…Through the virtue of training, Enlighten both body and soul — Morihei Sensei

Archive for December, 2011


Irony of Goals: Training and Zen

I am struck by the necessity of,  and yet, inherent contradiction, between training goals (or any goals, for that matter), and Zen Practice.

Goals are necessary to Practice due to the peculiar wiring of the human mind and physiology. The will needs a target to focus on.  As in Kyudo, the archer needs a target to focus his bow and arrow on.

Paradoxically, goals are an attachment, and Practice is about detachment.  The Archer aims at the target with his mind, and then releases attachment to striking his aim.

In triathlon, this is particularly tricky, as there are so many goals, targets, variables, and equipment to track and monitor. Additionally, it is a competition, so times and standings are inescapable. The trick is to track these goals, work towards them, but then have no attachment.

This is the trick in life. We need to eat to live. Our bodies and minds will scream for nourishment. How then do we remain detached from food, yet seek nourishment for our bodies? There are many, many more mundane examples.

Warriors in combat have the same quandary. We train. We fight. All with an objective. Yet, to Practice we must also remain detached.

In this way triathlon is good Warrior training because of long and continuous training period, the number of variables, the specificity of success or failure, the concentrated pressure. I find it a great environment to Practice.



— Jalal

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Your comments are welcome and appreciated.


My Siestas — Polyphasic Sleep Quickies

I’ve been experimenting with polyphasic sleep, among other things in my preparation for the 2012 season and my new Ironman goal.

The one version of polyphasic sleep I’ve been able to implement with some consistency is the siesta.  Essentially, exactly what you expect, it is a short nap in the afternoon.  I look to carve out 20 minutes each afternoon between Noon and 2pm.  I’ll look at my watch, make a mental note of when twenty minutes from now is, and try to catch a quickie power nap.

Studies show that a single 20 minute nap in the middle of the day can knock down the total amount of sleep needed for the day.  In my experience, this assumes your not sleep deprived to begin with.

The problem is most of us are operating on a sleep deficit.  This is evidently my case, because though I haven’t sleep less at night, I have been waking up more refreshed and ready for the day.  I generally, roll of bed about 5:30am, on  a good day.  Now, I can get up fairly easily at my actual target of 5:00am.

Another, benefit is that if I’m indoors around 2pm, my productivity is usually terrible anyhow.  May as well catch a quick nap, and come out of it more productive and focused, instead of zombie-ing through the afternoon.

When I’m in the field the zombie thing isn’t such an issue, but it is nice to get home with energy in the tank.

Another contributor to this effect has been my reduction in consuming refined sugars and crap carbs, but more on that another day.

Siesta improves memory

Siesta improves brain function


Day 12–Road to Ironman Florida

12 Days down–388 to go till Ironman Florida 2012

On the road this weekend, putting my slow-carb diet to the test on the road.  One advantage has been that one of the three days on the road is my cheat day, Saturday.  This also conveniently coincided with the team dinner (Golden Coral, one restaurant not on my favorite list).  We also had an immediately post-game meal at Sweet Bones Alabama (the food was actually outstanding), which fit into the slow-carb model very well, but also was easier falling on my cheat day.

We also ate at Urban Cookhouse before hitting the road home.   The food was good, and definitely compatible with slow-carb, but for a little bit more money, I would opt for Sweet Bones Alabama.

Free hotel breakfasts are always tough if you’re trying to avoid a bunch of cheap carbs.  I usually opt for extra helpings of whatever they have for eggs.  This time the eggs had ham each day, so i went for the boiled eggs, fruit, and yogurt.  The fruit is a minor slow-carb violation.  Yogurt is always a good hotel breakfast option.

Training on the road is another challenge.  I’ve switched my off-day to Sunday.  Sunday used to be my long run day, but upon inspection, it makes more sense as an off-day:   A)  I go into the next training week with an actual day of rest between, B)  I can double down on the rest effect, with say Friday as an off day, I still have the stress of a workday, and all the other weekday scheduling, negating a portion of the offness.

Thus, I only had to plan training around one or two days of travel, instead of the entire stretch.  I ran 3 miles or so yesterday, using Google Maps to plot my route.  This is usually a pretty good option, helpful for determining whether certain routes are navigable in unknown cities.  Sometimes I do find myself running through unsavory parts of town, but have never had any problems.

I’m in a heavy lifting phase in the gym, so will be getting back on that horse this week.

Also, getting ramped up for the “From 5k to 50k in 12 Weeks” training plan.  I’m not quite into the 12 weeks yet, still in like week zero.  Once I get fully adjusted to lifting and speedwork,  plus a couple of races under my belt, we’ll know how well that is working.



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Comments are always welcome.

Some Blog Love

Liebster Blog AwardI am now an Award-Winning Blogger.  Old 454 has been bestowed some Blog Love with the venerated Liebster Blog Award!

My friend Toph at  Desert Dogmeh saw fit to award and reward our efforts.  Thank you much.

About the Liebster Blog Award

Nettie Thomson at Words and Pictures has a nice explanation.  Below is a hybrid of hers and Toph’s:

From a German word meaning dearest, Liebster Award is given to up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers.

Once so bestowed, here are the responsibilities:

  1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you. by linking back to them.
  2. Give this award to 5 other bloggers, reveal them in a post,  and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  3. Post this wonderful award on your blog.
  4. Hope that the people you’ve sent the award to forward it to their five favorite bloggers and keep it going!
  5. Bask in the glory bestowed upon you and appreciate all the amazing bloggers out there.
  6. Enjoy and spread the good vibes around.

Old 454’s Liebster Awardees:

Mommie In Training

The Frozen Pinapple

Kana’s Notebook

Silly Reverie

From Kanji to Cat Eye

Congratulations All!