Posts

Salomon Sense Marin

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These are now my favourite shoes, though they don't shed mud, which means moving down hills parallel-ski style. In other words: no running on long, steep muddy declines. On the plus side, the shoes are not slippy enough to escape from under the mud-traversing body shod in them, which has happened to me with other shoes. While they were not made for mud, but for Marin County, which is far, far away from where I run in them, they work for me (so does their lower-end cost).
The Sense Marins are just universal enough to allow me to do whatever I want or need: traverse long stretches of concrete jungle to reach non-technical trail; run all over those trails in all kinds of conditions; manage not to skid-fall on mud.
They are roomy enough for a wide foot and cushiony enough without removing tactile contact with varying terrain.
I do not know if it is because of the shoe or because the benefits of minimal strength work accumulated, but the first month after wearing the shoes, my stride c…

departures, returns

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How is it that we speak of "straying" from ourselves? What can you do to return to to yourself if you have strayed; how might you know if you have; how long does it take to return - and is there a point of no return?
I would love to get answers to these questions from as many people as possible.
Of course, it's possible to think about these things on a more global scale, too - like in the book The Mushroom at the End of the World, an anthropological meditation on the now capitalist implications of the pursuit of the matsutake mushroom (a book I learned only of via a review of its French translation).
It seems like we expect that we are able to fathom the consequences of our pursuits and wanderings, given our "rational minds" - even though even a single jog through the country park may begin out of several reasons, give rise to several more, so have several possibly conflicting consequences to keep track of. A mushroom, the matsutake, that was once used in a sym…

steeper

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Life got steeper in previous months: I no longer had time for blogging, or sleep. But then, I found myself two weeks ago on a literally steep mountain. For the first time in over a decade, I was running on a trail absorbed with boulders, stones, tree roots that wound around a coast, getting higher and higher - until I suddenly happened upon a large Indian family, whose little son blurted: you are going so fast! And I took their photo for them as they laughed on New Year's Eve, and I regret now that I was so deep in thought on that run that I did not ask them if they would mind sending me photos of that view, care of altitude.


It is supposed to be marathon-training season for me, but after those mountains, the very ones from my childhood, I don't see the point. I signed up for the marathon in the past two years to make sure I would train through the winter where I live now, replete as it is with winds that freeze hair. But I have come to love the days of inclement weather just …

slower roads

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It has been a strange summer. For a while, I was doing regular 18 mile runs in 95F+ heat, until I suddenly lost the will to run, totally exhausted. This week, I jumped back into mid-range mileage, and feel less out of shape than encouraged because my running form seemed to come together, which was confirmed by a friend, who called it "finally harmonious" (!) This took two years to accomplish - admittedly, with no coach and along the slow road. The past two years have felt like the trial of investing an immense effort, more than I can fathom, unsure if I will finally arrive "somewhere", with something to show for it, though I have felt moved to "keep on". But like my now-improved running form showed me, a run I took yesterday also illustrated that there is something to be said for perseverance, even sans the coach one wishes for.
At one moment during the run, I thought, how can I possibly go 2/3 further, and the next moment, the distance - seemingly of lif…

vampire moths!

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I am still trying to shake off that unwanted running buddy of midsection kilograms - and marvel at how I have less of an issue showing off my running-induced blue toes in sandals than coping with the war trophy of the end-of-term stomach (induced by sleepless nights writing, marking, or invigilating). The blog post I had been composing was supposed to be about the pleasure of running far enough to see swans puff themselves out like cumuli on hot days, or the pheasant I found that lives in a park; the indescribable pleasure of feeling the weather and its hourly changes as opposed to intellectually understanding what it says in an app. But what finally prompted me to open this Compose page were the two vampire moth bites I sustained - which frightened me so much, that I now prefer to do regular 17 mile runs on a totally different route in order to avoid the chance of seeing these insects again, for a time.
One day, I was running along, minding my own business, when I felt something on m…

pursues you in your flight

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This will be a brief post because during this unusual window of recreational off-time, I have decided to keep up with the WS100 updates. Like, I feel life is like a race now, so it's therapeutic to watch a race, just like once upon a time, in the midst of giving too many exams, I felt cured by watching "judge shows", specifically "Chopped", which depersonalised my understanding that assessment can verge on the arbitrary. But let's talk about races. Specifically, the feeling of where the good old college try in the race is foiled by sudden changes to the course, different from what was trained for. This is all figurative - but two running-based passages got me back on track in my losing 'race', which is why I thought I would write about it on this blog.
First, were parts of AJW's WSJ100 speech, which inspired my will to continue with relentless forward motion. He says things like: "I want you to go into the race confident, resilient, and fai…

blazes

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How glorious it is to blaze a new trail, and suddenly to appear in learned society, a book of discoveries in one’s hand, like an unforeseen comet flashing through space! While that line was written somewhat ironically, by a person of leisure placed under a 42-day house arrest for duelling, at which time he composed this "palliative" (i.e. relieving, if not curative) account of a 42-day "voyage around [his] room", I often think of it, maybe also ironically, when I fortify myself with runs before reappearing in society.
But it is tough when running time is infringed upon by the very activities a person wants to strengthen themselves for. That's been my life since my last post. I've needed to shift how I look at my running.
I've thought back to the old people I would once run past after newspaper shifts, around five or six in the morning, making their way up to a Chinese mountain peak - walking and stretching their arms in various directions, often accomp…