Thursday, May 19, 2011

Born to Run...Maybe...Forget about it!!

I have been doing a lot of reading here lately.  Man, Kindle is awesome, I highly recommend one for all you out there in Laugisch Land.  Since my desire to lose weight and keep it off is still paramount in my train of thought I wanted to catch up on some "running" books.  Not that I'm ballooning but my weight has slowly crept back up from my ghoulishly looking 192 lb. frame  (yes, I was told I looked anorexic!)  in the Fall of '09 to my current weight of 215.  I know...that's 23 lbs.  I'm not too alarmed as I can still fit comfortably in a pair of "Relaxed fit" 36" waist Levis.  I have also been hitting the gym; typically averaging three days/week with my main man Jeremy, a rather large former rugger who can juggle Volkswagens and an occasional Hyundai.  The dude is not a freak, but freakishly strong...leastwise, from this atrophied 47 year old man's point of view.  To his credit he hasn't belittled me or called me a "mangina" yet and has the temperament to deal with my rapidly decaying body and mind.  I'll take his word on the subject as he attributes most of my weight gain to muscle development.  I can proudly say I can bench press 170 lbs and squat 205.  As a comparison, Jeremy is throwing up 300+ on the bench and squat rack.  The dude is strong.

Back to reading.  Kindle is way cool in that you have such an amazing vault of books and material to download and naturally Amazon discounts the "E" books.  Anyways, I found one titled, Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.  No, it is not the autobiography of Springsteen and The E Street Band.  This guy's thesis is that Man was born to run and chronicles the history of man running, feats of Ultra-Marathoners and this little know tribe of Indians in Mexico that are considered the worlds greatest distance runners.  Ok, look at that word closely...Ultra-Marathon.  We know at some point these people are running 26's the Ultra part that boggles me.  How many of you out there not familiar with this sport would say 50 miles is an extremely high number for this type of event?  From the sectional-couch from which I sit, 10 miles is "Ultra" in my book, ...26 is phenominal...50 would be superhuman!!  Here's the kicker...50 miles is a walk in the park for these sadists...100 miles is considered your every 'ole day run of the mill Ultra-Marathon.

It is an eye opening look at running, the human body and extreme endurance.  Leadville Colorado is home to the Leadville Trail 100 miler.   During one of these races in the early 1990's Indians from the Taramahura tribe in Mexico competed in this event taking 2 of the top 3 spots.  They were 55 and 53 years old respectively.  No, that is not a misprint...and they also ran the damn thing  in rubber sandals. 

It got me to thinking as I have resumed running for the past 3 years:  Why don't I try a marathon?  I'm not even thinking about one of those 100 mile monstrosities just a regular 5-6 hour, 26 mile jaunt.  They run the Marine Corp Marathon in downtown Washington DC every year and I have decided to enter it when I hit the big Five-Oh here in a couple of years.  I'm trying to assess if I've finally stumbled upon that mid-life crisis that the experts say happens to old farts such as myself.  Having your house repossessed is a crisis.  Deciding to run in a marathon isn't quite as stressful.  I think the older I get and after every birthday I'm asking, "Now what?"  I can't accept that getting older means I'm closer to the "Old Folks" home, but rather what mountain am I going to conquer this week?  I'll borrow a quote from a friend who states unequivocally that,"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, loudly proclaiming---WOW WHAT A RIDE!!"   Take care and in the words of one of my favorite bands, The Doobie Brothers, "It Keeps You Running."

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