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muddy meanderings

As I trudged through 50K of mud yesterday I had more than enough time to think about the finer things in life.  For example,  I thought about what I could have done on the dry side of Oregon (where I live and train) to possibly prepare for the twists, turns, crashes, and burns that I was experiencing at the Hagg Lake Trail Run.  

On more than one occasion I thought it might have been helpful to have done a bit more downhill skiing and brought a pair of ski poles along to stay upright on some of the more slippery descents.  Perhaps a bit more water skiing in the summers would have done the trick to prepare my legs for the sensation of being ripped apart as you straddle the narrow trail and slightly drier terrain on either side.  Maybe I should have added a bit more breaststroke and ice skating to my routine because the peculiar frog & side kicking in & outs may have prepared my hips for the constant adduction and abduction that is not so customary to a casual road runner. 

The trouble is that if I am going to spend time exercising I would prefer it be running, but treadmill training would not have helped.  I'm not much of a winter sports guy and always laughed at walkers when I saw them walking along paved paths with their ski poles.  It doesn't snow enough here to cross country ski or ice skate regularly and the only indoor pool in town is relatively small and is usually tough to swim laps in due to the number of users, so I felt that I was in a bit of a conundrum.  
And then, about two and half hours and 21 miles into it I remembered reading about something the great Czech Olympic Champion, Emil Zatopek, had done. 
Though he is notorious for his long runs in the pines and insane intervals on the track, it appears as though even he struggled to get in all the running he needed and balance work and family responsibilities.  On one such day, his wife left a honey-do list for him before she left home and asked that it be done by the time she returned a few hours later.  He only had a couple of hours to get all of the laundry done, but he also needed to get a run in.  So he decided to do the laundry by foot.  He ran for over 2 hours in a tub of wet laundry.  He got the laundry done, got his run in, and pleased the Mrs.  For the next hour or so (roughly 11 miles), each time I felt like my feet were going to sink into oblivion, I thought of Zatopek and what it must have been like to run in place (in combat boots for effect) in two feet of soap, water, and soggy clothes.  Not only did this help me better appreciate my surroundings, it led me to think of what a revolutionary practice this could become. . .   
Imagine a world in which all the laundry were done by foot.  Good-bye obesity and green house gasses.  It has been said that the demise of American distance running was the invention of the school bus.  This is our chance to re-establish ourselves as the green laundry machines.   American kids could grow up doing laundry in tubs of soapy water. Who needs a run to school and back when each kid is responsible for doing his/her own laundry by foot?  Good-bye impact injuries.  Hello, strong, caloused feet with sharp, springy tendons and ligaments.  
Think of all the friendly messages you read in hotels about saving water and energy by reusing bedding and towels.  What if the energy we were using were actually human energy?  What if you could get a discount on your room if you offered to do your own laundry in the tub rather than use the broken treadmill in their fitness center?  
What if creating laundry were actually a way of stimulating the economy?  Imagine the bipartisan support this would receive.  Newt would like it because it forces kids to work and sounds loony enough for him to mention at a rally and Michelle and Barak would like it because it would reduce childhood obesity and could be toted as green energy that puts Americans back to work.  Besides, really, who leaves a carbon footprint when they are barefoot running on laundry?
The more cynical reader may be concerned that this could turn out to be another Solyndra scandal, but we are not trying to complicate energy production, we are merely simplifying it by harnessing the energy that is within each of us.  How would we fund this green energy, you may ask?  This is the revolutionary part - it would fund itself, like an economy is supposed to work.  It would essentially do away with all government funding for green energy and ag-business.  Why is this so important?  

There are those that don't believe in government subsidies for green energy, but have no problem with agriculture subsidies, or vice-versa.  If people were more active (actually burning the food they consume) there would be a greater demand for food and that demand would compensate for the false demand/over-production that occurs with government incentives.   And who would produce the food?  The same people who are already doing it.  With this type of supply & demand (people actually sweating away what they eat and then earning their next meal) the government could get out of businesses, green energy and agriculture alike.  Then people on the right and the left and everyone in between would have a lot less to fight about.

Come to think of it, if everyone were actually taking the time each day to run in place on their laundry for a good hour or so, I think this could end all disputes, violence, and wars.  There goes the defense budget. Families would be closer because we'd spend more time at home - as a family - washing clothes by foot. 

If everyone took that much time each day (or even once a week) to sweat, think about their lives and the things they do and say there would be a lot less bullying, hazing, and harassment.  A lot fewer divorces and abortions.  There would be less poverty and greater opportunity.  There would be a greater tomorrow.

So when people ask what I think about on my long runs this is what comes to mind. Sorry you asked?  

Disclaimer: I was under the influence of severe cold & fatigue so I admit to being delusional.  Whatever I was thinking may have merely been hallucinations. You decide.    

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