Sunday, May 3, 2015

BBC Series "Earth: The Power of the Planet"


I watched this awesome BBC special documentary series with Dr. Iain Stewart on Netflix over the weekend and the biggest thing that struck me is how interconnected everything on the planet is.  

I kept coming back to this idea in my mind of "Earth as a Living Being", and that inspired me to write this post.

Its funny, humans look in the mirror and make the assumption that they are the most advanced living creatures in the universe, but when you understand how alive the planet itself is, how interconnected all the global environmental systems are, from the inner core to the outer atmosphere, and how the planet evolves over millennia, maintaining balance as it grows with circulating oceans, volcanoes, ice, atmosphere, plants and animals, it's hard not to see the EARTH itself as the most advanced living thing in the universe and humans as just one more temporary species appearing and disappearing in a fraction of a second of its cosmic evolution.

Pretty freakin' awesome... 

One of my first supervisors out of law school whom I respected very much told me once that "Life's a marathon, not a sprint."  Sage advice that has taken most of my life to heed.

The Earth will no doubt go on for billions of years after human life has vanished, but I believe we can stick around as a species much longer if we keep pace with the Earth's marathon rather than overrunning it with the sprint of our own species, which could very well destroy the conditions necessary for the unique balance the Earth creates, which of course makes our own existence possible in the first place.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Do You Still Eat Wheat?

This video by William Davis, MD (author of Wheat Belly) finally pushed me over the edge and got me off wheat:

Also, my mom recommends a 3 part documentary on youtube called "The Men Who Made Us Fat":

Amazing how difficult it is to NOT eat chemicals everywhere I go...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Alternative Workout - Balancing on Full Yoga Ball

Since people keep asking to see a picture, here's a shot of me at Planet Granite climbing gym doing a standing workout on a yoga ball/exercise ball/big-ass-rubber-whatever-you-want-to-call-it-ball after a few hours of indoor rock climbing.

I usually wear shoes and a shirt, but ...wait, no I don't...

What I Usually Do
I basically do a few things on the ball - squats (with dumbells out in front, arms parallel to the floor), curls, shoulder presses and side arm raises.  I also like to shadow box while balanced.

In the pic, I'm balancing on a full yoga ball and holding light (15lb) dumbbells while doing several exercises.  First, balancing on the ball itself, even without weights is a GREAT core exercise - it engages allllll those little core muscles that might get neglected from time to time.  And it's a lot of fun too!  Makes you feel like a dancing bear at a circus.

Here's the thing - it's dangerous, so don't be an idiot.  If you try this, practice on soft grass with a thick, properly inflated yoga ball (not the cheap pieces of crap you get from TJ Maxx).  Make sure there's nothing within 15 feet of you that you could hit your head on.  Now that I think about it, wear a bike helmet when you do it.  ;)

How to Start
If you want to try it, start out just balancing on your knees.  Then when you get good, move a foot up onto the ball.  Then after a while, add the other foot and keep your hands on the ball.  Then when you've mastered all that, stand up! (or squat and shake awkwardly - ain't nothin' wrong with that!)

After you feel super-compfy on the ball, grab some dumbbells.  Cross them like and "X" and hold them in one hand while you get up on the ball like normal.  Stand up, put a weight in your free hand and exercise away!

Oh and here's a random pic climbing before working out.

Now go out and have a ball!!  :)

- Dan

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Worth The Hurt 52.4 Mile Ultramarathon - Race Recap

"A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- William G.T. Shedd**

My name's Dan Czerwonka, and on Sunday I ran my first ever ultramarathon (any running race over the marathon distance of 26.2 miles) - the inaugural running of the San Francisco Ultramarathon (the "SFU") 52.4 miles.  And I ran it barefoot (yes, barefoot; no not with "those barefoot shoes"FN1;).  I'm one of 6 athletes sponsored for a year to run the SFU and then enter other crazy races of our choosing to raise money for a charity of our choice.  This is my account of the race, the preparation, and the discoveries I've made through it all.

(At the finish with my lil sis Amy.  She ran her first marathon!)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Living by Example IS Worth the Hurt

Recently a super-nice chick from a PR firm contacted me for a short quote about why I do what I do, and why I am a part of Worth the Hurt ( as one of the 6 sponsored athletes that are a part of the San Francisco Ultramarathon's "ultra athletes ultra-fundraising program."

It was such a simple question, and one I should have obviously anticipated as I began this little 52.4mile barefoot "adventure," but it caught me surprisingly off guard and made me revisit some things internally in order to respond to her.

I have posted the response below if you guys want to give it a read.  It is directly relevant, or even central to, the topic of my post "Sole Searching", as well.

Keep It In Perspective and Remember to Breathe!

I was doing laundry today and saw an episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on TV for the first time.  It was a pretty inspiring show and had a piece on Lopez Lomong, the Olympic runner who escaped from Sudanese rebels as a child after being kidnapped to fight in the rebel army and then lived in a Kenyan refugee camp for 10 years, before coming to the US and becoming a world-class runner.

Sole Searching

As I prepare for the San Francisco Ultramarathon this year, it's quite apparent to me that I will face 98% of the challenge of this race before race day.  And I still have a long road ahead of me. I'm scared out of my mind, anxious and excited, all at the same time.  Sure it might be just another race to some, but to me its one of the biggest challenges I've yet faced, and it's a big deal personally because of what it signifies...

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be."

If nothing else, it is my great desire to inspire others, to help them realize that they are capable of achieving great things, and to live as a mirror to reflect their own limitless potential.