Thursday, June 10, 2010

S.R.T. Jogging

I don’t know what I’ve been doing lately but I haven’t been running. A couple days ago I went for the longest run I’ve done in a month, still only 9.5 miles. It was also the first time I’d been down in the Arroyo in that same time period. During that month there was a trickle of some 3-milers and the Mt Wilson race.

I have the excuse that I was sick for a while, but I’ve been pretty okay for a couple weeks now. I think it’s just always hard to get back on the running train when you’ve been off it for a while. Somehow your mind and body stop comprehending the point of running, especially for longer distances.

Once I got out there on the run in the Arroyo everything fell back into place pretty quickly and I end up running farther than planned. So that’s good. Maybe I’m back.

While I was out there I was thinking about the distinction between running and jogging. I’m not sure there’s really much of a difference. In general people probably think jogging is slower than running: J < R. It seems silly to base it on a rate of speed, for example: J < 6.5mph < R.

Back in the old days, when I was a kid, we called it jogging. Jogging meant you wake up at 6am, put on a sweat suit, and jog for 3 miles. If you were a jogger, you did this every day. Or maybe just once a week. I don’t know. Like I said, I was just a kid. I tried jogging a few times.

At some point in the 80’s, I’m guessing that someone at some company (Nike) realized that there was an incredible marketing opportunity associated with the hobby of jogging. “If we just change the name to running,” they said, “we’ll sell a million more shoes!” And so the hobby of jogging became the sport of running. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

As an example of the possible sense that the above made up story makes, consider for a moment the idea of trail jogging. It would never fly. Sounds stupid, they probably thought. But trail running, aha! Now we’ve got something. Now we’ve got a sport, something respectable.

Personally, I’m starting to like the sound of jogging. There’s not so much pressure. Joggers don’t need a stopwatch. Joggers can stop to say hello to people they encounter along the way. Joggers don’t have to replace their shoes every 300 miles – they can wait ‘til a thousand or whenever they feel like it or whenever they go on sale or fall apart.

So, what’s S.R.T. Jogging? It’s my new name for an old hobby: Sidewalk, Road, and Trail Jogging. For me, every jog starts on the sidewalk, then takes to the road, then if it’s a longer jog it takes to the trail. Most of the time (for me) it’s not really trail jogging in the sense that trail running implies, where you’re out on a goat trail racing up to the rocky outcrop at the peak of some fog enshrouded mystical peak; it’s just me down in the Arroyo cruising along with dirt under my feet passing by cool native plants like sage and sycamore and oak and toyon.

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