Monday, August 30, 2010

Past 40 Barefoot Miles -- "The Barefoot 2nd Mile"

Back home again after the nice visit to my childhood home.  I never thought I'd say this, but I kind of miss the asphalt.

I'm starting to understand what "The Barefoot 2nd Mile" is going to be about.  For one thing, "The Barefoot Mile" is contained within the "Barefoot 2nd Mile."  In this case, The Barefoot Mile can be either the first of the two miles, or the second, or both, actually.

What I mean by that is that the first of the two miles is like the money in the bank.  "The Barefoot Mile" that has been "conquered," in a sense.  That mile now seems to serve like a little warmup or prelude.  It is familiar and it is well-trod and it feels really good, but at the same time it's not what it was because it kind of knows that another mile is to follow.

But "The Barefoot Mile" is also like the second mile.  The second mile is like beginning to run again.  It's kind of the way "The Barefoot Mile" used to feel, when I was first starting out, only it has some advantages that the beginner barefoot mile does not have.  For one thing, it has tougher soles of the feet, and it has better knowledge of form.  It has a lighter step, and it has more cardiovascular endurance. It has a little experience.

It is very interesting.  The second barefoot mile is really "The Barefoot Mile" all over again with a longer warmup beforehand.

I was thinking as I ran along about how this is like the tedious preparatory work of laying the foundation for a good result that is a principle which applies to many endeavors.  I specifically thought of painting a room.

Sometimes, when I have wanted to paint a room, I've read about all the preparation of the surface, and in an immature, childish, and impatient way, I've glossed over that preparatory part, just so eager and anxious to see the new pretty color on the wall.

What happens when  you do that is that you get a kind of lumpy look from all the nooks and crannies and cracks in the wall, and sometimes the paint doesn't adhere for very long because the wall was dirty before the paint was put on.  And sometimes the color of the paint is not as brilliant as you hoped for because you slapped it on right over the old color, and did not do a prime coat with a white base paint.

My natural tendency has been to want to skip the first steps and get to the good part.  But it's always the first steps, boring and uninteresting and tedious, that ensure the beauty of the final product.  In fact, this article here says that the preparation is 80% of what will make a good paint job. Clean the wall well, spackle it and fix the cracks first.  Put on the prime and base coats and let them dry.  Your living room looks like a big mess during this phase, but an experienced painter will recognize that it is going to be beautiful once it's done, even though it will take longer and you'll have to live in less-than-aesthetically-pleasing surroundings for a while longer than you would like to put up with.

Well, I feel that "The Barefoot Mile" was the mile where I spackled and filled in the cracks and made the wall smooth.  The next couple of miles are going to be priming it and putting on the skim coat.  I've got to make sure I let mile 2 set firmly into my muscles before moving on.  It will be almost as redundant and "boring" as establishing the first barefoot mile, but so-o-o-o-o worth it in the end.  All I have to do when I am getting impatient is remembering the results I got when I wasn't patient and that horrible horrible plantar fasciitis from last year.

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