Second Wind

Second Wind
"Run With Purpose!"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tis the season for... what?

It's cold in many places -- though not here.... we had a few days weeks past where we hit high 20's, but this week and last we're in the 60's, even 70 a day or 2 -- anyway, I digress...  For those of you who actually Are experiencing winter, what are your thoughts on winter running?  Do you?  Don't you?  Love it?  Hate it?  How?

Few things to remember:

When you walk out out the door into the cold, you should Feel Cold!  If you walk outside in the cold and think "ah, I feel nice and comfortable" then you will be Roasting hot, sweating (and THEN freezing) in a mile or 2.  You're body will warm up as your muscles warm up and you want your clothing to allow you room to do so comfortably.

Keep in mind that a good part of your body heat is lost through your head.  For me, I find it better to lose the sweats and jacket and just wear gloves and a beanie.

On the gloves and beanie:  refer to number 1.  Only wear them if the temperature warrants it, and then try to (most of the time) wear thin!

Your body can (and will) always heat up - but once you're going, you can't really cool your body temp back down comfortably.  You will begin to sweat, which will then cover your body in moisture.  Wearing a coat of water in the cold then becomes a whole new problem!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Altra Instinct 1.5 shoe Review


Levi Dodd
October 2012






                                                                     
Award winning (Editor’s pick for “Most innovative”) Instinct 1.5

     
                                           
                                             

Altra is a cool company.  Their story goes back about 30 years and their zero-drop movement can be traced back almost 10 years.  Today they have 7 men’s shoes and 7 women’s models, all featuring zero-drop platforms.

The other cool thing I like about Altra is that their founder, Golden Harper is a runner.  No really.  He grew up running since birth and has the hardware to prove it:  set a marathon time of 2:45… at age 12 (which happens to be a world record, if you’re into that sort of thing…), has a personal best 5k time of 14:45, and won the Mountain 50 Miler in a time of 9 hours and 12 minutes, just to name a few.

It’s the type of company you can’t help but root for.


Now, here’s my little confession.  Despite all that, I wasn’t really sold on this particular shoe they sent me.  I wasn’t sure I’d even like it.  At all.

What I knew was that Altra was taking aim at a (what I thought) niche market of people with their zero drop shoes that still looked and were designed as a ‘normal’ shod running shoe – same cushioning, similar stack height, but zero drop.
I got the shoes and they sat in the box for several days, I was almost afraid to test them because of my pre-conceived notions on the stack height and their claims of “fully cushioned ‘A-Bound’” technology. 
I can now gladly say… boy was a wrong!


I laced them up, tried them on, and just wore them for a few days.  No running, just wore them.  I found that I like them… a lot.  I didn’t have to adjust my gait at all, nothing felt weird or strange (or evil… as I had assumed) and, in fact, they felt quite natural.  After several days of casual wear I took them out for their first run.  The run felt great, the room inside the shoes was amazing, the fit was spot-on, no thumping, no scuffing, no mis-hits from the stack height.  As I continued to run in them I continued to be very pleasantly surprised at the feel of these shoes (did I mention the superb fit?). 

Now, what’s obvious is this:  there’s virtually no ground feel in the sense that one thinks about feeling pebbles, small cracks, etc.  This was obviously be design, and, to be perfectly honest, it was pretty nice.  I used these for the cracked, worn, broken sidewalks around the old parts of town and on gravel road beds and I could still ‘feel’ the road but didn’t have the dull pains experienced on more technical surfaces. 

After getting a good feel for the shoes and seeing the strong points of the design from Altra (excellent fit, air mesh, zero drop, perfectly flat sole, wide last, And A-Bound cushioning) I couldn’t wait to try them out on Crossfit.  For Crossfit, these shoes are perfect.  I LOVED them for that (these will be my go-to Crossfit shoe from now on).  They’re very light, perfectly flat, and zero drop (all musts haves) but the cushioning provided put them way above my other minimalist shoes for many of the Crossfit workouts.  The flat base and wide last provide a perfectly stable platform for squats, cleans, etc.  The light weight and natural fit make them work great at dubs, and (here’s where barefoot and my minimalist shoes always killed me) on box jumps they are perfect!

For the same reasons, were the sole more aggressive, this would make a great trail running shoe.

To recap the high notes here:

·         First off, most importantly and already mentioned, the shoe is Zero drop.
·         The Instinct 1.5 is a lightweight shoe (tipping the scales at about 9oz) – much lighter than traditional shod shoes.
·         One of the greatest things about this shoe is the fit-they Nailed it!  The heel is snug and holds everything in place while the toe box is designed perfectly – nice and wide, plenty of room for toe splay and a very natural, comfortable fit.
·         The shoe is cool (temperature wise… but looks too ;)  and I really like quick dry air mesh
·         The liner is full length (nice touch) and is seamless
·         Perfectly flat, wedge like sole (again – great platform for cross training, exercise, and Crossfit)
·         The entire shoe, sole and all, is completely flexible!
·         Ground feel:  I expected to hate ground feel but found it not to be a determent to my knees or my stride.  What I did fine was that they were Great for more ‘technical’ roads, good for when the feet are tired, and awesome for workouts or other activities where you have lots of jumping, hard landings, etc.
·         The shoe comes with 2 sets of insoles – one a little thicker and squishier than the other.  Put the ‘Strengthen’ insoles in and you’re good to go.
·         One note.  I talk a lot about the excellent fit – what I found (fault of my own) was that I ordered mine slightly too small.  They run slightly small (1/4 size) so keep that in mind when ordering yours.  Even still (I should have gotten mine a ½ size larger) it was only short in the length, the width at the toes was still fantastic.


So, on the conclusion end of things:

I like Altra.  I like what they’re doing, I like the void in the market they are filling, and I like that you can look back at their previous versions of shoes and see that they keep getting better with each new shoe they put out.  As an aside, knowing what they did in this shoe and what Altra’s strong suits are, I would be very excited about their newly released “The Superior” trail running shoe… I’d love to get my hands on a pair of those, and if I do, I’ll pass along what I learn!











Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Skora Running FORM: product review



Levi Dodd
October 2012






If you’ve never heard of Skora running, don’t feel bad, I hadn’t either.  
But if you choose to not immediately go find out more about them, I can assure you, you will regret it.  I'm quite confident that this is only the beginning...

Skora is a new company (as most of you know I have a huge soft spot for start-ups!) and they are bringing a fresh look to the market as they enter.  Their mantra is “Run Real” and I must say, they’re making great strides (see what I did right there?) towards that end.

The Skora Form is one of their first 2 shoes they are bringing to market (now shipping) and with it, they did a lot of things right.

Skora is immediately setting their entire company around minimalism and their idea of “Run Real”.  Their shoes are zero drop, minimal in cushioning, no support, stitch-down construction (more on that later), anatomical last, outsoles mimic foot shape, no heel counter, and a sole made to fit the natural shape of your foot and encourage medial to lateral movement.

Check this out this product Video (less than 90 seconds)

I’ll go ahead and say one thing right off the bat, the shoes look fantastic!  My first thoughts upon unboxing were that they were almost Too pretty to run in!  I Love shoes, and as a pure minimalist in that department (I only wear zero drop shoes:  running, casual, dress, hiking, mowing the lawn, everything) I really miss my old shoes style – these fit the bill!  Not only are they a great running shoe, they look great underneath a pair of bluejeans.

  • The FORM is a lightweight shoe (tipping the scales at about 8oz) – much lighter than traditional shod shoes.

  • The anatomical last, curved outsole forefoot, curved outsole heel, and absence of a heel counter make this shoe fit very well – the whole shoe is built… like a foot.
  •  Skora has really differentiated themselves in the material of the shoe.  One of my favorite things about this shoe is the fact that it’s made of Pittards Goadskin leather with their “WR100X” leather lining.  This stuff is Awesome!  It’s genuine leather, super soft and supple (feels like old perfectly broke in leather right out of the box) feel, all while being extremely breathable (was thrilled about that part) And water resistant!

  • The entire shoe, sole and all, is completely flexible!

  • Ground feel:  I actually expected to be unsatisfied with the ground feel and was pleasantly surprised.  There really is good ground feel, but not as much as you would experience in a pair of Nadas or VFFs.
  • The stack height is still quite low (9mm all the way across) and so it offers substantially better ground feel than say an Instinct or an A86, but again, not as much as The Most minimalist shoes I’ve tested (and this is a choice by Skora’s design team).  The sole itself is quite thin and it doesn’t have excessive padding and sports no extra hyped up support or protection (which is great)

  • I, personally, really like the aesthetics of the “cool” lacing design, but also appreciate the functionality of being able to choose the level of “snugness” a little better as well.

  • Another + for this shoe is the fit.  They wanted to focus on a glove like fit and I think they really achieved it.  I like that it has a narrow “snug” heel and then it widens just a bit as it goes forward.  The toe box is wide (all the way out to the end of the toes-not just where the toes join the foot) and allow for good toe splay.  Excellent foot fit.  I will say that I feel they probably run about a ½ size large, so keep that in mind when ordering.



So, on the conclusion end of things:

I really appreciate what Skora is trying to do and I Love new companies!   I knew I would like this shoe, but didn’t really expect to love it as much as I did.  I’m running in it (makes a good trail running shoe as well), doing some Crossfit in them, and they are also my go to casual shoe everyday now.  You will Love the goat Leather.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Calf strains, pulls, cramps, and tears, oh my!

Calf strains are common ailment in running (especially in speed work).  After receiving several questions on various pulls, cramps, partial tears as of late, here's some good pointers on dealing with rehab during these times.

Think back to ICE therapy:  Ice Compression Elevate.  Use those 3 and add in something with Aspirin in it (Aleve, Ibuprofen, etc - but Not Tylenol) for an anti-inflammatory.  Something to remember on the Elevate part is that the body part doesn't just need to be elevated, it needs to be elevated above your heart.  So, if it's your knee, for instance, put a pillow underneath your leg and lay flat on your back.  If it's an ankle, calf, or foot prop your foot up on the arm of your couch and lay flat on your couch -- put some ice on it, turn on the TV, and watch a show (right now 20 minutes of the news will make you forget all about whatever your ailment is anyway as your head will start hurting much worse than whatever you've injured...).  Ice and elevate it for 20 minutes, no more.
Frequency wise, it depends on the injury (and your schedule).  Try to do at least once or twice a day and no more than once every 2-3 hours.

Compression:  since we're looking at calves for this particular example, look into a pair of compression calf sleeves or compression socks (same thing - one just literally is a sock and the other a sleeve that you wear with your own socks).  The compression can help a lot.  While injured, you can wear them around the house to assist in healing, they're also really good to sleep in (not to mention the sex appeal of sleeping in a nice pair of black leg warmers!).  On the exercise front, they can be worn during exercise and/or after to increase blood flow and reduce DOMS.

Also, if you are cramping pay attention to your hydration, potassium, and sodium - you may be lacking in 1 or all!

For those compression sleeves/socks, check out Zensah, CEP, RecoFit, or Sugoi.
For 15% off CEP use coupon code blog15
For 15% off RecoFit use coupon code CCTC
http://recofitsports.com/http://www.cepcompression.com/http://www.zensah.com/http://www.sugoi.com/

For some good information on rehab (stretches, what to do when, etc.) check out
http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/sport-injuries/ankle-achilles-shin-pain/calf-strain/calf-strain-rehabilitation


out For excellent videos (4 min a piece) on everything to do with what's going on in that muscle, how to rehab it, what to do, why, etc.  Check these out:
http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/sport-injuries/ankle-achilles-shin-pain/calf-strain/physio-calf-rehab

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

And..... we're back!

First off, I apologize for the temporary hiatus - things have been crazy.

In addition to a very busy schedule, my wife and I found out she was pregnant (yay!), a few days later doctors held her hand and told her she could die, the next day they said, oh, just kidding, you're fine, but the baby's dead.  A week later (after praying for a miracle with all our friends and family), mom and baby are both doing perfect and they blame a 'data entry error'.  24 hours later, we arrive at new doctor.

anywho.....  Thanks for the patience, the thoughts and prayers (from those of you who also follow me on facebook and sent notes), and now... we're back!


VMC Race

This past Saturday the training runs I've been conducting this summer culminated in the VMC 5k race and all my Dormant2Dominant participants hit the road:
They. did. Awesome!

Everyone finished, everyone finished under their goal times, 1 took 3rd place in their age category, 1 took 2nd, and 2 took 1st

I am unbelievably proud of all of them and can't wait to see them out on the roads and trails - you Are Runners!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hit the Trails! (and fall in love again)

It's funny that usually runners are in 2 very separate categories:  Trail runners and road runners.

We identify ourselves as one or the other, our clothing is marketed to one group or the other (because it takes a totally different shirt to run trails than roads....), our shoes are Either "Trail" or "Road" even though most cross over quite well, heck, even our hydration belts are marketed differently (really?).

Me?  I've always been a road runner.  The concrete jungle, mile after mile.  Each year I would go to Pickett State Park in Jamestown, TN and while I spent the weekend there I would trail run (in my road shoes, my road shorts, my road shirt...) and every time I would fall in love, swear that it was the best running I'd had all year, and then return home and go right back to the roads.

Several weeks ago I hit the trails here (the ironic thing is that I live in East TN where trail running can be found everywhere) to test a new 'trail' shoe I had received and once again, fell in love.  It was one of those runs where I started out to run 6 and ended up running 12 - not because I was pushing myself, not because I had to, but because I fell in love with the run and wanted to keep pursuing her as far as I could (which in 94 degree heat and 10,000% humidity was 12 miles-and should have been more like 8!).

So I started examining it all:  why do I always run roads, why do I always feel so 'different' when I run trails, what's the deal?

Well, for starters, I generally run roads because it's easier.  Not easier to run on, but because I can step outside my house or step outside my office and just take off.  No car involved at all, just go.  It's also what I've pretty much always done (comfort and habit are two ridiculously powerful things).

But when I run trails, the running feels so much better, so much easier, more free, more Fun, more spiritual... more like... Running!  You have the scenery - the mountains, the trees, the dirt under your feet, and the water (for a lot of the trails around here), and what you Don't have is monotony, traffic sounds, and gobs of people - it's like running through a Jay Clark song!

I think it's so much 'easier' - and understand I don't really mean Easy, I mean that peaceful easy Feeling (cue the Eagles) - because the scenery is so beautiful and ever changing, you Can't focus on breath counts (which is the best way to have a good one... by Not focusing on it), you can't maintain perfect cadence, or anything else, you just run.  You revert to childhood and just... fly!

On the road, running is such second nature, that I can be in the 'runners trance' in No time - zone out, glazed over, robot mode.  But if you try that on a trail, well, you'll die ;)  You can't zone out, you have to constantly be paying attention, adjusting, watching, moving, jumping, changing pace, moving, Running.

Since that run, the only time I've been back on the road again was for the training run I conducted last night (you guys did AWESOME!), and plan to largely keep it that way.  A good friend of mine and I are going to head up and run the Virginia Creeper in a couple of weeks and I can't wait for that!

So, in summary, if you need to fall in love with running again, try hitting the trails!  You just might remember what running is all about... the LOVE of the run

#MeditationInMotion

-Levi

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Recap from Training run #2

We had a great group of 25 last night at my annual "Dormant 2 Dominant: 7 weeks to your first 5k!" training runs last night at World's Fair Site.

As usual, we have a wide range of skill and experience levels and an even wider range of physical fitness levels.  Everyone did a great job.  Everyone is progressing very well.

Last night I gave "The shoe speech" and covered the good, the bad, the ugly, and the downright evil.


Things to remember this week:


  • Breathe in your mouth and out your mouth - NO Nose breathing (self induced asthma=bad)
  • Focus on landing Flat footed 
  • SHORTEN your stride - shorten it until you feel completely ridiculous, then shorten it a little more.
  • Land Directly underneath your center of gravity-if at any point you can look down and see the knot on your shoelaces, your foot is too far out in front of you
  • LIFT with your big squat muscles (hamstrings, quads, butt) instead of Pushing with your calf muscles (think marching in place)
  • Keep your body in line/good posture - head straight, chest up, shoulders straight-head, shoulders, waist, knees, feet all line up
  • BEND YOUR KNEES - again, bend them until you feel completely ridiculous, then bend them a little more, then you're almost there.  And KEEP your knees bent - don't straighten them out at any point in your stride
  • Fast cadence.  Cadence, not speed.  Think about running on hot lava, your feet Have to get off the ground quickly.  The instant you have daylight between the ground and your heel, Lift/pull your leg into your next stride.  


For cadence - the sweetspot rule-of-thumb is 180 Beats per minute (so 90 foot taps per foot per minute)  So test yourself:  run a stop watch for 30 seconds and count the foot taps of one of your feet.  At the end of the 30 seconds that one foot should have tapped the ground 45 times.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Training Tips Tuesday: Shoes

I've been asking people from previous training runs what their best/favorite "aha!" moment was from the classes.  Almost everyone answered "The shoe talk!"

So, for today's entry of TTT, I'll give an overview of what I'm going to cover at tonight's training run (week 2 - come join us!)

This is all about shoes (or.... lack thereof)


A couple of things to think about:

Your foot is designed to flex, and bend, and move. Lots of shoes prohibit your feet from doing Any of those things (stability webs, roll bars, carbon injected crash plates, etc.). 

Think about your arch. How many people have been told that you have a weak arch, so you need arch support? What's the strongest shape in nature, or in construction (think bridge building).. the arch. Ever seen anyone build a bridge and then stick a support up underneath their archway? Of course not, and why? Because doing so completely defeats the design capabilities and the function of the arch! - By putting arch "support" under your arch, you ruin your arch, making it where it can't function, instantly weaken it, and then make yourself completely dependent on the 'support' because having it there has weakened your arch into a non working state by supporting it... got it?  ;)

Consider also that studies have proven (Harvard University, American Society of Biomechanics, Nike's own Director of Nike Sports Research Lab, American Journal of Sports Medicine, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, etc. etc. etc.) that the greater the padding, the greater the impact
Let that sink in for a second (yes - you read that right). The more cushioning your shoe has in it, the harder your foot (and knees, and hips, and back) will smash into the ground.

Then there's the fact that all of our running shoes are high heels. Most all running shoes have a much higher heel than forefoot (ie a 32mm heel height and a 20mm forefoot height). Would you choose to run in high heels? not only does it put lots of extra pressure on your knees and shins, it nearly forces a heel strike.

Finally, there's the issue of weight. You are picking up your feet a lot, more so than most of you every imagined if you are transitioning into correct running form. Each time you do so, you're having to lift the weights on each of your feet (those shoes). A typical corrective running shoe will weigh in somewhere around 12oz a piece (or more), where a pair of FiveFingers will weigh less than that (a Pair) - only about 5-6oz a piece. Other minimalist shoes (such as my beloved Nadas) weigh in at just over 3.5oz a piece.  
And your barefeet... they tip the scales at zero.


***Here's what you want to remember:   less is more.
In buying a shoe, you want to look for a flat shoe (one where the heel is not raised higher than the forefoot), a wider toebox (your toes need room to splay out), a shoe that does not attempt to overwrite and control God’s perfect design, a shoe that is super light weight, a shoe that is flat on the inside (no arch support), a shoe that bends (that you can roll up toe to heel), and a shoe that has the bare minimum in terms of padding (if it feels like a house shoe when you put it on it will kill you for a running shoe).*** 

So in short, avoid any shoe that boasts any of the following: “Control”, “motion control”, “high arch”, “stability”, “stability web”, “narrow last”, “bounce”, “rebound”, or anything that brags in regards to excellent cushioning or high technology.

An easy, over simplified way to ask your shoe store salesperson for the right thing, ask for a "Zero drop shoe". 
What this means is that the shoe will put your forefoot and your heel on the same plane - they will be the same height (ideally about 4mm off the ground at both places or less) - you wont be running in high-heels. Typically, if the shoe has a zero drop, then it has the other features you want to be looking for.

Remember, just because a shoe is labeled "Minimalist", doesn't mean it's any good

There are lots of "minimalist" shoes out there that are anything but, and, on the other hand, there are lots of good minimalist shoes out there that can make great strides (pun intended) in helping your form and helping you to run pain free

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pointers:

As with last year's big mass training runs, I'll reflect on most runs and look for some pointers to share about what I saw:

This year we had another great group out for the 1st night of VMC training runs.
Last night you all got your training schedules, did your first interval run, and learned some about your new stride, how to breathe, and to NOT go buy shoes before next week's run!

Some things to self-examine:
Make sure you are landing on the balls of your feet (think of landing flat)-have someone else watch you and tell you if you're still landing on your heels.  As most of you have been running on your heels for 10, 20, 30, 40 years transitioning to the forefoot is not an easy swap.
Also remember that you are not tiptoe running - you want your forefoot to land first, but then you Do want your heel to touch immediately thereafter.  So you land forefoot, midfoot, heel-then the heel starts to come off the ground and you immediately pull into your next stride.  But it is important that your heel does 'tap' the ground each stride to allow your calf muscles that split second of relax time before it contracts again.

Shorten your stride.  Already done that?  Good, now cut it in half again.  Your stride must be short enough where you are not stretching out in front, you're not landing on your heel, and you Are landing directly underneath your center of gravity.  Think of it as a bicycle stroke.

The ground is hot.  You're running on a bed of coals.  Do Not stay on the ground - as soon as there is daylight between your heel and the ground, Lift immediately into your next stride (fast cadence)

As you work on lifting/pulling your leg instead of pushing into your next stride, remember that this is Not high-stepping.  That doesn't mean you lift/pull your knees up to your chest, only that those are the muscles you use.  Lifting your foot (knees) high off the ground takes a lot of effort but gives no return - so you want your feet to stay as close to the ground as possible.  Think of it as if you're almost skiing - your feet glide forward, just barely over the surface of the ground.  This way you're not wasting any energy (remember - it's all about efficiency) and your feet (and the rest of you) have less distance to 'fall' back to the ground, thus even less impact.


Lastly, I did not bring any of my books to the training runs last night and honestly don't plan on pushing them there, I'd much rather you just buy them on your own if you'd like a copy.
The book is "Second Wind: the running coach you never had but always needed" and is available on Amazon, Books a Million, Barnes and Noble, etc.  The ebook formats (iPad/iPhone, Kindle, etc.) can be found on Diesel-ebooks


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

FREE Training runs start Tonight!

Dormant to Dominant:  7 weeks to your first 5k!

Tonight I'm starting my FREE training sessions at World's Fair Site in Knoxville, TN at 7:00pm.

For the next 7 weeks we will meet every Tuesday at 7 and I'll teach people how to run (stride, how to breathe, foot strike, body mechanics, etc) efficiently and injury free.

Each night will include a time of instruction and discussion, a group run, and close with a time of Q&A and 1on1 questions (as time permits).

Over the 7 weeks you will go through my Dormant to Dominant program:
It's just 3 days a week, and only 20-30 minutes each of those 3 days, and after just 7 weeks, even if you've NEVER run before, you will run your first 5k!

This group is open to all skill/experience levels (last year we had those who had never run before in their lives, the severely obese, the injured, and we also had marathoners, 1 Ultra runner, people looking to shave a few minutes off their time, and those looking for tips on efficiency and injury prevention).

You will also learn about barefoot and minimalist running and be able to ask all your questions about that as well

See you tonight!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

CrossFit, running, solo, and wolf pack (3 man optional)

When you run, what part of it is for the social aspect?  Many people run to enjoy the company of friends, they run in pairs, or groups, and race often - again, for the camaraderie.

I love running with a friend (or 50), but often times I Really Love running alone.  It's why I started running in the first place:  to be alone with my thoughts, alone with God, and (quite literally) run away from all my stress, problems, and haters for an hour or so.  As I often say, running, for me, is meditation in motion.

I have also known over the years that working out, on the other hand, is an activity that isn't half as fun, rewarding, energized, or effective without friends.  As most of you know, I drank the CrossFit Kool-aid and haven't looked back.  I don't do it nearly as often as I should or as I would like to, but when I can, I love it and find it to be a very well designed and thought out program.

A few people have asked about CrossFit when I mention doing it with friends-there are lots of ways to go about this!  First off, I do not go to a CrossFit box, don't get me wrong, I think they are awesome!  But they also aren't close to me and, quite frankly, I'm way to cheap...   A friend and I have put together our own version of a garage gym and use it when we can.  Simply working out in the same room with someone else helps, but in CrossFit too there are lots of ways to do the workouts together if you go a little... outside the 'box'.

My 2 favorite ones are the Team Pace Horse workouts and the Team Partner workouts:

With the Pace Horse workout you have multiple stations, 1 station for each person you have working out.  So if you have 5 people, you have 5 stations.  One of those 5 stations is a Pace Horse - (use something like a run, or a row - run 400 meters, or row 250 meters, or run 1 suicide, etc.).  The other 4 stations can be anything (Kettle bell swings, air squats, wall balls, and dubs).
The Pace Horse sets the time for the rotation, everyone else just does AMRAP until the pace horse is done, then swap stations.

The other one is the one a group of us did last night:  The Partner WOD.
In the partner WOD you pair everyone up and come up with several (but doesn't have to be all) workouts that have to be done in pairs.  And you can get creative.  Last night we were 1 short so we actually had 7 people so we had 2 pairs and a group of 3 (Wolfpack!).  A couple examples of partner/pair workouts would be Wall-Ball volleyball, Wall-Ball situps (lock ankles, throw the wall ball at your partner each rep), etc.

Find some friends and get to it!  And remember, always follow the proper Gym Etiquette ;)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Asics FAIL.

Way to move backwards Asics,


*steps firmly on soapbox*


So, often times I get questions from people along the lines of "well what do you wear when you play soccer?  Do they make minimalist cleats!?"  Thing is, ALL soccer cleats (and most all cleats for all sports) are very minimalist, soccer cleats (Boots!) being the most minimalist.  Sports people know, to be fast and stable, you want to be flat and as low to the ground as possible.  So cleats have No support, no arches, no cushioning, and, of course-and most importantly, they are perfectly flat (zero heel drop).

That is, until now... I got a flyer emailed to me about a new Asics line of soccer cleats designed to "keep you in the game longer".  So, longer and better than 7-11 miles in 90 minutes as performed by some of the top conditioned athletes in the entire world?  huh, how interesting.  Their genius approach?  ADD a 10mm HEEL.  /facepalm.  So Asics is now making cleats specifically for those athletes who have always dreamed of playing their favorite sport in high heels.

You've got to be kidding me!?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

VMC 5k Captain's luncheon


The VMC race is upcoming and this year they are having 2 separate races:  the regular 5k and this year they're adding a "doughnut dash" (run, snarf down 24 Dunkin Donut Munchkins, and dash back).  The race is on Saturday Sept. 29th and the Captains meeting is Thursday, August 9th at noon (lunch on them) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Knoxville, TN.  I will be there, along with Kim and Lori.

Here are the details for the captains luncheon:


The luncheon is on Thursday, August 9th at Noon at the Crowne Plaza.  As always, come and enjoy lunch on us and learn all about being a team captain. 

I also wanted to let you all know that we have added another race this year.  The First Annual Dunkin’ Donut Dash will take place immediately following the 5K Race.  The Dunkin’ Donut Dash is a 5K with the additional challenge of eating 24 Dunkin’ Donut Munchkins in the middle of the race.  I know what all of you are thinking – I promise it will be fun and something unique to offer to the teenagers and college kids we all know. 

If you aren’t able to make it but want to be a captain, just let me know and we can work something out.

Also, if you aren’t interested in participating this year, let me know so that I can remove you from my list.

Please RSVP to me by August 8th and I hope that all of you can make it! 

kharper@vmcinc.org

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

2nd Annual Training runs (FREE) starting August 14th!

Come join Lori Tucker (WATE), Kim Hansard (Star102.1), and myself and get
Ready To Run!

Hey everyone, I'm very excited to announce my partnership with Volunteer Ministry Center in Knoxville, TN (celebrating their 25th year of motivating and helping Up the homeless and poor of Knoxville).

I'll be conducting FREE training runs again this year putting participants through the 'Dormant 2 Dominant: 7 weeks to your first 5k' program!  The class will be largely focused on new runners, casual runners, and those who have Never run before, however special time is always given to those who are experienced, competitive, barefoot runners, and those wishing to transition to barefoot/minimalist running.


This is all to get everyone ready for the Volunteer Ministry Center (VMC) 5k this year, which will be held on September 29th.

On the training days we will discuss proper form, training advice, how to run, how to land, how to breathe, etc. as well as do training runs each time.
Additionally, on the first night I will provide everyone who attends with a free training program designed to get you ready for your first 5k in just 7 weeks (not only that - but in just 3 days a week and just 20-30 minutes each of those days - you can do this!).

Each night will begin and end with an open forum for people to ask questions specifically related to their own needs, form questions, general running questions, barefoot and/or minimalist questions, questions about/from Second Wind: the running coach you never had but always needed, etc.

If you are an experienced runner, come learn about barefoot and minimalist running, better efficiency, and injury prevention

If you are a novice runner, come get instruction specific to your own needs and concerns and get yourself in racing form

If you are a brand new runner (or one who has Never run) come learn from the ground up (literally) and gain the information and confidence to go from not being a runner at all to running your first 5k in just 7 weeks (yes, you CAN do this!)!


The dates: (note - all runs are held at 7:00pm at the World's Fair Site in Knoxville, TN - the track around the lawn - just past the fountains - and there is free parking across the railroad tracks from the Foundry)

August 14th
August 21st
August 28th
September 4th
September 11th  (the group will still meet-but I will be out of town on this date)
September 18th
September 25th
And the race is on September 29th

For more information, contact  Karol Harper at: kharper@vmcinc.org

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer is... Here!

Blogs have been slow!  Summer is my busiest season of the year and typically involves a lot of travel.  This year is no exception!

What do you do for super hot weather runs?  I was in San Antonio, TX where it was 97 while I was there, then East Tennessee at 100, and then AR who's sitting at 106!

Remember to stay hydrated!  Waiting until after a run and then guzzling the liquids just isn't going to cut it, and honestly, even just relying on drinking during runs isn't enough.  The best (and easiest) boost you can give yourself is to pre-hydrate.  Drink lots of fluids during the day before you take off on your run, and then be sure to keep the fluids going.

Don't ever wait until you Feel thirsty - once you feel thirst, you're already too late (into dehydration).  The most dangerous thing to look for is if you stop sweating - I still hear people from time to time tout that as a great thing your body has 'gotten to the point that it doesn't have to sweat!' NO!  If you're in this kind of heat and stop sweating, you are in a very dangerous place!

Keep hydrated, before, during, and after.

Water before, sports drink during (gatorade, EFS, pick your poison), and drink afterwards as well (chocolate milk!)

Protein is an excellent step as well (a nice whey protein mix/smoothie).

For longer runs on hot days, my personal favorite is Lemon Lime Sport Beans!

What about you?  What's your favorite hot weather drink/snack and what does your routine look like?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Russell Moccasin Thula Thula



Levi Dodd
June 2012






Today we have a special product review that I am very excited about.  


Russell Moccasin makes completely custom (and 100% by hand) shoes and boots to Your exact measurements - you measure your foot, heel, length, width, height, etc, send them in, and they build You your own perfect pair.


When I was first contacted about Russell Moccasins I admit that I was unfamiliar with the brand.  As I began to look into Russell, I knew there was no way I could pass on this review!  
Russell Moccasin is the company you can't help but love and cheer for.  Russell Moccasin has been in business in Wisconsin for over 108 years and today the boots are made in the very same little building that the company started in.  As if that isn't enough, what truly sets this family owned and operated business apart from the rest is their attention to detail and zealous commitment to quality in their completely custom built shoes.  
That's right, not only does Russell custom fit its boots and shoes, they actually hand last and hand sew every pair... and you can tell. 

My favorite quote, and a great synopsis from Russell Moccasin is this:

"Russell has never grown into a large multinational marketer of theme-type footwear...we prefer to remain small and turn out the finest handmade product possible for our unique group of outdoorsmen and women...those who recognize the quality of a handmade product. If we were larger in size and scope, we simply could not do the kinds of things we do. In order to respond to specialized demands, we must maintain a close knit group of highly skilled craftsmen. Mass production techniques are simply not possible."  


Those skilled craftsmen hone their skill day in and day out and remain loyal to the family owned business.



It's no wonder that their client list includes such people as Robert Redford, George W. Bush, Tucker Goodrich, Gayne Young, Larry Weishuhn, Mike Cassidy, Mike Rogers, and just about every big game hunter you see on TV.  Plus they've been featured in countless magazines ranging from Bow Hunting World and Field and Stream to S.W.A.T.


Forgive my doting - I really was just blown away with this company;  Ralph (the president) and his people are truly top notch.


On to the boots:


First impressions were great and the boots look good.  I am a minimalist shoe and barefoot runner and let’s be honest… the good shoes typically ARE going to get you all kinds of attention, but the not the attention a fashion minded individual may want…  
These boots look superb and the attention to detail and fine craftsmanship is undeniable.  Furthermore, these are truly minimalist boots that not only meet all of my minimalist requirements, but are also the toughest and best boots you will ever have the privilege of lacing up!

 The boots I received from Russell Moccasin were in their new line of MINIMALIST shoes and boots (including 4" boots, 7" boots, and dress and casual oxfords).  This particular model is the Thula Thula in 7" height and all leather.  They are truly a hand stitched work of art.  The boots are made with top of the line Ski Grain and waterproof WeatherTuff leather with a tough 10oz bullhide molded wrap around the outer sole.  These boots midsole is only 1/16th" thick and the boots sport the tried and true ultra thin Vibram Newporter sole.  Of course, the boots (and all their minimalist shoes and boots) feature a 0 drop heel, which is absolutely essential.


Again, what immediately struck me about the boots was the evidence of fine, hand craftsmanship.  Also, as any true master craftsman will tell you, all the skill in the world is largely lost without also utilizing the best materials - Russell Moccasins certainly adheres to that.  
The leather is the finest quality I've ever seen on a boot.  Thick, tough, 100% waterproof (I took a several mile stalk hike up a creek, never leaving the water, and my boots never leaked a drop), all while being as soft and supple as the finest handbag.  


The boots have virtually no break-in period at all.  Well, let me qualify that:  the first time you put the boots on they feel as if they are completely broken in, soft, and perfectly fitted to your foot.  However, the more you wear them, the softer and better they become yet. 

These boots are perfectly suited for hiking (or even running!), hunting, stalking, or even sitting below a pair of designer jeans while you conquer the concrete jungle.  My only problem now is that I was joking with my wife that as summer is upon us I'm continuing to wear jeans just so I can keep wearing these boots!


  • ·       The sole is Vibram, very thin, slip and oil resistant.  It's flat and does not take any mud at all while still providing excellent traction. 
  • ·       The leather is very nice, good looking, abrasion resistant, tough, waterproof, absolutely top of the line
  • ·       The bullhide mudguard around the edge (overlapping the sole to the leather upper) provides excellent protection against nicks, cuts, and scratches while also helping provide an added layer of protection from the elements (in water proofing).
  • ·       The tongue/collar is gusseted for water proofing and is so soft you won't believe it
  • ·       Speed lacing hooks provide stability and varied level of tension
  • ·       The 1/16" midsole provides good ground feel and superb flexibility while offering just the right amount of 'rock plate' protection and the sole is extremely flexible  - just what you would want and expect in a minimalist shoe of any kind.  The boot will roll up toe to heel and will also roll and torque side to side.  There are no stiff points, no stability webs or the like (perfect)
  • ·       There is, of course, no heel-to-toe drop (zero drop).  This is only the second ‘boot’ that I’m aware of that offers a zero drop (and the only one of this quality)
  • ·       The boots are very light weight, weighing in at only 1.5 pound!  For reference, my Vasque Sundowners weigh in at just under 3 ½ pounds (so the pair weights almost 1/2 pound less than a single standard hiking boot).
  • ·       One of the most important features of this boot to me is the fact that they are waterproof – and they really are, completely!  There are so many times where I require a waterproof platform but can’t stand my traditional (heavy, stabilized, and substantial heel drop) boots and these offer me a completely waterproof platform to fit my needs.

Final Thoughts:

I love minimalist shoes.  That’s all I use, no… really.  At work, while running, dress shoes, hiking, working out, around the house, mowing the lawn, every shoe I wear is a zero drop minimalist shoe.  That being said, I love to hike, I love to hunt, and I love to camp and there are times where I really miss my boots!  There are times where solid leather, a hi-top, and (most importantly for me) waterproof become extremely important.  I’ve long waited for a company to come out with true minimalist boot to fill this void and I am pleased to say that Russell Moccasin has done just that.  I am thrilled at their marriage of “minimalism” and “boot” and will thoroughly enjoy these new Thula Thulas.


Many thanks to Ralph and all the crew and please don't hesitate to give them a call.

http://secondwindbook.blogspot.com








http://www.russellmoccasin.com/        &          http://www.russellminimalistfootwear.com/

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Gym etiquette? (aka an ode to Rex and the Lifter's Club)

So in the last post I asked you to consider several things:

what type of workout environment do you like?  What do you think of when you think of personal trainers?  How about Yoga teachers?  Drill Sergeants?
What do you feel like when you just beat a PR, or finish a tough workout?



So, what did you come up with?  Obviously this is largely opinion based with some people having very staunch opinions on either side.  However, this blog is also largely opinion based (shocking, isn't it?) and so for this purpose you have to listen to mine ;)

Have you ever heard the phrase "Gym etiquette"?  What does that mean to you?
To me it means you shouldn't be a jerk or a tool, you shouldn't act like you're on a movie set, and you should re-rack all the weights you use (that last one being the most important).
However, it would appear that I'm just down right caveman like (*queue Tim the Tool Man laugh*) in that thinking.  Evidently, the top 10 rules for gyms now are:

  1. "shirts required at all times", 
  2. "don't drop any weights", 
  3. "when you clean and jerk that new max out and give it everything you have we need you to gingerly place the bar back, carefully, and quietly on the ground", 
  4. "No yelling"
  5. "No 'wooping'"
  6. "No grunting because the weight is too heavy"
  7. "No yelling/growling as you push through that last rep"
  8. "No encouraging your partner to push through their last rep"
  9. "Mind your own business"
  10. "don't interact with, talk to, or certainly not encourage anyone else who is working out"


which can all be summarized as: "don't push yourself too hard where it would require maximum exertion or where the euphoria of success would ever be present so that you can be completely void of any and all excitement or emotion whatsoever."

Bovine stool.

I grew up at a gym called the Lifter's Club.  The Lifter's Club was in Oak Ridge, TN and run by a guy named Rex (yep), the assistant manager (if you can call him that) was Taz, the gym's symbol was a completely illegal rip off of the Tazmanian Devil from the looney tunes, and the mascot was usually a english bulldog ("LC"), but at one point there was also a pet pig.  Rex was, well... picture the biggest, hugest steroid dude you can think of.  And then double it.

The gym was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, but rarely had anyone on staff present.  There were no membership cards, no key fobs, no security system, no cameras.  And you know how often things got stolen from there?  Never.  Not once.  Ever.  Because everyone knew that you don't steal from a bunch of guys who can benchpress that little Toyota Hybrid you drive.

The guys would cheer each other on no matter what they were doing.  If you had never been at the gym before and were trying a 1RMax of 100 pounds on the benchpress, the guy who was doing reps at 600 (and no I'm not making that number up) would rack his weight so that he could come over encourage you - by screaming at you "Come on!  COME ON!  You can do it, don't drop that weight, push, Push, PUSH!   Then when you did it, people four doors down would know because everyone would scream and grunt for you.  When a clean and jerk was finished, you dropped the bar and the weights.  Why?  Because you were excited beyond belief?  Yes.  But also because, in that gym, if you did it right, you could no longer lift a finger after that rep - Rex use to to say something along the lines of, if you did it right, then if Carmen Electra were standing in front of you... asking (I'm paraphrasing there...) you to do one more rep you couldn't do it.  And the weights weren't rubber then either.  They were cast iron.  And I don't know if you're aware, but 45 pound cast iron plates banging together are a body builders mating call.

The Lifter's Club had all kinds of other fantastic memories (Rex's girlfriends - all of whom could beat you up, the refrigerator out in the middle of the gym with the logging chain padlocked around it, the fact that there wasn't a single working treadmill in the whole place, that the complex science derived workout schedules were "do legs one day, then arms the next day, then whole body, then repeat", etc. etc. etc.).  You know what it was?  It was a gym.  A single purpose, band of brothers (and sisters) workout Mecca.

In my opinion, if you can't get excited about it, if you can see someone struggling to get a weight up by their self and just turn your earbuds up and turn away, if you can hit a new 1 rep max and quietly re-rack the weight, jot the number down on your iPhone and casually walk to the next machine - You Aren't Doing It Right!  Show some EMOTION, show some pride, get Excited, get pumped up - LOVE IT!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cross Training

Do you cross train?  If so, what do you do?  I've talked to a lot of people and many of them respond "oh yeah, I cross train all the time.  I'll run intervals and hills and speed ladders, and run..." those are all great, all fun, all good for you, and all running.

Do you do any training for your body other than running?

Running is the best, for me, though all exercise releases endorphin and makes you feel amazing, there's nothing like the feeling of running.  But I do love to workout (when I can).  I'm one of those sick people who says things like "oh my word...   For 45 minutes straight I had my butt handed to me, now everything from the toenails to the hair on the top of my head is sore!  I can't even walk straight!  IT WAS AWESOME!  You gotta come with me tomorrow!"

There are definitely different camps, and I'm sure many of the readers here feel very differently (feel free to chime in) on the subject, but I am a born again crossfitter.  Yep, I drank the koolaid.
I love the exercises, the near perfect muscle confusion (which in it's most simplistic form that's what it is), the 'real world' movements, and just the raw attitude of it!  (more on that in the next blog!)

If you've never tried it, I encourage you to step out and give it a shot - it also doesn't hurt that the CrossFit community was one of the first and largest to fully embrace minimalist shoes for their benefits. CrossFit has also added in running into their repertoire:  many days will include rounds of 400m runs, they have Workout Of the Day (WOD) that's a 5k, and today's WOD is a 10k.  www.crossfit.com



For the next blog that's coming, be thinking:  what type of workout environment do you like?  What do you think of when you think of personal trainers?  How about Yoga teachers?  Drill Sergeants?
What do you feel like when you just beat a PR, or finish a tough workout?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Death, stress, fear, pain, grief.... and running

This week I was painfully reminded that there are things worse than death... and sometimes that's living.
I watch my wife's grandmother (who was one of "those" grandmothers who was more of a mix of a mom and a best girlfriend) struggle and gasp for air, I'll spare you the horrendous details, before she finally passed.

Grief is all around us.  Pain is ever present.  Stress is inescapable.  There is seemingly always something to fear.

These truths remind me why I run.  No, really.  I don't run to lose weight, I honestly don't run to stay in shape (although that is of course nice), I don't run to get a good tan or to enjoy the camaraderie of other runners, I don't even run so that I can write this blog.  I run to survive.  I run to escape.

For me, when the world closes in, I run like he**.  I run to feel alive, feel alone with my thoughts or sometimes to be completely void of thought all together.  For those miles, I run out from under the crushing stress, I run away from the fear that's chasing me, I run from the grief, and I run into the void of my own thoughts - into the sound of Nothing but my breathing... in and out, in and out, in and out... and for that brief time, everything else disappears.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Running plans!

As summer approaches, for good reasons or not, many people either pick running back up or decide to start a running regiment for the first time.

If you are one of those people, I invite you to peruse the blog for form tips, training, tips etc and encourage you to ask any questions you may have!

A couple of thoughts for people about to launch into a running plan:

There are thousands and thousands of running plans out there, tons of 'couch to 5k' variants (including my own 'Dormant to Dominant'), some are good, some.... not so much.

Things to keep in mind:

  • You do Not have to run 6-7 days a week, even 4 or 5 for that matter.  If you are starting out and want to be a runner, do 2-3 days a week and then you can move into 3-4 days if you like.  
  • Make sure you take your rest days, they are important.
  • Remember that (especially if you are just starting out), your body doesn't need 3 gatorades, goo packs, and a pasta dinner every night to sustain yourself on your 1-3 (or 6-10...) mile runs.
  • Don't worry about stretching before your runs, just start your runs off slow and allow your own motion to be stretch out your muscles
  • Do stretch afterwards (focus on calves, quads, and hamstrings)
  • It's a slow process - you can't jump 2 miles in distance every week.  With that said, there's no magic number or formula (they Are out there... they are a lie) to calculate how much to move.  Listen to Your body.
  • R-E-L-A-X 
  • Just remember, if you are running solely to lose weight, you will not stick with it, it will not last (because you will not enjoy it).

Relax, keep your head up, and enjoy every step - run to relieve stress, run to 'get away', run to meditate, run to feel Alive --

Happy running everyone!

Friday, April 13, 2012

You Know You're a Runner if.....


  1. If you plan to have your marathon medal, race bib and toenail framed in a shadow box together.
  2. You have a key ring, then a separate single key to your car that you keep on you at all times...just in case.
  3. The sound of a gun sends you into a state of anxious calm instead of fear 
  4. The odor coming from your laundry hamper in the summer causes your pets to pass out
  5. Your laundry room has a hamper for "darks" a hamper for "whites" and a hamper for "compression"
  6. The "compression" hamper has a biohazard sign on it.
  7. You have to buy a separate dresser for all your running clothes
  8. You know the exact distance between every major landmark in your city - also in reference from your house
  9. You can convert miles to kilometers in your head.
  10. You forget your house key as you shut the door behind you, you can't remember your ATM pin number, you forget your own phone number, but you know your resting heart rate, 80% and 90% BPM, and every PR (to the hundredth of a second) of at least 4 distances.
  11. You don't "drink" you "hydrate"
  12. Resting HR, BPM, lactate threshold, anaerobic threshold, and VO2 Max are all standard vocabulary terms for you.
  13. Fartleks aren't funny.
  14. You use 2 band-aids and you don't have any cuts.
  15. You just laughed at number 14
  16. Your 2 favorite food groups are carbohydrates and naproxen
  17. Your calves are bigger than your biceps
  18. You often wash your shorts in the shower
  19. You know that bodyglide has nothing to do with sex
  20. When you talk about an "easy 3" you don't mean it as a joke.

Happy spring everyone!  


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Storelli


Levi Dodd
April 2012

Storelli is a very unique company.  In an industry dominated by the few, where even fewer have chosen to specialize in soccer specific products, two people (an Italian attorney and a PhD biochemist) with a great passion for the game set out to revolutionize the tools in the player's arsenal.  In 2 short years the concept for Storelli was taken from napkin drawings doodled out in a NYC indoor soccer locker room to launching products to mass acclaim.  It's a company that you just Want to like (and I do)!








Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when I received these new "shorts" in the mail.  In The Beautiful Game, equipment is basically limited to your boots and a pair of shinguards - I wasn't sure what a company could do to innovate on a pair of undershorts, nor did I know if I really liked the idea of someone touting their ability to revolutionize soccer equipment!  Well.... I stand here pleasantly surprised and quite impressed (and truly thinking about the implications for this young start-up company). 

So here's the deal:  yes, they have pads in them, and yes they're foam... but nothing like I (and I dare say you) expected.  The material they use is 3mm polyurethane foam but somehow the padding is very thin, very flexible, yet very protective.  Though this is really nice in slider shorts, where the implications appear huge is in their goal keeper line.  The reason is this:  the foam's energy absorption (rebound killing) properties are quite staggering. 

If you do nothing else, watch this video demonstrating their material's amazing ability to stop force dead in its tracks: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmvRy97iCGw


First things first:  What are they?  It's a pair of compression slider shorts for soccer (come on... is there another Beautiful Game!?).  As most of you know, my first requirement for compression gear (in any circumstance) is that it must disappear.  So, in order to test these soccer shorts, I first didn't use them for soccer at all - I took them on a 6 mile run just to check the feel when there were no other distractions.  They felt great, they truly disappeared.  What makes this even nicer is that the reason I tested them this way is that they padding looked so, well, padded, that I was very afraid of the rubbing, bunching, and (most importantly) restricting movement.  On the run test they performed great, I could just forget they were there and run.  The padding wasn't noticed at all, I felt no restriction, and the level of compression was spot on (not too tight - not too loose). 

So with the first basic wear test out of the way, I decided to put them through their intended paces:  on the pitch.

Again, the bases were covered:  the shorts held in place, they were comfortable, and also cooler (temperature) than expected.
From there I went and played striker with a group of overzealous, testosterone charged, high school varsity boys (coaching high school provides an excellent pool of test subjects).  At this point, the shorts went from being really nice to amazing. 
The tackles on plush Tennessee grass (aka clay, stone, and gravel pit covered periodically by out of season Bermuda grass) were unreal.  No cuts, no abrasions, no strawberries, no bruises.  Not only that, the tackles were smoother (turns out their NASA inspired super foam slides better than epidermus - who knew) and stronger (because you didn't have to worry or even think about your legs).

What impressed me even more than the fact that the back of my thighs weren't all cut up was that the shorts themselves showed no sign of the abuse I had just put them through. 


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

MIA

First off, let me thank all of you.  All of the readers, researchers, and supporters who visit this blog everyday and for your emails and notes - I Love them (keep them coming!)

I have been MIA lately and want to apologize and dive back in!

Several factors resulted in my disappearance (job and family - so many things going on that I just couldn't come up for air and in those times, things that aren't my wife and my daughter get the boot until I can reset), but one reason has been a bit of a personal (running related) issue that I've been keeping pretty locked up.

I've had asthma from the time I was a toddler.  Over the years I was able to push and fight and condition (playing year round soccer) and 'beat' it for a long time (Please hear me - this is NOT saying that 'if you just got in better shape you wouldn't have asthma' consult your doctor for Everything, this is Not often the case... keep reading).  I went about 6 years or so without ever having to carry an inhaler.  However, after college I took some lazy time, stopped playing soccer all the time, got busy with life and didn't keep running, and my asthma returned.  I was able to keep it at bay with the doctors help as I did my part as best I could.  I've always had it.  I've never talked about it.  I've tried to not let it stop me anymore than it had to.

This past 9 months or so it's been increasingly more troublesome.  The week before Christmas I came down with walking pneumonia and it just crippled me.  I was down for almost a month and 1/2 where I went from my short 6 mile 'comfort' runs to I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath.  After the 3 months I began to rebuild (those with Asthma know - after you have a bought like that you basically have to start from ground zero and build Everything back).  Then I took a trip out of town and had an asthma attack like I hadn't had in probably 20 years:  fingertips turned blue, lips went numb, the whole bit.  Luckily I was on the trip with a lot of close friends (one of whom is a State Trooper - handy man to have around when you have to get somewhere fast!) who rushed me to the ER. The doctors took great care of me and after steroid shots, adrenaline, breathing treatments, and about 10 days of oral steroids I was okay.  But it was a big hit.  Physically my lung capacity was shot.  My runner lungs were just gone and my resting heart rate of ~40 would now spike walking to the end of the driveway.  It took a big toll on me mentally in that it was so stressful, so frustrating... and what do we do when we get stressed or frustrated?  We run.  And I couldn't.

These events have all just played out and are still playing out.  My years of not carrying an inhaler have turned into several times a week, and that's when I'm just going through my normal life without getting to run at all.

I'm ready to turn it around, but everytime I take a few steps, I get hammered back -- I Will turn this around, I will beat this (me), I will run, I will escape - but it's tough, and it's frustrating, and (until now) I've largely kept this hidden.

I appreciate so much your support and prayers -- more blogs coming!

-Levi