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Posts Tagged ‘Born To Run’

Today, 28 May 2010, I just finished another tremendous “running” book.  This one is titled: “No Need For Speed“, by John “The Penguin” Bingham (2002©).  He is a former columnist for Runner’s World Magazine.  The book has some very practical advice for the beginning runner, but really, it’s about the spirit and philosophy of becoming / being a lifetime runner.
The book is very reminiscent of the “Born To Run” book and juxtaposes against Sheehan’s “Running And Being“.  It’s about the joy of running, not the agony.  This is a book I’ll keep handy and browse thru every now and then for inspiration, more than for advice.  Well worth reading for a philosophy of living, not just running.
Some quotes:
“The moment of truth for many of us as adult-onset athletes is when we first realize that changing our lives is going to be much more difficult than we ever imagined.”
“The days when you have to drag yourself out the door are very often the days when you will learn the most about yourself, not necessarily as a runner, but as a person.”
“Try to keep your expectations reasonable.  You’re beginning the journey of a thousand miles with a single step.  Each step is important; every step counts.”
“Each of us can maintain an effort level of about half our maximum perceived effort almost indefinitely, regardless of what that perceived effort level is.  We may not be able to maintain it continuously, but with a few exceptions, most of us can move our bodies at about half of our perceived maximum for as long as we want.”
[I doubt this is actually true. I can go for a good distance (several miles) at 4mph.  I have done 9mph (very briefly), and feel I could do 10mph (very, very briefly).  I guess there needs to be a “fudge” factor for “extremely” slow runners like me.]
“Don’t do anything today that might keep you from running tomorrow.”
“Frustration is the first step toward improvement.  I have no incentive to improve if I’m content with what I can do and if I’m completely satisfied with my pace, distance and form as a runner.”
“For the dedicated runner, frustration is to be sought out and savored, not avoided.”
“I continue to run because I like running.  I like to run even though I’m not, by their standards, any good at it.  What matters to me is that I like to run, not what they think about my running.”
“Life can’t be taken so seriously that you live it without risk.  There are times in life, as in running and racing, when the only way to see tomorrow is to walk right up to the edge of today.”
“It isn’t the shoes, socks, clothes, or even the speed that makes me a runner.  It’s running.  I pay my membership dues every time I lace up my running shoes.  I realize that every time I challenge myself to do more, struggle to get a little faster, or face the limits of my abilities, I am a runner.”
“A real runner, not just someone who runs.”
[The contradiction between this and some of the earlier quotes is stark.  Does the author truly enjoy running, or is it all about some “other” psychological satisfaction – like testing one’s self.  This is a trap I fall into. Wanting to go faster and be “better”.  …And then I take a long, slow jog out in the fresh air, watch the clouds go by and the day change, and I realize I just run because I like running.]
Other Topics – first of many shoe reviews:
The plan is to use each test pair about 30 days and or 100-125 miles of jogging.
Model: Delta Water Shoe
Price: $40 but you can get a discount if you are a store member.
Ahnu Delta Water Shoe
Manufacturer: Ahnu
Web site: www.ahnu.com
Bought at: REI store in Concord, CA
Web site: www.rei.com
Initial impressions:
This is BY FAR the most expensive shoe of this type I’ve bought for my reviews.  More than twice the price of the next highest.
Not very easy to get on.  I tried to wear cotton socks with them.  I managed to get them on my feet, but they pulled the socks back into my toes so every step felt like I was kicking a wall.  I had to sit and remove the socks.  After that, they were extremely comfortable in a slimy, polyester kind of way.  Without socks, getting them on is a tug/slip/pull/straighten, but it’s not too bad.
The feel for the ground is excellent.  You can feel the smallest cracks in the pavement and the smallest stones, but there seems little danger of penetration by sharp objects.  I do my laps in a schoolyard and there is a fair amount of broken glass – and near the buildings – loose staples and paper clips.  (Who thought the world was so unsafe for feet!!)
So far I’ve done three runs on a treadmill and another four on the asphalt – about 25 – 30 miles and there is almost no sign of wear at all.
The good news is the slimy feeling goes away quickly because the shoes ventilation is great.  It remains to be seen how that translates into stink as they get a little more sweat in them.
I did a walk on the treadmill with maximum slope to see how the shoes felt.  I was surprised to find my foot consistently slid right off the back of the shoe.  If I were out in the boonies on a long jog, I would have had a problem with blisters under my heels in no time.  I was surprised because the shoe is relatively difficult to get on my feet and the lip feels snug enough to prevent stuff from getting in the shoe, so I imagined the sole would be more stable under the foot.
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Today Hil and I went to our normal Sunday Mass.  The priest’s talk was about the current crisis in the Church and how we (the Church) should face it.  Basically, he would like us to understand that it did / does happen (sexual abuse by priests and other ministers’), that it is not related to homosexuality, and that it can only be addressed in a spirit of forgiveness and open communication.
I have always had problems with the Church as an institution.  I believe that it has a role to play in acting as an institutional representation of God here on earth.  But, and this is a large reservation, I believe the Church has a long and well documented history of financial, religious and now sexual abuse.  I believe the number of participants in these crimes against children are both few in number and few in percentage.  This does not, however, absolve the Church as an institution from dealing with the terrible facts (and consequences) of the actions of these few.
The Church must institute a policy of zero tolerance of child abuse.  It must assist in the criminal (and civil) prosecution of any priests, ministers or other persons in religious authority.  Where the accusations are found to be untrue, the Church must actively work to clear the person’s reputation.  But where the accusations are true, the Church must stand in defense of the innocent (the children) and not hide, defend or shield the guilty.  Any senior person who does so (attempts to hide the guilty) is equally guilty (both criminally and civilly) – in my opinion – and should be equally punished.  They (the senior person) should resign their position immediately and turn themselves over to the police in the jurisdiction where the original crimes were committed.
Pedophilia is a crime.  Hiding a crime is conspiracy and makes you an accomplice to all future criminal acts.
On a lighter subject, today I finished reading “The Complete Book of Running”  (1977©) by James F. Fixx.  This was a tremendous book!!  It was as well written as “Born To Run” and in many ways is almost a precursor to it.  I believe the author makes some errors based on his personal experience – the recommendation of running shoes – for instance, but on the whole, the entire book is a valuable resource which I look forward to re-reading and just using as a reference every now and then.
There is one paragraph I would like to quote at length.  It has to do with why people run (why I, in particular, run): “Most people who have considered the matter have, I believe, posed the wrong question.  They have asked why running produces such extraordinary effects.  Putting the question that way elicits a certain kind of answer, and I think it is the wrong one.  My suspicion is that the effects of running are not extraordinary at all, but quite ordinary.  It is the other states, all other feelings, that are peculiar, for they are an abnegation of the way you and I are intended to feel.  As runners, I think we reach directly back along the endless chain of history.  We experience what we would have felt had we lived ten thousand years ago, eating fruits, nuts and vegetables, and keeping our hearts and lungs and muscles fit by constant movement.  We are reasserting, as modern man seldom does, our kinship with ancient man, and even with the wild beasts that preceded him.  This, I think, is our remarkable secret, one we share every time we go running.”
This is so close to the idea of man as the running predator, it is amazing to me it is not more widely recognized – particularly as Fixx’s book is over 30 years old!!
In politics, there was a summit to try to forge an international agreement on the gathering, controlling, and disposal of old nuclear material.  The main objective being to prevent it from slipping into the hands of “terrorists” who would use it to construct bombs.  I think there is – remains – this assumed belief the Muslims are out to get us (the free western world).  I personally believe we have more to worry about from internal terrorists (Timothy McVeigh types), than we will ever have to worry about from externals.  I believe the constant encouragement of hatred towards our government by right-wing extremists) is a major factor in my worries.
It strikes me as ironic that the right places so much more “faith” in the Declaration of Independence than they do the Constitution of the United States.  The government they so despise is summed up (and formed) by three simple words at the start of the Preamble: “We the People…”
If they are so frustrated by a government which doesn’t listen to them, every couple of years they have an opportunity to make their voices heard – the opportunity is called an “Election”.
The simple fact is, we just held one – and the right lost!!  Now we (progressives) need to continue to push for the change we desperately need.  Financial reform.  Corporate re-regulation.  Getting our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.  True universal, single payer health care.  And, most importantly for the future of this nation – free, universal, cradle-to-grave education!!
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