So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A "Hit" Of Running

"Now, you're either on the bus or off the bus. If you're on the bus, and you get left behind, then you'll find it again. If you're off the bus in the first place-then it won't make a damn." - Ken Kesey (1935-2001), quoted by Tom Wolfe, "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" (1968)

A friend of mine recently completed the Honolulu Marathon, so his social network posts have been filled with the "typical" post-event stuff: A breakdown of his mile splits, a description of his delayed onset muscle soreness, & so forth. The most funny thing, however, had to be a cartoon video titled "I'm A Runner," which definitely is worth at least one viewing.

It's difficult to explain marathoning or distance running to a person who has likely never run longer than an hour at a time. The ones who have probably wouldn't do it again unless a loaded pistol was pointed at their head. Some would even tell the pistol operator to pull the trigger rather than face the alternative. Like Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters in Tom Wolfe's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," you're either on or not on the bus. Most of the world, except for perhaps once or twice a year, prefer to be not on that bus.

I've tried to explain every facet of running, from the sublime state of the Sunday morning social run to the absolute ridiculousness of beer-miling. Explain THAT to a world which prefers to watch the first two laps of a 5,000 meter track race, as Larry Rawson tells them to go to their high school track & run a 63-second quarter 12 or 13 times. Once again, most of them don't want to know. The socially inept, ham-fisted runner eventually turns co-workers & (former) friends into runners, all right...short sprints in the opposite direction when "that freak runner" is seen. After a while, at least I learned, to do my thing & wait for the questions to come.

Transforming otherwise sedentary people into runners is probably best done like Kesey & the Pranksters did on Acid Tests. Putting people "on the bus" isn't going to do it. But, give a little "hit" of running (like the Pranksters did with LSD) to everyone & anyone who might show interest, that might do the trick. They can't handle too much at first, lest the trip become bad; give them just enough to enjoy it.

With the new year approaching, it's not too hard to encourage the couch-dweller to make a change. So, take advantage of the opportunity. Give them a little "hit" of running from your personal stash. Don't worry, there's plenty left: It might be a hash run. It might be a trail run. It might even be a walk/jog in the park. But, make certain to give 'em the good stuff...they're not ready for "quarters 'til you can't."


Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano, from Run The Edge ( saw fit to link back to this particular post (or at least the video clip) after one of their readers commented upon it. Nice to know there's more "crazy" people running only fifteen miles because they can, etc., etc. Happy Christmas to you! MB


Adam Morris said...

Definitely agree with this post. Getting people to try out running is hard, so I always think it's best to make them associate it with something fun. Runner's Hi in Aiea, HI has a Tuesday night beer run and when you're around all those smiling faces I just don't see how you could not want to be running with them.

Michael Bowen said...

You're right, Adam. Sometimes it takes a little bit of imagination, a small investment in whatever it takes to draw crowds - beer, food...and if you can have both, then so much the better - and patience.

In Pensacola, FL, there have been a number of dining/drinking establishments who have taken up the challenge of building run groups...some have had good success, others less so.

The broad variety of terrain & scenery you guys have makes running a feast for the eyes as well as fun for the soul. I enjoyed the runs I got in both with you/Dan, and by myself, last January when we were there.

Congratulations on your great run - recover quickly!


Tim Catalano said...

We linked to your blog and referenced the video you posted "I'm a runner"

Keep up the good work!

"Yesterday we were reading through Michael Bowen’s blog “If I were your Coach” and found a link he posted to this video by Wendypenner."