GOING SOFT

There is a growing movement afoot, both figurative and literal, that is redefining society’s image of beauty and health, while raising basic questions about national strength and preparedness.

The beauty pendulum is always in swing, of course, whether in the time of Peter Paul Rubens or that of Miss Twiggy. But health and preparedness are matters not as easily dismissed by shifting tastes and subjective standards.

Stories are rife about how much slower today’s runners are than the previous generation. At the recent New Balance Falmouth Road Race on Cape Cod, old-timers recalled the days when nearly 50 men would run the serpentine 7-mile course in under 35:00, sub-5 minute per mile pace. This year only eight men accomplished that goal. At the same time, the top end of the sport is faster than ever. Yet the days when that excellence would trickle down to the rest of the field has long since ended.

Scientists now say running even as much as 50 miles a week alone won’t lose you any weight. Not running hard enough, they say, to burn off the necessary calories. That’s the ugly little truth about today’s marathoners. That’s why there are so many one-and-done bucket listers. ‘I thought this unpleasantness was supposed to pare me down.’ Continue reading “GOING SOFT”

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