Smoking While Exercising: What Could Go Wrogn?

Posted in Uncategorized on May 13, 2010 by djtennessee

Image from the film "Splash" (1984)Ever since I saw John Candy having a cigarette while playing racquetball in “Splash”, I’ve thought that people who smoke while exercising just look cool and sexy as hell.

So I’ve conditioned myself to smoke both weed and cigarettes when I run. Yes, there are mountains of clinical data explaining what an awful idea this is. But almost everything I advocate doing on this blog is an awful idea from a clinical standpoint.

Let’s just say you already smoke cigarettes and/or weed… what if, while running, you stop to smoke a bowl or have a cigarette, then run another couple miles?

Your heart rate is going to go up, but it’s not like that never happens. Your lung capacity will diminish, so your stamina will suffer some degree of a slump.

Let’s say I’m running and I just stopped for a cigarette or a big bowl of grandaddy purp. Right about the ninth step, I’ll get that “Damn! I don’t feel like doing this right now at all!” feeling. But just keep striding through it, and it passes, and you’re fine. I don’t think smoke breaks will significantly hurt the exercise regimen of a smoker.

Plenty of everyday smokers have been great athletes. I’m told Mario Lemieux, Vlade Divac, Keith Hernandez, and John Elway all smoked at the height of their career success. Bay Area hockey fans will note that the Sharks’ Dany Heatley smokes. And you know that more than half of the NBA smokes weed.

Smoking is unconditionally bad for you. But if you exercise, you are an inherently less-unhealthy smoker. “If people can quit, that’s the best thing,” Dr. Robert Sallis, director of sports medicine at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fontana, tells the L.A. Times. “If you can’t stop smoking, exercise will mitigate some of the effects.”

Smokers who run know that nothing beats a cigarette while you’re walking in your “cooldown” period after a multiple miles run. Plus you hack up a ton of garbage while you run, clearing your airways. And you sort of thwart the pulmonary diseases that the smoking is giving you.

Stoners who run know that the iPod plus some Northern California skunkweed is a stellar combination. You can just zone out on the music and forget you’re running. But please do pay attention to traffic.

I watched “Splash” again just to get that screengrab above, and really recommend you treat yourself to a repeat viewing sometime. It is really a magnificent film. One of the things I was taken by was a line from the late John Candy, not about smoking, but resonant to readers of this blog:

“Drinking is really a matter of algebraic ratios. How drunk you get is dependent on how much alcohol you consume in relation to your total body weight. You see my point? It’s not that you’ve had a lot to drink, it’s just you’re too skinny.”

Never forget John Candy.


Hayes Hill: You Better Work

Posted in Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 by djtennessee

Image courtesy RuPaul's Dragulator

Are you actually running the Bay to Breakers? Best be prepared for Hayes Hill, the most painful, ball-bustingly difficult component of this race.

The Hayes St. Hill is the notorious uphill stretch of the Bay to Breakers that separates the runners from the partiers for the remainder of the day. It’s the only substantial incline runners face on the course, a five-block 11.15% uphill grade that has thwarted honest efforts for years and inspired “I Survived Hayes Hill” t-shirts.

They say the top of Hayes Hill is “the highest point in the race”. They’re actually wrong. Wonder Mike at SFCitizen points out that the highest altitude one reaches on the course is actually in Golden Gate Park by Stow Lake, where you are running an area that feels totally flat. You are actually running slightly, imperceptibly uphill nearly the first two-thirds of Golden Gate Park.

Actual altitudes of B2B course, courtesy SF Citizen

So, you really gonna run this thing? If so, I have some great strategies for conquering this unforgiving hill. If not, you do not need to bother reading all this, ’cause you will just party the whole way up. It’s nothing personal. You’re still my type.

Image courtesy Scott Dunlap's Trail Runner's blog

I’ve found the best way to attack Hayes Hill is not to approach it as one big horrible hill, but as five consecutive, very beatable hills. As you dash through Hayes Valley and you see that fucker coming, that’s when you rest up. Then you just take those five hills quickly and effectively and get it over within five minutes instead of 45 minutes.

Those five consecutive very beatable hills are as follows:

Laguna St. to Buchanan St. – You are hardly running uphill at all for the first block. It is easy, then boom — you’re already 20% finished with Hayes Hill.

Buchanan St. to Webster St. – You are running only slightly more uphill for the second block. Easy sleazy.

Webster St. to Fillmore St. – Here’s where it gets serious, but not til almost up at Steiner. Which is past halfway! Ergo, this is sorta the homestretch already.

Fillmore St. to Steiner St. – Just keep pounding. Running slow is still running, and still faster than walking. You can totally see the top of the hill, so work the emotional momentum of that.

Steiner St. to Pierce St. – This is the end! Pump your legs like pistons and just finish this block. Nicely done! Nothing ever “feels” uphill the whole rest of the race course, plus you’re going to The Panhandle where the block parties are gonna get super-crazy.

With this advice, you will knock out the hardest component of the race course with minimal pain and you will guarantee yourself some distance from those slow, drunken bozos who are clogging up the streets. All of whom I adore, by the way.

Another thing to consider — this is where all the liquor stores are. To wit… prior to Hayes Hill you have run 2.5 miles and you will have encountered only three liquor stores open for business on a Sunday morning. On Hayes Hill, you will encounter five liquor stores open for business on a Sunday morning. And for the entire 4.5 miles of the race course still remaining after Hayes Hill, you will encounter only two more liquor stores open for business on a Sunday morning.

If you think you might need to stop at liquor store, consider Hayes Hill your last good chance. Once you hit The Panhandle you will not encounter even one more liquor store without taking a substantial detour off-course.

Sashay! Shontay!

Exercising While Intoxicated II — The Relapse

Posted in Uncategorized on May 4, 2010 by djtennessee

Image from the film "Wendigo"

People, this blog is back.

This blog has been shut down by Blogspot, condemned by the San Francisco Chronicle, and personally blamed for the rowdiest, most destructive, piss-drunkest Bay to Breakers in the race’s nearly 100-year history.

All I ever wanted to do was just train to run a full 26.2-mile marathon while getting drunk and high.

So I started a Blogspot blog in 2008 to chronicle my experiences and give advice to those who’d perhaps aspire to do something similar. It was rocking. Sometimes the blog would get, like, three or four comments.

My at-the-time editor over at SFist let me do a couple of cross-posts the week before Bay to Breakers 2008. It was fun. We screwed up a ton of things and I was flaky as hell to deal with.

One of the posts somehow struck a chord, a customized and precise Bay to Breakers race course map with the locations of any and all liquor stores found along the path. Bay to Breakers veterans will tell you that it’s feast or famine in finding open liquor stores on that race course Sunday at 8 a.m.

The original 2008 Liquor Store Locator Map

Now I cannot possibly imagine that this crude Photoshop job somehow changed the behavior of thousands of people that day. I think their PR team’s sexualized “Show Me Yours!” 2008 ad campaign had substantially more to do with that.

But I am told by people who remember that day that, yes, it was drunker and uglier than any other recent year. “Drunks everywhere, people urinating on peoples front stairs, both females and males, and basically a very ugly event,” complained police captain Teri Barrett.

Fast forward to mid-morning two days later after the race, I get up to rub one out to my Bay to Breakers pictures, and my editor pings me to say that very Liquor Store Map post on SFist was specifically called out in the San Francisco Chronicle’s “public outrage” piece published that morning. They connect the Liquor Store Locator map with this year’s exceptionally bad debauchery, quoting me and everything. Unless “everything” means actually publishing my name.

The public outrage sets off a specific alcohol and nudity ban for the 2009 race. The alcohol and nudity ban sets off a “Boycott Bay to Breakers” counterprotest movement. Niether side succeeds, I do another Liquor Store Locator map for 2009, and that year’s race returns to pretty much acceptable levels of mayhem. All controversies disappear. Until…

The updated 2009 Liquor Store Locator Map

Last summer, Blogspot gets wise to the constant and gratuitous drug and alcohol discussion on the blog they are hosting for me and shuts it down without notice. If not for these Wayback results, all that work would have been lost.

So I’m back on it with a WordPress blog, and their terms of service don’t say that I’m in any jeopardy openly discussing booze and narcotics. Well, they don’t say those particular words, but I am confident that’s the gist.

And this won’t just be a Bay to Breakers blog anymore. I’m training to run a full marathon drunk and high someday, and blogging the effects of this training year-round right here.

People tell me that I will “die” if I try to run a marathon drunk and high. I don’t think I will die if I try to run a marathon drunk and high.

I do wonder if I may somehow get in some legal trouble for chronicling this pursuit online. I would hope I could just pin this all on creative license, and not really be held accountable by claiming that none of it was really true. But if I did find myself in genuine legal trouble, or even jail, for keeping a blog about drinking and using drugs while exercising… well, that would just be hilarious.