Thursday, January 31, 2008

Numbers Games

For those not concerned with local agriculture: I'm always interested in how we draw from experience in other sports. Lately I've been feeling like a rower. Erging is a big mental game - you basically sit on this machine with potential to bring extreme duress - indoors and likely pouring sweat, your numbers the object of others' curiosity, staring at a screen: trying to keep that 500m split at a certain magic low number, absolutely aware of the impact of minute differences of this split on your time for the whole 2000 or 2500 or 10000m piece (for which you are already gunning for some predetermined time), keeping stroke rating (cadence) within some small zone, trying to maintain smoothness of form, trying to breathe. I've been riding on the trainer a lot recently - it's been cold but trainer riding also taps into the number-junkie side of me, feeds on my love of training in the morning, and my desire for efficiency given a lot going on. Sometimes I really play games, like convincing myself I have ridden less than I have, by saying, when I have 1hr to go, "ok, 1:10 to go," and then when I start getting tired later I can slip some of these minutes off, to give the illusion of time passing more quickly as the ride progresses. Or I will blind myself to the clock, count to 100, stare at a spot, or pedal through three songs before I check how long the interval has been. Good times. Tomorrow I am going on a field trip so I will be on that machine before 6. I will be very fresh! In other news: Kevin Spacey and Mike Huckabee, plus the intrigue of "progressive Federalism."

Carbon Offsets for Training?

A racer friend sent me this: Check it out! Basically it says that assuming food calories derived from beef or milk, the carbon footprint of exercising your way somewhere is more than that of driving a car there! What?!? I usually feel like I am destroying the planet driving and flying clear across the country to race, but now the training itself too? So here’s a critique: Impossible to comment on methodology since any discussion of it is absent, but it is a big assumption to say people eat only beef, or even only milk. These are both obviously energy-intensive to produce. Lack of mention suggests a vegetable diet, maybe not even specifically a local vegetable diet, would not yield the same result. The take home message is not that one should stop exercising because it minimizes carbon output. Being dead minimizes CO2 output. More it’s is a condemnation of our food system. Even more it’s a condemnation of cheap oil that makes food with such an energetic cost affordable. Really if true does require steep reexamination of priorities. Also keep in mind that both oil and food are priced in a context of politics and subsidies. This added by an epidemiologist friend, true to his discipline: That since exercise is health-promoting, then the carbon cost associated with health loss/illness due to lack of exercise must be counted against the carbon savings associated with not eating/not exercising. Ideas?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tucson on My Mind

On Christmas Eve I went on a tirade about the culture of false immediacy and importance and the demise of improvisational time for music/ art/ outdoors/ dialog/ sports/ inspiration that stems from the world of email and cell phone, one that led to a small quest for mindfulness (if I can learn to knit I can learn to be mindful), and the blog appears a small casualty. Update:
  • I miss training when I am racing so much cross! Back on the bike with all the optimism of a new year. After FREEZING on Sunday to the point that my heart rate and power both maxed out at 100, I have been getting extremely zen on the trainer this week, a cadence junkie as I try to both build power and learn to spin.
  • Hammering out my thesis project, scheming in general. Academic work generally addresses land use and health, but I am hoping too to do something to further the connection between sports, environmental quality, and public health. We all have a lot invested, even if we won’t be choking our way through the Bejing Olympics. Energy, the new plastics.
  • Watching movies and reading books – ideas can make you fast too.
  • GOOD LUCK to everyone at CROSS WORLDS!
I took this photo of the bike path in Tucson a few years ago. Teleport me...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Goal-setting, Perseverance, and Patience...

and you too can have a Connecticut driver's license (and maybe even get elected president)! In and out in just 4hrs! I feel somewhat for my skier friends with this impending January thaw, but given that I have forgotten how to ski, I am secretly happy. Thanks to the blog guardian angel for the photo modification - I do suppose blind trust is ill-advised.