Saturday, December 11, 2010

Just Kids, Running the Sahara

I decided to write this entry on Saturday rather than Monday morning. Because the weather is getting heavy I doubt that I'll do any serious running in the intervening period. And today the blog isn't just about running.... well it is mainly about running (I mean let's keep our collective eye on what really is important in life... running), but not just...

I had the opportunity this past week to knock out Patti Smith's autobiography and biography, Just Kids, about her life with Robert Mapplethorpe. It really is a wonderful book that covers a bit of history that I had read before, yet from a first-hand perspective (which I had not read before). The struggles and minor triumphs and setbacks that the two endure on their way to fulfilling their own artistic vision make for a great story. And, while I knew quite a bit about Mapplethorpe, having read a biography of him some years ago, I knew relatively little about Patti Smith, and nothing of the inner-workings of their relationship. If you have a stocking that needs to be stuffed, this book, or the Kindle version of it, would make a much less controversial gift for that hard-to-please relative than say a book of Mapplethorpe's work. Highly recommended...

Another recommendation for you runners and cultural anthropologists is a documentary called Running the Sahara. A ginormous documentary and support crew follows three runners who cross somewhere north of 4,500 miles of North Africa from west to east. They ran approximately the equivalent of two marathons a day for 111 days with no day off. The trio and traveling circus also got permission to run across Libya as part of the trek. If you do rent this, make sure to watch the behind-the-scenes extra footage in the special features section. The runners are a very diverse lot. As a viewer, your perception of each one will change during the course of the documentary. Again, I'd have to highly recommend it.

So, with all of the great weather this week, on Wednesday I was struck down with the flu. And I do mean struck down. I had no firing out of either end (thank god), but I had brutal muscle and bone aches, chills, fever, and very sensitive skin/scalp. It suuuuuucked. While I didn't upchuck, food sounded terrible. I ended up eating almost nothing for about 48 hours before systems returned to normal. My main sustenance was OJ and some ginger ale.

Today, I awoke feeling pretty weak, but much healthier. After a breakfast of oatmeal and prunes, I bundled up heavily, left my watch off, and went for a short run. It was amazingly brisk (read cold and windy). While none-too-enjoyable, the run went off without a hitch. I returned home with a bit of leg pain, which seemed to be residual from the illness, but otherwise in good shape. One Advil and I was back to normal. I'm a bit galled that I lost two great running days. However, I am always somewhat satisfied when I tackle adversity with runs like I did today. I didn't push it, but I didn't just blow it off because I was a bit weak. So this little run gets my nod for my best run of the week.

I may pop another post this week. I just wanted to get some of this onto the blog while I was thinking of it.

Have a happy Sunday.

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