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Getting Back in Shape

Hey, don't give up if you've quit working out. Cyclist John Howard says you have "muscle memory," so that if you've ever run, or cycled, or swam etc., you'll pick it up quickly when you start training again. Come to think of it, computers have knocked a lot of time out of a lot of people's schedules, and workouts have often diminished. Well, tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life, dude! Start simple. Take walks, pencil in 3 periods of activity for the week. For the office, print out this PDF from our website and keep it in your desk drawer. It's got drawings of stretching, muscle building, and activities you can do every day in the office:
On the Job Exercises (PDF file)
Get up and walk around the house (or block) when there are long commercials on TV. Park your car as far from the store as you can and enjoy the walk. C'mon, let's go…

Back in the Saddle (or, “Boy, You Shoulda Never Got This Guy Bloggin’!”)

I think I'm the opposite of a manic depressive. Something like a manic enthusiast. I do have my downs, and they're not too infrequent, but it's almost worth it for the contrast with the next high. To wit:

I took my first run in a month last Tuesday night. It was dark and rainy and I told my running friends I was going alone, couldn't keep up with the A team. Wearing just one layer of Maxit (turtleneck, tights, hat)), great in rain, I took off through the puddles in the road (just got feet wet to begin with), past the beach and up steep hill paralleling ocean at Muir Beach. I ran slowly — no injuries please — in the light rain, the waves crashing on the sand, good smell of rain, negative ions, the lights of the hillside houses twinkling in the mist, cozy looking, as I climbed, God I loved it! Sensors in my body were kicking back into gear. I got to a favorite lookout spot on a spine of land jutting out over the ocean, then went down a steep trail to a point a few hundred feet below. Like the prow of a ship. Turned off headlight and stood there, soaking up storm energy.

Then on Saturday morning I took off in a light rain to my favorite mushroom grove. A half hour run, then … got em! First big chanterelle haul in two years. Went deeper into the woods than usual, got one 8"-wide orange beauty. I spent about an hour following faint animal trails, ducking under hazelnut branches, crawling through brush tunnels, got a few pounds. Know what I do each time I find a chanterelle? I get on my knees on the soil in front of it, then bow to it Thai-style. Flaky, huh?

Back to truck, dried off, looking at the pond with raindrops hitting, headed over the mountain for Mill Valley, listening to Al Green. Jesus, he had such a run in the ’70s, about 4 records, tight arrangements, tough band, perfect backup singers — were they cookin'! How can anyone sing so beautifully? We're talkin Sam Cooke quality here. His Old Time Lovin* brought tears to my eyes. I'm thinking to myself, you stupid fuck, you'd feel like this more often if you worked out more often. The world turns technicolor.
*Album: Let’s Stay Together, Hi Records
Got my hardware chores done and headed into SFO. The north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge was barely visible in the mist. heavy rain. Hey, what a day! As I crossed the toll plaza, thinking about making the immediate right turn so I could go to the Purple Skunk skateboard shop and see Eli, one of my skate gurus, and at that moment Al Greene's rendition of the song Eli's Game came on. Five minutes later I took it into the shop and had Eli play it. Eli is a push-the-edges downhill skater. He's gone 60 miles an hour and has a quiver of exotic boards. His latest was sitting there and I fell in love with it first sight. Elegant 30" Swiss-made deck, with oversize white downhill speed wheels. Like a Maserati with muscle truck tires (whitewalls). Take it and try it out, said Eli, and I did.

Eli's Pumpkin (Swiss-made) deck with soft hi-speed wheels, a board with personality. it turns like a dream.

For once I wasn't rushing. Went out to the Java Beach Cafe, surfer-oriented corner cappucino cafe just across from Ocean beach, where I sat and wrote this stuff — and decided to try doing a blog once a week by getting up at 5 a.m. on Mondays — which I did, and am now doing.

Copyright © 2005 by Lloyd Kahn

Great old SFO house in the rain. Exterior needs attention, but it looks sound and homey.

To tell the truth I'm not sure about blogging. I don't need MORE stuff to do on a computer. Yet maybe it will help me get a flow of communication going — stuff I've normally let slip by — quickly rendered — we'll see…

On the way home I picked up a bottle of Asbach Uralt brandy in Mill Valley, having decided to end the day with jumping in a Mt. Tam creek. Cranked up the truck heater, got to my trail in the woods, never done this in the rain — or winter for that matter — stripped down, brrrr!, a few shots of brandy, and slipped into the pool. The waterfall was running so hard, water was foaming up 4-5" above surface of pond. Shit was it cold!

Copyright © 2005 by Lloyd Kahn

Waterfall at high water. Brandy flask on left.

Swam under water to waterfall and felt it pound my head, that's the goal, to have the stream energize your head — it's powerful! — hurriedly got out, dried off. Man what a rush of energy! Getting in cold water — it works every time (unless you get hypothermia) — your body goes into high-gear circulation, the blood rushes to your skin, and your organs have been jolted, they're pulsing. So simple, but so hard to do. I have to be in a good mood, where I say to myself, just do it you dumb fuck, because you know that 100% of the times you've jumped into cold water (bay, ocean, creek, lake, river) you feel fantastic when you get out.

Back Home

It took me 4-5 days to screw my head back on and tune back into California time. Yesterday I went to my yoga class for the first time in a month. The teacher, Ellen Serber in Pt. Reyes Station is extraordinary, and 1-1/2-hour session proved to be perfect, i.e. on the way home I passed a tree crew cutting down an oak tree. They had cut the log up into 2' sections and left them by the side of the road. I raced home, grabbed a maul and 3 wedges, took out the camper stuff in the bed of my truck and went back. Some of the sections I could just load, but others had to be split. As I was working (it was raining), I thought “I know how to do this.” Splitting wood is a skill I’ve developed over the years. This wood was pretty gnarly, since the tree had grown almost horizontally, so I split what I could and took two loads home. What a score, maybe half a cord of the best firewood! Doing the yoga beforehand probably saved me from screwing up my back. It’s great to get a workout while getting something practical accomplished.