The Old OB Hippie: Jogging for the Revolution

by on June 15, 2015 · 3 comments

in Culture, Health, History, Life Events, Ocean Beach

Old Hippie ob timeIt’s OB Time

The Old OB  Hippie Claims He Was the First OB Jogger and Says: Concrete Is Not Good for Knees

By the Old OB Hippie

When I left the college campus with a degree, it was during the heady days of the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement. There had been protests and demonstrations galore against the war for years and they were getting more intense and militant as each year went by. The country was being torn up by the war and how the Pentagon got its way. Students and young people were being turned into radicals. ‘Revolution was in the air.’

Finally, in the Spring of 1970 – all hell broke loose after Nixon invaded Cambodia, and National Guardsmen and cops killed demonstrating students at Kent State and Jackson State in May.  College campuses and high schools went on strike – and there were over 400 campuses involved in protests, including mine.

By 1970, I too had turned into a radical – I wanted the war to end, I wanted to end racism and sexism, and wanted a better economic system. I thought the way things were going, the country was heading toward a second American revolution, so I turned into a revolutionary, a supporter of the Black Panthers and the Brown Berets and revolutionary struggles everywhere.

Being a revolutionary was a heavy responsibility – and all conscious revolutionaries had to get ready for the revolution. And getting ready meant being physically fit.

So, in order to become more physically fit, I started jogging. Not running, but jogging. At first I jogged around the edges of the university campus. I didn’t wear tennis shoes back then. I had been in the Army and I still had my Army boots – and I started running in them.  But here’s the thing, no one called it “jogging” back then. And I don’t mean athletes running around tracks. I’m talking running for exercise.

After graduation, I returned to Ocean Beach and continued my involvement in politics and being a revolutionary. And I continued my running in army boots.

You may not believe this, no one else was running around or jogging in those days. Summer of 1970. Jogging was not in fashion – yet. In fact, I was the very first OB  jogger. Really. No one but me was running around the neighborhood, and certainly, no one was running around in army boots.  I was the first to run in place at a signal light. Now, everyone jogs. (And for another historic footnote, I was the very first guy to wear green tennies at Point Loma High.)

Eventually, I turned to lighter, tennis shoes to run in, of course. But I continued to jog. Now, I was not a fast jogger, I never set any records, I wasn’t facetiousness and never became obsessed with it.

Yet, by the late 1980s and early 1990s, the jogging was taking its toll. My knees began to give out.

Okay, I know the revolution (with a capital “R”) never came, but I still believed in being fit over the years, and continued to work out. But all those years of running and jogging on concrete really screwed up my knees – . I never had to have surgery but I had to use crutches for a while and do physical therapy.  It got to a point where I just could not run anymore.

It was those damn hard surfaces I jogged on. Concrete, asphalt. Damn them. The human knee and foot are not meant or built to run on such hard surfaces for long periods of time.  The jarring to your system that constantly slamming your feet down on these surfaces causes to your more delicate joints is not pretty.

My knees told me it was over.

Instead of jogging or running, however, I took up bicycling – which I’ve been doing ever since. There’s much less impact to your knees or system.

I still winch every time I see a jogger bounce by on sidewalks or concrete walking paths. They’re destroying their knees, I think.

So, listen friend. If you jog, please don’t do it on concrete. (Asphalt is a tad better.) Grass or even dirt are better surfaces. Respect your knees – and even if you’re jogging for other reasons than the revolution, just don’t jog on concrete. And if anybody questions this, just tell them that the original OB Jogger says so.




{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page June 15, 2015 at 1:59 pm

I started jogging in the middle of winter, 1972 to 1973 in Michigan, and have been doing so ever since. There are not many folks my age still doing it for physical reasons, but I did something back in the 80s that is responsible for my longevity, I started running every other day. I’ve lifted weights for even longer and the rule for working muscles is to work them one day and rest them a day. It occurred to me that this rule did not seem to apply to runners but it made just as much sense and it also gave the joints a rest. I can run as far as I did back then, my main run is just under five miles. And, I’ve been running on asphalt most of those miles. My advice is not to run every day, the joints were not intended for this kind of thing. If you run every other day, you will stay in shape, save your legs, and be able to do it for a long time.


Frank Gormlie June 15, 2015 at 2:48 pm

And I can testify about your youngish figure.


Geoff Page June 15, 2015 at 3:42 pm

I’ll take that as a compliment but I think you just set us both up for a few, uh, comments, Frank. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…


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