Wednesday, 13 June 2012

#72: The Word

Today is Wednesday the 13th of June in the year 2012.

Here are some totally random thoughts I've had today and figured I would share them with you all. Enjoy...

- Euro fever has taken Toronto by storm and it's wonderful. I'm of course referring to football and not the forsaken currency of a failing continent. For reasons I can't quite explain, the world seems a better place when people are proud and passionate about their country, their team and their little flags. Perhaps it's time to become uber nationalistic about something more than sport (although I'm super excited about the coming Olympics as well). I've fully embraced my Dutch roots and am proudly sporting the orange colours win, loss or draw. I've also never seen so many happy optimistic Portuguese people in my life...and I've been to Portugal! The Dutchies have a tough road ahead and must now get maximum points against the Germans. Go Oranje!
Hup Holland Hup. Oranje Boven. Wij Houden van Oranje! etc etc
- As a regular city cyclist I take my life into my own hands (and mostly legs) and it's only a matter of time before I get involved in an 'incident' (hopefully not fatal). I also admit to breaking a lot of traffic rules. I run red lights, I turn when and where I shouldn't, and I go the wrong direction on one-way streets to name but a few. Motorists, pedestrians and even fellow cyclists rightly criticize me for doing so and yet I have no regrets. I fully intend to continue doing so because it's faster and in many cases safer than competing with traffic. I wear a helmet, use a bell and lights and generally try to be as safe and courteous to fellow road users as often as I can. I'm doing something good for myself and for the planet and so I justify my bicycle-related behaviours. If the world were full of cyclists, it would be a better place (and that includes the hipsters). Way to go cyclists.
In Toronto, it's you and two wheels versus everybody else.
- Anyone who runs between the hours of 11 and 2pm during the summer is an idiot! I mean seriously, it's the hottest time of the day and exposure to the sun is greatest. And yet I see dozens of lunchtime joggers slogging their way through the heat and humidity. Absolute stupidity! There are far more risks than benefits to this behaviour and any and every other time of the day is more ideal than this one. All the hype and hysteria about hot summer running is ridiculous and can be resolved by using some basic common sense.

Smart summer running means avoiding the hottest times of day.
- As I come closer to the completion of my MSc thesis which was conducted on committed runners and the subculture of distance running, many ask me what I found or what the 'results' were. In sum, I attempted to explain that for some, running ceases to be simply physical activity or exercise or even sport, but is rather an entire way of life, of being. It provides a plethora of lasting physical benefits (improved fitness...endurance, cardio, strength, body composition. Ie increased physical 'health')  but far more meaningful to participants are the psychological and social rewards that come from running. These include an enhanced sense of self-satisfaction, gratification, personal enrichment, fulfilment/actualization, regeneration, social/group belonging, recognition, acceptance, shared meaning, collective accomplishment and contribution. Participants create meaning, value and significance through their running-related behaviours, cognitions and emotions through the mastery of the activity. They persistently pursue an increased competence via the acquisition of skills and knowledge. They forge a unique personal and social identity. They became a part of an entire social world and ethos in which they embark on a 'career' in running. Through their continued commitment, they adhere in the long term and must persevere through adversity. They are taking part in 'serious leisure' (Stebbins, 1982) and 'recreational specialization' (Bryan, 1977) and are individually and collectively all the better for it. This research has important implications for better understanding, predicting and creating successful physical activity (exercise, sport) adherence and healthy lifestyles.

Questionable hydration to ecstatic elation: Running offers an unlimited number of rewards and benefits.

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