Of all the places I’ve run, higher elevations are always the most challenging.
They higher up you go, the less oxygen there is to breath. While “sea level” versus “5,000 feet” might not seem like a big difference, it really is — especially when you’re working out and gasping for air. This becomes critical after a few miles, because there’s just not enough oxygen to breath without getting a bit light-headed.
In sports, we often hear about visiting teams playing in cities like Denver and Salt Lake City, and getting winded late in the game. I think it’s the same for amateur athletes and recreational runners, too — like me. Probably even more so for someone a bit older, since we’re not in nearly as good physical condition as younger people used to this elevation.
I’m visiting Reno over the next week, staying at the famous Peppermill, which is located in the center of the city. In fact, there’s a small lake nearby. From the vantage point of my hotel room window, this seemed like the perfect place for my daily run.
I like exercising at high altitude (Reno is perched at 4,400 feet). But it’s admittedly challenging. A few weeks ago, I visited South Lake Tahoe which is a heart-melting 6,200 feet in elevation. That’s always been the most difficult of my many runs over the years (sea level is by far the easiest). It’s also much colder there, too. In fact, each time at Lake Tahoe I had to scale back my distances to just three miles or so, because I’m simply not used to the thin air.
Nothing worked. When I tried to starve myself, I’d start having food fantasies. Most men dream amorous thoughts. Well, instead of tits and ass — I dreamed hot fudge sundaes, bags of potato chips, and half gallons of ice cream. For me, a visit to Cold Stone Creamery was as good as a blow job.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again.
I hate running.
But the aftereffects and benefits to pounding the pavement are irrefutable — life changing, in fact.
Yes, life changing.
Today marks the second anniversary of that giant first step — the decision to get healthy again. And so I thought this would be a good time to look back, learn, and reflect on this experience which I hope will inspire and motivate others to make their own life’s changes.
Among the constituencies with the most at stake in this nation’s ongoing health care debate are professional poker players.
Got your attention?
I suspect that few poker pros are following the current budget impasse that’s laced the federal government into a straightjacket. Fewer still likely have much of an opinion on what’s called “ObamaCare,” known officially as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They’re far too busy conducting surgery on their opponents’ bankrolls.
But if anyone should care about this issue, it’s (American) professional poker players — the vast majority of whom are self-employed and therefore subject to many of the provisions of the ACA. Moreover, if the United States were to do what’s become plainly necessary — which is the implementation of universal health care coverage — most poker players, especially those who are older and more prone to health problems, would be among those who benefit the most.
Consider the outrageous, some insist prohibitive costs right now of purchasing private health insurance in America, especially if you’re self-employed. Talk about a disadvantaged class. Over the past decade, annual percentages of increase have far outpaced the standard inflation rate making the current system and trends unsustainable. Because health insurance has become so ridiculously expensive so quickly, many simply can no longer afford it. Predictably, millions of Americans have fallen through the cracks. The evidence on this is overwhelming — 48 million uninsured according to latest figures. I’ll bet the percentages of uninsured poker pros far outdistance the general population, which then makes us even more of a burden on the system. These health care statistics might be a bore, that is until the numbers begin to hit closer to home.
A recent discussion involved the best way to handle anger.
I suppose we all get angry at times. That’s just part of life.
What’s important isn’t so much trying to suppress our anger, as channeling our basic instincts and raw emotions in a positive manner — assuming that’s an option.
My stance on the anger question should be obvious. I tend to fight back. In fact, I find counteraction to be almost therapeutic. I feel much better after blowing off steam, whether it’s writing, screaming, direct confrontation, or flipping off someone. These approaches just work for me. Letting things all out in the open doesn’t increase my blood pressure. I suspect venting even lowers it. Hopefully, I’ll prove this by living to be 110 and still shooting my enemies the finger.
My anger management “solution” isn’t contrived. I don’t consciously think about it. It’s natural, perhaps even instinctive. For instance, the easiest and quickest columns to write are always those when I’m angry about something. Most of the time, there’s no forethought at all — just raw emotion and the words begin to flow like a steady stream. Why dam up this natural flow of energy? I think most would agree that creative arts — including writing, music, and so forth — are a very constructive response to the annoyances we all observe and experience in our lives.
Getting face fucked can’t possibly be more unpleasant than sitting in a dentist’s chair for six hours.
That’s right — six gum gobbing hours.
Yesterday, during an all-day dentist appointment, I had more bodily fluid drooling out of my mouth than a meth whore. It got so bad that at one point my jaws started to cramp up.
My misery began innocently enough in the morning of what was supposed to be a simple dental cleaning. An annual check-up was discounted at the too-good-to-resist price of $39. Rule number one: Forget the specials listed on flyers stuffed in your mailbox when it comes to selecting a dentist. Your mouth is not a like ordering a pizza and getting two free toppings.