Sunday, May 31, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Currently, studying the physiology and science of running and the mental and spiritual aspects (just finished my 2nd marathon and targeting my first 50k). It is basically the difference (and battle) between the right and left brain. I just finished a life changing book in this area called “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougal. It concentrates on the incredible Tarahumara endurance athletes in Mexico’s Copper Canyon but also touches on Indigenous tribes throughout the world that run long distances in their 80’s/90’s injury free. It also includes their eating habits which probably explain why they are so incredible.
I’m adopting the running habits of the Tarahumara and other Indigenous peoples as well as their eating habits. I’m working my way to becoming a vegetarian and I made my initial dramatic shift this weekend to a semi-vegetarian (or pescetarian). I will not eat any meat or poultry (other than eggs/dairy) but I will eat limited amounts of fish and/or seafood, however, the bulk of my eating habits will comprise of beans, rice, nuts, grains, vegetables, eggs, dairy, and a lot of pinole and chia which is the life food of the great Aztecs of which the Tarahumara are descendants.
“The closer we come to our own personal edges, the more we move away from the physical and unto a mental landscape, one that is fraught with dangers, traps waiting for the unknowing. It is the place where cause and effect start to break down, where time loses its grip – a place where chaos reigns.”
I’m leaning about my own personal edges and this is my journey.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
My World Has Been Turned Upside Down
I listened to author Christopher McDougal live as he promoted his new book “Born to Run.” I think I’ll remember back to that day because it is changing my life with respect to running. I’m rejecting all the mainstream running sources (doctors, magazines, etc.). My heel and Achilles really hurt and Christopher talked about how his feel hurt until we started studying the running styles of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyon who commonly run 100+ miles and do so well into their 90’s.
This begs the questions, “Why are runners so regularly injured in the U.S. with all out technology?” when the Tarahumara run in homemade sandals or barefoot with very few, if any, injuries during their entire lifetime. We have all these fancy shoes, doctors, and methods yet, every year 8 out of 10 runners get injured. It got me thinking with one simple statement I’ve heard from many minimalist runners: We should run like we walk. Ok, that makes sense. But, we walk on our midfoot to toes and many of us run on our heels, hence, we aren’t doing that. In fact, I’ve been told, heel to toes is a fine running method. Well, it’s crap!!!!!!!!!!! Total Lie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The human body was build to run naturally; just like we walk barefoot. But, of course, this would be devastating if the general public starting doing this; what the heck would shoe manufacturers do? They need us to buy their $150 shoes. Get this, they are many folks that run in minimalist or barefoot type shoes and put 1,500 miles on them as opposed to say, me who replaces running shoes every 300 miles.
If you run like you walk, then you strengthen your calf’s, Achilles, and, guess what, your knees feel better because you body is totally aligned. All these crazy new shoes teach us to run with bad form and then, once injured, they doctors always have a new insert, new approach, whatever; but it generally doesn’t work and it costs a lot of money.
Bottom line, we know very little about the human body even with all our technology. I defer to the Indigenous peoples of the world who have been running for thousands of years without our technology; living longer than us; living healthier than us; and doing so without all the pains and injuries we suffer.
At this point, I have to reject all widely accepted running sources. That includes Runner’s World, all the shoe manufacturers and especially Nike. I’m going back to ground zero and learn how to run correctly. Yes, there is a right way and wrong way to run and yes, the shoes we’ve developed support the “wrong” way to run.
My venture starts today and I’ll keep you posted as I learn the Right Way To Run.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
In my past, I've met a few people who have basically said, "If you aren't living on the edge, you aren't living," or "If you aren't living on the edge, then you are taking up too much room." I never really thought about those words until I was in the midst of the last 6 miles of my first official marathon through the finish line (I've run 26.2 miles before but not in an official race; the official race is a different animal; nothing like it). One runner said it best when he said:
The closer we come to our own personal edges, the more we move away from the physical and unto a mental landscape, one that is fraught with dangers, traps waiting for the unknowing. It is the place where cause and effect start to break down, where time loses its grip – a place where chaos reigns supreme.
This explains why most people don't venture near the edge as they are too comfortable away from the edge and relax in the familiar, save, known and predictable. For me, the marathon was a Life Changing Event. Without taking a risk and venturing at least a step toward the edge, we fail to begin to understand our true capabilities or what we really have inside; we just remain in the status quo.
Most people associate "on the edge," with someone crazy, unstable, risky; we associate it with a negative image. For me, the marathon forced me to take a few steps toward the edge. To a place where mental and physical depletion meet; a place where one has no reserves. I have to admit, it was a scary place. When you enter that place, simple logic doesn't help you; time loses its grip; cause and effect break down; simple logic doesn't apply. This is the unknown.
Doesn't this sound like the original opening to the classic “Twilight Zone”? By the way, one of the best series and Rob Serling is one of, if not the most talented director ever. Essentially, once you move away from the physical to the mental landscape, you are entering the Twilight Zone. We all like control; well, “on the edge,” you control very little. Funny thing is, in real life, we control very little although we think we have some control.
I’ve never been one to preach but something inside is telling me I must share my experiences (especially over the last 3 years) with others as it might be beneficial to a few folks. I highly recommend that you venture at least “one step” toward the edge; get out of your comfort zone. Remember, being near the edge is only temporary and then, once there, it’s not as much of an unknown. In fact, you are expanding your comfort zone.
I just found out that less than one tenth of the world finishes a marathon each year. I’m honored and humbled to be part of that club and now I understand why it is such a big deal. I played almost every sport and I’ve never been challenged nor ventured so far near the edge as I did during the marathon. Imagine a constant battle with your left brain telling you to stop; you can’t do this; you aren’t ready; you are crazy, and you still push through. It was an out of body experience. Even the 3 days following the marathon, I didn’t feel like I was totally back mentally. Everything looked different; the sky, trees, grass, my kids, wife . . . everything.
I feel like I broke through a wall. The scary thing is I could see me breaking through the wall but a whole new series of walls was waiting for me. This makes me think of one of my favorite movies being the original Matrix. Every time Neo ventured deeper, there was more walls waiting for him but each time, he never saw the world the same again. The world is so vast; there’s so many great people out there; so many special people; so much spirit, love, determination . . . but we can’t begin to understand, relate or even sympathize until we move toward the edge in some way or another. Otherwise we live in a box (just like the all the folks that were part of the Matrix).
Really, think about it? I know I’m just starting a new (and perhaps scary) venture in life. I’m so lucky to have my wife by my side as I try to comfort the “new walls,” in some way, fashion or form.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
I spent my entire life playing basketball and tennis; went on to play basketball in college. I played with great players, several of which went on to play in the NBA. However, I picked up running 3 years ago and I can say, without question, runners, swimmers and bikers are some of the most incredible athletes I've ever met. The endurance, spirit, focus and determination is unparalleled. The quality of person I meet is inspiring and daunting. To speak with a 60+ yr. old man who is running is 65th marathon; to speak with a 62 yr. old woman running 50 marathons in 50 states; to get passed (and beat) by men and women of all ages is humbling but so inspiring. I'm making a generality here and it doesn't apply to each individual but unlike my prior life in athletics, these folks also have such a broad and inspiring view of themselves, others, and the world. I learned more about a person's spirit in 3 yrs. of running than I ever learned in basketball or tennis.
Sunday, May 3, 2009