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February 6, 2010

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I've begun running again lately after a decade off. The last two times out my left calf cramped up. Today I wasn't planning on going for a run, had a glass of red wine while I prepared episode 5 of robZtv on this sunshiny smiling spring morning in winter. The time came to render--45 minutes of computer downtime, perfect opportunity for a quick run through Woodland Park. I dug out my vintage Nike Air Huaraches, bought new in '92 for $90 when I also sported a Timex Ironman digital stopwatch and clocked my quickening laps around Hempstead Lake. I haven't bought shoes new (except for workboots) nor worn a watch since then and today as I ran down a grassy hill I rejected the tyranny of the straight line and started loping in serpentine loops down the slope. It was liberating. What sometimes makes running difficult for me is the focus on getting there, the straight line quantifiable shortest distance between two points mentality where space is your enemy, an obstacle to be endured and overcome. Running in gentle curves was funner and seemed to engage more muscles and attention. There's a 15-foot mortared rock wall in the park, mostly smooth river stones but still plenty of grips for climbing. I cleaned up some broken glass where drunks had smashed brown beer bottles, took off the sneaks and climbed up, down, side-to-side until my forearms wore out. I ran back barefoot, air warm, ground cold, the sun about to slip behind the clouds and call it a day. Adding steps by jogging in gentle curves, I thought, "It's not the distance covered but how far you run." And I don't know if it was the serpentines, the red wine, or the newly resurrected shoes, but this time my calf didn't cramp up.