Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Palin on Running

A long time ago, during the reign of King George Bush II, I was the author of a lefty political blog. I was an extremely vociferous blogger, the very epitome of the angry crank in the basement. I sat at my desk firing my slings and arrows hither and yon, striking out at anyone who didn’t agree with my own peculiar brand of anarcho-libertarian-progressivism. During the last election a particular target of my ire was Sarah Palin, the erstwhile Governer of Alaska and former vice-presidential nominee. Sarah was, to be fair, an easy target. To compound the fact that she lacked a certain intellectual rigor, she also suffered from that peculiar Republican tendency to dig in your heels during the discussion of an important issue despite the fact that the position you’re taking is patently absurd.

Well, Sarah has a new book out and the publicity machine is cranking away, ensuring that every time we open a paper or turn on the news we’re greeted with a picture of the former Ms. Wassila’s sunny face and chirpy banter. Palin’s current complaint about the media centers around a picture of her on the cover of Newsweek, (at left) apparently taken during a photo shoot for Runners World. Wait, WHAT? Apparently the controversial photo was shot for the August 2009 issue, which featured Palin in the monthly “I’m a Runner” column.

I headed on over to Runners World’s web site to read the interview, which I found completely fascinating. Apparently Palin has been running regularly for 35 years, and in 2005 ran a sub four-hour marathon (The 2005 Humpy's Marathon in Anchorage). One of her greatest frustrations she had during the campaign (besides Katie Couric, I assume) was that the McCain staff wouldn't adjust her schedule so she could fit in a run. As she put it, “The days never went as well if I couldn't get out there and sweat.”

Although it kills me to say this, my opinion of Palin has just inched up a couple of notches. She cites George Sheehan as one of her favorite authors and answered a question about what running has taught her about politics this way: “Same thing it's taught me about life: You have to have determination and set goals, and you don't complain when something's hurting because no one wants to hear it.” Ain’t it the truth.

Finally, Palin on running in general: “It doesn't matter your background, your demographics, your race, your political affiliation—it's such a uniting, healthy, fun, awesome activity…we're all there together and we're smiling and we're having a good time because we're going to do something healthy and active. We need more of that. That's what sports are able to do. It's a wonderful kind of diversion from the divisiveness that is politics or that is life.” Amen, Sarah. Keep that in mind, ok?

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