Hello, world! This is my first post, but not really. Really I have been tapping away at the keyboard for over a decade to share my experiences and thoughts with people far less self-absorbed than I am (no need to thank me!). My first blog was on Myspace, if that gives you an idea… So, it’s not really “Hello, world” so much as it’s, “Hey there, buddy! I missed you!”
I’ve always been the kind of writer that leaves my readers begging for an editor, not begging for more. When I started writing, it was a simpler time: at first I was in college and had nothing else to do but think deep thoughts about all the ways that I was better than everybody else. It would be irresponsible for someone as interesting as me not to share my wisdom with the world. Oh my god! I finished a marathon, and it was hard!!! Obviously you, dear reader, will never finish a marathon and are too thick to realize that it is a hard thing to do, so let me tell you about it! There is a comments section below for you to leave your awe-stricken and overly congratulatory comments. Please be courteous and check your grammar and spelling for the comfort of subsequent commenters…
Then I graduated college and went on to begin my “adult” life as an ex-pat in Barcelona. It was the Bush era (“doubleyah” Bush, not the other one), and it didn’t seem like overreacting to sanctimoniously leave the United States for-EV-ver! I was now not only smarter than everyone else, but now I was experiencing another culture. OBVIOUSLY everyone would want to hear my perspective on things. So, much like Hemingway before me, I crawled into the back corner of ratty and cheap Barcelona bars, smoked cigarettes, drank life-threatening amounts of booze and blogged about triathlons. It was a more innocent time. Blogging was in its awkward adolescence, and no one had really realized that online content production could be a self-contained career or an art form. We were mostly just going online to express ourselves to other people who knew better than to ask, “how long was this marathon?” We could tell our stories to people who wouldn’t make us clear the “you’re crazy” barrier before telling what actually happened.
Blogging in 2008-2010 was an un-self-conscious time that I think will be the nostalgic moment in time that defines an era: we were all getting our first smartphones, but we hadn’t quite figured out how to use them yet. This was our midwestern small towns in the 1950s that defined the American identity. I’m not saying that I was no Beaver Cleaver, but (to mix metaphors) that I found thousands of Jan Bradys out there, just like me. It was wonderful! I met other people like myself, and not only had input from people who I trusted on the only topic I cared about (myself), but I could also find out what THEY were thinking about, how they were training, what races they were doing… Blogging led to adventures in states that I never thought I would have a reason to visit; like Ohio, Florida and Kansas. Kansas! (Kansas was the most foreign place I have ever been…) I got hooked up with great opportunities like the chance to crew an incredibly well-funded and well-organized RAAM team. I made friends: real flesh and blood friends who influenced me in ways that still a decade later make me think of them frequently. And best of all: through my blog I found my voice, established an identity and concept of self that made me proud of who I was. Sure, there were moments when the trolls got at me, and squirming days of excruciating embarrassment when I occasionally got caught talking shit on my blog about a real, live person. But other than that, it was one of the best habits I ever started.
But then I moved to California, got a job, responsibilities… and there was less and less time to sit still and think hard about myself. As I’ve gotten older and time has gotten more precious, there never really seemed to be enough time for consistent writing anymore. I posted a few posts, and started many, many, many more drafts, but ever since the recession ended and we all went back to work, I just couldn’t get back into the habit of writing.
I started other projects: my dog started blogging and I started perfecting the art of the ironically terrible photograph. iPhone cameras have gotten a lot better, but they still have not reached the point where technology can make me seem like a competent photographer; But photo editing apps are getting so good that it’s hard to doctor a photo so that readers can tell that I’m trying to make it look awful (and that’s why I need to tell you here). No, it’s supposed to be all dark and blurry like that. Because dogs are terrible photographers. It’s funny! Get it?
But I’ve missed my long, rambling self-absorbed posts. I’ve got questions that I want to answer, and experiences or deep thoughts that I want to share. The goal of this blog is not to establish myself as any kind of expert. It is not a self-promotion tool to be monetized or help me find a job or sponsorship. I just want to do shit and talk about it.
I am too old and too wise now to think that everyone will like me and I will never attract the attention of any trolls. So let me set out the ground rules in this first post, so I can refer back to it when shit gets nasty: I want people to be able to disagree with me (and other readers, if I ever achieve more than one of you). I want people to be able to have those discussions in a respectful way that challenges everyone to empathize with the people with whom we disagree, and question our own assumptions. But I will follow the same rules that call centers follow: If you use rude, disrespectful or abusive language toward me, my readers or a real world group or individual, then you will be hung up on.
So with that out of the way, let’s get started…!
I’ve transferred over about 30 of my favorite posts from the old days, but I want this project to be a new start with a new focus. This blog will contain race reports and other “Amelia Bedilia Does Endurance!” type posts, but I also want to be able to talk about other fitness, nutrition and lifestyle topics that I find interesting.
You should know that I’m not a doctor, but I was married to a nurse for a short while so maybe that counts for something. In college on my way to a language degree, the only science course that I took was geology. I was first certified as a personal trainer in 2005 by ACE, and later was certified by ACSM. I worked at Equinox for a couple of years, and so went through all the education that I needed to become Tier 3+, for what that’s worth. I learned the FMS test (Functional Movement Screen) inside-out, although Equinox does not pay for certifications. I am also Precision Nutrition certified, which does give me the basic credentials to talk about nutrition. I have also been certified as a coach by both USA Track and Field and USA Cycling. I have held indoor cycling instructor certifications from Mad Dogg (Spinning) and Schwinn. I did all the CPR and AED certifications, but I try not to do first aid because I’m squeamish about blood and children. I was a full time trainer for about 5 years, and did thousands of sessions. I hated it. I loved the science, and the playing with variables. I loved playing psychic: being able to watch someone walk across the room or pick something up off the floor and point to 5 parts of their bodies that were bothering them and the unconscious habits that they had that were causing them. I dearly loved my clients (most of them), but I’m an introvert and that much social contact hollowed me out every day. No matter how many thousands of sessions I did and classes I taught, I still got nervous before every single one.
So I don’t work in fitness anymore. Now I fly a desk 50-60 hours per week at a venture capital firm in Palo Alto. While the TV show that used to define my life used to be Biggest Loser (it’s not really like it looks on TV!), now my life is just like Silicon Valley (it’s exactly like you see on TV). Most of my certifications have expired, and most of them were junk anyway. Seriously: fitness certifications are a joke. So take anything that I say in this blog as the opinion of a private citizen, not an expert. Don’t get me wrong, I read a LOT of books. I think I could hold my own in a conversation about how training affects substrate utilization with a sports physiologist, but that’s just my opinion and you as a private citizen who also reads stuff are entitled to draw your own conclusions from your own experience and interpretation of data.
So, well… that’s me! Hi. It’s nice to meet you.