Literary Acquisitions

Latest additions to the sports shelves. 

Happy weekend reading, everyone.

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Forging Connections

Another well spent Sunday morning in the company of fellow runners from around the city.

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And then I came across this picture in today’s news, featuring people practicing yoga as part of the La Parisienne event in front of the Eiffel Tower.

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What is it about community events like these that bring people together? They are extremely beneficial for recreational athletes and fitness enthusiasts who might not be professionally trained in a sport or particular activity, but look forward to being active as a form of healthy living and fitness. One doesn’t need to be engaged competitively in order to practice an athletic endeavor. In such situations, people seek to connect with other kindred spirits who share the same interests.

Our run this weekend, comprised people running across varied distances. The route was the same, but some ran the half marathon distance, some did a 10k, while others completed any chosen distance on the route. It is the friendships that people forge with like-minded individuals, and the camaraderie they share that make community events fun and fruitful affairs.

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Can You Read This?

“Literacy is the most basic currency of the knowledge economy.”

~Barack Obama

Today is International Literacy Day. It is a joy to read, and even more so to connect with fellow bibliophiles. The picture below is a collage made by marathoner, author and founder of our book club here, Lt. Cdr. Bijay Nair (Retd.). What started off as a bunch of runners who came together to share their common love for reading and discussing books, snowballed into a full-fledged book club which attracted even non-runners/athletes who attended and loved the book meets. We don’t discuss just running or exercise related books, though running was what brought us together. Founder Nair prepared this collage of some of our many meet-ups, as a reminder of the value books play in our lives. In a twist to Joseph Addison’s words, Nair quotes – “Reading is to the mind what running is to the body”. And we have been blessed to find like-minded souls from the runner-reader tribe. “A child without education is like a bird without wings” , goes a Tibetan proverb. Education is a gift no one can take from you – perfectly highlighted on a day that pays tribute to the importance of literacy. Pick up a book today, and be grateful that you can read it.

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Image copyrighted by DYRT

Tribe Of Reader-Runners

As the book collection spirals out of control with frequent bookstore visits, buying new books, scouring second-hand shops for thrift sales, and keeping an eye out for books in general, book gifts by friends helpfully aid that spiral – a progressive spiral to add to one’s home library, and a downward spiral as far as space to accommodate, and time to read them all is concerned.

I was at a running event yesterday, and received this book by ultrarunner Dean Karnanzes from a fellow marathoner. The newest addition to the running shelf. A book for a runner, about a runner, from a runner. 🙂

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When Your Mouth Isn’t Doing The Talking…

Danny Danziger and Mark McCrum came out with a book in 2009 titled “The Whatchamacallit” – a fun and witty compilation of “everyday objects you just can’t name, and things you think you know about but don’t. ”  According to the author duo, the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. In continuation with our effort to add to one’s ever expanding vocabulary in the Ragtag Daily Prompt, MNL from Cactus Haiku has prompted us with borborygmus as the word for the day.

Borborygmus can be described as a stomach rumble or peristaltic sound, also referred to as ‘bubble gut‘ due to the rumbling, growling or gurgling noises produced by the movement of the contents of the gastrointestinal tract as they are propelled through the small intestine by a series of muscle contractions known as ‘peristalsis‘. The rumbles and grumbles are produced in the stomach as fluid and gas move forward in the intestines. The scientific name ‘borborygmus‘ is derived from the 16th century French word ‘borborygme‘, which in turn was related to the ancient Greek  βορβορυγμός (borborygmós – which the Greeks coined onomatopoetically).

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Incomplete digestion of food can lead to excess gas in the intestine. Hunger can also trigger peristalsis through the ‘migrating motor complex‘. After the stomach has emptied, it signals the brain to restart peristalsis via the digestive muscles. The rumblings can also be caused when air is swallowed if one is sipping beverages through a straw, or constantly talking while eating.

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As a marathon runner, borborygmus is something we often deal with. The medical terminology makes it sound a lot more threatening than it actually is, but something as innocuous as sipping an energy drink through the straw of a tetrapack while in the middle of a run can trigger fluid and gas movement, creating rumbles. If one’s meals and races or training sessions are not timed properly, it can cause discomfort while running. An athlete is often advised to not try anything new on race day – whether the pre-race meals, energy aids during the race, or nutrient replacements post the event, one should consume foods the digestive system is accustomed to. Any sort of experimentation can be left for training days.

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A variation of the word has been found in literature, used to describe noise in general. ‘Borborygmic’ featured in Vladimir Nabokov’s “Ada” where noisy plumbing was referred to as “waterpipes seized with borborygmic convulsions”. In “A Long way Down” Elizabeth Fenwick described a room as being “very quiet, except for it’s borborygmic old radiator”. Graham Greene’s “Alas, Poor Maling” was a short story featuring a character who found “irritating noises taking the shape of borborygmus”.

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Have you ever wondered what your body is trying to communicate with you? Maybe you will pay closer attention to all those creaks and groans from now on. Aside of the noises inside, do you think you could identify some borborygmic sounds in the vicinity? Now you know the word for them!

Cuddly Canine Competitors

The sports section of yesterday’s newspaper featured the Goldfields Pipeline Marathon in Australia. It was not the runners, however, who were the focus of the article. A dog called Stormy took up the challenge and diligently ran the half marathon route (21.097 kilometers or 13.1 miles), completing the distance in two and a half hours. The crossbreed was said to be very friendly, and prior to the start of the race was even seen at the half marathon section saying ‘hello’ to his “fellow competitors”. When the event took off, the doggo promptly raced alongside the humans, revealed race organizer Grant Wholey. At race stations along the route, he was seen having a little runaround and greeting the volunteers and participants who had paused for a water break. Stormy kept following the crowds, keeping to the middle or back of the pack, and finding running companions by teaming up with random runners on the route. Wholey added the black and brown canine came from a nearby Aboriginal community, where school teachers revealed the locals called him Stormy. He belonged to a community rather than a single owner, and was said to be a year old. Stormy successfully completed his half-marathon near the West Australian town of Kalgoorlie in a time usually taken by amateur runners. He was awarded a medal for completing the race, and winning the hearts of his human competitors. Rangers impounded the pooch when no one claimed him after the race, and Wholey revealed some of the runners are keen on adopting him. Some podium finish for this doggo who stood up to the long distance running challenge!

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Keeping the pace. That’s how it’s done.
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Seen passing through each checkpoint along the course, which made him eligible for the finisher’s medal.
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Proudly sporting the medal.
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Kept in a pound for seven days, and put up for adoption when no one claimed him.

In similar news, a canine from Alabama accidentally ran a half marathon and finished in seventh place. While human racers train ahead of a race for months, the two and a half year old pet hound dog completed the distance in an impressive 1:32:56 for 13.1 miles (21.09 kilometers). Ludivine was said to have snuck out of her owner’s garden and joined runner’s at the start point of the Trackless Train Trek Half Marathon (in 2016. It is now known as the Elkmont Half Marathon.) Her owner April Hamlin admitted to Runner’s World that her pet regularly wanders off without her in the town of Elkmont, and was embarrassed that her canine companion may have got in the way of race participants. Ludivine was seen bouncing around in her collar, so racers assumed she belonged to someone and would turn back home after a head pat. The canine racer was seen running off to romp through streams and sniff around yards for a while, before she got back in the race and decided the challenge was on again, determinedly passing fellow runners. Volunteers at the race happily clicked pictures of every participant, including the non-human one, and sent proof of Ludivine’s long distance running prowess to her owner. The finish line picture at an impressive seventh position was also captured. Hamlin explained this was the first half marathon in Elkmont, and the organizers and participants were parents of kids who regularly run cross country and wanted to raise funds. Ludivine unwittingly brought more publicity to the event. Doggos continue to win hearts all over!

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Be courteous to all volunteers.
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Interesting things might happen off-route…
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But it’s important to regain focus.
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Why follow the pack when you can lead?
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Seventh position in a trail half-marathon with 1:32:56. Show the humans how it’s done!

Sources:

~www.telegraph.co.uk

~www.abc.net.au

~Mid-day newspaper