Friday, June 25, 2010

The Kitchen Chair

The Twins are sitting on the chair next to my side of the bed. Oh, yes, the chair. There's a chair there instead of a bookshelf because the bookshelf is temporarily downstairs. The bookshelf is typically bulging with an assortment of books, each with a bookmark sticking out of the pages, rarely closer to the end than the beginning. The bookshelf got relegated to the basement when Lizzie and Sadie came.

We thought it best that the two girls begin their new life in America in our bedroom. Our bedroom size has its limits, so out went my bookshelf and out went the drying rack upon which all my running things get piled. But I still needed something upon which to place a few, at first two and I now count six plus a few running magazines, books. So, a kitchen chair seemed like a good idea.

This chair is actually quite famous. We purchased it from an antique store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It served as a kitchen chair for our family and the dorm girls living in our home for nearly five years before we brought it with us to Minnesota. Here, it was used as a computer desk chair, a home school chair, a chair for when guests would come over, and occasionally a chair at the kitchen table. Somewhere along the way, in 2006, it became the chair upon which I set my running clothes and packs to dry. It's not a big chair, so it was often overflowing with gators, a Camelbak pack, wool socks, wool shirts, shorts, speedos, a drying water bladder, baggies filled with salt tablets and cubes. If I used it while running, it ended up on the chair.

So why is the chair famous? In 2007, after perusing some of my magazines and living through my early morning jaunts with Pete, Marty wrote a funny little article about my stepping into ultrarunning. It was so funny that people encouraged her to send it to some papers. One of our now good friends, who at the time was a reporter, showed up and wrote an article about the family and the running. Marty then sent her funny little article in to Ultrarunning Magazine. Tia Bodington liked it and "it used to be a kitchen chair" appeared on page 9 of the November 2007 edition.

That same kitchen chair, with many a recent wine stain, now serves as my temporary, make-shift night stand. As such, the Twins are on it, waiting to be read. The Twins are "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall and "Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All Night Runner" by Dean Karnazes.

Dean's book got me into ultrarunning by helping me understand that 1) walking is just fine while running, 2) the body can do much more than we think it can and 3) running longer can make life greater and actually be better for the family than the marathon distance. I reread this book every spring.

Christopher's book has challenged me to consider barefoot running and to not see running as a separate compartment of my life. Plus, this book is so well written and so immensely informative and provocative as he delves into the life of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico that at times I wondered if the book was really about running.

So there they sit, the Twins. It's time that I reread them both.


Steve said...

Fantastic post, Joel. "Born to Run" is easily one of my favorite reads. I've yet to read Karnaze's book, because I'm not a huge fan of him nor his "marketing". Nonetheless, enjoy the Twins and hope to see you again soon on the trails.

NJ said...

LOVE Born to Run. Rereading it right now. We're going to be getting VFF's at Running Room in Woodbury. Not sure when though. I'm also considering the merits of barefooting after dealing with this PF for so long. Changed my stride from a heel strike to a mid foot one, but when I'm tired, I notice my form tends to go back to the heel.

Love the chair and the stories it has to tell.

By the way, you have me thinking that maybe the 50K at ATR is doable. Dang...just when I thought I made up my mind! I'll know after Monday when I hit a few of the trails. I have to let John know on Tuesday.