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Friday, June 02, 2006

Down Time

A very compelling aspect of Zen is the breaking down of something large and looking for its essence in the smaller pieces. Where is the "quality" in a bicycle, for example? Another Zen skill is to take a large task and break it up into smaller bits, and to complete those smaller tasks with your utmost skill to make the large task more enjoyable. A good analogy is that when you have to wash a bunch of dishes and you don't really care to, wash each dish attentively and with care, as if you are washing just that dish and that dish alone. "When you wash dishes, only wash dishes." When you focus, you can find great enjoyment in completing a task well. We can all recall Mr. Miagi telling Daniel-son to repair his fence one paint stroke and one nail hammering at a time and how that helped Daniel grow as a competitor.

When you get tired of training, do you ever step back and just enjoy life for a few days? Take enjoyment in completing mundane tasks with your best effort at focusing? I did and recorded what happened in this podcast.

I first took on a job that I'm not particularly adept at: car repair. My wife's car wasn't starting on a regular basis, so I approached the problem with focused attention. My driveway ended up a mess of tools, cables, and acidic fluids that most of us drink (Coke), but the job was done, and done with an actual bit of beauty if I might say so myself. I have a long history of doing work but not cleaning up after myself, so this is where I applied Zen the most: A job is not done until you put everything away.

Next, I rewrapped my bike's bar-tape. I completed the task diligently and correctly, using electrical tape to finish off the wrapping, just like I should've done the first time. I now look forward to this weekend's ride instead of dreading the ever-shifting bar tape and the hard spots it reveals.

With those two tasks out of the way, I sat down and recorded myself talking to Prof. Erich and later to him and Coach Adam while using VOIP. (You can call me and leave up to a two minute voice mail at 512-CRY-DELI, btw.) With no stress hanging over my head, I captured the sounds of multiple triathletes having fun with no pressures of training. You might say these are the sounds of Triathletes in the Wild. Very silly at times, but quite entertaining. Hang in there til the end and you'll get a big dose of 80's rock trivia.

I also held the first ever Virtual Triathlon in Second Life (S.L.) S.L. is a virtual reality realm that is very cool, but regrettably takes a relatively powerful or modern computer to handle. The members of the Zentri Army that could make it jumped off the end of a yacht, swam around a sailboat, then returned to the marina. We then got on our virtual bikes and raced along an oceanside road, dumping the bikes to finish out the course while running across some high bridges. It was truly bizzare, but there was most definitely some competitive juices flowing. Participants were asking when the next one will be held, so I'm announcing that we'll do another on June 13th. Here's a picture of us at the finish line!

This podcast also includes audio from Moonpie and Tetetimetrial as they called the "Deli-Line" after completing a local tri, a voicemail from a triathlete in Stockholm, Sweden, and audio from Scott as he rode in a 100+ mile fundraiser ride on the East Coast. You guys and gals that send me audio really make my day. I'll say it over and over again; you are what make the show so interesting!

I've gotten some more audio in the inbox, so I gotta cruise and start putting together another podcast. Emily is talking about hosting the next show, which should be a big hit with her fans.

If you're interested in being in the next Virtual Triathlon, shoot me an email at texafornia at for details. Strangely enough, you have to train for it, which might be a good way to busy yourself if you have some Down Time of your own.


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