Posts Tagged ‘Health’

I am supposed to be writing a blog entry for the Monday release of the SFA. Its a good one. Its on my picks of the top 5 rappers of all time. However, I can’t write it right now. My creative juices have been stymied by a 3 & 5 year old and their unwillingness to be unconscious. A while ago we reviewed the book “Go the F**k to Sleep.” I wasn’t terribly impressed with it. The first 2 pages or so are pretty funny the first time you read it and then well its a list of words that just rhyme with sleep and some cuss words thrown in between. Tonight, though I can’t get the book’s title out of my head.

We have a cornucopia of messed up stuff going on in our house right now. We have an unfinished kitchen, I sleep with a pregnant gal, my 3 year old has moved out of her own room & crib into a room with the 5 year old and big girl bed, and the 5 year old is started kindergarten on Tuesday. Crap, I guess I know why they can’t sleep… But can kids really get as stressed as adults? Stress is something I am very aware of and feel that it is the cause to a multitude of health issues. Well there’s also doctors and studies that say the same thing but I’d still like some part of that theory. Now taking a step back at our family life and how “unconvential” my kids have been acting as of late, I wonder if stress plays a major role in their life like it does in adults. Typically kids feel no pain. They can run forever and pretty much bounce back from a fall quicker than anyone. You distract them, they go about their merry way as if it never happened. Problem over right? Wrong. At least I think its a bad conclusion. Here’s the funny thing, if you google Stress in Children you get all kinds of articles on the symptoms of stress in kids, but when it comes to treating it, there’s not much out there.

I deal with some social anxiety issues but I am happily medicated and I think I am as under control as the next person, but my kids are too young to be medicated and I don’t want to go down that road if I doon’t have to. So, how does a parent get their kids to calm down without dipping the binky in whiskey? My answer right now, is that I have no idea. This is one of those things that I guess I’ll learn about and take in stride but I feel bad for my kids. Change isn’t always good in their structured lives.

So here’s my plan of attack to help my kids and their stress.

  • Use diversion more frequently and effectively – Like Cypress Hill said “When the $&!* goes down, you better be ready.” Hopefully these diversions can take their minds off what’s bothering them
  • Try to think before I act/speak – No I don’t hit my kids but physical reactions to situation can be as powerful as verbal reactions. so If I get all slouchy and huffy with them, they won’t react well to that.
  • Play with them more – If I can get down on their level and play a bit more I think it will help relax them and hopefully wear them out so they can sleep easier.

Sound like a good plan? Have any other suggestions? We’d like to hear them.


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It has been well documented on this blog that I have a bit of an addiction to Running. See Here & Here. I am ultimately searching for the right way to do it so I can do it forever. My wife thinks I am crazy and I all I can say is “At least it isn’t Meth.” Well that addiction has begun to effect me when I am not mobile. I recently finished one of the most read running books of all-time and possibly the catalyst for the Barefoot/Minimalist running push that is occurring these days. The book: Born To Run by Chris McDougall.

Pretty isn't it?

Here’s a brief synopsis. It starts out with the Author asking the simple question of “Why do I keep getting injured?” That question turns into an epic adventure in unincorporated Mexico where they dodge drug dealers and injury to find a segregated tribe deep in the Copper Canyon. This tribe is said to have the secret to running and none of them wear shoes. Just some leather sandals. The story goes on from there to an epic race between the members of the Mexican Tribe and some of the greatest runners in the United States. In the 300 or so pages in between that, there are anecdotal stories of various Ultra Marathon races in the US, but perhaps more importantly is the scientific backing for the barefoot/minimal running that has gained so much popularity. That is it in a nutshell. I may not have done the book much justice (mostly because I am writing this at 11pm on a school night) and may not have persuaded you to read it, but trust me it really is a great book that will make you think.

This book has really made me re-consider my opinion on running and start to change my approach. Had the author been a skinny dude that had run all his life I probably would have just passed it off as just a book written by someone who has never dealt with weight loss issues, but Chris McDougall is/was a normal guy like me. Over 6 foot and over 200 lbs.  Just 6 months ago, you couldn’t have pried my shoes off of me, but now I am slowing taking them away by reducing the amount of drop in them (height from the back to the front). Lets face it I’m not going to go run barefoot any time soon, but the theory is definitely worth experimenting with.

So go read this book and maybe it will inspire you to rethink your running or motivate you to start.

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“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” The immortal words of Ferris Bueller ring true even more so now than they did when I first heard them in 1986. Its funny how daily activities can just pile up on you when you least expect it, and when these activities pile up, they can drop you like a ton of bricks. Last week was one of these times when life kicked me in the pants and told me to slow down.

Thursday marked the celebration of Cinco de Mayo in which my family takes pretty seriously. Ok not really seriously but we do make an effort to at least have some margaritas, go to a restaurant or friend’s house, and celebrate. Also our kids have been learning about it at school and its kind of like another Halloween for them where they can be socially acceptable in a sombrero. We celebrated with my wife’s sister and family at their house. Really quick I don’t want to paint their house as a rodeo or anything, but we have 2 kids & they have 4. So,  any situation with more than 2 kids is, in my eyes, chaotic (rude awakening coming for me in October). So to cope with the inflated craziness of having more children around we celebrated our non-existent Mexican heritage and I ate too much food & probably had a few too many Margaritas….. and white wine. Nothing where I couldn’t get up in the morning but enough to make 6am feel like 4am.

Fast forward to Saturday morning and we are celebrating my youngest daughter’s 3rd birthday with 17 of her closest friends . Please defer to my ruling on groups of children totaling more than 2. It made my sister in law’s house look like the library. It was madness. Lots of donuts, juice, and coffee everywhere. I was contemplating doubling up on my prescription mood enhancing drugs for the event, but opted not to. I will say that morning parties are waaay better than evening parties when it comes to kid parties. We were cleaned up and all over by 11:30am and had the rest of the day to rest. Not really we had to get ready for Saturday night. Saturday night we went out with a group of friends as we had some folks in from Belgium that we wouldn’t get to see for awhile. So yet again a day of party food and a night of lots of dinner food, and booze.

Protecting my daughter's annonymity

Protecting my daughter's annonymity

Then we arrive on Sunday. Mother’s Day and my daughter’s actual birthday. Déjà vu all over again. It’s another big day for my wife’s family as we celebrate Mother’s day & 3 birthday parties at the same time. So we have yet again the perfect storm for crazy: more than 2 kids, lots of wonderful food, and a little bit of wine to finish it off.

At the end of Sunday I could tell that I was spent and even more so on Monday at work I was at 75% at best. So, why is it that we cram our events all together or is this just one of those “bad timing” things? I haven’t figured it out yet on either front. I am as social as they come and I do well in situations like these, but I just don’t have the reserves in the tank to keep it going for more than 1 day per week. Don’t tell me that I am just getting old and all that because I am probably in better shape now than I have ever been. Also, am I the only one who doesn’t have a “Hey Dude Your Are Full” mechanism when I am at parties? I really think I consume 3 times as many calories via food when I have had 2 or more drinks. I know booze is supposed to inhibit your sensations etc but in all fairness to myself, my stomach just doesn’t feel full and there’s no warning light that comes on when I’ve hit my max. I need some help in this regard. So any advice that doesn’t involve drinking more or taking more medication so I’m not hungry would be appreciated. That’s it. I am just trying to find some insight into why we (the royal we not just my family) put so much stuff upon ourselves.

Thanks for reading we’ve got more good stuff coming out on Friday. 

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A while back I wrote a somewhat controversial post regarding my thought to the whole minimalist/barefoot phenomenon that was occurring in the world of running these days.  I didn’t do any research on the subject to keep my opinions my own and as outspoken as possible. To save you some time (and since my job blocks wordpress I can’t do much editing & adding a pingback), my summary went like this: Barefoot running doesn’t make sense to me and that regardless of foot strike you are placing the same amount of stress on your body just in a different place. To further the point I also commented that shoes are awesome and they help considerably. It is similar to my wife’s thought on epidurals “If the technology is there, use it.”

My opinion on this matter started when I first got into running. It was in 2006 I weighed 272 lbs. I wanted to do this running thing the right way so I got fitted for shoes at a specialty running store which will remain nameless but I won’t go back there. Also, I’ve learned the art of internet scouring to find the the best deal. They did the whole gait analysis and charged me $130 for a pair of Brooks Beasts since I was a fat over-pronator. The shoes were a step up from what I was wearing and I liked them at first. I did notice that whenever I would up the miles (at this time anything over 4 miles was a long run) the medial (inside) part of my knees would hurt. I figured this was normal since the shoes were now providing support where I didn’t have it before. After running with those shoes for a year the pain didn’t go away, but it didn’t get worse either. I went out on a limb and for my next pair bought some New Balance 991’s which were a bit more neutral. There was no knee pain with these shoes. Hmmm.

​Fast forward to 2010 & 2011 and I am running in Brooks Adrenaline GTS 9’s which are a shoe that provide moderate support for over-pronators. I really like these shoes. I’ve had no real issues with them and as my experience with the other pair of Brooks, they hold up very well.

Well, when I wrote that previous article I promised that I would keep an open mind about the minimal thing since there was so much feedback telling me I was wrong. I kept my promise. By a stroke of luck and a need from some trail shoes, I found a pair of New Balance 101’s on sale to get into this minimal thing. I don’t think that there are any arguments that the NB101s are pretty minimal especially when compared to my previous shoes. I’ve started out slow with them and have noticed that my calves are getting a better workout when running and there is a “difference” in the way my knees feel. It’s a good difference. They feel a bit looser after I run with the NB101s. I’ve also taken the NB101s out to the track and did some speed work with them, they were awesome for that environment too.

Finally, I have purchased “Born to Run” which I have been told is the greatest running book ever. I haven’t started on it yet because I am knee deep in the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series and I don’t want to break up those books. So, I have a feeling my research will be picking up once I crack that sucker open.

So, after a couple months I have gone from Minimal Skeptic to Casual Minimal Tester-Outer and I like this progression I am seeing. Its too early to say that I am hooked and that minimal running is the thing for me but my mind is a bit more open.

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When I was in high school, I was an avid soccer player. In this context, by “avid” I mean that I played a lot, not that I was good. I was blessed to go to a school small enough they couldn’t cut people, and by the time I was a senior I was a starter, a captain, and All-Ohio (Academic, anyway).

Anyway, since then, I’ve largely stopped running (and moving when possible) so I’m a little out of shape. About 2 years ago I answered an online ad for an indoor soccer team needing a goalie. I didn’t play goalie (or “keeper” as some “football” snobs call the position) for my high school team but had played a few games in the net for a club team I was on, so I thought it would be a great way to get back into it slowly (as goalies obviously move less than other players).

I bought some shinguards, some cleats, and some gloves, and played for about a year. My team was great, in all fairness, considering some of them were really, REALLY good at soccer. It would have been very easy to get frustrated with me (as I’m barely, BARELY adequate). I had a great time, but didn’t get into great shape. After about 6 months I told them to look for another goalie, as I just couldn’t commit to the hour every week (I am, after all, a bid-ness man first and foremost). Shortly thereafter they found one, and I enjoyed some much needed time off.

A few weeks ago the team reached back out to me. Apparently after I left they hopped up a division (not surprising since they had a real goalie) and then their new goalie got hurt so they dropped back down a division. As all of them are in average shape, they’re perfectly content running all over the field and NOT having people kick things at their heads as hard as possible. Suckers. Anyway, I missed the game (which is a huge contributor to success) so I jumped at the opportunity generated by the injury of my replacement.

Since coming back we’ve had three games, and we’ve won all three. It took me a little while to remember the rules, and to get my sea legs back, but this week I was pretty awesome for a thirty-something fat guy playing out of position with a bunch of youngsters who started out better than I am. So I’m having fun.

I’m also painfully, painfully sore. Both wrists are messed up and the first three steps after any period of sitting are sort of half-leaning forward. But I made some great saves, some great drop kicks, and nobody has cussed me out since I came back.

If this is what winning feels like, call me Charlie Sheen.

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The fact that I am writing about running again only confirms that I have something wrong in my head. My wife agrees.

We have all grown up wearing shoes. We wear them for everything. They help us look good, protect our feet, and make us comfortable. From the time we start walking we are introduced to shoes. We adapt accordingly throughout life to be one with our shoes. Shoes are more of an extension of our body than any other piece of clothing. So, why try to take away a part of your make up?

It’s no secret that there is a big “minimalist” running trend going on. In the races I’ve been a part of over the last 4 years I’d usually see some dude running barefoot and think to myself “How can that be good for you?” There was usually only 1 person doing it so I didn’t pay much attention. However, in the last year, this minimalist mentality has gained increased popularity thanks mostly to the folks at Vibram and their FiveFingers “shoes”. I am loosely categorizing them as shoes because they go on your feet, but to me they look more like Foot Work Gloves.

I fear these "shoes" would destroy me

Other manufacturers have gotten into the concept also. My two favorite brands New Balance and Brooks have their lines called the Minimus & Green Silence. These are your more traditional shoe-looking foot covers, but are supposed to promote a barefoot feel when running. I will say both these shoes actually look like they could be comfortable, but still not sure on the hype around this whole thing and that the shoes can live up to the daily demand you place on your running shoes.

I fear I would destroy this shoe.

I am biodegradable.

Here’s a little background info on the supposed benefits of Barefoot running. Also to qualify my perspective a bit I will say that I have a degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Biology. I’m not a doctor and I don’t work in a health related setting. I now work in IT and my only connection to health & fitness is that I run, workout, & read a lot. So take my opinion it for what its worth (which is nothing short of awesome).

  • Comfort & Efficiency – They are kind of one in the same with running. The theory with Barefoot running is that it will promote runners to run/land on the balls of their feet as opposed to leading with the heel and then rolling through the toes. Its believed that this is the more “natural” way of doing things and that landing on the mid & forefoot lessen the blow to the joints as opposed to landing on the heel. Got it?
  • Increased lower leg strength. Remember that Seinfeld episode with Jimmy? Well Jimmy uses special jumping shoes that help his vert. This is similar but instead of adding to the front of a shoe, you take away from the back and emphasize landing towards the front. This will cause the calves & other lower leg muscles to build up and promote more stability in your lower leg. Also, George likes his Kung Pao spicy.

Here’s why I think its goofy:

  • Over-compensating for a lack of shoe could promote just as many or more injuries than just running with shoes. We are familiar with shoes. Unless going barefoot to work becomes socially acceptable, only then will we all get natural or minimal.
  • As a larger person (200-ish lbs) are you to tell me that I would benefit from having less cushioning to absorb shock between the ground and my foot? It wouldn’t matter where I landed on my foot, I’d be applying more direct stress to my body for sure. Its simple math really.

If someone would like to prove me wrong on this, I am all for it. I will gladly take on a challenge to try it, I am a size 14 2E. However, know that my opinions and body type are stacked against liking this and ultimately succeeding at it.

Also, I know I use a lot of bullet formatting in my writing. I am not a poet & this is the way my brain processes info.


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If you read our Bios on the About Page you’ll see that I have 2 wonderful daughters. They are awesome. Emotionally unstable at times, but overall still the best kids anyone could ask for. Well their lives are about change drastically. Through mostly fault of my own we will be adding to our brood in October. I am thoroughly excited about this. However, that excitement is paired with equal amounts of anxiety & concern. Before anyone freaks out, everyone is healthy. The concern on my part is just the overall questions that come along with being a dad.

  • Is it a boy or a girl? While some people insist on finding out the sex of their kids, my wife since our first child has insisted on not finding out. We tend fly by the seat of our pants and are terrible planners for stuff like this. So being surprised in the delivery room has been a great thing for us. Also the hospital staff gets into it too because they don’t know either. That being said, with 2 girls already on land, I am a bit curious to see if I need to build a tampon closet in 10 years. +1 for gender stress
  • Is the baby healthy? I know I have absolutely no control over this. But this is the number one-ish concern for me.  I want my kid to grow up with every advantage possible and want them to be able to live a normal life. However, it weighs on my mind daily. +1 for uncontrollable factors
  • How the hell are 2 of us going to raise 3 kids? 1 kid is easy although you don’t realize how easy it is until you have number 2. Right now 2 is good. Not easy, but we can each restrain one and not worry about a surprise folding chair to the back. +1 for WWE-like interference stress
  • Please don’t be a vampire… Admittedly I have read the Twilight series. In the last book the girl has a half-vampire, half-human child. A vampire kid would be cool, but is it worth the beating she receives? Its the pregnancy issues my wife goes through that I have a hard time with. She literally gives up so much physically to have a kid it is amazing that she would want to have more than one. The daily vomiting and constant nausea to me seems unbearable, but she does it. She’s also has had preeclampsia & Bell’s Palsy with the other kids too. She amazes me at how much she is willing to go through. I just don’t want her to be in any pain. This is the other number one-ish concern. +2 for Twilight reference & wife stress
  • How can we afford it? Not that I am Scrooge McDuck and have a room of money to swim in, but planning for the future has always been on the forefront of my wife’s & my thoughts. Almost to a fault we put away money for ourselves and kids (mostly kids) leaving not much in the tank to have some extras we might want or go on vacations. We are fine with this rationale. However, I don’t know how we can keep saving & pay for another one to go to Day Care (which is in my mind a Ponzi Scheme). We could buy another (larger) house for what child care will cost us. Somehow this blog needs to start turning a profit or I will be reduced to reviewing diapers in hopes I can get them free. +1 for not having a condo in France

Okay, it really isn’t that bad, but you get the point. Also, let it be known (and if my wife decides to actually read something I write) that I am extremely happy about the new addition and wouldn’t trade any of the stress above for the end result.


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