Day 5 Week 5 – Our Internal Biological Clocks

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Marathon Training

Rest day, no running.

Our Internal Biological Clocks

I have been looking into my poor sleep patterns.  I used to believe I sleep because my body is tired.  Although partially true, there is something more basic to the story.  My tiredness is really a symptom rather than a cause for sleep.   Have you ever experienced being too tired to sleep?

Each of us has an internal biological clock.  Also known as the Circadian clock that regulates our sleep/ wake cycle.  And the clock is “conditioned” by our exposure to the light.  Light makes us awake and alert, meanwhile darkness causes drowsiness and makes us sleepy.

This cycle works well in our solar system with the sun as the center providing source of  light.  Further, the earth rotation around the sun gives rises to our days, seasons, and equinoxes – all the natural orders that I took them for granted.

The balance is upset when we invented artificial light sources.  Light bulbs, televisions, and computers are all capable of confusing our circadian clocks.  We have 24 hours stores, around the clock programmings, and omnipresence of electronic gizmos.  All exist to stimulate our senses and skew our internal clocks.

So to change my poor sleep patterns, I need to re-align my internal clock with the natural orders.  Pay attention to my routines.  Avoid late night activities and light sources that will over stimulate my brain and upset my circadian clock.  For instance, I may meditate at night instead of the morning and see if that is a better fit.

Have you noticed if you a morning or night person?

 

 

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Day 4 Week 5 – Our Use Of Social Media

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Marathon Training

36 min (approx. 4 miles: 1 mi warm up, 2 mi steady pace, 1 mi cool down), pleasant & 64 degree. 

Steady pace is running “comfortably” hard.  Sounds oxymoronic? I know.  To me, steady pace is close to marathon pace.  Faster than easy pace, but not hard efforts like a tempo run.  A pace I can keep up for 26.2 miles. Hence, the descriptor comfortably hard.

Timing of this increase in intensity is in preparation for the workouts to come.  After this week, I will be a quarter finished with my 20 week marathon training.  Seems fast in the aggregate but amazingly true.  Steady pace not only adds intensity but also variety to my daily runs.  

Our Use Of Social Media

A word about my Peru video – received comments that the video did not include myself (or ourselves, my wife is the creator).  Which is true and typical like our other trip videos. 

Our purpose for the videos is simple: to capture what we saw and experienced then post them online for memory sake.  Utilizing the social media sorta like a photo album on the cloud.  

Insofar as our lens is mostly pointed to the highlights from our trips and seldom to ourselves, is because we like to re-live those experiences whenever and share them with our families and friends wherever. 

How do you use the social media?

 

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Day 3 Week 5 – All Sensory Inputs Are Conditioning

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Marathon Training

29 min (approx 3 miles), pleasant & 66 degree

All Sensory Inputs Are Conditioning

Don’t believe it?  Think back.  Way back to the first sound, taste, sight, etc. Whether it’s the dentist’s drill, smoke from a cigarette, or picture of a pornographic act, the very first exposure to the input is jolting. The sensation is new, raw and foreign to us.

But if continued over time, we learn to value the experience. In other words, we develop a conditioned response.  The dentist drill is a noise of necessity – the price we pay to maintain our dental hygiene.  The cigarette smoke can be addicting.  And similar with the pornographic picture.

What’s the point I am getting at? You maybe wondering.  Actually, two points:  1) The unexamined life is not worth living, said the Greek philosopher Socrates.  Speaking for myself, I am often guilty of unexamined responses. Which is why I meditate and try to avoid a life of meaningless

And 2) Marathon training is really conditioning with a purpose.   For instance, I am in my fifth week of the marathon training, and my weight is coming down.  My body is responding to the additional mileages I am putting in.  Sure, my body gets tired from the increasing load, but it will get used to it.  And that is the point.

What are your autopilot-responses?

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Day 2 Week 5 – My Peru Trip in Video

Marathon Training

38 min (approx 4 miles) plus strides, sunny & cool 59 degree

One of the advantages in the early phase of a marathon training is that it has less pressure. Runs are easy paced and short. More time and attention can be devoted to build one’s foundations. Certainly aerobic capacity, structural strength are the targets as well as the more subtle aspects of run by feel, forms, & pacing.

The last term pacing, or right pace, is important for runners at any distances. But for endurance running like a marathon or longer it is absolutely critical. The right pace is not determined externally by someone else. But how one feels based on his or her fitness level. Not the other way around which often results in injuries.

My Peru Trip in Video

I recently went to Peru and visited Machu Picchu. Let me just say that running in high altitudes was no joke. Here is a compilation of our trip thanks to my wife who is the one with the artistic touch.  Enjoy.

 

 

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Day 1 Week 5 – Walking Meditation

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Marathon Training

Rest Day.  Week 5 is a “down” week.  Which means a break with less mileage so my body can recover and prepare for the coming weeks.

Walking Meditation

After my morning meditation, I continued my session by exploring around the rooms.  “Continued my session” because I had my eyes closed and maintained an even breath.  The only difference was that I was on my feet and moving.  Slowly.

Without the aid of any visual inputs, each step was a discovery.  The texture surfaces where my foot landed told me if I was on a carpet, floor or, surprise, some other objects like a furniture.  I would verify the feedback with my mental picture of the rooms and correct my course.

Balance usually taken for granted had to be more deliberate and re-calibrated from time to time.  Particularly when I was surprised.  Whenever I sensed a fear or panic began to set in, such as I knew a step or wall was near, I stopped, focused on my breathing, and tuned in to my sensors.  Relying on them to be my guides.

The intensity of the light indicated if I was moving toward or away from an opening.  The sounds from the ticking of the clock and the fan noise of the refrigerator were signposts guiding my way around.  I could even feel something near by from the pressure on the hairs of my arms.  What an experience!

Have you tried walking meditation?

 

 

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Week In Review – 19 May 2019

What a week this had been. I concluded my visit to Machu Picchu, and Peru in general. Took away with me, besides the pictures, many newfound knowledge. Even though my marathon training had to be modified due to the trip schedule, it was well worth it.

Incidentally, the sleep program I am using offers a tip that I felt is worth sharing, “It is all in the timing. Pay attention to when you eat, exercise, and sleep.” This tip is beyond the typical mindfulness advice. We each are unique in our bio-clock, and using it to our advantage and optimizing our performance is the finesse of training.

As I tweak my marathon training each year, I am incorporating the nutrition, sleep/ recovery aspects in addition to running. I am eating within a 12 hour window per day which allows my body sufficient time to digest and cleanse my system. Similarly, I try to to go to sleep more consistently. Again paying attention to the timing how my body works.

Lastly, a couple of observations on US international relations: we are in a trade war with China, we are losing support from our allies on many fronts, and we are being inconsistent with our words and actions.  Whether leading from the front or the behind, we need to lead.  Unfortunately, we are slipping in this regard.

Have a nice week!

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Day 6 Week 4 – Our Declining Credibility

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Marathon training

13 miles, humid & 67 degree

Today’s run is the longest I have completed since last year’s marathon. It is the beginning of the build up of my long runs for the marathon training (I normally run 10 miles on Saturdays during off-season).  It will eventually be 20+ miles excluding the marathon itself.

Long runs are important. Particularly for endurance runners like marathoners. It not only builds the aerobic capacity but also develops the structure strength in connective tissues from toes to ankles, knees, hips, etc. and teaches the body to utilize fat as a source of fuel.

Worth repeating that building endurance is a gradual process. It takes time, patience, and faith.  For instance, I can’t see myself running 20+ miles after today’s 13. But with training, I am confident that my body will adapt and the date will come.

US Credibility Is Declining

Not sure if it is the self serving goal of “Making America Great Again” or the lack of defined policy by the current administration, the US is not getting much support from our allies. Two recent examples include the Iranian threat and the Huawei ban

The White House is adamant on many issues but provides little evidence to convince others, including some of our own. “Pulling out” or “withdrawal” is no policy.  And this bodes ill for the president and his administration.  The US going alone is not sustainable.

What do you think about the “policy” that US is pursuing? 

 

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Day 5 Week 4 – What We Say and Do

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Marathon Training

29 min (approx 3 miles), overcast & 65 degree

What We Say and Do

In theory, alignment between words and actions demonstrates integrity.  Because both represent our intents.  If I promised then followed through shows I am a person of my words.  Someone that is trustworthy.

“In theory” because it sounds so simple.  In reality, why doesn’t everyone do it?

We don’t always do what we say because: 1) we did not mean it, 2) our circumstance changed, or 3) we changed our mind.

We did not mean it – we deceived others by being short in either words or actions.  Could be carelessness, mindlessness, or whatever reason on our part.  Bottom-line: we fell short.  This is understandable because no one is perfect.  And we do forget.

Our circumstance changed – most things in life change, over time.  Even with full intention, the ground underneath our feet is moving constantly.  Going back to the city you once knew could be confusing when landmarks had evolved. Similarly, others change as well.

We changed our mind – this is the most complex scenario of the three.  We intended X but now Y.  All in earnest.  Why?  It is human nature.  Fickle mind is the blame. It makes our choices unpredictable and more reason to have integrity.

Any other reasons for the discrepancy between our words and actions?

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Day 4 week 4 – Trade Wars & Tariffs

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Marathon Training

59 min (approx 6 miles) incl fartlek, sunny & pleasant 68 degree

Trade Wars & Tariffs

Surely, everyone has heard by now that we are in a trade war with China.  Whether the impact from this international relation debacle is felt by the average person, one thing is certain.  President Trump is taking on the Chinese, unlike most of his predecessors.

Nobody likes war, and trade wars are no different.  Experts agree that trade war is a lose-lose proposition where neither side wins.  But with the comparative advantage of a strong economy, the US can afford to take on the risk of confronting the Chinese with impunity.

Reagan took on the Soviet, brought it to its knees, and ended the Cold War.  Similarly, Trump is challenging the Chinese in its global expansion titled “One Belt One Road” initiative.  Banning the Chinese 5G company Huawei is another case in point.

Whether the US will win this time around is anybody’s guess.  But at least, President Trump deserves the credit for trying before it’s too late.

Have you been affected by the tariff wars?

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Day 3 Week 4 – Sleep Progress

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Marathon Training

38 min (approx. 4 miles), sunny & 71 degree

Sleep Progress

As reported before, my sleep quality sucks. I dream of the nights where I fall sounded asleep quickly, stay asleep, and be well rested the next morning.  That dream is still few and far in between.   

And I know the culprit is my mind.  It is too active at bed time.  And I would twist and turn in bed and eventually give up and get up out of the bed to find distractions for my mind.  Even if I do get up,  I try to go to bed consistently around 10 pm as a way to condition my mind and body.

Still not there yet but will do for now.

 

 

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