Welcome to the Maple Grove Barefoot Guy!

For the latest in barefoot and minimalist running advice, news, and product reviews, subscribe or follow me at one of the links below! Cheers citizens!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April Rant and Follower Appreciation Giveaway!

Since I work in the law enforcement community, a lot of folks ask me how to spot a Meth Lab.  The chart below should help you out.

Kind of looks like that booking photo of Nick Nolte don't ya think?

I'm tired of serious posts for a while citizens.  All these reviews, and posts about barefoot form, and serious issue discussion.  You'd think I was running a legitimate website here!  I can only handle so much "smart talk", even if it's coming from me.  It's time to bring your standards back down again and have some fun.  So here's the monthly round-up of rants and randoms from MGBG land.

Calling All Followers!

Well before I start ranting, I have a bit of obligatory business to get through.  When I first began this blog, I really began it for me.  I knew that I am awesome, but I wanted everyone else in the world to know too.  So a lot of my writing in the past six months has been to see if you like me.  Well some of you like me, and some of you are just following me because of the chance to win free stuff, and you can't figure out how to "unfollow" my blog.  Well I'm not going to tell you that...because it makes my stats go down. 

In the process of getting you to like me, I've gotten to like you all quite a bit.  I've received some amazing feedback about the information on this blog.  I've met some incredible people, and had some amazing experiences.  I've gotten to do most of it with sheer Adonis DNA and stunning good looks.  But I know I couldn't have done it all without you folks reading my stuff and finding it useful.  I want to continue to provide you with information that you want to read about.  I also want to thank you for your support.

So I'm actively soliciting suggestions for posts that you'd like to see, products you'd like reviewed, rants you'd like ranted about, fart jokes you'd like told, and the like.  If you have a suggestion for this blog, please post it in a comment to this post.  If you're shy, you can email me as well. 

What's in it for you?  Well you selfish little buggers...how about a free pair of Zensah calf sleeves?!?!  That's right followers!  I know those things are like crack for barefoot runners.  So if you're a Follower of this blog, or a fan on facebook, and you leave a comment about what you'd like to see me write about on this post before May 9th, 2011, you're entered in my thank you giveaway!  If you're not a Follower or fan yet, do it today and leave a comment to be eligible.

A winner will be picked at random on May 9th.  I will announce the winner in a later post.   

Orthodics?!?!  MUAH?!?!

So injury update.  I'm running my normal mileage again pain-free, which is awesome.  What's not awesome is that my leg pain isn't completely gone.  I only get it at work, and only when I wear heeled dress shoes.  So what seems like the simple solution?  If you answered, "Get new dress shoes!" you'd probably be correct.  Then again, you're not sports medicine physician.  And if you are...we need to have a talk. 

So about a week ago I went in for my follow-up to the appointment where my sports doc diagnosed me with some kind of mercurial fibula injury.  This was the appointment where he's supposed to congratulate me on my recovery.  I shake his hand and say thanks for the help, then we part ways as unlikely friends.  I could have just left it at that, and gotten my proverbial certificate of completion.  But since I was frustrated by my inability to completely shake my leg pain, I told him about it. 

We talked about my pain, and he determined that it was a mild peroneal tendinitis.  Okay...great, I thought.  I'll take a few days off, get rid of the heeled dress shoes, and you give me some strengthening exercises for my ankle.  Sound good doc? 

"I'm going to prescribe you custom orthodics."  he says.  He might as well have been talking like the teacher on Charlie Brown after that, because I didn't hear a word he said. 

Orthodics?!  Seriously?!  Do you know who I am?!  It sure ain't "The Maple Grove Corrective Footwear Guy".   

By the way, the answer to the above question is "yes, I know who you are".  Not only have I been coming in for therapy at that clinic for over a year in my bare stinkin' feet, but my mom (we'll call her Maple Grove Barefoot Guy's Mom, or MGBGM for short...hey cool, it's a palindrome!) has worked in that clinic system for the last 35 years!  My mom's office is right behind my doctor's office.  I'm "that barefoot guy", or "Susan's barefoot son", or "the tall dude without shoes", or something that involves the lack of shoes to everyone in the fricken building!  I did a presentation on barefoot running for the whole clinic that my sports doc attended!  Bottom line...we've met.

What am I going to do with these things?  Tape them to my feet?  Maybe I could find other uses for them, like bookmarks for my copy of "Born to Run".  Or maybe I could use them as paperweights for the stack of research that shows that orthodics do absolutely nothing to reduce running injuries, and most likely causes some of them (we wouldn't want all of those articles to blow away with all of the hot air this doctor was blowing).  Maybe I could string a shoelace through it and make it into a huarache. 

I wanted to take off my socks and shove my foot in his face, screaming, "I GOT YOUR CUSTOM ORTHODIC RIGHT HERE!"  But those are things you think about doing, not things you actually do.  I sat there and politely nodded.  Kind of like I do when I'm pretending to listen to my wife.  Same concept. 

I wasn't upset that this doctor was trying to sell iceboxes to Eskimos.  I could understand if the doctor didn't share my opinion of barefoot running as a panacea for everything from plantar fascitis to world peace.  I just wondered why he had to go to the nuclear option.  It seemed so contrary to my last visit with him.  I come in with searing hot pain through my entire calf and up my IT band, and he tells me to rub some dirt on it and rest for a week.  Now my foot gets a little sore after a day of standing in elf shoes, and I need $500 shoe inserts forever?  Why not just cut the leg off?  Can't have any foot pain if you don't have a foot. 

I also wondered why he thought I would be so penny wise and pound stupid.  I just got done telling this dude all of the natural remedies I'm trying, from doing yoga to correct muscle imbalance, and running barefoot to get healthy running form.  You think I can't add an extra leg balance or pose to strengthen my ankle?  Do you honestly think I'll drop that much money for instant relief, when I can get the same thing in a few days for free? 

I don't just tell you this story because I find it ridiculous.  One of the points of this blog is to show people that the best solution to a problem is often the natural one.  Instead of calling the orthodics clinic that night to set up an appointment, I facebooked my friend Nate the yoga instructor and got a few good balancing poses.  I do them every night.  I changed my shoes to something without a heel, and the pain is going away...hopefully for good.  I'm sure the orthodics would have done the same thing, but at the expense of my principles and my overall fitness.

Just because a doctor with a fancy degree tells you to do something doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.  That's all I got to say about that.  I'm still pretty hopping mad about it. 

End of public service announcement.

No Soap Challenge

I do a lot of strange things just to see what will happen.  Not dumb things like peeing on an electric fence, or joining a teacher's union.  I'm what folks sometimes refer to as a "life hacker".  That doesn't mean I go all Keanu Reeves and take the red pill.  Most life hacking information deals with ways to make your life more efficient.  It also deals with trying uncommon things in your everyday life to see if they work better for you than your normal way of doing things. 

The best known life hacker is a role-model of mine by the name of Tim Ferriss.  This isn't a post about Tim, but if you haven't read "The Four Hour Work Week" or "The Four Hour Body", you need to read both.  They are life-changing books.  Let's just say it's not an accident that I can function at a high level at my job, and maintain the Internet presence that I do (that's a fancy way of saying, "I spend all day on facebook"). 

Although I don't have uber amounts of free time and near infinite resources like Tim Ferriss, I still like to experiment with concepts that make sense.  Lately most of those life hacks for me have revolved around more natural solutions for my body.  One of those potential natural solutions I've tried recently was introduced to me by someone on the Runner's World Barefoot Forum.  Here's the post:

"Many of you have chosen to step out side the "norm" and run in a more "natural" way. I am curious as to your thoughts on soap. 

I tried an experiment. With the exception of my hands, I started only washing my body with water. No shampoo, no conditioner, no bottles, bars, cans, creams, oils. I take hot showeres two  times daily (once in the morning at home, and in the afternoon after workouts).  I have done this for about three months now.

The result? Nothing. Nothing happened at all. My skin is smooth and clear, not overly oily, not too dry.  I don't suffer from body odor. My hair is clean, and manageable (actually used to be on the frizzy wild side).

I have not mentioned it to anyone, and no one has  mentioned anything different about me.

At what point did become necessary to cover our bodies in straight-chain alkyl benzene sulfonates to be considered clean?

I don't think I am ever buying that crap again. It is amazingly liberating. "

No soap and no shampoo?  Did people actually do this?  So I went on the Paleo Hacks forum, the origin of all things hippie and weird, and discovered that a ton of people are bathing with only hot water with fantastic degrees of success.  Now these folks on the forum aren't dousing themselves in Patchouli and touring with the Grateful Dead or taking up ultimate frisbee or anything.  They are normal people living normal lives.  I suppose it made some sense.  Were cavemen just a bunch of smelly kids until the advent of deodorant or perfume?  Or maybe is the modern theory that humans become rampant cesspools of stench without soap a little exaggerated. 

I actually have some experience with a similar phenomenon.  When I hit the golden age of adolescence, I also developed a horrible case of acne.  It looked like a pizza face.  Actually, since I had long hair and wore lots of heavy metal t-shirts, it looked like I played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons (not that I didn't).  But that's another post.

Anyway, it was annoying and embarrassing.  I tried every acne remedy you could find.  I used to wash my face several times a day.  I took Ortho Tri-cyclen, which not only cleared up acne, but also prevented me from getting pregnant (gotta love hitting two birds with one stone...although my greatest defense against the patter of little feet was a forced abstinence that I did everything in my power to break).  I also used a bunch of home remedies that essentially burned the acne off your face with acid.  Still, my acne made more comebacks then Cher.

Then one day, I just stopped washing my face and taking pills.  Not because I was fed up with any of it.  I was a teenager and I spaced on it.  I probably just played a bunch of Nintendo instead.  And my acne went away. 

Since then I haven't washed my face regularly in years.  I notice I still get acne occasionally...usually after I wash my face.  Coincidence?  Does your face start need to start exploding with uncontrollable oil volcanoes when you turn 13?  Does everything you wash your body with have to contain some kind of fruit blend and some Chinese tea extract to properly moisturize your skin?  Or can your skin and hair naturally regulate itself, and you're f-ing it all up by dousing it with Head & Shoulders?

I suppose I've already done this challenge several times in college.  If your house looked like mine, a lot of you might already have as well.  As I've mentioned in other posts, I was in a fraternity in college.  Taking a shower in our bathroom put you at real risk of getting hepatitis.  So I didn't bathe much.  I took what I'd like to call, "The Frat Shower"...i.e. I put on a hat and a hooded sweatshirt (usually the same one every time).  Nobody ever commented on my smell.  Maybe a lack of variety in my fashion, but not my smell. 

So I thought this was a challenge I'd be okay with trying.  I also thought this is not a good challenge to tell my wife I'm trying until I'm done. 

Well, I'm 30 days in.  I've bathed at the same frequency as I normally do using only hot water.  No soap or shampoo.  I use soap on my hands after touching gross stuff still.  I don't use deodorant regularly.  And I haven't noticed any changes.  None.  My hair feels the same.  My skin feels the same.  I don't stink any more than usual.  Nobody has taken offense to my smell, besides my wife's normal objections to my post-run odor...which is a delightful combination of moose-funk and sports polyester.

AFTER POST EDIT: I've gotten numerous comments since I posted about this challenge accusing me of wasting water by showering twice a day and shaming me for it.  Let's practice our reading comprehension folks...I never said I showered twice a day.  The guy who turned me on to this challenge does.  I shower with the same frequency as I normally do, which is less than daily.  And even if I did shower twice daily, am I as harmful to the environment as all the chemicals in your soap and shampoo that you wash down the drain every time you bathe...not to mention the pollution emitted from the factories that produce those chemicals? 

Just a little perspective for your high horse.  You're not an environmental champion, and neither am I.  So please you Captain Planets of the blogosphere...lay off of the criticism.  Back to your regularly scheduled programming. 

If you folks are reading this blog, you've already started down the path of being life hackers as well.  You folks barefoot/minimalist run, or are interested in doing so.  That's been the biggest life hack of all in my life, and one that's opened the doors to trying lots of things like this soap challenge.  Could it have ended in colossal, sweaty, smelly failure?  Sure.  But if I don't have to pour lye on my skin every day, and possibly have healthier skin in the long run, maybe it's worth trying it even though it seems a little weird at first.

You don't have to go without soap if you don't want to, but remember that ways to make your life simpler and more natural are all around you.

End of public service announcement #2

Have a great day citizens, and CHEERS!


  1. Great rants. Join the teacher's union.... Even funnier.

    I'd love to get my hands on the Unshoe PahTempe uncoming sandal. maybe you could get those guys to hook you up with a pair before they release. I like the idea of running in sandels but I also don't like the between the toe thing.


  2. Hey Brad, I've talked to Unshoes about the Pah Tempe, and it sounds like they still have some design things to work on before doing any running testing. But I am interested in these as well. I know a lot of folks have the same issues with huaraches.

    In the meantime, take a look at the Invisible Shoes site. He has some great video of how to make and lace huaraches without the annoying toe lace.


  3. Just keep on as you are, Christian. I love your ramblings and experiments, that's why I keep coming back to your blog. It might be interesting to see you try out different types of 'minimal' shoes, such as martial arts slippers, moccasins, or ghillies like I wear, if you want to. Shoes that don't cost $100/pr.

    I use homemade soap from Chagrin Valley, the shampoo soap works great for both body and hair. I make my own lotion and deodorant. I've done things my own way pretty much all my life, so barefoot running is no surprise to my fam. It's nice to know I'm in good company. :)

  4. I would really like to hear about atotal race day experience. Not so much what You were thinking about, but the nuts and bolts of a race day. How to register. What time to get up. A typical meal. What you do to get prepared. I've never ran in an organize other than in high sociology track. Would limerick know the differences...if there are any. You still owe me Chipotle too. ;)

  5. I'd like to see more giveaways! Ha. And maybe record some videos. That would help me shake my suspicions that you're really a fat man sitting in a donut shop.

    Mmm....... donuts.

    Seriously though, you're doing a good job. And I was also serious about the giveaways. Ooo! Get on TV again. That was fun.

  6. I second Vanessa's idea about the vids. But, dude, keep the porn out of it. Yeah. I knew what you were thinking. And its good to read a bit of your old non-serious, non-review,sarcasm-laden, but still big-headed-promotion kind of writing. Yeah. I missed that.

  7. About the soap thing, I may have to experiment with that one over a lost weekend. I already don't use deodorant (that stuff is a scam).

    One odd thing I do is I use Apple Cider Vinegar on my hair instead of conditioner. Just fill a spray bottle half full with the stuff and fill the rest with water to dilute it a bit. Make sure you don't get it in your eyes as it burns like a banshee. And do rinse it out. It will leave your hair softer than you can ever imagine.

  8. I know the Meth Lab joke has probably been going around for ten years now, but this is the first time I've seen it, so thanks! I'm glad to hear you stuck to your principles and are having success with the yoga exercises.
    But as for the no soap deal, I was extremely struck by the fact that the person who posted in Runner's World takes TWO hot showers daily. That is a) a lot of water and b) a lot of energy, and unless he lives in a very water rich state and runs a solar shower, my initial reaction is less than enthusiastic. There is your own health and happiness, and then there is the overall state of the world, and the two of those things should be in some kind of balance, ideally, of course. I certainly understand the need for a shower after a run, but most of us are so very clean, with clean clothes, clean sheets, clean underwear, that two hot showers, soap or no soap, is surely unnecessary?

  9. If it makes you happy, I subscribed properly to your blog, even though I've had it my 'blogs and such' bookmark for a while.
    I'd like to try all of the hacks everyone keeps suggesting; but with the whole vegetarianism and barefooting, I feel like I owe it to my parents to move out before I do anything else crazy.
    I like the idea of the videos, but just keep being awesome otherwise.. :P

  10. You could rant about misinformation by supposed experts, take http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1297579/Running-risk-It-cause-cellulite-heart-attacks-joint-strain--time-stop-jogging.html for example... Im at a complete loss for words about what to say to something like that...maybe you can do better.

    BTW if your showering twice a day, then really soap isnt all that necessary... If its once a week it might be a good idea though ;) and i think that gets at the root of why it became such a cornerstone of recent history.

  11. Well I'm not sure how keen I am about video blogging. I have a complex about how I look on camera. I was willing to do that TV interview because they told me that they would jump cut away from my face a lot.

    Anyway...what I'm hearing is more informative ranting. Not a problem! I agree I've gotten away from that in the last couple months. I've been flooded with review requests lately...which are also good, but not nearly as fun to write.

  12. Nice post, I haven't washed my hair with any product since December and nobody has noticed, not even girlfriend! So many unnecessary products out there, like you said- we're Eskimos and we're buying fridges etc...

  13. Your blog doesn't need to be about products. I enjoy a good rant more than a review. Still, if you are going to review something, I'd like to hear about Terra Plana's upcoming Achilles running sandal.

  14. I hear you MelMM. There are a considerable number of people that like my reviews better, and a considerable number of people that like rants better.

    Despite my opinion that the Achilles looks like a spaceship, I will be doing a review of both the TP Achilles and the Ultra, so stay tuned!

  15. As a new runner at the ripe old age of 52 I found the huarache comparison very helpful. I'd like to see more head-to-head comparisons along those lines.

    Since I'm a jaded and bitter old guy I also appreciate the rants!

  16. Yeah, showering twice a day is ridiculous. I say go ahead and use the soap, because you're already screwing the world over through overindulgence. Most of us don't work jobs that get us dirty, so we really have no need for a daily shower. And for those of us that do work physically demanding, dirty jobs, soap is a wonderful thing, unless you want to get dirt and oil caked into your wrinkles.

    But please stop wasting water!

  17. I'm with Garrett. I'd like to hear how you prepare for race day (the night prior, morning of, etc.) It'd be especially interesting given your unique diet. Take care!

  18. I'm not sure where a bunch of you got the idea that I'm showering twice a day. The guy who first told me about the soap thing does. I'm lucky if I shower twice a week! So simmer down Ecopatrol! Sheesh!

  19. You should write about how you're going about convincing your daughter to live a barefoot, paleo-diet lifestyle like yourself. ;)

  20. I'd like to know some of the other experiments you've tried out of the 4HB book you tried and found successful. Or post about trying one of them out and what happens.

  21. I, actually, really enjoy the random postings or lifestyle or whatever you call them. Reviews are okay, but not as fun.

  22. At all the same time some person commit boxed, somebody diminish the length of this sort of equity credit line aside from to orient the tons side victimization captivation deal price. This specific issue manner alternatives would possibly aside from is direct captivation perspective alternatives. For you among the substance, as a results of this instant payday loans chance is that that prime will ton your home credit at interim s the beginning aside from to assist spare captivation distinctive with the house contract.

  23. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly that love and read more on this topic. If possible, such as gain knowledge, would you mind updating your blog with additional information? It is very useful for me.poolüberdachung rund

  24. What an excellent post is it. Its content is very informative. The information that this post is very useful I really like it. Keep this great work up.
    san jose plumbers near you



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...