Summer Games: Yogging

Now that summer is here, it's time to get that itchy shirt off and get outside. This is doubly true in times of Cub woe that we're currently experiencing - we need something to pass the time and dull the pain. Summer Games will examine some classic outside games, carefully choosing ones that lend themselves to shirtless participation and the coexistence of your favorite summer beverage.

Oh, it's jogging. I thought it was a soft J. Anchorman jokes! WOCKA WOCKA WOCKA!

I know this Summer Games installment piece was meant to feature
activities that even armchair QBs could do. And like the intro says, something to dull the pain of constant frustrating play from the Cubs. Let's be honest, there isn't always time for that, right? What about the time when you can't be around a group of guys to play horseshoes? What if your significant other isn't around to take to Makeout Point? You need a sport that you can play by yourself. Because when pocket pool has lost it's fun, you're fucking lazy.

How about jogging?

I may not be the best guy to promote the sport of jogging. (OK Mr. Fit, you want me to call it running, right? Well too bad. Jogging is what you want to do because you feel like it. Running is stuff you do when you're trying to escape a fire or if you're trying to get away from a bank robbery. Deal with it.) I am by no means a dedicated jogger. Some weeks I may jog a few miles three times a week. Other times I'll go a few weeks with nothing. I typically do a few triathlons each summer, but I almost pridefully tell people that I hate jogging. But deep down I can't deny that it always makes me feel better.

It's more of a question of motivation. Take tonight for example. I hadn't gone for a jog since late July, where our local community hosts a well known national road race that usually attracts about 20,000 racers. I don't have the patience or the stamina to train for the full 7 mile race, but luckily they offer a two mile race called The Quick Bix, that caters to dudes like me. And no one cares if it takes you 32 minutes to do a two mile run. Yeah, you stopped to meet up with some friends at Mile 1 to have a can of beer, no big deal.

Flash forward to tonight, when I was flipping channels and came across the World Track & Field Championships on the Versus channel. Watching the replays of Usain Bolt breaking his own world record in the 100 meter race, it got the desire going. So maybe I don't run at his pace, and I slog along at a 10:30 mile pace. So what if I'm about 15 pounds overweight and I jog without a shirt, scaring and amusing people with my loose flab (note: tanned fat looks better than pasty, white fat)? The point is, it's good that I got out there.

You can get your magazines or books where some male model with six pack abs wearing $150 of running gear will tell you how much weight you'll lose and how your quality of life will increase tenfold. That may or may not be true. But what is true is the following:

-You're energy will increase. Sure you'll be tired as hell if you're out of shape to start. Jogging just one mile might feel like a marathon and you'll probably be sore for a few days, but you'll be amazed how much more alert you are and how you're not so lethargic during the day.

- You'll get better sleep. Duh. Kind of a no-brainer, but you almost forget how great it is to get a good night's sleep.

- You'll cope with stress much better. Work sucks, that's a universal truth. Try heading out for a jog after a tough day at work, even if it's just a mile or so. You have that time to yourself - no boss, coworker, wife, boyfriend, online gamer can bother you. Think of the expression "blowing off steam".

- You'll be healthier. You might not lose a ton of weight and it doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want, but if you're exercising, you're undoubtedly better off from a health standpoint.

There you go. It's a cheap sport - all you need is a pair of shorts and some shoes. You don't have to spend $150 on some crazy, fancy pair. Are those REALLY any better than a $50 pair from Famous Footware? I'm saying no. You can jog pretty much anywhere and for a good part of the year, you can go sans shirt. Need more motivation? Listen to your iPod. Music always helps. I've also found it's cool to listen to a book on tape (iPod). Maybe sign up for a race.
Nothing motivates me more than the fear of making an ass of myself. Whatever trips your trigger. Happy trails.

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