Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Year, New Stuff

Its a bit late to be doing a "New Year's Resolution" post, but as a new semester starts in approximately 6 hours, I feel that this could be my opportunity to take a mulligan on starting anew. Starting new habbits on a new year seems arbitrary, but I feel like my change in schedule, addition of a part-time job, and general laxity of classes will allow me to revamp the process of my day-to-day life. There's a few things I'm hoping to accomplish this year, running and otherwise(bear in mind-this blog is mostly about running, but I hope that I'm not). I've initiated some new changes already, but hopefully I'm able to adhere to the nuances. I'll go over them with brevity since I can't sleep.

I want to become an early riser. When I was working my public works job prior to dropping back into school, I was either up at 6:30am to be to work by 7:00, or up at 5 to be to the YMCA pool before work. In the winter, I was up anywhere between 3:00 and 5:00 to plow snow. Though I felt drowsy at times, I generally enjoyed being awake and watching the sun come up, whether I was running, driving or pedaling to work or already clearing snow from alleys. Whether my lazy side wanted to stay in bed or not, I had people counting on me to get out the door and get moving. The motivation of having somewhere to be is now gone and I had classes until 11am. To initiate a change, I've sabotaged my lazy streak by registering for a military fitness class at 6:40am. I may regret it to some extent, but I feel that it will help me get a good jump on the day, study more, and get more miles in. Its awful hard to maintain a high GPA and high weekly mileage when I'm sleeping my life away, so forcing myself out of bed  and seeing the sun come up will give me the energy I need and get my on a sleeping schedule that, I feel, my body truly longs for despite my staying up late. Since I don't own a parking pass and the class is at an odd time, I plan on running the 2 miles  there. This gives me a built in double as long as I attend running club or hit the trails on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday and Thursday are days with no class at all, so they will be spent doing longer, easier runs and, more importantly, studying chemistry. If I can survive it, I'll be doing speedwork at night on at least one of these days as well.

Another effort I hope to make that sort of leaves the realm of academia is to read more and write with more quality. Reading various running books, novels by Chuck Palahniuk, and a few others have given me a thirst for the written word. Reading more will serve a few different purposes. Being able to read challenging works will help me understand English more deeply and get a grasp of the language I speak every day. I also want to become a better writer, for the sake of improving this blog and because I want to write as part of my career(don't ask me how-I have no idea). I feel that becoming a better reader will expose me to more author's writing styles, enabling me to create my own voice. Im currently reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau. His literary voice speaks to my naturalist side and I greatly enjoy reading his accounts of the outdoors, something I obviously enjoy documenting myself. Though I very much enjoy the work of many authors, both professionals and my fellow bloggers, I want to create my own unique ideas, not simply revamp that of others. At the present moment, I feel that this blog is lacking a little originality, echoing the voices of Jason Robillard's Barefoot Running University, Tony Krupicka's Riding the Wind, and Thoreau's Walden. I don't intend to flatter myself, but merely to point out that I see the influence that these writers have on my work.  My aim is to practice more and develop a voice that is my own. I look up to all three, but imitation is only flattering for so long.

One more issue I hope to address is my diet. I realize that my caloric needs are high as a result of being a young endurance athlette, but trying to cut out excess meat and junk could still be smart move. In an effort to get a more dialed-in diet, I'll be attempting to document my eating for a while. If I notice a degree of consistency, then I'll stop. If my suspicions are correct, I'll see that I eat a large amount of garbage at the wrong time of the day, leaving energy metabolically unavailable. I know myself well enough to know that like mileage, dietary quality will increase the moment I start documenting it. That is my aim with keeping track of it on this blog.

I either do my best or worst writing when drowsy. I'll check back in the morning to see which pile this goes in. Military Fitness in 5 hours.


  1. Hey man,
    I came across your blog after perusing the results of last year's Run Woodstock. I don't know why I suddenly wanted to double check them, bored and on the Internet I suppose.

    Coincidentally, I was thinking about staying with relatives near Kzoo in early March or late April, mostly to do some running somewhere other than SE MI. Would you mind giving me a list of some places I should hit while I'm there? Any trail running within a 30 min drive of Mattawan would be ideal.

    Thanks and you've got a great blog going!

  2. Patrick-
    Thanks for the nice words. We've actuallly got some decent trails around here. The Al Sabo Land Preserve on Texas drive has some mountain bike loops and hiking paths. I live near WMU campus and its about 10 minute drive. I've managed to get some longer runs in there with some imagination. There's also Ft. Custer State Recreation Area near Augusta(20-30 minutes from campus), which is definitely some great running and scenery with more available miles than Al Sabo. Yankee Springs is a bit of a drive, but its also a good spot to hit around here. My parents live about 100miles north of Kzoo, so I try to hit a few other areas on my way home as well. If you do end up in the area, get a hold of me. We've got some fun groups that meet regularly.
    Good luck and happy running.