I really love these pictures as they show so much of her personality right now. These are the faces she makes daily. She's constantly giggling and laughing and I was so thankful to catch it on camera!
If you saw a strange, motley looking crew running alongside El Camino Real in Palo Alto Saturday with naked feet, that was us. Contrary to what surely was the conclusion of most passersby, we are not the latest new age cult to hit California. While we did have the requisite bald leader (bald guy is the new long-haired, bearded guy, right?), we’re merely fans of natural running.
Brought together by a common interest in running without shoes, we had gathered with Barefoot Ted (of Born to Run fame) to learn, practice, and improve our running form and have a good time. Both goals were met.
If you’re like me and many other readers of Born to Run, you’ve been wondering what Barefoot Ted was really like. In the book he’s described by Chris McDougall as an incessant talker who annoys everyone within a 50 foot radius with his non-stop chatter. While the guy can definitely talk – he did not finish 30% of the sentences he started, as if new ideas were streaming in faster than he could spit old ones out – he was well-spoken and genial. Barefoot Ted (do people ever call him just Ted?) is very knowledgeable and articulate when it comes to the history of running, moving, and living. His exuberant (a word he’s quite fond of these days), boyish energy is actually quite charming. Perhaps he’s settled down a bit, or we weren’t nearly as exciting as Caballo Blanco, Bonehead Billy, and the Tarahumara Indians in Born to Run. None the less, he was a pleasure to spend an afternoon with.
Beyond the revealing and colorful metaphors and running tips he shared, perhaps what makes Barefoot Ted so enjoyable is he doesn’t judge people. Probably the second most well-known barefoot runner on the planet now (after Barefoot Ken Bob), I was half-expecting him to at at least once in our over four hours together to indulge in a bit of a verbal smackdown of shod runners. But Barefoot Ted not only steered clear of such rants, he repeatedly said he’s not against shoes all together. He’s more interested in helping people rediscover (everyone enjoyed some form of barefoot running as a child) joyful, pain-free running, he explained. Chances are, he believes, that this will happen without shoes, but he’s not dogmatic about it. “It’s not about what you can’t do’” he explained. “It’s about incremental growth – orchard growth, not fast-food.”
While I think every one of us 22 participants (3 women) walked away with learnings and a renewed desire to continue to improve and share our learnings with others, there wasn’t enough personal feedback on our running form as I would have liked. In fact, a shodless runner that Barefoot Ted spotted running by us got more feedback on his style than any of us paying participants did. Yet Barefoot Ted was more than happy to talk with anyone while he was running about form or any other topic. I think he simply ran out of time to do the individual coaching exercise he had promised earlier in the day.
As I sit here and go over the notes I fervently took on my Palm Pre during the class, I’m remembering there were a number of excellent points made by Barefoot Ted that I can apply to my running. It was difficult to grab them all as they came out so quickly and in no particular order. There was no overarching framework, order, or organization to help the messages stick, either. To be fair, this was the first “advanced” barefoot running clinic Barefoot Ted has done, so in essence it was a prototyping session. To be honest, it was kind of fun to be a part of this first-of-a-kind session.
I have attempted to organize my learnings here in a manner that will hopefully be helpful for participants and non-participants alike. I think pairing these notes with learnings from a beginning class with Barefoot Ted would make it even more helpful.
I. Be light, quick, and upright.
Barefoot Ted went over this more in-depth during his first clinic, but did repeat the importance of running as silently as possible, with a high cadence, and with your back straight and head up high. At one point while running, Barefoot Ted demonstrated the sound that the foot makes when it hits heel-to-toe. A big thump. Then, he had us listen while he switched to a soft, forefoot-to-heel strike. We heard nothing, and that was the point. He said he listens to his body as he ran to make sure he was running correctly. If he hears much of anything, he knows he needs to reset his form.
If there was one thing Barefoot Ted wanted us to take away, it was running with a quick turnover. He explained that 180 steps per minute has proven to be the right pace for everyone, regardless of height, weight, or speed. He stressed two key and unique benefits of running with a high cadence. First, keeping your feet moving quickly is a more sustainable use of energy. With a longer stride your foot hits the ground with a ‘thump’ resulting in lost energy. However, with rapid (and light) footfalls, the energy is transferred from one step to the next instead of the the ground. Second, stepping quickly enables you to run over rough terrain relatively pain-free. If you happen to land on an acorn, for example, your foot is not on the ground long, saving you from the pain you would experience if you had stepped on the acorn while walking. So, keep your energy flowing forwards with a fast pace and save yourself from dangerous terrain in the process.
II. Running should be like dancing.
One metaphor that helped me visualize and get what a barefoot running form is all about was that of dancing. Barefoot Ted expressed how running should be like dancing on stage. Your form should be graceful yet strong. I instantly pictured the men and women of the San Francisco Ballet I’ve seen perform. The men in particular have very strong legs and are able to propel themselves high into the air. Yet when they land, it’s as if they are half their weight. Strong, yes, yet also very graceful. I think Barefoot Ted would agree that running should look and feel that effortless.
III. Practice jumping up and down stairs.
To help us kinesthetically feel what strong but graceful landing is like, Barefoot Ted took us to a random building on the Stanford Campus that had some outside stairs (he joked that we could now say we took a barefoot running class at Stanford). He explained how stairs make everyone use a better form since it’s really hard to land heel-first with a straight leg. Demonstrating what he wanted us to practice, he jumped cat-like up two stairs, landing with complete grace and silence. He then had us jump up two stairs at a time, working on landing as softly and smoothly as possible. The range of ability among participants to do just that varied considerably. We then did the reverse, jumping down the stairs, this time one at a time (though we did sign a waiver before the beginning of class, Barefoot Ted had no interest in a tragic spill in his class). My recently-operated on back didn’t allow me to do much jumping, but I still learned a lot from watching others.
IV. We’re trained to buy solutions instead of correcting our form.
A product of our society, many of us have grown to believe we need to buy our solutions instead of looking to make changes to ourselves. This applies to running form just as it does in other areas of our life. We instinctively turn to purchasing new shoes, insoles, and other products to help us run better. Instead, we could simply study our form and learn how to make the necessary tweaks to it. You can tell Barefoot Ted enjoys helping people discover and implement the right changes to their form. He added that so much about the running industry – and all sports, for that matter – is performance driven. It’s about worshiping the heroes and spending money to have a piece of equipment that the hero endorses. It’s an seemingly endless cycle of spending money and not getting any better.
V. In the zone, like a jazz musician.
Barefoot Ted stressed the importance of being in the zone when running barefoot. He explained how this is especially important while running on trails, where the terrain is inconsistent and even treacherous at times. He spoke of a state of hyper awareness and a hyper pace when moving over dangerous terrain. It requires improvising on the fly, just like a jazz musician does. As he lead the group over gum nuts, eucalyptus bark, and logs and down and up large dirt ditches, we were able to practice getting into that zone. If the smiles and yelps were any indication of our success at doing this, we did well. It must have been music to Barefoot Ted’s ears.
VI. Err on the side of staying within your capacity.
After the running portion of the class ended and we were back in the cafe at Zombie Runner (yes, trail running and the best coffee on the Peninsula in one place), Barefoot Ted brought out photos and paraphernalia from the original Urique Ultramarathon described in delightful detail in Born to Run. He repeated how for a number of ultrarunners, ultra races are about pushing themselves so hard they nearly die – and how that is their goal. They admittedly don’t enjoy running, saying that’s not the point for them.
Barefoot Ted does not subscribe to a similar belief. Rather, he promotes the goal of painless, exuberant, and joyful running. He encouraged all of us to listen to our body and not push ourselves too hard. He added that he’s not into “hardcore barefoot” running, as that philosophy tends to esteem pushing oneself through pain – the opposite of listening to pain. While he wanted each of to “push our own envelope further,” he said we should work to stay within our own capacity. “It’s about being mindful of yourself, being so present that you are attune with your body and what you are capable of,” he explained.
VII. McDougall at Google.
We learned about some of the metaphors Chris McDougall, author of Born to Run, used in his presentation at Google the previous day. In responding to uninformed remarks by folks such as the Editor of Runner’s World, who say only 5 percent are biomechanically correct and therefore able to run barefoot, Chris shared a great example. He said it was like throwing a kid in the water and if they didn’t swim right away, telling them they weren’t biomechanically correct so would never be able to swim. Anyone can learn the right form was his message. An excellent point made vivid once again by Chris’s metaphors. Chris has also made the same point with the metaphor of drinking beer, Barefoot Ted shared.
Barefoot Ted also divulged that Chris’s next book is on natural movement, going beyond running to include all sorts of movement that is just as natural for us humans. I can’t wait for that to come out. No timeline was shared, though.
VIII. Feet, our first line of defense.
Barefoot Ted explained how our feet are the first thing to be damaged when we run barefoot, and how this is a good thing. “It’s nature’s way of stopping us short of doing something really bad,” he said. However, if we are wearing shoes, we have essentially cut off the ability to feel these “micro-traumas.” The result is tragic. People end up seriously damaging their knees, back, and more. With a herniated disc I partially blame thick running shoes for, his point hit a sensitive note with me.
IX. Learning barefoot running is like learning another language.
For most of us, Barefoot Ted said, running barefoot is another language for us to learn. Some people have experience doing other activities that require bare feet, such as surfing and yoga, so it’s easier for them to learn how to run barefeet. For them, it’s like learning Spanish when they already know Italian. But for the majority of us, we’ll will need to take time to study like we would if we wanted to learn another language. There were only 8 of us in the class who grew up barefoot as kids, making the necessity to learn this ‘new’ language extra important.
X. Form before speed.
Barefoot Ted encouraged us to get our form down before we try to go too fast. When he did the Boston Marathon, he did it with Garmin GPS watch so he would stay on pace the whole time, knowing that he could maintain his form at that pace. He set his pace so he would finish at 3 hours and 20 minutes, and ran across the finish line at exactly 3:20. He’s not a big fan of the Pose Technique as it is performance based. It’s all about speed. He’s into endurance running, not speed. He did take a Pose class and thought some of it was helpful (defined by whatever stuck to his form).
- Not being able to splay your feet is bad enough alone to cause bad form – the foot picks up necessary data, and tight shoes hinder this process.
- Running barefoot doesn’t hurt anyone – it should be something that is on the plate of choice for how people locomote themselves.
- What matters most to Barefoot Ted is that folks run happily. The sweet spot is joy with no pain. “Run purposely pain free” is kind of a motto for him.
- Running barefoot helps you break down what you think you can’t do. That’s pretty powerful in other areas of your life.
- When you’re going up a hill barefoot, you are able to instantly tell if a foothold will hold your whole body or not. However, if you are wearing shoes, you’re not able to feel the ground well enough to know if it will hold you. That’s why you there are so many people slipping on courses. If they were barefoot they would stop short of putting all of their weight on a bad hold.
- Simply getting the weight of shoes off your foot can be incredibly freeing in itself.
- When many people run with anti-pronation shoes, their foot rolls to the side upon strike and causes the knee to twist, resulting in awful pain and problems for many.
- Toughness of the foot is one thing. Overall strength of the foot is another.
- Going barefoot provides one-on-one, instantaneous feedback.
This article is a little bit long but I thought it was really well written. The author of this blog is great. He reached out to me via Twitter when I first started talking about running barefoot and we've actually emailed back and forth a number of times. I love his approach to writing and how honest his articles feel. I encourage anyone interested in barefoot running to check out his site at runningquest.net
Curious who else is running without their shoes out there.
This looks really interesting to me. If Google could pull off a VOIP service well, then we could deal with only data plans. Would be interesting to see what this does for the data plan prices though!
Yesterday we wrote about the soon to launch Google Phone, a Google branded Android phone that we believe will hit the market in early 2010.
, PC World
are among the doubters. And a lot of people are pointing to a Tom Krazit/CNET article
last month that quoted Google’s Andy Rubin
: “We’re not making hardware…We’re enabling other people to build hardware,” and “Rubin, vice president of engineering for Android at Google, scoffed at the notion that the company would “compete with its customers” by releasing its own phone.”
Normally I’d just point to the fact that many companies deny the existence of products until the day they announce them. Apple scoffed at the notion that they’d ever build a phone until they announced the iPhone, for example. The last thing Google wants is a lot of confusion among handset manufacturers just when those manufacturers are putting the finishing touches on their own Android phones.
But there may be another way Google will argue that they aren’t “competing with customers” by launching their own device – technically, it may not be a phone.
The Google Phone may be a data only, VoIP driven device. And Google may be lining up at least AT&T to provide those data services for the Google Phone, says one person we spoke with today.
Users could still make calls just like a normal phone, of course. The calls would just be over the data service instead. In fact, this is the exact vision Google proposed back in 2007 when they were bidding on the FCC auctions for the 700MHz spectrum.
Google can even issue phone numbers to users via Google Voice. In fact, I’ve already ported my mobile number to Google Voice, and Google has plans to roll out that feature more broadly. Google Voice can also handle the VoIP function for the phone.
Are AT&T and the other carriers interested? Our source says AT&T is already bidding for the business, and may be willing to sell data to Google, with certain conditions, for $20/month. The carriers won’t love this, at all. But they’d be dumb to let their competitors take the business instead. Our guess is at least the U.S. GSM carriers, TMobile and AT&T, would support the phone.
Our sources at AT&T have confirmed that they’ll sell data-only plans to customers who bring in BlackBerry and Windows devices, and strip out the voice plan. They won’t do this with all devices – you can’t get a data only plan on the iPhone, for example. But AT&T is open to data-only customer relationships.
Will the Google Phone be data/VoIP only? Right now we only have one thin source for this. But we’re continuing to dig.
Are We Obsessed With Aesthetics?by Daniel Scocco
If you have the habit of visiting social bookmarking sites you probably know how popular web design related stories are. Every single day you can find a list with “the best collection of free textures,” “free icon sets,” “examples of stunning typography” and so on.
I do believe that design is an important part of the whole. As the Italian proverb goes, anche l’occhio vuole la sua parte (i.e., the eye wants it’s share too). But after seeing those web design related stories flowing around the web ad nauseam I started wondering whether or not we are obsessed with aesthetics.
The western society in general certainly is, with the fashion industry growing year after year. But my questioning is specific to the Internet society. The netzens, which I like to believe are more sophisticated than the average westerner.
You can find evidence of that obsession for aesthetics everywhere. And bear in mind that I am not pointing fingers here. I have been there myself. I remember back in the day when I was creating my first blogs I used to spend weeks tweaking the design and neglecting the content, as if a beautifully-designed blog would attract more readers than a well-written one. Maybe that is the case?
My reasoning might be biased because I am a functional guy. One of the things I hated the most when working for a multinational company was the necessity to wear a tie. Why? Because I couldn’t find a logical reason behind it. You wear shoes to protect your feet. You wear underwear for hygienic reasons. But why the heck do you wear a tie?
Back to the central question: do you think we are obsessed with aesthetics on the Internet? Wouldn’t it be better if we focused more on the functional aspect of things? I would like to hear what you think, as mine is not an affirmation but rather a wondering.
For the people that only wear or do things that are functional, am I supposed to think that you are all thrift store shoppers? I can’t imagine a hard core thinker of this type would wear anything fashionable as their is no logical reason to spend more than a few dollars at Goodwill on something functional to cover their body,. Also, do these people style their hair daily or just allow it to look as it does when they awake?
Looking good is not for little minds. I agree with the first poster that “it means we respect and value the people we are going to meet” but also that it means that we respect and value ourselves and the society we live in. A blog that has only the defaults and has had no time spent on aesthetics shows me that very little thought has gone into what is being presented or for me as the reader. It also indicates that the poster is either unskilled in the web culture or that they don’t value what THEY have to say very much.
That being said, I do think our obsession with aesthetics has gotten ridiculous. We are the extreme polar opposite of the functional mentality. I agree that the web culture is so driven by aesthetics that we never even consider the functionality or reason for what needs to occur before we start creating eye candy.
The netzens are no longer just a sophisticated bunch, but now represent a good cross section of many of the world’s cultures. I do believe that there is an elite group of netzens which seek to enhance the entire net culture, but unfortunately they seem to be extreme gluttons for aesthetics since that is ultimately what seems to draw the attention of investors. I mean, do we really need to see a cute whale being held up by cute little birds every time there is a problem with Twitter?
Can’t fault them too much for wanting to put some money in their pockets though. It IS the functional reason all of us go to work, right?
I just stumbled upon this site and haven't had a lot of time to verify how well it works, but if it does what it says it will this site might one of the best uses of the Twitter-stream that I have seen to date.
Basically, it scours Twitter looking for movie titles and then attempts to evaluate whether or not someone wrote a positive or negative review of the movie. After that it aggregates the results into a list. I will definitely be using this before I see my next movie!
Is this kind of application useful to you?
What other online apps do you think are making good use of social media data?
It's possible that you may recognize this song from the Subaru commercial where the guy is backtracking looking for his sunglasses (and they are predictably on his head). Thought the song was really good.
It's also possible that the girls and I were dancing to this in the kitchen just now after mommy left. I'm not confirming that...just saying it's possible.
Slightly possible. :)
I like it. Nuff said.
And here's a picture from a year ago on our main family blog.
I can't believe it's only been a year since we found out baby #2 was going to be a girl…and now Eden just turned 7 months.
I know, random post.
I got a call two weeks ago from someone who had received my resume from a friend. The person who ended up with it called and started talking to me about the position that they were looking to fill. It was absolutely right up my alley! It sounded exciting (in that nerdy IT way) and was all stuff that I was confident in doing. The pay was better than my last job! The only thing really that different is that it was a contract position instead of full time employee. (The reason that could have been scary is depending on how a contractor is hired, they sometimes have to pay more taxes than the average employee. Not so with this gig so all is cool.)
In fact, it sounded so good I figured something was amiss. But after today and seeing the responsibilities before me, I am very confident that this is not only something I can do but something I can do really well! I am working with a partner of IBM on one of IBM's projects doing a data modeling and reporting project. In short, what I was looking for.
The office was very comfortable to work in and is only 17 minutes from my house. It is half the distance, but same route, as my old job...except I get off the freeway on 635 where the traffic begins. So, while it is only half the distance, it is less than a third of the travel time. It was so nice this morning to exit the freeway right at the point where 635 turned into a parking lot! It's the first time that traffic has ever made me smile. HA!!!
I did eat lunch alone today. So, that was sad, but I'm close enough to a lot of people I know that I can easily plan to not have that happen again on the days I have to go in to the office. Oh, and speaking of that...I GET TO WORK FROM HOME MOST OF THE TIME!!! I will have to go in at the beginning to get accustomed to the project, but after that I have the freedom to work most of the time from home. This is great since I can work so much faster at home where there are ZERO distractions.
Like I said, it sounded too good to be true so I didn't say anything. But, I actually DID go into work today and confirmed that it was an honest to goodness job.
Thank you so much for everyone's prayers and love. It made such a huge impact on me during what could have been a very trying time. I think there was one day that I was stressing out, but other than that I felt a peace the whole time that I was going to be taken care of...and I feel that I have been.
I can't wait to not sit in traffic again tomorrow! MWA HA HA HA!!!!
It seems that there are more and more people I know who have not yet heard the big news: I was part of a workforce reduction last week (i.e. I was laid off). There were over 30 of us that were let go from different departments. I was told that it was not performance related and was welcome to and even encouraged to apply for applicable positions within the company. I feel that networking is the key to finding a job, especially in this market. That being said, I decided to do this post to give everyone the lowdown on what took place and to ask for your help. (If you don't want to read the nitty gritty, feel free to skip to the end for the plea part.)
The whole experience was sort of surreal. I knew what was going on the moment that I walked in to my SVP's office...and he had an HR representative in there with him. Unfortunately, my wife had to play the HR role the previous week at her company so I knew the anguish that poor woman was going through. Thankfully, my SVP was quick to the point and did not try and pad the news too much. It was one of those things I just wanted to know quickly, so I was very thankful for how it was done. I was also thankful that my director had requested that they do it first thing in the morning so I didn't have to work a full day and THEN get the news. (That would have really sucked!)
Even as I was hearing the sentence that I was getting laid off, I really felt like God just told me to be at peace. I think my first response was to say, "My wife was in your shoes last week; I'm not going to give you any trouble. Let's make this as painless as possible." I was calm the whole way through as I made it my goal to leave with integrity and dignity.
As I walked back to my desk with my cardboard box (very weird, by the way), I remember thinking "I have a lot of stuff at my desk!" Five years' worth of pictures and folders and notebook. Because my termination was not performance based, I did not have to have security stand over me as I left. I did have a number of people help me move my stuff though; not out of security concerns but from genuine friendship. I was very blessed for their help. They even walked me out and loaded everything in my car for me. That was nice since I had run 3 miles the night before (just started running) and my legs felt like Jello! After the 4 guys who walked me out hugged me and shook my hands, I left the parking garage for the last time.
Obviously I called my wife Kaylane immediately to let her know. Her work was kind in letting her leave right then so we went to a very early lunch to talk about things. I'm thankful that we were able to go to lunch as she has been such an encouragement to me during all of this. Thank you, Baby! She was mad for me (as I would have been for her), but I still just felt a peace about the whole thing and had no negative feelings towards my, now previous, company or employers. It had been a blessing and an honor to work with such great people and I did not pity them for having to let go someone that they called friend. I did, however, pity me for being that person. LOL
So, I'm now in the job market. I've updated my resume, LinkedIn, my accounts on numerous job hunting sites, and posted to my social network sites to let them know I'm looking (I'll include links to appropriate sites at the end of this entry). As I said at the beginning of this post, I really feel that the big key to finding a job in this market is to be connected to the people who know the jobs are there. NETWORKING! That being said, I would be blessed by your prayers. Also, anyone who forwards my information on within their networks will be my new best friend. :)
If you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read this! I appreciate your support!!!!
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