Do you float or do you bounce?

My Dad, Circa 1980 - Finish line of his fifth marathon with a time of 3hrs 14mins and 5 secs.

For years now (as many as I can remember) I have always enjoyed a heated and often contested discussion with different people as to whether they bounce or whether they float.  Often I get all kinds of screwed up looks until I clarify myself.  I go on to explain that some people run and some jog.  Runners “float” and joggers “bounce”.  The American author and marathon runner John Bingham has a great quote – “If you run, you are a runner.  It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years.  There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get.  You just run.”

My father, who is one of the most prolific and dedicated runners on this planet, always told me he floats when running and would never lower his standards and allow himself to bounce.  Well he didn’t quite put it that way but he was very clear on the floating part.  He would go on to say that next time I saw a runner or a jogger to look at the top of their head as they go by, and that the runner’s head would stay almost stationary while a jogger’s head would look like a new-born baby and be all over the place.

It is primarily due to his teaching and influence on me I have always declared myself as a runner and a floating one at that …this even though there have been times I moved at so slow a pace that I almost passed myself on the pathways.  I am working on my endurance a great deal now and putting in the time and patience to improve.  I can say I am getting better and in just three short months I have improved from barely being able to complete a 3 mile run to being able to pretty well hit 6 miles now.

Getting back to the original topic of debate, I decided to consult a few official bodies of work in search of some form of official definitions. According to Wikipedia – “Jogging is a form of trotting or running at a slow or leisurely pace.  The main intention is to increase physical fitness with less stress on the body than from faster running, or to maintain a steady speed for longer periods of time”. The Urban Dictionary – defines a “jogger” as “someone who is obsessed with jogging, usually found in parks or rural roads in early morning. They’ve also developed an acute sense of discovering corpses in the vicinity”.  I have to say that if I had been drinking anything when I read the Urban Dictionary reference I would have spewed liquid all over my new laptop.  I especially liked the part about being obsessed park dwellers in search of corpses. I did not, however, find any reference to bouncing up and down as they moved obsessively through parks and rural roads.

By contrast, Wikipedia defines “Running” as “a method of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and other animals to move rapidly on foot.  Running is a type of gait characterized by an aerial phase in which all feet are above the ground”. The Urban Dictionary – defines “running” as the physical act of, basically, moving your feet in a fast rhythmic motion to propel yourself forward at a greater speed than if you were a walking or jogging. I know, you are wondering if it really said “terrestrial” but I can assure you it does.  This definition seems to support my Dad’s claim that runners do float due to the aerial phase when both feet are off the ground!  Even Chris Angel and David Blaine would support this theory but may refer to it as levitation while propelling themselves forward.

The Oxford Dictionaries – defines “joggersas loose trousers made of a stretchy fabric and typically elasticated at the waist and ankles, worn especially for jogging. I have included this definition just as an aside because it too was quite humorous when I think of all the outfits you see when you are out on the Calgary pathways putting in miles. It seems to suggest also that “joggers” (people who jog) also do not have a highly developed fashion sense unlike their close relative the runner!  Runners wear brightly coloured spandex from head to toe in order that they keep all jiggly parts safely tucked away as well as to cut down on wind resistance. These brightly coloured outfits also make it easier to see your friends or running partners at the local Starbucks for your post run Americano! (Venti no room)

So in conclusion, I have to say it is crystal clear and proves once again that “Fathers know best”.  I can say that too because I am also a father and feel I am right all the time! Of course ALL comments and feedback are welcome on this important and science based topic. 🙂



The “Snowbirds” are here…..

NEWS FLASH – Canadian Snow Birds spotted over Discovery Ridge in SW Calgary….

I don’t mean “The Snow Birds “…the ones that thrill thousands of fans all over Canada with their feats of aerial brilliance each year. I am talking about the older folks that migrate in large flocks each winter to places like Bumble Bee, Arizona and Two Egg, Florida! I think 6 of them just flew into my gym this morning in the middle of my workout.

My fiancé and I live in a condo in SW Calgary and there is a small gym located on site. Now normally there are several people each morning that drift in, get down to business and then get on with their day. This week has been quite the opposite. The birds have arrived after their wintering south of the border and have invaded the peaceful serenity of our workouts. They have brought with them varying degrees of non-essential workout equipment such as sun visors (for indoors?), men’s dress socks and sandals, books on a variety of subjects such as the mating habits of bone fish, and remnants of curler set hair styles in shades of blue. A whole new perspective of Fifty Shades of Grey!

It always surprises me how a bunch of people who don’t really know each other can gossip for so long? Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but really?? …beside me AND in the middle of my workout?? At one point it got so chatty I fully expected a spontaneous game of bridge or gin rummy might break out right there amongst the elliptical machines and incline benches.

Maybe what we need to do is turn the table that holds the paper towels and disinfectant spray into a coffee station with a 75 cup urn to fuel the discussions? Gym goers can then take turns bringing coffee and cake (gluten-free of course) to nibble on. This table could be added into some kind of snow bird circuit training. Have a coffee and snack, followed by chatting while at rest on the recumbent bikes (no, I mean really …not even moving the pedals…), then over to the gossip challenge while looking out the window and finish off with the daily good byes. Ahhh a full workout!

As the very famous wrestling prognosticator General J R Foley used to say, “let the good times roll”! That’s right! ……roll right out the gym door and over to the “social room”, where they should have been in the first place.

Retirement – Step One

Step one – get your house in order and I mean this figuratively.

Stepping into retirement really is about steps. Lots of them…treadmills, parks, pathways and beaches. I have known people over the years when asked about what the first thing they are going to do is, say “get their house in order”! Well, Ok this follows a quick second to they would sleep for a week. I can’t count the number of people that said to me in the first few weeks I was off work, “hey its a little early for you to be up isn’t it”? I just smiled and said “nope”! They would go on to exclaim that if it was them they would sleep for a week or more. As Sam Elliott put it so eloquently in the CLASSIC movie Road House, “I’ll get plenty of sleep when I am dead”.

I remember when my Dad retired after almost 38 years he and my Mom had a list of things to do around the house. Fix this, paint this wall, organize the storage room, etc. This truly was getting the house in order but I suspect for them it was also therapeutic in many ways. My Dad told me that I would be amazed how much energy I would have after six months of not working. He is a very smart Man and was bang on.

For me getting my house in order was/is about mind, body, and spirit. After my own 33 year career not paying enough attention to how and why I tick it was time to tune-up the old chassis. Too much time behind a desk, attending meetings, flying to places I didn’t really want to go can take its toll on the old paint job. The great philosopher Jimmy Buffet prophesized in one of his many great literary works how some people treat their body as a temple, and that he treats his as a tent! I think all of us can or have been able to relate to this at some point.

So I have been getting my house in order and let’s just say it is a work in progress. Each day sleep comes easier and is more restful, clothes fit better or need to be taken in, energy levels rise as do the corners of your mouth when you remember on Sunday night, “hey I don’t work tomorrow “!
It’s a great feeling….

Should you get your house in order?