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Fieldguide to Running in Eugene

Finally!!  The time has come!! The Fieldguide to Running in Eugene is here for all.

Practice, Participation, Power, Politics.

Module II

Participating in any environment means that there has to be a structure in place that allows for the interaction of such thoughts; it has to allow for the construction of those thoughts, and it means putting ones self in a slightly venerable place.  While art and politics seem like separate entities, they in fact, have a lot of intersection. Artists participate in making art and when they exchange it for money, the state enforces the laws it has created concerning a taxable income for the artist.  Is this true always?  Art can be seen as a commodity, to be sure, and as such is susceptible to the inherent property rules that the state instills.  On page 165 of Art and State, the author states, “Like other participants in the making of art works, the state and its agents act in pursuit of their own interests, which may or may not coincide with those of the artists making the works” (Becker, 2008).

Another part to the social practice of art comes into play when we take a look at who actually wrote some of the structures put into place for the artists and art venues.  For example, Bill Ivey talks about the how the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations helped to craft “America’s first effort at wholesale intervention in the arts” and how “they laid out the boundaries that have enclosed our cultural-policy agenda over the past half-century” (Ivey, 2005).  This has been a great model in the nonprofit growth of the country, and was formed from two hardy individuals wanting a positive change; however, it is getting to be dated, and may need a revisit at some point, hopefully by individuals that want to continue to make a difference with art and art organizations.  After all, power in the wrong hands can have a lot of negative side effects.  When “commercial” organizations have the power to tell the public what to look at, when to come see it, what it is about, then there is a shift in the art that is being produced.  Thank you, consumerism.  Power can be utilized through visual means; in fact, it is one of the more powerful tools that any kind of company can use.

Art can also be seen a propaganda, as we have seen esp. throughout the history of the 1900’s, I’m thinking of WWII posters.  Art has become a tool that the government uses to facilitate feelings, either for or against, an opposing force.  These images are then treated as the reflection of governmental thought, which has the ultimate goal of affecting its citizens.  These images also reflect political interests, which forms a sort of political aesthetic for the public.  This is one of my favorite topics, personally.  War propaganda posters are some of my favorite pieces of art.  Having and creating a visual of what each country wanted to portray is rather potent, and here we can see examples of how power is linked through these types of images and how society reacts and examines their own way of living in response to these images.  I think any kind of poster that tries to rally people together (hopefully for the greater good) has meaning or some entity behind it; it forms a tangible quality to the art, something you can feel, even more so than other artworks.

There can be this unspoken power in transmedia environments, because of its organization: the interfacing that happens when a person is in a personal space, looking online and viewing a page is different than if that person was in a public place looking at a poster.  It keeps the viewer in an informal and less “aggressive” place, which leaves room for the viewer to make controlled and/or thoughtful decisions rather than maybe rash or uneducated ones.  The transmedia environ has to be aesthetically pleasing and have current and relevant information too.  If an organization has poor skills at crafting or hiring multi-media personnel, then they are certainly without a necessary public attention grabber.

Becker, H. (2008). Art and the state. Art worlds. Berkeley: University of California Press.Art and the State

Ivey, B. (2005, March). America Needs a New System for Supporting the Arts. In The Chronicle Review. Retrieved October 16, 2013

Field Guide

So, it has been a long and grueling process to try and figure out what to do for the Field Guide assignment.  My mind keeps swirling with maps and a document that leads the reader to some specific series of points… If I were in a library and happened to come across a Field Guide, what would I want to see?  What would be interesting enough to stop and pick this thing up?

I have been thinking about my interest in sports and art intersecting and will probably entertain such thoughts regarding my field guide.  Shoe brands, running surfaces, etc.  It would be handy for beginner runners… Here goes:

A Field Guide to Running.  

The wonderful thing about running is that it can be done on almost any surface, anywhere on Earth.  Except for hot magma.  With proper form, just like any dance, or performance, running can be beautiful.  The very essence of running is to be in balance with your body, to be in touch with how you are moving in space, and that takes practice.  I like to think of running as an art form because too often, we think of it as ‘working out’ or about it being competitive.  While true, taking a different perspective on the topic will hopefully help shed some light on the pure form of what it is to run. Further, I have come to realize that the skills learned in running are carried over into life.  Organization, scheduling, treating your body right, and adding motivation; I haven’t met a single runner who did not embody at least two of these qualities.  Running is a culture, a lifestyle.  And knowing what it takes to be a successful runner can help balance other areas of daily life.  Knowing about different surfaces to use in order to maintain form is important to know, as well as some simple techniques to keep in mind while navigating the terrain.  In addition, posture and mind-set aids in the ability to continue a healthy stride and body.

The history of running in the United States is an interesting topic, most especially because of the modern culture surrounding the activity, both recreationally and competitively.  Track and Field and long distance running has become synonymous when thinking about elite athletes.  The sport produces extreme endurance in the participant athlete and enforces a strict training regiment.  While this is not necessary to becoming a successful runner, it is fun to know the extreme cases of those who do train yearly!  Running spans every continent, and here in Eugene, running has become a part of the community at large.  With the historical Hayward Field looming over the city, it is not surprising!  The area surrounding the city as well as in the city itself has become strewn with various trails and pathways for the activity.

I really want to break this barrier of running as working out because it is so liberating to really get into a run.  Having a body in motion and working together is a feeling not experienced as often as we would like.  The beauty of running is that is harmonizes both your body and mind; it gets you tuning into the relationship between muscles and mind.  Every body in motion has the potential to reach a beautiful art form.  Having a cadence and utilizing proper form on a consistent basis will improve the overall feel of the run.

Developing the techniques and utilizing different surfaces are important to think about when going for a run for a number of reasons.  Namely, preventing injury, maintaining distance, speed, and fitness, as well as feeling good during your workout.  These are the primary ideas behind this guide.  Knowing about these areas and how they impact your body and running style.

Water: This can be especially relevant for zero gravity running.  It is an important recovery tool for runners, water acts as a resistor that can increase the weight put on muscle motion, and since you are floating in water, it has zero impact on joints.  This is also great for a recovery workout, and helps remove lactic acid build-up from muscle.  Wearing a floatation belt around the waist may be beneficial for most.

Grass: Grass running can also be useful for recovery runs because of its low impact qualities.  Most cross-country courses take place on grassed areas like golf courses, football fields, or parks.  The earth underneath coupled with the vegetation makes this a great for long distances.  Beware in wet conditions as it can get very slippery, and the use of spikes may be necessary.

Track: Track is one of the most beneficial surfaces a runner can use.  It is made of polyurethane, a synthetic material, and is usually paired with rubber granules that make it exceptionally responsive and impact absorbing.  Tracks are usually measured at 200 meters, 300 meters (both indoor) and 400 meters (outdoor), making it easy to calculate distance and pace.

Trail: The first thing I tell a person about trail running is that it is very dynamic.  You never know what to expect on the trail!  Maybe a tree has fallen in the night or a mudslide has partially obscured the path; there can be obstacles in the way, hills to trudge up and roots to be wary of.  Trail running will get you fit fast, and is usually a mix of impact levels for your body.  I wouldn’t recommend trail running unless you have a bit of a base of running already.  It can be rough at times, and having that cardio base and leg strength is going to be helpful!  Additionally, running trails can have an element of danger to it, if one is not carefully placing footfalls or actively searching for even/uneven ground.  Careful of turning the ankle!!

Sand: This surface is less stable than hard ground, obviously but can be a great leg strengthener.  Running for speed is pretty derelict in this environment, so a slower pace it usually needed because of the pocketed surface, unless you are running near the edge of the water.  Wearing no shoes may seem like a good idea, but the sand can pretty abrasive over time and may cause blisters.

Form: It is important to have good posture for the entirety of the run.  Without it, your back and hips do not align, and injury can happen.  Maintaining a higher knee drive is important too, as it will keep your hips underneath you as you run; from a mechanical standpoint, this is essential.

Mind: Preparing your mind is almost as important as stretching before a run.  Mentality before a run or even a race often can be the edge one needs to finish.  You have to expect that at some point during the run, it is going to be a bit uncomfortable; pushing through the ‘wall’ and staying mentally focused forward is the main idea.

Stretching: Preventing injuries are made easy with this simple task- stretching!  Maintaining flexibility is important for muscles and tendons alike!  It is also good point out because during stretching is a good time to remember mental focus and review form techniques.


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