Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ebb and Flow

"Keep the earth below my feet

From my sweat, my blood runs weak
Let me learn from where I have been
Keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn."
-Mumford and Sons- "Below My Feet"

There was a huge storm this morning in Arcata. I woke up around 7am to rain hitting my window. I usually don't hear the rain that much because of my thick walls and my air purifier. Waking to hail-sounding raindrops and 50+mph winds was quite a way to wake up.

About an hour or so later, it regressed and calmed for the time being. It reminded me of the ebb and flow of life, the changes that we undergo as human beings. People come into our lives for a reason, sometimes they stay for a little while...other times longer. I've experienced this dramatic ebb and flow the last few months.

So I went running this morning after the rain had graciously passed and continued it's journey. The ground was still wet with many puddles guiding my path to the Arcata Marsh. Once my shoes crossed the path from the pavement to the slightly muddy earth I felt a great change. There is really nothing like running on the earth, it makes you feel free! After doing my circle of the marsh I found myself in front of a bench. I sat down and reflected of an event that happened about 2-ish months ago, a time when I experienced an ebb and flow. I was sitting down after a run then as well, when I was approached by a man with a broken leg. He asked if he could reach under the bench. Such a curious question--I had to know what he was doing! He was holding a rose and a letter. I asked him who the rose was for. He said he was doing a scavenger hunt for his girlfriend, eventually leading her to where he would propose. When he said these words, he had this spark in his eyes when he spoke. For me, I was experiencing the complete opposite. I was completely over a scavenger hunt and ready to focus on myself. After that day, I wonder what has become of this man in love with his girlfriend. I am almost positive she said yes :). Today, when I was sitting on that bench, I thought about how I've come so far from where I was at that moment in time. I have experienced an ebb and flow that has brought somebody special into my life. I'm excited for where our future shall lead us :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Shaking with the Earthquake

Sometimes you just need something to shake you, rattle you, and just make you realize you are on this great train of life. No matter what you do, it's going to keep chugging a long until it reaches the next stop. You might be unaware of it's real speed, but every now and then you look out the window and you realize by looking at the beauty that lies outside. Since I was a child, I would never take my eyes off the window. I loved looking out the window when I was on trains, it was an adventure! I was seeing new places and LIVING. Throughout the last few years it has felt as if I have taken my eyes away from that window and have been distracted from the beauty that surrounds me.

So, great life events are inevitable. Whatever they may be and they can occur at any time. My world has been shaken up a bit, almost like an earthquake shaking that train. Although it is frightening/scary/uncertain right now...it is ultimately for the best. For it balances the pressures and allows for homeostasis really. Living in California...I should know earthquakes. I have hidden, protected myself in some occasions, and others I would just go with the sway of the earthquake. This time, it's felt like I went with the sway, only for it to be a 10.0 magnitude. Maybe not the best way to get through this.

Now is the time to shake the dust. In the words of one of my favorite poets, Anis Mogjani,  "shake the dust."

It's time to pick myself off the ground and shake the dust. Evaluate any injuries, treat the wounds, and heal. Eventually I will, and will be stronger because of it. It's time to keep running and hop back on the train of life. For if I wait too long it will go on without me. The train slowly starts moving and I need to run back on. Run back on and greet the many sights and wonders that lie ahead of me. The many gifts of life that are yet to come.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A bike ride with some really old trees!

So today was an adventure. Something I've been wanting to do for awhile, bike ride in Prairie Creek State Park. There are these absolutely HUGE old growth redwoods that are up there. So, early this morning we packed up the car:

And we set out on the hour or so drive up to Prairie Creek. Although it's pretty close, it's amazing that a trip has not been made yet! It was on the to-do list and we set out to make it happen today. Sun was forcasted, so that was definitely a bonus. We were greeted by trees like these, hundreds of feet tall into the sky: 

Got onto the trail, and they were pretty smooth at first. Then we hit some root trails (which was most of the day's riding): 

They were an adventure in-themselves. You must imagine that the root systems of these trees must be vast and just expansive! I wonder how much water these roots get each day! So we rode around for a few miles, and then we got onto another trail. We were greeted to this: 

An amazing sight of the reflection of the sun and the changing colors of the trees. There were many many leaves on the ground: 

The trail was just absolutely covered in leaves. They were falling every second! 

So also on the trail were huge mushrooms: 

As well as large bridges: 

Lunch was had on a fallen tree, on a makeshift bench that was carved into it: 

Later on another trail, there was this section where two trees almost came together. I was able to fit into that space. It was incredible just being in that space and feeling a connection with these massive redwoods and looking up hundreds of feet to seeing these great beasts that they are! Quite amazing.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Afraid of the outdoors?

So, there have been a recent tragedy that has been heavy on my mind. There was a group of three runners that were running between Arcata and Eureka the other day. It was early in the morning, around 6am. Well, they were all three hit by a hit-and-run driver. Two are in critical condition and one died. This hits close to home because it was an HSU professor that died. It was also a fellow runner that runs the same roads that I do. It could have been me. That is what I think about when I see something happen like this. There was also someone that died in June or July on PCH in Sunset Beach that got hit by a car at 11 in the morning. That could have been me too. I ride that same stretch when I am down in Southern California. It's easy to place blame on the victims because they are easy targets...like they should have been out of the lane, or wearing reflective gear, or anything like that. Well in these two cases, the blame can clearly be put on the drivers. One driver was drunk and the other was intoxicated on some drug. (I'm sure).

I'm not going to let these two tragedies keep me from being outside. I'm going to keep doing what I do. But with more caution, much more. It's really sad when great people die, especially if you were close to them. Incidents like these make you want to keep looking behind your back and looking forward too. People's attention is becoming much more divided. It's wise to be completely aware of what is going on around you. If you're getting outside, great! It seems as if there are some people that are afraid of the outdoors and prefer to be inside. Not me. I NEED to be outside. Hey, we were meant to be outside...not in some cubicle, office, or cement shelter. That makes me think about diet too...we were meant to eat more caveman style. Don't be afraid to eat a plant you find. There was a small kid the other day that was really shocked when he saw me picking blackberries and eating them. I told him it was my meal, and he said he thought food only comes from the grocery store. Sadly, many people think the same way!!

This site is amazing. Mark does a really good job of putting together an abundance of information to make us think, act, and eat more caveman:

All for now.

The Boxer

I am listening to the new Mumford and Sons album, being entranced by the song "The Boxer." This song is a cover of a Paul Simon song. It's pure brilliance. This is an excerpt that is heavy on my mind:  

In the clearing stands a boxer, 
And a fighter by his trade 
And he carries the reminders 
Of ev'ry glove that laid him down 
Or cut him till he cried out 
In his anger and his shame, 
"I am leaving, I am leaving." 
But the fighter still remains 

This song really resonates with me because there is a sense of deep purpose ingrained in the message. Although people come and go, there is something (deep) that resonates and remains. There is something deeper than just the personal experience of one, there is a collective experience. 

So it is late September, and there is much to look forward to. I'm going to use this blog to help get out some of the ideas that are going on in my mind and to bring clarity.

I have been running A LOT. Maybe too much. I am getting ready to run 50 miles. It's a little unsettling to think about this race because it is 50 MILES!! What I am learning to do is just break it down by mile. Each mile will be a new experience, like a new day. I will be on a rollercoaster hitting great highs and lows along the way. It's kinda exciting to just contemplate this race every day. And with each day, another step closer to feel ready. 

That's it for now. 


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

One year later. Pushed back ultramarathon

So it's been about a year since I've wrote a blog here. I want to change that.

So, I've been preparing to race a 50-mile ultra-marathon. I was *supposed* to do it last year, but spraining my ankle on my mountain bike threw off my training.

Training has started. I imagine myself crossing that finish line every day--which is essentially my daily motivation. Before about two years ago, I've never heard about anybody running over a marathon. My perspective on running changed with one of my friends introducing me to ultramarathons (and pacing him--or him pacing me!) and meeting Dean Karnazes, who is one of the celebrities of the sport.

I've been changing around my diet to accomodate for a race of this distance. I am slowly moving toward a Paleo/Primal way of eating. This is essentially cutting out carbs/sugar and eating the way *we were supposed to.* Our modern lifestyle is pretty unsustainable. By this I mean our sedentary lives and the crap that we eat. It's not really anybody's fault--it's the way our society has become.

So I've been trying to eat about 50-60% of my calories from fat. These calories are mainly coming from coconut oil and olive oil. I usually make some veggies and just lather them up with the stuff. I just bought a gallon of coconut oil--let's see how long that lasts me! Then I have about 20% of my calories from protein--about 60-100g a day. This is in the form of Raw Protein powder by Garden of Life. That stuff is incredible--about the best protein powder on the market. For more fat/protein, I usually have some walnuts/almonds during the day.

So by eating more fat, I am training my body not to have to store fat because it is plentiful. I have seen a dramatic result in my physique. Definitely more leaner/more muscle mass. Way more energy!!! I will post more on my food experimentations in future blogposts.

So going back to my ultramarathon, I am building up my distance days. I am starting to do back to back distance days. Usually a long run/long bike or a double run. I'm doing about 10 miles right now...and am working myself up to 22 miles. So running 22 miles on two back to back days will give me 44 miles...which is pretty close to 50 miles. Doing this on two days will  be less strenuous and will give me solid training for the 50.

I'm doing some altitude training in Lake Tahoe right now. Probably one of the best places in the world. I'm off to swim in the lake!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Family Is Where the Home Is

Moving takes your life and shakes it around. It jumbles around the pieces inside until you are left lost and confused with how things have ended up. I had some moments where I was just confused towards the beginning of the month, especially around 4th of July where I just realized that I would miss holidays away from my friends and family in Long Beach. I had an amazing holiday spent with new friends from Arcata, but it was just not the same.

I booked a flight home for a one-way trip from San Francisco to Long Beach. I bought the ticket a couple days prior to leave me enough time to figure out how I would get to SF. I could get a direct flight from Arcata...but it is pretty pricey. I could drive to SF...but I didn't really want to. I found this girl Erin through Craigslist that was offering a ride through "rideshare." Its pretty much a part of the craigslist site where you can post if you are going somewhere and if you have a couple extra spots in your car to take people along. Call it modern-day hitch-hiking (which was my second option). We agreed I would pay her $40 for gas from Arcata to SF....so that part was set.

My flight was at 6:30PM on a Wednesday evening, so I had the whole day to get to the airport. Erin picked me up at my house @ 5am. She is also an HSU student and was pretty easy to converse with. She made me grab her itinerary paper which had a list of people she was picking up. She was driving down to Palm Springs and picking up more people. I saw her next stop was in Berkeley, so I told her she could drop me off there.

I LOVE the city of Berkeley. It is pretty much Arcata on a wider scale. I've always had this idea to crash a class...so I looked up what classes were happening at UC Berkeley. I decided on this Psychology of Sleep class, which was holding its second meet day and which was in a big lecture hall. I was trying to do my best not to stand out. Then again, I look like just another student.

I settle into a chair in this lecture hall, and I am intrigued by the very first word from this professor. UC Berkeley is known for using student teachers, and she was one. Even so, she knew how to teach. I was grasping onto every word...and would take that class in a heartbeat.

After about twenty minutes, all the sleep terms were starting to get to me. I didn't want to talk about sleep...I wanted to sleep! I stormed out of the class and walked onto this grassy quad area and found a tree to sleep under. I got a good thirty minute nap in. After that, I explored downtown and the areas around Berkeley. I got a wheatgrass shot and a veggie juice at this juice shop. I kept exploring and decided to get onto the BART.

I got off at the Embarcadero and explored. I walked around and just took everything in. I found a pizza shop and got a slice of cheese pizza and just sat and watched the world unravel before my eyes.

About thirty minutes or so, I make the decision to head to the airport via the nearby BART station. As I was at the airport and on the flight home, all I kept thinking about was what it was going to feel like once I walked back inside my "home."

A short ten minute drive later, we arrive at the front steps. I open up the door and walked inside. Something was different. It did not feel the same. It did not feel like home anymore. It just seemed like just another place...but it was not home. Well... "it was" home.

After spending a couple days back in Long Beach meeting up with friends and family...it started to feel like home. That's when I realized that home is not in any particular place. It is comprised of the people that are in your life. Family and friends are where "the home is."

Where you live will change multiple times throughout your life. You can make where you live very very comfortable to the point where you consider it as "home"....but really it is not what makes it up. It is the people that are in and around your home.

My new home is tucked away in a less-traveled part of Arcata that is a short walk away from Humboldt State. It is home because I have my friends and family supporting me every step of the way.