the bike, I can find a way to make it work. I’m comfortable enough to find a way to get as much efficient power as I can, even if I’m barely moving, and keep from completely blowing up. I can ‘suffer comfortably’. I can ‘settle’ and know that mechanically, I’m doing the right thing, the best I can. When I run, it’s a gong show.

It sounds very ‘Bruce Lee’, but my ‘run technique’ is the presence of a complete lack of any fixed technique. That might imply a vision of fluidity, but it’s anything but. When I run, it’s a complete assault on my body – and mind. Everything is jarring and angular. Everything shakes and jiggles, including a lot that shouldn’t. There’s no ‘flow’. I plod. I lurch. I stumble. It’s like my feet are in a 4th grade playground fight with the Earth and are punching the ground. Every piece of advice I’ve been given and and every article I’ve read about running are simultaneously running through my mind like the images of violence flashing in front of our humble narrator Alex undergoing the Ludovico Technique. I can go for a 5k run and try 7 different versions of what I ‘think’ should be ‘running,’ all the while chastising myself that, really, as a species, we’ve been running since the dawn of time, so how is it possible for me to screw it up so badly.

I don’t know why I run. I tell myself – and other people sometimes – that it’s for the cross-training, the variety, sometimes I even lie and say I enjoy it. I think, really, it’s because it’s the quickest way for me to get uncomfortable. I can go for ‘bike rides’ and phone them in. I can cruise, spin and still maintain a pretty good pace over considerable distance without doing much ‘work’ – and sometimes it’s easy to fall back into that trap. Running, within 15 feet of the end of my driveway, I am positively miserable. And by that I mean, miserable in the best possible way. I know that I’m doing something I don’t really want to be doing – but doing it anyway. Unlike some other folks, I don’t need to go run a 100k desert ultra to ‘push myself out of my comfort zone’. I can do that handily within a 10k radius of my house. I hate to quote him here, but I think it was Lance who when asked why he liked to push himself so hard on the bike replied, “because it feels good when I stop.” There have been times when I’ve run on a pretty regular basis and have had periods where I started to feel somewhat confident and almost achieved the state I can so easily settle into on the bike, but for the most part I run so I can get it over with. For the feeling of accomplishment of having put myself through it and come out the other side. It’s kinda like Fight Club but with less bruising and cuts. I run for growth I guess, even if, during, it seems like I’m stunting it.

1971 Land Rover Series IIA

Not your Daddy’s Oldsmobile.

Stolen from my buddy Steve’s site.

Mine is not your conventional mid-life crisis. I don’t want the fast red sports car. I long for the slow, red truck that’s noisy and has no radio. No bluetooth. No heated seats. This particular one is a nice shade, has the additional cool tie-in of being from the year of my birth and even has a hitch receiver for the bike rack. Link to my gofundme page will be up soon…

Ancient Roman Roads Rendered as Modern Subway Maps

Roman Roads by Sasha Trubetskoy

From Open Culture:

It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly why these appeal to me so much but in part it’s because:

  1. The graphic designer in me has always loved this style of transit maps and the application of something familiar to something so ancient seems cool.
  2. Order. There must be order, in all things.
  3. I’ve always loved maps. Perhaps for the reason outlined in #2.
  4. There is a large part of me that would love to pack a bike with food and camping gear and disappear on these for an undetermined amount of time.

I realize that according to some of the notes on the maps, many of these roads no longer exist or have been converted to modern roads – but in my mind – they’ll always be cobbled trails and dirt cart paths. Don’t ruin it for me.

We Are Not the Thinkers of Our Thoughts

From a post over on kottke.org, Tiny Private Mind Motions

“Every morning, when I screw the lid onto my steaming thermos of coffee, I think to myself, automatically, the phrase “heat capture.” I have no idea why. I’ve never used that phrase in any other context in my life. And yet I couldn’t stop it if I tried. After years of this, I finally mentioned it to my wife, who revealed a similar habit: Every night, when she shuts the bedroom blinds, she thinks to herself the ridiculous words, “Sleep Chamber: Complete.” She said she kind of hates it because it makes her feel as if she’s living in an episode of “Star Trek,” but she has no choice.”

Sam Anderson, New York Times

I have this kind of stuff happening all the time. Has for years. Glad I’m not the only one completely out of control of what happens to pop into my head at any given moment.

Of course, I can’t think of a specific example right now, even after a few minutes of trying because the Universe has a dark sense of humour.