Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

With winter coming at us fast

The mind turns to skiing (of course)

That would be cross country skiing here in West Michigan.

The only thing wrong with this State (besides the economy) is the lack of mountains. (They claim to have mountains here, but they look more like what happens when you get gophers in your yard, just little bumps on the landscape). Given the vertically challenged nature of the terrain, Nordic skiing is the obvious choice for winter exercise.

I have to admit though I have always enjoyed Nordic over Alpine skiing anyway. I like the fact that I can use skiing as part of a larger set of activities such as winter camping or hunting rather than just going to a commercial ski area and sliding down a hill. Also, I have to admit I am a cheapskate. Nordic equipment is a lot less costly than equivalent Alpine equipment. Then there is the fact that I can throw my skis and poles on a pack and walk to a convenient trail-head where I can ski all day for free rather than traveling for hours by car/train/plane to a ski area where I pay a premium for lift tickets and such.

I suspect that skiing also helps keep me in touch with my Scandinavian side.

Here is a recreation of Nordic skiing back in the 1860's. Notice the use of the "lurk", the single long pole as an aid. In earlier times this might have been a boar spear.



I think it quite likely that the Saami people were the first skiers, it has certainly been a part of their culture for as long as we can tell.

Here is a bit of Skiing history from the Montreal Mirror:

"Skiing is prehistoric. Remnants of ancient wooden skis have been carbon-dated to 2000 B.C., though cave drawings discovered above the Arctic Circle suggest that long animal bones served as the very first skis. Several countries claim to be the birthplace of skiing, from Sweden to Iran. But Norway has a particularly strong case.

Sondre Norheim is known as the father of modern skiing for having invented birch bindings and shorter, curved skis to facilitate turns—he was born in Norway’s Telemark region, namesake of a hybrid alpine/Nordic style in which the skier can use XC gear on a slope, descending slowly in wide S formations.

The word “ski” is derived from skith (stick of wood), from the Old Norse language. Skis were everyday tools for Northern Europe’s migratory indigenous people, the Sami, a culture primarily associated with Norway, though their territory extended into Sweden, Finland and even Russia. The Sami used skis for reindeer hunting and exploration, and their snow-faring ways were eventually adopted by the Vikings, whose monarchs embraced the activity as recreation, and whose armies employed it in warfare.

In 1206, skiing played a crucial role in an event that resonates in cross-country culture to this day, in the form of annual “Birkebeiner” races and marathons in Norway, the U.S. and Canada. Birkebeiner was an upstart political party that came to power during Norway’s civil war—they took their name, “birch legs,” from the opposition, who mocked the poor rebels’ makeshift shoes. After the deaths of two of their sitting kings, the Birkebeiners became vulnerable to their nemeses, the Baglers, and travelled a long, treacherous ski trail, somehow trudging through forests and over mountains while engaged in battle, to deliver the two-year-old heir to the throne to safety. And as King Haakon Haakonsson IV, that child went on to expand Norway’s boundaries and end the civil war. So, hail to the ski."

Of course things have progressed quite a bit since the 1800's. Here is a clip of a modern Telemarker from Norway. Personally I find this method quite aesthetically pleasing.


Of course what would a post like this be without proper theme music? so here is Angelin Tytöt (the girls form angelin village, AKA Angelit) Joiking "Garkit"


The Joik is a very old Saami tradition that was almost lost because of the attempts by the various Scandinavian governments to assimilate the Saami.

I was introduced to the joik by Saami friends when I lived in Sweden and I loved the music right off.

As it turns out, the Saami have a traditional temporary dwelling called a Lavvu or Kota which is basically a tepee (though they would say that a tepee is basically a lavvu)

I have several fond memories sitting around in a lavvu with my friends and swapping Round Dance and Peyote songs for joiks. The joik was accompanied by a Troll Drum, which is a sort of frame drum covered in reindeer skin and decorated with traditional symbols.

My Saami friends reminded me so much of hanging out on the Rez it was at times somewhat disconcerting. I have noticed in my travels that there is a sort of underling connectedness between First Peoples. I found it in Australia with the Aboriginal peoples I met there and in Africa with the Maasai as well as with the Saami in Sweden and Norway. They all seemed to face similar challenges and problems, and have a very familiar feel to them.

Saami Laavu or Kota

When I'm out by myself on the snow, I like to fill my mp3 player with Saami joiks and the oldest Swedish and other Scandinavian music I can find as well as the modern musicians and groups that pull from their Nordic roots like Gjallarhorn, Eivør Pálsdóttir and Garmarna. I suspect that the music helps keep me warm.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yet more barefooting

This time by a fairly hefty guy in the snow

And to top it off, it's for a good cause.


I was down at the local outfitter's that sells Vibram Five Fingers Here in West Michigan and the girl who was waiting on me told me that they sold out of the new model, the Trek, in 24 hours. She found it interesting because last year they couldn't sell their stock of Five Fingers at all.

I guess that the whole barefoot/minimalist movement is really catching on.

Yea feet!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Crazies are at it again

Just in time for Darwin Day.

November 22 will mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin's "Origin of Species"

So of course the so called "Religious Right" (code word for "those who want to return to a medieval world-view) are up in arms.

The first inkling I had of this was an article in "The Telegraph" taking note of the fact that a very fine biography of Darwin done in Britan could not find an American distributer because they all were afraid of the Fundamentalists. Now this is an award winning movie with a stellar cast, including Paul Bettany as Charles Darwin and Jennifer Connelly as Emma Darwin.

So here we are in the land of "free speech" and everyone is afraid to screen a first class movie because it might upset the "Evangelicals". Of course there is the fact that said so called "Christians" are getting as violent as the Taliban may have something to do with it.

Then today I discover that Kirk Cameron, failed sit-com actor and right wing evangelical shill (I guess that's where you go when you can't even hold down a part on "Growing Pains") is fronting for an organization that plans to distribute 50,000 copies of an altered version of "Origin of Species" to students at various universities across the USA. This "very special edition" will have a fifty page preface filled with neo-conservative evangelical pseudo-logic "proving" that Darwin was wrong ant that reading him will lead to contracting warts, piles and the gout or some such nonsense.

The very best response to this silliness comes from a young Romanian woman...

Rather succinctly put!

There is more to this though. Being from a former Soviet Block country, she may have learned about "Lysenkoism" and what a detrimental effect it had on Soviet bio-sciences. (we certainly don't mention it in our educational system)

There is nothing quite like a religious/political mandate on reality to stifle progress in its tracks. Personally, I find it somewhat embarrassing that Americans need to be schooled in the concept of freedom by someone from outside our country, but it seems we do.

Here's the thing. Evolution is not a theory, it is an observable fact of nature. "Natural Selection" is a theory on how evolution operates. It is the best (most successful in producing observable results) of several theories about how evolution works, therefore it is the most useful.

There has, to my knowledge, never been even one scientific discovery that came out of taking "creationism" seriously. Not One. There have been thousands of extremely useful scientific discoveries from taking natural selection seriously. You do the math.

Creationism does not describe how the universe works, it describes neolithic and bronze age metaphor about the real world that is not as effective in describing reality as scientific metaphor is.

So here's the facts.

The Earth is not flat
The Sun does not revolve around the earth
The earth is not the center of the universe
The moon is not made of green cheese
The world will not come to an end if Gay people get married
Evolution is a fact of biology

The real, burning questions is:

Have Americans become too stupid to survive?

The number of people who eat daily at "fast food" joints suggests yes, the number of people who are nothing more than tape recorders made from meat for their religious/political/social groups suggest yes.

But yet I have hope (Pollyanna optimist that I am)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A new toy!

This just came a couple days ago..

And it is WAY KEWL!

It is a dual timer/stop watch called a Gymboss.
I have been wanting something like this for quite a while, having gotten quite tired of using two standard timers if I want to do rounds and rest intervals of different times, or Tabata sets and the like.

The Gymboss allows me to set two different times such as 2 minute rounds with 1 minute rest periods between them, then tell it how many rounds I want to do, say 8 for instance. Then all I have to do is hit start and the little box takes care of all my timing for me. It will beep at the start and end of each round and count off the rest time in between the rounds.

It can be set to vibrate as well as beep (or instead of beeping) which I love when I am doing Tabata sets (that would be 20 second highest intensity with 10 second rests for 8 rounds). Sometimes I am going with such focus that I won't notice a beep right off. The vibrate function helps a lot in these situations.

You can also set the volume and duration for the beeps, which is quite thoughtful of the makers. Also with the push of a button it becomes a basic stop watch, which is a handy feature.

The device is the size of a small pager (do you remember pagers?) and seems pretty rugged. The clip is long enough to fit even the rigger belt I wear most of the time. I did add a tether just because I have never met a clip I couldn't find some way to work off my belt it I tried hard enough.

The cost was about US $20 with very reasonable shipping. They are a Michigan company, so I paid a bit more with sales tax, but I was happy to be able to support a local business, it all balances out.

The Gymboss has proved to be a boon to both my own workouts and those of my clients and students. I'm liking it a lot and if you do any kind of interval training I recommend it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Advice from my first running coach

Who happened to be my Grandfather.

My grandfather (my father's father) was Mescalero Apache. He was born just around the beginning of the reservation days in the late 1800's. He spent most of his life working as a ranch hand in South-Eastern New Mexico. Unlike my father, my grandfather escaped the indignity of being shipped off to a boarding school as a child, which allowed him to keep more of his culture, and to learn from men and women who knew what freedom was. He could not read or write, but he had a memory that was unfailing and knew all the stories that were important.

He was my first running coach, my first martial arts instructor (very important if you were the only blue eyed kid in twenty miles). He taught me to hunt, track and live happily in the desert and mountains.

Much of what he taught me started with short pithy sayings that allowed me to index and remember the material with ease (even after all these years).

So here are some of the lessons, with a little commentary.

"An Apache finds life in running upward"

During the time when the Apache people were at war with the United States, the way to escape the army, or settlers, scalp hunter and the like, was to go where they could not. This most often meant running into the mountains and going where a horse could not. This was one reason why it took so long for the military to subdue the Apache, The army had developed its strategy for Indian wars against the Plains Tribes and came to rely way too heavily on cavalry.

My grandfather would have me sprint uphill over and over as well as do longer runs up mountain paths. One of the things this did for me was force me to learn to run with a forefoot strike. You can't run uphill with bad form, you would fall on your face. The conditioning from doing this was also superb.

"If you run silently, you run well"

My grandfather emphasized being able to walk and run making little to no noise. This had the effect of making you very conscious of the ground beneath your feet, your posture, even your clothing. If you move silently your foot strike must be very light rather than the common plodding pace that we see with so many people today. Also moving quietly means that you have to befriend and work with gravity, to use it to help your legs and feet find their proper position in your stride.

Following this rule will give a person a loose, graceful stride that is easy on the joints and sustainable for hours.

"Run to the Sun"

This one is a bit harder to explain. It refers to a traditional practice found in many Native American tribes of getting up at dawn and running eastward toward the rising sun.

The way we would do it is to start the run the moment the first bit of sun could be seen and to end the run when the full disk of the sun was above the horizon.

The main benefit of this is spiritual I suppose, but it also helps to keep you in tune with the natural rhythms of the earth, and you tend to have more energy when you start your day this way.

My grandfather thought that doing this was particularly important for children.

"Ducks can't run"

This is something he would say if he saw our feet turn toes out. One of the first things I learned as a kid tracking-wise was that Anglos tend to walk duck-footed whereas Native people tend (though this has changed with the last couple of generations) to walk with their feet pointed forward.

You cannot run well unless your feet point forward. If they do not, you put huge amounts of stress on the ankle, knee and hip joints. You also waste a lot of energy and will tend to have weak balance.

Sadly, because of the epidemic of obesity among Native Americans, the loss of traditional sports, forms of play and traditional living in general, and the wide adoption of Anglo footwear, Natives have begun to adopt the toed-out walk of the White Eyes.

"Observe the snake, the snake can not work against his own breath".

The snake is basically just a big ribcage and lung. If it wants to breathe it has to move in harmony with itself. If a snake is contracting it will exhale, stretching it inhales (this is of course a generalization, but you get the idea). Humans can learn a lot about breathing by keeping this in mind.

Try a simple experiment. Take a deep breath, hold it, then bend over and touch your toes. Now relax your chest and belly, bend over again and allow the natural compression of the movement to press the air from your lungs as you bend. As you come back up, stay relaxed and allow air to come back into your lungs by means of the movement. Which felt better? Which gave the greater range of motion?

This is, according to my grandfather, the natural human way of breathing; flexible, adaptive, cooperating with the environment as it is experienced. This breathing method, when mastered allows one to gain energy for breathing from the movement of running rather than using just active muscular effort.

This I think, may be the hardest thing to learn. There is good news though.

Warning, Shameless Plug ahead

There is one place I know of where You can learn something very much what I am talking about here, more sophisticated than what I initially learned as a matter of fact. My friend Scott Sonnon, who I mention from time to time on this blog (I'm not trying to bask in his reflected glory, no really, I'm not...he just happens to be really good at this stuff) did a DVD quite some time ago called "Be Breathed" which teaches one to do exactly what I am trying to describe here, turn your whole body into a bellows pump for your lungs. Like the last video program of his I mentioned this is not one of Scott's best known programs, which is a pity, because it is one of his most important, foundational statements about what he teaches.

The DVD takes you through a simple progressive set of exercises which do a great job of teaching this principle, which Scott coined as "body as bellows". It works because Scott is one of the very few White guys I have ever run across who moves like an Apache. You see it strongly in his walk.

So if you want to understand this last idea, Be Breathed is a really good place to start.

After all that, here is a bit of theme music, Ulali performing "Mother".

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's that time of year!

Today was the first day I found prickly pear cactus fruit at the market.

The amount of trouble I used to get into as a kid around this time of year, coming home all stained a lovely shade of violet from cactus fruit juice is still memorable. (and I still think it worth all the extra chores)

Not surprisingly, not many people here in Michigan know about prickly pear fruit. After finding some at the store I do most of my shopping (I live, fortunately enough, very near the Latino section of town, and so am able to get food most Michiganders are not familiar with from the local mercados) I made one of my favorite childhood treats, Prickly Pear "pudding" for a couple of friends.

It's not really pudding, it's not even cooked. It is simplicity itself to make as well.

Take six ripe prickly pear fruit and make sure any fine needles are gone by singing the fruit over an open flame or scraping the skin with a knife.

Cut the fruit in half, remove any seeds with a spoon, then remove the meat with the spoon and drop in in a blender. (Note! Cactus fruit juice stains, so be careful). Add about a quarter cup of water and blend. Take the liquid, place it in a bowl and at one quarter cup of whole chia seeds. Mix the seeds into the liquid well. If you want a slightly sweeter pudding you can add a little piloncillo (Mexican raw sugar) if you like. Then pop it into the 'frige and let it set up for an hour or so. The taste is delicate and quite singular. The Chia absorbs the liquid and forms a gel around each seed so you get a raw food pudding that is healthy, high energy and can't be beat for a summer afternoon.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Getting in touch with my inner Hippy

Serena Ryder does perhaps the best cover of this song ever.

Sadly you don't seem to be able to get it in the States, I had to pull this off a Spanish site.

I'll get back to running, martial arts and the like tomorrow. Right now, just enjoy. (and ponder on why Canada produces so many great women singers)

(With thanks to Janet for introducing me to her music)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Learning to Run

In a way that supports your body rather than battering it to pieces.

Since there has been so much interest in natural/minimalist/barefoot running I thought I should point everyone toward some resources.

There are, to my knowledge three major and a few lesser known running methods that will allow a person to run as nature intended.

Today I will give you a brief description of the three major methods and some links that will allow you to get more information.

Each of the three schools will get you to the same place through slightly different methods and teaching styles. The three mentioned here seem to be an example of "convergent evolution" in that they don't seem to have drawn much, if anything from each other.

What you get from this sort of study is this.


As you see here, this woman is having no trouble running on asphalt barefoot (though she could do the same thing in the right shoes) She has a good forefoot strike, she's using her feet and legs as shock absorbers, and adjusting her stride to the the speed she wants. I believe she studies Pose, but she could have developed her technique form any of the schools of running I mention here.

In no particular order we have;

Chi Running

This method was created by a fellow named Danny Dreyer out in the San Francisco Bay area. He draws his principles from Tai Chi and applies them to running quit successfully.

Chi Running is, as one might expect from where it was created, laid back, progressive, go-with-the-flow, training. Some people say it is a bit "new agey", but if so, the people who are involved are new agers who can run all day long. (rather than the more common sort that barely know they have a body).

Dreyer is very generous with his information and has a YouTube channel with all manner of useful tips. It's well worth checking out.
Chi Running YouTube channel

Pose Running
The Pose Method (tm) of running was developed by a Russian sports physiologist named Dr.Nicholas Romanov, and it does have that Russian flavor. It is very precise, incremental, and has drills and exercises to progressively develop each aspect of your running stride. While some might find Pose a little Anal, you can't argue with the results.

Evolution Running
Coach Ken Mierke developed Evolution Running from studying runners from Kenya who, as it happens learned to run barefoot long before any of them ever put on a running shoe.

His method is the most "jock-like" of the three in my experience. He gives the experience of working with a "steak and potatoes" all American coach who just happens to be a genius at understanding movement.

Pose and Evolution running are just a bit more geared toward competition I think, but you can run a marathon with any of the three.

There are a few things that I would have liked to have seen addressed in the available material from each of these three schools that are not, but any of them will put you on the right track (no pun intended) for learning to run efficiently and effectively.

In a later post I will tell y'all about some of the things I do to work on areas of running that I find important that are somewhat peripheral to learning proper technique (such as play, exploration and practical skills)

And of course, to run well it helps to have a proper soundtrack.



Friday, September 11, 2009

More on running and running shoes

The best shoes are the ones Mother Nature gave you

Jason asked in the comments to my review of my favorite running shoes:

"As Salaamu Alaikum Mushtaq,

What makes a good running shoe in your opinion? After Navy boot camp I really enjoyed running. But the only shoes I've felt comfortable running in were Nike Air pegasus. Why are the "normal" running shoes bad? My step-son has wide feet as well and we almost always buy him NewBalance since they are the only shoes we have found to fit his feet. Maybe we'll try the Wu Shu since he destroys shoes anyway maybe it will save us money also, insha'Allah."
This is a good question and one that deserves a more thoughtful answer than can be given in the comments section, so I decided to make a full post on the subject.

The short answer is that a good running shoe should allow the foot to be used as nature intended. That is to say, when you run to "ball of foot" strike rather than heel strike as almost all modern running shoes force you to do.

Take a look at the video below and you can see the natural stride of a human being and the stride that modern running shoes get you into.


A good running shoe should also allow you to feel the ground and allow your foot to conform to irregularities of the terrain. They should be very light weight and offer little to no support. They should also "breathe", canvas being a good material for this.

Personally I don't do much track running. I much prefer trail running, so a shoe that can handle running over dirt, gravel, rock, puddles, and the like is a necessity for me.

Probably, the best shoe is no shoe at all. after that the vibram five fingers gets my vote. Then I would go with the Vivo Barefoot. The big problem with both of these though is that they cost a lot! I don't fancy dropping between $125 and $200 for a pair of shoes.

So that's the long and the short of it, at least for me.

There are a few good sites on barefoot/minimalist running;
Barefoot Ted's Adventures
Barefoot Concepts
Barefoot Running

Monday, September 07, 2009

So ya need a secret weapon?

Well, if you do anything that gets your heart rate up, try this.

My friend Scott Sonnon is so creative it can be a little intimidating for some people. Every time I talk with him he has come up with some wildly new and innovative idea that is years ahead of anyone else.

The other thing about Scott is that for me, he is the person I trust most when it comes to fitness safety. I am always checking out the latest ideas from people in the Biz to see what might be useful. Much of what I see seems dubious to me when it comes to long term sustainability. The last thing I need at my age is to be laid up for six months recovering from the latest "great idea" in fitness.

So when Scott comes up with something wildly new, I have no compunction about trying it out because he has proved to me many times over that his "health first" philosophy is action, not just pretty words.

Some of Scott's work has become known world wide, like his Clubbell and Intu-Flow programs, other of his most interesting material has not gotten the the coverage it deserves.

Let me tell you about one of my favorites of Scott's lesser known programs.

It's called RESET (Rapid Energy Sports Enhancement Technique)

In brief, it is a method of recovering from exertion very (VERY) quickly.

I was initially drawn to this program as a method of pranayama, but it quickly became clear to me that I needed to add this to my students training.

One thing that I have noticed over the years is that with amateur fighters, it is fairly common for their conditioning to be their weakest attribute. It makes some sense, being that conditioning is something of a full time job for professional fighters. People who are not getting paid to work out several hours a day often have to make due with what they can work in with the spare time they have.

So the ability to recover from exertion very quickly is of course quite appealing, especially if you don't have to work long hours to develop it.

After spending several weeks getting the hang of the program I introduced it to my students as something we were going to be using each class for conditioning and recovery.

The technique is fairly easy to learn, though it does take a bit of work to get fluent with it. It is basically a "vibration drill".

Here is a basic video on vibration drills (though it is not the RESET drill per se) shown by John Sifferman, a student of Scott's.

This will give you at least a hint of what I am talking about though.

After getting the class used to doing the the RESET exercise itself, I implemented a two part protocol. During the conditioning part of class we would alternate 2 minute rounds of high speed rope jumping (based on Buddy Lee's methods) and kettle bell swings interspersed with 1 minute rest periods when we would do RESET.

We would also do RESET during the rest periods in the sparring phase of class, which also used 2 minute rounds and 1 minute rest periods.

The results were rapid and impressive. Everyone was recovering from exertion much more quickly than they ever had before within just a couple of weeks. After the initial jump, the class progressed at a steady pace that was still quite impressive. After two months we would go through 10 rounds of rope jumping and kettle bell swinging and the class would be looking at me like "is that all?" while before it would have put them on the floor.

I was able to get an objective look at what was going on by using a heart rate monitor on myself.

Within about three weeks my heart rate was recovering from heart rate max at a speed an Olympic athlete would be envious of (literally).

I got a chance to test out my group's progress last summer, after their using the technique for about 4 months.

We went to a full contact stick and knife tournament over in Chicago to see how everyone would fair in a more stressful situation.

After a day of hard fighting my guys were still feeling strong. They had no problem going from round to round and were recovered and ready to go while other people were still blowing hard.

We did pretty well too. we came home with;
Heavy weight: First place stick (one match by KO), First place knife.
Middle Weight: First place Stick, First place knife
Under 18: First place stick, First place knife
Forms: First place.
Grand Champion.

Not bad considering how good the competition was. (There are no slouches at this tournament, you tend to get the best of the Mid-West showing up) No one from my school tanked all day, even though the matches were quite vigorous.

This was a pretty graphic demonstration of just how effective the RESET program is.

There is one other other interesting effect from long term use of the RESET program that bears mentioning. Once you have adapted to it, your body seems to become conditioned to rapid recovery even when you aren't actively using it.

I use a heart monitor when I run and bike as it helps me stay in my "zone". Right now, even when I am not using the RESET protocol, I will drop from 140 bpm to 90 bpm in 60 seconds or less, which for someone my age, ain't bad. The only reason I can come up with for this (because my recovery was not anywhere this good before I started using RESET) is because of becoming conditioned to recover quickly.

So there you have it, one of my little training secrets. If you would like to recover from exertion at a rate that will make you seem like a world class athlete then get a copy of RESET and practice it diligently for three months. You will be quite surprised (and happy) with the results.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

My Favorite Running Shoe

If you run wearing shoes then you'd better make sure that they are good ones.

The problem is that most of what passes for "good running shoes" are in fact crap.

When I was a kid I ran barefoot most of the time. In school my running shoes were converse or Keds. Thank God I was out of high school before modern running shoes came on the scene.

Because I run around barefoot as much as I can, and have for most of my life, I have what we call here in the States "wide feet" (what would be called normal, healthy feet everywhere else).

When I was living in Africa one of the things that stood out was how healthy people's feet were.

(Yes, I look at people's feet, and watch them walk, run and stand. It's something I learned from my grandfather as a kid and have kept up my whole life. You can learn a lot about a person by watching them walk).

One reason for this is that the most common footwear are flip-flops and sandals made from old tires (the only thing the Maasai will wear)

Here is a picture of a fellow delivering sugar cane. He will pull this cart, running not walking, from sunup to sundown and never suffer from shin splints even though he wears nothing but flip-flops. I know this because I talked with these guys every day and asked them about such things.

Running in "civilization" I often want more protection for my feet than sandals offer, but I don't want to use the over engineered monstrosities that pass for running shoes.

My solution has been to use "Wu Shu" shoes. These come from China and are designed for martial arts.

They have no arch support, a thin flexible sole, no build up in the heel, and almost no padding. Practicing martial arts you really need to feel the ground and to be able to get onto the balls of your feet, which also make these a great shoe for running. The shoe is quite light, has a sole that allows the foot to roll to the sides and offers very good protection from the sort of detritus found on the streets around here. They also have a very wide toe box. This is one of the very few shoes that I can feel comfortable in toe-wise.

Perhaps the best thing though is that these shoes are very inexpensive, about $20 US retail and half that if you get them wholesale. The place I get them from, Kwon martial arts supply allows instructors to set up school accounts for substantial discounts.

There is one caveat though, the shoe tends to size a little small. I get mine a half size larger than my street shoe size. Considering that I can get about ten pair of these shoes for the price of one pair of "premium" running shoes it is a small problem.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Thanks to the Republicans and their owners

We have entered the world of "Lord of the Flies".

(I do stipulate though that the Democrats are no better, what a useless bunch of wimps)

It is nice to see though that more people are catching on to the thuggery of the "union busters" used by the Insurance companies.

The big health corporations want to bleed us dry and then dump us, they are nothing more than parasites feeding on the blood of America.

Can there be any room for a centrist at a health care reform town hall meeting