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Showing posts from June, 2008

Let the Chi begin...

Let's get one thing straight...I have no vested financial interest in what I am about to tell you...this is just from me to you, something that has been an advantage in my training and racing.

Get on the Chi Running program.

I bought the book a couple of years ago, and have been focused on the "Chi stance" every since. It takes concentration to change one's running form over time, but this was a good thing to pursue.

I had, for many years, run hunched over at the waist, which put my body into a less than efficient mode. Chi Running teaches you to position your core in balance with the legs, upper chest and head, and then lean forward at the ankles to let gravity pull the body forward.

It's subtle, but it works.

Keeping focused on Chi stance allowed me to run a negative split on the last of four loops at the Jacksonville 50K last year...even when tired, the stance lets the body remain efficient.

Give Chi a chance, you may find some new game in your racing efforts.

Get ready for retro...

I don't care if you're ready for this or not...intermittent retro photos with thoughts of the past are coming your way.

Here's a shot of the old chubby me, I'd say 1981. Just finished a hare scrambles race on the KX250 that Kawasaki gave me to ride.

No, I didn't deserve it, but Ray Brumbeloe - who was the southeast head of Kaw at that time and a friend of my boss at Cycle News - hooked me up with a dirt bike.

Man, I was slow. What did I expect with a body like that? Not really fit, poor riding skills...I was a legend in my own mind.

Sure am glad I found my way to running and bicycling and the aerobic side of sport. Racing motorcycles was never my destiny...I left that to the world class athletes I met along the way.

Better to watch from the sidelines, and let the pros do what they do best!

What 100-milers do to the human brain...

Running 100 milers is supposed to be fun, right?

Well, you wouldn't know from this video clip. It's a short rant I made after finishing the Mohican 100 mile. It wasn't my best effort, and I did quite a bit of walking in the second half. Goes to show that even when I'm not really fit or on my game, I expect miracles...and miracles are seldom part of the game plan at ultrarunning events.

I blew up my left shin and the pain was top flight. So, instead of dropping, I packed an ice bag into my sock, and death-marched 40 miles to the finish. On top of that, I once again savaged my feet and walked on hamburger for most of that distance.

My time was so slow my buddy Mark Carroll (who finished the race long before me) pulled up in his truck on the last road section, and asked if I wanted anything from McDonald's!

At that point life sucked at the highest magnitude possible.

So, here I am, several years later, thinking about how I can lose weight and go fast at another 100 mi…

The way we were...

I was bicycle commuting home tonight, following a free outdoor movie at a local cultural center.

En route home I pedaled past a large Toyota dealership. Bright spotlights illuminated the entire yard, where hundreds of shiny vehicles waited for a potential new owner.

My evening's entertainment, following by the site of that Toyota lot, was a juxtaposition of scenarios, strange bedfellows if you will.

We are becoming urbanists.

The outdoor movie showing was packed. Many who attended did not drive to the event, but rather walked from nearby neighborhoods.

The Toyota lot represents our soon diminishing suburban roots. At $4 a gallon, most Americans are finally coming to terms with changes in their lifestyles. It's a quest for less driving, a closer proximity to metro areas, and public transportation.

Driving is no longer the "cheap way to get there." I was considering an ultra running event in South Carolina later in the year, but when I noted it was a six-hour drive, my …

Eternally young...

It's break week between the Summer A and B sessions at the University of Florida.

A ghost town of sorts, with the exception of new students, walking in tight clusters, with that deer-in-the-headlights expression on their angelic faces.

University life is a wonderful thing. Though I am aging, the student population does not.

It's eternally somewhere around 19 or 20, with just a few outliers like myself in the mix.

Few have the opportunity to enjoy a full-time life on a major campus as an adult. Most graduate, move on, start careers, have families, and build their path into the future.

But educators in this environment watch the perpetual flow of youth. We hope to train them, give them a glimpse of the world to come, and then gently push them out of the nest. But, before they take flight, a new group of fledgling chicks come into the fold.

It's beautiful and numbing at the same time. Eternally young...who would have guessed.

What was...and what could have been

Yup, this is a photo of me, circa 1993, almost checked out for good in the ICU of a Milwaukee hospital.

I contracted Guillain-Barre Syndrome in late 1992 - for those of you who are political pundits, it was the night Bill Clinton won his first presidential election.

I wasn't feeling well, then started to lose movement in my arms and legs. That was the beginning of a long six month journey, all predicated by a flu shot.

Hey, it's easy to whine and bitch about the world we live in. But when you have been stripped down to a shell that can't move or breathe, there's another perspective that makes sense.

That's being thankful for each waking (and walking) day. Thanking the good Lord for his gracious blessings on our lives.

That was then, this is now...but being thankful will live on forever in my life.

Scooters, scooters everywhere

I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you how amped I was to see how riders use scooters and motorcycles in Greece and Spain - check out this pic from the central shopping district in Barcelona.

They ride them fast, hard and with precision.

It was easy to fantasize. Sometimes five or ten riders would be clustered at a stoplight, and when it went green, one could envision the first wave lighting off at the Daytona 200. Or, when bikes would zip by on major thoroughfares in Athens, it reminded me of the cool down lap at the Italian world GPs.

All in all, very good stuff.

And, rain or shine, the scooter and motorcycles represent full time transportation tools. Even at night, many couples blazed by riding two-up, headed to their social destination.

For many reasons, I haven't owned a bike since I sold my Honda American Classic V-twin in 2001. Maybe it's time for a change.

A progressive mind...

Hey, I may have less answers today than I did yesterday, but it's compelling and healthy to look forward and contemplate the best path in life.

As life progresses forward, I have learned:
Believe in yourself, stand firm on core values. Things may not be probable, but always possible. Look for a new adventure. Attempt to discern with others need, and try to give it to them.I'm not always the best at delivering on the above, but it's something I strive for. And, things come on and off the list along the way, but that's OK.

It's good to adjust and move forward. I'm in that mode now. There are new things to come.

A crazy time for being...

When I was 16 years old, my father would rail me about getting a haircut.

It was a common dinner table argument. He wanted it 1970's short, and I wanted it shaggy, unmanageable, and long.

Back then he told me "someday when you get a job and support yourself, you can wear your hair any way you like."

Well, that day has come, and over the past year I decided to experiment. I stopped getting my hair cut after the 2007 study abroad trip to Australia, and after returning from this year's trip to Greece and Spain, it's still going.

Wouldn't you think my hair would have grown more than this in a year?

Growing one's hair out is an interesting proposition. Some men have told me that if they had hair, they grow it like mine. Others have said they can't remember me without my long locks. Yet others wonder just what it is I'm trying to prove.

Actually, I like the feeling of long hair. I like the way it feels when I'm in the middle of a hard ten mile run, …

Let 'em know you're there!

I have attempted to become a full time bicycle commuter.

It's sometimes complicated, a bit slow at times, and tedious when traffic is bad.

Bottom line is that bicyclists have to co-exist with motorized traffic, and that isn't always the most copacetic relationship.

One element that can surely reduce risk is a strong rear signal flasher, which allows the bicyclist to call out his/her riding position to traffic coming from behind.

I'm headed to Bike Route, one of our local cycle dealers in Gainesville, to pick up my new Knog Bull Frog 5-LED (red) rear flasher. This bad boy should scream "wake up" to traffic in my lane, and will allow me more recognition. I have a right to that small strip of pavement on the right, and I plan to use it.

Great bicycle riding tip: NEVER ride in front if a car that is waiting to turn from a stop sign or light UNLESS YOU HAVE MADE DIRECT AND DELIBERATE EYE CONTACT. Too often the motorist is turning left, not looking right...and you'r…

Happy with the headphones?

A few posts back I did a big rant job on race directors who were, for liability reasons and insurance issues, banning headphones at events.

I have not shifted position too much on how I feel about my tunes while jogging, but there was a sea change in my life a few weeks ago. I started running while in Greece without my beloved music and podcasts.

At first, I was terrified. A screaming silence rang in my ears, then the subtle sounds of my surroundings came to life. The birds, dirt crunching under my feet, my own breathing...all alien sounds I have barely heard over the past 25 years of running.

I ran throughout the trip without headphones and tunes. Was a very introspective time, more thoughts with a deeper complexity. Just me, my semi-efficient forward motion, and the natural sounds in my environment.

Headphones or not: that is the question. But I am no longer afraid of the silence that surrounds me.

"Inspire Daily" through the Brooks brand

Running for the Brooks "Inspire Daily" program has been a wonderful experience. For the past ten years, I have been allowed to promote Brooks running shoes and apparel to a wide array of consumers - as an ultrarunner, pacer at the Columbus marathon, member of the Gainesville Track Club, and all around jogger on the University of Florida campus.

Brooks is a company that is about running, first and foremost. Their products are #1 in the industry, and I'm proud to lend inspiration and support to other runners as part of the Brooks team.

Brooks recently created a great video that features a selection of the athletes who are part of the Brooks ID promotion. You can view it at:

http://www.brooksrunning.com/Fun+Stuff/Watch+Videos/Brooks+I.D.+Program+Overview/688

Why I like yoga...

No, the female in the image above is not in my class...yoga is about being good to myself, taking care of my back back, and forcing some elongated stretching over a one hour period.

I'm just not a flexibility-prone guy. I have a short stretch routine that I follow after most runs, but for the most part, I'm not into it.

Hence, yoga. I used to do quite a bit of power yoga, Hatha yoga and Pilates back in Columbus, Ohio, but have slipped since moving down south. Now, there are great opportunities at the university rec center...so I am taking a summer class that covers all the basics, and moves one through a wide range of motion.

If you're trying to be good to yourself, consider yoga for a supplementary addition to your workout program.

No need to fear when the death man comes near...

Fact is I needed a headline to go with this crazy image from Barcelona. The street performers were plentiful and many times freakish. This character was available for a pose - if you chose to send a Euro or so his way.

I have come upon a bit of a sea change in my life. Have started to look at myself with a bit more brevity, and have found some of my childhood nature buried deep inside. For me, it's OK to get a bit crazy now and then; being silly allows a good balance to my usual over-thought, introspective self.

I've found a fresh portal here in Florida. The summer heat is back, I enjoy training in the climate, and my mind is open and receptive to new thoughts and ideas. And, when I come upon this state, I'm a better contributor to other individuals' lives.

So, when the big bad boogy man comes your way, just push in close and become part of the picture.

Fabulous training ideas for the summer

2008 marks my 25th year of endurance sport.

The smarter I get, the older I become.

I'm back in Gainesville after a month overseas. It's brutal hot here, in the 90's with heavy humidity.

I am totally in love with the summers in Florida.

Here are some Muellerisms as related to the summer heat:
Pop an electrolyte tab during the morning runs...I have felt dizzy with pinging headaches, and those little magic white pills aren't only for long ultra races. If you have them - use them.Drink plenty of filtered water...and add Propel (or other knock-off products) to make the water more attractive without adding calories. I'm a cheapo, so I go to Big Lots and look for deals on the drink mix...Vita Splash is one of my faves...either Immune Boost of Fiber Infusion.Keep shower items and spare running outfits in multiple locations. I keep this stuff at both school, home and my girlfriend's house, so that I can grab a run without making excuses...I'm even hanging a shower ro…

World tour 2008 - addendum

I'm back home. Decompressing in the USA, harbored in Gainesville, Florida. Back on campus at U of FL.

The study abroad trip to Greece and Spain was a unique opportunity. I have been traveling overseas since 1980, but my time away this year was special. It offered an environment for reflection and contemplation, a time to step back and take a macro view of life going forward.

I have learned to be more gentle with myself; to accept my place in life, my level of intellect, and the special skill sets I have been blessed with.

It is what I am. It has to be good enough.

And past what I am, I have learned to be more open and receptive to the thoughts and input of the undergrad students I traveled with. On several occasions, I asked the question: "What is the most perplexing problem or issue facing you today?"

That question came with a wealth of response - from the testing of religious faith, to trust issues, to the struggle of planning one's future. All good stuff, and th…