Category Archives: Running

trail running, or street running

Today’s Workout Track

EarbudsI went into the gym today determined to get a decent workout in.  After the holiday break (Thanksgiving to New Years) I am left with 8 more pounds than I wanted.  Mix in a busy schedule of grad school finals, work, and travelling from here to there I hardly had time to make it to the climbing gym I enjoy so much.  It is a new year and it’s a perfect time for a fresh start.

For those that don’t already know I love good electronic music.  A blend of electro, hip-hop beats, cleverly utilized vocal samples are what I needed on the treadmill today.  I’d like to share this track with you so that you can have as much fun on the treadmill as I did today.  (If it were just a little warmer this evening I would have gone outside to run, but alas, it’s January.)

I downloaded this mp3 from months back and decided I needed a good 20-minute mixtape to keep me going.  You can download the track here:  MiMOSA’S FUTURE TRiLL MiX 2012 v2 (note: contains explicit content).


I Found an Old Workout Sheet

I had forgotten about this great workout routine I had found online some time ago.  I was wondering where it went!  I recently opened it up when I found it hiding in my journal and I observed all the notes I made for what worked for me at the time.  This document was printed out the summer of 2010 when I was getting more and more serious about training for parkour.  The descriptions are plain and simple.  (If you are not familiar on how to do these exercises properly, I suggest you search youtube for proper techniques.)  There are dynamic moves that require weights to be thrusted or swung about so I wrote down the weights that are comfortable for me.  Read over the whole routine before starting so that you pick and choose and plan out how you want your workout session to go.

If you are looking to gain more strength, flexibility, and stamina, I suggest you try this full-body workout that can help you build an able and healthy body.

Link: Parkour Training Workout Sheet

Good Luck and always remember to listen to what your body is telling you!  Be nice to it and it will be nice to you.  Happy Exercising!

PS.  I unfortunately don’t have the source of this sheet, but if you know who wrote this out, please send me their information so that I can give them proper credit.

4 miles on the Patapsco River Trail

This morning I decided to seek out a new trail in my area and grace it with my footprints.  This trail is easy to moderate in difficulty.  At around 10am I encountered two ladies on horseback and a woman walking her dog, so, not too many people on the trail.  This was the first time I’ve ever seen horses be ridden on a Patapsco trail.  I mean, I’ve spotted the horse poop periodically along paths, but never the horse.  The Woodstock Seminary Trails in Patapsco Valley State Park  include the Patapsco River Trail and the Nike Trail.  According to a hiking guide book, Baltimore Trails by Bryan MacKay, the Nike trail takes you to a quarry that was mined for granite and to the abandoned Nike missile site used during the Cold War in the 1950s and 60s.  Today I didn’t take the Nike Trail because I didn’t know if I could have made the entire 4.6 mile circuit.  However, I did make it 2 miles down and 2 miles back on the Patapsco River Trail that began at Woodstock Road.  I hear there is good rock climbing/bouldering in Woodstock, but I didn’t encounter any climbing opportunities today.  Next time I am in this region of the park I will definitely check out the water at the quarry and the old site.

It feels good to get back into the park and run the trails.  When the temperature is too high or the air quality is poor, I tend to stay inside or go to Earth Treks to get my fitness fix.   I was lucky today because, even though we are supposed to see temperatures raise to the mid-90s, I was able to find protection from the sun beneath the leaves of the trees.  It also helps that I am an efficient ‘cooler’ by sweating buckets as I run.  I even felt the top of my skin and it was cool rather than warm–an interesting phenomena.

Running is one of 3 main workouts that help me maintain, strengthen, and progress my fitness goals.  Through trail running I am able to revert back to a primal mentality as I sprint through the forest, never stopping to look back and only concerned with where my next step lands.  You don’t get this at the shopping malls of suburbia nor in bustling city centers.  You can’t buy this feeling of freedom within nature; it’s free.

How I Integrate Minimalism in My Life

After reading several blogs that talk about minimalism I was inspired to bring the principles of living a meaningful life and living with less and simplicity into my life. Making conscious decisions about how I conduct my behavior, how I carry out my day, and determining what are my daily goals have created a new sense of what it means to interact with others and, most importantly, to interact with myself.  Be gentle with yourself.  These four words guide me throughout my day and help me to stay calm, while at the same time, help me become a stronger person and further endure the mental strains of daily life.  I feel that if one is mindful of their thoughts and habits, then that individual obtains a sense of control over themselves in any situation that they may encounter.  This idea, I believe, is what drives people to do good things and to act accordingly parallel to their beliefs.  This is what I think minimalism can bring.  This is what I think are some ingredients to living a meaningful life.

At this point in my life I feel like I am only at the beginning and there is a lot of work ahead of me.  Somehow I became nearly a quarter-century old and I found myself piecing the chunks and bits I have learned over the years and finally accepted how to live and be with-my-self.  Minimalism brings many opportunities because you end up lessening the amount of junk in your life and realizing that you want to add goodness in your life.  No matter what that junk was and what that goodness ends up being this procedure of change, I believe, manifests understanding and control of your mind and body.  Distractions are everywhere and it seems like it gets easier and easier for us to be taken away from ourselves.  How easily is it for our train of thought to become disturbed and for us to lose attention?  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have been known to space out every now and then, but, when it really matters are you able to focus?

These are types of questions that run in my mind and are questions I ask myself.  The principles of Minimalism lead me to think less about crap and do more of the good-shit; for me that means running, climbing, stretching, breathing, reading, learning, walking, and, right now, writing.  For me, Minimalism is about being present in what you do and not needing much to do it.  It also reminds me that I am the only person who can give my self a truly meaningful and happy life.  Thank you for reading and I wish you, too, a happy and meaningful life.

Run, run, run for your life…

This morning I woke around 7am and decided I wanted to go out for a run. It has been a little over a week since I ran, which is a good excuse to get me out there. Again, I started my run at Rockburn Branch Park, but once I hit the trail, I heard and felt a couple rain drops come down from the greyish sky. It was no matter because I wanted to run. I was ready–suited up with my Asics, running shorts and shirt, and cap. The rain didn’t come down until I was about an hour into the run. By that point I was already wet from the sweat and humidity that the cool air and rain droplets were refreshing.

When I run I mix up the speeds depending on the terrain. Sometimes I will run up a hill because I don’t want to get stuck or slow down from my rhythm. Other times I will slow down as I hit a hill so that I don’t waste my energy or risk tripping and falling over roots and rocks. There is no rhyme or reason to my speeds, but I do what feels right and today I felt like I was driving every step in a mindful way. I had no distractions, no worries, nor any judgement. I ran for me today. I pushed harder than I thought was possible, and I turned out fine! Sure I was breathing heavy, sweatnig profusely, and semi-fatigued toward the end of my run, but I felt great being outside, listening to wildlife and reaching the edge of my physical abilities. I enjoy experiencing this type of stress, this type of activity, because I prove to myself that I CAN DO IT. And when the time comes for me to act there will be no reason for me to back down.

I won’t run everyday. There are other activities I do that I enjoy that supplement my workout. But it feels great to be in the woods, to smell the soil and vegetation, to breathe the fresh air, to be in the elements and connect with the earth I came from.

Run, run, run for your life…

Morning Run and a Quick Climb + Abs

This morning turned out to be perfect for a run in the park.  Last night it rained and I could hear thunder striking furiously originating a couple miles away.  The sky was clear, the sun was warm, and the fallen precipitation was evaporating away as the morning drew on.  I drove to Rockburn Branch Park around 8 or 9am and found a corner to park my car.  This place has a great Disc Golf course and I decided to run around it on nearby trails.  The trails were semi-muddy, but not bad at all considering the storm that swept through the Baltimore-area yesterday.  I ran for 35 minutes, stretched for 15, and then drove home for breakfast. [Kashi Go Lean Crunch with 1% milk, half a banana, Tbs of PB, topped with honey and dried pomegranate bits]

I still felt like I had more energy to burn so I headed to Earth Treks Columbia for a short session in the cave.  I realized that I’ve hit a plateau and there needs to be more strength building in my grip, forearms, and deltoids.  My legs are heavy and I need more upper body strength to move it more effectively.  An hour passes and I’m beat.  I head into the weight room and decide I want to work abs.  So I start with medicine ball ab twists, then to jack knife, bicycle crunches, regular and side planks, crunchy frogs, and oblique v-ups.  Finally, I tell myself that’s enough after abs.   Later this week I’ll work on is pulls ups, and other upper body exercises.  Cheers!

My Story: Fat to Fit

I take a step back and gaze at all the events that have led up to what I have now, and boy, do I see the number of changes throughout my life.  Here are some pictures of what I used to look like.

I was content with my life, but I knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be.  I wasn’t always like this.  In fact, five or six years ago I wasn’t interested in energy conservation, maintaining good health and fitness, or writing.  It was during the summer of 2005 when I realized that I didn’t like how my life looked in regards to the physical condition of my body (I smoked cigarettes), the passive activities I involved myself in (sitting behind a computer screen for hours on end), or the mindless actions of over consumption and wasteful behavior.  That summer, I felt like I needed a change.  My maximum weight was 210 pounds at a height of 5’7″ — obese, according to the Body Mass Index (BMI).  Now I stand at 5’9″ tall with a weight of 165 pounds with a 3-5 pound fluctuation in either direction and I have maintained this body type since 2007.

Jump back to 2006.  It hit me when I was tossing a Frisbee with a couple of friends on a sunny day—the realization that I didn’t want to be ‘fat’ anymore.  At this time, I wasn’t the best disc thrower and neither were my friends, so there was a lot of running after the disc due to miscalculated trajectories.  I found myself running back and forth and it was becoming difficult to breathe.  I was smoking a pack of cigarettes a week, sometimes two per week.  I often ate my meals fast, semi-chewing my food and washing it down with a sugary soft drink — three or four times a day.  I usually ate until I was full (so full that when I burped, I would get a little food back in my mouth—unattractive) and the idea of walking it off seldom entered my mind. I would also frequently snack on chips or sweets while sitting at my computer satiating my need to rank first in the server (I was a gamer).

In high school I considered myself as a fairly athletic person.  I played basketball with friends, could run kinda fast, and even trained to be on the football team.  However, football and other team sports didn’t interest me as much as I thought, but one thing did and it has stuck with me until today — running.

Running changed my life after I discovered its potential to clear the mind, release endorphins (yes it’s real and it feels great), and to get in shape.  I first started by running as far and as long as I could while not stressing the speed of my run.  I was more concerned with the determination behind my running. Personally, I enjoy running outdoors more than inside on a treadmill (it’s too boring for me).  Plus, running outside has advantages of a changing scenery, as well as hills and slopes to make it more challenging.  I might have ran 3 nights a week for an hour or more each time.

The interesting part about starting to run was that I stuck to a reasonably constant schedule for 2 months.  I didn’t see much improvement in my body (I still had man boobs and a couple rolls) but I felt better because I quit the cigarettes and regained a larger lung capacity.  I ran not because of the people I was close to were doing it, not because other people told me to, but I ran because I wanted to run and I wanted to get healthier.

So I read some books on running, I learned how to stretch properly, how to warm up, and bought myself a sweet pair of gel-cushioned, Asics running shoes.  But it wasn’t just the running or just the shoes—it was actually the combination of running and my diet that had the largest impact on my weight loss.  Here are some important reminders about food that I repeated in my mind allowing me to loose and maintain weight loss:

  • Slow down the rate at which you consume food
  • Chew, chew, chew…
  • Only eat when you’re hungry
  • Listen to your stomach
  • Stop eating when you’re not hungry anymore
  • Save your over portioned meal for later or throw it away
  • Eat up to 5-6 times a day
  • Schedule eating times to be 2 to 3 hours apart
  • Eat smaller meals, but more times per day

Remembering things like this, which take little time to do, take a lot of effort to enforce.  Maintaining discipline is essential to losing weight in a natural way.

By the fourth month, I noticed my energy increasing and my jeans loosening.  It continued until I lost a total of 60 pounds which made my minimum weight fall to 150 pounds.  It took a little over one year for me to reach my minimum weight, and 2 or 3 months to regain 10-15 lbs by increasing protein intake and building muscle.

The drive needs to be there in order for you to make any changes in your life.  You have to really want it.  I really wanted to have a decent body.  It took a lifestyle change to get it.  There will be sacrifices along the way to your desired destination, but the effort and discipline is well worth the results. This mind set was not only beneficial to my physical health, but also beneficial to my mind and how I overcome obstacles on my path.

Here is a picture of my peak weight loss at approximately 155-160 lbs: