the nose is quite a wonderful thing… i just started using mine about 3 years ago. after reading a book by john douillard “body, mind and sport.”  before then i used to breathe only through my mouth.  i used to think that that was the only way i could breathe.  i have a nasal septum deviation, a slight over bite and some pretty big incisors.   i had seen people breathing through their nose but usually not in a workout scenario.

john talks about how the nose is the primary breathing apparatus for humans.  among other things the nose filters and warms the air before it enters the lungs.  the mouth on the other hand is for emergencies, air goes directly to the lungs shunting all other mechanisms the body has for preparing air.

you never see a deer or rabbit running with its mouth open, panting uncontrollably catching bugs in his mouth… or having a difficult time saying good morning to other deer do you? of course not!  that’s because most of nature’s animals breathe through their nose.

by the time this sank in, i was determined to figure out how to nose breathe while i run.   it took me quite a few miles but i finally got pretty good at it.  in the beginning i used to have to carry a tissue with me, to keep the nasal passages open…and i became an expert at the farmer’s blow.

i now love nose breathing while i run and when i cycle.  not only do i feel more refreshed, enlightened, and some what more accomplished (it is difficult after all).

i also use nose breathing when i am recovering from an injury.  not only do i feel like more oxygen is flowing through my body making my muscles heal faster…that’s debatable.  another reason is that keeps my mind off the injury.  it really takes a lot of concentration for me to breathe and run. so i have little or no brain power to focus on anything else.  also because it’s so difficult i can only run at a slower more governed pace ( i can’t just run as fast as i want).  i always have to run a bit slower and steadier, which keeps me from blowing something out.

today at lunch i decided to nb for my little 3mile run.  i started out at what seemed like a snail’s pace…and slowly picked it up till i found my breathing  limit.  i figured that i started out at about a 9 or 10 minute pace and worked my way down to about an 8:30 pace.  that’s not too bad considering i was  just out for a jog. also, this was just an estimate, i really didn’t know for sure how fast i was running. until…

i turned my gps on and checked my pace.  holy shit! i was running at a 7:20 pace!  i didn’t feel that fast.  i was still having a little trouble keeping up with the nose breathing but i was able to handle it.  as i was running down the path someone yelled at me, “hey, don’t forget to breathe!”

i did forget…. in fact that’s all i could think about.  when i got back to work i was so full of endorphins i didn’t feel like sitting at my computer.   and after such focused breathing for so long, it transcended the work out to the remainder of the day.  since the run, i have only breathed through my mouth while talking….and “they” tell me, i don’t talk much :)

so if you don’t breath through your nose while running or cycling try it!  you’ll be impressed with yourself.

let me know how it goes.


last week i finished up my volunteer work for the denver rescue mission.  i didn’t have any obligation to work there except for the one i imposed upon myself.  you see normally i would have been satisfied to put in my one day, call it an experience and be done with it.  however, in this case there are are several reason why i wanted to make this a regular event.  the first reason is that i really want to help the homeless. the first day i was more of a liability to them. i didn’t know what to do, how to do it, where things go, or when things happen.  i had to ask every little thing.  kind of annoying for the people that manage us, but they are used to it i guess. …judging by the way they so gracefully micromanage us volunteers.

after observing round after round of noobs each time i volunteered, i don’t think it was just me that needed minute by minute guidance.  back when i did my first day, i naively assumed that the volunteers participated in an egalitarian society, everyone had more or less the same job, no favorites no rankings.  after my second visit i quickly learned that filling water cups was for the ‘green”.  most first timers have to fill these water cups and place them on a cart, so they can hand them out when the lines starts.  funny thing about these cups, they are corporate coffee mugs, left over from the dot com bust.  lots of unknown company logos adorn the  sides of these ceramic artifacts from a different culture (a culture that i am way too familiar with).  one thing that can be said about all the volunteers, is that they seem genuinely happy (unlike the corporate world).  it must be because they feel like they are doing something worth while and making a difference.

so as a five time veteran of  volunteering i pretty much know what is going on at this place.  i know more or less, what needs to be done, and how to do it.  i’ve fill the water cups, filled the trays, handed out the trays, cleared the tables, wiped the tables, and helped in the kitchen.  there are not many jobs that i am unfamiliar with these days.  we had a full staff of volunteers this time, and mike started giving out the assignments.  as the new people were given their jobs, i started to wonder if there would be enough jobs to go around.  he already handed out all the jobs that i was familiar with, so when it was my turn, i was pretty excited to think that i was going to get something new.  he turned and pointed to me and said, i need you to do something for me.  he then walked over to me and explained what my new job was going to be.

it turns out that the mission is having a little problem with the homeless leaving at different times.  ideally if everyone would eat at the same time they could leave at the same time.  however due to the buffet style lines, some people would start eating much earlier than the guys at the end of the line. this would cause some guys to get bore and ask for seconds, or just take off.  in order to correct this, the denver rescue mission was trying a “dining room” style eating.  everyone would sit down and get served at more or less the same time.  this way they could eat and finish at the same time.

the end of dinner was 7:30 and everyone was required to stay seated until that time.  so my job, was to be the house security or “bouncer” if you will.  i would stand at the door looking tough and keep people from exiting before 7:30.  i’ve been to way too many concerts and events where the power hungry ill equipped security guards detour the crowds with terse arrogant  directions…”don’t stand there”, “stay behind the line”, “this exit is closed”…etc.  today was my turn and i was naively excited to get this job.

the minute all the food was handed out i marched over to “my” assigned door.  i was instructed to try and talk people into staying  and to not use force no matter what.  i was also instructed to not try too hard to keep people in, it might make them angry.  so there i stood with an eager look on my face, quite unfitting for the task at hand.  with little or no attention payed to me, the first homeless guy walked past my guard.  at that moment i realized that i was going to have to look a little tougher.

i looked around and studied some of the other guys doing the same job.  these other guys were quite a bit harder than me.  they were former addicts and were actually going through the rehabilitation program at the mission.  they somehow got off the streets and came into the shelter to get help.  most of them were quite tough looking,  as they stood there, mad dogging every homeless person thinking about heading their way.  hmm…i could do that.  i straightened up my apron, rolled up my sleeve so my tattoo would show (note: my tattoo is of a bicycle), and stared off into the distance like i was looking out the bottom of my nose.  since i was the only one guarding a door that led to the outside,  most of the homeless headed my direction.

i would start out with a cool, “how’s it going man?”

i would follow that with a “so you’re not going to stay till the end?”

…then they would counter my questions, by just walking out. buy the end of the evening i had turned back three guys, and let two go, and only one got out of hand.  he was trying to get out by saying he had permission. other bouncers came over to help out, and just made the guy really mad.  he started yelling at them…and finally we just let him go.  apparently the other homeless guy don’t like this guy either.  he is annoying to them as well.  we all laughed about it afterward.  no matter what the group, there is always at least one ass hole.  it’s ok, though it brought me a little closer, to the people i was trying to help.

at the end of the evening i went to the back room to get my stuff so i could go.  there were two female volunteers there getting ready to leave as well.  i didn’t get a chance to meet them earlier so i introduced myself.  after our short intros, they said, “you looked pretty intimidating out there”

i said “oh heh…thanks”.  i think it was a complement, at least i took it as one, because i was really trying to look intimidating.

it was a great night anyway. i would have rather handed out the food, but i’m glad i didn’t.  most people can not say they were a “bouncer” at the homeless shelter.


as a parent i’ve seen my kids get hurt and injured right in front of my eyes. when it happens it’s one of the most horrible feelings in the world.  i spend so much energy into keeping them safe, and when they are not safe, i feel kind of like i let my guard down.  sometimes their injury is pretty bad, and sometimes it isn’t bad at all.   from the outside it always looks so painful…but to the child the pain is usually something less than it looks.

in the early years it almost seems like the child had no idea what just happened or how he was supposed to react. the child usually learns right away how much pain he is in by looking at the parent’s expression. we see this all the time; child falls or gets whacked in the head, stands there motionless, looks around, finds an adult with his his jaw on the ground and his eyes popped out from terror…then the drama begins.  to make the situation even more overwhelming the adult/parent will run over and asks in a sympathetic voice, “aw… are you alright sweetheart?”.  at this point the situation has become defcon 1, it’s all over, prepare yourself for long term, loud ear piercing terrifying heart breaking, ambulance calling crowd gathering screams. i’m not trying to say that the pain is not real, but the reaction to it may be a little projected.

i am greatly aware of this phenomenon, and to outsiders i may seem a little flippant when it comes to my child’s injuries. i usually keep a calm facial expression, or mask it with a triumphal surprise. i’ll walk over if i can, and say something like, “whoa that looked harsh, you gonna live dude?” i try to stay cool on the outside, but on the inside i am, “oh no! oh no! oh no! this is bad, this is really really bad!” when someone witnesses my laisser faire parenting, i am perceived as a cold heartless, loathesome, vile, distasteful neanderthal of a human.  this may be true.   i am not trying to make my kids ignore the pain, i just don’t want them to feed the pain.

currently i have an injury that was not caused by trauma. it was not caused by a fall, a blow, a gunshot, or anything external.  i have achilles tendinitis which was caused by good old fashioned “over use”.  it happened on the very last day of my 837Km (520mile) bicycle tour that i did back in mid september. i had some knee issues, and butt issues, but there were no issues from my achilles during that whole week. it seemingly came out of no where. i was devastated when it happened, because i am no stranger to achilles problems.  i had achilles tendinitis long ago when i was on the x-country team in college.  i lost my two remaining seasons of competition because of it.  and now, i am deathly afraid of this injury and the down time it wreaks.  from the moment it happened i tried to nurture its cries. i knew that the mild pain was only a prelude to what was coming next.  i iced it, rested it, massaged it, and stretched. without failure the great pain arrived.  i’ll run or ride my bike a little to test its presence, and each time i do, it reminds me of its great existence.

so i’ve been injury free for about 14 years now. i’ve had some minor issues, like broken toes, stress fracture in the arm, acute knee injuries, but nothing to keep me away from cycling or running for too long. before this period, i would have long term injury after long term injury. even after the injuries were gone, i could still feel them. they never seem to go away.

i attribute my change, to a book i read a long time ago by dr. john sarno, “healing back pain: the mind-body connection”.  back then i didn’t have back pain, and i still don’t, but this guy had a very interesting theory regarding pain and the human body.  as i read his book i began to see parallels to to my own life of chronic running injuries.   i started practicing some of his simple theories and noticed that i could over come little pings and pokes from my legs just by just acknowledging them, treating them and moving on.  yes it does sound pretty simple, but the key for me was to not “feed” the pain.

the human body is incredibly resilient.  the body can mend broken bones in a matter of weeks,  it can heal from disastrous road rash,   it can beat cancer, and so much more.  so why is it that something as small as a sore achilles can linger around for months?  it doesn’t make sense to me given how quickly my body heals from external damage.  to be honest, i think my achilles healed about three weeks ago, but the pain i feel is just from me feeding the pain.  it was really injured at one point and i treated it, now it’s time to move on.

i may sound weird and unorthodox, but i have to learn to treat my injured body parts like i treat my injured kid’s.  so to my poor little achilles who works so hard to get me through life….”you’ll be alright, dude!…now harden the fuck up!”



i was riding my bike around downtown denver today looking for a place
to pick up some quick eats. it’s pretty fun riding a bike through the
metropolis in the middle of the day.  i passed a couple of eating
places along the way, but none of them really caught my heart.  as i
ventured out further into the city, i saw a sign for a neraby chinese
restaurant that was voted “best in lodo” [lodo is lower downtown].
that sounded kind of what i was looking for so i rode by really
slowly. then as i pulled into the little courtyard of this chinese
restaurant, i saw this japanese restaurant called yoko’s. i wasn’t
really thinking about japanese food prior to this, but now that i saw
this place, i was thinking nothing but japanese food.  i walked into
the place and was quickly ignored.  there were a few older japanese
women working there and the main one was busy taking care of another
customer who was ready to pay.  she was about 60-70 years old and had
the voice of someone who had smoked for most of those years.  but
through the gravel her voice was distinctively japanese.  i stood
there and waited…. and waited.  finally someone from the kitchen
popped her head out and said please have a seat. i picked one
seat..but didn’t like it so i got up and found a better one, one where
i could see my bike.

the place was indistinctly japanese.  with the exception of the ladies
who worked there… there was nothing japanese about this place. no
buda, no bamboo, no tatami mats, no pictures of mt fuji, just laminate
tables,  vinyl cushioned chairs, and a small painting of a
soaring eagle. this place was really like a diner.  you order your
food from the waitress, someone brings it out to you, then you pay at
the counter.

2 (1)

the menu was a little more japanese, it was printed on a light colored
paper with some kind of design on the background, but the choices blew
my mind.  they had more choices than any other place i’ve been to,
outside of japan.  i make this statement despite that fact that they
did not have sushi.  i know it’s kind of weird for a japanese
restaurant to not have sushi, but if you look at the place, it makes
total sense.  it’s run by a few older women, two in the kitchen, one
at the front counter, and one running around doing other stuff.
probably a bunch of women that had cooked every meal for their
families all their lives, and now that the home is empty and there is
no one to cook for they decided to open a restaurant and cook for
their friends and the rest of us.

1 (1)

i ordered a “salmon on rice”, that came with a salad and some miso
soup. and much like the restaurant where it was made, it was
different. there was no flash to it at all.  i know we all go to
japanese restaurants and expect fancy garnishings and elaborate plates
and bowls, but nothing here. just food, like it was being served to
you by your mother. i wish i had taken a picture of it, in it’s
simplistic beauty.  it was so appealing to just look at it.  the women
probably had no idea how much i appreciated it. out of respect for the
meal, i put away my phone, and closed my eyes as i chewed each and
every bite.