Friday, November 20, 2009

The Cry-mary

My wife and I are volunteer teachers in a class at church called the Nursery. The Nursery is a part of the larger Primary organization. Children start going to Nursery when they turn 18 months and they graduate into the Junior Primary when they turn 3 years old. Many of the new children go through a period of adjustment when they start out, which means a lot of crying and missing their parents.

So it occurred to me that we are Primary workers in the "Cry-mary" class!

Excellent Rumination On Running

I found this very nice posting by barefoot runner extraordinaire Ken Bob Saxton that says some things exactly the way I would want to say them! Here is what he posted on his website,

Ideally, if we could run without ever touching the ground, we would eliminate all running injuries – except for the odd, being run over by cars, falling off clifs, etc..

Seriously, puncture, abrasion, impact, etc., virtually all running related injuries are the result of the forces, the friction, and impact of our feet interacting with the ground.

Most of us do remove our feet from the ground, by wearing shoes. But, that simply moves the ground forces, to the bottom of our shoes, which are attached to our feet, which are attached to – well, you get the idea… And we continue to pound, skid, twist, push, etc., barely aware, that we are pounding, skidding, pushing, etc..

The next best thing to keeping our feet off the ground, something a bit more attainable, would be to barely touch the ground, to reduce, if not eliminate friction – skidding, excess pushing, twisting, slipping of the feet. If we could distribute the forces across our entire sole, our foot landing on the road at precisely the same speed and direction as the road is traveling underneath us, perhaps even decelerating our foot, as it touches the ground, just like a space shuttle docking with the space station.

The difficulty, of course, is that we are rarely aware of these problems. Most of us run in a kind of dazed condition, not really paying attention to these ground forces.

Some of the wealthy, or elite runners could have coaches watch, and let them know when their running technique is getting sloppy. For most of us, this sort of personal coaching is far too costly. And even if we could afford it, for many of us, it takes a bit of repetition before we learn something, and make it habit – as soon as the coach is gone, we go back to our old, sloppy ways of running.

If only we could have a coach, who worked very cheap, maybe for food, and could be with us constantly, someone to remind us, emphatically, perhaps by hitting us on the palms of our hands with a ruler or something, with each and every step, when the ground forces change, so we could make adjustments, and keep on running gently.

Maybe, something like those shoes with computer chips that change the tension in the springs depending on how hard we are pounding our feet into the ground? If only we had something like that, but even more sophisticated (hey, as long as we’re dreaming, let’s go fully sci-fi!), built into our body – a complex system of sensors, maybe concentrated on the soles of our shoes, in direct contact with the ground, sensing every little detail, of each and every step, and some sort of very complex computer (the most powerful ever built) attached to those sensing devices, to process the information, and maybe a way for that computer to communicate directly to our muscles, so we could make the necessary adjustments to the way we run.

Then we could step more gently, like we’re sneaking up on someone. We might actually start running more efficiently, more gracefully, more “naturally” (oh the irony!), like, maybe, in some ways, better than, any other running creature on this planet.

We could even shift our weight, instantly, when we stepped on sharp pointy objects – if we could figure out a way to implant these sensors in our skin, we might even be able to run, dare I say it –– BAREFOOT!

And with this kind of instant, and continuous interaction, we might just find running more stimulating, exciting, maybe even, FUN!

But, of course, that’s all science fiction. We’ll have to wait until scientists perfect artificial intelligence before we could have anything like that.

If only we had a brain!