Friday, August 20, 2010

Barefoot Running

I began reading this amazing book this year that inspired me in many, many ways. Apparently, many others are becoming interested in what it has to offer. The book is called, "Born to Run" and has impacted thousands!

Author Christopher Mcdougall creates an astonishing read that incorporates real live people who are changing running history as we speak. The book is of the journey Christopher takes to discover why he was continually getting injured only running a few miles a week, while others could run marathons and remain uninjured. His journey leads him to a virtually unknown tribe, called the Tarahumara, who dwell in Mexico. This unique group of beings are known for their ability to run amazingly long distances and with little resources to propel their strong running abilities. Throughout his journey, Christopher meets many people who all have seemingly inhuman qualities about them.

One character that Christopher portrays in his book is a man named Barefoot Ted. Now if I had known of this man sooner I would've gotten to listen to him lecture at the college I was attending. Unfortuantly, I missed this opportunity but even so I am still uniquely interested in what he has to offer. His story is intriguing and inspiring, and his running method is becoming more of a fad each day! People have become more excited by the idea each day that I finally found a yahoo page that supported the idea that Barefoot Ted has been promoting.

Barefoot running has started to become a trend. Once again, it seems that humans are shifting back to an older method of running that our oldest ancestors likely used.

Incase the link doesn't open, here's what yahoo page says:

Baring It All: The Barefoot Running Trend user by Susan Rinkunas, RUNNER'S WORLD.

Have you seen the alien shoes spotted on celebrities recently? Matthew McConaughey and girlfriend Camila Alves wear them to work out, actor Channing Tatum runs in them, and Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George sports them for beach football.

Just what are these funky, rubber glove toe socks? They’re Vibram FiveFingers—shoes that are meant to mimic the experience of running without shoes, yet protect your feet from dirt and debris. Why would people want to run without their cushy trainers? Running without shoes can strengthen your feet, ankles, and lower legs and improve balance. Some say modern running shoes are to blame for injuries. And one man wrote an immensely popular book that concluded as much.

The 10 laws of injury prevention

Vibram started making the five-toed shoes in 2006, but the trend really picked up steam last year, following the publication of Christopher McDougall's book “Born to Run.” The book describes how Mexico’s Tarahumara Indians have become some of the greatest long-distance runners in the world despite running barefoot or in sandals fashioned from tire rubber. McDougall chronicles an ultramarathon race in Mexico’s Copper Canyons attended by a group of Americans including “Barefoot Ted” McDonald, who either ran sans shoes or in FiveFingers, in case of sharp rocks. The author argues that we’d be better off without the souped-up shoes marketed to us by giants like Nike and Adidas, which he says have done nothing to prevent injuries. The book made “The New York Times” bestseller list, and now TMZ is photographing celebrities in their very own lizard shoes.

According to CNN, the FiveFingers have become so popular that the company is having a hard time keeping them in stock—and stopping counterfeiters from selling knock-offs online.

Some barefoot devotees simply like the sensation of feeling the surface they’re running on while others swear up and down that ditching traditional running shoes has helped them prevent injuries. While there’s no scientific evidence to support the latter claim, we do know that running barefoot or in barefoot-style shoes like the FiveFingers or Nike Free changes one’s running mechanics. When runners aren’t wearing shoes with built-up soles, they tend to land in the middle or toward the front of their feet rather than on their heel and researchers believe that such midfoot or forefoot striking results in less impact on the body. But as Susan Paul, M.S., exercise physiologist and program director for the Orlando Track Shack Foundation says, “To date, there are no studies indicating that running shoes contribute to injury or, conversely, that barefoot running reduces injury or makes you run faster.”

The mechanics of barefoot running

If you’re thinking about shedding your shoes, consider these guidelines:

Barefoot training is not for people who are just starting to run or returning from a long layoff—it’s something to slowly incorporate into an existing running regimen.
If you have persistent or serious foot problems, consult your podiatrist first.
Ease in slowly. Paul advises starting with a few minutes on a flat, relatively forgiving surface once a week. Grassy fields, smooth roads, and soft trails qualify. Running on sand might be tempting, but barefooting newbies should stick to wet sand at first as the unstable soft stuff puts a lot of torque on your joints and is much harder to run on.

Listen to your body. “Barefoot Ken Bob” Saxton, founder of and finisher of more than 70 barefoot marathons, says, “Luckily, your feet are sensitive, which is a good thing. Listen to them and they'll keep you from doing something stupid.”

(No Copyright Infringement Intended)

For more information on "Born to Run" check out Christopher McDougall's blog:

2010-A Year of Change...

According to my mom, the year 2010 is expected to be a year of changes all leading up to the shift in 2012. I think it was the year 2008 when I began learning of 2012 and wondering... Much of the world is very skeptical of the idea of 2012, and I don't much expect many people to read this with belief in their hearts or minds. That is your choice, so I ask that you do not criticize the words I am writing.

Early on in 2010 I experienced my own changes and spiritual journies. Inside my heart and changes on the outside that people were seeing. Likewise, people all around me were experiencing changes as well; both good and bad.

One of my teammates at GGC who had never been injured, tore her acl. She was one of the top gymnasts there, after the injury she choose to quit gymnastics. I also decided to take time off because of a wrist injury which was continually getting re-injured since February 2008. I didn't know if I would come back, I had decided I was going to wait 6 months before training again. More or less, I made it about 6 months before I started training full time. I only managed to take off two months before I started working out at another gym nearby. I could not train at Grace after I told them I was likely done with the sport of gymnastics, but I still wanted to train and compete. That's the way the sport seems to work, it beckons you back in. So that incorporated my next change, I began training at Metropolitan. I was not training very much though. After two months, I was only going in one to two days a week for a couple hours at a time. Likewise, I was coaching my very own team for the first time in my life, and it was quite an experience; both good and bad.

Mentally my thoughts shifted as well. Being without gymnastics, living in the world as an adult, not having anyone to go to for support changed me. It humbled me and gave me every reason to feel blessed for any gym training I could recieve. I learned what coaches liked coaching. I learned that sometimes the gymnasts who trained the hardest got the least amount of feedback because coaches simply "expected" perfection and hardwork from them. My coaching philosophy became: "Coach your gymnasts as you would've liked to be coached". I listened to coaches gossip and learned that sometimes, if not often, children are much less threatening; if not wiser than many adults. (At least the adults I worked with...) One day I would love to get to coach, to support every gymnast, to work them hard but to understand their feelings and sympathize with them as well as to teach them what it is to be a great gymnast and a kind human being. For now though, my time belongs in the gym as a gymnast.

At the beginning of the year, I still wanted to return to Grace gymnastics as time wore on, things kept pushing me away from that direction. Strangely enough, it was as though a divine source kept me from returning and showed me once again, that everything happens for a reason. At the end of season the GGC team learned that 3 of the team coaches would be leaving for other gyms. One of the head compulsary coaches; Carleigh left for Emerald City Gymnastics and both of the head optional team coaches were leaving as well. Brian also for Emerald City and Jackie headed off to Roach.

I was left without a gym and many gymnasts were left without a coach. And for the second time in my life I watched as a gym fell apart. A large majority of the gymnasts chose to leave. I also left...for home.

And with that;
I dropped out of college,
Almost retired from gymnastics,
Once again lived home for the first time in 2 years,
Re-injured my wrist for the 5th time
Returned to the gym that I thought I had left forever...

It seems I've made a complete circle.

There were other things happening within the gymnastics community that reached my ears but I cannot disclose on blogspot due to the turmoil such gossip has already provoked.

One major shift in the world of gymnastics is the U.S. earning a bronze medal from the 2000 Olympic games after finding that Dong Fong Xiou was actually 14 years of age instead of 17.

Over this past year I have watched two other major knee injuries occur. Two other top level gymnasts in their own gyms have been taken out of the sport for the moment. One gymnast at my "home" gym dislocated her knee and tore some ligaments and another gymnast from one of my past gyms also tore her acl...Her coach, (one of my past coaches) also had a knee injury within the last week. Both Shawn Johnson and Ivana Hong tore acls as well.

Likewise, there have been two major deaths in my family, seperated by only a couple of months. My aunt I lived with for a year was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year ago. She died last April. My grandma was also killed this past year, in June. She was severly injured in a car accident and died a couple weeks after the incident.

It's been a long, rough journey but change is not as frightening as it used to be. I have learned to cope a lot better and to allow change instead of trying to force things to remain the same. God is changing the world all around us, we are changing and I feel more prepared than ever before for the change that is to come.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Gymnastics and Other Interesting Stuff

I've been missing the GGC girls lately...A lot. :(

I coached today for the first time in a longggg time and I forgot how much I loved it and how comfortable I feel in the atmosphere. I coached for five hours today and I can't wait to coach again soon! :-)

I also tried hot yoga this weekend, and my goodness, it was AMAZING! Within the first 10 minutes my body was already dripping sweat, and I mean DRIPPING! I have never sweat so much in my life but I guess it's pretty understandable when you are in a 105 degree room, with 30 other people, doing stretches and strength skills for 90 minutes! It was hardcore and I wanted to die! Lol, but I definantly think it is another career path I am very intrigued in following.

I am so determined to be successful and live decently without a college education! Not only do I want to prove I can do it, but the idea of school disgusts me and always has! I HATE SCHOOL!!!

Visa champs are on this weekend! I can't wait to have a team party to watch them the week after!!! This weekend I will however be busy visiting a past coach and friend who is very dear to me! I can't wait to see her! :)

Gym went well today. Norm and Rachel were coaching. I did quite a few double backs on tumble tramp onto the hard 12 inch mat, and also front fulls onto 2 8inch mats, and front full, front tuck on tumble tramp. The rest of the day was eh. I wish my wrist and heel didn't hurt so badly. :(

Childhood Memories

Gymnastics is such a beautiful sport, in the way that it makes one feel innocent, magical and young. I would give anything to get the chance to start over again, from day one...Or age 8 when I first joined team. I would make so many different decisions, but I suppose what happened was meant to happen. And the place I am in now is exactly where I should and want to be. I am once again at home.

Driving on the highway, back home, as the sun is just sinking over the mountains brings me back to a place once forgotten. Even more beautiful reminisences is being in a gym I have lived my whole life in. It brings back memories of when everything was simple and I didn't care about a thing in the world. If only my body didn't hinder the full gloriousness of the moment. I still hurt everyday. It's tolerable pain but my goal is to not have the pain continue to harrass me this year. I want to make it through a full meet season, the first full meet season in three years. I know I can do it, my body just needs to cooperate with my heart.

Having Norm as a coach again is what I've wanted for the last 2.5 years I've been gone. Whoever thought I would be here once again though. Certaintly not me. These last 2.5 months have been thrilling and fantastic! Being a gymnast is all I've ever wanted, and it's all I still want! This sport has some divine force within it or something that keeps me coming back for more everyday. It's like a good drug or a loving relationship that you just can't get enough of. I am so thankful for the coaching I have gotten from Michelle and Rachel. They have provided more information, patience, love, respect and coaching than I had gotten over the past couple of years. I can't believe I left this behind over two years ago. I love having girls that are now at my level at this gym, who crack me up everyday and push me to strive harder every moment. It's funny how they were once so young and now they seem to be just like me.
They all want the same thing I want...To be the best gymnast I can be...

Coming in the gym isn't a chore for me and I don't know if it will ever be. I love it so much, I love learning new skills, working hard, sweating everyday, pushing myself what I thought possible, doing what most people never dreamed of doing, being a part of a team, having a gym full of sisters, having coaches that provide everything for a gymnast to get to the top and I love the magic etch in the walls of a gym, the childhood of all girls that grew up training for something bigger than most people could understand. This is my sport, this is my dream, this is my life and this is all I'll ever want.