Friday, March 29, 2013

Better For Heart Disease?

AC dissects a "study" about vegetarian diets and disease; and he DOES have a way with words:

Firstly, it was not a clinical trial that took a large group of people and randomly assigned them to either a vegetarian or meat-containing diet then followed them for a specified period of time, and found the vegetarian group had a 32% lower risk of CVD. Instead, it was a study that falls into the category of epidemiology, a field of research which without question constitutes the most useless and bullshit-filled arena in all of the modern health sciences.
If that sounds harsh…it isn’t. I could be far more scathing, considering the immeasurable damage caused by the modern infatuation with epidemiology and the associated and widespread idiocy that insists on accepting its statistical associations as physiological fact, despite the fact that one of the most basic rules of science isassociation does not equal causation.
So what exactly is epidemiology, I hear some of you asking?
Nutritional epidemiology is where researchers study populations for relationships between dietary factors and certain diseases. There are several types of epidemiological studies, including cross-cultural or ecological ones, which compare the relationships between diet and disease among different countries. This is the least reliable form of epidemiology, as you are often comparing the proverbial apples with oranges. For example, do you think, just maybe, there might be other factors aside from diet affecting heart disease risk in a country undergoing major political, economic and/or social upheaval, when compared to peaceful, affluent countries?
If you answered “no” to that question, then rejoice, for a secure and lucrative career as a money-wasting epidemiologist who fills journals with useless papers that come to utterly unfounded conclusions awaits you!

This post does what I would have perhaps thought was impossible - makes it entertaining to learn about science, good and bad.  Thanks AC!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hero WOD: Cameron

Hero WOD: Cameron

For time:
50 Walking lunge steps
25 Chest to bar pull-ups
50 Box jumps, 24 inch box
25 Triple-unders
50 Back extensions
25 Ring dips
50 Knees to elbows
25 Wallball "2-fer-1s", 20 pound ball
50 Sit-ups
15 foot Rope climb, 5 ascents

U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Junior Grade Thomas Cameron, 24, of Portland, Oregon, in training at the Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Alabama, died on February 28, 2012, when his unit's helicopter crashed into Mobile Bay in the Gulf of Mexico during a training mission. He is survived by his parents Bette and John, and brother Alex.

Fair winds and following seas on your journey warrior!

Observation: Sugar Is Correlated With Diabetes


While experimental and observational studies suggest that sugar intake is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes, independent of its role in obesity, it is unclear whether alterations in sugar intake can account for differences in diabetes prevalence among overall populations. Using econometric models of repeated cross-sectional data on diabetes and nutritional components of food from 175 countries, we found that every 150 kcal/person/day increase in sugar availability (about one can of soda/day) was associated with increased diabetes prevalence by 1.1% (p <0 .001="" after="" and="" biases="" cereals="" controlling="" fibers="" food="" for="" fruits="" including="" meats="" oils="" other="" potential="" selection="" testing="" types="" u="">, total calories, overweight and obesity, period-effects, and several socioeconomic variables such as aging, urbanization and income. No other food types yielded significant individual associations with diabetes prevalence after controlling for obesity and other confounders. The impact of sugar on diabetes was independent of sedentary behavior and alcohol use, and the effect was modified but not confounded by obesity or overweight. Duration and degree of sugar exposure correlated significantly with diabetes prevalence in a dose-dependent manner, while declines in sugar exposure correlated with significant subsequent declines in diabetes rates independently of other socioeconomic, dietary and obesity prevalence changes. Differences in sugar availability statistically explain variations in diabetes prevalence rates at a population level that are not explained by physical activity, overweight or obesity.
There's no doubt in my tiny bean that sugar holds a causal relationship with diabetes, and this study would only reinforce such belief.  But the larger point is that this study, and others like it, should never be used to assume causal relationships.
The language tells the tale, even for those who may not be tuned into the philosophy of science.  They tried to account for all the variables, but of course, they don't know all the variables, and there's no guarantee they have accurately weighted the variables they know of.  
For example - how do they possibly know how to control for "fiber" and fiber's so called effects on blood glucose and other issues related to diabetes?  Most of what they think they know about fiber is just a derivative of other observational studies.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sean Croxton w Denise Minger - Better Than Batman and Robin

I really enjoyed this podcast, in which Sean discusses the various vegetarian/vegan myths with Denise "Big Brain Cutie" Minger.

Aside from breaking down about 100 myths in 38 minutes - and answering the oft wondered question "Can vegetarians really avoid all disease?" - in an easily digestible style, they point to these resources for future learning. - discussion of the ethical angle of meat eating v. vegetarianism, as well as testimonies.  Sounds and looks like a place a vegetarian could go to learn why they may not have all the information but be treated with respect.

Denise recommend this book:
Book - A Benign Extravagance
Meat: A Benign Extravagance
"Meat is a groundbreaking exploration of the difficult environmental, ethical and health issues surrounding the human consumption of animals. Garnering huge praise in the UK, this is a book that answers the question: should we be farming animals, or not? Not a simple answer, but one that takes all views on meat eating into account. It lays out in detail the reasons why we must indeed decrease the amount of meat we eat, both for the planet and for ourselves, and yet explores how different forms of agriculture--including livestock--shape our landscape and culture.
At the heart of this book, Simon Fairlie argues that society needs to re-orient itself back to the land, both physically and spiritually, and explains why an agriculture that can most readily achieve this is one that includes a measure of livestock farming. It is a well-researched look at agricultural and environmental theory from a fabulous writer and a farmer, and is sure to take off where other books on vegetarianism and veganism have fallen short in their global scope."
When I "Amazoned" the above book, I saw this one - a fantastic, informative read - was right next to it:
The Vegetarian Myth
The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability
"Part memoir, nutritional primer, and political manifesto, this controversial examination exposes the destructive history of agriculture—causing the devastation of prairies and forests, driving countless species extinct, altering the climate, and destroying the topsoil—and asserts that, in order to save the planet, food must come from within living communities. In order for this to happen, the argument champions eating locally and sustainably and encourages those with the resources to grow their own food. Further examining the question of what to eat from the perspective of both human and environmental health, the account goes beyond health choices and discusses potential moral issues from eating—or not eating—animals. Through the deeply personal narrative of someone who practiced veganism for 20 years, this unique exploration also discusses alternatives to industrial farming, reveals the risks of a vegan diet, and explains why animals belong on ecologically sound farms."

This also appeared on Amazon next to "Benign" - this guy is a hoot, and brilliant:
Folks, This Ain't Normal
Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
"From farmer Joel Salatin's point of view, life in the 21st century just ain't normal. In FOLKS, THIS AIN'T NORMAL, he discusses how far removed we are from the simple, sustainable joy that comes from living close to the land and the people we love. Salatin has many thoughts on what normal is and shares practical and philosophical ideas for changing our lives in small ways that have big impact.

"Salatin, hailed by the New York Times as "Virginia's most multifaceted agrarian since Thomas Jefferson [and] the high priest of the pasture" and profiled in the Academy Award nominated documentary Food, Inc. and the bestselling book The Omnivore's Dilemma, understands what food should be: Wholesome, seasonal, raised naturally, procured locally, prepared lovingly, and eaten with a profound reverence for the circle of life. And his message doesn't stop there. From child-rearing, to creating quality family time, to respecting the environment, Salatin writes with a wicked sense of humor and true storyteller's knack for the revealing anecdote. 

"Salatin's crucial message and distinctive voice--practical, provocative, scientific, and down-home philosophical in equal measure--make FOLKS, THIS AIN'T NORMAL a must-read book."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dr. Lustig: We Need Less G Not More

“There are good calories and bad calories, just as there are good fats and bad fats, good amino acids and bad amino acids, good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates,” Lustig, a professor of pediatrics and director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) program at UCSF, said in a statement. “But sugar is toxic beyond its calories.”
The food industry tries to imply that “a calorie is a calorie,” says Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. “But this and other research suggests there is something different about sugar,” says Brownell.
The UCSF report emphasizes the metabolic effects of sugar. Excess sugar can alter metabolism, raise blood pressure, skew the signaling of hormones and damage the liver — outcomes that sound suspiciously similar to what can happen after a person drinks too much alcohol. Schmidt, co-chair of UCSF’s Community Engagement and Health Policy program, noted on CNN: “When you think about it, this actually makes a lot of sense. Alcohol, after all, is simply the distillation of sugar. Where does vodka come from? Sugar.”

Read more:

While Dr. Lustig's work is brilliant, his insistence on government intervention is infantile.  It's the government's intervention, "aided" by sugar industry groups, that had us all believing that sugar was fine and fat was killing us.

He's right in my opinion, but the science is immature and will be for the foreseeable future - the best we can know is that if we stop taking in sugar, we'll feel better, look better, perform better.  It's going to take a long time for science to "prove" the level at which sugar - a mix of glucose and fructose - is injurious, and even then, there will be some who are injured at lower exposures and some who are injured at higher exposures.

I do see Lustig's point, however, as regards kids.  I used to see my five year old's friends glugging down a quart of "sports drink" after a 45 minute practice.  It was probably about five times as much sugar and electrolytes as they needed.  Was that why they were ADD and couldn't stay engaged with anything we were doing (or was it my lousy coaching)?  All I know is the more likely they were to be "sports drink gluggers" the more likely they were to be unfocused, distracted kids with overweight parents.  It felt tragic that those parents likely thought they were doing right by their kids for a hot day's practice.  Like Lustig, I wished that an all powerful entity that would swoop in an cure those kids' problems.  

Friday, March 22, 2013

CrossFit - What and Why?

"What's it about the internet that makes people lose all perspective? Greg {Glassman, co-founder of CrossFit} didn't invent functional exercise, nor intense exercise. Nor did he claim to. Greg offered a measurable definition of fitness, an elegant and effective formula to achieve it, and a gym model dedicated to pursuing it.
"Do you guys remember what the fitness industry was like just a few years ago? Around 2000 I got started in a globo gym. They put me on a low weight machine circuit. Lift "weights" 3 times a week, mix with some cardio and yoga, etc.
"I rapidly realized this model was bullshit. But what was the alternative? Yes, you could deadlift, squat, and do intervals to get "fit", but there was no coherent concept of what fitness was or how to measure it, and very few gyms equipped with the environment needed to get fit. Getting fit in the pre-CrossFit gym environment was like trying to conduct chemistry experiments in the library.
"One of the few people who wasn't a complete idiot was Dr. Ken Leistner. Believe it or not, back in the day people would get in their cars and drive for hours just to hang out with people who weren't idiots about working out. Now you just have to drive down the block, and you've got options."

Many CrossFit critics - one of which I presume inspired this response - don't understand what CrossFit is for; and instead of looking at the results and thinking "how'd they do that?" they compare what they think they know about CrossFit to what they believe is "real" about strength and conditioning.  But of course - if their models and learning and experience were different, then one of the S&C professionals with a bunch of academic credentials would have invented CrossFit, not a rebel coach bucking the industry and the conventional wisdom.

The best thing about these critics is the opportunity they provide to teach was CrossFit is and is not, and why we do the crazy workouts.

This week's CF Games Open WOD is:  150 20# wallball shots (squat and stand and throw a 20# med ball to a 10' target), 90 jump rope double unders, and then as many muscle ups as you can complete before the 12 minute time cap.

Many non-CFers question wall ball shots - "what are they even for?"  I have done 150 wall ball shots in under 8 minutes a couple of times (I have done 50 or 60 shots in a row - sounds pathetic but it was a great test).  It's just a matter of how much you are willing to suffer to take the next shot.  There are folks who can do this in under 5 minutes.  How do they do it?  Well, first they can squat with great ease; they have great mobility in their hips and ankles.  Second, they have incredible work capacity - heart and lungs like a horse.  Third, they are coordinated - moving a 20# ball with speed and grace through a near 10 foot range of motion - and then catching it as they squat to start the cycle again - is demanding of many elements of the nervous system.  Last, they are accurate enough to not miss reps.  This would not be a skill to spend years working all day to master, but as a training element to throw into "constantly varied" workouts, it is incredibly potent.

Any of these elements that the wall ball shot demands and therefore develops would serve virtually any athlete well.

WB shots also fit well within a larger element of CrossFit that is not mimicked in any other training system I am aware of - it lets you practice high skill movement at maximal fatigue (we worked this element in martial arts training, but rarely or never under a load other than body weight).  The drive to get the reps done can only be best met by maintaining efficient movement and precise ball placement.  This ability to strive for quality movement and precision, while gasping for breath and forcing yourself to keep moving is one of the parts of CF I like best.  I fear the discomfort, I fear that I will not bring enough gumption to the workout I'm about to do, but as I continue to CrossFit, all of those experiences diminish as my desire to perform increases.  It's a laboratory for sorting out how one can get the best performance from one's self.  I'm in the top 20% of athletes my age at this point in the 2013 Games, there's quite a bit of room for improvement.

Which I think is why Greg Glassman says "the biggest adaptation to CrossFit takes place between the ears."  One has to be willing to be humbled and come back for more.  One has to know they fell short of their best and come back to do better.  In this way it is unlike other athletic endeavors, but few provide the laboratory like setting to work on these elements 1 v 1 with your own demons.  I think this chance to get mano a mano with the demons every day is the thing that leaves most all CFers feeling triumphant.

For the critic who wants to know "what wall ball shots are for" I suggest you try 150 for time - and I know if you don't work on it already you won't do the squats with full range of motion - and get back to me.

I'll be facing up to 13.3 this weekend.  The wall balls are the torture you have to get through in order to get the double unders done.  Double unders are difficult for me and many CFers due to the high skill requirement - doing 90 in two minutes is possible, but doing 90 when wrecked from 150 wall ball shots can be like trying to grab hold of smoke.  Double unders don't respond to "trying harder", they come when you can relax and let them happen.  So, this WOD is a monster hurdle, and getting through the wall balls and DU in time to get a few muscle ups would be a great accomplishment for me. Tip of the hat to all who throw themselves at this, 3, 2, 1 go ...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Model For Running

"This brings up another point. If you were to do a set of twenty jumping squats or a set of twenty jump rope jumps, which would be a more efficient movement for getting your feet off the ground?
Obviously, the jump rope hops require less muscle activation, less energy, and less effort. In part, this reflects the difference between muscle contraction (jumping squats) and muscle elasticity (jumping rope). That makes the difference between finishing a marathon ineffectively and finishing a marathon effectively."

"We like to think of running-or other movement-happening in three separate phases: the pose, the fall, and the pull. The pose is the point at which your foot passes under your center of mass and you make the shape of the number 4 with your legs and look great (photo 2). The fall happens when you let go, use gravity to your advantage, and just fall. You can see the slight forward lean in both pictures. The pull, where the supporting foot is pulled, instead of pushed, from the ground and movement continues."

I attended the author's seminar last weekend and thoroughly enjoyed both Brian and staff.  The seminar was well organized, focused on the important points, and extremely helpful to me as a coach and as an athlete.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Not the Most Possible, The Least Necessary (aka Minimum Effective Dose)

"In fact, if anyone's crazy it's me. Because I'm the one who recommended this program to her. She actually asked for more exercise. But I capped her at 4 workouts per week and 32 minutes.

"The workouts looked like this:

"2 sprint workouts - 6 minutes each
"2 circuit workouts - 10 minutes each
"The results?

"Well, in the last 16 weeks Marsha lost a whopping 20 pounds of body fat. She dropped from 150 pounds to 130 pounds. That's nearly 2.5 pounds of fat lost for every hour spent in the gym. Want to know how she did it? If so, read on."

PN Head Honcho J Berardi continues:

"As I said above, Marsha could have worked out much more than 32 minutes per week. She could have willed herself out of bed extra early to do some low intensity cardio. She could have given up her recreational activities and stopped hanging out with her friends after work in favor of hitting the weights. She could have delegated more of her wedding tasks or quit one of her jobs. But why would she do any of that?"

JB's right - for many adults, keeping your body ready for life isn't something you can indulge five hours a week, and you probably shouldn't, if there's an alternative.  And in the rest of the article, JB points out how one can use a "least necessary" approach.

But, you say, what if I'm weak and deconditioned?

"Weak and Deconditioned - So What? During the first week, Marsha was so deconditioned that she couldn't actually complete any of the workouts. For example, she could only do 3-4 push-ups. And only 4 rounds of the circuits. Even though it was hard for her ego, she showed resiliency and kept going.  Remember, progression means doing a little more each week. So that's exactly what she did. By the end of the 8th week, she was able to do a GI-Jane-worthy 20 push-ups. And she was able to do 8 rounds of sprints at 8.0 mph on a 12% incline. I'll bet she's glad she hung in there."

JB even quotes
"The 4 Hour Body, Tim Ferris calls this the "Minimum Effective Dose." From the book:

"The minimum effective dose (MED) is defined simply: the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome.. Anything beyond the MED is wasteful. To boil water, the MED is 212°F (100°C) at standard air pressure. Boiled is boiled. Higher temperatures will not make it 'more boiled'. Higher temperatures just consume more resources that could be used for something else more productive.

If you need 15 minutes in the sun to trigger a melanin response, 15 minutes is your MED for tanning. More than 15 minutes is redundant and will just result in burning and a forced break from the beach."

JB then goes on to describe his on MED program; have a look, print and keep the article handy, and read the links he's attached.  This is gold mine of info for the motivated but busy person who knows:
1.  Exercise is necessary to have the best life
2.  Most of what people think is "exercise" is an exercise in wasted time

Monday, March 18, 2013

Hero WOD: Barraza

Posted: 17 Mar 2013 03:00 PM PDT
Complete as many rounds as possible in 18 minutes of:
Run 200 meters
275 pound Deadlift, 9 reps
6 Burpee bar muscle-ups

Enlarge image
U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ricardo Barraza, 24, of Shafter, California, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, based in Fort Lewis, Washington, died on March 18, 2006, in Ar Ramadi Iraq, when he came under small arms fire by enemy forces during combat operations. He is survived by his parents Francisco and Nina, his siblings Amanda, Rachel, Jamie, and Frankie, and his fiancee Maghan K. Harrington and her daughter Kayla.
This man's death preceded my arrival to Iraq by about three weeks.  I think of men like this anytime I think of my tour there - a touch of survivor guilt, a mountain of respect for their courage, and the determination to what I can to give a meaning to their honor courage and commitment by living the best life I can make for myself, my friends, my family.  As the Captain said to Private Ryan, "Earn this."  May we all do so.  

Fair winds and following seas on your journey, warrior!

Drug Free Cancer Treatment

"To some, a ketogenic diet amounts to nothing less than a drug-free cancer treatment. The diet calls for eliminating carbohydrates, replacing them with healthy fats and protein.
"The premise is that since cancer cells need glucose to thrive, and carbohydrates turn into glucose in your body, then cutting out carbs literally starves the cancer cells.
"This type of diet, in which you replace carbs with moderate amounts of high quality protein and high amounts of beneficial fat, is what I recommend for everyone, whether you have cancer or not. It’s simply a diet that will help optimize your weight and health overall, as eating this way will help you convert from carb burning mode to fat burning."
Some facts - cancer was not present in aboriginal Eskimos, and has not been detected in large numbers in other aboriginals; until they were introduced to sugar and wheat.
The best model for cancer is that it results when a cell gains a growth advantage over neighboring cells, and does not self eliminate ("apoptosis") when damaged.  Many cancers are:
1. Highly insulin sensitive
2. Highly sensitive to IGF1 (more or less a 90 day moving average of insulin levels)
3. Dependent on sugar/fructose fermentation for energy
In other words, the model for low carb cancer treatment is at least plausible.  I sure hope they keep testing this approach.  

The obligatory "Granny Smith" story:

"CBN News recently published an article on the ketogenic diet.2 Clearly, many people are realizing that what we have been doing in terms of fighting cancer is simply not working, and we cannot afford to continue in the same way. Prevention must be addressed if we ever want to turn the tide on the growing incidence of cancer across all age groups. But even more astounding, in terms of treatment, is that cancer may respond to diet alone.
“Dr. Fred Hatfield is an impressive guy: a power-lifting champion, author of dozens of books, a millionaire businessman with a beautiful wife. But he'll tell you his greatest accomplishment is killing his cancer just in the nick of time,” CBN News writes. "The doctors gave me three months to live because of widespread metastatic cancer in my skeletal structure," he recalled. "Three months; three different doctors told me that same thing."
"Dr. Hatfield was preparing to die when he heard of metabolic therapy, also known as the ketogenic diet. He had nothing to lose so he gave it a try, and... it worked. The cancer disappeared completely, and at the time of his interview (above), he’d been cancer-free for over a year."

That Stuff Will Kill You - About the Seminar

One of the reasons my seminar - That Stuff Will Kill You - is 3 hours in length is a result of experience.  I could explain in a few minutes what to eat to lose body fat and feel good - eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, little fruit or starch, no sugar no wheat - but then folks would run into an "expert" (wife, sister, friend, web article, doctor, or dietician), who would say:
- "all that fat and red meat will kill you!"
- "you need to eat more carbohydrates for energy!"
- "you might lose weight that way but what about your cholesterol?"

It reminds me of the old saying (and John Mellencamp song):  "You gotta stand for something, or you're going to fall for anything!"

In other words, if you don't know why it's important to eat eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, little fruit or starch, no sugar no wheat, you will have a much lower chance of sustaining that choice.  By contrast, if you know enough to sort through the nutrition and health "wheat and chaff", you can make informed choices by instantaneously being able to identify when someone is spouting myth or strongly held belief, but not fact.

Another reason the seminar is lengthy is that while the "eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, little fruit or starch, no sugar no wheat" prescription is simple, the implementation can be tricky.  There's the "low carb flu", hydration and electrolyte issues, long term behavior patterns to overcome, and many, many mis-information obstacles that can lead you right back to the eating patterns that are sabotaging your health right now.

No topic illustrates these issues more clearly than that of supplements.  

There are certain supplements that are nearly essential in the beginning stages of conversion to a  paleo diet implementation, and others that you will likely need the rest of your life.  My goal is, to borrow the biblical idea, to teach you to fish, not to give you a fish.  If you walk out of my seminar with the ability to think through why you may or may not need this supplement or that one, I'll be very satisfied.  

Supplementation is a very personal issue - and the guys out there making big bucks selling the powders we call "supplements" are designing new ones every day, and spending even more time trying to implement a marketing plan that will convince you to send them the dollars you give your life energy to obtain.  That's all good - it results in a situation in which you and I can get any supplement we can even conceive of.  The question for you is - "How can I tell if the benefit of any given supplement is worth what I'm paying for it?"  We can get to the heart of that matter very quickly at the seminar.

As an aside, one supplement that virtually every one of us needs is vitamin D - because most of us spend so much time indoors, under sunscreen, or under clothes that we can't make enough vitamin D EVEN IF WE GET THE 15 MINUTES OF SUN WE NEED EACH DAY!  We've been so long in between uses of our capacity to make vitamin D we've lost that capacity.  In fact, when I started vitamin D supplements, the impact on my training was more palpable than any other supplement I have ever tried (and that's a long list of "tried it").  

In closing, I should make it clear that I do not advocate spending much or taking many supplements, and the ones that have the most impact for me are the cheap ones.  So please, if what you want is a long list of supplements to spend big bucks on, don't come to my seminar!  The reason for that is that by far, the biggest impact you can have on your health is not by what powders you can buy to supplement your diet, but rather by what foods you choose to nourish yourself, and in what proportions you eat those foods.

Friday, March 15, 2013

How To Run

"How do elite athletes run? If you were stripped of your shoes and asked to run barefoot on the road, would you run the same way as you did with shoes? Why not? Because unless you already run Pose-style, or like Haile Gebrselassie or Michael Johnson, you probably run with your foot landing in a manner that quite destructively sends shock waves up your legs into the ankle, knee, and hip joints. In most cases, your foot will land in front of you (photo 1). Think about this for a second. If a car were traveling down the street would you stick something in front of it to speed it up? When an object is in motion, if something lands in front of its center of mass, it will either slow down or stop quite harshly.

"The human foot is designed with enough padding on the ball of the foot for the Tarahumara Indians, certain indigenous peoples of Africa, and our ancestors to get around without Nike Shox. It is not designed for the heel to strike the ground first and to roll through to the toes. Take off your shoes and jump up and down barefoot on your heels. Do it! I dare you! Wait, no don't, you didn't sign a waiver! What you should do instead is to jump from and land on the balls of your feet as if you are jump roping. Then give it a whirl with those heels, or even from "mid-foot.""

I get to attend this author's seminar this weekend, and I'm looking forward to the learning.

When I'm teaching POSE running, I often recall the line from a Jimmy Buffet song:
"It was so simple, like the Jitterbug, that it plumb evaded me."

But with persistence and the desire to run with skill, one can find better movement and more pleasure in running. Hopefully this weekend will help me as a runner and in my ability to coach individuals and groups in this sublime skill.

I ran six miles a few days back, something I've done only four times since 2001.  It was not a PR but it also wasn't a bout with misery.  As I was on the return leg, I had some knee discomfort.  As I played around with my positioning, I found a way of "leaning" with the hips that made the knee pain disappear.  I realized that skilled running would be like any high level skill - there's always room for improvement, and if you are not working on the skill with some discipline, you are probably getting worse.