Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Objectivist Seminar

I have had nothing to say lately, but this:

I am very excited to be attending the Objectivist Seminar on Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand starting on Sunday. Not only am I excited about finally reading OPAR and having a good shot at understanding it, but the seminar is taking place at a generally convenient time for me so I can participate live. Yippee!

Sometimes, it's the little things in life.

That, and in preparation for a 5K run in June, I ran 1.5 miles tonight and frankly, I'm afraid I can't get up from my computer desk and I may have developed asthma. These two things are telling me - "it's about time - you are definitely not getting any younger". I know a 5K is nothing for runners, but it's something for us non-runners.


Kim said...

Wow! A race--you go girl.

C. August said...

I'll be interested to hear how the seminar goes. Unfortunately, the 9:30p start time isn't conducive to any intellectual heavy lifting for me, so I won't be attending.

It's not clear to me if attending live is *required* in order to get the most out of it, or if listening to the podcasts later would be good too.

Burgess Laughlin said...

Apparently you are starting to run to improve your health. If so, congratulations!

At 63, I have learned that robust health is crucial to achieving and enjoying my highest values in life. One of the greatest pleasures in life is accumulating wisdom, but wisdom takes time--and for some of us, a long time. That is one more reason for wanting to live a long healthy life.

The doctor whose advice I generally follow says, based on his medical experience, good health is about 80% proper diet and 20% appropriate exercise. The numbers of course are approximations.

I walk, bike, and do calisthenics, but I ran for 20 years. I have learned that once one is in proper shape, walking or running can be very good mentally too. So, again, congratulations on making the changes.

Do you have an effective training program?

Rational Jenn said...

Let us know how you like the OPAR seminar. I won't be participating this time, but hope to get to one in the future.

And good luck on the race!

LB said...

Kim, Burgess, and Rational Jenn, thanks for your well wishes and words of encouragement.

Burgess, although I’ve always embraced the sentiment, “There is no time like the present” I’ve too often finished it with “to read”… “to get some to sleep”…. “to pay bills” - sadly, all things I would rather do than run. I’ve tried to convince myself that I needn’t run in order to be healthy, and it’s true; it’s just that there is nothing quite as strenuous to my cardio-pulmonary system in such a short time, and therefore nothing better at increasing the capacity of those systems, faster, than running. At 43, it’s pretty late for me to undertake such a challenge, but not too late. I will try to work up to the 5K slowly and actually don’t expect to be able to run the whole thing in a few weeks. For now, if I finish with more running than walking, I’ll be pretty happy.

Periodically, whenever I decide it’s time to get healthier, I usually incorporate active/mindful eating into the effort. This is really tedious but critically important. If I didn’t have a personal chef (okay, some might say “lack of willpower enabler”, a.k.a. SB) I’m not sure that I would do so well. Given how markedly better I feel when I eat right, I don’t know why I so easily slip into eating poorly again. Well, I do: convenience. It’s hard to always keep in mind that becoming sick due to lack of exercise and poor eating habits would be very inconvenient indeed.

Finally, you’ll have to tell me how walking/running can be a mental exercise as well. (I was walking almost daily in a cemetery near our house. I found that the location, while peaceful and beautiful, gave me an added incentive to move.) I have no training program, but my older children and husband are all more than happy to walk/run with me, lessening the drudgery. My very favorite exercise is weight lifting. Feeling strong is particularly excellent feeling for me. I’ll fit that in after I make some great efforts toward reaching my cardio goals which I will measure against being able to run 5 miles, in a row (my final running goal – I see no marathons in my future)!

C. August, for me being “live” for the seminar does enhance the experience if only for the simple reason that the deadlines are hard, and not solely at my convenience. Notice that my happiness stems from the fact that the scheduled time is generally convenient for me, but not necessarily at my convenience. The “live” factor is also a little like “being there” – watching a big game on tape the day after it happens is just not the same. I hope to be able to write about what I’m learning.

I guess the key my success in both of these endeavors is the ability to give up a little momentary convenience to gain big values. Let that be a lesson to me.

Burgess Laughlin said...

The training approach that worked best for me was: (1) Set the distance and always go the full distance; (2) gradually increase the portion that is running until I am running the whole distance; and (3) gradually increase the speed (if that is at all important).

The most important point is the first point: go the whole distance every time. Walking the first times, fast walking a few times, running part, and then gradually increasing the distance run (at intervals even).

Running and especially walking are good mentally, under appropriate conditions, because they are stress reducers, because they are a chance to see the world up close (always good for perspective), and (once you have a steady automatized pace in a safe area) they are a time for focusing on a single problem.

Cardiovascular health is indeed very important. I had heart disease type symptoms at age 30, on a high fat, high protein, low fiber diet. I switched to a very low fat diet (Pritikin) then and have never been bothered again by those symptoms. My current diet (www.anti-itisdiet.blogspot.com) is far more severe, but for other reasons (inflammation problems that plagued me most of my life). They are now gone thanks to the diet. At least in my case, diet (which means just a certain regular pattern of eating) matters a lot.

LB said...

Burgess, I read your anti-itis blog (and information on Dr. McDougall's site) and can only congratulate you on your tireless efforts and great success in improving your health. It's really quite an inspiring story.

I am most encouraged by the thought that allergies and asthma as inflammatory illnesses, may be reduced or eliminated by eating the right foods. My oldest has had asthma symptoms on/off since he was 8 months old. My youngest just developed seasonal allergies this spring. It'll be a hard sell to get the 20 year-old to change, but maybe we can tweak the diet of the youngest one to help reduce that inflammation.

Maintenance of any diet or exercise program is the most difficult part for me. When I was first diagnosed with HBP at 35, I did all the things that I read and was told I was supposed to do: lost weight, exercised regularly, and ate better foods, reduced salt intake from all sources, but the blood pressure remained the same (untreated 140/90). Also, my BP is so very labile it's difficult to even figure out what it really is. So, without improvement, I just returned to my old ways.

While I can't envision a time when I will not be a carnivore (and I think giving up dairy would be an absolute last resort effort for me), I have definitely increased my plant food intake. At some point I hope to be able to turn-off my cookie crunch craving by supplanting it with healthy alternatives and have felt my salty meat desires wane by doing the same. I have to retrain my taste buds and not reintroduce processed convenience food by repeated lapses (the first lapse always taste like the crap it is). I feel good, so the immediate incentive for a revolutionary lifestyle change is missing.

Regarding running, I did make it to 2 miles (a 33% increase within the 3 miles that I have been walking/running) last night with no bronchial side-effects. Once I reach 3 miles running, I will attempt to increase my speed. If all goes well, after that I will attempt to increase my distance.