A bad case of the runs…


Every Journey begins with a single step

The other day I happened to be doing my usual youtube searching for stuff and I came across something that had potential to rival my QUOTE OF THE YEAR 2011 (Click here for more). It also inspired me to write this lil piece here so I will combine the two together.

So with that in mind, I wanted to talk to you about running but not running in a sports sense, nor in the exercise sense, heck not even in the ‘oh crumbs i will piss myself if i don’t find a toilet in 5 seconds’ sense.

I really mean running as a way of life, and ultimately as a state of mind.

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Belly’s gonna get ya

For those of us who work out, we all have our own unique motivations on what we wish to achieve by going through the ordeal.

A weight,

a shape,

a dinner date,

the usual faff

and with the new year approaching, many of us will be trying to make the most of that gym membership or try and get active for the new year especially after all the festive pies that have been demolished.

so at the gym, I presume most people will be hitting the weights, the exercise classes the bikes, the swimming pool, the cross trainer, the personal trainer, the toning balls, the gadgets (shake weight anyone (click here for this inside joke)?). The reason I say presume is because I’ve never personally been to the gym in my life, so this is all alient to me so correct me if I am wrong.

But one machine I get the impression everyone kinda hates is the evil evil treadmill

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There are a few reasons for this, some I agree with and some I’m skeptical about.

I agree with the fact, there is no point running on the spot to nowhere, and the high impact of hitting the conveyorbelt on your limbs is a bit on the icky side.

I also agree on the fact that it is a cosmetic exercise, since the majority of people don’t tend to run for more than half an hour on the go and it takes up to twenty minutes to start burning fat.

What I don’t happen to believe in, is that running is boring. Perhaps on a running machine (apart from when you are trying to do is get special oogling priveleges at the person jiggly up and down infront of you).

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And even as strictly a form of exercise (even though if performed on the right surface for long durations on a regular basis (alongside an altered balanced diet) is the assured way to change your body), I could see it having a limited impact on someone.

But the concept of going for a run? A real run, outside? Boring?

Amusing cry at the best of times and I’ll explain why

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Outline of the race

The run is a very special. It is unlike most other exercises out there as it is a very personal thing.

You task it to set out on a journey from one position to another, using solely your legs as a mode of transportation. Through urban settings, through rural countryside, through rocky glacies, through torrential downpour, through scorching heat, through the soaking sweat, through the short breaths, through the cramped legs, through sheer adversity.

your only aid and help in this journey is your body and your strength of mind to carry you through. Perhaps a ‘spice girl’ album if you are that way inclined but nothing substantial.

and what do you find at the other side of this journey?

You find yourself.

But not the you who started the run in the first place, A better version of you. A fitter clearer you.

And what is the only real obstacle standing in the way of you getting to your destiation?

You again. That is your body but mostly your mind. In the same way that your body and mind are your only tools to complete this task, they are also your major obstacles in getting it done.

You start at you and have to travel through you, to get to you.

I know, when said like that, it sounds like a completely pointless exercise but you couldn’t be further away from the truth.

Infact, it is the only activity guaranteed to provide you with not only a healthier individual but one with a better outlook on life as well.

Now if that’s isn’t a journey worth taking, I don’t know what is.

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The road to enlightenment

You see, I’ve always associated running as being the first martial art. I know some of you may find this weird and would credit this feat to something like jew-jitsu but here me out on this. It does make sense.

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At the root of most eastern fight disciplines, the techniques were originally advertised as methods of enhancing the body’s combat potential through regimented repetitive exercises. So they would take simple movements like punches and kicks and refine them with years and years of repetition until they become weapons of destruction. Simples

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Eventually through out these exercises, muscle memory would eventually take over so the trainer could use the techniques with less strain, deal more damage and  have  no conscience influence over their bodies actions.

In a sense, they will run on autopilot while doing their training.

So in repeatedly carrying out this routine, they would lose themselves to their thoughts and actually manage a higher percentage of potential for enlightened thought than if simply via meditating.

It would be within this time where they would allow for serious self analysing, analysing other situations and to be able to see how things fit and how they fit into the world around them. They normally would be able to see things for what they are, or manage to find solutions to the dillemmas and challenges in their lives.

SO they would embark on  a goal of physical refinement in making their bodies a weapon of war, in order to make their minds an embodiment of peace. And they would do this through rigorous repetitive actions.

This was actually the key of all fundamental fighting systems. However, each practicioner needed to come to this realisation themselves, and through wanting to become more violent would subsequently become abassodors for peace. It isnt something that is advertised and because of that, alot of people misconceive martial arts all together.

Anyway, the type of serenity you get from advancing through a martial art  is pretty much exactly what you get out of a run.

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The first step is dealing with denial 

And I’ve noticed a pattern with it. Or at least with people who run long distances regularly and martial artists.

They both tend to have some form of peace of mind.

People who generally don’t like running (but are physically capable of it) will call it boring, but what you find is that those who really can’t stand it, also cant stand things like being alone.

YOu find that they are generally seen as social creatures, who perhaps are figetdy and can’t stay still or doing the same thing for long. That is as they cannot or do not feel comfortable being left alone with their own thoughts.

ANd this unease manifests itself in unhealthy ways.

However, once they start to subconciously tackle it with a run, they can eventually change their whole outlook on themselves and ultimately their lives. They realise that once they can conquer themselves, they can conquer anything else out there and anything that was hindering their lives before, they manage to shift and start moving forward, step by step, stride by stride.

Just like the run.

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Run Forest Run…

One of the most famous depictions of running in modern day cinema comes from Robert Zemeckis’ 1994’s Academy award winning 1994’s Forest Gump.

heh, strange I still consider it a modern day film, it’s probably older than some people who will be putting in applications for university University next year. life is a funny fish.

Anywho, after having a night of passion with the only girl he has ever loved, only to have her dissapear in the night without a whim, and still struggling with the deaths of his mother and his best friend, the lead character Forest Gump decides to do the extraordinary.

He goes for a run (sponsored inadvertantly by Nike so it seems, hey, it’s hollywood, no one is perfect)

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This is simply a great piece of cinema here and not only from what he manages to physically accomplish but mentally what he seems to get out of it. Not only that but his antics seem to inspire those around him, causing a harem of followers, and national news intriugue.

You see the power of the mind in individuals to set about doing something and the overwhelming impact it can have on other people. All from trying to find the answers from within yourself.

name me a sport which offers the same level of resolve for both its partakers and in its spectators???

(before you say it, sex isn’t a sport folks (but ya never know by the 2016 olympics))

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Running an advertising campaign

Now I usually call out alot of advertising because I think the process is a lil jaded but I have to admit that generally I have a soft spot for the serious sport adverts.

With most products advertised, You generally get products that are shown to make your life easier so to speak, with simplicity and an effortless being the reward.

But with sports, you get a whole other angle.

While you do sometimes get adverts trying to sell you a cosmetic item or simple function garment or shoe that makes you look cool while you are standing for the bus, infront of a hot chick with your cap on backwards and your shirt hanging out, you do get some adverets that attempt to be more creative.

The capitalise on the fact that most people aren’t living their lives they way they want to, and exploit a gap to make them feel motivated enough to change it. Ideally this process  would then tie a bond betweeen the company making the advert and the consumer, making them seem they are on the same wavelength and therefore make them more likely to buy into their products. Like this lil beauty here.

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Whether this is indirect marketing or something else, The emphasis is far less on the product and far more on getting the viewer to become someone who would eventually strive to buy a product in that range. So the sports advertisers aren’t looking for adverts to specifically increase profit margin but market size and they do this by inspiring people to become more sporty.

I have no problem with this what so ever, anything that eventually leads to a healthier lifestyle is worth the brainwashing in order to reduce the lead costs of hurling our unhealthy fat asses through a universal health system.

You know it’s cheaper to kill someone who is obese than to keep them alive, by like nearly £300,000 a year. Money comes into everything and if you are obese, soon decisions on your health will be made simply on whether the numbers in the books balance.

I do seriously pray none of you end up in that position over some aspect of your health you have some degree of concious control over.

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Give them an inch, they take a mile..(and your wallet)…

So we have an opportunity for the brightest and most creative ones in the advertising fields to sell us a variety of sports products, which again generally sell their respective mother sports as the focal point.

But then you have running, which is a very personal thing. So what they then try to sell is a better you. And most of the time, based on everything brought up so far, I’m kinda willing to make a purchase.

SO with this, I will leave you with a few of  more of them to mo over at your own leisure. Hopefully something along the line may inturn inspire you, or better yet, inspire you to inspire someone else. I mean, that is afterall what this is all about. Small steps leading to bigger steps…

But their is one in particular I want to speak about as it has recently made quite the impact on me

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Find.Your.Strong.

Saucony is a brand I don’t know of. I never even heard of them until about a week ago.

All I know is that they realised that jesus hadn’t been getting much work lately since the easter bunny and father xmas took over his two big holiday spots, so with that, they went to him with a huge wod of money and asked him whether he would like to sell running shoes. THe greedy dead toad said yes but asked if he could have some input into the slogan

SO with this saucony came up with this concept of finding your strong.

Here is it

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Personally i watched this advert and my jaw just hit the ground half way through after hearing the truth with the sharp clarity of the F sharp being played on a saxophone in the dead of the desert.

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Maybe strong is what you have left, when you have used up all your weak

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*Wow….just……..simply…….wow*

Throughout my time on this planet, I have seen and heard of many people, close friends, family members, partners, teachers and complete strangers react to crises and dillemmas in their lives.

Alot of people freeze up in the moment, unable to move forward, most regressing back. IN this situation, no amount of knowledge of advice or support can help them. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Alot of people will try and continue to help them in this stage but i generally don’t, there is nothing you can do for this person at this stage, with regards to the advert, they are still running on weak.

All you can do is provide them with a suitable course of action once they have made up their own minds that enough is enough but you can’t influence their healing process, it just never works.

It is not until they have reached their tolerance  rock bottom, that something finally triggers in them and they notice and have the absolute clarity of a saint that they start bouncing back and putting their lives together. With some ferocious momentum I might add.

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They look long and hard and deep into each other and realise that they are strong all along. They have always been strong but just needed reminding where to find it, and it was inside and covered up by something far less useful. Complacency.

This point is perfectly summarised by Erykah Badu’s clever lil number called 20 feet tall. it is in the context I’m sure alot of you will be familiar with and that is a nasty relationship breakup

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so for me to see this wonderful notion captured in a motivation advert, which could be used in any context, not just running but also encapsulated in the physical excursion best known for finding yourself, and all endorsed by Jesus Christ(al) hinself, then you can imagine how much of an impact it must have made on me.

I think it’s a work of art. The lost commandment, which is now found in a world that needs it more than ever. Nice work JC

Jesus guys would have made good run for quote of the year if the quote had a bigger impact on me, or perhaps if i was going through something and needed that lil push to grow some balls, get off the ground, dig deep, and plough on forward. Kinda like this dude, Derek Redmonds, who found his strong during the olympics in 1992 in barcelona

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A remarkable piece of courage here, it’s funny no one who watched that race at the time remembers who won it but the image of Derek is burned into their memories for quite some time.

But I do believe the reason this entry doesn’t win is because i think I am strong and had my own personal epiphany way back in the day. Having done so though, I do genuinely believe, this is the best feeling you can inspire someone to experience for themselves, as there is no greater satisfaction you can provide than to give people the means and understanding to pick themselves up after a fall, brush off their shoulders and to dig deep  to start moving forward again.

Infact, I restate, the best feeling is watching someone who has fallen and gotten up inspire someone else to find their strong and get up. I mean we are all part of a big chain and seeing those lil steps all linked together to form a big change, that’s what it is all about.

Lining up the steps

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Trailblazing

This lil piece by Adidas is about trailblazing, kinda like what forest gump did, although they are being a lil bit more metaphorical while their advert is taking it quite literally.

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Taking the path untaken, and pushing your limits while carrying along the rest of the complacent human race with you kicking and screaming.

and best of all, splashing water in the faces of all those who told you it wasn’t possible.

A lil piece of gimmicky magic to see Ali running with some of the great sportign stars at the time

They glaze this advert with the slogan

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Impossible is nothing

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I’d like to add to it

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Overcoming the impossible is everything

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For I believe, this is the testament of all those who go out on their runs, to ultimately overcome their own impossibilities, day in, day out.

It’s amazing, if any of you are being affected by this, perhaps you should take up some running next year and then make a list this time next year of all the things you thought it would be impossible for you to do that you managed. You may be quite impressed with you the miracles you performed.

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The Final Push

So with that, I will leave you with a final lil piece. Perhaps one day when you are out huffing and puffing, you’ll think about it and it may spur you on. I can only hope.

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LA Rue

The roads ahead

The roads behind

The roads below

The road aside

The roads that dips

The roads that rise

The roads that narrow

The roads open wide

So many steps

These roads will hide

So many tears

So many cries

But none of these

Can break my stride

I will complete

The road inside

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Warm down

In making this piece, I came across alot of adverts and some of them i couldn’t use in the context of the piece but they stood out for me, probably because they were hilarious. Here they are at the bottom for you to sample. i’ll come back and write a lil tidbit about each of them but at this moment, i can’t be arsed, sue me.

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