Distraction Invites Attention


Pic of the day, part i: Slavs in their Original Homeland: Between the Turanian Whip and the sword of the Goths, By Alphonse Mucha

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If we are uncritical we shall always find what we want: we shall look for, and find, confirmations, and we shall look away from, and not see, whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories. In this way it is only too easy to obtain what appears to be overwhelming evidence in favor of a theory which, if approached critically, would have been refuted.

Karl Popper, The Poverty of Historicism

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Continued from last time:

The humidity in the air made breathing the air difficult after waking up in and being in nothing but air conditioning since I had walked in the door from the previous nights running at 8:15 pm yesterday. Thirteen hours or so later I am back at it, getting read to run. I only ran 5.2 miles last night, and I’m not running very long this morning, i’m gonna go 7.6 miles this morning. This is going to be a slow one though, as an early run after a night run isn’t the easiest thing to do.

But the relatively short distance makes me wonder whether I can get some speed going this morning.

The sun is beating down hard this morning, I can feel the fire on my head even with my baseball cap on. Even though it’s only around 9:30 as I walk to the park to start up, the sun is frying me like I’m in a frying pan on a stove with the burner on full blast. The humidity is no help, and I’ve broken a sweat before I’ve walked three blocks.

I try to not pay attention to the feeling that my skin is being set on fire by thinking about a great number of things.

The fact that it’s Friday and I’m not working.

The fact that the news i’ve been reading is tailored to me, which means that they have an image that they want me to see, when all I want is a view of the real world, unadorned by opinion so I can make one of my own.

The fact that there are a great many signs around my neighborhood that are for a candidate, a guy by the name of Pirozollo, a complete incompetent. Which means that my neighbors are, through association at the very least, completely incompetent. It’s the whole “average” thing, ya know. The average person is (call me cynical) stupid, and ½ of them are dumber than that. And these are those people. Just friggin great.

The fact that my sneakers are worn as hell, have no padding whatsoever, and as a consequence my toes have been in pain for a week. Walking up the hill reminds me of this. As is walking downhill. As is running.

After I get to the park, I toy with my stopwatch, fix my hat and look around. There is haze in the air, and there are a very few people around, less than usual. A dog walker, a woman walking around with her baby in a carriage who stops near my start line, two runners across the lake running together, slowly. I shake my legs to loosen them up a bit, my ankles and quads get as good short shake prior to the run. It, and the walk to the park, are as much warmup as I need.

I start up the stopwatch and get moving. When running in the park my mind sometimes wanders, and I let it. Along with working out my times in my head based on distance markers in the park, I think about the things that I’ve seen, things that are going on in my life. Everything. Sometimes I get agitated about things. Purposefully. It’s why I think about politics when I run if I need inspiration.

The angrier I am, the faster I get. Which is the reason I read the news before I run whenever I can. Plus, it keeps my mind off of just how painful runs can sometimes be. So with sore feet and my skin on fire from the heat, now is a great time to push hard and think about politics.

But I don’t today. Today I pay attention to my stride, how fast my feet are going early, because I want to make sure that I am moving as fast as possible so I can have the fastest time I can get. Plus, the 110 pound new mother and her 8 month old in the stroller that is somehow taking up 90% of a 12 foot path. That distraction invites attention.

Pain in the ass. I move to the edge of the path, and still have to turn sideways to get past.

“Motherhood is wonderful, you are NOT! MOVE. YOUR. ASS.” is what I don’t say. I think it, for half a second. What I do say is “Excuse me!” with my nicest smile, and pass as quickly as possible.

I pass and don’t give her a second thought.

The park is beautiful. Hot as hell but beautiful. The pain that was a concern, that pain in my toes and elsewhere, all the discomfort falls away like leaves in autumn as the run gets on in earnest. Speed comes as it always does, without much thought. Go. Just go. Don’t think, feel. Run with heart as much as legs.

I try to think about politics early. Try thinking about the idiot Pirozollo and the trained monkeys that’ll vote for him. Doesn’t work. Just can’t. Feet are flying, don’t need to think about the asshole to run fast now. The road itself beckons. After a few minutes I count my steps. 34 in 10 seconds. Very quick feet. Nice. Do it again 5 minutes later. Come up with the same number.

A song begins to dance through my skull between counts and sticks around. The old evil returns. I smile a small smile and start to play the song in my head. The song Jump in the fire begins to thunder in my head. Any effort to do anything that isn’t running, even something as innocuous as a big smile feels out of place. So I smile a small smile and fly.

The song and the feeling stay with me for most of the run, which is surprising. But the effort in the heat is so much that I cannot do anything but concentrate on the running itself. The hard fast pace locks me in, keeps me focused solely on the run.

It helps that there is a slight breeze blowing around the lakes, taking a bit of the edge off of the heat. It also helps that there are really not that many people around at this point. It helps more than I would care to admit that I’m running early enough where I don’t have a days bullshit dragging around with me.

I finish my 4th and final lap pretty damn quick. The entire run I run in under a 7:30 pace, which is pretty fast for me. And the last lap I run a 7:10. Flying around the park.

As I stop (56:37.16 pace) I look at my shirt and shorts. Soaked and stuck to me like I took a shower wearing the damn things. I giggle at this, take off the shirt and wring it out, as I walk up the hill on the way back home. Soak the path with my sweat wringing out that shirt.

With my shirt still in hand dripping and breathing hard, I pass a group of kids near the top of the hill…

To be continued…

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Pic of the day, part ii: The Celebration of Svantovit: When Gods Are at War, Salvation is in the Art, by Alphonse Mucha

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We may become the makers of our fate when we have ceased to pose as its prophets.

Karl Popper, The Open Society and It’s Enemies

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That’s it from here, America. G’night.

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