Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Born To Run?

I have been running close to a mile six days a week for well over a month now. I really like doing it, which is surprising. I'm a baseball player at heart. And baseball players usually don't spend a lot of time running long distances on a daily basis. Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle come to mind. Ruth spent a lot of time drinking, smoking, chasing tail and not getting to bed on time, and he's still one of the greatest hitters of all time. Mantle, after a long night of drinking, said the next day the key was just to swing for the middle ball as it's crossed the plate. The first Milwaukee Brewer game that I ever went to as a kid I peaked around the wall of the dugout to see then all star catcher Ted Simmons smoking a cigarette.

Granted I haven't played organized baseball for close to twenty years now but I still love it. Some of my fondest memories have come from my time spent on and around a baseball diamond. This is partly the reason why I think I've kept myself in pretty good shape since I graduated high school. If need be I still could play. So over the past 20 years or so I've made sure to stretch in the form of some loose yoga poses and do sets of push-ups and sit-ups atleast 5 days a week. Currently I'm doing a variation of them everyday. But I always made sure not to run long distances because I didn't want to suffer any of the injuries that I've heard runners suffer, especially knee injuries. My mom has had a couple of knee replacements starting in her mid-forties. She weighs just over 110 pounds, so it's not because she's overweight. She's never been a runner. She has worked in retail since she's graduated high school, though. That means a lot of time spent standing on cement floors. Come to think of it, both my parents have been making their living standing on cement floors for close to 40 years now. My dad spent 30 years in a metal fabricating factory near where I was born and raised, then retired so he could move up to northwest Wisconsin by his kids to spend more time standing on cement floors in the sporting goods department at Wal-Mart. He's had his share of foot problems. So I've tried to stay away from cement floors and long distance running.

To top it all off I started reading Christopher McDougall's "Born To Run." I'm 15 pages into it and he's already layed out the common injuries that runners suffer and how often. The number that has stuck with me is 8 out of 10 runners will suffer some type of injury during their time at it. Now I'm really ready stop running, but before doing so I had take off my shoes and try running a mile barefooted. I know of a friend that started running barefooted after he read it. If I remember right he said that his doctor told him he'd never be able to run again. The last I checked in with him, he was running close to three miles every other day and getting stronger. So maybe I will continue on with the book and try some barefooted running before the snow flies here in northwestern Wisconsin.

On a different note. I stopped by a neighbors yesterday to pick up her garbage. She's done some activist work in the past and follows Wisconsin politics much closer than I do. She made sure to let me know that they (I forgot the name of the company) are now pumping water out of the ground near the Penokee Hills and shipping it over to China. She also made sure to let me know that the Walker administration was fascist. She even wanted to take the time to show me a list of reasons that was put together by a fellow citizen as to why this is so. I told her not to worry about it. I said to her, "I pretty much figure any government body that values products over people's needs is well on its way to fascism. And this is why I don't think Derrick Jensen is too radical of a writer."

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