Monday, April 30, 2012

A Smart Man

One month down, one (or maybe two) to go.

After losing my mind for the first few weeks without running, I'm gradually returning to sanity. This can be largely attributed to: a) Nat and b) swimming.

Anyways, my morose post-modern student alter ego has been at the fore recently. The chilled out trail-runner has been marginalised.

So with that in mind, Eric Louw (a communication lecturer at UQ) knows alot:

"A first concern when trying to understand any communicative actor (and his/her discourses) is the context within which s/he produces discourse. Any attempt to analyse the role of communication within hegemony-building must necessarily start by locating the contextually-bound variables impacting upon the actors involved.
Essesntially, communication does not happen in a vacuum. Actors in the struggle for hegemony (and counter-hegemony), and their discourses and practices, are borne of a specific set of material, subjective, historical and demographic circumstances,and these circumstances are continually shifting.
Because human actions and ideas are not free-floating but rooted, any attempt to understand communication (and its residues) out of context will produce only a partial understanding. Mapping out the context as the first step helps to focus attention on the 'lived' details of human interaction, which necessarily adds richness. It also acts as an innoculation against 'idealism', and against seeing communicative products (e.g. a theory or idea) as 'universally' valid instead of as a particularistic construct, created in a specific time and place to deal with a specific set of circumstances."

(taken from his 2001 book "The Media and Cultural Production", published by Sage)

I'm trying to live by those last couple of sentences.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It's time to get post-modern...with running.

With two large balls and an unhelpful cultural context, it's pretty easy to get carried away.

Runner A is better than me, runner B is worse. Runner C is close, but probably worse aswell.

It goes in ebbs and flows.

Before laying off, I was ebbing strongly in the direction of over-competitiveness. Every word of running-related chat was organised by the highly competitive sorting mechanism in my brain. It had developed a complex, ever-shifting rank of runners.

Look up to the quicker, look down on the slower.

It's time to flow back to the more relativistic conception of running that I had reached in June/July last year.

It's time to contextualise running speed.

Someone's pace and performance can only be judged in consideration of the following factors:
- Biomechanics,
- natural cardiovascular ability,
- time that they can devote to training,
- age,
- sex,
- weight,
- mental strength,
- number of years spent running,
- basically everything about them and their surroundings, and their entire personal history.

When you break it down, and consider someone's speed in the context of these factors, you can only reach one conclusion.
Everyone is different.
So no runner should be considered more or less impressive than any another.
So I can't rank myself above or below anyone else.

Because I consider myself a staunch postie, it would be hypocritical to believe anything else.

Summary for non-wankers:
It's time to stop being an over-competitive dickhead.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mini meltdowns

I've had a few of them since temporarily quitting running, the most acute being yesterday afternoon.
Sat in my room for five hours, doing uni assignments, wondering what it all means and if I'm really moving anywhere and if I'll ever run again, and what if the injury doesn't heal and what if the world explodes, and...and...and... (insert nonsensical doubt).
It's rather ridiculous considering how inconsequential two weeks of me not running is, in the grad scheme of things.
One person, of six billion in the entire world, cannot do one thing, of hundreds, that he enjoys for two months, out of over 240 in his life time so far.
Unfortunately, that perspective rarely helps my mental state.
What does help (and has helped) is having the support and comfort of someone who truly cares.
And for that I'm incredibly grateful.

Monday, April 2, 2012


I was lying in bed on Friday night, mulling over life, the universe and everything else.
Caine and I had gone on a fantastic 90 minute run on Cootha that morning, which preceded a bit of sneaky recon on the pinnacles course.
Anyways, I was lying there, about to go to sleep, moving my legs around slightly, playing with my hamstrings. And then, bam, an epiphanic moment of clarity:
It isn't normal for me to feel pain every time I bend my leg, that's not the way things should be.
It's been five months since I've been on a pain-free run.
I haven't taken more than three continuous weeks off running since I started.

So, despite the imminent approach of Pinnacles and TNF100, I decided then and there that I needed two months off running to deal with the hamstring issue.
I'll do a bit of swimming and specific strengthening in that time, to kill the injury dead.
Once I had made the decision, I was content.

I'm actually giddily excited at the prospect of running pain-free upon my return.