Friday, May 31, 2024

Close your eyes, I'm running naked

 I'm what they call a "naked runner." You've probably seen me in the police blotter. Actually, I'm more of a "naked jogger" these days as my back finally said my competitive running days were over a few years ago.

Being a naked runner means you run without accessories like watches, FitBits and ear buds. I've tried all, so haven't been purely naked forever. I used a watch to time my runs when I was serious, and even tried listening to music for a short phase. And I had a FitBit, largely to monitor my heart and sleep patterns, but didn't get another one when that crapped out on me.

As for the FitBit or smart watch type things, now I generally run the same trails, so I know the distance and about how many steps it entails. Given my counting OCD previously discussed on this fine blog, I bet I can come with a couple hundred when guessing my steps at the end of the day.

With ear buds or in my case, the cheap iPod Shuffle, I didn't like not being able to hear my surroundings. I like to hear vehicles coming up behind me or the rattle of a snake ahead of me or barking dogs coming at me. Kind of a safety thing. And, frankly, I listen to music most of the day so it's nice to be able to hear the sounds of nature. The other thing is I like to be aware of the sounds I'm making. They aren't always pretty and I prefer not to be making those sounds when meeting some Nike-laden jog bunny on the trail. So vanity plays a part too.

For more, here's a study: Why more athletes are giving up on smartwatches.

We believe that the rejection of these devices may be the result of a deterioration in the quality of the experience of a sport when using them. For some participants, putting numbers on an activity actually leads them to experience it more as forced labour than as free, self-determined leisure.

Along these lines, I can't remember ever reading an article from Vanity Fair, but I am a frequent visitor of the website and they linked to this: Why Is Running All About Speed? An Ode To Slow Running

It's an enjoyable read.

In today’s racing culture, it’s radical to believe that a runner is worthy regardless of their time. Slower paces are often underserved and undervalued in the running community—especially when those mile-times creep into the 18 to 20-minute range.

As the writer says: "In relinquishing the need to be fast, I am free."

Yep, almost like being naked.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Finished two

 I typically like Lawrence Sanders books. "The Sixth Commandment" wasn't typical for him. Frankly, that title could apply to any murder mystery, so I was expecting something superb to really knock that "Thou shalt not kill" out of the park. It was more like a slow roller to the second baseman. (It's baseball season, ya know.)

The Bingham Foundation is one of the most important scientific charities in the country, giving grants that can make or break a researcher’s career. When they get a proposal that seems too good to be true, they send hardened investigator Samuel Todd to confirm that the science holds up. A cynical detective with a sixth sense for deception and a bad habit of committing adultery, Todd has never met a liar he couldn’t crack. But he’s never met anyone like T. G. Thorndecker.

Thorndecker won the Nobel Prize in his thirties, and his work continues to push the outer limits of modern technology. After years of secret research, he claims to have made a breakthrough in the war against aging. When he requests a million-dollar grant from the Bingham Foundation, Todd goes to find out if he’s on the level. As he digs into the demise of Thorndecker’s first wife and late-night happenings in the lab, Todd comes face to face with a medical mystery that blurs the line between life and death.

Written in 1978, it did have some clever verbage and deep thoughts I enjoyed:

"The effete youth was first to react to my entrance. He jerked to his feet and glared at me, not knowing whether to shit, go blind, or wind his watch."

On an overly made up, poorly-aged woman: "She looked like she had been picked up by the heels and dipped in age."

Regarding a windy pastor's sermon: "He gave a fifteen-minute catalogue of human sins of the flesh, listened to attentively by the congregation who, I figured, wanted to find out if they had missed any."

"Human character runs the gamut from slug to saint."

"I waved a hand and kept going. Women like that scare me. I have visions of them cracking my bones and sucking the marrow."

"Few of us act from the motive we profess. The worm is always there, deep and squirming. A man might say he wishes to work with and counsel young boys, to give them the benefit of his knowledge and experience, to keep them from delinquency, to help them through the agonies of adolescence. That may all be true. It may also be true that he simply loves young boys."

Amazonians gave it a 4.1 of 5, much more generous than my 6 of 10.

** The other I finished was Lisa Scottoline's "Dirty Blonde." It was unique and I liked it for the most part, but the ending ruined it for me. SPOILER ALERT: I hate when the "who-done-it" turns out to be some minor character barely mentioned forty chapters earlier. A lot of the loose ends were tied up in too convenient of a manner, intended to be big surprises but ended up just being corny, like: Look what I did there!

Lawyer Cate Fante, who is attractive, sexy, and tough-minded, has just been appointed to the federal bench in Philadelphia. With her new status in the elite meritocracy that is the federal judiciary, she often feels like an imposter because of her working-class background. For instance, at a fancy dinner, she’s more likely to joke with the waiters than her colleagues. Divorced, Cate also has a secret sex life. She’s attracted to bad boys and working-class men, like the ones she grew up with in the former coal-mining town of Centralia in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Cate is presiding over a high-profile multi-million dollar breach-of-contract lawsuit in which a former Philly ADA is suing the producer of a highly successful TV series for stealing his ideas. All true, but the verbal contract isn’t enforceable. As difficult as it is, this means that Cate has to make a ruling that ends the lawsuit in the sleazy TV guy’s favor. Cate learns that being a judge doesn’t always mean that she can do justice.

Upset over the ruling she had to make, Cate heads for a bar and there meets a good-looking rough-hewn leather-jacketed hunk and goes off with him to a nearby motel. Cate quickly realizes she’s made a mistake, apologizes and turns to leave, but the guy becomes aggressive and Cate barely manages to get out of the room. At home, she turns on the local news to learn that the TV producer from her court case has been shot to death outside a local restaurant. Not only that, but she soon also finds out that a man has been found dead after a fall from a motel’s exterior staircase. A stricken Cate recognizes instantly the pictures of the leather-jacketed man who’d attacked her at the hotel.

Things go from bad to worse in a hurry, and amazingly Cate finds her private life splashed all over the papers and her job in jeopardy. Her only hope is to clear her name and find a murderer.

Amazonians gave it a 4.3 of 5. Me a 6+ of 10.