Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More Barefoot Running Info

The following is some feedback from barefoot runner Ken Bob:

I enjoyed reading your post. Though it doesn't have any new information, it is a good round-up of the general issue.

I would add, that in the book, "Barefoot Runner"
One of the reasons (may have been speculation on the part of the author) given for Abebe Bikila wearing shoes in the Tokyo Olympic Marathon, was so as not to dishonor his hosts, who presented him with the new shoes. I will be among the first to admit, that Abebe Bikila comes off as a bit naive in this account of his life.

As far as the arguments for support, or feedback - in engineering, any system that benefits from feedback, will be more stable than one that cannot sense it's own outcome. The problem I see with Robbin's and other's writings, is that they are written by doctors for doctors. Running barefoot is very simple. It provides precise feedback, via the thousands of nerve endings in our soles, that help us learn (if we take the time to listen) how to run more gently, and more efficiently.

As for runners who wear shoes because they have problems running barefoot... I suspect the opposite is more likely true, as many of the folks on my email group, have started running barefoot because they could no longer run with shoes. In our society, I suspect there are only a few who would give running barefoot a fair chance, until just these past few months, thanks to Christopher McDougall's book. The problem is, most of us have learned to run, without the benefit of the precise feedback from our soles, and so, if we simply step out of our shoes, and attempt to run the way we ran with shoes, which has in many folks, become a very strong habit, we will say, "Running barefoot hurts!" What we don't realize is that pain is trying to teach us to change the way we run. But, old habits are difficult to break, and few folks want to make changes in their lives, when they can simply pop a pill to kill the chronic pains they suffer from years of poor running technique. And most won't even try running barefoot, especially if it already hurts to run with shoes. So, I suspect, there are a great number of would-be runners, who have given up running, simply because the idea of running barefoot had not occurred to them, or they cannot imagine how it could possibly be better than with shoes.

While many of those who have given it a fair chance, like Barefoot Ted, who could not run more than a few miles with shoes, without severe pains in his knees, back, etc... Now, since he took the time to relearn HOW to run, while barefoot, has successfully completed, not just a few marathons, but also several ultra-marathons, up to 100 miles!

And Ted is not a rare exception, except for his interest in ultra-running and an eagerness to talk, both of which has given him some fame.

Some ten years earlier, there was another runner, who wanted to run, but had all sorts of knee and back pains whenever he tried any significant distance with shoes - and he had tried all sorts of shoes that were supposed to solve these problems. He found my web site, and being a registered nurse, was not only skeptical, but made it his mission to prove me wrong. Now we call him, "Barefoot Larry" and he has completed dozens of marathons, all barefoot.

Well, I could go on and on, but I think you might be better served by asking some specific questions, and I would like to express my gratitude that you, as a DPM, are actually showing an interest in this issue, for as a wise person once wrote, "Some will experience cognitive dissonance when their point of view is challenged." And for a long time, this has been our experience with foot doctors.

I am just another runner, who finding it difficult to run any significant distances in shoes, without ending up with bleeding feet ( I am a rarity in our society - one who never really adapted to running with shoes ), started the Running Barefoot web site, as a means of answering the many questions folks were asking me, anytime they saw, or heard about me running barefoot. I never intended to take on the shoe industry. But, I am happy if a few folks have begun questioning the accepted wisdom of seeking solutions from those whose business is to profit from the same solution. Now, I'm not opposed to making profit, after all, I too work for a living. However, I do believe we, as a society, need to be much more critical of marketing strategies, particularly, in realizing that they ARE marketing strategies, not necessarily gospel truth!

Have fun,
-barefoot ken bob

Monday, June 8, 2009

Saul Raisin: Coma to Comeback Road to Ironman

I met Saul at the Clarendon Cup Bike Race this year and how could you not get drawn in by his story. I'm half way through his book and wanted to share some of his thoughts moving forward. Forget Tony Stark, Saul; you're the real Ironman, brother.

A little over three years ago I lay comatose in a French hospital. I almost lost my life. My massive brain injuries were the result of a high-speed bicycle crash. My parents stood at my bedside, trying to comprehend the prognosis. They were told by doctors that I could be possibly brain dead, if I was to live they needed to find a nursing home to put me in because I would need special health care assistance the rest of my life. At the time I am told that I was the youngest team leader ever in the Sport of Cycling. At the age of 23 my future in cycling could not have been brighter. In the blink of an eye my world changed. In that same instant, though I couldn’t possibly comprehend it at the time, my life gained real purpose.

Doctors have called my recovery miraculous. Within the last three years I’ve raced in the US Pro Cycling Championship, run the New York City Marathon,Married and Divorced within 8 months, and competed in several Triathlons. I told my friends and family when I was in the hospital if I ever lived a normal life again that I wanted to give back and help people like me. Now I have started the Raisin Hope foundation and I’ve written a book to let others know that they are not alone. If I am not giving motivational speeches to crowds numbering in the thousands, or competing in Triathlons, I plan on spending time with our Wounded Soldiers from the war. In short, my experiences have gone beyond the impossible. This year my goal is to be the first person to come back from a Brain Injury as severe as mine and complete the Ironman in Hawaii.

To find out more about Saul's story check out :
www.raisinhope.org = my foundation

What advice do you have for someone who has suffered an injury taking them of the bike a while in terms of building back up stamina & strength?

Take time and do not panic to get back into good form. Good condition is not something you can rush. I find that it is best to accept the condition you are in and use that to learn about yourself and improve as a person.

Where are you currently in your training for the Ironman

Georgia and Philadelphia

What sort of diet did you have which helped you recover?

I do not think my Diet helped in my recovery. I was 125lbs after my coma and I gained 50lbs in the hospital. My resting metabolic rate they calculated at 13,000 calories a day because of high temperatures and my brain trying to heal it's self. . I was eating 3 times a day put snack in-between.

What do you like about what Lance has done for the sport. Is there anything you would do differently that you are comfortable to say?

He has given millions of people hope. His comeback from cancer is inspiring and shows others that you can over come obstacles in life no matter how big they are. The only thing I would have done different is won the Tour de France on a French team.

Do you feel the sport has cleaned up the way it should?

It is getting better. Because of the longitudinal testing of the French riders and blood passports where they look for changes in blood chemistry it is impossible to take performance enhancing drugs in the sport. As a spectator you can rest assured that in the Tour de France is 100% clean and guys that try to cheat will get caught.

What is your view of North American bike racing today?

Cycling is growing and I hope is going to continue to grow.

What do you eat and drink while racing during event?

Gu H20, Gu Roctane gel(best gel in the market), GU Chomps Energy Chews
What is your back strengthening regimen?

Sit-ups, push-ups, very light weights.

How are you getting the message out on our Vets from Iraq.

As far a our vets. The deal is this is the first war were we are able to save the lives
of our VETS from injuries in all previous wars would have killed them. Because of this
it is creating tens of thousands of them with TBI and other disabilities that they
will take with them their whole lives. The disabilities are so sever the government is
over whelmed and is doing every thing in its power to get them the care they need.
The thing is that the Government is trying to build state of the art brain injury rehab centers
but there are not really in place much less can handle the needs of the thousands already with
brain injuries. It is sad to say that it has taken this war to get the governments attention on how
sever a brain injury it. As far as the American public, they pick up my book and
read the book jacket about a kid who came back from a life treating brain injury. But yet
they do not know how substantial that it. I believe it will be five years after the war when it
hits America how severe a brain injury is and the devastation we have done. This war will affect the lives of hundreds
of thousands of people. I am in a state of panic trying to raise awareness for brain injury and our wounded