And now, the rant....
Yes, I enjoy running.
Yes, I enjoy marathons.
NO, it's NOT bad for my joints.
When trained properly, and when trained in a natural running form, running may actually be good for your joints. More on that later.
There. I feel better.
I've got to get miles on my favorite part of the trail while I can. Soon enough gun deer season starts--not a good time to be running with a yellow lab. Then the snow begins to fall, and while I don't mind running in a bit of snow (it softens the aforementioned rocks and roots), it really isn't all that much fun for more than 5 miles in my opinion. That's what snowshoes are for.
I left from the Parnell Tower with Bonnie and wanted to make it to Butler Lake before turning around. Again, I can't state how beautiful this trail is. Within the first 1/2 mile of the trail, Bonnie (who probably ran 3 times as far as I did by weaving back and forth chasing anything in the woods that moved) stirred up two bucks, who seemed to be as confused by her as she was by them. Ellie's parents' older dog, Cork, who is a bit too old for the Ice Age Trail and much prefers naps, would have chased those deer straight across the county. Bonnie, on the other hand, came sprinting back to me after seeing their white tails scampering away from her. She was as afraid as they were. It was hilarious. Some hunter.
We continued on and finally reached the valley that leads to Butler Lake in about 40 minutes. After that much time watching every single foot placement on the trail, it's nice to see the trail open up into a valley where the lake resides. As usual, pictures don't do it justice (especially when taken with a phone), but I tried.
Bonnie: "Put the damn camera away and lets go!"
When I reached the Butler Lake parking lot, I headed straight for the well to re-fill my water bottle. Before filling my water bottle, though, I took care of my running partner:
Bonnie, laying down in the puddle of water from the well, lapping it up. (And look at your multi-tasking author's shadow, as he pumps and takes a picture simultaneously! While I'm no Steve Stenzel, I love this picture ;) )
Also in the parking lot was another dog and his buddy, a man who's name I didn't catch. He was working on the Butler Lake Loop in preparations for the upcoming cross-country ski season. I happened to be wearing an NF Endurance Team shirt, so he quickly added two and two and said,
"You know your body's not made for that s**t, right?"
I chuckled (which is what I seem to do when someone or something slightly gets me off balance a bit) and mentioned there's been plenty of research done, especially in the past 5 years, on endurance running and its positive effects on the human body.
I wasn't changing his mind, though. He is a biker and a skier, and he avoids the POUNDING and ARTHRITIS-INDUCING sport of running. Agree to disagree, I guess.
An IAT Blazer...Just follow the Yellow Rectangles
First off, I'd like to suggest a book to you. Why We Run, by Bernd Heinrich is a must-read book for anyone interested in Mother Nature's approach to endurance. Bernd happened to be a decent runner and uses this book to both explain Nature's amazing endurance "athletes," explain why humans are actually designed for distance, and also take you along as he trained for a 100k American Record run in Chicago in 1981.
[Disclaimer: This book gets really dry at points. Use it to fall asleep at night, or skip to the parts about running, which are actually really interesting. He used Cranberry Juice, of all things, as his only nutritional supplement on his runs. The last time I used cranberry juice for anything, I wasn't running...]
- This Study (Jul 1990) found no difference in arthritis between former elite long-distance runners and non-runners.
- This Study (Jan 1994) says there's only a slight increase in risk of arthritis-related hospital visits among ex-elite athletes and the common population.
- This Study (Aug 2008) would agree...there's on difference in runners and non-runners.
- This Study (Jun 2006) says it may even be preventative.
There. That should keep you busy for a while. There will be a quiz next week.