Friday, December 30, 2005

Growbox Gardening

Okay, I have posted a lot about running barefoot. When I started this site, I also meant to mention something about gardening, the vegetable kind.

Years ago, probably in the early 80's, my dad had this book on "Growbox Gardening" by a guy named Mittleider. I remember reading it and thinking that it would be an awesome way to create a vegetable garden, but I never had the gumption to really set one up. It seemed all complicated.

By the way, when we lived in Salt Lake City, the author lived not far from me. I remember going running at the bottom of this little canyon and looking up on the banks above the path and seeing lots of layered terraces creeping down the hillside. I was told that was his house. It was pretty cool, kind of like some Chinese gardens I've seen in picture books.

Somehow I discovered that he had a website set up and I visited it. To my surprise, his website was basically the entire book available on line, for free! www.foodforeveryone.org Not long after I discovered his website, he changed it so now it is more of a big sales spiel for his book. Makes sense to me ... why give away what you're trying to sell?

Well, about 3 years ago, I decided it was time to give it a try. Mittledier updated his techniques since he wrote the one I first read. I like the new methods a lot more.

The Concept

A growbox is just a raised bed filled with artificial soil that you create. The box is only 18 inches wide, 30 feet long, and 8 inches deep.

You fertilize it once a week with a broad spectrum fertilizer and water it every day. It almost explodes with produce! Unbelievable.

I couldn't find a suitable fertilizer around here, so I had my son buy some bags of it in Salt Lake City and bring them up when he drove up here for a visit. Later on, I discovered that the Portland Rose Society sells a nearly identical fertlizer for about 1/2 the cost! Nice! My "soil" is made of 50% river sand, 25% sawdust, and 25% peat moss. I have to replenish some of the sawdust and peat moss each year, as the old stuff decomposes.

My first year, 2003, I grew broccoli heads that were almost the size of dinner plates. I grew corn plants that reached heights of 9 to 10 feet and produced very sweet, tender corn. This is almost unheard of in these parts - its considered too wet and cool and too short of a growing season for corn.

I grew green beans that reached the top of the 6 ft. trestles and wanted to keep growing, so I stretched lines from the trestle to the eaves of the house. The plants grew all the way to the roof, more than 12 feet tall! It has been pretty cool to pick beans that are hanging overhead. We always have more green beans than we know what to do with. I'm not planting them next year.


I have used the growbox method for three years now. Still with wonderful results. This past year I planted one single sweet meat squash plant. It threw out tendrils that were 15 to 20 feet long and produced 7 basketball (or larger) sized squashes.

<--- My corn plants in 2003, still growing. To the front of the pic on the left is a tomato plant and you can just see the edges of green beans. On the right I had some pots with yellow and green zucchini in them.

I also grew too many tomato plants and I let them grow too tall. They also threw out runners that were about 8 to 10 feet long. Turns out I should have trimmed them much shorter so the strength of the plants went into growing tomatoes, not longer vines, so they produced lots and lots of green tomatoes that never ripened. Live and learn. I also planted blue potatoes, and got great results from them!

So, I highly recommend the Growbox Method of gardening! Once its set up, its easy, weed-free, produces like crazy, and won't let you down. Looking forward to next year's garden!

Corn, fully grown & green beans almost to the eaves of the house! I had one zucchini plant at the far end that spread out about six feet wide on both sides! (2003 garden)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Afterthought:

Oh, Salt Lake City has a new marathon that started up in 2005. Its a different course than
the Deseret News Marathon. The new race starts up near the University of Utah, goes out Foothill Boulevard to around 78th South, goes west to about 3rd West street, and goes north to the Delta Center. Its quite a flat course. Its also one of the few marathon races that is NOT run on a Sunday! In 2006 it is going to be held on June 3rd, a Saturday.
www.saltlakecitymarathon.com

I'm thinking how much I would like to train to get myself ready to run this marathon, barefoot. I've never run a marathon before. When I was in law school I ran away a lot of the stress by going on almost daily runs of 8 to 15 miles, sometimes I ran 20 miles. That was a long time ago and a lot of pounds lighter! I've always wanted to run a marathon, and my new excitement about barefoot running has me eyeing the Salt Lake City Marathon to be my first. I'll keep on running through the winter here and see how things are shaping up in the Spring.

Ryan

More Running

It's become obvious to me that most of my posts are about barefoot running. I gues that's because its the "new thing" with me, plus I'm working hard to improve my running ability. Since its the middle of winter, I'm not doing much gardening. I still work in the temple every Tuesday evening, and that is still the highlight of my week's experiences. But it starts to sound redundant to keep saying "I had a wonderful time in the temple last night." There's not much more I can say about it than that! I guess I could mention that I helped do some temple work for a man whose first name was "Batman"! Now I'm waiting for "Superman" to come along!

Yesterday, Monday, I ran 12 miles around Portland, Oregon. I ran 6 miles on some smooth sidewalks along the waterfront, then I headed uphill from there through the city and back down the other side. This gives my feet a workout on rougher surfaces, which forces me to improve my techniques. When I got back down to the waterfront I ran another 3 miles. It was pretty cool out, about 38 degrees, so I wore gloves this time which helped keep me warmer overall. Surprisingly, my feet are not very cold when I run.

I believe that bare feet help set the body's thermostat. I do not need to turn my house heat up much more than 60 degrees, my body seems to have reset its warmth level so I am very comfortable where others seem to feel chilled.

Faith is only a word until it is challenged.

Ryan

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Back-to-Back

Yesterday I did 6 cool weather miles with bandaids on a toe injury.

Today I did 9 cool miles (36 degrees) with bandaids -- 3 miles on smooth cement, 3 miles up and down city streets with mixed quality surfaces, and 3 miles back on the smooth cement. No real problems, except really getting cold all over when my wet tshirt got hit with wind gusts during the last 3 miles, but my feet felt fine! Well, almost fine. The raw spot on my left big toe got bothered a little bit, not too much though. Its healing, despite my repeated abuse!

I got a LOT of
stares from people this time - loved it!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Deepening Winter

I had developed a rather bad skin erasure problem on the pad of the big toe of my left foot, running in cooler weather here. Weird, I thought. I've never had that problem before.

So I rested and let it heal until it felt good. Then I went back out running, again in cool weather, and promptly got a painful deep bruise and blood blister in exactly the same place! So its time out for more healing.

Someone commented about how their toes tended to curl downward when their feet got cold. That explains why this unexpected problem crept up on me! I figured the cold on my feet made me "dig in" or "push off" with my toes more than normal. I'm thinking I need to put on a bandaid or something and keep running anyway. I hate taking too many days off from it!

I waited as long as I could stand for my fairly raw big toe to heal (3 days). Today I wrapped it up in a couple of bandaids and headed down to my favorite smoooooooth cement running path in Portland, OR and got in 6 miles. Temp outside was about 36 degrees, the coldest I've run so far this year. My toe was protected enough that I did no harm to it. I felt my left Achilles stiffening up, probably from the cold. I noticed my feet got fairly numb, so I had to try extra hard to follow good form techniques so as to not do them any damage. After my run, when my feet warmed up and I could feel them again, I was glad to find they were perfectly healthy and happy again!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Cool Running

I'm still running, even though the weather has gotten cooler. Last week I gouged or cut my right foot right in the center of the ball of the foot, maybe on some glass. I didn't think much of it, waited a couple of days for it to feel better, and went back out again. Darn if it didn't break open and bleed exactly at the same spot! I wonder if a little piece of glass wasn't embedded. So I waited a couple more days, went out, and -- no problem! Except I was letting my left big toe scrape a little and it got a little raw. Must be from the colder surface possibly numbing my foot a little - maybe from still trying to "push off" too much.

Little things, nothing to worry about, I still love running barefoot and will keep on!

I have run from 6 to 10 -12 miles each run, approximately 3 days a week. My last run was only about 5 miles, because of the left big toe getting kind of raw and sore. So now I'm letting it heal.

I'm getting a lot of incredulous looks from people as I run in the colder and wetter weather. Its g
ood to give them a new education - puncture their paradigms! :)

Its been said by hunters that to warm your head, hike uphill, and to warm your feet, hike downhill. I always wondered if there was any truth to that!

This week our temperatures got a lot cooler, and I was out running in about 43-45F (6-7C) degree weather. This isn't all that cold by itself, except I didn't have much to put on in the way of clothing, so I was underdressed, plus I still perspire when I exercise, so I got wet and cold after running a few miles.

As I was running uphill in Portland, I noticed that my feet felt quite cold, but the rest of me was fine. Then when I ran downhill, I noticed my feet were no longer cold at all, but felt quite warm, while my head and upper body felt chilled. Then I finished by running another couple of miles on flat sidewalks and noticed that my feet were getting cold again.

Interesting...

Ciao!

Ryan
Vancouver Barefoot

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Fun While Running

Sometimes when I run in Portland, Oregon, I go past a number of street people who hang out along the sidewalk by the Williamette River. One lady who has seen me running a number of times always "talks me up" with the people she is with. Its like she's my buddy, now.

The other day I was running through the streets of the city and had to stop for traffic. A guy was standing there and we talked a little bit about barefoot running, why I don't wear shoes, why it doesn't hurt my feet, etc. All at once there was this same lady, my "bag-lady buddy", who seemed to show up out of nowhere. She jumped into the conversation to defend running barefoot! She was saying things like, "It's good for you!" "He runs like this every day!" I got a real kick out of her!

Oh, the joys of running barefoot never cease!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Reporting Some Barefoot Achievements

I am very happy to report two new achievements for me this week:

First: I ran (barefoot) on a particular course from my home that was very difficult for me when I first tried running it. It has a lot of little gravel rocks strewn over much of the sidewalks and pavement for the first mile. That was followed by a new asphalt bike path that went on for quite some distance. By the time I made it to the nice asphalt, my feet used to get so beat up by the rocks I was not able to enjoy the good part of the run. Then I'd have to return via the same rocky section for a double dose of ouch.

A few days ago I ran the same route and was not even slowed down by the gravel. I just kept true to my form and ran right through/over it. When I got to the asphalt bike path, it felt much smoother than it used to, so I added an extra mile to the course to make it a 5 mile total run.

Second: Today I ran in downtown Portland, Oregon. It has this extremely smooth sidewalk that goes along the Williamette river. Parts of it are fully a 10-rated surface - unbelievably smooth!. Other parts have rougher sidewalks that rate a 7 or 8.

So I ran a 3 mile loop at the fastest pace I've run yet while barefoot, just under 7:00 minute miles. Than I headed up through town across some very rough sidewalks and roads that rate from 3 to 5 in places, for an additional 2 1/2 miles. I focused on form and found that the rougher sections were not only tolerable, they actually felt good! Not too long ago I could barely even walk over them.

At one point I passed a city cop and he yelled, "How far are you running, barefoot!?" I yelled back, "About 6 miles." He said, "You're more of a man than I am!" to which I smiled and waved.

Coming back down out of the city blocks I was going at an accelerated pace, again sailing over some pretty rough sections with ease. Its hard to tell how fast I was averaging because I had to stop and wait for traffic a number of times.

Back down on the waterfront I ran the final 2 mile leg on the smooth stuff, again at a pretty fair clip. My total time running was 65 minutes, which is very encouraging to me, considering all the time I wasted waiting for lights and taking a couple of walking breaks along the way.

I am really excited at the progress I am seeing in my running! I am getting back into condition, my form is coming together, my feet are feeling great, my speed is coming back, and I'm thoroughly enjoying running again. I actually have hope of being able to increase my distances and prepare to run my first in my life marathon. Salt Lake City has a new marathon that's held in late April that is quite a flat course. I'm going to see if I can be ready to try that. If I keep progressing like I am, I might head up north and join the Seattle bunch for Seafair! Vancouver Washington has a 10K in January I might do if I'm in town. It would be my first ever barefoot race.

Hope it doesn't sound like I'm bragging - I'm just so excited that this barefoot stuff is actually working out. I had my doubts at first, but its all becoming seeable for me. Gotta love it!

Ryan
"Vancouver Barefoot"

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Couple More Running Thoughts:

Cadence is an important aspect of barefoot running. If you try to take long, loping strides, you end up over-striding, which causes extreme friction on the skin, pounding on the bones, and each forward stride stops your forward momentum. By increasing the cadence, you simply don't have time to stretch your foot out in front of you, so instead, you plant your foot directly beneath your body mass. Some runners carry metronomes to help them keep a good cadence going. The best cadence is 180 steps per minute, 3 per second.

I found that by repeating the word "Am-ster-dam" in my head, it helps set the correct cadence. That got boring, so I started looking for other things to repeat.

I thought of a song I had sung in a church choir, which had the words "Ju-bi-la-te, Ju-bi-la-te, Ju-bi-la-te, Ju-bi-lay" with a nice catchy tune. One time I ended up "singing" "Hal-le-lu-jah, Hal-le-lu-jah,
Hal-le-lu-jah, Shout Hur-ray!" I don't know where that came from, but either version is not quite as boring as just repeating Amsterdam.

Some others I have come up with are the words to "Onward Christian Soldiers" - at least as many of them as I can remember. Sometimes I forget the words to a song and end up mixing parts of different verses all together, or else just make up words that seem to fit. I don't think anyone who knew the song would recognize it after I was done re-mixing it!

In the Stake choir I sing in, we just started rehearsing a song from Handel's Messiah, so lately I have been "singing" to myself something like, "Forrrr un-to us a Child is gi-ven! (Un-to us) A Child is gi-ven" etc. and "Haaaaa-le-lu-jah! Haaaaa-le-lu-jah! Halle-lu-jah! Halle-lu-jah! Ha-a-a-le-lu-jah!" etc.

Those are fun ones to run to. Since I am doing this in my head only, I can sing the different parts, soprano, alto, tenor, bass - whatever.

Whichever of these tricks I feel like doing, they all seem to work pretty well to keep me on a 180 beat cadence.

When I get one of these things going nicely in my head, when my running form is "on" and my cadence is correct, I sometimes zone-out and am not aware of the passage of time or distance. The other day I was just bee-bopping along and realized I had run almost an entire mile without even noticing my surroundings. There is one section of kind of tricky bridge surface I ran across, and when I "came-to" I had already run over it without even thinking about it!

Happy Trails to You!

Ryan
Postlude to My Birthday Run

I started out with a 6 mile run, proudly wearing my new "It Takes BALLS to Run BAREFOOT" T-shirt. At one point I had to wait for a light to change, and two gangbangers, each with a pit-bull dog with them, read my shirt and got a big kick out of it. I think they respected that I was running barefoot.

Then I got the idea stuck in my head that it would be really cool to go run barefoot on Nike's corporate running track! So I jumped in my car, drove out to Beaverton, Oregon, found Nike's office campus, and tried to get in. Security had another opinion, though, and turned me around back out of there. I thought about maybe parking somewhere up the street a ways and trying to run in, but I couldn't see any other way in except right in front of the nose of the security booth. I still might try that tactic, someday. Actually I know a computer programmer at Nike. Perhaps he can get me a "pass" of some kind. If I do, I'm thinking of making a shirt that says, "Hey, Nike! THIS is Free!" :)

So, defeated by Nike's gargantuan might, I drove back to downtown Portland and ran one more three-mile loop before it started raining/hailing and I called it a day. No personal bests today, but a very fun time was had.

Ryan

Monday, November 07, 2005

Today is my birthday - 52 years old!


I am going out and treating myself to a noon-time run, hopefully to score a personal best barefoot distance. My best run so far has been 12 miles barefoot. I generally go for 6 miles per run.


Its a grey, drizzly, colder day today. The bank sign outside my office window says 48 degrees F. (8.8 C) Weather forecasters are saying there is a chance for thunder - kind of rare in these parts. So maybe Nature will be clapping its encouragement of my little exploit!

I made a do-it-yourself tshirt that says, "It Takes BALLS To Run BAREFOOT" with some images of green sole-prints with the balls of the feet colored brown and with RunningBarefoot.Org across the bottom. (See above.) If its not raining too hard I'll wear that just for fun.

Talk to you all later!

Ryan
Vancouver Barefoot

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Mormon Temple

As it says in my introduction, I am a "Mormon." This is a nickname given to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We preach that this is very same church started by Jesus Christ. He started His church in person when he lived on the earth; He restored His church in person when He visited modern day prophets. The church is called "latter-day" saints (members) as opposed to "former-day" saints because we are living in the latter days of this earth's current existence, before "The Millennium" starts. All the signs say this will be soon!

I am a temple worker within the church. We now have many temples built in many areas of the world. Each one of them relies upon voluntary temple workers who donate their time to helping with the activities of the temple. In each temple various rites are administered that prepare people to qualify for and to be prepared to pass by the heavenly sentinels and enter into the highest level of heaven, all conditioned upon each person's personal worthiness. Only church members in good standing are allowed to participate in these temple rites, called ordinances. Members must first establish their qualifications of worthiness by being interviewed by their their ecclestiacal leaders. Members must re-qualify periodically.

As temple workers, we are trained to assist in various areas of the temple where different types of service, ordinances, and covenants are performed. Our service can be as mundane as greeting people quietly and helping to establish a feeling of reverence and solemnity within the temple walls. We also assist with administering ritual washings and annointings, similar to what Aaron, the brother of Moses, received in connection with his priestly calling, and with an ordinance called the endowment, which is a gift of heavenly knowledge necessary to progress to one's full spiritual potential both while in this life and in the life that follows mortal death. We also perform sealings where husband and wife, parent and child are eternally connected as a family structure.

Last Tuesday my wife and I spent about 5 1/2 hours helping with various aspects of the temple ordinances. The feeling one receives when entering the temple is one of joy and serenity. Truly the cares of the world are left outside and the spirit of our Heavenly Father can be felt within. The time spent in temple service always goes by too fast - I wish I could spend more time there than I do. Sometimes my wife and I volunteer to assist on nights other than the one we are assigned to, just for the joy of being in such a hallowed place surrounded by so many spiritually minded people. I hope this is a taste of what eternal life may be like.

It has been said that the temple is the place where mortal man may draw closest to the heavenly presence than anywhere else. I belive that to be true. Peace and love!


Closing out for now,

Ryan

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Rights for the Fetus

Labels


I was thinking about the euphemisms we create to obscure the real issues. For example, homophobia is used to label anyone who has not wholeheartedly adopted the homosexual agenda, even though that word is not even defined by the mental health industry. Progressive is used by those who wish that their social views were more widely accepted, implying that those of us who don't want to move in their direction are outdated or something. Pro Life and Pro Choice are used to define opposite camps of opinion, even though pretty much all of us think we are both pro choice and pro life.

THE ABORTION ISSUE

When I was studying in law school we covered a section in our Constitutional Law class about the right to privacy, automony over one's body, and abortion. The professor was clearly supportive of the reasoning behind Roe vs. Wade and spent most of the 3 days lecturing in support of that line of thinking.

Then, as the discussion on this section was winding down, he added almost as an afterthought, "Well class, what about the fetus? Does the fetus have any rights here?" No one ventured to offer anything in support of the fetus. There is the mentality in school that the professor's vast reserves of wisdom and knowledge are untouchable by the stilted understanding of mere fledgling students.

I could not let this opportunity pass by without something being said for the rights of the unborn person! Suddenly I had a flash of insight and offered roughly the points explained below. When I had finished speaking, the professor started to say something in rebuttal of my arguments, but then stopped himself as he thought about the answer to his rebuttal. He repeated this start-stop process several times, obviously conducting an internal dialogue regarding my points. In the end, he threw his hands up in the air and stated, "Well class, what do you think? Does the fetus win here?" Again, no response from the class. I felt like I had made a good argument in support of favoring the right to life of the fetus over the right to abortion by the woman.

This is a summary of my points that I made in class in support of rights for the fetus:

Well-Founded Constitutional Principles

Legalized abortion is based on the premise that a woman has the right to autonomy over her own body, which comes from her Constitutional right to privacy. The Constitution contains concepts that are considered “well-founded” or “long-standing,” which are those that were contemplated by the original drafters and expressly stated in the Constitution. The Due Process clause in the Fifth Amendment is one of these. It prohibits the federal government (and States, via the Fourteenth Amendment) from denying Persons their Life, Liberty or Property without due process of law and equal protection under the law.

Judicially Created Constitutional Principles

The “right to privacy” is not expressly stated in the Constitution. It is not among the well-founded or long-standing Constitutional concepts. Rather, it is a concept that has developed over time through judicial interpretation of the Constitution.

Personhood

At the core of the abortion question is whether an unborn human is a “Person.” Tied in with this question is the concept of viability. A viable fetus is more likely to be recognized as a “Person.” Therefore, it is more difficult to justify aborting a viable unborn human compared with aborting a fetus that has not yet reached viability in its development. But viability is not a given, static point of development, especially considering the ever increasing refinements in medical technology.

In considering whether a fetus should be recognized as a “Person” we must first know how that concept is defined. A Person is first a human being. Are any other qualifiers necessary to be legally considered a Person?

Consider some of the reasons why it is argued a fetus should not be considered a Person. It isn't viable. It isn’t self-aware. It doesn’t have the capacity to appreciate the quality of life. It is not capable of self-determination or self- actualization. None of these reasons by themselves are sufficient to be considered a required qualifier to support the legal concept of Person.

Viability.

Viability - the capacity to exist separate from the mother’s womb - is changing with advances in medical technology. It is not too difficult to imagine the development of a human being from conception to “birth” occurring completely outside the mother’s body. Some would argue that a fetus is not viable if it requires the intervention of life-support devices and medications, but this is not consistent with our other concepts of Personhood. Consider the stroke or heart attack patient whose life depends on medical intervention. That person is not deemed less than a Person because of his or her medical needs.

Appreciation of the Quality of Life

Incapacity to appreciate the quality of life. This same factor arises in medical cases where a person is rendered unconscious or comatose. It also arises in persons who are born extremely deformed and mentally deficient. It even applies to completely healthy newborns during the first couple of years of life. We don’t withdraw the status of Person from such people for this reason.

Self-Awareness

Same argument as above. There are many people who are considered to be fully Persons who are not completely capable of self-awareness.

Self-Determination/Self-Actualization

This applies to the same category as described above – the new-born or the physically and mentally handicapped. It also applies to every child who hasn’t yet arrived to his or her teen years. There are many, many people who are considered to be fully Persons who are not capable of self-determination or self-actualization.

The Humanity of the Fetus

Still, we are faced with the question of whether a fetus is a Person. Is it a human being? It can be positively proved that a fetus is made of human tissues, and not dog, cat, pig, horse, whale or any other kind of mammalian tissue. The fetus – even if not yet considered fully human – is destined without doubt to become human. Through blood and genetic testing, it can be proved to perfect certainty that the fetus is of human origin and with nearly perfect certainty the identity of the persons whose sexual union produced the fetus.

Still, for argument sake, suppose the fetus is not yet accepted to actually or fully be a Person – that it possesses merely a portion of or the potential for Personhood. When considering the question of abortion, what we are faced with is a balancing test between two Constitutional rights. The right of the mother, a recognized, legal Person, to privacy and autonomy over her body, and the right of the fetus, “nearly or potentially a Person”, to his or her very life. How do we decide which of these rights should take precedent?

A Contest of Conflicting Rights

The right to life is a long-standing, well-founded Constitutional right held by Persons. The right to privacy and autonomy is a newer, judicially created Constitutional right. If we must sacrifice one of these rights to the other, logic dictates that the newer, judicially created right yield to the long-standing, well-founded right.

Consider the consequences of this analysis.

1) If the mother, a Person, must give up her right to privacy and autonomy, the harm done to her is a measure of emotional and physical pain from childbirth, even a remote risk of losing her own life. Most women recover from the emotional and physical pains of childbirth. Medical technology has reduced the risk of death from childbirth to a very low occurance. The question of whether the child born to her would be raised in a wanting and caring atmosphere is answered by adoption. There are many capable, financially and emotionally secure people who earnestly want to adopt babies.

2) If the fetus, a near-Person, must give up her right to life, then the harm done to her is non-existence. Should we, as a society, force a potential-Person to give up her long-standing and well-founded Constitutional right to life so that a legal Person may enjoy her newer, judicially created Constitutional right to privacy and autonomy?

It comes down to whether we as a society wish to promote the lesser, judicially created right of privacy and autonomy over the long-standing, well-founded right to enjoyment of life. It comes down to whether we wish to promote the certain death of a potential Person over the inconvenience of a legal Person.

Other Constitutional Rights at Stake

Mention is rarely made of the rights or desires of the father of the fetus. The Constitution also guarantees the right of Persons to contract and associate. This is also a well-founded and long-standing right guaranteed by the Constitution. This right includes the right to enjoy family life. The father is considered financially responsible for the welfare of children he helps create through an interpretation of the right to contract. When a man impregnates a woman, he is considered to have entered into a binding contract with his offspring to provide a level of material welfare during his or her childhood. Should the mother’s exercise of her newer, judicially created right to enjoy privacy and autonomy through obtaining an abortion override both the father’s and the fetus’ long-standing, well-founded contractual right to enjoy family life?

Conclusion

By this analysis, I believe that logic and reason compel upholding the right of the fetus to enjoy life in the abortion question. Abortion does great harm to our Constitution, to the concept of family integrity and to the concept of humanity.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Running in the Rain

Our wet Fall weather has arrived. It poured last night and has been sprinkling on and off most of today. I decided to go out for a lunch-time run today. I figure I need to train my body to run in all kinds of weather if I am to keep running throughout the winter. It was not very cold out, about 58F (13C) . I ran 6 miles (9.5K) through puddles, wet leaves, acorns, and smooth pavement and cement. I loved it! It pretty much rained the whole time, which was a nice bonus for me. I tend to get pretty hot and sweaty when I exercise, so today I got a free rinse while running and did not get overly heated.

When the surface is dry, I can 'sneak up' on people pretty easily because my feet hardly make any sound at all. But today, with the pavement being wet, my feet make a 'squish-squish' sound. I thought it sounded kind of cute. It helped me keep my cadence at the right tempo, 180 per minute.

I got a lot of stares from passers-by, especially from a group of school kids around 10-11 years old. They didn't know what to think!

All in all I had a wonderful run, loved every minute of it, and could have gone a lot farther if I had the time.

Happy trails to you!

Ryan

Friday, October 28, 2005

Running Stuff and Thoughts

Not much being reported today.

I've thought about keeping a log of my running mileage.
This week:
Monday - 6 miles
Tuesday - 0 miles
Wednesday - 6 miles
Thursday - 5? miles
Friday - 0 miles
TOTAL 17 miles (low week!)

Last week:
Monday - 6 miles
Tuesday - 0 miles
Wednesday - 6 miles
Thursday - 6 miles
Friday - 6 miles
Saturday - 6 miles
TOTAL 30 miles

Tuesdays are a 'short' day for me at work - I have to leave early to go volunteer as a worker in the Portland Temple (LDS), so I don't get out to go running on those days.

Playing around with an idea for a new nickname: Vanhoofer - I'm thinking of a goat with human bare feet on it... Nahhh.. Not that good of an idea... Keep working on it.

I've been signing my posts on the Yahoo running barefootgroup as Vancouver Barefoot. Boring.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hello World!

Today I enter into the public eye as a blogger. I don't know where this will lead to and I'm not sure why I am starting this adventure. I hope some good will come of it! Some things I hope to share on here as I get going: Barefoot running, growbox gardening, spiritual enlightenments, emotional freedom techniques, personal history, observations and thoughts, and anything else that suits my fancy!

Today I feel like explaining how and why I became a barefoot runner!


B A R E F O O T - R U N N I N G

Preview: In August, 2004 I had been struggling with a foot condition called plantar faciitis for about one year prior to that. I tried all kinds of things to get better, but only got worse. My running hobby was quickly being reduced to negligible running distances followed by days of excruciating pain. I started searching the internet for ways to deal with this and came across the concept of running barefoot.

Discovery and Education: Crazy! I thought, but also fascinating. I looked into it some more, read about it on a website found at http://www.runningbarefoot.org. There I learned about Ken Bob Saxton who had already run several marathons completely barefoot! Hmm... Maybe not so crazy after all. Not only Ken, but others mentioned on his website were also running barefoot. Impressive! Performance proves a point well. I discovered Ken Bob's discussion group created on Yahoo Groups dedicated to barefoot running, and joined it and got lots of helpful insights from others, both experienced and beginners. http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/RunningBarefoot/

The Experiment: So I ventured out with some barefoot walks up and down my block. Not bad, no exacerbating of my foot pains, so I started doing some very light runs without shoes. Surprisingly, still no exacerbation! So I started increasing my performance, overcoming the social feeling of being stared at a lot, and gradually started increasing my distances. This was in August, 2004.

Barefoot Technique: Running barefoot is not so easy as kicking off the shoes and going running. It requires a very different form for running, using the balls of the feet and a different leg movement and different body pose than what I had been used to doing with shoes on. The easiest way I can think of demonstrating the proper form is to suggest that you try running in place, barefoot, without rising up on your toes with your ankle power and keep your knees bent a little bit. This means lifting your knee, ankle and foot as one unit - not "springing" up into the air with a toe-push lift-off. You will find that by running in place, you have to land on the balls of your feet - you physically cannot land on your heels! This is the same as running barefoot, except you need to lean forwards with your body to gain forward momentum. Knees stay bent, forefoot landing, only stepping beneath the center of your body, taking quick steps (180 per minute).

Development and Improvement: I continued to run into the winter, suffering from a few blisters, some cramped calf muscles at first, some more blisters, and gradually got better and better. I continued to run barefoot throughout the winter, despite the cold weather. I discovered something very interesting during this period. By running in the cold, my body seemed to compensate by warming itself up the rest of the time. I was able to exist very comfortably without a coat while outside and in our house with our thermostat set only about 60 to 65 degrees F (15-18C). Its as if my feet were my body's thermostat, and directed the rest of my body to warm up.

Set-Back and Injury: Into the Spring, I was still running barefoot, but my distances were still very limited. Sore soles of my feet plagued me a lot. I decided to try ramping up my distances, to train my body to move up to the next level. This is when I discovered that my running form was still not very good. I developed a stress fracture in my left foot. 10 weeks out for recovery, and slowly getting back into it again. I thought about why this had happened, and decided that I was still inclined to run in my old fashion, and had been forcing my feet to come down on the balls while extending my feet too far out in front of my body.

Learning All Over: So, after healing, I started out almost from scratch again. I focused intently on not reaching out in front with my legs, just lifting my feet up and putting them down directly beneath my body. I focused on keeping my knees bent all the time, which automatically brought me up onto the balls of my feet. I focused on keeping my foot cadence quick and light. I started to repeat "AM-ster-dam, AM-ster-dam" while running to keep myself at the proper 180 per minute pace. All of these things combined worked a miracle. My running immediately started to feel a lot better. I also noticed that the skin on my feet was not taking nearly the beating it had been previously. Much less wear and tear. My running became dramatically more comfortable, my distances started improving, and I was having a lot more fun.

Current: Currently, I am working on my form (still and always), typically going about 4 to 6 miles per run, sometimes more. The significant thing is that I am able to now run on consecutive days! Before I had to rest and recuperate for 2 or 3 days between runs. By improving my form, I can now run every day, depending on my time constraints. I tested this out about one month ago, when I ran 6 miles on Monday, had to skip Tuesday, 6 miles on Wednesday, 9 miles on Thursday, and 12 miles on Friday! I still get some soreness on the soles of my feet if I run on really rough surfaces, like chip seal (ouch!!) but that is where I get to test the qualify of my running form. I don't get blisters any more, or blood blisters either. Now I am concentrating on getting my body in better conditioning, losing some flab, and still working on improving my form. Old running habits are hard to break!

Well, time to go out for a run! Maybe I'll see you out there somewhere. I'm the guy with no shoes on and a big smile on his face!

Ryan
Vancouver Barefoot