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April 16, 2016

Exercise is Lifestyle-wise

Exercise is something akin to a long, lost function. It has always been accessible and ever-existing but pretty much taken for granted.

Exercise varies in a lot of individuals and depends on its end product; its form is infinite and its structure unique. To name a few, there is CrossFit, Tae Bo and Zumba; MMA, Boxing and Jiu jitsu; marathons, triathlons and adventure racing. We have it in sports - ultimate, basketball, soccer and etc. We use it in daily life like sweeping the floor, carrying things or walking on errands. For instance, sweeping the floor (or any repeated and sustained motion) may strengthen our coordination and develop our efficiency for it. Each form to its own discipline and function.

Exercise can be considered effortless and simple. A simple but significant first step in getting to this conclusion is to actually realize that exercise IS effortless and simple.

Exercise - why include it in our daily lives? Tons of reasons - body efficiency, strength, tone, health, and etc. It leaves you breathless as you try to outrun its stare; it breaks up the strength you command out of you. Exercise creates a balance of forces. As a hammer strikes through an anvil, it forges the potential out of you. It molds you to a higher quality.

Whatever your reason may be, exercise is good reason enough.

Exercise is usually felt as enduring hardship or an almost-impenetrable wall. It is like swimming against gravity - its force like a waterfall and its current like a shaper. It shapes character into your mind as it significantly builds your way of thinking and adapts with your body in being a carrier of this vigor.

When exercise is viewed as functional, then it must be logical. But then, functional to an extent; when we exercise, we perform a set of actions to achieve a purpose. That purpose may be increasing your strength, making the activity simpler or toning up yourself - it has to have purpose to be functional.

Let me give an example. Right before I started playing Ultimate, I stopped my routine of weightlifting (6x/week for a year) and my habit of smoking cigarettes (5~6 years). I was not healthy but I think it's fair to say I had good base strength. Regardless, I could throw strong but my hand-eye coordination was weak. I could run but I couldn't endure long.

If you are likened to a knife, then purpose sharpens its function. If a knife was considered to be used as a spoon despite its qualities, then purpose would logically dull its edge and try to increase the surface area of its blade (to be able to carry more food).

The first thing I did was improve my throwing and catching skills; at first, it was difficult especially when the wind is around. It didn't take long but I could throw fairly well. I think muscle memory helped me a lot here; the body could only become more efficient in doing when something is done repeatedly, better with good form and good execution.

I ran farther through rain, heat and wind; and, on mud, field and sand. Through the years, I consider those challenges as an expanding wall - cannot be broken, only pushed. Now, I can say that those were only small steps that took me up to this state; what more could have individuals endured to mature as champions?

Giving place for exercise in your lifestyle is logical and beneficial. It instills a proactive outlook and creates opportunities to grow good habits. Like a sword forged by hammer and anvil, you become sharper and more refined.

... But too much exertion might impair your progress. A partner and inverse of exercise is rest. An analogy can be found during forging a sword, the material is dunked into a tub of water as a part of its process. You need to rest and recover to balance the contradicting forces. I will continue on rest in another post.

March 03, 2016

Journal: Pre-Run Insights

This year, I got admission to a half marathon few days into January to challenge myself. It was a stale resolution from 2015 and I wanted it off my list; I can always choose the inevitable.

My goal is to finish it under or in 2 hours.

The week after, I got a minor knee injury in a sports collision. I did the proper RICE + medications. After 2 weeks, I played in an Ultimate disc tournament; I might have been at my 60%. I jumped and ran in the sands and shore.

I mostly cross-trained through cycling and Ultimate (disc sports), and started good nutrition pass halfway through preparations. I got a foam roller and a more optimistic/proactive perspective to help me complete this challenge.

Right now, I feel more confident in running when I wear knee support and when I am fully warmed up. I believe I perform better when I am truly warmed up.

A few days from now (less than four days), I would be running in it. My mindset has changed - I cannot finish this under two hours. I'll do that on my second take (when I'm much better than this year). For now, I aim to finish the whole race.

Today, I realized that preparation is key to a good foundation. When I took this as a challenge, I wasn't anxious that it is just around the corner or nervous feeling I didn't do enough. I know I didn't do enough. But, that's not the point. I got good immunity and body efficiency through vitamins(multi-B, C), supplements(ALA+Astaxanthin, Green Tea, adaptogens) and the "Myers' Cocktail" IV infusion (and a 21-in-1 herbal coffee). (Soon, I'll lay all this off because I'm worried on my kidneys.)

I think another key would be the mind. The mind is as strong as you think it to be. If you cannot imagine getting that medal or climbing that hill, then you are limited by your own imagination. You have to visualize to materialize. So far, I regularly kept playing maths & word games, doing puzzles and reading books; all to keep my mind sharp.

I got the pre-run jitters; my mind is saying "What am I going to do in all that silence?" or "What if I'm the slowest?" I feel that I might hurt my knee and have to walk all throughout, or not having enough energy for the whole race. How strong is my mind to go through the road less traveled in solitude; will I be able to focus on the road or the women. How far and how fast will my mind take me?

In this half marathon, I am looking forward to defeat myself. There should be no What-Ifs.
(Another update soon after the race; wish me luck)

"To become a better person, you have to challenge yourself.
In the end, whoever wins is you and whatever lost was you."

-- Imperfected Mind, 2016

February 04, 2016


You Only Live One-point

One point seems as simple as just one mere point. Unless. Unless, that one point wins the match.

For instance, a boat with a tiny hole in it - as small as a radius of a ballpoint pen - could only drip water into the boat one drop at a time. Then, as a drop of water accumulates into a puddle and eventually that leak sinks the boat. Similarly, a point after point eventually accumulates into grandeur.

One point deserves your 100% if not the whole team's 100%. There would always be a deviation of talent and skills; nonetheless, 100% is 100%. You'll hear groans from some individuals but the worse part of one point is knowing that you didn't do your best. A player never intends to fail.

Another factor in one point is "there is always someone better." But then again, you could be someone better or better in some other factor. Brains or brawn, there are so many variables to conquer or to match; humans are always adaptive to the situation they are in. Will you fight and live that one-point? Or, will you flee from the fear of losing a point or the risks of injury?

You don't live once. You could be alive every single moment; but you only die once.
After one point, what is your next objective?

Of course, to get the next point as well.

The most acclaimed point is a universe point or universal point. It is a point garnered by two teams who fight for each point neck-to-neck. It is a paradox to #YOLO. Two teams would not be able to meet at this crossroad without the passion to live each point and the tenacity to win; on the contrary, either team could not implement a better strategy of defense or adapt a better resolution than the other to prevent this situation.

Each point is money to the bank. It accumulates to better savings and good interest.

Inscribe it in your resolve that as long as a disc is in the air, it has not yet touched the ground.

Live each point as if it were a universal point. A universal point is simply:

"Whoever wins the point owns the universe."

January 21, 2016

We Are Fragile

Sometimes, we break down. We get depressed; our rhythm gets out of sync.

There are some days I feel down. I'd mope around for a few minutes lasting to a few hours. At most, I'd feel sad for a day. But then, an epiphany shows up and I'm better than I was.

I realized that we are fragile for a good reason. We get to know that we cannot be powerful all the time; we get to see our humanity. It is a momentary pause that give us an appreciation of what truly makes us smile and what we clearly want in life.

Recently, I had an injury and I would have wholeheartedly accepted if it weren't for an upcoming sports tournament. For a while, it made me feel bad that my preparation was inadequate. If I would rate my endurance, it would have been 70% of what I had two years ago; and that is a good rating. So far, 100% of me can do 10k run under 58 minutes or bike 100 miles in a day (an adventure through trail and road; regardless of inclination).

Yet, 70% is not enough to protect myself from injuries. I realized that there were some gaps in my training and mental focus. I have become too relaxed with my current routine that I didn't go out my way to add resistance or new movements. With these insights, I am more equipped on how I should really train.

I believe that even at our 100% we are still fragile; we always find ourselves human. It is a wake-up call that strengthens us to become more human - adaptive to the environment. I may be 70% prepared for the tournament but I am not prepared for other environments. My strength is specialized but not wholly functional to life and its challenges.

We should always prepare. Comfort is a sign that we stopped caring to challenge ourselves. There is no reality that 100% exists - we must keep striving for a better version of ourselves. We can never be complete because, once we are complete, we wouldn't be able to call ourselves human. We have to protect our fragility. Knowing that we are fragile is already enough; we do not need to experience it. And, we shouldn't let it conquer us.