Excursions

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I’m about to go on holiday. A couple of days in Amsterdam, a few days in Dubai, then a cruise through the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, with stops in Abu Dhabi and Muscat. Aside from the delights of visiting places I’ve never been before – not to mention going on my first ever cruise – I’m really looking forward to running in Amsterdam, Dubai, and on the ship (which has a running track on its uppermost deck). I’ll be gone for a couple of weeks.

During that time, my access to the Net will be irregular. I’ll try to post here when I have time and access, as well as to my Twitter feed. (If you’re reading this on my WordPress.com blog site, you’ll see my latest three Twitter posts on the sidebar to the right.) I’ll do my best to include some photos of where I’ve run.

New experiences, interesting places, and some much-needed sunshine and warmth. It’s all good.

Race Report: Run4RKids 8 Hour

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Above is an image of the indoor track at the Toronto Track and Field Centre at York University. My plan last Saturday was to run that track for eight hours at the Run4RKids 8 Hour Ultra. The reality was that I bailed at about five hours, having completed approximately 38K. I was still feeling good, had no aches or pains, and was pretty much on target pace.

So what happened?

Long story short – Asperger’s.

As I’ve explained in a previous post (“Running and Asperger’s”), I have Asperger’s Syndrome. Two of the primary manifestations of that are social isolation and a sensitivity to sensory overload. That means I don’t function well in groups of people, and that I don’t function well when there’s a lot of sound or movement around me.

Think about that for a minute, and you’ll understand why I always run alone, and almost always without music. And why running in races is somewhat problematic. Sometimes I can manage races, sometimes I can’t. When I can’t, I simply can’t.

Last January, I ran the Run4RKids 6 Hour successfully, and had a wonderful time. I met a number of very friendly and supportive people (ultra runners are like that), and completed a respectable 52K. So I was looking forward to this year’s 8 Hour. In fact, I’d worked out some specific strategies, building on solid feeling, pacing, and psychological learnings gained in the past twelve months.

Some days you’re the bug, some days you’re the windshield. On Saturday, it was my turn to be the bug.

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Above is a pre-race photo of the full field of runners. About 25 people were in for the 8 Hour, a few for the 6 Hour, and the rest for the 30K, marathon, and half marathon events. That’s yours truly in the back row, wearing a white shirt (and looking as apprehensive as always when in a group of people).

The five hours I ran went according to plan and were smooth sailing. I followed my usual drill for the race. Minimalist sandals and compression clothing, a short breathing exercise/meditation before the race start, an easy pace going out, low-carb high-fat fueling (a couple of handfuls of macadamia nuts, a couple of small pieces of salami, a couple of pieces of 89% cocoa chocolate, and water were enough for the five hours), and a Morton Stretch every two hours. For this race, I also added power-walking breaks of 400m every 90 minutes.

No problem. Everything felt good physically, and I was well on pace. But the feeling of dissonance was there from the start. And that soon grew into a familiar feeling of disassociation. Too many people, too much interaction, too much sound and movement around me. It’s hard to explain to neurotypical (i.e., “normal”) people, but, if you read though my ““Running and Asperger’s” post, you’ll get a sense of what I was going through.

So I decided to call it a day. I sat down at trackside to think it through, made my decison, and headed for the door. No regrets.

None of that took anything away from my appreciation of the race itself, nor did it diminish my appreciation of the friendliness and support of the other participants. I simply knew I shouldn’t be there.

I’m not sure what to do about my upcoming race calender. I’ve got two ultra races scheduled. One’s a 100K road event in June, and the other’s a 24 hour event in September. For the time being, I’m going to leave the calendar as it is. But I may revise my thinking, opt out of all organized events, and explore long-distance running on my own. I’m still passionate about running, but I need to do it the way that makes most sense to me.

In Review: 2014

Just for fun, here’s the skinny on what happened on this blog in 2104. What traffic was like, where visitors came from, yadda, yadda, yadda..

Check it out!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Earthing

Earthing

My discovery of earthing came about because I was introduced to a pair of sandals.

A pair of Earth Runner Alpha X sandals, to be exact. Michael Dally of Earth Runners offered me a pair to review, and I took him up on it. I’m glad I did.

In the course of testing the Alpha Xs for my review, I became intrigued about earthing. First, I looked at the earthing section of the Earth Runners website (which I recommend you do too). Then I checked out some earthing-related videos on YouTube, and I did more research.

I’ll admit that at first I was sceptical. The corner was turned when I saw this video of how earthing products were used by the Discovery Channel Tour de France team from 2003 to 2005 and again in 2007:

I then purchased an earthing mat from the earthing.ca website.

Put simply, Earthing means connecting yourself to the Earth’s natural, negative surface charge by being barefoot outside or in bare skin contact with conductive systems indoors while you sleep, relax, or work. It’s a simple concept, but one with profound consequences.

Connecting with the Earth restores a lost electrical signal to the body that seems to stabilize the complicated circuitry of our essentially-electrical body. When you ground to the electron-enriched earth, an improved balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system occurs. Your self-regulating and self-healing mechanisms become more effective. There’s better blood flow. Less pain and inflammation. More energy. Deeper sleep.

Even after a little less than a week of using the mat, the effects were dramatic. For the first time in years, I slept straight through the night (numerous radiation treatments for prostate cancer over the past eight years have played havoc with my sleep and urinary patterns), and also lost some chronic pain in a thumb joint.

I noticed a marked reduction in my stress levels. Shortly before starting to use the earthing mat, we started an extensive house renovation, which meant that we had to empty the house, relocate to a condo, and board our two dogs and four cats. That would have been enough to unhinge anyone, but was especially tough on me. I have Aspergers Syndrome, and, like most Aspies, find any change in routine extremely harrowing. Being earthed made a really big difference in my ability to cope with the changes.

I feel like I’ve begun a whole new chapter in life education as I learn more about earthing.

I recently read Earthing, by Clint Ober, Stephen Sinatra, and Martin Zucker. It’s been a fascinating read, especially the more technical appendices at the end of the book.

I sleep on the earthing mat every night, and I also have it under my feet as much as possible during the day (for at least a couple of hours each day). I’m still sleeping soundly, and I’m still managing stress better. Not just day-to-day stress during the house renovation, but also acute stress – one of our greyhounds died a few weeks ago, and I don’t think I’d have made it through that difficult time very well without the help of earthing.

I also find that my recovery from long or intense runs is much faster and more complete.

I plan to buy a full earthing bed sheet in the near future, and probably also a set of earthing patches. And, when the warmer weather arrives, I’ll order a pair of fully conductive Earth Runner Circadians. Earthing makes so much sense as a way of optimizing my health and well-being that I’d be foolish not to.

I urge you to give earthing serious consideration. It may be one of the best things you’ll ever do.

Note: A slightly different version of this post previously appeared on the Earth Runners blog.

Kelso

Kelso

This afternoon, we said goodbye to our greyhound Kelso.

His going was gentle and peaceful. We were with him until the last, holding him, talking to him, and letting him know he was loved. It wasn’t easy, but he was ready to go, and he seemed to be at peace at the end.

Kelso was a gentle companion, a loyal friend, and a beautiful animal. In the four and a half years he was with us, he gave us so much joy. He made us laugh, he taught us a lot, and he filled our world with wonder. JoAnne, Toby, and I will miss him hugely.

My heart aches.

Coming Up

I’m not posting much to the blog these days. That’s because our house is being renovated. We’ve moved out temporarily, and the dogs and cats have been boarded. The project is supposed to take three months to complete. And that’s not all – we’ll be travelling for a couple of weeks early in the new year as well.

For a while, I’ll rely on my tablet, rather than my desktop computer, to access the Net. All well and good for Twitter, Feedly, etc., but a bit of a chore when it comes to writing lengthy blog posts. So, for now, I’ll just bring you up to date on some of the things I’ll post when I next get close to a computer.

First, a post about homoeopathy. I’ve been following a homoeopathic regime for a little over a year now, and it’s brought about some significant improvements to my health. I know that homoeopathy doesn’t sit comfortably with a lot of people, so I’ll give serious thought to what I’ll say about it. I don’t want to start any wars on the subject, but I do want to share my experiences.

Same with topic number two, which is earthing. It’s another controversial subject. Besides, I’m fairly new to it. So I’ll let some time go by before putting my thoughts in a post. Again, though, this is about health improvement and enhancement, and I want to share what I’ve learned.

Lastly, I’m running the Run4RKids 8 Hour Ultra on January 3, so you can expect to see a full race report soon afterwards. Because both homoeopathy and earthing are playing roles in my training for this event, you can also expect to read something about them in the report.

Stay tuned!