GMOs

What’s crackin’ Kraken?

Is the plural of "Kraken" Kraki?

Is the plural of “Kraken” Kraki?

Today’s post will be a slight departure from the regularly scheduled programming normally available here on marathonsam.com. I believe that you, my gentle readers, will find this content informative and entertaining, but today’s post will be slightly longer on written words and shorter on selfies in spandex.

Though not entirely devoid of spandex-selfies...I gotta be me.

Though not entirely devoid of spandex-selfies…I gotta be me.

One of my main goals for this itty-bitty blog is to hone my abilities as an effective science communicator. I’ve explored the data behind the benefits of meditation and tempo runs. I like to learn about the nutrition claims behind some of my favorite “superfoods” whenever I try my hand at recipe writing. I have also, of course, written ranted ad nauseum about climate change.

I can't help myself...I'm passing fond of winter.

I can’t help myself…I’m passing fond of winter.

While I am proud of my previous efforts, each topic deserves more in-depth analysis than 1,000 words and a smattering of selfies. I would love the opportunity to exhaustively investigate a topic over the course of multiple articles. Maybe I’m just catching the “Serial” fever, but I like the idea of rigorously researching and explaining a single issue for you, my gentle readers.

I have a WICKED case of cereal fever...wait, what?

I have a WICKED case of cereal fever…wait, what?

Without further wasted words, let me introduce a new feature for 2015: Marathonsam’s Pragmatic Perspective. As a blogger, scientist, and part-time superhero I get EXCEEDINGLY frustrated when I hear or read pieces by pundits that COMPLETELY over-interpret, misinterpret, or miss the point of a new scientific study. The problem is particularly pernicious when it comes to a ubiquitous, scary-sounding, and poorly understood topic: Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the food supply. Break out your forks and knives! We are going to learn-along together about franken-fruits and vegetables.

I LOVE vegetables!

I LOVE vegetables!

I’ll be writing about just what exactly a GMO is (this becomes trickier to define by the decade), how GMO plants are constructed (we stole a trick from, surprise! Bacteria), whether GMO foods pose a risk to human health (they might, but definitely not in the way that people claim they do), the impacts of GMOs on the environment (negative), the economy (positive…for a select few), agriculture in general (definitely atrocious), and any other juicy topics that I turn up in my research.

No GMOs in THIS tutti-fruti hat

No GMOs in THIS tutti-fruti hat

Today I’m using some recent news as a jumping off point to begin to address the question: “How the heck do GMOs turn up in our food, anyway?” The USDA just approved a new GMO product for the United States market: a potato, patented by the privately held food and agribusiness company Simplot. Simplot’s potatoes have two claims to fame: they don’t develop brown spots when their flesh is exposed to air, and they don’t produce acrylamide when heated to high temperatures. Simplot is aggressively marketing their special potato to fast food venues—purporting that this technology will yield pristine French Fries with a bonus health boost! For the moment, let’s leave aside the fact that the minute amount of acrylamide generated in potato-flesh at high heat is, frankly, small potatoes health-wise (pun intended) as compared to the truckload of oil, starch, and salt served up with a carton of French Fries. Instead, let’s focus on why this potato represents a few important “firsts” for GMO agriculture.

Yes, these can totally be health-food with just a few minor tweaks.

Sure, these are just a few minor tweaks away from “health-food.”

In order to tackle this question, it’s important to define a few terms. Most GMOs take genes from one organism and splice them into another, producing a hybrid with desirable traits from both. Think of it as technologically advanced extreme selective breeding.

Like a labradoodle...but y'know, more scientific.

Like a labradoodle…but y’know, more scientific.

One example of multi-genome-mash-ups is freeze resistant citrus fruit. Oranges are delicious, but their cells burst when temperatures fall; flounders swim happily through sub-freezing waters because their cells make a protein that protects them from the cold. It would be pretty difficult to make a flounder have sex with an orange tree, but swapping chunks of DNA around is as easy as pie. Insert the flounder cold-tolerance gene into an orange’s genome…voila! Cold-tolerant tasty tangerines all winter long!

Yummmmmmm.

Yummmmmmm.

The cold resistant citrus that I described (which is no longer available for sale in the US, apparently the idea eked out consumers) is an example of a transgenic GMO: an organism that carries genes from a different life form within in its own genome. Bt corn and Round Up Ready soybeans (the most common GMOs in the United States) are also both examples of transgenic technology.

For amber waves of...GMO grain

For amber waves of…GMO grain

Simplot’s potato is NOT a transgenic. Scientists didn’t add any genes from another organism into its genome. Unmodified potatoes go brown and make acrylamide because of natural processes happening in their own cells. The clever scientists at Simplot just figured out how to turn the dimmer-switch down on these processes. GMOs that don’t have any DNA from different species in their genomes are called cisgenic organisms. Simplot isn’t the first company to make a cisgenic GMO: the widely hyped and widely reviled FLAVR-SAVR tomato was generated using a related strategy.

FLAVR-SAVR tomatoes don't scare me, but they did taste terrible

FLAVR-SAVR tomatoes don’t scare me, but they did taste terrible

So why is the scientific community excited about Simplot’s potato? A mildly healthier, more aesthetically pleasing tuber isn’t exactly a cure for cancer. However, this potato is a technological achievement. Simplot’s scientists used a newer technique called RNAi to turn the dimmer switch down on those undesirable genes that cause browning and acrylamide in French fries. RNAi has been kicking around research labs for a few years, but the potato is the first commercial product created with this method.

I take my potatoes pretty seriously.

I take my potatoes pretty seriously.

The second, and more interesting, reason why this potato might represent the start of a sea change for GMOs (in the United States, at least—Europe has highly strict regulations on these types of products) is because of who produced it. Simplot is a giant food and agriculture company, at first glance interchangeable with any other large, soulless corporation. However, the fact that Simplot gained approval for a new GMO product is notable precisely because of whom they are NOT.

Perhaps you've heard of these people?

Perhaps you’ve heard of these people?

Monsanto has been the major player in GMO products in the United States for the past two decades. Monsanto owns the patents on (among other products) Round-Up Ready Soybeans and Bt corn. Given that these two GMOs cover approximately 94% of the agricultural land in America (more on THAT later), Monsanto effectively has a stranglehold on farming in general in the United States, through its dominance of the GMO market. A new GMO gaining approval produced by someone OTHER than Monsanto could portend an important shift in the prevailing winds of commerce.

Who knew fries could rock the dominant paradigm?

Who knew fries could rock the dominant paradigm?

Or maybe not. Shortly after the USDA approved the Simplot potato, McDonalds publicly announced that it would NOT appear on menus at the golden arches. Anti-GMO advocates tout this as a victory: apparently a GMO potato is simply unpalatable to McDonald’s customers. However, before we start congratulating uncle Ronald McDonald for a principled stance against GMOs, let’s stop to consider what ELSE appears on McDonalds’ menus: burgers (made from corn-fed American beef), soda (made with high-fructose corn syrup), chicken McNuggets (corn-breaded, fried in soybean oil and made from…well let’s just not go there).

Seriously. Let's just not and say we didn't.

Seriously. Let’s just not and say we didn’t.

I can 100% guarantee that every single drop of corn syrup, and every kernel of livestock feed that goes into producing all of the other McFoods on McDonalds’ McMenus come from GMO sources. GMO corn is ubiquitous in America. McDonalds’ hypocritical high-profile rejection of Simplot’s potatoes does not source from some deeply held concern for their customers’ health. McDonalds made a token anti-GMO gesture, which stifled a potential innovator in the marketplace, while solidly maintaining the status quo. The GMO potato is dead, long live corn, the GMO king.

The times...aren't really a changin'

The times…aren’t really a changin’

Personally, I am conflicted about the Simplot potato. I think that it, as a product, is a solution in search of a problem. French fried potatoes are pretty much delivery vehicles for grease, salt, and ketchup.

God I love ketchup.

God, I love ketchup.

The world was not clamoring for a spot-free fry. The lower acrylamide levels are interesting, but fries are NEVER going to be a “healthy” choice. McDonalds’ gesture against GMOs is encouraging, yet empty. Monsanto will likely continue to lord over GMOs in general and thus the majority of agriculture for years to come. However, I think that the (non)-story of the Simplot potato nicely illustrates the complexity of the issue. The label GMO encompasses many different types of products. It is not appropriate to casually throw this term around without some understanding of what exactly the particular GMO is, how it was made, and how it is used. I’ll be tackling those topics (and many more) in later posts.

Thanks for reading, I’m interested to know: What is the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the term GMO?

Posted in Pragmatic Perspectives, science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Sound of Music

Aloha athletes!

Hang loose bruh!

Hang loose bruh!

I’m pecking out this post with a spring in my step and a song in my heart, gentle readers. Would anybody care to hazard a guess why this plucky Ph.D. candidate blogger is in such a merry mood?

Good guess, but the emergency bottle of two-buck chuck I keep in my desk remains intact. For now.

Good guess, but the emergency bottle of two-buck chuck I keep in my desk remains intact. For now.

I’m feeling elated and elevated because yesterday evening was my induction into an organization that guarantees a lyrical and lovely outlook on life. Don’t worry, gentle readers, I haven’t joined a cult or gone gluten-free.

They look happy.

They look happy.

THESE look depressing.

THESE look depressing.

The reason I’m feeling so merry is because yesterday night was my first choir practice with the O.K. Chorale.

IMG_6129

What have I gotten myself into?

I am not a singer by any stretch of the imagination. I did musical theater in high school, and I took a gospel choir class in college, but it’s been YEARS since I have sang in a group. I don’t know how to read music, and I wouldn’t know a harmonic major chord if it bit me in the ass. E sharp major might as well be a hashtag on twitter for all of my music theory knowledge.

Plus...I'm a tenor

Plus…I’m a tenor

Fortunately, the OK Chorale doesn’t care about any of that. Our fearless leader started the rehearsal by emphasizing that the goal of this choir is not to achieve technically perfect four part harmony, but rather to get people singing in a way that works for them. Last night we went over a few of the songs we’ll be learning over the course of the next 8 weeks. I’d like to share these terrific tunes with you, my gentle readers. These melodies are going to be stuck in my mind for the rest of the day, maybe y’all can hum this classic music along with me.

You’re Just in Love (Irving Berlin)

God Only Knows (Brian Wilson)

Finnegan’s Wake

Bonnie Doon

 

As you can see, we’re mostly doing classics, with some Irish and Scottish folk tunes. I was pretty thrilled to see some Beach Boys included into the mix. Enjoy the listening.

What’s making YOU happy, lately?

 

Posted in adventures, music, Positive vibes | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Skating through the snow

Happy Sunday Homo sapiens!

A big hearty hello to all of my Cro Magnon readers, too!

Aloha to all of my Cro Magnon readers, too!

I apologize for my conspicuous absence during the past few days week. I made such a big deal about announcing my un-retirement, then proceeded to promptly vanish off of the face of the Earth.

As your social media advisor, I simply must say: "get your shit together"

As your social media coordinator, I officially advise you to get your shit together

I could bore you with an excruciating description of what it’s like to do mutation rate estimation experiments for 12 days in row.

I've been a busy bee....and I've blown through a LOT of petri plates

I’ve been a busy bee….and I’ve blown through a LOT of petri plates

However, this blog is supposed to be a space for things that are amusing and interesting, so I will spare you the gory details of my latest laboratory labors. I grew a bunch of bacteria, I found a bunch of mutants, I made a nice graph about it and then I moved on with my life.

I found a LOT of mutants.

I found a LOT of mutants.

That particular chapter of my research is officially in the history books, so let’s turn the page because today I want to talk about my new winter weather hobby: nordic skate-skiing!

Pretty much pro

You have NO idea how many times I fell over trying to take this selfie

Cross country skiing is an awesome way to get outside during the winter and enjoy some scenery at sub-zero temperatures.

Classic skiing at Caribou Open Space

Classic skiing at Caribou Open Space

I’ve always enjoyed classic cross-country skiing, gliding over the snow for a three-hour tour is a meditative, low impact way to connect with nature.

Classic cross country is awesome, but I was recently introduced to a faster, fiercer member of the nordic skiing family tree: skating.

Wait...I can go FAST while I do this? Hold the phone.

Wait…I can go FAST while I do this? Hold the phone.

My Dad got me in to skate skiing on my most recent visit to Colorado (in case anybody is keeping score, this is that latest in a long string of examples where my Dad  inspires me to do something interesting; I refer my gentle readers to : triathlons, cooking, meditation, etc… for other evidence that the apple steals all of his cool ideas from the tree).

I've come to accept that I will never be as cool as this guy, but at least I can occasionally be FASTER than him

I’ve come to accept that I will never be as cool as this guy, but at least I can occasionally be FASTER than him

I instantly fell in love with the experience of flying over freshly groomed corduroy. Skate skiing is awesome because it combines all of my favorite activities: sweating, wearing spandex, playing in the snow, endurance sports, the outdoors, and stache-sickles.

IMG_6093

Any day where my mustache freezes is a success.

 

If cross country skiing is comparable to hiking, skate skiing is analogous to trail running. It’s great to get outside and explore nature. It’s even better to experience the outdoors while exploring your anaerobic threshold. Skate skiing is fun because it happens to be SERIOUSLY difficult.

Three hour tour my AUNT FANNY! Let's find our VO2 max.

Three hour tour my AUNT FANNY! Let’s find our VO2 max.

I was poking around on the internet and found a ton of articles espousing the benefits of skate skiing as cross training for runners. An older, but nicely controlled, European study compared the endurance benefits gained by a group of athletes embarking on either a cross-country skiing or running training program over the course of two successive winters; each activity led to identical performance gains. According to competitor.com, nordic skiers have the highest VO2 maxes of ANY endurance athletes. Nordic skiing isn’t just a great cardio workout in general, the skating motions work some muscle groups in areas that runners are notorious for neglecting such as: shins, ankles, hip adductors and the pelvic girdle, not to mention the solid upper-body workout provided by the poling motion. Also, because skiing is low impact (gliding, rather than pounding), it’s a great option for injured runners to get outside while they recover.

Seriously, skating looks so beautiful and elegant but it will TUCKER you out.

Seriously, skating looks so beautiful and elegant but it will TUCKER you out.

The one disadvantage of skating compared to running is that the sport has a few more requirements than simply: “put on some shoes, then put your feet on the pavement.” You can’t skate without a pair of skis, poles, and the associated accoutrement.

Obviously.

Obviously.

You also need a place to GO once you’ve acquired your gear. Skate skiing is a little different from typical backcountry; you can’t just go tromping through the woods through three feet of fresh powder, those skinny little skis won’t get very far. The ideal substrate for a skating session is nice, cold, hard-packed, freshly-groomed corduroy.

On the sabbath day the lord created the bombardier snowcat...and the snow-seekers were joyful

On the sabbath day the lord created the bombardier snowcat…and the snow-seekers rejoiced

I was nervous about whether it would be easy to go skate skiing in my adopted habitat of Washinton State. Seattle is awesome, but the emerald city loses it’s collective shit and shuts down entirely if it snows an inch within the major metropolitan area.

OMG IT'S THE SNOWPOCALYPSE

OMG IT’S THE SNOWPOCALYPSE

I needn’t have worried. The Kornsberger Ski Club maintains (and grooms!) roughly 20 km of premium trail-goodness at the Snoqualmie Summit less than an hour’s drive along I-90 from my house!

I am so happy for the kindness of strangers

I am so happy for the kindness of strangers

On Saturday morning I got up bright and early, loaded my skis into my Subaru, and headed east to check out what the Cabin Creek Nordic Ski Area is all about. IMG_6101

I intended to do a quicky 10K loop, but promptly got distracted by a fork in the trail leading to Mt. Amabilis.

Two roads diverged in a wood and I....took the one that lead straight up a mountain.

Two roads diverged in a wood and I….took the one that lead straight up a mountain.

The Mt. Amabilis trail is a winding, five mile tour through delightful scenery…straight up a mountain.

Skating up 2,000 vertical feet is...not a joke.

Skating up 2,000 vertical feet is…not a joke.

My skate to the summit was punishing, but totally worth it for the pristine vistas. The second half of my skating session was certainly a LOT easier (and faster) than the first.

35 mph eh?

35 mph eh?

Overall I’m stoked on the fact that I can indulge in my new favorite winter sport while I’m based in Seattle. It was great to get outside and really push myself for a long challenging endurance session. I’m easing my way back into running after a stress fracture right now, which means that my time on my feet on the streets is limited. Covering 10 miles on the snow takes my mind to the same meditative place that I find on my long runs. Even though Cliff Mass’ forecasts are a little grim for the PNW’s downhill ski season, I will DEFINITELY be making more journeys to cabin creek over the next coming weeks.

How can you argue with this?

How can you argue with this?

I hope everyone is having a groovy Sunday.

Have any of Y’all tried XC skiing?

 

 

Posted in adventures, skiing, training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Winter bike commuting tips for the meteorologically challenged

Happy Monday maniacs! I hope you are starting your week off on the right foot.

Even Chuck Norris' left foot is the right one.

Even Chuck Norris’ left foot is the right one.

I’m still measuring mutation rates, which means growing lots and lots of individual bacterial cultures. These experiments aren’t my favorite thing to do in the entire world, which sometimes makes it a little bit difficult to stoke up my motivation to leave my house for lab in the morning.

Oh joy...48 more cultures today.

Oh joy…48 more cultures today.

I ride my bike to work every day. I love using pedal-power to explore uncharted frontiers, but sometimes wintry weather makes bike-commuting seem downright daunting. Limited daylight, frigid temperatures, and unfriendly weather conspire against even the bravest bicyclist.

You want me to ride through this!?

I’m scared of the dark!

Seattle in particular presents a challenge for cyclists. Our winters are rainy and WET.

60 sunny days per year!

60 sunny days per year!

However, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to avoid the dreaded stripe-up-the-butt syndrome and keep commuting by bicycle through the moist months.

Through rain, through shine, through driving snow.

Rain or shine, I gotta get to work, and I HATE the bus

Without further ado I offer you, my gentle readers, in no particular order, my top tricks of the trade to ride through the rain all winter long!

1) GoreTex is a gift from the almighty!

Thank the lord for tech-y waterproof fabrics

Lo, the lord said “let there be waterproofing”

Invest in a high-quality waterproof jacket to keep yourself dry.

2) What you wear to BIKE TO WORK doesn’t necessarily have to be what you wear AT WORK

But you do, in fact have to wear clothes at work.

But you do, in fact have to wear clothes at work.

Even with the very best moisture-wicking, waterproof, ultra-light, technologically advanced fabrics, you still may find yourself somewhat damp when you arrive at your final destination. If you plan ahead, you can avoid the indignity of a damp posterior all day at work. Stash a pair of pants in your backpack before you head out the door, then change when you arrive at the office.

Presto-change-o! Soggy Sam becomes a ravishing researcher

Presto-change-o! Soggy Sam becomes a ravishing researcher

3) Don’t forget about your feet!

Booties are a LIFE-saver

Booties are a LIFE-saver

Walking around all day with soggy socks is just the WORST. A good pair of cycling booties can help protect your toes. A simpler (and more cost-effective solution) is to carry a spare pair of socks.

Be prepared!

Be prepared!

4) LIGHT up the night!

It's dark out there!

It’s dark out there!

Dark and stormy winter mornings come with decreased visibility conditions. As cyclists, we have a responsibility to obey all traffic laws and share the roads. Tragically, far too many bikers are struck by cars each year. In 2012 (the most recent year from which statistics are available) the United States saw 49,000 bicycle injuries and 726 fatalities. “Collision with car” was, and remains, the most common cause of cycling accidents. Even in my fair city of Seattle, with its extensive bike lanes and cyclist advocacy by the Cascade Bicycle Club, accidents still occur. The devastating death of Sher Kung in autumn 2014 was one chilling example of a life cut short because of a driver’s lack of attention. To protect ourselves as we pedal, we cyclists need to be VISIBLE, especially during the dark winter months! Invest in BRIGHT bicycle lights.

I even wear an EXTRA headlamp to make sure people see me.

I even wear an EXTRA headlamp to make sure people see me.

Make friends with Neon.

My hands are small I know...but they are BRIGHT!

My hands are small I know…but they are BRIGHT!

Biking through dark and rainy streets is no time to be a shrinking violet, let your inner raver shine through!

My inner raver favors Hawaiian tees.

My inner raver favors Hawaiian tees.

Techno music is optional. Being visible is non-negotiable. Maximize your chances of being seen to minimize your chances of getting hit.

Pictured: a woefully inadequately lit bike.

Pictured: a woefully inadequately lit bike.

Riding through the rain doesn’t have to be miserable. With a little forward planning, you can arrive at your workplace safely, then dry off and CRUSH IT all day long. Don’t let a little bit of water scare you off of your bicycle for months at a time.

Unless, of course, a little water will LITERALLY kill you. In that case, by all means, DRIVE

Unless, of course, a little bit of water will LITERALLY kill you. In that case, by all means, DRIVE

Bike commuting is ecologically friendly, fantastic exercise, and a whole lot of fun. By making a few minor tweaks to your routine you can keep up this healthy habit rain or shine. However, my most important final tip, a principle I apply to every facet of my existence, from riding through the rain or sailing through space, comes courtesy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyALWAYS KNOW WHERE YOUR TOWEL IS!

I keep THREE emergency towels (and ONE emergency bottle of two-buck chuck) in my desk at work. Always be prepared.

I keep THREE emergency towels (and ONE emergency bottle of two-buck chuck) in my desk at work.
Be prepared.

 

 

Posted in cycling | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My running warm up

Happy Saturday, superstars!

RuPaul is the super-est star that I am aware of

RuPaul is the super-est star that I am aware of

Is everybody having a wonderful weekend? Are you doing exciting things? I’m listening to Bon Jovi in lab while I’m waiting for cells to grow.

Not so exciting.

Not so exciting.

I think it’s time to take a break from preparing a lecture about DNA recombination and check in with you, my gentle readers.

My students are going to eat this up.

My students are going to eat this up.

I know that one of my New Year’s Realizations was that I hope to spend less time on Saturdays alone in lab, and more time romping around having adventures. So far I appear to be failing at this particular goal. As soon as I finish this set of experiments I will be ready to re-submit my manuscript for publication and hopefully put mutation rate measurements behind me.

These experiments are INVOLVED

These experiments are INVOLVED

What can I say? I’m totally full of shit but at least I recognize my own shortcomings.

As your coach, I am disappointed in you.

As your coach, I am disappointed in you.

However, the point of this post is NOT to have a pity party. I think it would be more interesting to celebrate one healthy habit that I don’t have trouble sticking to: warming up before I run.

Yay for stretching!

Yay for stretching!

It’s vitally important to thoroughly warm up your muscles before you start to exercise. Maintaining strength and flexibility is one of the keys to running happy, healthy, and injury-free.

Not to mention doing stupid-human tricks in interesting places

Not to mention doing stupid-human tricks in interesting places

As I mentioned when I announced my un-retirement I’ve been struggling with a metatarsal stress fracture for the past two months. I won’t claim that a proper warm-up is a magic panacea for injury prevention. You can’t lunge your way around an overly aggressive training schedule or poor nutrition. Stretching doesn’t make you bulletproof.

If only...

If only…

However, performing a quick dynamic stretching routine before you head out the door is still a great habit. The key word here is “dynamic.” Systematic studies have revealed that static stretching doesn’t really do jack-shit for runners. However, loosening up your muscles, and getting your heart rate up just a little bit  before heading out the door does, in fact, help prevent injuries. Not to mention the fact that warming up your body BEFORE you run makes the first miles feel a whole lot better.

Blerg

Blerg…shoulda warmed up. 

I adapted my own personal warm-up routine from Matt Fitzgerald’s Brain Training for Runners.  I go through a series of dynamic motions aimed to increase balance and flexibility, with a sprinkling of core-work thrown in for fun. Are you ready gentle readers? Let’s get warmed UP!

I start by going through the motions of SINGLE-LEG DEADLIFTS.

IMG_6014

With one leg firmly planted on the floor I lean forward and tough the ground in front of me, while raising he other leg straight back behind me. Repeat 10 times on each side, alternating legs.

Next I do a series of HIGH KICKS. 

IMG_6016

I channel my inner Can-Can dancer, swinging one extended leg up and forward, trying to kick my palm in front of my face.

Next I like to wake up my core and upper body with some PUSH UPS.

IMG_6017

I usually intersperse sets of 25 push ups with 100 BICYCLE CRUNCHES.

IMG_6018

 

I finish up my core-work with BRIDGE.IMG_6024

Next I climb up off of the floor, and pay attention to my hamstrings, with FRONT LUNGES. IMG_6019

I step forward 10 times on each side. Make sure you don’t let your bent knee extend past your front toes.

Running is largely a series of forward and backwards motions, but it’s important to pay attention to the muscles that help us move laterally. I always follow up front lunges with a series of 10 SIDE LUNGES to each side.

IMG_6020

Finally, I finish up with some SINGLE LEG SWINGSIMG_6021

It helps me to put one hand on the wall for balance as I swing each leg back and forth 10 times. I like to do one forward/backward set, followed by some SIDE LEG SWINGS.IMG_6023

 

This might seem like a whole lot of rigamarole to go through before every singe run, but I find that the 10 minutes I invest into warming up are well worth it! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, after all. Incorporating a dynamic stretching warm up into your routine is a small tweak that can offer some BIG benefits.

HAVE a GROOVY Saturday!

Posted in running, training | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Year’s REALIZATIONS

Happy New Year’s, neighbors!

My christmas cactus is at least as explosive and exciting as a firework!

My christmas cactus is as explosive and colorful as a firework!

I hope everyone had a wonderful time celebrating the end of the year of the horse and welcoming the year of the goat.

Tata 2014, it's been surreal!

Toodle-oo 2K14, it’s been surreal!

kid

I’m not KIDding around when I say 2K15’s gonna be great!

May your champagne have been crisp, your fireworks explosive, and your balls thoroughly dropped.

Not THOSE kinds of balls...pervert

Not THOSE kinds of balls…pervert

I spent my NYE 2K14 curled up with Michael Pollan’s Cooked I was looking forward to a  a good night’s sleep after my exhaustingly-awesome holiday travels. However, the sound of fireworks exploding in the sky sent my most hirsute house-mate into fits of hysteria. I spent my evening fighting for the covers with a cowardly canine cuddle-buddy.

20140621-141257-51177642.jpg

Chicken-shit

Thankfully, I am currently firing on all cylinders thanks to the aid of an optimistic attitude and my favorite legal stimulant.

Oh calm down, I'm not ACTUALLY mainlining espresso...yet

Oh calm down, I’m not ACTUALLY mainlining espresso…yet

It’s the first day of the rest of the year. I intimated that I hope to live my life with COURAGE, HONESTY, and INTEGRITY when I was contemplating my New Year’s Revolutions.

Feel the C.H.I.

Feel the C.H.I.

However, as I mentioned yesterday in my New Year’s reflections, I don’t necessarily think that simply turning up a new a calendar page is a major transformational event. Wherever you go, you have to bring yourself with you. We’re writing a new date down, but we’re only a day more advanced than we were yesterday.

Yep...the calendar is still totally crazy

New Year, same old crazy calendar

On the other hand, it’s always healthy to set goals.  If a new solar cycle helps put you in the right frame of mind to be hopeful about accomplishing those goals than I am all for giving this day some gravitas.

Whatever makes you hopeful is healthful

Whatever makes you hopeful is healthful

My (brilliant) friend Catherine is superstitious about the new year. She believes what you do on New Years sets your trajectory for the days ahead. In her words: “However you spend your New Years is what you will be doing for the rest of the year.”

Growth curves all year? That's...not auspicious

Growth curves all year? That’s…not auspicious

I’ve been musing on Catherine’s conviction all morning, trying to decide how it applies to my own existence. I started my New Year with pre-sunrise run.

Selfies in running gear! The kid is BACK!

Selfies in running gear! The kid is BACK!

After being plagued with injuries for the past two months, my meager mileage this morning made me optimistic. I know that I want to spend 2015 running happy, and injury free. I also know that, in order to do so, I need to make sure the rest of my life is in balance: trying to out-run my problems is not a sustainable stress-management strategy. I hope to maintain my strength training routine, eat healthfully, get enough sleep, and just generally try not to overdo everything all of the time.

Luckily I have a GREAT new trainer

Luckily I have a GREAT new trainer

After my run I mounted my bike and headed into lab to measure bacterial growth curves.

Cells don't know that it's New Years...cells can be SUCH dicks

Cells don’t know that it’s New Years…cells can be SUCH dicks

As I was dispensing media for my experiments I managed to drop an an entire canister of glass pipettes all over the floor.

My explosive New Years!

My explosive New Years!

As I swept up the shattered glass, Catherine’s wise words rang out as clear as a bell through my brain: “However you spend your New Years is what you will be doing for the rest of the year.” I can tell you right now that I do NOT want to spend the next 365 days alone on my hands and knees, cleaning up the latest catastrophe in an otherwise empty laboratory.

Less of THIS in 2015

Less of THIS in 2015

MUCH more of THIS

MUCH more of THIS

I started examining WHY I’m spending my day with nobody but Bacillus  to keep me company. I came up with all of the usual reasons: “I need these data to respond to reviewers’ comments on my manuscript,” “I LIKE working hard, and I LIKE getting lots of data fast,” “If getting a Ph.D. was easy, EVERYBODY would do it,” “Once I finish up this set of experiments, I’ll settle into a more sustainable routine.” As I ran through my typical mantras in my mind I realized: I’m totally full of shit.

Shocker

Shocker

I blog about finding balance, moderation, and setting reasonable goals, yet approach my own existence with an “excess is never enough” attitude.  I know for a fact that if some is good, more is not necessarily better. However, I cannot seem to apply my own principles to my career, my training and racing, or my life in general.

I re-submit for your consideration: my totally crazy calendar.

I re-submit for your consideration: my totally crazy calendar.

I don’t specifically have a plan, per se, to stop trying to bite off more than I can chew at every opportunity. This post is called “New Year’s REALIZATIONS.” I haven’t figured out my RESOLUTIONS yet. However, I’m going to give myself a nice, big, shiny gold star for at least identifying the problem. star-great-job

 

For now, I’m going to finish up my experiments for the day, finish this blog post, and start to think about what OTHER things I’d like to finish during 2015. I’m sorry if this particular entry got a little negative and navel-gazy on my part. I hope that maybe my own follies and foibles can help you think about how you’d like to live in this coming year.

I do a lot of Yoga, so I can gave into my navel pretty easily

I do a lot of Yoga, so I can gave into my navel pretty easily

Let’s hear it, gentle readers: What are your New Year’s Realizations? Have you identified any areas you’d like to improve?

 

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New Year’s reflections

Good morning Muppets! I hope you are feeling well rested and ready to put 2014 to bed on this fine New Year’s Eve.

I appear to be totally on a roll with blogging since I announced my un-retirement: three posts in as many days might be a PR for this manic little marathoner.

My own personal performance-enhancing drug of choice...we do good, strong coffee up here in Seattle.

My own personal performance-enhancing drug of choice…Seattle: the odds are good, the goods are odd, and the espresso is STRONG

As I was splashing my way through my swim workout this morning I thought it would be valuable to take some time to reflect on the highlights and lowlights of this past solar cycle.

Sunrise over the Evans Pool

Sunrise over the Evans Pool

Humanity in general had its share of ups and downs during the past 365 days. We literally reached unprecedented heights when we successfully landed the space-probe Philae on comet 67P: the collaborative, international, interdisciplinary effort behind the Rosetta mission exemplified the extraordinary capabilities of Homo sapiens sapiens when we use our big brains to work together.

GUYS, we landed on a COMET! So badass! (source: http://rosetta.jpl.nasa.gov)

GUYS, we landed on a COMET! So badass! (source: http://rosetta.jpl.nasa.gov)

On a more microscopic scale, scientists used a super-cool DNA-editing tool called CRISPR (that we stole adapted from Bacteria) to engineer the first-ever monkeys with custom mutations in their genomes.

Cute little mutant monkeys! (source, Niu et al. Cell, 2014)

Cute little mutant monkeys! (source, Niu et al. Cell, 2014)

I'm passing fond of CRISPR because I wrote about it for my off-topic second year Ph.D. exam proposal

I’m fond of CRISPR because I wrote about it for my off-topic 2nd year Ph.D. exam proposal

We watched Dennis Kimetto break the marathon world-record in Berlin.  Tatyana McFadden continued to crush it with a sweep of victories at the four major marathons for the second year running. Humanity gathered together in Sochi to celebrate athletic achievement, remember how badass the biathlon is, and pretend for five minutes that we care about curling at the Winter Olympics.

I'm coming for yah, PyeongCheng Biathlon 2018!

I’m coming for yah, PyeongCheng Biathlon 2018!

2014 has seen a wave of progressive policies sweeping across the nation. My fair city of Seattle passed a 15$/hour minimum wage. President Obama announced an aggressive series of executive actions to combat climate change. Seventeen additional states legalized same sex marriage (bringing the grand total to 35).

Unfortunately our species wasn’t on its best behavior all year long. The girls kidnapped by Boka Haram have yet to be brought back. ISIS continues to impose its midevil interpretation of shariah law across the Middle East. The Ebola outbreak claimed too many lives. In America we saw horrific school shootings, unarmed black men killed in cold blood, and peaceful protests turned angry and ugly. Our legislature still has its collective head up its own ass when it comes to passing a budget bill to actually pay for keeping the government running. That Kardashian Kreature appears to still possess a career.

Ayn Rand is an (insufferable) FICTION AUTHOR, NOT a model for economic policy!

Ayn Rand is an (insufferable) FICTION AUTHOR, NOT a model for economic policy!

Why are we paying more attention to this than climate change?

Why are we paying more attention to this than climate change?

Overall we great hairless apes deserve an “E” for effort, with substantial room for improvement in our year-end performance report. Relentless forward progress in an atmosphere of growth is pretty much the best that anyone can hope for.

Except for Martha....Martha is, in fact, perfect.

Except for Martha….who is, in fact, perfect.

My own year had its share of triumphs and travails. I ate a LOT of oatmeal.

My favorite things

My favorite things

My mom visited Seattle…and also had brain surgery.

bananaphoneI raced my brains out, ran a marathon,  took third in a triathlon, and discovered a new love for trail running.

I made a LOT of banana phone calls, too

I made a LOT of banana phone calls, too

I got injured. I struggled through a bout with Achilles Tendonitis, and suffered a (second) stress fracture in my foot.

Mother-Effer!

Aaaannnd October is where I nuked myself. Mother-Effer!

I went to an incredible scientific conference where I filled my brain with facts about DNA. I worked insane hours and spent WAY too many Saturdays stuck in lab.

Sonicating is my least favorite weekend activity

Sonicating is my least favorite weekend activity

Looking back on the year that was, I can identify instances where I probably did not make the best decisions. I can also pick out some pretty fantastic memories and phenomenal excursions with friends. I set a lot of goals. I achieved most many a few of them

I tried to settle into a regular strength training routine, but I couldn't find a mentor who inspired me.

I tried to settle into a regular strength training routine, but I couldn’t find a mentor who inspired me.

In retrospect I wouldn’t change a single thing about the year I’ve had; it’s impossible to alter the past, so why waste the mental energy wishing that you could? Every single experience in my entire life contributed to landing me where I am at right now; I wouldn’t have it any other way because I COULDN’T have it any other way.

Thank goodness where I'm at is occasionally pretty awesome

Thank goodness where I’m at is occasionally pretty awesome

The end of the year is a great time for reflection, goal setting, and resolutions, but it is also totally arbitrary. I’m going to wake up tomorrow in 2015 as the same merry, mustachioed, oatmeal-eating, card-carrying, friendly-freakazoid on wheels that I was in 2014–just one year wiser and one year weirder.

As long as I'm a freakazoid on BIKE wheels I am happy

As long as I’m a freakazoid on BIKE wheels I am happy

So as the sun sets on this year, let’s think about what we’ve done and where we’ve been; but for crying out loud let’s try not to get a complex about it. Everyone deserves a big, shiny “E” for effort, with room for improvement. Who’s ready to take up some of that room and improve right on forward into 2015?

IMG_5866

Alright gentle readers, time to strut your stuff!

What are some of your favorite memories or proudest moments from the past year?

 

 

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New Year’s REVOLUTIONS

Dzień dobry comrades!

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I hope that everybody is feeling well rested and basking in some residual holiday good-cheer.

If my tree must be fake, you bet your ass it will be FABULOUS

If my tree must be fake, you bet your ass it will be FABULOUS

I’m back in Seattle after 9 days of sub-freezing temperatures and skiing adventures in my original stamping grounds: Colorado.

Hey guys, let's stop for a snack and a picture in the COLDEST, most windswept part of the ENTIRE XC-ski trail

Hey guys, let’s stop for a snack and a picture in the COLDEST, most windswept part of the ENTIRE XC-ski trail

I had a total blast romping around in a winter wonderland. From skate-skiing, to telemarking, to nordic touring, I managed to do SOMETHING that lead to a ‘stache-cicle every single day.

IMG_5982

It was phenomenal to spend time with family, see friends from college, and generally wear myself out with frosty fun.

Two generations of Weavers in the woods. I don't know where I get it from...

Two generations of Weavers in the woods. I don’t know where I get it from…

The three musketeers: happy hooligans re-united for far too brief a visit.

The three musketeers: happy hooligans re-united for a far-too-brief visit.

My frozen frolic in Colorado filled up my soul with warm-fuzzy feelings. Even though my body and my brain are firmly back in Seattle, devoted to some deep Bacillus science for the next few weeks, a not-so-little piece of my heart will always belong to the Rocky Mountains.

I’m sorry for getting all misty, sentimental, and John-Denver-y on all of y’all, my gentle readers. The purpose of today’s post isn’t to ruminate on where we are NOT, but to look forward and gather our resources for the coming year ahead.

Gather your Energy gels, 2015 is going to kick some SERIOUS ass

Gather your Energy gels, 2015 is going to kick some SERIOUS ass.

I know that today is only December 30th, which is early for resolution-making, goal-setting, and looking ahead. That’s why this post isn’t about my specific New Year’s Resolutions, per se, but rather about the New Year’s REVOLUTIONS: a set of guiding principles that I hope to apply to my life in the coming months ahead.

Resolve, revolve, march to the beat of your own drum

Resolve, revolve, march to the beat of your own drum…it’s my blog, I do what I want

I’ve blogged before about the importance of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-focused. I have plenty of highly S.M.A.R.T. schemes for formal New Year’s resolutions percolating through my brain. I will delineate those at a later date when they have had a chance to fully crystalize. Today I want to talk about some vaguely-defined, but vitally important, aspirations for how I hope to conduct myself in the coming year of the goat.

2K15 is going to be a CUTE year

2K15 is going to be a CUTE year

My overall goal for 2015 is to live with C.H.I.

Not qi like feng shui (although that couldn't hurt)

Not qi like feng shui (although that couldn’t hurt)

In eastern traditions, Chi is the energy and life force that drives the entire universe. In marathonsam tradition, C.H.I. is an acronym that stands for: COURAGE, HONESTY, and INTEGRITY.

IMG_5993-0It takes courage to try new things, break out of old routines, stay true to yourself, and ask for help.

IMG_5995-0Honesty in your actions and intentions fosters trust. Honesty with yourself and others about your strengths and limitations fosters growth.

IMG_5994-0

No human is perfect. Nobody can accomplish everything. Striving for perfection leads to paralysis from a fear of failure. Rather than attempting the unattainable, we can aim to imbue our actions with integrity. We cannot always BE the best, but we certainly can DO our best.

Courage, Honesty, and Integrity are really all intermingled aspects of the same ideal. They are all sides of the same coin.

It takes courage to be honest, living with integrity fosters honesty, a clearly defined sense of self fosters bravery. I’m not promising perfection, I’m just trying to carve out the best version of myself that I possibly can.

Kody is carved out of a single block of solid teak

Kody is carved out of a single block of solid teak.

I know that living with C.H.I. isn’t always easy. I will run myself into the ground, be dishonest about my limitations, sacrifice the integrity of my health and happiness, all because I lack the courage to truly take a look at my own actions. I’m not for a moment suggesting that I am an enlightened being.

Pictured: an enlightened being

I defy you to identify anyone with more courage, integrity, or a better recipe for modules a la mariniere than Julia

What I do know is that I want to have a positive impact in the world in general. Whether that comes from scientific discovery, fundraising for a cause I believe in, a REALLY great vegan recipe, or just spreading some joie de vivre doesn’t really matter to me.

I submit for your amusement: my headshot

I submit for your amusement: my headshot

I believe that living with Courage, Honesty, and Integrity will help me make my little mark on his big world. We don’t have to shatter the Earth, but we should try to leave it in better condition than we found it.

Who’s with me? How can we live with Courage, Honesty, and Integrity? Let’s put 2K14 to bed and kick some behind in 2K15!

IMG_5874

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Resurrections, Re-evaluations, Revolutions

Greetings gentle readers. Hold onto your hats, batten down your hatches, secure your tray tables in their full upright and locked positions because a MAJOR announcement is on the way from the liability-limited corporation that is marathonsam.com:

Are you sitting down?

Are you sitting down?

After a two-month hiatus, during which occurred: extensive soul-searching,

Not the most optimistic spread...

Not the most optimistic spread…


a smattering of mediation,

IMG_5689some heavy medication,

Bordeaux is the only prescription for existential malaise.

Bordeaux is the only prescription for existential malaise.

deep conversations,

What's that Santa? You need an extra reindeer? Gimme 5 minutes to make some oatmeal, we'll TOTALLY PR this X-mas

What’s that Santa? You need an extra reindeer? Gimme 5 minutes to make some oatmeal, we’ll TOTALLY PR this X-mas

personal revelations,

"I LOVE it when my mustache freezes!" (They can't all be deep)

“I LOVE it when my mustache freezes!” (They can’t all be deep)

communist revolutions,

Have you SEEN this movie!? It is the most atrociously violent, morally perplexing, and highly bad-ass piece of cinema EVER.

Have you SEEN this movie!? It is the most atrociously violent, morally perplexing, and highly bad-ass piece of cinema EVER.

a brush with injury,

Oh JOY. A stress fracture. How delightful.

Oh JOY. A stress fracture. How delightful.

a brush with disaster,

Not quite "nuclear meltdown-level" disaster, but things haven't been super great.

Not quite “nuclear meltdown-level” disaster, but things haven’t been super great.

a hairbrush,

As IF.

As IF.

the approval of my coach,

Your performance has been slipping.

Your performance has been slipping.

the go-ahead from my social media director,

IMG_5431

We’ll be back on top in NO time!

and a signal from my own personal higher power

Blessed be.

Bless this little corner of the internet

I am ready to resume blogging!

You were expecting the solution to climate change?

You were expecting the solution to climate change?

I know that one little blogger failing at retirement is hardly earth shattering news, but roll away the rock, brave souls: this little Lazarus of a blog is BACK IN ACTION!

From: "Bonnat01" by Léon Bonnat - http://www.histoire-image.com/site/oeuvre/analyse.php?liste_analyse=299. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bonnat01.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Bonnat01.jpg

Lo, Lazarus has risen…Jesus wept for want of a decent latte

You, my hundreds, dozens comically small, though devastatingly attractive, collection of astute and gentle readers may recall that back in October, I got my running tights in a bunch and made a prima-donna proclamation to announce my retirement from blogging.

My life has simply gotten FAR too fabulous to share on social media

My life is simply FAR too fabulous to share on social media

Now it is (the end of) December, 2014. The year of the horse is drawing to a close. I am spending some time reflecting on what I have accomplished so far and what I hope to complete in the coming lunar cycle.

2014 was a pretty good year for running, until it REALLY wasn't.

2014 was a pretty good year for running, until it REALLY wasn’t.

My self-imposed isolation from my identity as an internet-savvy blogger, race-runner, occasional kitchen-magician, and full-time Seattle-enthusiast was necessary. I needed to focus on my research, recover from a stress fracture in my foot, and just generally try to get a grip on what is important in my life.

Keep your social support system close, and wear your patriotism on your sleeve...or head

Keep your social support system close, and wear your patriotism on your sleeve…or head

However, during my brief absence, I came to a vital realization: I am an INCURABLE narcissist.

Surprise!

Surprise!

Wait…no that wasn’t it. I realized that I am an incorrigible communicator! I love having this blog because it is FUN for me to tell everybody out in the internet about things that are going on in my life, cool sciencepatriotism, and my overflowing abundance of opinions. I hope that my random ramblings are as fun for you to read as they are for me to write about.

Will a maple-bacon energy gel make this post more palatable? Looks like a one-way ticket to gastric distress city to me.

Will a maple-bacon energy gel make this post more palatable? Looks like a one-way ticket to gastric distress city to me.

In the end, and for the foreseeable future. the entity known as marathonsam.com endeavors to be a safe and weird little space on the internet for pictures of animals, scenic vistas, stories about exercise, and whatever else comes across this particular Ph.D. candidate’s busy little brain.

Who KNOWS what goes on in there

Who KNOWS what goes on in there!?

To all of my gentle readers who I may have alienated for my abrupt and temporary retirement: I’m sorry, I hope you can forgive me. To any new gentle readers stumbling across this banal little blog: welcome! Be sure to wear your seatbelt, because things will only get stranger from here on out. I definitely owe everybody an update about what’s been going on lately, as well as some new exciting additions to my regularly scheduled programming. For now I’ll simply sign off this with heartfelt good-wishes and happy holidays from my weird and wonderful little family to yours!

IMG_5986

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I’ve returned! And I’m retiring.

Great SNAKES! I haven’t posted to this exercise in self-aggrandizement blog of mine in quite some time!

"Sam, as your social-media-guru, it pains me to say this, but, you're fired"

“Sam, as your social-media-guru, it pains me to say this, but, you’re fired”

I’m so very sorry that I’ve been a blogger in absentia for the past week. I don’t have any excuses for my paucity of prose.

I'm lying...I have SO many excuses.

I’m lying…I’m FULL of excuses.

Life lately has been atypically hectic, in both the best and worst ways. In the span of a week I celebrated a birthday, had a manuscript rejected, and took a mini-vacation to visit my parents in Colorado.

Pictured: my awesome parents and my terribly behaved dog at Gross Reservoir.

Pictured: my awesome parents and my terribly behaved dog at Gross Reservoir.

The trip to Colorado was phenomenal. I love living in Seattle, but my heart has always and will always belong to the Rocky Mountains.

This is the view from the back deck of the house I grew up in

This is the view from the back deck of the house I grew up in.

I grew up in the mountains a half hour west of Boulder, Colorado. I spent most of my recent short trip hanging out around my parents’ house and our big backyard, but my dad and I did make one brave trip into big-city Boulder to do some recycling.

Boulder: we even recycle our Yoga mats

Boulder: we even recycle our Yoga mats

My parents and I only had four days together, but we made the most of it.

We even cracked open a GREAT Bordeaux!

We cracked open a GREAT Bordeaux!

We walked our dog, Obie, every day.

Obie is named for Oberon, the king of the fairies in 'Midsummer Night's Dream'

Obie is named for Oberon, the king of the fairies in ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’

We took a short hike down to Gross Reservoir to catch some fall color.

Don't go chasing waterfalls

Don’t go chasing waterfalls

Stick to the lakes you're used to...

Stick to the lakes you’re used to…

My dad, our neighbors and I took a delightful bike ride up to Golden Gate State Park.

My neighbors are SERIOUS bikers...they might have been embarrassed to be seen with me.

OK guys, wheres the coffee?

We thought about attempting some coffeeneuring to a cafe without walls, but the logistics of bringing the necessary espresso accoutrements on our outing proved to be an insurmountable challenge. We almost didn’t make it out the door in the first place: I was riding a borrowed bicycle. Unfortunately, I was under the VERY mistaken impression that my LOOK cleats were, in fact, SPDs.

These....

These….

Are not these.

Are not these.

Luckily I was able to borrow a pair from Cross Propz world headquarters (which happens to be my neighbor Paul’s garage). If you are into cyclocross, you HAVE to check out Cross Propz. My neighbor, Paul, started the company out of his garage to produce lightweight, portable cyclocross barriers that are super-easy to put up and take down: perfect for the insane endurance athlete on the go!

These cyclocross  guys are 1) crazy & 2) awesome

These cyclocross guys are 1) crazy & 2) awesome

Luckily my serious-cycle-head neighbors are also seriously nice people, and they still let me borrow a SERIOUSLY NICE bicycle despite my totally incompetent shoe-SNAFU.

SO MANY GEARS!

SO MANY GEARS!

We rode together up to Panorama Point.

The name is certainly accurate.

Yup…pretty panoramic.

I went running a few times at my parents’ house, the altitude TOTALLY kicked my ass.

8,000 feet is...not a joke

8,000 feet is…not a joke

I only spent four days in Colorado, but I spent some time thinking things over while I was out there.

Yes...I even gave myself a reading.

Yes…I even gave myself a reading.

I realized that part of the reason this vacation was so relaxing, even if it was only four days long (four days during which I got 11 emails, three texts, and two phone calls from my boss), is that I consciously made an effort to be mindful and present while I was there. IMG_5689

For four whole days I was too busy living my life to be blogging about it, and I have to admit that unplugging from the social mediums felt pretty fantastic.

What is this black magic?

What is this black magic?

Blogging lately has felt like a burden. I’m under no illusions about my total lack of influence in the grand scheme of the internet. This blog has always been more of a forum for me to sort out my own thoughts through writing, whether it be about climate change, marathon training, meditationrunning races, recipes, or just random shit that I like. I’m gobsmacked, humbled, and totally appreciative that anyone EVER has come by to read my random ramblings and excessively alliterative prose.

Seriously...what is it with the alliteration?

Seriously…what is it with the alliteration?

However, I think that the time has come to put my blogging hat on the back-burner.

Let's be real...this is my EVERYTHING hat

Let’s be real…this is my EVERYTHING hat

I love the opportunities for connection with other awesome bloggers afforded by the internet. I love following the lives of inspiring individuals as they eat marathons for breakfast or hit the trails harder than the Loma Prieta quake. I have nothing but admiration for bloggers who are able to share their fascinating trials, travails, and triumphs while holding down nine-to-five jobs, family commitments, and a modicum of sanity.

Not a whole lot of sanity around these parts.

Not a whole lot of sanity around these parts.

I have come to realize, however, that blogging about my moment-to-moment existence inhibits my efforts to LIVE in the moment.

If a blogger quits in the forest, does anybody give a shit?

If a blogger quits in the forest, does anybody give a shit?

I’m not ready to burn my metaphorical blogging bridges by dismantling my domain name just yet. Writing and running are two of my favorite things. I eat, breathe, and live science.  I get REALLY pissed off when our legislators act asinine about climate change. I’d like to continue ruminating on these topics occasionally. However, at present, and for the foreseeable future, the Liability Limited Corporation marathonsam.com is ending its bid for a hostile takeover of the hearts and minds of  Earth,  The State of Washington, Seattle, The Three Block Radius immediately surrounding my house,

A fish?

A fish?

Thank you everybody! To all of my readers (there are DOZENS of you…DOZENS!): stay classy, stay true to yourselves, stay strong, stay weird, stay gentle.

Above all, stay fruity

PEACE, LOVE, OATMEAL.

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 elvis oatmeal

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