Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mark Cucuzzella on Kids' Shoes

Read the whole thing:

"...I have watched my own children dramatically change their movement patterns after discarding all cushioned and inflexible shoes and getting them into minimalist shoes.They are six and eight years old. They will not put anything else on their feet now when they need to have shoes. At my store, Two Rivers Treads, we gave away 150 pairs of Vivo Barefoot kids shoes a couple weeks ago thanks to a generous contribution from VivoBarefoot and supplemented from our own inventory stock..."

I was privileged to meet Mark last weekend at the NYC Barefoot Run.  He's the real deal.

I've also added a permanent link to his Natural Running Center to the "Links" section on the right of this blog.  It's a great resource for people looking to learn about barefoot-style running.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Reebok To Pay Refunds For Toning Shoes...

...under settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.  Here's the key part:

"...In ads that began in 2009, Reebok said walking in the shoes had been proven to provide 28% more strength and tone in the buttock muscles compared with regular walking shoes, 11% more in the hamstring muscles and 11% more in the calf muscles, the FTC said.

"The FTC investigation's found Reebok was unable to back up those claims, Vladeck said.

"'Advertisers cannot make claims about their products … without having some basis for it,' he said. 'If you’re going to make specific claims, particularly about health benefits, about your product you better have some kind of adequate substantiation about those claims before you make them.'

"Reebok said the settlement did not mean it was abandoning the shoes..."

They won't, but you should, and you should abandon any other product that makes claims it can't support.  I wonder if the running shoe industry is next.

Toning Shoes
 These are my "toning shoes", right after a workout:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Achilles' Ankle and Lee Saxby

As part of their sponsorship of the NYC Barefoot Run Weekend, VivoBarefoot offered injured runners a chance to have a training session with Lee Saxby, who leads the VivoBarefoot running education program, and trained as a Pose coach with Nicholas Romanov.  I've heard excellent things about Lee's training sessions, so I entered the lottery for a session.

Much to my surprise, since I never win anything, I won.

I had the chance to speak to him prior to the session, and it was quite amusing, since the last time I'd spoken to him (at the VivoBarefoot store in NYC), I'd told him that I think coaches are unnecessary if the "Born to Run" hypothesis is true.  He was curious why I wanted a coaching session with him.

I wanted Lee to give me an independent assessment of what's going on with my weak leg.  To that end, I tried to tell Lee as little as possible of what was going on with my bad leg.  Armed with an uncooperative patient, he gamely started off with a video assessment of my barefoot running form.

What's the worst he could say, I wondered?  "Your form is horrible: give up on running", was one of the possibilities I imagined...

Happily, he told me I had pretty decent form.  He noted that I leaned back a touch, and videoed me again standing in a pose that I thought was proper running form, and showed me the contrast between that and how I actually run.  That was an interesting datum, one that I will work on.  But he complemented me on my foot strike.  A compliment only a barefoot-style runner could appreciate.

Then he videoed me running in my Merrell Trail Gloves.  Form was indeed different, and sloppier in those, which was hardly a surprise to either of us.  As we'd agreed the night before, adding anything to your foot is going to alter the way you run, and the less you add the better your form should remain.

And he didn't notice any difference in my running form between my two legs, which was a good thing, I suppose.  I've put a lot of effort into getting them to work in the same way, and I've made a lot of progress. I still notice differences, but it seems I've ironed out the gross inefficiencies.

Next he addressed the issues with the bad foot.

 Lee asked me to do what he referred to as a hunter-gatherer squat, but which I refer to as a potty squat.  It's also known as the Asian squat.  This is a movement that most modern Americans can't do easily or correctly, but it's a basic movement pattern that we all ought to be able to do.  He noted that, no surprise, my mobility in my right ankle was worse than my left.  Next he had me lie on my back with my feet in the air, so he could, basically, yank my foot away from my body to help stretch out the ankle.  Then he bent my toes down to look at where the "knuckles" in my feet were.  Bingo!

His conclusion was that I've got Morton's Foot*, but only in the "bad" foot.  The good foot has adapted.  Morton's Foot is essentially a high arch condition where the first metatarsal head is pulled behind the second metatarsal head.  This is something that should correct itself with continued barefoot running, and he explained that he had Morton's Foot, and was able to correct it.  This explains my observation that for most of my life, my "bad" foot has been the longer foot, but now the good one is.  The arch has come down in the good foot, lengthening the foot, and allowing the first met. head to be equal to the second, as it should be.

Then he described to me the various issues one would experience with Morton's Foot: 

  • Over-Supination in foot-strike; check, had that, resolved (after some blistering) though barefoot running instead of Vibrams, allowing for more feed back.
  • Ilio-tibial Band Syndrome: check, got that, during this race.  Too much cushion under the weak leg.
  • Sore Metatarsal-Cuboid Joint: check, got that; that was my first running injury, during the Brooklyn Half Marathon.

To that list I'd add Runner's Knee, (Patello-Femoral Syndrome), which was in the strong leg from compensating for the weak leg when running down hill.  I've also developed a clicking in the first meta-tarsal-cuboid joint.  I'll often wake up with that joint locked, and only a deep potty squat will free it up, often with a large pop like a cracked knuckle.

The stretch he suggested to help improve the ankle mobility was a variation of the potty squat: I should squat down while holding on to something ahead of me, so I don't fall over backward, and bounce gently up and down while on the balls of my feet.  This is supposed to help stretch out the tendons in the foot, and keep them loose enough for proper movement.  He also recommended barefoot jump rope, to dial in the proper landing pattern.  And, of course, continued barefoot running.

One other important ability Lee mentioned was being able to do exercise 3 in this post: to isolate the Flexor Hallucis Brevis. Lee got this from Jay Dicharry, who wrote that post.**  Lee is able to stretch his big toe far away from his second toe, an capability I refer to as monkey-toe.  Even another barefoot runner we spoke to who has run a few marathons couldn't do that trick. 

Along with isolating the FHB is pressing down on the ground with the big toe when running.  This trick made a big difference to me in the latter stages of the 8-mile barefoot run I did this weekend.  When the weak foot started getting sloppy round about mile 7 (my longest previous barefoot run was 6 miles), I made a point of pressing down, and it helped correct the foot.  It also gave me a whole range of exciting new sore muscles in my weak leg.

I ran a total of 11.5 miles on two days after working with Lee, and his suggestions definitely made a difference to my running, an immediate difference.

Back to the question of "barefoot running coaches" that I discussed with Lee when I first met him: I still don't think they're necessary.  As Peter Larson said during our time with Merrell, if people were raised wearing well-designed shoes, no form coaching would be necessary.  Children naturally run with perfect barefoot-style form, they don't need to be taught.  This is perfectly consistent with the "Born to Run" hypothesis, and good evidence that's it's true.  Even an adult with no legacy injuries or bad movement patterns should be able to transition injury-free, if he takes his time.

But, there are lots of people like me.  I was able to get to good form, but still have legacy issues from my shod days.  As Lee likes to say, he fixes broken runners.  And he's got a lot of experience doing it, a lot more than I do.  Which was why my time with him was valuable.  Hopefully some of the things he showed me, while building on my own deductions, will speed up my transition time.  Lee said it took him five years to fix his own Morton's Foot.  I'm impatient, I'd like to do it faster.  And I feel no need to re-invent the wheel to do it.

Transient aches and pains while transitioning are normal, but they shouldn't prevent you from running, or last more than a run or two.  If you start getting aches and pains that do prevent you from running, or consistenly bother you for days, getting some advice is a good idea, and Lee is very good at what he does.  I was quite impressed by how accurately he described all the the injuries I've already had, without telling him them beforehand.

And my running definitely felt better afterward.

* Lee explained that Morton's Foot is different from Morton's Toe (which is usually used interchangeably with Morton's Foot).  Morton's Toe, or Greek Toe, is a longer second toe than first.  Morton's Foot is when the arch is too high, basically, pulling the first metatarsal back into the first.  Greek Toe is something you're born with.  Morton's Foot is correctable.

** The post implies that you should wait until you can do those three exercises before starting barefoot-style running. I think that's overly cautious. Happily I had the opportunity to discuss this with Jay last weekend. He thinks that a person who can do those three exercises should be able to transition to barefoot-style running without injury. I think that's 100% correct. I'm pretty much the perfect example, as I couldn't do any of those exercises in my weak leg, even after several years of barefoot-style running. But barefoot-style running is a benefit all it's own, and I've resolved other running injuries. So don't wait until you can do those exercises, but get on them while you're running.

P.S. Jay Dicharry has a video out on foot self-evaluation for barefoot-style runners.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"The Evolution of the NB Minimus Zero Sole"

NB Minimus Zero
This is super-exciting:

"As we've covered before, it's impossible to discuss the sole design of any NB Minimus shoe without acknowledging the influence of Tony Krupicka's original MT100's. Both the worn rubber and the parts Tony carefully carved away played a role in informing the areas in which the sole should be providing additional support — and areas in which minimizing material will lead to enhanced ground feel."

So they took the foremost minimalist runner around, and designed a pair of shoes around him.  Way to go, NB!

Can't wait to try these out, I'll be buying a pair as soon as they're available.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Catkins, Paleo Cats, and Gluten-intolerant Cats

Jimmy Moore did a pretty remarkable podcast the other day.  Dr. Travis Einertson (starting at 41:10 in the podcast) treats diabetic cats and dogs (which is a scary thought).

How does he treat them?  In a manner very consistent with the dietary theme of this blog, not surprisingly.

He takes cats off processed, high-carb, high-grain "kibble" and puts them on a high-protein, moderate fat, low-carb diet.

Spontaneously, their diabetes goes into remission, and they lose weight (only if they go completely off the kibble!).

That's odd, the same thing happens when primates, or humans stop eating a the Modern American Diet and eat a species-specific diet.  The  diseases of civilization suddenly disappear (those that are reversible, of course).

Dr. Einertson also notes that cats seem to be gluten-intolerant, and various intestinal maladies also spontaneously go into remission when the cats go on a low-carb, and therefore low-gluten, diet.

There's something singularly toxic about the Modern American Diet, and you and your pets are best advised to stay far, far away from it.

P.S. I'd love to hear the story of the bright fellow who decided that it was a good idea to feed cats grain and carbs, when they're obligate carnivores.

P.P.S. A note on the "gluten intolerant" phrase: Gluten-intolerant makes some sense if you have an expectation that the creature *should* be tolerating gluten. Humans are expected to tolerate it, and some do, to varying degrees.

A dog or a cat would NEVER eat wheat in the wild. Rodents might, but not a dog or cat. Dogs and cats are therefore not "gluten intolerant", they are suffering from "wheat poisoning", which makes sense, since wheat is a toxic plant.

Digest that. ;)

The Future Of Blogging?

Could be...

The Barefoot Professor (Mark I) on Podiatrists

"My Scathing Analysis of Foot Experts Misinforming the Public":

"...Can you imagine a dentist who sincerely believes that candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner is the best thing you can do for your teeth? If the dentist was deceiving his patients merely to increase his own profits, I would merely despise him. If he were so ignorant of dental hygiene as to sincerely believe his prescription is best, then…. well, I would be truly afraid to be his patient. So is our situation, however, with many of today’s podiatrists. Crazy...."

But par for the course, unfortunately.

A friend mentioned she had an issue while running, and asked if she should see a podiatrist.  "Oh, God no", was my response.  I sent her here instead.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Future American Olympians, Continued

"Tonganoxie senior Patrick Rachford ditched his normal running shoes for the Atchison County meet. It didn’t seem to bother him either, as he finished in first place and the boys won the team title.

"Instead of a traditional shoe, Rachford wore a pair of Vibram Fivefingers, which kind of look like padded gloves for feet.

"Rachford said he ran in them some this summer but had never worn them for official competition. The unique shoes gave him some blisters on the tops of his toes but were a welcome relief from the wear his running shoes had been putting on a huge blister on the back of one of his heels.

"“I felt different running,” he said. “There’s no spring in my step.”

"Rachford hopes to return to his normal running shoes when his large blister heals."

Don't mess with success, kid. 

Hopefully he'll stick with the toe shoes...

Growing up Barefoot

A very cool post at Birthday Shoes:

"I think I am one of the rare individuals who not only grew up barefoot, but did so in the rugged wilderness of Northern California. Throughout the summers of my childhood, up to age 17, I spent every summer barefoot, and I hiked cross-country everywhere. I even ran downhill over jagged, loose, rocky steep hillsides, leaping in the air and landing sideways (deliberately, to surf/slide/ride the rubble downhill) with bare feet. It was possible because the ground was giving way and I had thick pads on my feet. I loved running, downhill, cross-country, and was a natural fast runner, good at both sprinting and long-distance...."

And guess what happened when he started wearing shoes... Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Minimalist Shoes Are Not Just For Running"

That's for sure.  Nice to see continuing positive coverage in the main-stream media, this time the Washington Post:

"...It was Morton’s neuroma, an excruciating nerve condition, that had stopped Susan-Marie Stedman of Burtonsville in her tracks. The 52-year-old marine biologist couldn’t manage to hike without hurting, no matter what shoes she’d tried. Until she bought Vibram FiveFingers a year ago.

Now Stedman can’t imagine wearing anything other than her “freaky feet,” her pet name for the odd-looking (some might even say ugly) shoes. She owns three pairs, which she wears when she’s stretching, on the elliptical and even hang-gliding. “Once you’ve made the commitment to this type of footwear, you can’t go back,” she says. “Disco dancing and bike riding are the two things I won’t do in them now.”..."

Dr. Cucuzzella also gets a mention:

"...The trend sounds smart to Mark Cucuzzella, a 44-year-old physician in Sheperdstown, W.Va., who’s become one of the leading proponents of barefoot-style living. “Who can run in Vibram FiveFingers off the bat? Not many people,” says Cucuzzella, who spent years preparing his feet for the switch from traditional shoes to minimalist ones for running. “But you can start walking in a lower drop shoe immediately. Walking is the perfect transition.”..."

And no obligatory ding-bat podiatrist quote...

Monday, September 12, 2011

"The Evil Reign of Toe Shoes Must Be Stopped Immediately"

Danny Glover in France
I think they look spiffy with the suit, actually.  Danny Glover, fashion-forward star.

The Fungus Among Us

John Atkinson, and snacks.
Saturday found me in Warren, VT, at Sugarbush Resort's famous Fungi Fest.  (It's not really famous, but I like the alliteration.)

The Fungi Fest comprises a talk by Sugarbush employee John Atkinson, then a walk through the woods at the resort looking for mushrooms, a discussion of the various mushrooms found, and then a dinner featuring mushrooms John found in the woods around the resort.

It was really a terrific event, enjoyed by all attendees, including my 8 and 12-year-old daughters.  It was a pretty good event for both of the topics of this blog, healthy diets and barefoot-style running.

One of the most important things one can do to get your feet ready for barefoot running is barefoot hiking, IMHO.  Both Barefoot Ted and Ken Bob were big barefoot hikers before they tried running.  Barefoot hiking is a much more difficult activity for the muscles of the feet than barefoot running is: I've gotten cramps on three-mile barefoot hikes that I'd run in Vibrams with no problem at all.

On this short hike we showed up in Vibrams, Merrells, VivoBarefoots, and me in my bare feet.

No one batted an eye when we were standing around during John's talk and I was not wearing shoes.  When we walked off to go to the hike, one woman asked me if I was going to do the hike barefoot.  "I am," I replied.  "Are you a barefoot runner?"  "I am", I said again.  She seemed quite excited, as if she'd seen a rare species of bird.  It was very funny.  John turned to me and asked me if I was planning on hiking in my bare feet, and he seemed somewhat skeptical.  I told him I'd brought along a pair of shoes, just in case, and he seemed satisfied with that answer.

So we tromped around near a stream, mostly off the trail.  Stream crossings are, of course, easy when you're not wearing shoes.  Happily my feet have gotten to the point where walking around in a forest was not a problem.  I even spotted some broken glass, which I carefully stepped around.  It was much more pleasant walking around the forest floor than on the rocky trail, but the smooth asphalt while walking back across the parking lot was of course the easiest surface of all.

Everyone else was wearing either trail running sneakers or hiking boots.  Several people came up afterward and mentioned how impressive they thought it was that I had done the whole thing barefoot.  It's pretty amusing, as they one thing that always surprises me about these barefoot hikes is how well my feet handle them, and how uneventful they are.

We found enough mushrooms to completely cover a large table, and John pointed out the few that he thought were definitively non-toxic.  Some folks took those mushrooms home in doggie-bags.  Most of the mushrooms were classed as toxic, which is a good reminder of how difficult being a hunter-gatherer was, and a good indication of the importance of a conservative attitude when gathering mushrooms.  John's attitude was not to eat anything that he couldn't confidently ID, and no one argued the point.
Dinner was delicious, at Sugarbush's Timbers restaraunt.  The woman I sat next to at dinner was gluten-free and on the paleo diet.  She and her husband were reformed pesce-vegetarians who'd now adopted the paleo diet, and he is a neurologist, so we had quite a bit to discuss.  Dinner was gluten-free, happily, and the restaraunt (where we've eaten before), was willing to swap out the beer that was included in the menu for a nice Cabernet Franc.

All in all a great little paleo-friendly event. 

Oh, and I did put the Vibram FiveFingers Treks that I'd brought along as fall-back shoes on for dinner.  I didn't want to cause a stir, and certainly after walking around in the woods for a bit my feet were pretty dirty, although no more so than any of the shoes everyone else was wearing.

P.S.  One of the reasons I went around on this hike was to try and open my older daughter's horizons.  She may well be allergic to all vegetables, and is mycophobic.  Up until Saturday.  She decided she liked the chantarelles, so it was a huge win.

Also, apparently the connective tissue in mushrooms in chitin, not cellulose.  Humans can digest chitin, but cannot digest cellulose.  It's an interesting factoid, although I don't know how useful it is.

I've always loved mushrooms, myself.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Vibram FiveFingers in the Olympics?

Amusing article:

"...Their argument goes something like this:

"Your average caveman roamed the plains wearing nothing but a sabre-tooth skin pullover and a protruding brow on a set of feet designed by evolution to chase down prey without developing shin splints or tendonitis...."

But getting that out of the way, this is really interesting news:

"Last month's City2Surf in Sydney - the world's largest fun run - saw a young runner come home in fourth place wearing a pair of FiveFingers shoes.

"Harry Summers, 21, has designs on cracking the London Olympics in the steeplechase and, if he does, the barefoot running debate could just hit overdrive.

"Summers was a cross-country runner who preferred the feel of his naked feet on the grass when competing. Three years ago he switched to FiveFingers shoes and hasn't looked back.
"'I just like barefoot running because I feel faster,' Summers says. 'They force you on to your forefoot and you just feel lighter, bouncier - just quicker really.'

"Summers admits he received a strange reaction from fellow competitors early on.

"'A lot of runners didn't know what they were and, yeah, I did get a couple of funny looks. But if I wear them at the Olympics it would be a massive boost - people will really start to notice.'

"Summers uses his FiveFingers for competition, switching to lightweight trainers for his midweek training...."

Vibram should sponsor this guy.  One real competitor doing well in Vibrams in the modern Olympics would change the sporting world...

"...Perhaps the best evidence of the growing trend - some dare to call it a fad - is that most major shoe companies are jumping on the bandwagon...."

Vitamin D and Colon Cancer

It's correlation, not causation, and the nice, conservatively-worded article makes that clear:

"A new analysis of earlier research finds that both higher vitamin D intake and higher blood levels of the vitamin's active form are linked to lower risk of colon and rectal cancers.

"In 18 studies that included more than 10,000 people, colon cancer risk was as much as 33 percent lower in subjects with the highest blood levels of vitamin D compared to those with the lowest levels, researchers report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Those with the highest intake of vitamin D through supplements and food had 12 percent lower risk than those with the lowest intakes.

"The total of studies available for analysis is still sparse, noted senior author Dr. Huanlong Qin and his colleagues from The Sixth People's Hospital affiliated with Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai. Additional studies would be 'highly desirable to enable more precise estimates and a better understanding of the role of vitamin D in colorectal cancer carcinogenesis,' they write.

"Vitamin D has previously been linked to protection from various cancers, heart disease, diabetes and asthma, among other conditions. How the vitamin might exert a beneficial effect is still poorly understood, however. Some evidence suggests that to achieve a benefit people may need more than current recommended daily requirements...."

Thanks to Darya Pino for the link.

Great Pictures from UTMB 2011

Sorry for Joe that he got injured, but it looks like he put the opportunity to good use:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

When Context-Sensitive Ads Get Too Good...

Title of the post: "Why Black Women Don’t Marry Non-Black Men"

Context-sensitive ad appearing beneath the post in Google Reader:

OK, then.

And this is on a law-professor blog...

Heeled Shoes and Schizophrenia


"Heeled footwear began to be used more than a 1000 years ago, and led to the occurrence of the first cases of schizophrenia. Industrialization of shoe production increased schizophrenia prevalence. Mechanization of the production started in Massachusetts, spread from there to England and Germany, and then to the rest of Western Europe. A remarkable increase in schizophrenia prevalence followed the same pattern. In Baden in Germany the increasing stream of young patients more or less hastily progrediating to a severe state of cognitive impairment made it possible for Kraepelin to delineate dementia praecox as a nosological entity. The patients continued to use heeled shoes after they were admitted to the hospitals and the disease progrediated."
I have no idea what "progrediated" is, by the way, or "nosological" although I'll be looking them up momentarily.

This was too good to wait for April 1st.  The journal it appears in is called "Medical Hypothesis", and apparently some of them are pretty outlandish.

Thanks to JZ for this brilliant find.

Paleo Endurance Athletes

Ursula Grobler:
"How has Paleo helped you?

"Ursula’s Answer: At first the amount of energy I had was noticeably different. I could hold a larger volume of training and recovery was faster. I also noticed how my nerves and cognitive ability kept sharp and those sluggish lulls in the day were being erased. My whole quality of life went up, with little things like my allergies that went away and I was sickless often. I was more productive and had more time for what I really wanted to do.

"With more training, I catapulted into the rowing scene breaking the world record on the Concept 2 rowing machine just three years after taking my first strokes at a “Learn to Row Class”. I learned to row at the age of 26 and now I’m standing in line as an Olympic hopeful for 2012. I believe diet had a huge part in making this dream, that I was told had passed me by, possible!..."

"...Do other athletes and/or coaches try to convert you to a ‘normal’ athlete’s diet (high carbs, low fat)?

"Ursula’s Answer: Not athletes. Most athletes are open to learn. Coaches want performance, so if you perform – then it’s your business how you eat. It’s when you don’t perform that they will start questioning your diet, but usually at this point it’s not the diet, there are other mental factors like lack of sleep and high cortisol levels that seem to be the hindrance. The most critical are medical doctors actually. Funny how that works out? The people who are thought to know the most about your workings don’t care about your well-being...."

Is Science Broken? Part 2: Is Most Academic Research Unreliable?

The answer appears to be "Yes", at least in the academic setting:

"Bayer halts nearly two-thirds of its target-validation projects because in-house experimental findings fail to match up with published literature claims, finds a first-of-a-kind analysis on data irreproducibility.

"An unspoken industry rule alleges that at least 50% of published studies from academic laboratories cannot be repeated in an industrial setting, wrote venture capitalist Bruce Booth in a recent blog post. A first-of-a-kind analysis of Bayer’s internal efforts to validate ‘new drug target’ claims now not only supports this view but suggests that 50% may be an underestimate; the company’s in-house experimental data do not match literature claims in 65% of target-validation projects, leading to project discontinuation.

"“People take for granted what they see published,” says John Ioannidis, an expert on data reproducibility at Stanford University School of Medicine in California, USA. “But this and other studies are raising deep questions about whether we can really believe the literature, or whether we have to go back and do everything on our own.”"

So the academics are just faking stuff wholesale to advance their careers?  This is pretty shocking, but not surprising.  Stuff like this has been going on in the liberal arts, which I studied, to the point that I'd argue pursuing a liberal arts degree in 99% of schools is probably a waste of time.

From the comments in one of the links from the page above:

"This article highlights an essential difference between how success is defined in academia vs. industry. Academics make their names with high profile papers in journals like Nature, whose selection process favors the new and exciting 'big ideas' from individuals deemed to be rising stars by their peers. In general, unless overt fraud can be demonstrated, it makes no difference to the individual's career if their high profile papers are later found to be incorrect. However, in industry, the bottom line for success is whether the research will lead to a new product, so there is little incentive for researchers to overhype their data since they will be accountable if it is not reproducible."

That about nails it.

Part 1.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Munson Last

M-42 Service Shoe, Munson Last
Unfortunately, it's now largely forgotten:

"...Red Wing began fulfilling military needs with the onset of World War I, manufacturing in 1918 the regulation Munson U.S. Army Last, designed to "fit all feet" with maximum comfort and durability. After the war, the Munson remained a top seller and influenced other popular shoe designs for over 50 years...."
Of all my minimalist shoes, the most comfortable single-toe shoes are the Munson Last shoes from Russell Moccasin.  I'm interested to see if the new New Balance line gets it right, Merrell is almost there.

(What's a last?)

P.S. God bless the Japanese: A reproduction Munson Last GI Boot is available:

"We are now pleased to announce the release of 'M-42 Service Shoes, Type II'. Our M-42 Service shoes have been reproduced authentically to WWII Original M-42 Service shoes at all the details. Besides, we're proud of making the Shoes with full copied WWII Shoe Lasts which is well known as 'Dr. Munson's Shoe Last'. We surely believe in that you'll appreciate for the good fitting of the WWII Shoe Lasts which was developed by Dr. Munson almost 100 years ago."
P.P.S.  The reproductions are $565!!!  Wow.

"Inov8 Evo Skins Review"

I'll pass.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Matt Carpenter on Heart-Rate Training

He likes it.

"Marketers Sprint to Join Lightweight-Running Craze"

The revolution continues apace:

"Runners have always taken pride in the lack of equipment and technical gear their sport requires. And now many are getting even more basic, fueling the rise of so-called minimal or lightweight footwear that strips out cushioning and structure.

"While not for the weekend warrior, lightweight-running products are gaining traction with a broad swath of the population. And marketers are taking notice, flooding the market with major campaigns in an effort to grab a piece of the fast-growing category.

"According to SportsOneSource, lightweight products -- loosely defined as shoes that weigh 9 oz. or less in a men's size 9 -- accounted for 28% of the running category in the second quarter. Minimalist styles, a subset of lightweight, accounted for 5% of the running category. Lightweight and minimalist products have been around for years. Nike Free was launched in 2004 and Vibram's FiveFingers shoes (think: gloves for the feet) followed in 2005. The trend has incubated since then. The 2009 book, "Born to Run," which followed a tribe of distance runners in Mexico who run in flat, homemade sandals, is credited with catapulting the discussion to the mainstream...."

"While not for the weekend warrior" is hooey, but the rest is pretty interesting, and I hope this woman is right:

""Once you've made the transition [to a minimal or lightweight product] it's difficult to go back," said Katherine Petrecca, collection manager for New Balance's minimal line. "What will happen in the more mainstream channels remains to be seen, but in performance and specialty channels, it's here to stay.""

Monday, September 5, 2011

Things I'd Like To Avoid

"...These results do not support the hypothesis of a common aetiology in diverticular disease and colonic cancer but suggest a causal relationship between diverticular disease and cancer of the left colon."
"...This risk increased the longer the follow up (p value for trend < 0.001)...."
My diverticular symptoms went away after 16 years once I stopped eating wheat and seed oils.  They returned the few times I've cheated or made a mistake.  I'm inclined to believe that there is a common aetiology, at least I'm not going to take any chances.

Running Updates

How to Bonk in Three Miles or Less:

Eat dinner with potatoes, wine, and ice cream for dessert. (Also had some wheat by mistake, and pork and sauerkraut.)  Excess starch (potatoes) and sugar (ice cream) and wheat are foods I normally avoid.  Meat and veggies are my normal fare, combined with a good amount of dairy fat (cream).

Go for a HR run for 3 miles.

Bonk at 2.5 miles. (Full-on, shakes and everything.)

Drop 3 min/mile from your pace. Struggle to finish the run.

Yes, I've run before after having wine, and had no ill effects. I don't think that was the variable that killed the run.

HR was much higher than normal, I had to walk every hill, and just shuffled along while "running". Much different from yesterday's run, we'll see about today's.

Going back to a higher-carb diet was not a happy experiment, at least for that one run.

(I don't know why Stephan has the idea that hypoglycemia is rare.  Bonking is hypoglycemia.  It's not rare for me, as this episode demonstrates.  I ignored the carb craving, btw, and let my liver sort out the body's need for glucose.)

Foot Update:

The "bad" foot is still plaguing me. Since my previous regimen of run and rest to allow healing/adaptation doesn't seem to be showing as much improvement as I'd like, I've changed course and adopted Harry's run every day and damn the torpedoes attitude.

Two runs ago the foot started "clicking" in the metatarsal-cuboid joint while walking after maxing out my HR on a downhill stretch in my bare feet. This joint has been where the most soreness occurs morning after. The clicking was like popping a knuckle: loud, but no pain. This morning, after last night's disastrous run, I got up and had the usual post-run soreness in that foot.  Took a step and "POP", the same click, but alarmingly loud.  The foot immediately felt better, and the soreness went away.

I'm not quite sure what's going on in that foot...

I'll go for another run later today, after doing some house work (cleaning a mouse infestation out of my shed: Joy).

P.S. Discussion here, and I posted the following:

"Finished the shed clean-up (mostly, need to de-mouse a few boxes of motorcycle parts, but that will have to wait for next weekend).

"Went out for a run after I finished.

"Now, to track the changing variables (ceterus parabus exists only in economists' wet dreams):

"Barefoot, instead of KSOs. (For the first time ever, I was really annoyed by having the KSOs on my feet last night.)

"Daylight instead of head lamp.

"Temp and humidity were similar.

"Ran the exact same route.

"Ran after a four-hour fast while doing anaerobic work on my shed (lifting junk), as opposed to dinner with starch and ice cream. Last meal was two eggs, several pieces of bacon, and two mouthfuls of gluten-free pancakes (for the kids).

"Dropped 1:18/mile, no bonk.

"Given I'd been working from 8am to 4:30 pm, and I was pretty pooped, it was a decent showing.

"Oh, to equalize the alcohol variable, I had a Woodchuck cider before heading out. ;)

"So clearly it was the headlamp and the KSOs. :)"

And the foot soreness came and went during the afternoon. Not sure what's going on there...

Friday, September 2, 2011

"Food Challenge For Mars Mission"

It would be ironic if we are unable to explore space because we can't figure out how to feed ourselves off our planet.

AFAIK no-one has ever written a science-fiction story with that premise.

It could prove that we actually know very little about human nutrition.  Although I think I'd rather not be part of the experiment.

Red Meat and Colorectal Cancer

We can take the "red meat causes cancer" nonsense off the table right off the bat:

"Colinearity between red meat intake and other dietary factors (e.g. Western lifestyle, high intake of refined sugars and alcohol, low intake of fruits, vegetables and fibre) and behavioural factors (e.g. low physical activity, high smoking prevalence, high body mass index) limit the ability to analytically isolate the independent effects of red meat consumption. Because of these factors, the currently available epidemiologic evidence is not sufficient to support an independent positive association between red meat consumption and colorectal cancer."

This whole meme is baloney from the vegans...

What Science Is

"In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience, compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is. It does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is — if it disagrees with experiment it is wrong. That is all there is to it." -- Richard Feynman

Gary Taubes has a short post up. Short compared to his books... ;)