Thursday, December 31, 2015

That's a Wrap

I cannot think of a better way to wrap things up. This will do that. I suppose I could revisit each of the almost 720 posts that comprised the two-year streak and pick the ten that I consider to be exemplary, exciting or enticing enough to honor a top ten, but I would rather move forward and splash some new colors to canvas, bold hieroglyphics to cave wall.

In that spirit of homage, gratitude and progress, here is something that we might be able to take with us into the rigors and delights of the new year. Yeah, I am going to ask the fat lady to sing a top ten aria as curtain closes.

THE OFFICIAL RCVMAN TOP TEN NO-MO LIST.

(Please raise your right arm and repeat after me)

  • 1) NO meat.
  • 2) MO water.
  • 3) MO greens.
  • 4) MO movement.
  • 5) NO excessive use of toxins.
  • 6) MO (way mo) INTENSITY.
  • 7) MO epic, audaciousness, gumption, focus, joy (OK that was 5)
  • 8) MO tolerance.
  • 9) NO fear.
  • 10) MO forgiveness.

Good luck and God speed my friends. It has been a wild ride, one I fully plan on taking to dramatically higher levels in 2016.

Please join me.

That's a wrap.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Day 12.273 One Dynamic Duo

Audacity and vigor.

As dynamic a combination as you will find. Kinda like Batman and Robin. Gehrig and Ruth, Maris and Mantle, Lennon and McCartney, Koulfax and Drysdale, Browning and Gaskin. The latter just getting started and still only teen agers, but you get the idea. Dynamic Duos.

Build a complex, compound synergy of attitude and execution and you are gold. Set a target, commit to it, take the first step and keep going.

You might be surprised by the allies you will encounter along the path. Because the universe loves a challenge and folks on a mission. We call it a quest. Some call it the grand adventure and others call it seeking personal legends.

Whatever you call it - and truthfully it requires no name - the first days are the hardest days. BUT YOU MUST BEGIN.

With the somewhere being here and the sometime being now. At whatever stage of fitness, health and successful navigation on the treacherous waters of life you happen to find yourself today, a mere 48 hours from the new year.

Yes, you have LESS THAN TWO DAYS, to come to grips with lethargy and fear. In what may be the best line ever delivered on screen Colonel Jessup nailed it with YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH. He was right and it is true.

We tend to see the world not so much as it is, but as we are.

I will ask of myself the same as I will ask of you. Let us be strong, get stronger, be light, and become leaner, be quick and get faster. WE CAN DO THIS.

If we want to.

If you aren't ready to handle the truth, if you are satisfied with where you are, or if you have tossed the towel, I beg of you to reconsider.

Here is one option, we discussed it yesterday and it will be the Day 1 feature on the new site. We are calling it the 10/10 plan. Loose 10 pounds and gain 10 watts. IN A YEAR! I can (almost) guarantee with conscientious adherence to the daily protocols, you will hit this modest milestone by the Fourth of July. Who knows what we are capable of in those five remaining months.

Ten less and ten more. One measured on the scale and the other by wattage output.

We begin on Friday.

Plan with audacity and execute with vigor.

Holy dynamic duo.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Day 12.272 Healthy Hour

I suppose we should begin the countdown.

Three days left.

It has been a wild ride. As should be.

To add additional clarification, the streak of consecutive blogging days, originally began on January 1, 2014, and intended to encompass 365 days of that ignoble calendar year, will end on Thursday, December 31, 2015, more then 700 days later.

700 days. Well well.

To be fair, I missed a few days. but to be honest, they were for legitimate reasons such as heart procedures, power outages and impossible access to internet connectivity.

All things considered, I think it a success. I am pleased with the effort and hope to take the lessons learned into an altogether new, advanced direction.

As you have been warned that will be over at Best Indoor Cycling.

Where I hope you will join us.

Perhaps the biggest and most important lesson gleaned along those rough and rocky 700 days is the one of routine. Carving the time out of every day to sit and write. The joy of discipline meeting up with the creative imperative once a day, every day.

I have some very ambitious goals already set for 2016. I trust that you do as well and will join us for another 365 at the new site.

As for our health and fitness goals, always our main focus, my opening countdown toast to you is this rather ominous one;

The time is here to evolve from happy hours to healthy hours.

See you at the new site for a fantastic 2016 folks.

Cheers!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Day 12.271 The Ticking Clock

Herding the water-fowl (being a Husky fan refuse to use the D word) into formation (a row), we set sights on 2016 and its myriad opportunities. Long time readers can skip to the end as the textual fill today can be classified into a single category of which you are surely aware.

PTW.

Power-to-weight. That ratio again. It is so important that I am toying with the idea of making it our single focus for the entire year. The 2016 Primary Objective. It is my feeling that PTW improvements not only provide extraordinary health, fitness and enhanced performance results, but contain in their tactical execution all of the elements that we detail on a regular basis. Things like getting in regular exercise sessions that push the adaptation quotient, choosing high density proteins as fuel, hydrating properly, managing stress without toxic chemicals, recovering well and sleeping better.

Yeah, those things.

With the 'Day of the Resolution' here on Friday, I thought that it might be motivational and relevant for me to come up with some type of formula for you/us to achieve ONE REALISTIC GOAL for the 365 that will comprise 2016.

Hence the PTW intro.

Let's take a closer look. What if I was to suggest a goal of 10/10? Ten pounds less fat and ten watts more power? Know what? I would (might) kill for that. Point being in regard to the overall value associated. Healthier and fitter, faster, lighter and stronger. Big time stuff.

The challenge of course is to devise an algorithm that would be applicable to everyone. All sizes and shapes, genders and ages, cowboys or hippies, Dawgs or Ducks.

While I would be happy with a net 10/10 there are some that NEED more like 25/5. Or maybe 5/25.

As I sit at the laboratory desk today and watch the cauldrons bubble and hiss, this is my challenge; FIND THAT ALGORITHM!!!

Find it fast and put it into play.

The clock is ticking.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Day 12.270 This Path

In my book, finishing on a winning note has always been important. It contributes to so many positive possibilities. The possibilities we like to call potentials. The things you/we/us are capable of doing or becoming.

True, losing always has the 'fire in the belly' motivational option, but I guarantee it is easier to motivate, inspire and commit to something as solid as a victory than it is to wonder why the going always produces injury or insult.

Today as we stand close to the precipice of a new year, we have choices. I will state this for the record (in strict adherence to our AFS (always finish strong) acronymial mantra; We finished the year with grace and élan. While perhaps not stronger than dirt, we did manage to trend encouragingly upwards.

That springboard can propel us to even greater heights in 2016. We can resolve to evolve or stagnate. We can reaffirm our commitment to continual improvement, encouraging those around us (and it IS infectious) to be even better, with more focus and attention to detail, with more dedication and with more zeal. Two items we have been calling velocity and accuracy lately.

I will say it again folks, this is a magical and miraculous ride. It is imperative that we find a way to enjoy this process, day in and day out. Seize not only the moment and the situation but the process by which we master the elements of success.

We talk a lot about three of those elements a LOT around here. So much so that by now they should be second nature. But for the sake of stacking another win atop a season of them, please allow me the luxury of a three point review, this a shot at a successful segue from the powerful now of this present to the unstoppable then of tomorrow.

Diet, exercise and stress management. Eat good, work hard, chill out. 1-2-3.

Thank you all for your participation along this path. It HAS had its moments!

And here is to a monstrously successful 2016.

Cheers, to the path!!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Day 12.269 This is It


'Every second spent in search of your goals is an encounter with the Great Spirit of Eternity'.

Match that up with the unmistakable reality that as soon as, the very moment, that we move in that direction, we receive the assistance of the natural world, and you have an unbeatable one-two punch. Old thunder and lightening.

A quick look at the fine print reveals two crucial points:

1) One must know her goals and be willing to suffer for them, and,
2) One must fully commit to the quest to team with these powerful allies.

Nobody wants half-assed. Take a look at our favorite pop heroes and what they do. They don't spend a lot of time watching TV, wandering around aimlessly wondering what to do, or adding kerosene to the already red-hot flames of gossip and negativity. You can be a super hero too. But...

…Know what? Maybe this is asking too much. I apologize. Maybe you're just not ready for the magnitude of this responsibility. Maybe your foundation isn't solid enough yet to handle this opportunity. After all, you might get hurt. You could fail. You could become the butt of jokes from the peanut gallery. It is easy being soft.

Here on the final Saturday of the year I will ask of myself the same that I ask of you. More.

More awareness, more desire, more courage, more focus and more energy. We all need more commitment in the now, paying homage to our sacred part of the all. The universe is watching amigo.

And just because it is almost 2016 and we are now officially running out of time, I will again suggest that those second-by-second encounters with the Great Spirit and the formation of our personal teams of universal allies assembled for the successful achievement of your personal legends, is it.

It.

And that is that and this is it.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Day12. 268 I Asked You

If you have never done this, please (upon completion of this post) do.

Last night was a special Holiday treat for me. The small but passionate group assembled for our final spin session before Christmas seemed to be in a jovial mood and ready for action. It might have been due to shopping fatigue, Holiday stress or simply another Wednesday night opportunity to pick the best of myriad lifestyle choices.

The protocol I designed earlier in the day, as I piled copious amounts of protein and rest atop the blustery afternoon, was a relentless and challenging slug up a previously unnamed mountain. Atop this hill waited trophies, applause and carnations

We only scaled it twice, each assault lasting 24 minutes in four positions, each position lasting a mere minute. Twice was enough.

At the well-needed and well-earned mid-point of our expedition, I mentioned that one of the tools we routinely employ to access the quality of our Super Eight sessions is a rating based upon perceived effort. As in a brutally honest and objective rating on the traditional 1-10 scale of each repetition.  Not only might the results vary, they often vary very much. 

And I asked that we consider the reasoning behind this seemingly normal cause and effect scenario. Do we lose power, strength and endurance due simply to the fatigue factor, chemical imbalances or cardiovascular failure? Or is there something else?

I suggested that there is. That the something else is our will. Our desire to succeed and our ability to maintain a relaxed focus coupled with a ceaseless dedication to the discipline of progress, improvement and growth.

We began the second set after a short break and I asked for everyone to rate the second set versus the first in real time, as we rode. I also asked them to find something, somewhere, to make each one a little better than the first. I asked them nicely to do this, like a friend or training partner asking for a favor to - and more importantly for - themselves.

And a funny thing happened. Our 'little science' provided an astounding result. We all graded out better, higher, with more value during the second set than the first. In spite of all the contemporary wisdom associated with the sound reasoning why this shouldn't be the case.

Rhetorically I asked why, and then how. They all considered with sincere introspection. The I offered my analysis.

Simple, I crowed, we were better in the second set than the first for one single reason.

Because I asked you to.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Day 12. 267 Minium Requirements

'I can't overestimate the importance of this', I once heard.

It caught my attention, as it usually does. The old  'something important is about to happen' message.

We go through many days with bleak outlooks, gray and sooty spirits, white noise as background elevator noise providing the score for another twenty-four hour round of mediocrity.

Way too many days. They becoming months.

I am as guilty of this as the Joe next to me. Minimum requirements over time evolving into something acceptable.

Yikes. No effort and no focus. No challenge and no pride of accomplishment.

Two separate incidents this morning illustrated this point clearly.

The first took place as we prepared for another round of what I audaciously labeled to be the hardest indoor cycling drill known to man. Known as Super Eights they ask but one thing from each participant; Their absolute best. Thirty seconds of all-out, maximum, soul-searching, lung draining, leg burning, output. These are followed by ninety seconds of rest and recovery, repeated eight times.

They hurt. They test. They reward.

Curiously, there are two ways to measure one's performance. Data, the wattage produced with or without heart-rate fluctuation metrics, and, rate of perceived exertion, RPE. One is fixed, extrinsic, the other a moving target, highly subjective.

I cannot stress enough the difference between them. If, and that is one huge if, you are able to assess your performance with brutal honesty and rate YOUR EFFORT at 100%, you get the prize. It is not about the wattage, although it could be, it is about giving 100% of whatever you have to give. Obviously there is a huge difference in output between numbers one and eight, but, should you be able to execute your best effort, summoning all the internal strength available to you IN THIS MOMENT, you have hit the eye of the bull. The mercury rises.

The second incident took place about an hour later as we worked a set of hand/eye - velocity/accuracy drills. We set up three small logs, very dry knotless fir today, where I draw a line near the center of each with a black Sharpie. You can probably guess the rest.

The rightmost log is for the right hand, the center log for both and the left log for the left hand. The striking instrument, and this being a martial arts drill the hatchet is called a weapon, is to strike the log with enough force and accuracy to split it into an equal two.

I cannot overestimate the importance of entering a state of relaxed focus when executing this drill. You have five seconds to complete the exercise. Ready?

On the sixth second we stood and admired the six sticks where previously stood three.

A minimum requirement is a mediocre one.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Day 12.266 Accuracy and Trurth

It mirrors the reflection with accuracy and truth.

As I sit and attempt to improve my typing acumen and its result, quality content, the pond ripple slowly and gracefully moves towards me. I watch and try to understand why the vision is so powerful and if the goal is simply the enjoyment of this majestic moment or if there is another underlying message trying to move my attention deeper. It is showing myself back to me yes, but what truth is revealed?

I head back to the kitchen for a refill. In pouring the smoking black liquid into my favorite ceramic mug, Kalua-Kona, Hawaii, Oct. 13, 2012 it reminds me, I think about the sensation I currently sip and taste. And like a double-shot of espresso the pond ripples land. I have finished my morning ritual, on-line news, social media and electronic communications, ending with a dynamic motivational video hyping the upcoming Heart of Dallas football game on Saturday.

I feel good - but incomplete somehow. And I wonder why.

I take a look out the window and see a slight layer of frost decorating each blade of grass as the morning winter sun, here on the first day of winter, beginning to burn a hole through the darkness.

I slurp and admire a serenity bereft of complication. Still, something is missing.

I walk back to the situation room, place my mug carefully atop the coaster that rests on the glass desktop like a helio pad, and consider my place and our time.

Pond ripples begin to fade.

I need to contribute. Like the pond, like the pebble, like the farmer that picks the coffee beans, like the frost on the lawn and like the Husky football team that get one more chance to prove to their teammates how courage and effort from one mirror them all. Ripples of emotion, graceful and true, expanding outward in powerful liquid quasars of right action.

It is the difference between watching and doing. I see, absorb, witness, learn, listen, cheer, support and assess.

Resulting in an imperative to do.

An urgent imperative to put these images and inklings as lessons into play and see what quality of mash-up is created with the inclusion of my consciousness. My personal and unique spin on what the reflection of the ripples commands of me.

I want to be a actively engaged in this miracle.

A desire I trust to contain, through relentless practice, a degree of accuracy and truth.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Day12.265 Pooh Bear Motivation

We discovered something new this morning.

Earlier in the session I mentioned that of the many elements of a song, the one that impacts me even more than lyrical content is sincerity of delivery. I first came into awareness of this unusual criteria while listening to a tune called Midnight Getaway by Jerry Garcia some thirty years ago. Jerry opened my eyes and ears to many 'alternative' ideas, the element of vocal sincerity of delivery but one.

As Seal delivered a painfully emotional rendition of Kiss from a Rose, I blurted that we needed to go inside a little and think about honesty. How a sincere effort paves the way for advancement, gain, experience and growth. From the standpoint that lack of sincere effort sabotages our progress, the 'going through the motions' argument is particularly poignant at 0530 on a rainy Monday morning.

One step led to another and I was ad libbing in 6/8 time asking the assembled to come up with a one word description of their reasons for being in the room this fine morning. In other words, what is our motivation.

Another brutally honest out of spin genre song sounded crisp and pure in this new light despite the lyrics being from a children's book, something about a honey jar being stuck on the nose of a bear I recall. YOU try singing that straight!

The brutal set was done, we were warming down, endorphins flowed like chilled wine at a wedding.

I asked for some silent responses on the question of motivation, finishing with the confession that it was a trick question.

Because if we are able to successfully call upon our inner coach, truly hearing the response wrapped in a one word answer as to our motivation…..

…..it is right.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Day12.264 Radical Sustainability

Maybe we should call it 'radical sustainability'.

The premise surfaced again yesterday as an endorphin powered metaphor for competition. Competition with self in this case, defined as the conscious act of going head to head, face to face in hand to hand combat with the shadow side of ourselves that wants to negotiate a compromise.

That compromise of course being the timeless debate over what defines us. In the heat of battle (yesterdays proxy for a sustained standing climb with big-boy resistance under the spell of the symptoms of fatigue) we render options to two:

1) We can find that 'something' that sustains our effort and carry on, or,
2) We can cave to compromise and buy the sales pitch offering immediate relief.

In my example I called that 'something' competition. We compete with our fine selves in order to find meaning. To get the correct answer to a very big question. I argued that competition is that something. We compete. We fight. We do not surrender. We do not give up. We find our best.

And in so doing, we become stronger, fitter, more confident and in many cases more humble, as we empirically see the fragile humanity of our corporal- psyche- spirit nature. We are weak. We get sick. Eventually we all die.

But today we fight. Today we compete. Today we live.

That is the competition of which I reference. The growth, power, lasting value of developing a default attitude of getting the best from what we have. In any circumstance, on any occasion and under any degree of duress.

Making this definition of competition synonymous for radical sustainability.

Eh?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Day 12.263 Shame Me

There is nothing like the feeling of completion. There is no shame in jubilation.

You have done something.

Hopefully, something hard, real, challenging.

You glow with approval knowing that at any one of several critical points along the way you could have quit, packed the tent and headed to the artisan bakery. You could have played the I am too busy and gotta go card.

But you hung in there, stuck it out and now bask in the endorphin powered, dopamine flavored, pure, organic and sweeter than Tupelo honey glory of your achievement.

WAY TO GO!!!!

I love these moments, and routinely go in search of them. Could be a jones, a habit, a laughing monkey riding my back or simply a healthy lifestyle choice. I don't know - and I don't care. Their value is incalculable in a way that reminds my brain who is really in charge.

We worked our butts off this morning in a relentlessly wicked 90 minute spin session. Afterwards Junior and I came within one minute of setting new PRs on our weekly duathlon. After that I was walking in the dairy section of the local below average market en route to the plain yogurt (with zero sugar) into which I dip a 20gram protein bar, when I ran into an old pal.

How have you been? I inquire. Been awhile.

Busy.

Well that's good.

Yeah but it has taken a toll on my fitness.

That will happen, can you carve one hour a day to balance the load?

I could. I mean I can. I mean I will.

Do you want me to remind you every so often?

How about weekly?

I could haunt your in-box with reminders.

That would work.

Park my truck in your driveway like a debt collector.

Yeah. You know what would really work?

What?

Shame me.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Day 12.262 Banking Karma in Tahoe

Pathetically packing a paltry sack of groceries, I run into an old friend. We cross paths in front of the pharmacy, where I say hello tentatively, using her first name and a smile. I hope to avoid the embarrassment of her not remembering me after passage of the two decades since our last communication.

She does not disappoint and we segue to the obligatory what have you been doing exchange.

They have sold their waterfront home, downscaled with the graduation from college of their two kids, she has been retired for two years and hubby has transitioned to senior consultant for his law firm, a position to which he commutes every day via what we used to call the bankers boat, a cushy mid-morning sailing on a Washington State Ferry to Seattle.

Barbara used to be the VP/Manager of the local branch of the bank with which I do business. Somewhere around 1981 I was in an eerily similar financial position as I am today. Back in those days hand written checks were the official legal tender du jour. On one particularly difficult occasion I bounced a series of checks in a classic example of negative trickle down theory. I was involved in a vehicular accident and couldn't work for a couple of weeks. No paycheck = no cash. No cash = no ability to write checks. By the time that this scenario had settled the bank overdraft fees were more than the original amounts.

I was in a pickle.

After returning to work, my first stop was to the bank to clear things up. I was fully prepared to close my account, walk away and engage in a cash economy until some type of financial stasis returned.

Playing the part of the prodigal son, I pulled a chair in front of Barbara's desk and told the sad story. She listened with interest the sincerity of which was either honest or well-rehearsed, but what she did after checking her computer was to look at me and smile.

She said not to worry about the overdraft fees, and if I could bring my balance up to date she would erase the penalties.

Really?

Yes. Deposit your check and stay healthy she said standing and extending her right hand.

She has been my favorite banker ever since. The one thing I needed that day was a simple act of kindness, a sympathetic gesture of understanding and compassion, things I never expected from a person in an industry of  corporate capitalization of other people's capitol.

Thirty years later we were on the subject of health care standing in front of the Safeway pharmacy. I told her my story, and she shared hers. Something is wrong with our system of health care system I said, citing the obscene profits that accrue from our pedestrian pockets.

Yes, she agreed, and along with those gigantic profits comes a moral and societal responsibility to give back and for them to help the very people that contribute to their bottom line.

I carefully consider this as I pay for my bagel and yogurt using a debit card that carries the logo of her former employer.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Day 12.261 Counting Sheep

Maybe this is it I am thinking.

Wishing, hoping and praying along the process.

As if all the arrhythmia issues aren't enough, the results from my sleep study provided data indicating that I have sleep apnea too.

My consultation yesterday yielded interesting info on the relationship between the two. It seems obvious to me that a brain and body shutting down from a regular  oxygen supply 52 times every hour, might in turn affect the rate with which the heart regulates the work it has to do. As in the number of beats. What a killer double whammy! Oh, and then there is the data indicating what they call the 'arousal percentage', meaning the number of times I wake during the night as a result of some type of arousal. According to the study this took place almost 600 times the night I was at Harborview. Either we get this fixed or I find an insomniac girlfriend.

All this might also have a dramatic impact on both my ability to recover and metabolic operating capabilities. It could very well be the reason why sometimes I feel on the doorstep of syncope, the threshold of exhaustion and the stoop of hallucination. You work out, adding requisite intensity, fuel the activity and then retire for rest and recovery, which never happens. NO WONDER!

They prescribed a treatment known as CPAP, continuous airway pressure therapy, meaning I am now the owner/renter of a machine that regulates every breath I take at night, adding the necessary air flow and pressure to create a cleaner, more effective and consistent night of sleep. It is a fairly high-tech device, with 8GB of memory tracking percentages of air flow, sleep interruptions, and rating the overall effectiveness, creating a nightly file of minutes spent in the four sleep zones. It is a moderately invasive nostril only apparatus that forces diaphragmatic breathing. Tonight will be the virgin test.

I am trusting that by this time tomorrow I will be sleeping regularly, recovering faster, staying in sinus rhythm and ready to start training with more intensity, frequency and duration.

If not I guess I can always go back to counting sheep. Or back to the drawing board as we used to say.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Day 12.260 You Know How?


I sometimes use it as the reason behind my decision to leave LA over forty years ago.

Too many cars, too many people, too much hassle.

Punctuating an important growth period in the grand adventure with a stop in Spokane for the 1974 Worlds Fair, I woke one morning in the back of an empty cargo container parked near the expo. My 1952 Chevy 1/2 pickup had broke down near Oakland, CA, where we, Cassady my German Shepard and I, traded it to a Navy seaman for $100, a backpack and a cheese pizza. Once the pizza was gone, so were we, ending up two nights later in Spoke-a-loo.

I was happy, feeling very Kerouac like, exploring new territory with every step.

I was also broke.

After the fair me and Cassady decided to find work. We walked the streets looking for help wanted signs, this being about thirty years before Craigs List. After a few hours we were hungry and thirsty. So we waltz into an old brick building with a fading sign announcing it as Dale's Tavern. If you have ever been to Spokane, you can probably visualize this with little effort. A literal ton of red bricks went into the original construction of downtown Spokane. This one was its poster boy.

I have two dollars left to my name. It is Sunday afternoon. We take a quick vote and decide that I am more thirsty than Cassady is hungry, so I order a schooner of whatever is on tap. From outside Cassady eyes me with something less than unconditional love.

There is a beautiful solid oak file cabinet behind the bar running its entire length. The tarnished brass handles on each drawer remit a patina stained glow. My bar stool is comfortable and swivels in 360 degrees as I sip and spin.

When I near completion of my beer, the bar-keep inquires about Cassady who is now shaking down customers attempting entry for spare change or food with a friendly, for him, smile. 

Where you two heading?

Depends.

Depends on what?

Depends on what happens today, I guess.

How do you mean?

I am broke, my dog there is hungry and I have enough left for one more beer, so if somehow, someone should offer me a job, I would be off in that direction promptly, if not I have no idea.

You looking for work?

Yeah.

Fitting his glasses where they previously hung around his neck to his nose and turning to the file cabinet he finds a drawer, slides it open, shuffles a few index cards and pulls one out. He stops at the tap and pours another beer setting it in front of me along with the index card.

You know how to drive a tractor?


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Day 12.259 Struggle as Growth?

Someone once suggested that struggle is just another name for growth.

I know from experience, most of recent, that if this adage was a literal absolute, that many of us would be 100 feet tall.

It seems that everything these days contains struggle as a prerequisite. Maybe that is good - you know - like paying dues. One must go through a little bit of hell before riding up to the pearly gates.

But non-stop struggle? Everywhere?

And to be clear, I am talking about the financial side of the coin here. Good God the deck is stacked. I went through the now obligatory Affordable Health Care drill last week and talked to some folks about their experience and it is universal - we are getting the short end of the shaft.

To be fair and balanced (!) with regard to health care, we have come a long way. But there remains a huge amount of ground to cover before we get anywhere near affordable. It is not the President's fault, IMHO it is the military- industrial-market place of the pharmaceutical-medical-insurance complex to blame. Pardon the horrid pun, but they are making sick profits as sick people die of indigent influenza. You know, the poor perish.

Talk care of your sons and daughters America. Make affordable health care - REAL affordable care - part of the fabric of freedom. You are making criminals of hard working, tax paying, honest families who simply haven't the cabbage to grow this crop.

Asking a family to cough-up more money for less coverage as inflation eats everything else in sight, using the threat of tax penalties, is more fascist than denying passage to immigrants or building brick walls as border impediments.

I am ashamed. I am sad. I worry for our future.

But at least I know I am growing with each passing day.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Day 12.258 Thank the Universe















My list of things to do today.

  • Early spin class. √
  • Workout with Junior. √
  • Get some protein at Safeway. √
  • Post yesterdays blog entry. √
  • Learn Gallows Pole for ukulele.
  • Get caught-up on Husky Football news. √
  • Shoot two new video segments for BIC.
  • Finish 2015 Highlight video.
  • Get two birthday presents ordered.
  • Get cycling map of US.
  • Research knee tracking imbalances.
  • Research Carter Burwell.
  • Meditate.
  • Nap.
  • Burn new tunes for PB.
  • 2x20 set in PB at 1730.
  • More protein.
  • One episode, Season Two, The Wire.
  • Thank the universe for all of the above.
  • Relax into deep REM.

Day12.257 Why Not?

(ED Note: Power AND Cable were out yesterday due to storms, this is Sunday's post)

Exactly the feedback I was looking for, thank you.

Anonymous took the time yesterday to tell me that my plan, the one leaked yesterday on this very site, the one about riding 3,700 miles to Tennessee and then on to Connecticut for a couple of minor-league half-ironman triathlons, was, what did he (assuming it was a he), call the plan, a waste of time? And that if I really wanted, as I put it, adventure, challenge, meaning and fun, that I should ditch the bike and walk. He went on to use rhetorically colorful terms such as the ones that a retired General used in reference to his former boss last week. You know the ones.

I am pleased that my little plan created such an emotional reaction, and I apologize to anonymous and to everyone else who feels that this endeavor is somewhat less than spectacular. I wholeheartedly admit that it is.

It is not running an ultra. It is not riding from Juneau to Tierra del Fuego. It is not swimming from Cuba to Miami. It is not scaling Mt Rainier, finding a cure for the common cold, ending needless political wars, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked or finding affordable housing for the homeless.

BUT IT IS SOMETHING.

Something that I can do. Something that contains both a plan for the future, the need to train and prepare in the present and the faint possibility of creating some petty cash flow in the future. Additionally it has that 'something' that has captured my imagination, a double-shot of chutzpa with a attitudinal back.

I know it's crazy. I know I could take a more celebrated route, find a cause and raise awareness or set a new masters speed record, should there exist one. But those are not my whys.

My why, added to the ones listed above, is simply this:

Why not?

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Day12.256 Pass the Pepper

Deciding to live dangerously is not a novel concept. People do it all the time. It adds spice, peppers the palate.

But it isn't easy. What IS easy is getting into a rut. Doing the mundane, settling for routine, mislabeling the status-quo as success.

If you can honestly assess your life and consider whatever bottom line is meaningful to you, if your passions are realized, and if you receive daily feedback suggesting that your choices are truthful to your calling…

…keep at it! Share it with others and spread the love.

But if it isn't…

…get after it!

Break some rules, step outside - way outside - your current zone of comfort. Do something different, travel somewhere, enter a race, take a class, learn to meditate.

Life is waaaaaaaaaaay too brief to settle for normal.

It is both rhetorical and literal that your health, as mine, could get on the next bus and split town. I still manage moments where my heart, now regulated by a electronic device, feels like the next beat may be the sound of the dramatic conclusion. How miserable I would feel if I was to spend what reaming time I have in this earthly paradise, doing the mundane, routine, boring and conservative?

Very miserable I assure you. So….

I am planning another epic bike trip. Details to follow but from April 16 of next year to June 5 I will be riding to Knoxville, TN, for the Rev3 Tri and then on to Lake Quassy, CT for the Rev3 triathlon there. It appears to be a total of about 3,700 miles.  In 38 riding days of approximately 95 per day. Stay tuned.

And pass the pepper please.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Day12.255 Have Some Respect

Respect. Truth, transparency and humility.

No, I am not talking about a new political trend. I am so tired of that circus. The people actually running this country along with several other countries are ROTFL. At us. We are such easy prey, distracted and divided. We fight among ourselves rallying behind outmoded ideals, arrogantly and aggressively defending our right to be ignorant and inebriated.

It is so sad. We have the resources, talent and opportunity. All we lack is the willingness to change. Then fear is the ultimate winner, and that is fine with the powers-that-be because there is control and profit in it. It is a commodity. You can buy it, sell it, leverage it, manipulate it.

Worse, we buy into the hysterically hypocritical rhetoric spewed by its propagators. Semi-automatic weapons, religious intolerance, women's bodies, marijuana, homosexuality, homeland security, the stock market, insurance, big pharma, big oil and the fatted-calf bureaucracies to administrate their flow of commerce is heating not only the political landscape but our plant with it. It is getting volcanically hot down here.

Stop the lying, stop the cheating, stop the angst. Your decades of greedy abuse and immoral legislation have come at a great cost to our children, a demographic you seem to view as unfortunate collateral damage in your maniacal devotion to the Christ of Cash.

Respect.

I was talking in class yesterday about the respect we show our opponent in contests, that being the highest display of honor. We play or best, our hardest and with all the focus and power we can muster, because that is the gift. What type of victory comes against an opponent who is playing with half-effort? When I win, I want to know, beyond any shadow of doubt, that I beat your best. I BESTED YOUR BEST. THAT is respect. Therefore our solemn duty is to compete at the highest level we are capable. ALWAYS. We do not dummy-down to the competition. We make them better as a result.

That is transparency and that is humility.

And should you best me, or us, on any given day, I know, we know, that it was an honest victory. And I shake your hand in respectful congratulation, vowing to improve and learn the myriad lessons of defeat. We ALL win as a result.

Perhaps that puts a new spin on how we prepare. We practice with urgency and hope, dedication and faith, discipline and love.

I think this holds true whether you are a world-class athlete, a school teacher, a gunny sergeant, a data analyst, a real estate tycoon or a politician.

Have some respect.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Day12.254 Almost a Ten

A turning point in his eyes I can see.

Conducting a martial-arts kick, spin, punch drill in our cold garage dojo this morning I asked him to rate his last effort. Scale of 1-10.

He looked at me with beads of sweat taking forehead formation, and replied with a shrug of shoulders, a ten I guess.

A TEN? I bellowed to his reply.

That was absolutely, 100% dead-solid perfect?

Well no.

Re-rate it then please.

Maybe a nine? he asked sheepishly.

The front kick was with as much velocity and accuracy as possible and your spin was with impeccable, flawless and graceful power?

Well I did lose my balance there.

Yes, you did.

And you thought nothing about it at the time, thinking that it was OK as long as no unit of measurement or closer inspection was pending, just another rep. Right?

Sensing that this was a special opportunity, he shakes his shoulders, eyeballing my glare to gauge his need for depth, honesty and factual level of reply.

Well….

Are we getting closer to the real number?

Seven?

70%?

Six?

It was a six? Are you asking me or telling me?

Telling.

Are you telling the truth as deeply as you understand it?

Yes.

Are you sure?

OK it was a five.

So there is room for improvement?

Yes.

How do we do that, go from a five to a six?

Practice?

What kind of practice?

Hard?

No.

Long?

No.

A light comes on and he looks at me with bright, clear and sincere hazel eyes.

Focused.

Do it again I say steadying the body bag. Go.

Snap, snap, snap and pop.

How was that?

Better.

Why?

Focus.

Go shower and get ready for the rest of the day. Nice work. Big lesson here.

He springs up does a 360 mid-air spin and heads for the door, turning, joyously to say,

THAT was a ten.

Almost.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Day 12.253 What Happens After

We used to say that the true test is in what happens after.

This rhetorical application referenced indoor cycling as we would climb impossible grades with breakneck cadence. The oxygen gets a little thin up there.

The point being that the test is in the response, or what happens next.

If you are cooked, gassed and spent at the top of one climb, yet there remains ten more or equal or greater slope, well, you have work to do.

If you wish to improve (one BIG if) the consistent effort you put forth towards the achievement of that goal will soon answer the question. The question being, of course, how much gas remains in my tank after a single hard effort.

I was reminded of this theory yesterday as I received some 'interesting' news. Not bad news, nowhere near catastrophic and not much more than gossip actually, but it affected me, at first dramatically.

As the morning progressed and I began to consider the complexity and other viewpoints of the situation, a similarity of pattern surfaced. Instead of my usual knee-jerk 'oh yeah?' response and administering an all-or-nothing tactic, I carefully considered the fallout, the effect, the ramification of what I was being asked to do.

I gave it the entire day for consideration. I tried to wear the moccasins of the others. and perhaps most importantly, I attempted to remove myself from the equation and inspect with text book objectivity.

This is just one hill, I self consoled, there are many to follow. If you give up, react with violence, make a show of anger or constrict, you have answered the question.

Because nothing good, positive or enriching will follow that choice.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Day 12.252 No I Can't

I wake on a couch that feels like an old raincoat. It is warm, worn and satisfying. It has, as if by memory stored on some soft, fluffy cloud, provided support for my back and cushioning at the stress points. I hear the hum of the central heating and see the glow of the festive lights hung professionally outside. I remove my arm from the down comforter and find the light button on my watch hopping I have another hour.

I don't.

Hurriedly now, I scramble downstairs to make a quick pot of coffee for the ride. The rain is splashing sideways against the kitchen window. I can't find the filters so I empty the used grinds into the plastic lined can and put it back in the machine. I chuckle at my feeble attempt at recycling as I pull phone from pocket to see if anyone in the world needs my help before my first cup of joe.

They don't.

I drive through the pouring rain in the middle of a vehicular procession snaking towards downtown and the ferry terminal. Lights in the opposite direction (where are THEY going?) obliterate my night vision with regularity. Why don't we all just take the bus?

We can't.

I pull into the drive of my client to execute our workout. It is 0645. He isn't feeling well so we decide to 'take the day', as in off. As in no workout. I am momentarily irritated thinking about that extra hour I could have logged on the couch. I drive back towards the new digs, stopping along the way to get a $1.25 coffee refill. In the convenience store my buddy shows me a picture cut from our local paper from 1973. We look at it, identifying the two rows of softball players, all with hair too big for their caps. We look at the picture, then at each other as the obvious emerges. Several of the guys on that team are gone. Wish we could play once more, he says.

We won't.

I get home and prepare to start my sure to be hectic day. The phone buzzes on the glass-top desk like an angry yellow jacket. The text asks me to do an emergency substitution for a sick spin instructor. The class is scheduled to begin in 25 minutes. I could say no and concoct some lightweight and lame excuse.

No I can't.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Day 12.251 The Door Was Shut

"Bainbridge Island intercepted the 14th part about midnight (west coast time), and teletyped it on to Washington. The Army did the decryption of this part, which was in Japanese, and the services shared the distribution around the capital in accordance with usual practices."

Seems as how I am sitting in a former Army barracks BOQ (Bachelor Officers Quarters) and that today is the 74th anniversary of Peal Harbor, I think it appropriate to delve a little deeper into a few interesting details that took place leading up to that infamous day. A portal to the past, if you will.

This Army/Navy facility, remnants of which still stand, played an important role in that skirmish, often sited by military historians as one of the most pivotal battles in our sordid history of war.

Fort Ward on Bainbridge Island, my current location, was assigned code breaking detail. And our mission was successful. We knew of the pending surprise attack on Pearl Harbor before it took place.

Conspiracy theory or historical fact? For the sake of this exercise I will take the latter. With the conspiracy dots connected between Pearl and 911 - as both Roosevelt and Bush plus their military-industrial brain trust, went looking for a suitable, and profitable, reason to engage.

So we break the Japanese code, follow the proper channels, hoist it up the chain of command, and, and…..

Nothing.

Why?

Why is that door still shut?

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Day 12.250 Cross Fading Begins

I am going to start the cross-fade. In film editing terns this is a common technique to segue from one frame to the next. Or, as in this case, from a frame ending one sequence to what follows. In this process the passage of time is reflected while the old dissolves into the new. When done well, it is a powerful visual reminder of the power of change.

A few examples might include a cross fade from night to day. Or from the outside of a building to the inside. Or from one person dreaming about another while the scene travels from rainfall to sunlight. You get the idea.

My cross fade is more symbolic and moving from one medium to another.

We are in the last few days of 2015. Twenty-five left to be exact.

Over that period of three weeks and change, I will begin to move from this journaling style of blogging to a more video based format in conjunction with our new site. The imagery could show fingers at a keyboard giving way to a camera on location framing the talent.

I will be the first to admit that this is risky. Assuming the role of primary talent and going 'live' every day, is venturing into a zone well outside my current pattern of pulling the chair closer to screen, cracking knuckles and trying to start a post with something other than a definite article.

We have been shooting test video all week trying to get the best light, color temp and audio in order to create elements that portray professional quality. I am 100% responsible for content.

In my broadcast days we used to laugh at the insult that so and so has a face made for radio.

All the initial tests indicate that we might be better off doing a podcast than video, but the hell with it I say. Roll the cameras. What have we to lose? Humiliation is my middle name (Michael being way to conservative).

On the new site I am going to share what I have experienced over the last four decades. I want to make it interesting and entertaining. I want to provide the sum of my understanding as a way to motivate and inspire. I want YOU to do something in return. I want you to reply, get involved and provide me (us) with feedback and commentary. Share the story and make us laugh (or cry).

That way we all benefit.

It's like a cross fade.

From the old to the new.

And it starts with this frame.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Day 12.249 The Realm of the New

The realm of the new.

A fascinating article made its way to my screen a few days ago. Its mere presence has created powerful change. I will attempt explanation using the metaphor of hitting the eye of the bull.

Draw string. Aim.

For a while now I have extolled the virtues of time. Brazenly even overstepping my bounds with dearth of explanational depth. I am not a astrophysicist. I get headaches every time I try to consider distances in light years.

But THIS I know: When we preform smooth, groove-zone sweet-spot sets, time is linear. Five minutes is five minutes. I empirically understand this as 'normal, regular, longitudinal and linear.' You know it too.

BUT, as soon as, the very nanosecond, that we intrepidly venture outside our contort zones, things change. Shit happens.

AND FIVE SECONDS SEEMS LIKE FIVE MINUTES. That is the reality of our experience in that space at that time. Anything but linear. Shit is happening FAST.

With this pseudo scientific sampling of shinola, we segue to another time related phenomena. This one regarding the awareness, the sensation, the feeling that time is speeding up. The example I used this morning in spin class was of all the shinola that has passed under the bridge since the 1967 release of Magical Mystery Tour. Ta da.

Remember that year? Remember 1977, 1987 and 1997? Even in 2007 we were still doing fun new stuff, were we not?

But something happened. We got into a routine. We started doing the same shit day after day after day. There is accumulation instead of experimentation. Even if we were banking high sixes, the fresh, the dangerous, the risky, the demanding was missing. We got bored. As we got fat and lazy.

All because our goals had been realized, our journeys completed and our dreams achieved. We had the house, the three cars, the kids all graduated from college and the portfolio robust enough to sustain the lifestyle for another thirty or so years.

Nothing to look forward to but birthdays, anniversaries and martinis after rounds of golf.

NO WONDER TIME FEELS FASTER, WE ARE BORED SHITLESS.

I will now provide for you a solution. Not the only one, but one none-the-less.

Bring your perception of time back into the realm that we can control. The now.

Put 100% of your concentration into this. Whatever THIS happens to be.

We can practice this eternal, provocative and life changing skill every time we decide to saddle up and ride. That puts the power back into the now. It is new precisely because you have never done this, LIKE THIS before. What a great challenge. This old dog learning the most important trick of all time.

This is a game changer folks. And the time is now.

The realm of the new.

Coo co ca choo.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Day 12.248 The Space Bar

The space bar is my best friend.

I use it to freeze video dialogue after particularly juicy scenes. Sometimes I need to digest all the information, understand motives or try to predict where the action just witnessed will take us next. It is also a useful tactic when beer and snacks need refreshing.

In self-accessing my mastery of the space bar tool during my year of 24, patterns emerged. It seems that I wasn't as interested in the explosive violence as I was in the delivery of critical communications. In other words, when somebody (usually Jack in 24) gets it right and demands reciprocal retribution. Immediately after I pause in order to better appreciate both the craft of the writers, the skills of the actors and their combined panache. In toto those scenes, the crux of the story, as created and choreographed, define dramatic cinema success.

Last night we had another a-ha deja vu moment. In a vibrantly electrifying exchange between two affected anti-heroes. I refer mostly to one James McNulty, he of The Wire fame. With Randal Patrick McMurphy like raw emotional energy, he rhetorically undressed a Baltimore circuit judge, absolutely nailing the complex realities of politics, crime, drugs, duty, law enforcement and ethics in one fire and brimstone, in-your-face, red-eyed, hair-on-fire exchange.

As soon as the editor jump-cut to the next scene I hit the bar.

I was laughing. Not at McNulty, the judge or anything similar, but over what a dear (and departed) friend once told me as we walked into to a conference room where I was to speak (and sell).

She said this: It is all about attitude.

I smiled in the memory of that experience and in the honoring of our deep friendship. She was so right.

As Jack before him, McNulty carried the day with attitude and élan. There would be no compromise. Not on my watch. A big lesson learned long ago. Attitude.

Space bar.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Day 12.247 Long Live The King



“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”

T.H. White

I will ask of you today, dear readers, to read that again. REALLY read. Absorb, embrace and deeply consider what the author of Once and Future King and Sword in the Stone, TH White, suggests as the cure for sadness.

Sadness, in this context being proxy for disillusion, anxiety, frustration and fear. There are a LOT of those going around, seemingly at a pace destined to set records.

Mr White makes an astonishing point. Learn something.

Learn why the world wags and what wags it.

I am setting up our fledgling and makeshift studio to record the first of what I hope to be many video sessions. You should be familiar with the subject matter, but reading the above planted another seed in the fertile garden of this creative imperative.

By design most self-help, coaching, advice, how-to and DIY sites focus on the giving side of the coin. As in I will give you advice, instruction, structure, hope and some of the skills necessary to accomplish your objectives in exchange for xxx amount of dollars in the currency of my choice. That is the rough outline - or heads.

The tails side of that same coin is the reciprocal. Giving back, sharing, teaming up in united partnership. There is the real power, power enough for a future King or sufficient for the grand sorcerer to set the sword in the stone.

As with Arthur and Merlin, the same with you and the same with me. The learning comes from the partnership. I want to learn what wags you so that I may hungrily add it to my plate as it may assist others,

That is what wags me.

Long Live the King.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Day12.246 A Great Start

Great start.

After deciding last night to take a rare rest evening (not to be confused with a rest day), getting a solid night's sleep (including some ready-for-sci-fi deep REM episodes) and the near-flawless execution of a Super Eight set this morning (more on the new protocol below), I sit refreshed and ready.

A good thing considering the amount and scope of the work to do.

I said it before sunrise today and I will attempt to keep it in play until the closing set tonight, that I would prefer to be more someone who get's things done as compared to someone who works hard.

There is a difference. A big one.

Oh yes, and for the sake of clarification, in the form of a retraction, yesterday's mention of an unemployed friend followed by my diatribe about hard work was not meant to insinuate that he is one but not the other. My bad timing as far as rhetorical structural flow. Forgiveness requested.

New Super Eight protocol:

10 minute warm up.                                                        10
06 minutes alternating one minute stand @18 with        06
one minute seated, first 10 seconds being a 90% push.
S8 - 30 seconds seated all out, 90 seconds rest X8.        16
6 minute seated recovery.                                                06
06 minutes alternating one minute stand @18 with        06
one minute seated, first 10 seconds being a 90% push.
10 minutes Groove Zone Sweet Spot                              10
06 min cool down, stretch, floor routine & out               06

There is 60 SOLID minutes. Please remember that we also talked about power-to-weight ratio and how it satisfies almost every requirement for progress. The best way I know to parlay a super workout is by a proper nutritional follow.

More clean protein and less carbohydrates. Together they create:

A great start.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Day 12.245 Let's Kick Some Ass

Happy December folks. This is it, the denouncement of 2015. We are, officially now, opening the closing act.

Which is a heck of a lot better than closing the opening act.

I met a friend for coffee this morning after our pre-school session with Junior. My friend has been out of work for some time now and starting to feel the pressure. He has three kids, a mortgage and the usual assortment of family related financial responsibilities.

We talked about the economy, the labor force, the shrinking middle class and the cost of education. He is one of the most upbeat guys I know, yet I could sense the concern and stress between the lines.

As I drove home thinking about what, if anything, I could do to assist, even in terms of support or encouragement, the theme I was organizing in my head for today's post kept popping up, raising its hand aggressively wanting recognition.

I was simply this:

The answer.

I have the answer.

I know what the solution is.

Granted this simplistic, sensationalistic headline was in reference to the universal desire for good health, optimal fitness, and in specialized cases enhanced performance, but the premise is applicable in both the physical, environmental and personal realms.

You have heard it before and you will hear it again.

The answer is hard work.

Not just some work, or a little work, but A FOCUSED AND CONCENTRATED ALL OUT ASSAULT ON THE GOAL.

Getting a job, losing ten pounds, mentoring, coaching, supporting, leading, building, WHATEVER….

All get done by hard work.

Welcome to December. Let's kick some ass.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Day 11.244 A Little Slice of Heaven

We attacked the moving target this morning. Searching for a little slice of Heaven.

There are precious few concepts that we can accurately label as absolutes. Things that eventually, if we hang around long enough, we will experience. Suffering, death, taxes, loss of health, disease, disappointment all fit the category. To be fair, so might love, joy, tranquility, success and creative inspiration.

We isolated the health one early today. We meet at 0530 every Monday morning for an hour of indoor cycling. It is my job to design the workout, explain the components and lead the session. I also have the additional duty to add a musical accompaniment and appropriate commentary and motivational messaging.

The absolute in question is the need for movement. The target is some combination of good health, enhanced fitness, performance preparation and calorie consumption. By mutual agreement we feel that this is an important part of reach day. We also recognize the myriad other benefits in this routine, the cardiovascular, bio-chemical, fuel processing, muscular adaptation and stress management upgrades.

But today was about experimenting with a visitation to a rather nebulous location known as The Comfort Zone. The moving target of mapping one's response to the stepping outside of it, more precisely.

We witnessed, again, the phenomena known affectionately as the fatigue factor as the protocol demanded relentless output; muscles, lungs and wills quickly tested in their ability to maintain the power requirements.

We also saw the reality of the moving target metaphor. As our power dropped, in some cases dramatically, the point was to define in the present moment the current sweet spot and add 25 watts to it. Our wattage was reduced but the target, as goal, remained the same.

By 45 minutes I was cooked, basting like a roasted turkey, ready for knife and fork. I was amazed at the speed with which this power protocol impacted my ability to sustain my former robust output.

That target had not only moved, it was hiding in deep cover.

My comfort zone was now a small percentage of what it had been at the start. I was hanging on by a silver thread, desperate in my attempt to finish with whatever pathetic degree of oomph musterable (I will coin that one here - and hope you take my meaning).

And it hurt like hell.

That little slice of Heaven.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Day 11.243 Just Write a Check

I am working on another promo. It feels sort of like doing dumbbell biceps curls.

I do that a lot (the promo part).

I have the vision that the 'scene' will take place with an infinity background, pure white, with talking heads in the forefront, changing with every utterance of the tag-line theme dialogue consisting of three words:

DO YOUR BEST.

After ten seconds we will pretty much get the idea. The inflection will change as will the tone as delivered by each of the 'actors'.

At the ten second point will will begin to interlace the head shots with an alternating combination of indoor cycling and outdoor footage.

After twenty seconds we will pretty much get that idea, too.

At the crucial and critical thirty second point the graphic will appear:

BEST INDOOR CYCLING.

Dot com.

I am working on the fantasy of this spot airing as the defense trots off the field after a dramatic goal line stand late in the fourth quarter,

I'll just write them a check

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Day 11.242 Somewhere Else

 I wish I had thicker skin.

One would think that as a former softball umpire, journalist, sub-contractor for the Department of Defense and Marketing Director, that I, by now, would be immune to comments that do not perfectly fit into my idea of 'positive'.

But they kill me. Intentional or otherwise. I die a thousand slow and painful deaths with every insensitive, uncaring, off-target, off-the-cuff, crass, callas or uncalled for comment.

My Mom told me one time that if I had nothing nice to say about someone, then don't say anything at all. That used to be fairly easy, but now in the age of tweets, texts and instant messaging about everything, we lose the art of the delivery. Non vis-a-vis and conveniently anonymous. Thank God for emotions and emojis, eh?

Like the fine art of the Italian slam that opens. 'with all due respect.' Right.

This is totally my fault. If I was better at my job perhaps they would stop sending insults and send flowers.

But I am not. As much as I try to improve, to gain a better, or cleaner, perspective I feel like I continue to trot innocently into the same ambush day after day.

Worse, I am out-manned, out-gunned, and in a compromised logistical position. They have elevation as I scurry for cover.

I would ask, naturally then, why do you do this?

Why not direct all that angst, anger, fear and negative drama in a direction that will come back to help, not haunt you?

I am not the bad guy.

If I have truly pissed you off and you feel the need to retaliate, defend or argue for your limitations, let's set up a time and place and talk. You don't need to slander the pure or libel the wholesome standing upon an on-line soapbox.

It is hard enough.

Let's make it better, not worse.

Mom was right.

Say what you like.

Somewhere else.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Day 11.241 Home Sweet Home

One of the more graphic ideas with regard to fitness and how we attempt to obtain it with indoor cycling as core, is another gem from Joe Friel. In his marvelous work, Fast After Fifty, he says:

"Health is the foundation upon which fitness is built." I really like the way that one rolls. I also think it needs a modifier. So I will attempt an amendment, with all due respect to Joe.

Good health is the foundation upon which fitness is built;
Performance is the trim, finish and decoration.

Together they form a blueprint for the architecture of you.

They combine the two critical components, the very materials used in the construction of that home we call 'self'. The place where you live. The body in which you inhabit. Your energy levels, your personal power and the quality of life that you demonstrate to others on a daily basis. This is so important. Because people look at your house as a model. They say, 'I like that style, that color, those materials', making value judgments and inner commentaries as to how they would also like a home like that.

Health and fitness lead to performance enhancements. They do not need to be athletic. It is not necessary to be an Ironman Champion to have a high QoL. One needs not dominate the local 5K to be seen by others as a winner.

To me, this interesting thing about this is the natural progression that it inspires. It is simply the next logical step. A fact I am sure even Mr Spock would appreciate.

Good Health>Fitness>Performance>Quality of Life.

Put another way, once, the very moment, your body is in perfect sync with your mind, the spirit wants to play a part too. That synergy, the alignment and fellowship of mind, body and spirit, the Zen of Satori, is so full of power a quality that most of us are unable to contain it. It spills, drains, empties and vanishes like a chilly Decembral wind. What the heck was THAT? we say ex post facto.

In what should be by now an easily recognizable recurrent theme, the way that we stop those leaks, plug the drains and keep our tank full of this magical and miraculous life force, is to practice.

Every day.

Do something today to improve your health, enact the routines your body desires, perform to your highest capabilities, train mind and body together, embrace the alchemy of the combined soulful experience, and I think you will quickly see that the result of that effort is a robust quality in the experience we call life.

In the home you have built.

For your extended family.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Day 11.240 All the Gibberish

This is getting old. All the gibberish.

Getting old fast.

After the power outage that left me cold and unconnected for two days, my wi-fi is still out. You know the message, server could not be found. I sit at Starbucks mooching theirs.

Regardless, we are on the last leg of a mission with a manageable 35 days remaining. So I will endure the ignominy.

That streak is about to come to a close. It has been two years since my commitment to post daily. It has been both an enjoyable process as well as, sometimes, a pain in the rear. Streaks are like that.

As soon as this one ends, actually with a touch of a cross-fade, we will embark on a new mission with a new goal. Here is the fun part:

This fresh start will begin where this one left off. I will take all the experience, understanding and wisdom (yes that) learned from this web-log since its inception way back in 2007.

Further, if I may, I can tell that there has been improvement. I know that sometimes when I use a word for the first time, finally get the punctuation right or connect two diverse ideas into one, I smile a fleeting grin of instance celebration. I will also editorialize that spellcheck is both a blessing and a curse. You know what I scream.

Today, being Thanksgiving, we staged our annual Turkey Day spin. I have the audience for 75 minutes, trying to create a synergy of exercise and gratitude. In a rare moment of weakness (my classes are more a dictatorship than a democracy) I invited anyone in the session the mic if they wished to offer thanks. To anyone, anything or anyplace.

Community.
Family,
Food.
Friends.
Teenagers.

One of our regulars even summoned the courage to publicly thank me. For what I do, for what I share. Humorously, he ended his offering with the hilarious kicker that all this was despite my occasional verbal gibberish. ????? was my knee-jerk reaction. I share with you the secrets of life and you audaciously call that gibberish???? I repeat ?????

Once the laughter had died down and decorum reestablished, we continued our merry practice.

And I thought to myself, he is right - it is all gibberish. Still I am grateful for the opportunity to try to improve.

Happy Thanksgiving my friends.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Day 11. 239 The Important Thing

The important thing - the TRULY important component in all of this is that once (and that is a huge assumption on my part - assuming that there is something of importance to YOU that you have begun the steady march towards - as I have) is simply this:

KEEP MOVING IN THAT DIRECTION. Take one more step up the staircase.

It needs not to be at maximum velocity or non-stop 24/7 intensity, but some type of effort that pushes your marvelous agenda…

…TOWARDS COMPLETION.

You know what that means. In fables and epic sagas of conflict resolution it is the hero's relentless loyalty to the rally-cry that a little of something is better than a of nothing. Once begun you had better finish.

That can mean one step. One step closer, a tiny movement in the direction that has your commitment and obsession and passion.

Should that commitment and obsession waiver, this is exactly the treatment. DO SOMETHING!

However small and however seemingly humble.

BECAUSE IN UNIVERSAL TERMS IT IS MONUMENTAL. The Universe wants you to win.

You will feel the power and the reward as you go.

You just need to go.

And do what must be done.

That is the important thing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Day 11. 238 Of Those I Care

It's not that I don't care, because I do.

It's more that I accept the inevitable.

It is going to happen. One fine day.

We don't know when and we don't know where.

Nor do we know exactly how.

I find myself saying 'It's OK' a lot these days.

I find some comfort in that, a minor chord consolation.

I am not apathetic, although perhaps a bit agnostic.

Nor is this pessimistic. My glass has always been half full.

It is simply the fact, reinforced daily, that there is only one way out.

Therefore we have a choice.

It can be with suffering, or without.

It can be quick and painless, or long and drawn-out.

This then, can be seen as a form of practice. The better I get at suffering and dealing with the associated degrees of uncomfortability, and those celebrated zones outside of it, the better I might be when that big moment finally arrives. Because I get only one shot at THAT too.

Practice then, is the key. Preparedness, readiness, acceptance.

And of those I care deeply.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Day 11.237 It's Over

Alright it's over.

And I will get over it.

But not before I write the wrap-up eulogy.

I owe at lest that.

With the back-story of my official boycott of broadcast television that began in 1981 (Dallas, Love Boat, Different Strokes being the ratings leaders at the time) until right about this time one year ago, I have not only fallen off that boycott wagon but broke a leg and been knocked dizzy in the process.

It all started innocently enough at the Goodwill. I was shopping for some flannel shirts and used Levis when we happened to pass the DVD section. My sister was in town and we decided to watch a movie. In the search for entertainment I spied a boxed set of something I hard heard a little about. It was $3.99 for a seven disc set of all season-one episodes, over a thousand minutes of running time!

So I took it to the cashier. She said upon purchase that it was her favorite.

The next day, after viewing a single episode, I was hooked.

My friend told me not to fall in love with any of the characters.

It has been a year. I have watched every episode of every season THREE TIMES IN SUCCESSION. The only other thing I have watched in that time span has been Husky football games.

Last night was the finale.

As the clock literally ran out and the credits rolled, I just sat there at my desk (I watch on a computer with headphones) and tried to decipher the emotions, again. They have changes with each viewing. I will capsulize what all this fanboy obsession has dramatically illustrated to me in the simplest descriptive terms I can manage.

Honor.
Loyalty.
Truth.
Teamwork.
Courage.
Communication.
Intuition.
Fearlessness.
Devotion.
Respect.
Friendship.
Duty.
Meaning.
Love.
Integrity.
Planning.
Intel.
Practice.
Protocol.
Awareness.
Focus.
Effort.
Purpose.
Compassion.

I could list another 24 but you get the idea.

Thanks Jack.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Day 11.236 No-frills

I had to look it up.

Working on an ad campaign, I was interested in the etymology of the cliched term, no frills. As in this is a no-frills package. There is not much extravagance, very little exposition and nothing besides true value.

You want smoke and mirrors to distract your attention while we work?

If your answer to that simple question is in the affirmative, please PLEASE stop wasting your time here and surf elsewhere. There are waves waiting for you.

This is about desire, effort and reward, NOT about cushy, cozy and pampering rooms to take the place of them.

If you want results you must do the work, the homework and pass the tests.

Fortunately, we do them one day at a time. This scenario is not and off-on switch (like enlightenment) this is profoundly disciplined continual forward motion  because we believe that progress is a process.

You CAN handle the truth, and there it is.  Anybody that portends to have an alternative is playing you like a cheap fiddle. Want washboard abs in thirty days?

So when I wanted to offer a no-frills method of increasing one's health and fitness I had to dig well beneath the granite surface and take a closer look.

Because people are conditioned. And lazy. And impatient. And busy. I grant you all of that because I man a paddle in that same canoe.

Frills is in reference to fabric design and manufacture. Frills and lace comprise the skirts they used to can-can to in the Roaring Twenties and post-war France. Frills galore! Oh la la!

Here, we now need none.

We show up, do the work and support our teammates that are doing likewise. You want a fuzzy towel, a large locker, TVs above every treadmill, a massage and valet parking?

If that satisfies your requirements for a quality session I have no problem.

If you use that as proxy for hard work, I do.

You want the frills? Have at 'em.

We are no-frills.

And that means you have to work hard to stay here.