Sunday, December 2, 2012

TCSD CCFA Vegas Rah Rah

Today marks the end of my 2nd season of coaching for Team Challenge San Diego to raise money for the CCFA.  As is often the case, the sophomore year tends to carry along a certain clarity of vision.  I don't want this post to mire the energy, enthusiasm or effort that so many have put into the CCFA and the event itself, but there are some things I have a tendency to dislike about Las Vegas.

1. Gluttony.  I still can't erase the memory of actor Bob Mack's death in the movie Se7en where he is forced to eat himself to death.  Las Vegas represents, embodies, and promotes gluttony.  As someone who has several hard-wired tendencies to over-indulge in all aspects of life, this environment tends to stray from healthy and balanced.  As a result, I feel a strong desire to leave as soon as I arrive, not unlike an instinctual gag reflex.

Gluttony can kill if Kevin Spacey has a say in it.
2. Weather.  Vegas roasts in the summer since it is, after all, smack dab in the middle of a desert wasteland.  Vegas is also frigid in the winter for much of the same reasons.  There are a small handful of months with reasonable weather but it tends to be hit or miss.  Last year I was as cold as I've ever been.  This year looks to be more temperate, in fact it might be ideal racing conditions if the wind doesn't get in the way, so I'm not complaining too loudly.  But the simple fact is that when in Vegas, being outside is rarely an enjoyable experience.  As a Hawaii boy who lives in San Diego, routine exposure to the sky is a big part of my happiness.  I lived in NJ for 4 years and NY for another and I didn't like feeling cooped up inside, I was very unhappy there.  I don't think I would survive living in Vegas either, since I don't even like visiting.

3. Money.  Vegas represents the extreme ends of the spectrum, the haves and the have nots, along with plenty of in between.  I don't like what money does to people.  I think it can be a more destructive force than alcohol.  Part of my attraction to yoga is that for the most part the practice is focused on non-monetary pursuits.  Of course in the westernized world, studios have to pay rent, utilities, etc so classes cannot be free, but it has always been my intention to teach a weekly free class, to promote free yoga.  There are already way too many things in life with a price tag, and I think yoga for free (not talking about donations or work for trade here) is something that an established corporate studio like CorePower can do without much of an impact on their financial picture.  My home studio currently offers two such free classes and I think it is one of the best decisions the company has made.  I strongly support those who chose to focus their efforts in spaces where they aren't compensated for their time at the same rate as other less altruistic pursuits.  The flip side of all this is how uneasy I feel fundraising, asking people for money, and even sitting in a big room to recognize top fundraisers.  I understand that charities are about fundraising just as corporate America is about bottom lines.  But I just don't really like that part of life, I appreciate the space to ignore that when I can.  I work because I have to and so that I can then spend my leftover time with the types of pursuits and passions I believe in.  I don't like mixing the two.

Someone actually thought this was a good ad???

4. Crowds.  At almost every race I go to I feel like a tremendous introvert.  I hide from the masses, I start on one side or the other or I do whatever I can to sneak into the elite tent just to get some separation from the bodies.  Contrast this with how I feel at my home studio, where I am genuinely excited and happy to see all my friends, where I am at times boisterous and effusive.  I like groups of 20-30, up to 50 or 60 even.  Once a crowd swells to multiple hundreds or even thousands I shrink away.  This is yet another reason why I think I could never be a politician or public speaker, not that I mind speaking to large numbers of people, but more that I just don't like being that close to a crowd.

5. Hotels.  I've had some fun travel and some less fun travel over my 38 years of life.  I used to be a total race whore but I've cooled substantially.  I believe my father enjoys the hotel experience, and all of the associated newness of a space that starts off foreign and often slightly different than any other space previously encountered.  I've always been more apt to want to customize my space to suit my daily life, I slant more towards preprogrammed routine than spontaneous improvisational living.  While I've made some strides towards being flexible, while I think I can have a good time just about anywhere, I've noticed as I age that I really prefer to be in my space.  I think that is the whole reason for owning, for remodeling, and for attempting to create a "home" out of a house.  Vegas is the opposite, a place to go to escape all of that.

Dice is the only show other than Cirque which interests me.
Too bad I miss him by a couple of days.
So, I find myself oddly homesick.  I'll be in the car heading home in just a bit over 12 hours.  I'm probably letting the team down a little bit by skipping any post-race festivities but part of me strongly objects to the attitude of the Competitor Group who structures this even around as many hotel days they can get out of the predominantly out-of-town entrants.  I quit triathlon precisely because of how ridiculous the Ironman experience is when you factor in time off work, travel fees, hotel fees, bike fees, etc.  Running seems to be trending in the same direction and I guess that is one reason why I've drifted out of the running scene progressively.  I don't really want bigger nor better.  I'm a fan of reasonably priced, well run, local events.  The current trend just doesn't seem sustainable, it feels a lot like the housing bubble.  Perhaps the more low key events will regain some of their prominence in the future, just as local farmers markets seem to be doing fairly well these days.  But for the time being, I'm sort of avoiding all of the hoopla with my intention to spend even more time at my local yoga studio.

So, there you have it.  The race starts in about 5 hours but we group up in 3.  I'll be outside from about 4 until 9 and hopefully I won't be too frozen at that point.  Then I hop in the shower, try to find some food, pack, and head back to San Diego at midnight.  The intention is to be at my studio at 5:15 in time to set up for the first day of boot camp.  It'll be an endurance event of sorts, but not one which fits into the mold.

I'm unsure how I feel about heading to Honolulu on Wednesday.  Part of me just really wants to be home, to finish up my geekdesk (photos soon) and maybe get my nas squared away and start work on bringing the leftover parts back to life as either a web server or htpc.  The observer notices this and wonders why I am trending towards introvert, what is causing me to seek out this time to balance myself?  Most of me really wants to get some quality workouts in, some longer runs, some yoga, and I can only do that when I hide out from the rest of the world so maybe I'm not feeling healthy because I don't feel fit?  A big part of me feels that I've been a lousy dad for Hunter, that his days are numbered and I'd really like to spend some time around him, give him a bath, get him to the vet, get his nails clipped, pay them their $500 fee to tell me he's an old dog.  Then there is Cody who I haven't seen since Halloween.

Waking up in Vegas today feels kind of strange.  I don't know why I am here.

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