Saturday, February 28, 2015

Day 2.59 Cleanliness


I have often wondered why it rates as close to Godliness.

What's the big deal? I have seen pictures of clutter on the desks of brilliant writers, work benches of master mechanics where only they know the EXACT location of a special tool and music studios and movie sets with cables seemingly scattered everywhere.

Is there a difference between chaos and clean? Does one designate the other? Are they mutually exclusive?

I like clean, but I am not a clean fanatic. I appreciate chaos, and I also respect (most times) law and order. Dirty doesn't always denote bad. When I was playing ball my first priority as lead-off hitter was to be an exemplar to my teammates, and by default to the opponents, by getting filthy fast. Head-first red-clay dirt mixed with sweat (and sometimes tobacco) sends a powerful signal. This guy is willing to get dirty to get the job done. There is grease under fingernails and war paint under eyes. It was my badge of courage. I will play clean, but I will also play hard.

Opposite the sporting competitiveness is another example. There is an unspoken law that in a Zen monastery the highest ranking monk cleans the bathrooms. And we're not talking about him/her hiring a janitor, we're talking about him/her getting down on knees with a toothbrush. To clean.

With humility and awareness, Needs to be clean. Just clean, no judgement and no separation of doer and doing. It is one.

Same with our training. There is a zone (we had a glimpse this morning) where bike and biker are one. The groove-zone sweet-spot. That space where time stops, chaos controlled, dirt swept away with focused efficiency. Sanitary. Very clean. Efficient and germ free.

Sitting and starring at dirty dishes, feeling the grinding teeth of a dirty chain, allowing our thoughts to drift to calmer, warmer, more relaxed places, is procrastination of a particularly messy degree. Clean it up.

Wash the dishes, clean your chain and stay present during the process. You will order the chaos and clean your mind and spirit. Thus….


Friday, February 27, 2015

Day 2.58 HE

Way back in my playing days we had a volunteer scorekeeper.

She was young, energetic and charming. Having grown up with her coach father and two older brothers, she knew the game. So well that she wanted to be perfect.

When there was the slightest doubt as to the proper scorekeeping notation of a bang-bang play, or the correct tabulation of accuracy - was that a hit or an error - she would look to me, as team captain, for resolution.

We developed a system that would settle the dispute quickly and without bias.

Most of the time without bias. It became a bit of a vaudevillian drama. Baseball, after all, is a game of statistics, where the official scorer's decision could mean the difference between an All-Star nomination or a snub. So we played it for all the drama and comedy we could.

We even invented some ad hockery, coining the THTH acronym, Too Hot To Handle. This created some follow-on complexities, but the moment of merriment was worth every bit of mathematical dilemma. It was simply an effective way bubble-up the magical elixir of team chemistry.

We also developed a keen understanding of the frailty of human performance phenomena. We all error. No one is perfect. In our game you were a star if you failed half of the time. We saw lots of E5s, E6s and E7s. We even had a special category when two or more players unwittingly conspired for a TE, a Team Error. If the error was from the managerial or leadership ranks, it was simply an HE, Human Error.

Baseball and softball are not exempt from HE. Nothing this side of computers are.
We see it all the time. What happened? Human Error. What caused it? HE.

Human Error.

It has been suggested that if you aren't erring enough you aren't trying hard enough. If you burn the first pancake, fry another.

As then, I must, or might, be trying too hard.

I still lead the league in HE.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Day 2.57 Turn Pro

This morning I joined a user forum sponsored by the American Heart Association specifically for folks with AFib. I felt obliged to author a brief intro and used my exercise regimen as topic. It felt somewhat like posting a first bio in a personals forum. It felt unworthy. I really don't have a glaring need. I am not lonely. I don't need, or want? a spouse. I am no longer feeling on the edge of the ledge. I am not seeking a height-weight proportionate, Buddhist, long-course triathlete intellectual with a masters degree in English literature for a short term walk in the park.

I am wanting to share my experience in the hope that it just might help someone going through the same nightmare.

I think a lot of people with AFib give up. Same with exercise and diet. When one comes to the dance of discipline, where your daily choices build to a crescendo of fit or fat, where the hard-earned gains come from consistent work, many toss the towel, refuse to even try, never get on the dance floor to shake whatever thing they bring. I have used it as an excuse, the old, "not feeling well so I cannot do it' line. Weak.

So we start to accept the results. We slow down. We move less. We eat more. We binge on TV. We self medicate. We constrict.

And we get sick.

We cannot give up. EVER. That is not an option. We must show up daily, committed to fighting the good fight. Yes, we can call it a dance, dosing with gumption and grace, but when the time comes for choice, like right now, you gotta be strong. You gotta fight. You gotta get off the canvas and get back in the ring. You gotta throw. Drive fast, find love, don't get caught.

That was my message to my friends suffering from heart ailments. DON'T GIVE UP. Eat good, exercise daily, rest. I know it can be ridiculously hard, but that is our challenge. Face it as a professional.

Dunno, maybe Hunter S. Thompson wasn't the best role model around, but he sure had a knack for nailing the shadow side. I love this quote.

Turn Pro.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Day 2.56 YES

This morning was one of those.

The definitive answer to one of the big questions.


Less than three hours ago, after a very difficult cycling set, a shot of protein and a dozen ounces of water, I heard the endorphin choir belt a joyous hallelujah.

YES! We did it. Eight super hard blasts at maximum intensity for thirty seconds followed by a time bending ninety second recovery. Ten times.

We did these for eight weeks and today was the final. We now have eight weeks 'off' before another block.

They are insane. They are miserable. They are incredible. They are gold.

I feel like a million bucks. Part of this being as a result of finally (I pray) getting past the 'mucous on the lungs' issue that has plagued for almost as long as the block. It has been a capitol pain. Additionally, I just might be adapting to the medications along with adapting the the physical, muscular and mental demands of the protocol.

This is good news. Today I am a happy guy.

I may not be doing it all right, but this morning was one of those days where one question was answered with a roaring yes.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Day 2.55 SHARE the path

It is my road. I decide which bifurcation to take. I own the responsibility of choice.

If I tried to apologize for every insensitive word, ignorant action or silly mistake I have ever made, there might not be time for anything else. Yes, the past haunts me, I have done things that I deeply regret. But I try my best not to dwell. I try to forgive myself as I would hope others would forgive me. Sometimes I cringe. There are a few things that shouldn't be forgiven. A few things I should be flogged for.

How could I be so stupid? Why did I say that? What in God's name was I thinking?

After years of analysis (mixed with moderately heavy drinking) I have come up with a few causative possibilities. Please bare with me (you can keep your hat on) and I will attempt to explain.

Improvisation. I like to experiment. Most of the time this is better left to the guys in lab coats or in a laboratory. Pronounce it like Igor please.

Rebelliousness. If there has been one concept with which I have pledged long allegiance, it is civil disobedience. I do not like seamy, corrupt politics. Which by default means I am a rebel. Anarchy forever comrade!

Experimentation. Yep, let's take the road less traveled, or better yet, the road not seen. Adventure and me are pretty good company. From freight trains to epic rides, out of the ordinary, is the way.

Silliness. OK I admit, I can be world-class silly. So what? In a world filled with self righteousness, pompous arrogance and money-grubbing capitalists, I find it refreshing to say fuck you to the conservative credo. Sometimes it helps to laugh in the face of pretentious zealotry.

Ignorance. It is easier to make fun of, as it is to fear, things that I don't understand. Religious fundamentalists and myopic conservatives drive me crazy. You want to torture me? Tie me to a chair and turn on Rush Limbaugh. I'll sing like a canary.

That is about it. In retrospect, I would probably be a lot more 'sane' if I simply shut up and smiled more. But how much fun would that be?

After all, everyone of us shares the path.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Day 2.54 This Path

On the occasion of what would have been Mom's 83rd birthday yesterday, I thought how nice it would be to call all her offspring and give them some good news. Tell them that I just won the lottery or something. But the best I could come up with was that I am still standing, health improving and that I put in a solid, hard week of work. And that I love them all as much as she did.

Dad gave me the pictured money clip. I think he still envisions me becoming a millionaire some day. That seems to be the metaphor.

I hate to disappoint, but…..Dad, I have failed in this regard. And although I will keep trying, it is more important to me to flow my heart as it is to follow the money. I hope you understand.

I sincerely hope that I did ONE THING that provided a sense of pride in Mom as I also trust that I still have some time to do the same with Dad. I am working on it.

It would be so easy to say I am a success (and you should be proud) because of the bills I keep in right front pocket. But, it (somewhat) pains me to say:

That will not be this path.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Day 2.53 Happy Birthday Mom

Another exciting Chilly Hilly in the books. The most spectacular I can remember, and I and I have been doing these for over twenty years!! Captured some nice aerial footage with the drone, despite a gimbal malfunction, which meant that I was filming blind, as they say, with no monitor. Fortunately I have been doing this for a while and knowing that the Go-Pro Hero 4 has an ultra-wide 127 degree fish-eye lens, all I really needed to do was point in the general direction. Video is compressing as I type so I hope to have a short sample of today's festivities up by midnight or so.

Happy Birthday to Mom who would have been 83 today.

Pic: Junior takes the sticks for a test flight at Blakeley Harbor.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Day 2.52 New Toy

Pictured is our new tool, the DJI Phantom 2 drone. I call it a tool because I plan on making a living from its use. Most people would call it a toy, especially 12 year old boys. With me is Junior, 12, and RG, 82. Today's post is brief because we have been out testing and now I need to download video and re-charge batts for tomorrow's shoot. Tool or toy, she is the latest addition. Wish us luck.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Day 2.51 Baked Rock?

I was asked in the locker run after a rather obnoxious spin set this morning, why I so often shout out food from the pulpit. I had mentioned my sweet-tooth weakness of deep fried dough laced with simple carbohydrates. Additionally I suggested that we use these and other types of junk food as fuel on rides and as rewards for serious effort. Want a glazer? Gimme an hour in the saddle. Like pizza? Run for it.

For the athlete in training, a great portion of success comes from our choices in diet and exercise. This may seem like a no-duh statement, but the application in real life is a challenge and a chore. When they say that what you eat, you are, there is precise sagacity in the cliche. I do not want to show up for my next race looking like I work in the Krispy Kreme R&D department.

I stumbled across this somewhat pithy, but profoundly poignant placard yesterday, and it solidly hit home (the eye of the bull?), see what you think.

Apply your work ethic to your work-outs. Do not give anyone the opportunity to think of you as lazy, distracted, inefficient or weak. Do not give yourself that opportunity either. Embrace the work part of your workout, Get immersed in it.

None of the "make exercise so fun that you don't know it's exercise" crap. It's work, dammit. It's hard, and it pays off every time. Don't think workouts needs to be hop-scotch, hula-hoop or Zumba in order to be enjoyable. "Fun" workouts can consist of PRs, muscle pumps, brutal time under tension, bloody shirts, breathlessness and torn calluses.

Baked rock anyone?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Day 2.50 Clear

Most of the time it is clear.

I write to accomplish three main reasons, known here as the trimary objectives.

ONE: Simply to write. Very much the same way that we just breathe, simply eat and rest when necessary. There is a primal need for self expression, the style of which can border on art. Yes, I realize that many, many others create good, often great art through story-telling, but I humbly submit that most reside in border states.

TWO: To reinforce my motivation. For those of you that have been around awhile you know that I regularly touch upon a handful of subjects, the all-time topic leader being health & fitness. By a mile. To say that there is a close second would be a gross strategic misrepresentation. I need to stay motivated, inspired and relentlessly moving towards my goals. That means every day. Even the days when I don't 100% feel like doing the scheduled activity. That takes some mojo and it helps me tremendously to script a routine and then execute to the best of my ability.

THREE: Communication. While my petty existence on this rock pales in comparison to the notoriety and celebrity enjoyed (managed) by others, I have an unique perspective that I am willing to unabashedly share. After all, how many 63 year old, Irish-Italian, health and fitness professions producing indoor cycle training videos with a pacemaker implant do you know?

That is what I thought.

To write as discipline.
To self motivate.
To communicate.


(most of the time)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Day 2.49 Good to Go

This morning, in an oxygen compromised state of physical effort, I was reminded of this reality: If it is a go, the quality of go is up to me.

We are good to go. You have heard it many times. Mostly, I think, it is overused and relates too often to simple passage as compared to the undertaking of a difficult endeavor.

It is crucial that we first give ourselves a good to go. Good to get started. Because whatever your current level of physical, financial, spiritual, martial, or intellectual status, there is something in you that is screaming for attention.

Can  you hear it?

I just did the 'can you hear it' drill and guess what?

I heard a choir. All vocally suggesting, in harmonic cacophony, that attention is not only needed but in emergency mode. A five-alarm, four-part libretto in C major.

Every time this happens I knee-jerk respond with the usual litany of weak excuses. Lame, lazy and ludicrous. You know, I'm doing the best I can, times are tight, I'll start tomorrow, I am too busy….


That is why our training is so important. At the very least we are taking care of perhaps the most important element in the mix, the physical. And please do not try to think it is ONLY the physical, because the cerebral, the physiological, the attitudinal components are tested and improved as we work the body past its zone of comfort. This is big.

So when we are good to go. Let's ensure that the quality of go is high.


But do go.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Day 2.48 Let 'er Rip

I can't recall a nicer mid February. Sandwiched between the festive (?) days of Valentine's and the Presidents (there is something to celebrate) we have seen record highs. Sunny in Seattle? My first thought as the sun rose over the Seattle silhouette this morning was:



I will get in my ever lengthening run this morning (I am up to 30 minutes) and spin tonight but that is a far, far cry from 2.4, 112 and 26.2. But we are moving in that direction.

We discussed last night after a steady-state 2x20 set, the importance and value of having a red circle on your calendar. Something to work towards. Something that provides motivation when you are running a touch low. D-Day.

My big event (so far) is the Pacific Crest Triathlon in Bend, OR on June 27. I have no business even contemplating a half IM, but so what, who cares?

I do.  Once I ante up the entry fee I am just like everyone else. Get to the start line as race-ready as possible and let 'er rip.

So with the sun on my shoulders as training partner, here we go.

This weekend is our little Island's biggest event. Chilly Hilly. It draws roughly 5K participants despite the (normally) frigid temps and 2,650 ft of relentless elevation gain. As this video attests and announces I will be shooting (on Saturday) for our latest project Real Course Video for Multi-Rider. It will be our humble contribution to the exciting world of indoor cycle training with the RCV brand from CompuTrainer.

I will be talking more about this once we are done playing in the sun today.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Day 2.47 Go Run

"The reason is that I like the novels I have written. And I'm really looking forward to seeing what kind of novel I'll produce next. Since I'm a writer with limits - an imperfect person living an imperfect, limited life - the fact that I can still feel this way is a real accomplishment. Calling it a miracle might be an exaggeration, but I really do feel this way. And if running every day helps me accomplish this, then I'm very grateful to running."

From Haruki Murakami's tiny tome "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running."

You can substitute, as in my case, blogging and cycling. Not that I always like the end-results, but that isn't the why. It is the how. And as long as I, as Haruki illustrates, keep doing it, recognizing the imperfections with gratitude, things will be fine.

Further, never shying from exaggeration, I will go right ahead and call this miraculous.

On another note (those in the House of Mirth will understand) for your review here are the 17th, 18th & 19th Presidents of the United States.

Andrew Johnson (NOT Jackson)
Ulysses S. Grant
Rutherford B. Hayes

Now go run.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Day 2.46 Yes, I am

Here are the three videos I mashed-up this week in promotion of our 2015 Madness in March Indoor Cycling Tournament in the world famous PowerBarn. I am working on a fourth but we rode two hours this morning, then I did the laundry and I have another two episodes of 24 to watch before the week is officially done.

I guess considering that I passed out on my way to the bathroom this morning at 0600 I should be happy with the amount of work actually completed.

Yes, I am.

Uncle Jed Would Go
MiM 15 reprise
MiM 15

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Day 2.45 50% is Wrong

The indoor cycling classes that I lead are a challenge.

To the group as well as myself.

I am tasked with the choreography, the protocols and the entertainment. It is a ritual that after all these years I should see as routine. And the physical part is.

But everything else remains somewhat like the performance of a play, one you have done countless times. Or the playing of a song that you have preformed a thousand times. Or a race. We have been here before.

The challenge becomes change. Because each performance, rendition, act or game is the opportunity to do something different, something fresh, something perhaps a little better than the times before. It is a place with room for improvement.

I fully accept that challenge. Sometimes, like today, I fail. I fall woefully short of the level of quality I have established as the norm. Something is missing, balance out of true. If I ad-lib a session, eventually I default to what I know. Or think I know. It is amazing to me how many times what I think I know is wrong.

One of my mentors, Dr. Timothy Noakes says that 50% of what we teach is wrong. The problem is that we don't know what 50% it is. I feel like I have proven Dr Noake's theory.

If you watch the Ted Talks video here in which Dr Noakes talks about four of the elements that we are most concerned with, motivation, muscle, hydration and diet, you will quickly see of what I speak. Additionally, he leaves us with a challenge of universal importance.

To find the truth.

I believe this is a holy grail. Our path. Our mission.

So we test. We listen and we learn. We take the elements that are true to us and discard those that ring false. Judas notes, pianists call it.

In our Valentine's Day set this morning we explored the many facets of love. My testing and my training strongly suggest that experiencing its many forms is a powerful way to enjoy this wild and wacky ride, indoors and out.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Day 2.44 The Top of the Stairs

THAT was yesterday.

I am in charge of today. My task is in honoring the present moment. There are things to be done - and if they are to be - it is up to me.

I am fully committed to bringing them to fruition.

So onward we labor. This step followed by several more until……..

I was told that the average word count for a novel is 64K. That is is way less than what I would have guessed. I write about 250 words a day. The math indicates that I should be able to write a novel in just under a year. Quentin Tarantino worked for ten years on the screenplay for Inglorious Basterds by comparison.

But one must have a story to tell. That is the hundred foot high hurdle. What is my story? What is at the top of the stairs?

As the plot thickens for new projects for spring and summer (and I write another 200 words to pitch the plan) I think that this exercise helps. Just sitting down to script this petty post helps. It becomes habit and little by little the quality improves.

Better yet is that the quality, while important, plays second fiddle to the actual doing. Just because I can't ride my racing bike as fast as Rohan Dennis does not keep me out of the saddle. Because I cannot write with the aplomb and style of Patrick O'Brian does not mean I will quit. I cannot play my guitar like Jerry, but I try.

There was a time when seeking perfection was more important than the search for improvement.

That was yesterday.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Day 2.43 Escape from Alcatraz

Escapism is the Enemy.

Get me out of the present situation Facebook.
Take me away from this circumstance cable TV.
PLEASE remove this boredom professional sports.
Occupy my mind Game of Thrones.
Comfort me Big Mac.

I could go on. And yes, I play the hypocrite today. Because you know of my addiction to the series 24. I am one disc, four episodes, away from finishing Season Three (Jack just cut off the hand of his partner with an emergency axe to remove a bomb strapped to his wrist), so to keep my down-time (withdrawals) to a minimum I ordered Season Four (from Goodwill of San Diego) for ninety-nine cents (and three ninety-nine S&H). Say what you will about quality film making, superb script writing, award-winning direction and magnificent acting, it is still a drain on my time in the not-so subtle form of escapism. I am not Jack.

Non participatory mindless entertainment is causing some devastating problems in our country.

Thank the Good Lord that I am also an exercise junkie. Where everything is measured and micro-managed. If I want another cheese and avocado sandwich on extra-sour seedy-loaf, it will cost me a thirty minute hilly run. If I succumb to the urge for self medication in the form of India Pale Ale (while watching 24) I am going to do a 2x20 set in our facility. If I am to reach my racing weight (160) by 'A' race day, June 27, I am going to have to execute a plan whose tactics include strict adherence to the mantra of 'No escape'. It can't be then and it can't be there. It is here in every day and now with every minute.

I need to stay focused. Keep my spatio-temporal displacement restricted to dream time. Then I can escape and try to earn a spot on the CTU team or win a big race.

Certainly there is a balance issue. Entertainment is OK when relaxing from a hard effort. There is lots to learn from the exploits of athletes at the top of their games and if a bowl of Ben & Jerry's is the proverbial dangling carrot, use it.

But don't abuse it. Don't let it become habit. Reward yourself for effort, activity and good old fashioned labor. Do not escape. You wanna escape? Try this! Escapism is the Enemy.

And Jack is watching. Trust me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Day 2.42 I Feel Great!

I am cooked. Gassed. Way past mere fatigue.

I sip coffee and fumble for my iPhone to check phone messages even though it is not even seven.

We have just ripped through a set of Super Eights, one of the most demanding of all indoor cycling protocols. It is painful. After that it was upstairs for the core routine, which, by comparison, was a walk in the park.

Now we are done and I feel the afterglow as endorphins, dopamine and maybe even some adrenaline mix it up in my bloodstream. I should be having a protein shake, but the coffee is free and the shakes five bucks. In the world of the indigent this is a no-brainer.

I am pleased with the progression. Yesterday was a thirty minute run, last night an efficient session on the bike. I actually slept well for the first time in quite a while. And then this.

A turning point workout.

I sit sipping the free coffee provided for employees of the club. Up walks Joe and takes a seat opposite. We exchange opinions on politics, medicine, sports and lastly the value that we receive from morning workouts. He asks me how many people regularly attend my indoor cycling classes and is somewhat impressed (it seems to me) when I answer.

Then he says something incredible.

He says those people depend on me.

I am gassed. Cooked and way past fatigue.

I feel great. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Day 2.41 Becoming an Expert

I am NOT an expert.

I say this because it is important to understand. For all of us.

All I do is saturate my cells with information, data, anecdotes, stories, examples, histories, news, reports, bios, success' and failures. I match all this with my existing experiences and see what adds, or what detracts.

I then go out and test.

If it works, great, if not great.

I think we can learn a lot by noting what doesn't work, at least for ourselves, by witnessing what obviously doesn't work for others.

That is one of the main reasons why we use the 'training is testing' idiom. This is not one size fits all.

Most of what I think, say and do is designed to push this agenda. There is a covert operation taking place every time I saddle up and try something different. I especially like those that involve the mental aspects of what we do. My simple goal is to create positive and healthy habits.

But what keeps me motivated? What keeps our fickle focus fixed? How can I overcome my glaring limitations? How important, really is all this in the big picture?

Having a passion, being inquisitive, wanting results, staying true to myself while marching to that relentless drumming in my heart, makes me an expert on one thing: Me.

Additionally then, please pardon my use of this site to note the occasional glimpses of random cosmic input that come to my wandering attention (some flashing like a meteor - others floating like a feather). This is my dented, rusty, beat-up and bent communication on my search for meaning.

And of that search I am an expert.

Or becoming one, rather.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Day 2.40 Si?

Commitment Creates Confidence.

Three Cs to kick-start this miraculous opportunity we have been given. Additionally, as footnote, it makes little difference who we were given this opportunity by. We have it, it is here and we call it today.

We spoke this morning in the usual way.

How's it going?

Fine, getting there.

All acceptable and proper. But there's more.

As in, where, exactly is there?

Where do we find this elusive there? This place that seems to be everyone's goal, yet a destination we cannot locate with coordinates or GPS and is tagged by nary a colored map-pin. Have you ever been lost and asked someone where you might find 'there'?

Where? They would say.

There is here. This is that. One's commitment to the intensity and power of the flowing now is it. Commit to the now and the then will show up when it is good and ready. Commitment creates confidence. Confidence is critical if we are to endure and conquer the challenges of this day.

That is one of the important reasons we work the body first. The first thing. We hit each day running. Full speed ahead. There is lots to do and not a moment to waste.  Prime your engine, fine tune it and head out to the track.

With commitment and confidence the mind will find solutions, create good art and appreciate your opportunity to serve.

Allied, your body and mind seek spirit as the final piece of the puzzle.

Why would you wait till tomorrow when that is here today?


Sunday, February 8, 2015


It has been said that to improve, one must do the thing that one wishes to improve upon.

I take this to mean that if I wish to improve my fitness, I must preform the acts that will accomplish this noble objective. I must move my bag of bones, increase my (compromised) heart rate, lift heavy objects, and enhance the duration that I am able to sustain with all of the above. Of course I must also rest and recover well, nourish and fuel, stretch and stay injury free. That is the thing.

Same goes for everything.

Playing my ukulele. Editing video. Improving my writing. Maintaining my truck. Making a better omelet or giving a better massage. Directing a tournament.

You have to do it, whatever it is, to master it. So we practice. Repeats. Reps. Lean from mistakes. Overcome the fright.

Interestingly, you have to do it now. Tomorrow is too late. Everything changes tomorrow.

Suppose you want to become less callus. Suppose you would like to grow thicker skin. What if you desire to assist those in need of help more often?

What would you do? What steps would you take to progress?

Just think about it? Worry about it? Procrastinate because you know there will surely follow another level of challenge as a direct result of your actions? Accept the present as 'what it is'? Apply for welfare? Pour another drink?

RIGHT. You would do what will move you closer to your goals. Even if that is one puny inch at a time. Am I...


And what will move you closer to your goals, what moves us all closer to our goals, is to do. To act. To do the thing.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Day 2.38 Pride and Joy

I am standing in front of an athlete who is less than five minutes away from the finish. It has been a heroic effort. He is gassed, sweating buckets, sucking all reaming air from the room.

The effort is in response to our infamous FTP test. Functional Threshold Power - with protocols fairly simple to understand - and borderline impossible to perfect.

The easy part is the format. Warm up, calibrate, then create, generate as much all-out average power as you are able for twenty minutes. Pretty simple.


It just might be the single most demanding twenty minutes in all of indoor cycle training.

Because of what it asks of you.

Those who possess and demonstrate the courage to undertake this daunting task know that the hard part, the REAL hard part is in keeping your focus on the task. It hurts. Making matters worse we humans are hard wired to avoid suffering at any cost. We have built-in fuses that trip as soon as the slightest degree of discomfort has been obtained. This makes it very hard to stay present in the moment of maximum exertion.

You want to quit. You want to stop. If this was CIA torture, you would sing like a canary.

Yet we endure. We give our best. We get the job done. No matter what. No matter the pain, and no matter the time remaining.

I stand in front of a man who is within two minutes of completing this ridiculous test. He will not reach his average power goal, falling some twenty watts below that delta. Yet it was his effort that counts. He gave it his all. And that is all we ask.

I stand elated, proud and joyous.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Day 2.37 IF and MAYBE

Another visit to UW Med yesterday. The wonderfully talented and incredibly personable staff in the cardiology wing have grown somewhat accustomed to my antics. They seem to appreciate the fact that I am a shade of odd. We compare notes, run some tests, download the data and try to find the areas we can improve upon. Inevitably I reiterate my desire to race at the Triathlon World Championships in Kona. They patronize with skillful compassion.

Going in yesterday I was pretty sure that the major issue was the medications. Yes, they have controlled the rhythm of my beats, but the side effects were creating an almost equal to, or greater than, state of imbalance.

Symptom examples include inability to sleep, irritability, nervousness, obtuse reactions to light and sound and some other minor things I would just as soon keep private (for now). They, including the lead Electrophysiologist, an FHRS, FACC, MD who has performed all the procedures, including the pacer implant, a person I respect highly, all agreed that the culprit is most likely the nasty orange wafers known as amiodarone. Everyone I have met, talked to, exchanged stories or inquired of, makes a scrunched-up face when the drug is mentioned. Yuk, they all agree.

Count me among them.

As a result of my (me and the pacer working at 94%) keeping out of A-Fib these last 100 plus days, they feel as I do that another tweak is in order to better control the down side. A little fine tuning. Let's see if we can lower the dosage from 200mg to 100mg a day and remain away from any arrhythmias. And IF that works MAYBE your side symptoms will recede as well, they say with the zest of hope. I ask if it is greedy of me to want the best of both. They once again chuckle and smile with the wisdom of experience.

Please notice the IF and MAYBE fully capitalized above. Two words I find particularly weak.

But I am willing to give it a go. I will extend my best effort and gauge the ongoing experiment in the hope of getting some positive results.

'Cause I'll take if and maybe any day of the week as compared to their alternatives.

If and Maybe Baby!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Day 2.36 Other Than This

It is not about a number,

It is about the effort.

It is not about good,

It is about fun.

It is not about data,

It is about focus and flow.

It is not about victory,

it is about sustainability.

It is not about fear,

It is about love.

It is not about me,

It is about you.

It is not about there,

It is about here.

It is not about then,

It is about now.

It is not about when,

It is about how.

It is not about that,

It is about this.

It is not about money,

It is about energy.

It is not about your house,

It is about your head.

It is not about the destination,

It is about the road.

It is not about anything,

other than this.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Day 2.35 Never Boring

As you may have heard, I am in binge mode watching the incredible TV series 24. We talked yesterday about distraction. This is that. With the caveat that it is also edutainmental (I made that one up) in as much as it what I do. Not that I am a Federal Agent heading up the local CTU outpost boldly keeping the US citizenry safe and secure from terror, chaos and mayhem, but that I am practicing every day the many levels of film making. Crating a dynamic, learning from the masters, seeing, watching, studying, analyzing.

Every scene.

I am through the first two seasons, having just last night studied the dramatic conclusion of Season Two. The President is down and Jack has suffered a heart attack. OMG.

Season Three should be here today. I found a complete used box set for five bucks (thank you

Today I am incorporating some of the editing and pacing techniques discussed in the additional features segment. The creator, producer and director were gathered in a conference room talking about the series, what goes in and what is left out. They told us why beautiful scenes filled with acting aplomb and laced with tension were deleted (pacing). They showed us all the work and practice that went into the final fight scene between Jack and a seriously evil goon. In the LA Coliseum no less.

It was as fascinating as the show itself, which is freaking brilliant from the crisp writing (where everything starts) to the post-production foley and mastering.

I sit at my editing station this morning in total awe of the level of artistry these guys have brought to the show. The techs are every bit as badass as Jack Bauer.

But one thing said as an aside has stuck with my subconscious since last night.

I think it was the producer/creator that said it about the series vision. He said:

Not good but never boring.

That is a roger 24.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Day 2.34 No Distraction Zone

I consider the meaning carefully as it intrigues me.

Wisdom is knowing what to ignore.

I really like this one. With a note of serendipity and a pinch of awe, it seems to me that it harmoniously follows my earlier suggestion that we enter the NO DISTRACTION zone when training.

And, as you are by now aware, perhaps even irritatingly so, I measure indoor training as proxy for everything that happens outdoors.

This makes it special, important, challenging and meaningful. The practice becoming all-inclusive, total and urgent. The goal is the road on the eternal path of now.

Distraction being private enemy number one. There are so many ways we are distracted. We recently witnessed perhaps the biggest distraction on Sunday where the National Football League staged its annual tribute to itself. Blasphemy, you shout?

Not hardly. Just fact. Want some other examples?

The news
YouTube, Facebook, Twitter
Your cell phone
Professional sports
Health Care
Alcohol and tobacco

The disclaimer being that if you choose to partake of one of the above, give THAT everything you've got, rendering the distraction a practice. Don't do anything mindlessly is the objective.

Anything that keeps you removed from the task of the present moment is a distraction. When we train, just train. Keep it here. Therefore the trick is to discern what has quality (heart) from the meaningless (without heart). The wise take the meaning and leave the remainder. They ignore the distractions and keep eyes on the prize.

That being, of course, the present.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Day 2.33 Execution

Let's just get this out of the way.

Yesterday was Super Bowl 49. The local team, the Seattle Seahawks lost in heartbreaking fashion on their final offensive play. From the Patriots one yard line. They chose to pass and it was intercepted in the end zone. Game, season, a repeat World Championship over.

Everybody that I know was devastated. Especially my Husky Dawg brethren who watched as, once again, former Dawg Jermaine Kearse kept the final drive alive with an amazing and miraculous catch on that final and fateful drive.

But it was not to be.

The arm-chair-knee-jerk reaction was one of disbelief and anger on the play selection (and its lack of success.) Just give the ball to Marshawn Lynch and he will get that yard on the ground. A high percentage play with little risk. Pound the rock lads.

And everyone in viewing (seriously vast) audience knew that was coming. THREE times if necessary. Give the ball to number 24.

And that is precisely why the call was brilliant. A tactical stratagem of genius proportion that would have pleased even Lombardi himself.

It was simply faulty execution.

The plan was beautiful and gutsy. It should have worked, faking the world from their seats and giving the Seahawks another in a line of miraculous come-from-behind victories.

But one man got in the way. He made a play. And it handed the game to the Patriots.

This happens.

You can have the best laid plans, the most thorough script, rehearsed ready, a decisive strategy for victory, but without flawless execution, you don't have it all. Only a part of it.

And championships require all of it.

Let's get this out of the way and move along. There is work to do.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Day 2.32 Big Project

I stand staring at the road's bifurcation. The classic Y. Only this time inverted to look more like a peace sign without the defining circle. The road, more a path is grassy, strewn with boughs blown down from the last storm. There are two well-worn tire tracks, but it appears that little traffic has come or gone recently.

The path is atop a hill about a mile from the paved road end. It would be a challenge for the pickup in mud.

We find the PRIVATE PROPERTY warning signs and a huge downed chain wrapped around a pair if fir sentinels. We trespass. We are authorized looking at the property because it is for sale. Five acres and a cabin, off the grid.

After a hundred yards, we see it.

Logs. Nice big bones fit together by a shipwright in the 80's but left abandoned when the couple split ways. It is in sad shape. The Northwest will do that. There is a raised cistern feeding a one inch flex pipe to the makeshift sink inside. Somebody put a lot of effort into this, I think as I carefully test the stairs leading into the cabin.

I would not want to be doing this at night.

But it is beautiful. Loft bedroom, wood burning stove and nothing to interfere with the views but hemlock and firs. A few twisting madronas add both color and wild chaos.

I envision felled trees to open up the sky. A huge garden and fruit orchard. Pens for goats and pigs. A two-story chicken coop. Two German Shepards dozing on the porch. I can almost hear that sound.

If this was 1970 I would call it Heaven.

But it is 2015 and I can't quite find the perfect descriptor. So much has changed.

I sigh deeply, make that 'I don't know' face with head tilting, and admit,

A big project.