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positively positive


i was chatting with repete during our 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 run this morning [12.3 miles at 4:56 on 7/8/09] and he was saying how reading too much of the “corporations are evil” type of literature can drive you to have a negative mindset and how he didn’t want to be too negative. that made me think about the positive people that i know.

there are two types of positive people.  first are those that are the happy go-lucky, “i drank the cool-aide” people who shun the thought of adversity, suffering or conflict and candy coat everything.  they view life through rose coloured glasses…not as it actually is.  “shiny, happy people” by r.e.m. comes to mind.

the second group are those folks that understand that life is full of pain, disappointment and hurdles, but also recognize that there is amazing joy, beauty and love to be had; sometimes after facing said pain, disappointment and hurdles.  these types of people embrace the adversity and use it to strengthen themselves, make themselves better people and make a conscious decision to approach life with a positive outlook.

i like these types of people.  you learn how to LIVE from these types of people.  these types of people SUCCEED.  these types of people shun drama and have a warm mug of excitement that is bubbling over.

repete is one of those guys.  in chatting with him about this, i immediately thought of donald and his recent ws100 finish.  donald is the epitome of this sort of positivity.  go now and read his ws100 recap and see for yourself what sort of success these types of people are capable of. 

and, as a side note: surround yourself with these types of people because it’s contagious.

soundtrack for this post
No Line on the Horizon lick:
No Line on the Horizon

brilliant mistake


it was a fine idea at the time, now it’s a brilliant mistake

- elvis costello

a couple of years back, mark, over at started up a barefoot running program as part of his p0se running training.  he blogged long and often about his experience and how much he enjoyed the freedom.  a small seed was planted back in those days.

since i’ve basically cleared my calendar of races and most of what i do these days is trail running, i thought it might be fun to start up a barefoot running program, too.  and, after building up my endurance, i thought it might be even more entertaining to grab a pair of those vibram 5 finger socks and see if i could run trails “barefoot”.

so, with mooseman a memory, i picked last week as the time to start out on my maiden barefoot journey.  like virtually every physical challenge that has come before, i blindly jumped in without doing much research beforehand [because, really, if you can’t learn the lessons on your own, are you really LIVING the experience? [i say that tongue in cheek, because, if you haven’t guessed, i’m an idiot sometimes]].

repete and i have a weekly speedwork date at the uci track on thursdays and i thought to myself, “self, what a brilliant idea it would be to get your first taste of barefoot running on a RUBBER track!”  think about it…running the track keeps me from being stranded someplace if things go awry, i wouldn’t have to carry my shoes while running AND, rubber!  rubber is easy on the feet!  not like that nasty asphalt!  score!  brilliant!

so, repete and i head out on thursday for our 2.5mi warm-up to the uci track and i proclaimed proudly that today was the day i was going to start running barefoot.  repete, in his wisdom, opted to watch and learn.  we hit the track and i did a couple of mile intervals to start out and then headed to the side of the track, shed the shoes and strode bravely to the lap starting point.

the first thing i noticed was that the track was a bit warm.  it’s a faded dark blue rubber and it attracts the sun’s heat.  it wasn’t so hot that i couldn’t stand on it, but i did notice that it was on the hot side of warm.  the second thing i noticed was that the rubber isn’t smooth.  i guess i just never realized that, since i’d always worn shoes on it.  i commented to repete, “this is rougher than i thought it would be”.  but, c’mon, it’s RUBBER.  rubber is bouncy and soft and forgiving, right?


so, off i went on my merry way.  i focused on landing on the balls of my feet and running light.  after one lap, the balls of my feet were burning.  not, “holy cow i’m on fire and gotta stop!” burning, but more of a “oh, this cumulative heat from the track is making my feet uncomfortable”.  so, i transitioned over to the grass on the inside of the track to take some of the “heat” off my feet.  running on the grass felt wonderful.  it felt like it was cooling my feet back down and by the time i’d run the straight-away, i figured i should transition back to the track to work on a more firm surface again.  i did this for the next two laps…run the straights on the grass, the curves on the track. 

it was going great, but, boy did my feet feel warm.  after the third lap, i was coming around the first turn and as soon as i hit the grass i felt like something was dangling from my left foot.  “oh, i picked up some grass clippings” i though, and i brushed off my foot.  half way down the straight, the sensation of something dangling from my foot was still there, so i stopped to take a look at my foot.

what i saw surprised me.  the ball of my foot was a sack of bloody skin.  it wasn’t dangling free, but it looked like a clear plastic bag of meat on the bottom of my foot.  i sat down and looked at the other foot.  it was worse.  my toes were shredded, too.  i was shocked.  i had NO idea that the sensation i had been feeling was me turning my feet into ground beef. 

i tenderly walked back to my shoes, wiped off my feet as best i could and put my socks and shoes back on.  my feet hurt now.  funny how i could have probably kept running, but the second i saw the damage i was doing, the pain set in.  i let repete know that i’d messed up my feet and began the long walk back to the ymca.

repete, being the class act that he is, caught up to me shortly after and told me he’d run on ahead and pick me up.  i walked the mile up to jamboree and waited for him there.  as i sat in the shade of a tree waiting for him, the pain began to transition into intense throbbing.  i could feel my feet beginning to swell.  brilliant me, too, had opted to wear my shoes rigged for triathlon [tight elastic laces with the only way to loosen them is to take out the laces].  repete showed up shortly after i sat down and performed the heroic task of driving me back to the gym.

3acyi showered, drove by work to grab my laptop and headed home to work out of the house.  i had one singular thought on my mind and that was to get my feet into some ice.  as i hobbled into the house, smsmh greeted me with a look of horror.  i explained what i had done, expecting her to be upset; an immobile jeff is an immobile dad…one not able to contribute to the chasing around of a highly mobile offspring.  as i finished my story, smsmh did her best to give me a look of concern, but couldn’t contain herself any longer and began laughing.  whew.  at least we were both able to see the humor in the situation.

it’s been a couple days now, and the feet are healing up nicely.  i’m able to walk on them again and i don’t think there’s any long term damage.  the blood-sacks have dried up and don’t feel like they’re going to pop anymore.  mostly, it just feels like i’m walking on really bad bruises now. 

but, with that pain comes a blog post and some valuable lessons:

  1. rubber CAN be hard
  2. rubber tracks have the texture of a meat tenderizer
  3. i have to treat barefoot running as if i’ve never run a day in my life.
  4. sometimes it works to rtfm
soundtrack for this post
The Very Best of Elvis Costello (1 of 2) lick:
Brilliant Mistake
Elvis Costello
The Very Best of Elvis Costello (1 of 2)



the little guy is growing up so fast, it’s amazing the changes we see in him from day to day.  even the short [no, 12 days is NOT short and is WAY to long to be away from home] time i was in the uk, i’ve noticed significant development in tc’s speach and dexterity.  not to mention his size.  the boy just turned two and is already over 3ft.  wow.

anyway, his ability to put thoughts and sentences together and the new words that he constantly throws out has me baffled and often times in hysterics.  take for example the discourse that we enjoyed in the car yesterday while driving to disneyland [what, you don’t go to disneyland after work for dinner?  gotta love annual passes!]:

tc: “see brandon denny-land” [tc’s friend who we might see when we get to d-land]

zq: “you’re going to see brandon?  where is he?”

tc: “over der” [points to the side of the freeway]

zq: “is he hiding behind the wall?”

tc: “yup”

zq: “is he hiding under the seat?”

tc: “yup”

zq: “is he hiding in your sippy cup?”

tc: “yup” [quickly takes a drink]

zq: “oh no!  you drank brandon!  did he taste good?”

tc: “yup!”

smsmh started talking and tc was quiet for a couple of minutes and then started up again:

tc: “OH NO!”

zq: “what’s up, schimmia?”

tc: “drink brandon!”

long pause


soundtrack for this post
Psychocandy lick:
Taste The Floor
The Jesus & Mary Chain

big summer plans


well, this week kicks off the start of some big summer plans.  well…mainly for the month of june, but depending how this month goes, the rest of the year might end up being a whirlwind/rollercoaster.

friday, i head off the east coast to hook up with flipperhead, warren and bill for a little triathlon fun.  bill, warren and i are all racing mooseman 70.3 this sunday.  flipper had planned on racing as well, but with a recent injury and starting a new career she didn’t think she’d be up for the distance.  that’s okay, her moral support will be most welcome and i know we’ll talk her into something equally or more crazy in the near future.

as for the race, i’m excited.  i don’t think i’ve trained as hard as i did for wildflower, but i’m not as anxious as i was for that race, either.  i have a big goose-egg for open water swims and my longest ride this year has been 40mi, but i still feel good.  i’ve had some pretty decent brick workouts over the last few months, so my confidence is still high.  i’m not sure what my goals are for race day, though.  i think i’ll gauge how i feel race morning and either determine to race hard or just enjoy the day [actually, either way i’ll be enjoying the day]. 

the race is this coming sunday, june 7th, so if you’re home and on the internet, stop by their website and check out the live internet broadcast of the race.  my bib number is 285 and i’m in the second/day-glow green wave, departing at 7: 04. 

following the race, i’ll be hoofing it over to manchester, uk for another work trip.  i get to spend a weekend in country and am hoping that i can swing a trip to the peak district to get in some fun trail running.  the little taste that i had last year with bill really has me wanting to do something in the 20-30mi range this time around.

then, i come back.  and this is where the REAL fun starts.  upon my return to the states, i’ll be heading up to the yosemite area to stay with the in-laws for a few weeks.  they recently put their house on the market and decided to buy a retirement place up in coarsegold [just outside of yosemite’s south entrance].  for those few weeks that we’ll be staying with them, i’ll be participating in a trial run with work to determine if i can work remotely on a permanent basis.

also, while in coarsegold, we’ll be looking at real estate, quality of living, schools, etc and if we like what we find AND i get the green light from work to tele-commute, we’ll be pulling up stakes too and setting up camp in the foothills of the sierras.  so, if that all pans out, then the rest of the summer is going to be nuts-o with moving and whatnot.

so, lots of big stuff happening.  i’m excited and anxious for what june holds!

soundtrack for this post
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace lick:
Foo Fighters
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

ymca youth health day


this past saturday, i met up with trail running friends erod, kyle and michelle for a 20mi paved run.  kyle and michelle are running the la marathon and needed some time on asphalt before the big day.  since the route they proposed is bordered by a dirt shoulder or horse trail for most of the way, i decided to come along and stick to the dirt when i could.

the run was fantastic with cool weather, party cloudy skies and a grand view of the upper newport bay for the entire run.  we started the run off at the ymca in costa mesa, chosen for it's accessibility and plethora of parking.  only on this particular morning, the ymca was having a youth health day.

yay for youth health.  i'm all for teaching kids about health, encouraging them to make healthy choices with their diet and activities.  the topic came up several times during our run that morning and we lamented the epidemic of childhood obesity.  we lauded the ymca for focusing on the important task of educating said kids.

why, then, did they have several bright pink boxes of yummy donuts laid out on the registration table?

as repete would say, "welcome to adventures in missing the point."

soundtrack for this post
Swoon lick:
Growing Old Is Getting Old
Silversun Pickups


zipper quigley says, "it's all about the race day magic!"

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