Monday, September 22, 2008

Simplifying Part 1

The theme of my life for the next year is Simplifying. I'll have more updates along these lines as the next months progress. But, here are some things we're doing and some things I'm thinking about as part of the Simplification Strategy. Of course, when you get done reading this rambling post, you'll wish I'd applied the theme to my writing!

1. Clutter reduction
Neither cyclistrick nor I is a huge pack rat, so that is a good thing. However, our culture seems to encourage clutter ("Maybe I'll need this someday - I'll keep it.") I've always been pretty good about keeping the clothes clutter down. But, books are another story. Well, I'm happy to report that we purged 61 books from our stacks at home. Our criteria was "If I don't desire to read it again, and I don't need it for reference, pitch it!". Now, we're moving on to the bike stuff. We were going to sell a bunch of stuff, but in the interest of de-cluttering our free time (who has time to post all the stuff to Craigslist or Ebay?), we will be donating one entire bike and a whole shop's worth of parts & accessories in the near future. Suggestions for worthy organizations are welcome.

2. Dietary simplification
Cyclistrick wrote a good post on where we've been going with this line of thinking, so I won't repeat. However, don't be surprised if after some of the other simplification stuff happens we end up with some chickens and lots of produce in our back yard.

3. Freecycling
I've been intrigued with the idea of limiting the amount of "new" things I buy. I think I am going to try hitting consignment shops next time I need an item of clothing. The same goes for furniture stuffs. It might be good to try this concept out for bike stuffs too, though some things really need to be "new" (tires, chains, etc.) This idea isn't really well fleshed out. I'm just going to try the concept next time I need something.

4. Training simplification
Here is an interesting link to an article on one of the training topics I've been considering of late:

Another topic is moving to more "minimal" running shoes. I'd been giving this some thought for a while feeling like I was much faster running in my "street" tennies than in my running shoes, legs not feeling comfortable with the heel strike, and getting numerous blisters from bulky trail runners. Well, I'm happy to report that I ran 3 miles on pavement the other day in Kangaroos with no ill effects. Yeah, my muscles are a little sore, but that is to be expected. No blisters, no tightness in my lower legs, and I was a bit faster. I will give the theory another try on a trail run/walk next weekend.

So, on the topics of hydration and running footwear - my thoughts revolve around getting back to what the body was designed to do - without all the modern amenities we've cooked up in recent years. Sure, it's good to protect your foot from shards of glass, but other than that, is all the padding really needed? Could it in fact be hurting our biomechanics?

Yes, it's good to drink when you are thirsty. But, should we be force-feeding ourselves sodium solution while exercising? I'm willing to be convinced either way. But, there is an elegant simplicity in our thirst mechanism and just listening to it.


bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

Re the sodium solution, I recently figured out that the goosebumps/shivers/major heat issues were really exacerbated by using lots of mix. When I stopped to think about it I realized that everything I read about needing to replenish the salt that crystalizes on my kit comes from the sports-drink industry. I switched to water & the problems really went down...

I took a Deep Ecology seminar once & my favorite segment was on voluntary simplicity. Personally I have never simplified as much as I would like (major packrat), but the idea and practice are really fantastic.

Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

As far as shoe biomechanics...I've found similar. I actually loved the Nike Free when it first came out...that shoe was awesome, felt like nothing at all on your foot, and I ran 500 miles in my first pair. My running store owner was horrified...UNTIL he looked at my wear pattern and said it was great. Then he proceeded to sell me another pair! Anyway, I have settled on a shoe with no support/control...just cushioning. The Mizuno wave rider is my shoe of choice these days...feels more cushy than the nike free, and it doesn't mess with my stride. I haven't had a joint problem yet...

And on sister has them, and they're pretty funny and cute! I'm a big fan....

velogirl said...

interesting, your comment about running. I worked with a Chi Running coach last week and she taught me how I should run -- which is NOT heel strike, toe off, as we'd all learned. she also said over time I should minimize my running shoe -- that by correcting my technique, I wouldn't need the motion control heel.

simple is good!

chatterbox said...

panda - good to know! Maybe I'll focus on water and "food" for calories during the off-season and see if that isn't a better technique.

dr. kim - glad to have your vote for chickens and minimal running shoes! Also, I have always like Mizuno shoes. I'll check out the Wave Rider.

vg - interesting that the running coach also brought this up. I think the tides are definitely turning in that area. Maybe the shoes just finally got to a too-decadent point and now everyone is realizing you can have too much of a good thing.

Chris said...

I always joke that my next house will not have any horizontal surfaces except for the floors. The reason being that we seem to clutter every horizontal surface in our house with something that shouldn't be there.

twinkiepatissier said...

chickens... must be a luxury of owning a house with a yard.