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.
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!