Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Tonight I am nestled in a quiet spot, listening to the usual rain, and dutifully memorizing my cranial nerves like a good little greenbean...

What's your favorite mnemonic device for OOOTTAFVGVAH?  Bueller?  Bueller?  Anyone?

I had the pleasure of running twice today, once with Matt and once with Mindy.  Matt almost never runs and Mindy is training for a 100 mile event and I love that, on most days, none of that really matters much.  We simply have something in common.  What a treat to have double great company and great conversation all around.  

Subjects of the day included strange dreams, the development of hunger for new information, the timing of presentation of new material, jazz improv and the many angles from which it can be approached, Sergiu Popa's ridiculously brilliant take on modern jazz-ish harmony in Balkan music, and, can learning tons of new information sometimes re-awaken old neural connections?  ...Among lots of other good stuff...

I need to find a way to do more doubles!  Step one here might be to actually scrounge up some more running garb.  I raced a few weeks ago and the free (well, $85, but whatever...) tech shirt was actually quite a useful perk, regardless of it being a rather unappealing color.   Now, what we really need here is a race in which they give you a supersize-cargo of smartwool-type socks just for showing up... 

There have indeed been some interesting runs from home lately, too.  Some very playful, some solo, some uniquely both.  Some with excellent and varied company.  

New questions arise.  What was once, "can I run seven miles?" becomes stuff like, "what would I like to do for the next seven miles?" or "will I run seven miles today at all?"  

The first is no longer interesting.  

The second is one that I especially like in its simplicity.  I always choose a route/run that I think, or hope, I'll like.  There is always something likable, after all.  

Tangent, why do so many folks run with reluctance?  Or worse, as if it's some sort of battle?   Is reluctance anything more than a) a sort of unattractive habit that is not terribly hard to ditch and/or b) the sign that you are doing the wrong thing, ignoring that nothing good will come of it, and doing it anyway.  

And you can work damn hard without getting aggressive about it.  Or maybe you can't, but I can, and I am ruthlessly and egocentrically projecting that on you, maybe because it's my blog and I'm kind of a jerk. Or maybe I humbly hope that asking these questions publicly, to the inter-cosmos, will somehow cause someone somewhere to lighten up.  It won't, since those people probably aren't likely reading this, but whatever, I still ask.  

This reminds me of a musical experiment from a clinic years ago.  I forget where.  Ask a bunch of students to improvise something slow for 30 seconds.   Then ask them to play something fast for 30 seconds.  Invariably, the volume/loudness on the fast piece will be greater.  Playing fast and softly is almost never anyone's first instinct.  

All the more compositional territory for the rest of us to exploit, I suppose...!  Softness draws the ear, but silence draws it more.

And I think about this when running hard, when my heart awakes from its casual shuffle.  When my raging blood pines for the coolness on the outside of the skin, stubbornly insisting upon a lower temperature.  If I can play notes softly and quickly, then I can, by the same principle,  also run hard and with the intensity of peace to power me forward.   Or anything else.

It's a choice.

Question three is amusing because, at first glance, it wreaks of laziness!  I'll try not to over-analyze, but I see another side of it.  Will I run today at all?  

First of all, choosing not to run, when you Can, rather implies taking for granted this blessing of residing in a body that, for the most part, will do some semblance of what is asked.  (Watching Tim LaFollette slowly, slowly, disintegrate and die at the age of 31 last year from ALS will do that to you.)

Next time you encounter any negative thoughts about the state of your bod, think about that one for a while, lace the fuck up, and like the hell out of it.  Because not everyone has the luxury of choice.  That's all.

I leave you, dear reader, with one final note on question three:  It signifies a release of past insecurity.   Can you? vs. Will you?   A very nuts/bolts shift, this. 

Hence, it's time for some new, wilder questions.  Time to reach out, always.  Time to be curious.

Time to learn to sleep more...

One current challenge:  How do I fit in back to back long runs with this new element of constant study?  Or, any long runs?   And it's only going to get trickier, from what I hear...

Looking forward to figuring it out.  (Wishful thinking?!)

Anyway, for the record, all I meant to write about today was that Squirrel and I heard that songbird that I keep mentioning!  She said it sounded like a video game.  So wrong...  So very wrong!



  1. I love this post, and mnemonics -- http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091209150942AA8m9pI

    1. Total cop-out, Chandra! I need a Chandra-specific mnemonic.


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