January 26, 2005
Today I ran 5.75 miles during lunch. I ran 8.3 minute miles on average. The first mile I ran an 8 minute mile, the second mile I ran an 8.5 minute mile, then I slowed down slightly. That second mile was a killer because it was all uphill. I was breathing so hard and my body felt like it was going to scream. Or something. I didnít feel like I was going to die though. After I got to about the 3 mile mark it was mostly downhill back to work and my muscles felt all warm and I was breathing at steady pace. I thought to myself that I just have to keep going even if I slow down. Evidently I didnít slow down too much, but got into a groove. When I went to the UofM the first time I was in ROTC and we ran a lot around the U. That was nice running. Of course I was much younger then and was running a lot faster. But at least Iím doing it again. Itís been really. No I mean REALLY hard to get myself to run again after all this time of not running. Not only have I had a mental block against running, itís just easier not to push ourselves, which running forces us to do.
I ran with my friend Dan for the first two miles then he bolted on ahead and ran a few extra miles than me and he came in 8 minutes behind me. So he ran about 8.75 miles only 8 minutes slower than I ran 5.75 miles. I think Dan is a superb athlete in cycling and running. He used to be a professional bike racer at one time. But more than that, heís been an athlete his whole life.
I officially got Saturday morning off work to do my ice criterium race. I also got next Saturday off to run the Frozen 5K run in downtown St. Paul. So, Iím committed and I have the time.
Over the past few days Iíve been thinking about the implications of giving up my car totally. Iím afraid to mention this idea to other people because invariably they say something like, ďOh I could never do that.Ē I donít know what to say to that. I never intend to make other people feel guilty but I think some of them do because they are not exercising and not doing anything for the environment. But no matter what other people are doing, Iím still going to do my own thing the way I think best for my life.
Thinking about how to pull this off though without being a burden on others is something else. Because really my decisions do effect my family and others. For instance, if there is a blizzard and I have to ride my bike 20 miles to work next winter, Iím not going to want to ask my wife to borrow her car or have her drive 40 miles in those conditions and then another 40 miles to come and pick me up. There are no busses running there at the times I need to come and go. So how did people do things before the automobile? Simple. They werenít so spread out. Everything they did was closer to home. Or they spent days or weeks on horseback or walking to get to where they wanted to go. And does this mean Iíll give things like airplanes also? Maybe not. I still want to go to a few foreign countries in my lifetime, but maybe Iíll get a hot air balloon or something. hmmm.
How will I go to the grocery store? There is one by us, but itís more expensive than cub foods and they have less selection. I can ride the bus there. I am also looking around our neighborhood to see whom I can help with grocery shopping. After Jim came up with the idea to coordinate shopping with the neighbors, I was meditating one day and this thought came to me: ďOffer to go with your neighbor, (the one that is extremely overweight and always has trouble with her groceries when she gets home.)Ē I know exactly who that is and have been thinking about making an offer to help her shop together and help her carry and load and unload her groceries with her in exchange for the ride there. Itís a good match. Or there are also a lot of elderly people in my neighborhood so I could expand it and alternate between them helping them when I go along with them. I think this is a good topic for the block club meeting. Maybe Iíll start a bike grocery delivery service for them.
Speaking of bikes... I now think I need 3 different bikes. Dan said his wife would kill him if he bought another bike besides the four he currently has. They all have different purposes though. He has a time-trial bike, a commuting bike, a road-racing bike and a mountain bike. I think I need a road-racing bike, which Iíll use for time trials also, because I just donít think it will help my speed at my level. I think I also need my mountain bike for winter riding and off-road trail riding this summer. Then comes my shopping and all around tour bike with big road tires and racks I can load down with groceries and that I can pull a trailer with camping gear or cans of paint from Menards. 3 bikes will work if I am creative about rigging them properly for the conditions.
Iíll still need a car to pull my vintage wooden sailboat though. I canít see me doing that by bike unless I somehow develop super-human strength. Anyway, Iíll have to use my wifeís vehicle for that. I still plan on renewing my drivers license every year. And at the same time Iíve eliminated one car from our family. But here is also an idea. I might take it to my cousinís cabin on a lake so the whole family can enjoy it and I can ride my bike there when I want to use it. Itís only about 75-100 miles away. I think the more I think about this, the more ways I come up with to really be able to eliminate my car from my life. I can rationalize any need for a car and itís easy to do. But to stop rationalizing takes creativity and thought and letting go of some things, and bringing my lifestyle in, closer to home. How did I ever get so spread out geographically in the first place? I hate driving in rush hour traffic. Thatís why I loved it so much when I moved from my previous job in Bloomington to Downtown St. Paul, which is much closer to my home, and I donít have to drive on the freeway. Cycling is the next logical progression I think. Hey, Iíve already ridden my bike out past where I used to work and it was easy. But still I wouldnít want to do a 20-30 mile ride in a blizzard. There is a lot to be said about bringing my activities closer to home, within my community, and occasionally out further. This really is a life-changing idea.
Life changing ideas:
Going grocery shopping with a neighbor is life changing.
Giving up my car totally, no excuses is life changing.
Becoming a lifelong athlete, for whatís left of it that is. Who knows, it may even help me live to my full potential life span instead of cutting it short.
We are so happy with our new dog Max. Heís getting along great with our other dog Molly. They are so cute together and I think they like each otherís company during the day when Iím at work.
We started the Spring cleaning already. We started ripping up the old pukey brown carpeting from our bedroom to discover beautiful wood floors. We had thought about painting the floors but when we saw what was under there, we changed our design. We are going to sand and stencil and varnish it so we can see the wood grain. I think it will be beautiful when done. I can carry a floor sander home on my bike trailer I think. hehe.
So you are probably getting to know me gradually through things I write. You know then that Iím not a couch potato. But I donít have anything against watching TV or movies. I just prefer to do other things with my time.
Time. There is that word again. The thing we all seem to need more of and that slips away so fast. Itís time I got back to that book-editing project I put on hold for my Korean class. I have to finish that! Now is the time. I contacted the author and we are getting started on it again. Right after I finish posting this blog. I still have about an hour and a halfís worth of time to figure out where I left off and make a plan to finish it. Itís a novel idea.
I havenít had time yet to install the counter on this blog as Jim did. He told me how to do it, but I havenít yet decided I need to know that. It would be fun knowing though. I could always ask Shane for a count now and then. I donít really need to know I think. Iíll just get a count from the administrator when I get curious. Youíd think there would be a plugin for Moveable Type for this. Anyway, Iím skeptical about using a counter from another website. I donít know why. Just seems like a hassle. I am curious right now though how many people have been reading this blog since I started almost a year ago. Very few people make comments so I canít really count by that. Thank you to those who have made comments though, because they make me think more and itís nice to hear from you.
I always like meeting new people. Some people get really stressed out about it, but I like to really look at other people and get to know them and learn what is good and true in their hearts. Itís like getting to know a friend over time. I cannot be prejudice or hate someone if I treat them like that. I got a fortune cookie last week that said, ďIncluding others in your life will bring you great happiness.Ē Yes, thatís true. Iím happier for getting to know other people and including them in my life.
Life is too short to waste playing games and pretending. Thatís what I think. We only have a limited time here and limited resources. So what am I doing with it? Iím figuring that out still. Iíll let you know when I get rid of my car and buy (or make) that bike trailer. Maybe my dad could help me design and build one cheaply. Heís an awesome mechanic and welder. Thatís a good idea. Iíll call him now and spend some time with my dad and give him a challenge.
Now I have to challenge my brain again and get going on that novel editing. At least see where I left off and make a plan. Enjoy life. Be kind to yourself. Donít beat yourself up. You are your best ally.
ohhhhh! the bunny just peed on me! lol. time to go back in the cage.. Iíve been sitting here holding and petting him while I was writing and I held him a little too long haha. Now I have to change and then call my dad and then work on the book!
wow, I just stood up and realized how stiff I've become from all this extra exercise today. I'd better add stretching to my routine tonight.
Posted by carl1236 at January 26, 2005 8:38 PM | Attitude
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Posted by: Shane at January 27, 2005 8:15 PM
I found your site through the "Oil is for Sissies" blog. (Don't ask me how I found THAT!)
I've been thinking about getting rid of my car, too. It seems really stupid for both me and my GF to have a car, especially in a community which is so bike-friendly and which has (for the USA) such good mass-transit options. (We live in Somerville, MA--near Cambridge.)
I think my situation is a little easier than yours: I have the option of taking the bus to work if I have to, and I can work from home more often, once I figure out the technology issues. Work is only about 12-15 miles away, so it's bikable for much of the year.
Most of my friends are cyclists; very few of them even have cars. So I've got the support network, too, and a subculture in which cars are seen as kind of crazy.
It's much easier if you're in an urban area. I'm not sure how people could pull off a no-car lifestyle in the suburbs or sprawl or the country. If we had a better rail network and better town planning it'd be doable. But we don't. Not in the US.
If you're looking for ways of carrying lots of stuff over (relatively) short distances, check out Xtracycle (www.xtracycle.com); it's an attachment for a mountain bike for carrying heavy loads. A couple of friends of mine have 'em, and they love 'em. Just scare up a decent old MTB at a garage sale or a thrift store for the conversion. You don't need anything fancy.
There's nothing wrong with lots of bikes. Storage and running costs are minimal, and it's a wonderful habit to indulge if your spouse can stand it.
Don't get hung up on getting the latest and greatest thing. Sure--do it for your racing/TT bike. But for tooling around and commuting, a decent, old bike will be fine--in many ways, probably better than a new bike. Touring bikes are good for commuting (and good for touring). So are old steel road bikes from the '80s. They're built better and will last far longer than a newer aluminum bike.
Newer road bikes generally aren't built for commuting--you can't install decent fenders or a rack very easily. Index shifting is kind of unnecessary, too--simpler is better. Check out www.rivendell.com for their take on things. (Keep in mind that their stuff is also fairly high-end, and a bit pricey. But it'll last a lifetime.)
If you're in St. Paul, you don't really have to worry about hills too much. Look into getting or building a single-speed or fixed-gear bike. They're the ultimate in simplicity, and are great for conditioning, too. See www.fixedgeargallery.com for some ideas.
Posted by: smasher at January 27, 2005 9:48 PM
Hey, I just found your blog, too. Also from Oil is for Sissies.
"Life is too short to waste playing games and pretending." Word. I've been thinking about a lot of the same stuff lately - human connections, being a better person. Talking about it with my wife, too. Talking helps a lot. I suppose blogging about it does, too.
Anyway, Hi, I'm Nathan. I live in St Paul. Started commuting to work (on my ten-speed I basically hadn't touched in 15 years) suddenly last June then sold my car the day the people of the US voted W in for a second term. Just built me an xtracycle as a grocery-getter but haven't even ridden it yet.
See ya around. ;)
Posted by: Nathan at January 28, 2005 2:11 PM
Wow, thank you to both of you for your comments! I am happy to see that there are more bike commuters and cyclists out there. I have been having so much fun with this. Today I did my first bike race ever and that was quite an experience! It's hard! haha.
Hey Nathan, It's almost February! Last year Spring was here March 16th! So, it's getting warmer soon and we are already experiencing more daylight hours. Riding in the light is more fun isn't it?
Thanks again for your posts! I'll check out Xtracycle.
Posted by: John at January 29, 2005 5:21 PM