Jokes and advice on running and fitness from a collection of books
I have to admit I am not as obsessive about going out for a run or walk as I was in my younger days. With so many rainy days lately my ventures outside are limited. My younger days would find me heading out the door with a ball cap on to keep the rain off my glasses. With more time indoors I thought it would be beneficial to clean up around the house and workshop and put things in some sort of order. It was evident that a few areas had not been cleaned up or organized for many years.
On a shelf of older books I found some texts I bought when I first started running and was looking for guidance on this sport. There was the book from Consumers Reports on “Running” that was informative. Then I found “Improving Your Running” by Bill Squires written in 1982 that was still up to date. The “Interval Training” book by Fox and Mathews had a publishing date of 1974. When I started running marathons the book by Skip Brown and John Graham titled “Target 26” was read cover to cover. There wasn’t a publishing date in the book but a list of marathon times stopped at 1980. There were several more books on running and training that were around that time frame.
Within the various stacks of material on running I found three posters that I used to have pinned to my wall. One was a poem titled, “Why Do I Run?” that appealed to me. There is a poster that said, “The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep running.” It was a photo of a runner looking at a long road heading down into a scenic valley and up a long hill. It looked like he had about a mile or more to go on this country road. It reminded me of some of the photos that were taken at my Better Half Marathon with runners struggling up that big hill on Center Point Road. Then my favorite poster showed a runner bent over losing most of his pre-race meal with the caption, “Run for Fun”. It brought back a couple of memories of similar experiences.
There was one booklet titled, “The Real Running Guide” by Ira Altman, Martin Riskin and Herbert Kavet, published in 1979. The book was a humorous look at running. The booklet had chapters on various aspects of running. It had statistics that read, “Running will decrease the chance of heart attacks by almost 45%. Of course, it also increases your chances of being squashed flat under a truck by 600%.” Another section had Famous Running Records. For instance the smelliest pair of sneakers ever produced by a runner were the sneakers of Imlek Buchenzny, a Russian jogger, which produced a stench so malevolent and pungent that moths were killed in mid-flight at a distance of four miles every time he removed the sneakers from his feet.
The section on warm up exercises was a good one. Exercises such as the “sit up” – “Get a comfortable chair and sit up. Do it as long as you can stand it.” The exercise “touch the toes of your running shoes” offered this advice, “A good muscle stretcher. Do it 20 times. But first put your shoes on the kitchen counter, or you will hurt yourself.”
Another section had a list of burning calories while running. The more activity you do while you run the more calories are burned. The base per-mile run equals 300 calories; per mile talking about it equals 68 calories; encountering a dog while running equals 42 calories; a big dog equals 72 calories; and every beer dodged equals 27 calories. Washing your running outfit after 26 weeks of use equals 732 calories. Some activities associated with running added calories. The three beers to replace liquids equals 270 calories; potato chips for salt loss equals 400 calories; and chocolate for energy equals 625 calories.
Great running events in history included the invention of running shoes by the Greeks in 2073 B.C. In 1893, Thomas Edison invented illuminated sneakers. Other sections had a “Runner’s Quiz”, “Running Strategies”, “Running Grimace Guide” for the facial expressions of runners, and a “How Come?” chapter. It asked, “How Come?” if there is a squashed animal on the road it’s always on your side, and “How Come?” of the cars that pass you slowly, 75% have faulty exhausts.
One of the last chapters was by Dr. Feelgood, who answered your running questions. One that caught my attention was when a runner asked “Do runners get to be older than other people?” The Dr. answered, “Yes, only sooner.” The last page had the runner’s prayer, “Please, God, Stop the Pain.”