Start Your Engines For 2014, Forget The Headphones, And Should I Continue To Feed The Birds?

Start your engines, my friends!

Start your engines, my friends!

“Are you going to be another weekend warrior, or take your training more seriously, as opposed to taking yourself more seriously?”

Recommended News Years Resolution FOR YOU from FitOldDog:

Please take off those headphones, and get a life in the gym or on the trails. When training, the quality of your workout and possibly your safety will depend upon your level of distraction, or conversely on your degree of body awareness. I say, get rid of the headphones and treat yourself to a Feldenkrais session, if you really want to do it right. Become the best athlete or healthiest human being you can be.

Hi folks, another lovely day for a workout!

I asked Willbe if we should feed the birds. He thought about it, and decided it would be fine as long as it didn't cut into his food budget.

I asked Willbe if we should feed the birds. He thought about it, and decided it would be fine as long as it didn’t cut into his food budget.

I was sitting enjoying my second morning cup of tea with two dogs and a cat and Deb, when Deb said in a sleepy voice, “Have you started Maggie’s car?” I thought, “Great metaphor for a New Year training plan.

Maggie, a friend of Jess’s from Alaska (note the plugin cord in the picture above?), left her car in our keeping for six months, and I promised to start it up monthly and make sure all was well. It turns out, interestingly enough, that whether I should or should not start up Maggie’s car for the benefit of the car every month is a topic of heated debate. Just look at this comment stream, for instance. The debate is equally heated when it comes to the benefits of training.

That said, what are you going to do to get your engine running smoothly for the 2014 training/racing season. Better be good!

I do love watching the birds coming to and fro, but I don't want to do harm to my feathery friends, or the worm population, or something.

I do love watching the birds coming to and fro, but I don’t want to do harm to my feathery friends, or the worm population, or something.

Me? I’m signed up for several races in the summer, including two full Ironman-distance triathlons (and I’m an old fart), so my plate is adequately stacked.


Each year I consider my training season, but I also like to pose myself challenging questions.

I try to answer these conundrums by thinking in terms of a network, in which I am but one node with many connecting edges. I know I can’t really answer the question, but I try to anyway. This year my question is:

Should I feed the birds?

I love to watch, as all the bright and not so bright chickadees, flickers, doves, wrens sparrows, and so forth, visit our bird feeder, for which I pay about $20/week to replenish the mix. I buy my bird food from Southern States on a Tuesday – 10% off for seniors; who said old age doesn’t have any advantages?

I attempt to avoid letting the bird feeder go empty, even when away on trips, as I suspect that I create a level of dependency in certain birds – not the Robins!!!! I do all this for my own sake, whilst having mixed feelings about the benefit or harm I might be doing to my feathery neighbors.

  • Maybe I’m promoting some kind of disease by bringing the birds into close proximity with one another?
  • Maybe the generation of the bags of bird food I purchase is damaging to the Biosphere.
  • Maybe I’m permitting a dangerous overpopulation of worms in the soil, causing ecological havoc – Nah! The Robins deal with that – they eschew my feeder (wisely?).
  • Maybe I create dependency in fledgelings, such that they are fatally delayed in their ability to learn to hunt for themselves?

If anyone out their can advise, that would be great, but given the complexity of the Biospheric network I doubt that anyone really knows.

-k @FitOldDog



  1. This is your only question for the year? “Should I feed the birds?” Somehow I doubt it – that it’s your only question. I put suet out for the birds, but balk at another project to take on, feeding birds. Expensive for me, plus have to keep the feeders full, clean and maintained. I say ‘no’, if it becomes a distraction or an avoidance behavior from doing something that’s vital. For me, it’s vital I scratch my creative itch. Drawing class starts in 2 weeks.

  2. Well, you’re right, Marsha, there are many new questions every day, but this is one that truly challenges the intellect. The solving of this riddle has relevance to almost any question we might pose, as no man or woman is an isolated node in the big network. We all are forced to accept many edges. I really learned a lot from the Drawing With The Right Side Of The Brain course I took years ago. Enjoy, and happy new year very soon. Kind Regards, Kevin

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.