Tuesday, April 27, 2010


note: my life right now is about a whole lot of "supposed-to-bes"--a lot of things that i wish were otherwise. and i think a lot of it has come to head with my thinking that i'm supposed to be doing Ironman St. George this May 1 with all of my friends, but for a number of reasons i can't control i cannot do it. it's just one supposed-to-be out of many, but it's really served as a catalyst to my brooding as of late, and really crystallized my thoughts about all the supposed-to-bes in my life. but rather than write about all of them individually in litany, i figured it would be better to write about them in the abstract, since 1) i figure a litany would just be excessive, indulgent, and downright annoying as anything whiny invariably is most likely to be, and 2) i figure all of you have "supposed-to-bes" in your life, and so could better sympathize and empathize with something you can relate to your own feelings about the things you wish could or would or should have been. so here's to all our supposed-to-bes...all together now:

well, i'm wishing.

wishing on things i know i shouldn't be wishing on. wishing for things that can't be. an alternative reality that did not and has not and will not materialize.

you know how things like this go. that weird feeling that things should have been different, but for some ineffable, inexplicable, indescribable reason or set of reasons manifested themselves into something far far far removed from what any sense or reason would have predicted.

and as much as we probably don't really know what such a should-have-been really was (since who knows if it really was something that was meant to be, and hence a reality that got subverted, or if it was just us dreaming, and hence just a figment of our imagination that never had a chance of reality in the first place), there's still that strange sense of...unrequited. unrequited. unfulfilled. unlived.

which is what i guess that feeling really is. unlived. something, a part of us, that could have had life, would have had life, should have had life but didn't.

coulda. woulda. shoulda.

and i guess the reason it's such a problem is the consequences it brings. because as much as our lives and the act of living our lives is a journey adventure race of experience exploration expansion into the mystery secrecy sanctity of infinite eternity the divine that lies in the depths of the cosmos and all creation, our lives and the act of living our lives are also about the lessons and truths related to them, because they are the clues the keys the guides to where and when and how and why and what it is that we are meant to find as make our way to the reaches of forever that lies beyond all that we can ever possibly hope to know.

and any part of life unlived, any act of living that did not receive living, is another lesson another truth not gained, another clue another key another guide lost.

and if enough of them are lost, then so are we.

which is why i find myself wishing.

wishing for things to be.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

sustainable green environmental eco-friendly racing

continuing on the theme of Earth Day (which again, is this Thursday, April 22--reference: Earth Day 2010), i wanted to make a brief comment on something we as athletes can do regarding the environment. i was prompted by an article from race organizer Jeff Henderson on the Slowtwitch forum recently:
the article is 1 of a series relating to race organizing, written by a race director and offering insights on races from his unique point of view. this particular article targets an underlying theme that he's been addressing in varying degree throughout the series: the environmental impact of sporting events, particularly public races (i.e., races which allow participation in addition to observation by the public, like triathlons, marathons, etc.).

here, he notes that the sustainability of a sporting event is partially a function of the sustainability of its venue, which means that it is in turn partially a function of the sustainability of the environment providing that venue. as a result, Henderson suggests that there is a relationship between sports races and the environment just as much as there is a relationship between larger human society and the environment, making eco-friendly racing a useful component of any drive towards more sustainable living practices.

Henderson is not alone, but reflects a growing trend. you can check out the following sample--including 2 documents outlining policies for more environmentally-conscious races:
i agree with this view, since i think the logic is sound and the goal is laudable. but i think it's important to note that this is only part of the green sports equation.

borrowing economic concepts, race organizers are essentially producers and sellers of a product--races, meaning that they essentially are the supply side of the market for that product. economics, however, always notes that a market involves both sellers and buyers, which suggests that there is a demand side of the market for races. as a result, any effort to green or make eco-friendly the market requires that initiatives for environmentally-sensitive practices apply to both sellers and buyers. that is, it is not enough that race organizers provide sustainable races, but that competitors then choose to participate in sustainable races.

my worry is that there is a lot of effort underway for races to become more green, but that all those efforts will be for naught if the public does not support them. a public that is apathetic to green races won't generate the revenues necessary for those races to be profitable. this will discourage race organizers from promoting or operating these kinds of races, thus endangering the larger efforts to mitigate our environmental impact and thereby improve our quality of life.

in which case, it's up to athletes as the consumers in the market of eco-friendly races to patronize them. we need to make the effort to find them and compete in them, and thereby encourage more race organizers to adopt sustainable models of racing.

and i don't think that we have to incur too much of a financial penalty to do so. even if eco-friendly races may charge more (and incidentally, i really doubt they do), i think the additional charges represent the cost of having venues with cleaner environments--something i think most competitors find to be a fair exchange, since venues with clean environments make for experiences that are more aesthetically pleasing, more emotionally rewarding, more healthy, more conscientious, and thus more conducive to a positive experience.

if you want to be one of the athletes involved in supporting sustainable races (like me), you can check out Athletes for a Fit Planet, which endeavors to promote and support environmentally conscious athletes and sports. their website is:

they also have a directory for eco-friendly races, which you can peruse at:

for general news, info, and commentary regarding environmentally-conscious sports and athletics, you can also check out the following blogs:

i think it's important to remember that we as individuals can contribute to larger efforts to change our collective (as in our community, our society, our species) quality of life, and in so doing not only make things better for ourselves alone but for everyone together as a whole. it provides not just a material value in terms of aesthetics or health or value, but non-material one as well in terms of mental and emotional and spiritual fulfillment--things which i think are entirely too undervalued in our world, and things which i think serve in some way to drive each of as a competitor in pursuit of our sports: a connection to the more important things in life.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

earth day 2010

well, in the interests of doing something constructive with what little time i have (spare in the mundane sense and ephemeral in the metaphysical), i decided i should post something regarding this year's Earth Day 2010. i'd almost completely forgotten about it, but the recent Earth Hour event jogged my memory enough to check the calendar. since i've made it a point to devote a post (or a few) to Earth Day in years past (reference: Earth Day 2009 and Earth Day 2008), i figured i might as well write for it again here.

Earth Day 2010 falls on April 22, and this year marks the 40th anniversary of the occasion. what started out as a minute grass-roots effort on the part of environmental activists to raise awareness has grown into a global phenomenon marked by governments, corporations, organizations, and citizens all sharing a common concern for the state of the Earth's environment.

superficially, something like Earth Day may not appear to have much to do with sports or athletics. but on deeper reflection, i think most of us would recognize the relationship that sports and sports industries has with the environment. sports events and sports venues, in some form or fashion, involve the use of natural resources. indirectly or directly, we use natural resources for the construction of sports venues, manufacture of sports equipment, assistance in sports training and therapy, and presentation to sports audiences. similarly, we impact the natural world in terms of human activity related to participation in, or appreciation of, sports.

i think any one of us has witnessed all of this first-hand (as simply as observing the mass of trash generated by your local 5k, 10k, or marathon). and i think that each of us has at some point or another wondered just what kinds of consequences were being produced by the environmental impact of our association--whether competitor or fan--in sports.

so for those of you who have shared such thoughts with me, i ask that you mark Earth Day 2010 with me and all the other bloggers out there concerned with the state of our environment. i can offer the following links:
i'm going to do my part for Earth Day 2010. not just because i've done so in the past, but because i figure stuff like this is a good way to get out of a rut--sometimes, the best way to stop being bothered by your own problems is to start thinking about other, larger problems (i.e., stop being about the self and start being selfless, stop being about you and start being about others, stop being about one and start being about all). that, and a significant portion of my research is related to this field, and it only makes sense that i'm part of this now.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


i think i've got a case of burnout.

since i pulled out of IM St George, my training and diet have pretty much fallen off a cliff. and to make it worse, i'm finding it hard to muster the motivation to respond, or for that matter, even care.

i can point to a combination of causes, the sum of which has probably served to create this state. there's been the training for IM itself (which regardless of what anyone may think, does involve an intense amount of mental energy in commitment and attention). the past few weeks (and actually, the past few months, effectively covering the peak of my training for IM St George) have been pretty crushing. i've been overwhelmed by work (believe it or not, a professor, with 5 classes involving more than 800 students and no TAs). i've been dealing with a stalker (apparently 1 of those students is a stalker, and not the "i love you" kind, but the "i hate you and you need to die" kind). i was unpleasantly surprised by a $6,000 tax bill (apparently my paychecks haven't been withholding as much as i thought they were). and of course, i got dumped by the person i was romantically involved with (and this, my friends, was probably the worst...isn't it funny how girls always hurt you when you need them most? you can deal with almost anything so long as you have the support of love, but once that love leaves you, it initiates a cascade of disintegration that is just very, very difficult to stop).

none of this really affected me physically or mentally--courtesy of all the past training i've done (athletically and academically) i think i'm fit enough either way to deal with these things. but i think they've worn on me, to the extent that emotionally i just feel drained. i can still do what i need to do in terms of work and family, but right now i kind of feel like i'm just going through the motions. my fire feels like it's been snuffed out.

i know i need a break, and some down time to get my spirits back together. unfortunately, i don't think that's going to happen. there's just too much to do and there's just too much to think about for me to disengage.

for a time, i thought about sticking with IM St George, reasoning that it'd give me something to focus and that the training and racing would give me a way to deal with (think about, escape, vent, etc.) all the things that have been going on. and as one of you commented on a previous post here, it would show this girl that she didn't take this part of my life away from me.

but then this option became moot, because my brother decided to get married on race day. considering how important this should be relative to other things (like race day), it means that even if i wanted to, i can't do IM St George. how lovely. what can you do?

so now i'm stuck. burned out. unmotivated. and finding it hard to care.

hopefully i can get things back together here soon.

but dude, it's just hard.

i could really use something good happening right about now.