05 December 2010


I've changed the name and moved on to Paleohund..

Check it out!

25 October 2010

60 Day Challenge

So I have been toying with the idea of this for some time and now, finally, I feel the time is right. For 60 days, November and December, I will eat strict grain-free, dairy-free paleo/primal among other things. A few weeks ago I fractured my patella and broke off cartilage running into my own goal keeper at a soccer game with my club soccer team. With surgeries and all, running sprints with the hounds is completely out of the question. And with my overall mobility being at an all time low, I figured now is the time to focus on my nutrition/lifestyle and batten down the hatches so to speak.

Here is what I am thinking for the 60/61 days:
  • No sugar, grains, dairy, process-foods, coffee, and beer: I am pretty good with this now, excepting social situations. Socially I have tended to pull the 'When in Rome', but that is going to change.
  • Low to no carbohydrates... stay under 50g: Fairly simple. Goal is to enter ketosis.
  • Sleep 9-10 hours a night: With Winter on its way and the daylight dwindling, I am going to get more sleep. This will take some planning.
  • Daily body-weight exercises: Just going to do simple exercises and as my knee improves start building back my leg strength and mobility.
  • Limit wine: Ultimately I would cut out all alcohol, but I need some type of reward, eh? Thinking no more than a few glasses a week of a dry red. None of my 2 bottles a night craziness.
  • 2 meals a day: I've fooled around with intermittent fasting before. This works well when going low carb... but if I start consuming sugar the hunger cravings are out of this world. I figure I will eat my meals around 6 hours apart... giving about 18 hours of 'fasting'.
I will do the above at a minimum, maybe adding to the list as the time passes. With Thanksgiving and Christmas on the way, I know these will be the biggest obstacles to overcome, next to my ever-increasing happy hour visits with friends. But I shall succeed. At New Years, while others will be making resolutions, I am going to let loose and celebrate.

To test this challenge, I am going to attempt to keep track of my results as best as possible. Not just my waist measurement, arm size, or push-up, pull-up max but I want to get blood tests before and after. See what changes, is it worth it, and so forth.

Starting November 1, this time next week, I will begin this challenge and see where it takes me!

18 October 2010

On Maintenance

Having run several ultra-marathons, I often get asked “How many miles per week do you run?” A reasonable question. People are always surprised when I respond quite unreasonably: “Maybe 3 miles.”

Now this 3 miles, more or less (often less), is really all I need anymore. With playing soccer on weekends periodically, running sprints every few weeks, and even standing up at work, I have reached a maintenance stage in terms of running ultras. For minimal investment, once (sometimes twice) a month this year I have gone and run 30-50 miles of trails without issue. Have I ever won an ultra? No. I’ve always been about just finishing them and, a bit later, to finish them feeling good. Also, I have never fully adapted to certain terrain in my Vibram Treks. Mountains with lots of rocks = pain for us barefoot runners. But I digress.

I see at least 3 main phases in taking up a sport, hobby, or obtaining a certain ability: Training, Maintenance, and Mastering. Once you’ve trained long enough, you will reach a point where you can, like ultra-running for me, be able to do little work to generally maintain your competence. You can also continue training to try to master said sport/hobby/ability, but that usually involves further sacrifices. For me, training to a point where minimal investment will preserve my ability or skill is all I want. It allows me to go try something else, or focus on other parts of my life I put aside when I took up serious training.

This idea also works well with dog obedience. After significant time investment in training my dogs, I can then maybe once a week or month test them. This also involves finding the ideal time between ‘tests’ to see if the proficiency is still there. If I wait a month and one of the dogs seems to have forgotten a command I will shorten the time between ‘tests’ and/or start training again. Similar with running, I found running a long run (typically in the form of a race) a month was more than enough to stay proficient at long distance running.
I am all for trying new things, meeting new people, and not damaging my social life, so when I train, I train hard. I train knowing that eventually I will hit a point where everything is easier; I can devote time elsewhere and ultimately have accomplished something impressive. Life is too short to spend it training.

Race Report: 2010 Dogfish Dash

This happens to be my favorite local race. 5k/10k options with seemingly endess, quality beer at the end. And the keg sprints are fun. I ran the 10k in my Treks, however at mile 5 (1.2 to go) I took them off and ran unshod to the finish. Mostly urban surfaces, but other than one gravelly area, it was fairly clean of debris. This is the first race where I ran even a portion of it barefoot and although I was not the only one in five-fingers or barefoot, I was the fastest of the minimalist footwear 10k runners.

I (left) am standing with a few of the winners.

After the race, as the beer is flowing, you have the option of doing a keg sprint. A keg sprint involves two empty kegs located about 30 feet from the starting line. One must run down, grab a keg, bring it back past the line, then run and do the same with the other. I ran this barefoot and got the 2nd fastest time. I tried it again after a few beers and was a few seconds slower from my original time.

This race will probably be the last standard running race I will do for some time. I've decided to take a break from the racing scene for various reasons, but mainly because I am ready to move on to other things. And for the ultras, unless I have someone join me I cannot bring the dogs. So a transition to a hiking/camping/vagabonding lifestyle that can include the hounds is where I think I am headed. (Note: If you would like to read about my ultra-running journey check out my old blog: amor fati)

Do not get me wrong, I am still going to run. I need to, at least to keep the dogs tired and happy. I will probably focus more on sprinting and building up my feet further to pure barefooting. I will miss the ultra-running community and the many friendships I've formed over the few years I've been running. I will be back, eventually, to test myself. And I still have the urge to complete a 100-miler.

23 June 2010


So I realize for the third post it may be a bit much to jump into organ meats but I am stoked. My great friends Ted and Julia over at Greenbranch Organic Farm recently took two of their grass-fed cows to get processed. I met up with Ted and purchased approximately 50lbs of livers, hearts, tongues and oxtail. Sure I've picked up some ribeyes and ground beef from these cows previously, but this time I went for the generally unwanted goodies.

A part of the haul. Left to right: tongue, heart, liver, oxtail, and chicken livers.

Organ meats are not only amazingly nutritious (wild or grass-fed/pastured) they also allow you to purchase high quality animal products at a fraction of the price. Some skill is required in cooking these items, but with a good book like The River Cottage Meat Book, you will have no problem. Why eat these items? Don't. There will be more for me.

I kid. It is worth it for the adventure in the kitchen and, worst case, you'll have a quality treat for the dog(s). The tongue requires a bit of work, and the liver may be rough for people with texture issues, but the heart is a muscle and much like meat. Of the above haul, I've not cooked with oxtail, but it is first on my list. All this being said, I cannot stress how important it is you get these items from naturally raised sources. The standard grocery store items, should you be able to find any of them, are woefully substandard. So go, find a farmer, meet the animals, and then eat the animals. All of them, head to tail.

15 June 2010

Pack Profile: Cyprus


Last week my beautiful Cyprus turned 1 year old! I picked her up at 10 weeks old from a breeder in Ohio. Not even a week later she was in the back of my car with Shaman for a long ride from Maryland to Michigan for my first 50 mile race. I think the pups had 3 full days of meet and greet, so on top of all my concerns about running such a distance I worried that about the dogs getting along and my friends having to put up with them.

It was those amber eyes that sold me.

I've started including Cyprus in my shorter runs and a few times I've had her off leash. Watching any dog run off leash, unrestrained, is a beautiful sight. Cyprus has a more compact build than Shaman, is very light on her feet and has an impressive jumping ability. She has a strong prey-drive and is very stubborn, so the our off leash training sometimes ends with a half eaten squirrel or rabbit. Believe me, her victims do not go to waste.

We have been working hard on the 'Leave It' command and it is starting to pay off. I do my best to teach them that there will be a time to chase and play, but when we are running, lets focus on that.

Cyprus, my diva

01 June 2010


Nearly four years ago, at 8 weeks old, I brought home Shaman. Sure I had grown up with dogs, but never had I been the sole owner and never had they been a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Needless to say, he was a life changer. 

While raising this little wild guy, I wanted what was best for him. In terms of diet, I eventually started feeding him raw: meat, bones, organs, etc. Having quite an interest in evolutionary biology, it only made sense that the healthiest diet would be one that modeled what the wolf ate. We gave it a shot and have never looked back.

Taking a very similar view to myself, I came across the paleo/primal/caveman diet. It is definitely more of a lifestyle rather than a diet... and as with Shaman on the raw diet, I started to thrive eating and exercising that way. From leaning up to running faster and further, I was sold.

All that being said, here we go.