Forest Gump and Bane: Looking Ridiculous Pays Dividends

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Golden Gate Dirty 30

This race back in 2012 kicked my ass.  It was my second ultramarathon.  An ultramarathon is any distance over the traditional marathon distance of 26.2 miles or 42.16481km.  It was naive of me to think running up and down the one little hill close to Bro’s neighborhood in North Carolina would help prepare me for an arduous, at altitude ultra in Black Hawk, Colorado.  Brainless.  I’ll let the videos speak for themselves.  Don’t ask me why I carried my phone.  The actor had yet to be born.

Camp-site preparation

A little perspective for how high we climbed

Time: 8:09:01, 222 out of 246.

Friend’s: 6:31:32, 61 out of 246

Conclusion: not prepared.

Forest Gump’s Braces

Forest didn’t have the kind of braces I had back in 2012.  He had the kind that restrict the movement of your legs, straighten your back, and make you look like you are a doctor’s Pinocchio puppet.

I wish I had rocks thrown at me at that age.  I wish I had had three bullies chasing me down on bikes with a girl calling after me to “Run, Forest, Run!”  Maybe I would have done better at Golden Gate.  I wish my race had culminated in Forest’s liberation.

Running ultramarathons? You could definitely say I was ‘a running fool’ too.  And me Forest also practiced the ways of the Raramuri or Tarahumara, the Mexican tribe featured in Christopher Mcdougall’s book, Born to Run.1)  (I don’t recommended reading this book unless you want inspiration to run extremely long distances.  You will end up running really long distances.)

Rather than put up a fight, Forest and I run from trouble.  …Passive resistance.  …Withdrawl.

The Dark Bane Rises

Courtesy of Training Mask2), we all can look – depending on your sleeve choice – and sound like the villain from Dark Knight Rises.

I bought my mask in 2014 when I was living in Chicago – little did I know I had chosen a potential halloween costume for a haunted house.  I wanted to test whether it would improve my athletic performance.  I wanted to get the benefits of high-altitude training while living anywhere.  I wore the mask to a co-worker gym session and a friend referenced Bane from the Dark Knight Rises.  I wore it on my runs and bike rides to work and while I did my lower body circuit training.  ‘If I was going somewhere, I was running’ with my Training Mask.

I even brought it along with me on my world traveling tour.  Leipzig, Berlin, Goa, Eluru, Mumbai, Pokhara, Kathmandu, Kaminoyama, Tokyo, Oogimi, and Taipei are now all aware that what you see in the movies is real.

Bane’s needs his Vitamin D too Santa Monica, CA

People ask, “does it work?”  Most things we buy are supposed to make life easier.  This mask doesn’t make your workouts easier.  Quite the opposite.  It makes your lungs scream at your brain for deciding to invest in such a ridiculous, attention-grabbing device and you keel over gasping for breath sooner rather than later.  But if you endure long enough you will see benefits of using the mask.  This is a form of deprivation training (other forms: nutrition, hydration, rest).  When you deprive your body of a certain nutrient, in this case oxygen, your body has to adapt to the limited supply as you push your body to perform.  Over time, it adapts to the lack of stimuli.  And then when you compete in a race without the mask, you feel like a different person because of the flood of oxygen.

It makes training harder, competition easier.


I like to think I have a brain and that I know what I am doing.  Following college graduation I got a lot of shit from my family about not being able to remember anything.  They blamed my soccer career – too many headers, too many micro-concussions.  Possible.  Another possibility is the little brother syndrome.  There’s a reason why first borns tend to grow into the leaders and the babies of the families tend to be the creative type.3)  Here I am trying to create a life way out in the world, wanting attention, and being a natural salesman with my blog.  I’m just living out my birth order rights.

Bro was always the one driving us places in high school and when l lived with him.  It was his car after all.  Why did I have to know where I was going?  I had the luxury of letting my mind float aimlessly into every crack and corner of the world around me.  “Why does that lady look that way?  What did she have for breakfast?  What if the world really was flat?  That building way over there… it looks so small between my finger and pointer… small enough to put the entire building in my mouth.”

It was definitely Paw Paw who put me on the path to prove my family wrong and that I did have a brain.

“Something is wrong.  You can’t remember?”

The musecage was talking to me…

Maybe it helped that I ended up working at a company that was focused on biohacking and improving the environment (which includes food) to optimize brain function.  I ditched GPS and writing things down.  I looked up ways to help remember things.  And over time, my memory improved.  It’s still improving.

It’s easier to remember things that you care about and that stir your emotions.  Maybe I just didn’t care about all the things my family wanted me to care about.  Who knows – I don’t remember what they wanted me to remember.

A memorable gift from a friend

Or was it because of becoming Bane?  Did the hypoxic training over the years rejuvenate my ‘little brother brain’ and turn it into the oxygen deprived, go-getter?

10K Puma Run Taipei: Bane-less (not Brainless)

I think it was a brainy choice to buy a Bane mask back in 2014.  Who knows whether it played a role in improving my memory.  I do know that it helped me kick ass on Saturday, April 1, 2017.

The week before, a friend invited me to run a 10k race with her and her friends.  My training was rather simple.  I ran 5.1 miles on M, T, and Wed with buddy Bane for a total of 15.3 miles for the week.  I didn’t push the pace too hard and had several welcomed intersection breather along the run.  Thursday I did pull-ups and some lower body squats and lunges – nothing too intense.  Friday, I only did the morning routine of pushups and abs.  At dinner I had a nice healthy serving of rice, fat and veggies.  You could say I was carb loading.  Throughout that week I had maintained low carb, high fat, moderate protein up until Friday night.

The race Saturday night came and went.  There are a lot of factors that determined the race outcome.  Was it being in the company of friends?  The environment of the race?  The cool weather?  The minimal training?  The endogenous oxytocin?  The warm-up run jog up and down the stairs of Taipei’s metro stations?

I like to think that it was because of my Bane brain.  I remember running and passing loads of people.  The first mile I was weaving in and out of the masses, running along the curb of the road as a tight-rope walker walks across the wire.  Finally, I was able to have a full length stride into open space.  Each person in front of me became the next animal I was pursuing on the prairie.  I remember thinking to myself several times, “when am I going to start feeling tired?”  I passed several rehydration stands without taking any water; pace was good and I didn’t want to disrupt my flow with a side cramp.

Halfway through I collected the bracelet required to prove I had reached the halfway mark.  At this point, I took of my shirt right before I passed a guy that was writing down bib numbers.  I didn’t have a bib since I didn’t register for the race, and he was frustrated because he thought my bib number was all balled up with my shirt.

“Don’t worry!” I yelled at him in Chinese as I blew past him.

By this time there were only a few remaining targets in front of me.  A young girl with short legs… A guy with a little bit longer legs.  The whole time I was amazed at my pace and the ability to maintain it for the whole race.  The initial goal was to get below 48:00.  I passed the last person ahead of me with a mile left to go and made the commitment to not let anyone pass me.  No one passed me the whole race.

Ignite Taipei 10k
almost home

Unofficial time: 40:27, 11th place out of 3702.  I didn’t have a chip time because I ran the race without registering.  The clock read ’40:27′ when I crossed the finish line.  And my time was faster than 40:27 because it took me at least 20 seconds to cross the staring line.  At the end, I gave the medal back to the race crew.  Paying for races is kind of silly.

Conclusion:  To ‘run like the wind blows,’ Bane brain and lungs (also good for singing)


The worst thing about this song is that it’s only 2:26.

References   [ + ]

The Three-Foot World of the Emoting Machine. Think with the heart. Live hard, train harder, die easy. =」

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