Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Over the past year or so, I have become a jogger and I am still not exactly sure why. There are so many things to worry about while jogging that I often find myself distracted. This preoccupation is most likely the result of making mental notes when I notice idiosyncrasies in other joggers. Here are a few of the characteristics of jogging that I am concerned with:
First and foremost is arm positioning. Everyone knows that extraneous arm movement can cost you valuable stamina while running, so it is imperative that they remain as motionless as possible. Having no stamina to spare, I began constantly reminding myself to keep them as close to my body as possible in order to conserve energy. The result was that I was less winded than before, but I began to realize that my closely-tucked stationary extremities made me look like a T-Rex wearing an iPod.

To counteract this effect, I began allowing my arms to move more freely while being cautious to avoid “power pumping.” While this strategy was successful in minimizing my dino-arms, the effort necessary to regulate my upper-torso gyrations had an unintended side-effect: my thumbs. For whatever reason, I find my thumbs involuntarily pointing skyward while I jog. It is so conspicuous that I suspect that several of my neighbors have taken to calling me “The Fonz.”

At least, as far as I know, my form is passable from the neck up. I say that because there is one jogger in the area whose head appears dangerously under-supported during her morning run. It moves so violently from side to side that the first time I saw her I half-expected to see a Catholic priest in close pursuit.

Another important aspect of running is selecting the proper apparel. Being rather frugal, I have been unable to bring myself to purchase actual running clothes so I prefer a white T-shirt and a pair of appropriately fitting shorts. I specify appropriately, because there is a citizen of our town who insists on jogging with a pair of shorts that I can only assume were stolen from a Gap Kids display mannequin. The effect of such a statuesque man forcing himself into such inadequate fabric resembles a country ham wrapped in an Ace Bandage.

Perhaps my biggest issue is balance. Once, when I was jogging with my dog, when she ran in front of me and I fell face first onto my protruding thumbs. Like any self-respecting jogger, I jumped back to my feet and glanced around to see if anyone had witnessed the incident. Unfortunately, the Stanley Steamer carpet guy was servicing a house about fifteen feet from where I “ate it” and witnessed the entire event. I tried my best to give the impression that everything was under control (as if I routinely yelp uncontrollably just before intentionally tossing myself onto the sidewalk) but I don’t think he bought it.

I have several friends who compete in 5K’s and half-marathons and have encouraged me to take part. I fear, however, that it would take all my willpower and muscle strength to complete such an endeavor leaving me with nothing to control my bodily functions. I can see myself laboring across the finish line and collapsing in a heap just as my bowels give way.

Having watched a few marathons on TV, I am also fascinated by the method that the participants use to procure water from the crowd. Apparently the spectators simply extend cups or water bottles over the barrier and you grab them as you zoom by. With my luck I would snatch a water bottle from someone’s hand only to find out later that I had simply robbed an elderly man there to see his grandson. Also, is it rude to discard a bottle that you snatch if the seal has been broken and it appears to have already been severely back-washed?

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