LGN 48: The Tribe

Inside:  What have I become?; Long term goals; When will I stop?; the training tribe;  Are you sure?;  Not just for the ladies; Some podcasts

Another weekend morning.  Another beautiful day.  And I’m sitting here on the computer writing.  Lame!  Gots to get movin’!  But first..

More Running Finishers

What have I done.

Naw, it’s good stuff.  I dig it.  I like outside finishers.  After it’s over and is but a memory of me being awesome, despite whatever reality tries to dictate as actual or factual or “having happened”.

Here’s one of my favorite interactions from last week after a grueling running finisher.  I remember a tether, velcro, and a crap-load of burpees.  Picture this with me still trying to breathe and pretend that I’m not still in training or oxygen deficit pain.  Justin’s holding the door open for everyone going back into the building.

Me:  “And you’re sure that’s good for us??”

Justin: “Mentally and physically.”

Fair enough, sir.  Fair enough.

What have I become?

I saw some friends yesterday that I haven’t seen in a good while.

Whoa.  I looked at my Facebook timeline.  It’s about 90% training-related.  I didn’t mean for that to happen.

Look at the tag cloud for this blog.  LGN and Underground Athlete are among the biggest (which means most frequent) terms.

It must be annoying to a lot of people, especially the people that I annoy.  I didn’t mean for that to happen.  It’s not intentional.  Apparently, I give the impression that I’m constantly working out when in reality I train for one hour three times a week.

In theory, I’ll do some mountain biking or whatever else physically active.  I always mean to go mountain biking on the weekends.  I could (and should) go after work, too, since there’s plenty of daylight in the Summer evenings.  I even have lights so I could go night riding at Wakefield on certain nights.

In theory, I should be doing some running/jogging, too.  I’d like to do some trail running and hiking.  My shins get sore easily, though, so that is something I do not want to overdo.  I’m assuming shin splints are involved.  I’m also going to assume that I don’t have stress fractures.  There.  Problem solved.

But there’s a lot of mental energy involved, I guess.  What to eat, how to deal with this glitch, that soreness, I should stretch, need to roll out, I’m fatigued, been sitting too long, reading blogs, occasionally doing research.  I’m not even keeping a food journal or doing the heart rate monitor tracking anymore and this fitness thing is still taking up a large chunk of my life.  I guess it is a lifestyle.

How much longer?

A friend told me yesterday that I was looking good and that all that gym time was paying off for me.

When complimented, as always, I said, “Thank you.  I’m working on it.”

She asked me, “How far are you going to go with it?”

I said, “At least until I can keep up with other people at the gym.  They wear me out.”

Then she said something profound like you’d expect from a poet/writer/etc.   She said, “I’m so happy for you that you’ve found your tribe.”


I’m introverted.  A lone wolf, I like to say, because it sounds cool.  I don’t have a societal niche so my socializing is generally based around the things that I like to do.  Music, biking, art, writing, whatever and now strength training.

When I find these after-work curricular activities the primary reason is to edify myself.   The secondary is to meet people.  The ulterior secondary motive — yes, people hopefully equals women.  Of course, women know this when they take evening classes or attend meetup gatherings and many are well prepared with a hedge of disinterest, eye contact avoidance, distance, engagement/wedding rings, and the B F and H words (boyfriend, fiance, husband).  Not a criticism at all.  Just an observation.

And that is fine.  It’s all good.  I tend to buckle down and focus on what I’m doing anyway.

Life treats me in such a way that I magically find myself surrounded by good people.  Good people make everything better.  I’m much more concerned about that than, for example, scoping out the women in my yoga class (which I haven’t gone to in months now for some reason).  It’s just basic etiquette to be respectful and non-creepy.

Hot, sweaty cleavage comes and goes.  Eye candy is fleeting.  People who want to metaphorically walk with you on the long, hard road to challenging and bettering yourself — strength training, painting, writing, music, whatever it is you do — are priceless.  And vice versa.

They make life a good place to be.

If you’ve got goals, you can get a long way on your own with vision and discipline.    If you’ve got goals, you can absolutely soar towards them in a good, supportive environment.

Family Goals

My family has been very supportive, although I want to go berserk and throw out all the carbsugar all over the place whenever I go up to Baltimore to visit.  Drives me nuts.  Everybody’s doing their thing, though, in their way.

I was at a family birthday party the other week and someone asked me about my diet.  I tried to explain that I’m NOT on a diet but I’ve changed (and am constantly working on those eating habits — it’s still a struggle at times) the way I eat.  As I started to say something about low carbs I trailed off and looked around: cases of soda, crazy sweet homemade iced tea, store bought sweet tea, macaroni salad, potato salad, pasta salad, macaroni and cheese, rolls, biscuits, cheesecake, pound cake, apple pie, ice cream.  In the cupboards, sweetened breakfast cereals, bottled fruit juices (some “lite”), crackers, canned fruit in syrup. Grocery store desserts and entrees sweetened, no doubt, with corn syrup.

Try telling someone that those need to go.

“What’s left to eat then?”

So I don’t say anything.

One of my nephews gets headaches often.  I saw him one day after one of his soccer games.  He’s sitting in the kitchen with a headache.  He’s thirsty so he pours himself a glass of soda or fruit punch and eats potato chips.  Then crackers.

Okay, I usually don’t say anything.  The younglings sometimes get the brunt of my hypocritical dietary snobbery.  I said, “Hm.  Got another headache, huh.”


“And do you think that this meal of sugar, sugar and liquid sugar are going to make you feel better?”

“No,” he said as he popped a potato chip into his mouth with perfect comedic timing.

“Did you have breakfast today?”


“What did you have?”

“Pop tarts and milk.  And cereal.”

These kids — not just my nephews, of course — are riding sugar highs and lows all day long.  For whatever reasons, fast carbs are the cheapest, most prevalent and easiest way to feed voracious growing kids.  From the time that they’re babies and toddlers, in our culture, we ween them on pacifying sugar and McDonald’s bulls—.  And the adults, my generation and older, have done it for a lifetime.

So I don’t know.  I’m not sure what I’d do if I had a bunch of growing kids and had to feed them constantly.  If TV and a Slurpee the size of a garbage can will shut this kid up for half an hour then so be it!  Blessed silence.

Nephew #2 wants to do a 5K, I think.  When he came up with my younger sister and nephew #3 to Tough Mudder, he had to make a difficult choice.  That weekend was the weekend that his soccer team had a big game and got their trophies and had a pizza party.  I said to let him choose.  I knew that he wanted to come to Tough Mudder and see the goings-on, but that’s how life is.  Choices and maybe even regrets, whether that choice is right, wrong or neutral.

I think he chose well, though.  Even though they never saw me on the course, unfortunately, because of my cramp-out and by the time I found them spectating they were tired, hot and maybe a little bored.  They got to see a lot of people being fit, brave and adventurous.  Y’know.  They saw all the families out there.  They saw the camaraderie.

There’s a picture one of the nephews took of a guy going under an obstacle, and the guy is giving him a double horns thumbs up.

When they get older, one of my goals is to be fit enough to do a Warrior Dash or Tough Mudder with them.  A decade from now.

You can hold me to that.

One more thing: Podcasts

I found two good ones.  One of them is about strength training and conditioning for MTB.  Hm.  I talk a lot of mountain bike, but I haven’t been riding much.  What the deuce.



Oh goodness.  I’m listening to strength training podcasts now, too?  Oh.  And I really like these guys, although they seem to be on a hiatus due to an injury or something:


It’s a common sense approach with a philosophy that makes a lot of sense.  They stress a healthy, progressive, steady approach to losing fat and getting fit.  The podcasts about plateaus is one of their most popular.

As a disclaimer, by the way, you probably shouldn’t listen to me because I don’t know anything.  To put it another way, if you want professional advice for you, talk to a good trainer/coach.  Nothing I say should be interpreted as anyone else’s opinion.  I try to be accurate but … you know.

Okay.  It’s a beautiful day.  Time to do something or go — ICE CREAM TRUCK!!!!


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