Molly Seidel—A Case Study For Our Times

Things aren’t always as they appear. Or maybe that saying needs updating. . . things rarely are as they appear.

Case in point, Molly Seidel, Olympic medalist, who is especially ebullient in public.

From Runner’s World, “Molly Seidel Want You to Know That She Still Struggles.”

Another reason to error on the side of kindness.

Come On Reggie!

Man a live, the humble blog goes way back. I searched the archives for “Reggie Miller” to see if I ever shared my Reggie Miller story, and sure enough I did in a 2009 “Friday Fitness Update”. Here it is again.

In my fifth year at UCLA, while working on my MA, I got a job tutoring athletes. After my first session, bossman asked if Reggie Miller showed. I said no so he told me to call him up in the dorms and ask him where he was. “Reggie, this is Ron. . .” “Oh man,” he interrupted, “I thought you were a woman!” I told him there wasn’t much I could do about that and he never showed. Not sure if he passed Western Civ, but he’s done okay for himself.

Fast forward to Reggie’s post NBA life. Miller works as an NBA commentator for TNT and college basketball analyst for CBS Sports. More interestingly, he’s become a serious cyclist, he has an affinity for mountain bikes in particular. Recently, he competed in a 100 mile gravel race in Colorado.

I read a Wall Street Journal article about his turn to cycling and it referenced his Strava account, a personal fitness app that my friends and I use to keep tabs on one another’s athletic doings (and Dan, Dan, The Transpo Man’s lawn mowings). After reading the WSJ article, I put in a “follow” request on Reg’s Strava page and as you can see below, he has yet to accept.

Come on Reg, accept the request! Class of 84′ and 85′ and your former assigned tutor. You ghosted me then, don’t ghost me now.

Once this post goes viral, he’ll have no option but to accept. I will be sure to let you know as soon as Reg and I are Strava friends.

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You’re Vacationing All Wrong

Opines Richard A. Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.

“The truth is, when it comes to vacation, rest and relaxation aren’t just overrated. They might even work against the very things a trip is meant to cultivate: a mental reset, a sense of relaxation, happiness. A better vacation is one in which vigorous exercise features prominently. That way, you can take a break not just from work and routine life but also from the tyranny of self-absorption.”

Okay doc, what do you suggest then?

“Recently, a close friend and his wife invited my husband and me to join them on a cycling vacation. I was a bit nervous; I’m a serious swimmer but not an experienced cyclist. Riding 30 to 40 miles a day through Vancouver’s impressive hills for five days sounded like hard work, not pleasure. But by the end of our first day of riding, I was overtaken by euphoric calm.

The work of managing hills by bike has a special way of commanding your attention. I was so busy thinking about whether I could hold my pace for the next rise and how fast I could go downhill without wiping out that I had no time to think about myself. I started looking forward to getting up early and hitting the road. I took in the mountains and forests, dense with cedar and fir, but my focus was really on the bike and the road.”

But this entire Humble Blog is based on the need for more introspection. If everyone is just hammering up hills on two wheels, are we really better off?

“In fairness to the rest-and-relaxation lobby, some introspection is indeed good for you, and being able to tolerate idleness and boredom is a sign of psychological strength. I’m a clinical psychiatrist, and I know well that self-understanding is a cherished goal of therapy. But too much self-examination doesn’t make you happier or more enlightened. Besides, vacation is not the time to work on that skill. You can incorporate moments of idleness into your daily life if you want to get better at sitting with yourself, but vacation is a time for feeling good and escaping responsibilities, including the ones to yourself. Accordingly, you should do what makes you feel good, and that’s activity, not idleness.”

Got it.

As an endurance athlete, I’m keenly aware of how my brain waves fluctuate markedly during most workouts. If I’m going uphill and/or into the wind, my focus narrows a lot on the task at hand. If I’m descending and/or with the wind, my mind drifts to numerous other non-athletic things. I might even begin writing the next blog post.

All movement is good, but add some intensity in on occasion. Even on vacay.

Maybe All Isn’t Lost After All

RAGBRAI, Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is more than just a bike ride, it is an epic eight-day rolling festival of bicycles, music, food, camaraderie, and community. It is the oldest, largest, and longest multi-day bicycle touring event in the world.

Here’s a great intro. Ryan and his newish girlfriend’s first day. If you don’t know Ryan, you should.

And here’s a wonderful “photo story” of RAGBRAI compliments of National Public Radio. The second picture is worth at least 1,000 words don’t yah think?

The Hardest Thing

Fitness-wise.

If you’re a long-time reader of the humble blog; or happen to see my slender self; or follow me on Strava where I upload my swimming, cycling, and running workouts; you might assume I’ve got the fitness thing figured out. And maybe I do compared to the average 60 year old person residing in the not very fit (dis)United States.

But I don’t have it figured out. During the parts of the year when I’m not working, like now, I have too much time to think about working out. And sometimes thinking about working out ends with me bagging workouts.

When it comes to personal fitness, the one thing I find most difficult is designing a realistic “basic week” that’s challenging, but not so much so that I only check two-thirds of the boxes because then I feel badly about the one-third that remain unchecked. That one-third has a disproportionate negative influence on how I feel at week’s end.

This decidedly first world dilemma is complicated by my preference for cross-training. I like to swim, cycle, and run every week. I’ve added in a core workout and I’ve started to enjoy lifting weights. So that’s five things, meaning often, something has to give. Right now, because of the nice weather and friends who are cycling a lot, I’m taking time from swimming and running for the sake of cycling.

Another problem is that at my advanced age, it takes longer to recover from hard efforts. I haven’t been running as much lately probably because I’m beating myself up on the bike. I can do two workouts in a day, but only if both are shorter and/or easier than normal.

Tonight (Sunday), I planned the week. The odds are very good that my plan is too ambitious, and that despite closing all the rings on my Apple Watch (woopty doo), I won’t end up feeling much of a sense of accomplishment since I missed that run, didn’t swim at all, only lifted once, or didn’t ride as many miles as hoped for. Of course it’s silly, since I feel great and I’m healthy; and ultimately, that’s all that matters. But we’re all irrational in different ways.

Put most simply, by not planning realistically, I sabotage my feeling contented with my weekly efforts. Most frustratingIy, I don’t get why I understand the problem so clearly and still can’t seem to correct for it.

Tomorrow, I’m “supposed” to do a short run, swim, and lift weights. One or two out of three won’t be bad will it?

Inside The Peloton

You’re a huge cycling fan. Can’t get enough of the Tour de France. Like most professional cycling fans, you wonder what kind of convos the riders in the peloton have with one another. I’m happy to provide a little flavor flav from today’s stage.

Ron Roglic: On the way to the start today I almost got hit by a guy in a big truck with a bumper sticker that said, “We The People. . . are pissed.”

Dennis Bernal: Biden supporter?

RR: Haha. Shit, don’t take your anger, or more likely victimhood, out on me.

DB: Maybe he’s more into bumper stickers than voting.

RR: Yeah. It’s not my fault he’s deplorable.

The Weakest Guy In The Weight Room

I lift weights two times a week; as a result, I’ve progressed from pathetically weak to just merely weak.

My primary motivation is to strengthen my legs for cycling, but I do dabble with the bench press, doing 25 reps of 135 pounds in 3-5 rep sets. See, I told you.

Earlier this week another grey hair dude, who I estimated to be very close to my age, also put two 45 pound weights on the 45 pound bar. Because I’m a pea-brained male, I thought to myself, “I wonder how many he can do at 135 pounds?” Granted, he had actual muscles and was probably 30-40 pounds heavier than me, so I wasn’t too surprised when he quickly ripped off a set of 8.

Then he got up and stretched his shoulders on a nearby machine. Next, he added 45 pound weights on each side, and like a NFL rookie at the draft combine, ripped off more reps at 225 pounds.

Then he got up and stretched his shoulders on a nearby machine. Next, he added 25 pound weights on each side and ripped off more reps at 275.

Then he got up and stretched his shoulders on a nearby machine. Next, he added 10 pound weights on each side and ripped off a few reps at 295.

Figuring I’d be very little help, he didn’t even bother to ask me to spot him.