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I believe I can fly

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JFK said it best.

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

Space travel is more than a dream, it's a test of manhood. They designed the rockets to look like that for a reason. Failing to appear masculine is sort of a specialty of mine, aside from my Boeing Delta II rocket (if you know what I mean). But even that often fails to appear (if you know what I mean).

Somewhere in the doughy midst lives the inner athlete we all wish we were. He is usually shy, and it takes a lot of prodding to get him to say anything, but I finally prodded myself (hey now!) enough to awaken the beast.

"Hey jackass," he yelled, "you're fucking fat!"

I guess it's that time in life where I can't eat pizza and sit playing video games and keep my slim, ladylike figure. Time to get serious. Time to put my mind towards a goal and actually finish it, for once.

I am going to the moon.

I am going to dunk a basketball.

Step 1 - Recalibration

Over-pronation is not a disease you'd send money to Africa to help control, but it can be just as devastating as cleft mouth or whatever. It's the fancy term for flat feet, meaning you roll your feet inwards onto the arches when you walk. Everybody does it, some just over-do it. When you run or jump it leads to using your big toe, essentially, to do all the work. This can stress out your soleus muscles, shin splits, blisters, even plantar fasciitis.

Most importantly it leads to a shitty vertical jump. Before I did anything else I totally revamped my footwear.

Chaco Latitudes, the Cadillac of flip-flops.

Smartfeet insoles, the Cadillac of insoles.

Both offer aggressive arch support and superior shock absorption. As a fun bonus, now when I lean over to grab something, I nearly stumble because I'm used to over correcting inwards. No joke, I walk like Henry James after 2 nectarinis.

The good news is that now the stress of movement is now shared throughout the leg and lower back, just the way God intended. There are no more soleus flares, no more shin splints, and it pretty much feels like I'm walking on clouds all day. That could also be the painkillers.

The bad news is that superior shock absorption isn't always the best thing for you. Think of your feet as a small black child and your shoes as a liberal government that shelters him and never makes him grow to survive in the real world. Your ankles are the lazy weed smoking drain on society that emerges.

That's why there are these bad boys . . .


. . . The Cadillac of bare foot simulation technology.

Incidentally, I just wanted shoes I could take to the trail or the greenbelt, then get in the water with my dog. There is a lot of science behind these goofy things, though. Spent three hours in these before my inner athlete piped up again: "Hey fuckstick! You have no idea how to walk!"

He's right. I don't. If the internet is to be trusted, and it is, most people bang their heels into the ground when they walk, and the "propulsion" that modern footwear provides keeps your tendons and small muscles around your toes from having to do anything. Ankle strength and toe push off, to use a scientific term, are both pretty important to jumping. But they are not the only important thing.

Proper running shoes lead to high levels of personal fulfillment, indeed.

Step 2 - Aerodynamic

Since I am wearing what amounts to a 35 pound weight vest over the body of what amounts to a teenage girl, working up full speed to try and jump just leads to an awkward lurch forward with a violent end against the wall. There is more horizontal than vertical. Second step on my path to overall wellness is to lose the spare spare spare tire I am carrying.

The diet is an essential part of any weight loss program, so out with the grease and in with the leaves. It's going to suck, but if no more Snickers bars means I can brush my teeth without my titties jiggling, then I'm all for that.

Step 3 - Thrust

Clay Aiken probably 120 pounds, and he still couldn't dunk. Being lighter is only half the battle, you still need to have some lift.

You know those plyometric exercises they showed Adrian Peterson doing once on TV? He held 50 pound dumbbells in each hand and jump on and off off a 3-4 foot high box, over and over. I think I tore an ACL just watching that. They work, but the thought of various tendons lying around on the floor like spilled spaghetti doesn't sound all that appealing.

So it's off to remedial exercise with all the soccer moms in Hyde Park . . . yoga!

Don't laugh. There is little better you can do for joint and core strength than yoga. It also helps flexibility for those times I talk out of my ass. After that, we'll see about some more intense jump training.

Step 4 - Orbit


The goal is set for April 14th, 2009. That's six months of weight loss (at least 5 lbs/month) and basic strength training, then three months of explosive plyometric training. If that isn't enough . . . the fuck it, I'll do it on the PS3 like everybody else.

Award-winning The Barking Carnival will be kept up to date, although it's less for the dear reader and more for the dear diarist, because peer pressure is the only reason I ever do anything. I don't have 7 crack babies for nothing. There are "before" pictures of my A-cup teenager man boobs and my entirely unattractive be-speckled gut but out of concern for the readership I will not post them. But in the name of posterity and science, they exist. I will use them for evil, too.

Minus thirty pounds and plus a foot on my vertical. Can he do it? Does anybody other than him care? It's got to be more interesting than golf, right?

Current weight: 215

Current jump height: 9'6