Archive for Sports

Barefoot Running

Last year I started running again after taking several years off, in an effort to get some consistent workouts.  I’ve sort of had an on-again off-again relationship with running over the years: it’s a great low cost and convenient way to get exercise but I’ve always had pain issues with it.  Specifically my shins have always given me problems.

At one point I was diagnosed with chronic compartment syndrome, where the sheath that encapsulates the muscles in my shin causes too much restriction while running. The result is a lot of pain while running. To help alleviate this I’ve tried stretching, physio and orthotics, but they didn’t really help.  I also tried to get the shoes with the most cushioning possible. In the end though, pain won and I basically stopped running.

Last year brought some welcomed knowledge to me. I learned about a running technique called “Pose Running.” The premise behind pose running is that you use a forefoot landing (I’ve always been a heel first kind of guy), which is always placed under the centre of your gravity. The idea seemed to make sense to me. Why would I want to land heel first and jam all my forward momentum back into my body?

I started a new running program based on the Pose ideas and eased into it very gradually.  After 6 weeks I was up to over 35min with no pain whatsoever. At the same time I realized that I didn’t need new runners that were fully cushioned.  In fact, I wore my 7 year old beat up runners and it made no difference.

I didn’t continue running but lately I’ve been inspired to start again.  I’ve been reading about human evolution and the theory of “persistence hunting.” This is where human hunters chase fast animals and out run them over great distances. For example, a human could never catch a kudu over a short distance but all mammals other than humans (and horses I think) are unable to sweat. Therefore deer, antelope, cats, etc must stop to rest and pant in order to cool off. If chased by human hunters for over 4 hours in the African sun, the prey will eventually be exhausted and overheat, and the hunter kills its prey within close range.

The last piece of the puzzle in this type of running is that these hunters would essentially run barefoot. I was attracted to this idea and looked into getting some minimalist running shoes.  Option #1 was to get the Nike Free Run 3. Unfortunately it appears that no stores in Vancouver  carry anything smaller than size 8.  Option #2 was to get some Vibram 5 fingers.  They don’t seem to fit me very well though. So I decided to go all in and go 100% barefoot.


 My first run was yesterday and I went for about 12 minutes. The run was mostly on pavement and grass along with some broken pavement.  The grass and pavement were fine but the broken pavement? Ouch. Landing on a small rock hurts. A lot.  I wonder if this type of surface is best to be avoided. I feel okay today other than the ball of my right foot, which is tender from hitting a few rocks.  I think I’ll keep trying this for a while but I’m still looking for some Nike’s. Once the weather turns I’m not sure how appealing running barefoot will be.

Ringette

Starting from last Saturday, our family is traveling down the Ringette road to kids’ sports. Yes, Grady decided to play ringette this year. There was an open-house session where Grady checked it out with a bunch of his friends (of course) and he liked it enough to commit to it. I’m looking forward to it, but I have a few reservations…

1. The name. As a few other parents (Dads specifically) mentioned, the name has a certain feminine tone to it. I tried to explain that our language has hundreds of counter examples where girls have to use masculine names or labels in the activities they do. My thoughts fell on deaf ears though. The consensus is that the name should be changed to “Death Ring” or perhaps “Sonic Ring”.

2. Along the same theme as above, the promotional material told us several reasons to join ringette. The number one reason was to develop our child into a more confident girl. I’m glad the boys didn’t notice that one.

3. We managed to get hockey pants, gloves, jersey, shoulder pads, shin pads, elbow pads and socks all for $60 used! Unfortunately we also managed to get a new helmet, cage, neck guard, jock and bag for $220 new. Cage was $70 and I managed to get the helmet for $50 off.

One nice thing about ringette is that the practice is at a very comfortable 5:30pm on Fridays two blocks from our house. Game times are relatively civilized with times typically on Saturday afternoons and sometimes 8:30am Saturday morning.

Italy

No time for a post. But I’m betting on Italy.

Germany vs Italy

Today’s pick is easier and less complicated than yesterday’s. Germany has been playing a complete game, with strength in all areas of the pitch.  Furthermore, they have been playing consistently well with good team spirit.  Italy have also been playing well, and Pirlo was masterclass against England.  However, Italy has not shown the same firepower as Germany. As well, Germany is much more rested whereas Italy is probably still feeling the effects of extra time from their last game.

Although anything can happen and Italy has a good enough team to beat Germany, Germany takes this one. I’ll even predict a 2-0 scoreline.

Spain vs Portugal

This should be a really interesting match. On one hand there is the control, skill and experience of Spain and on the other side there is the explosiveness and threat of Ronaldo. While Spain has not been scoring a lot of goals, Ronaldo is producing a bit. The question for me then is, will Spain have enough offense for this matchup. Perhaps the key to the game will be Pedro coming on and providing some more attack. I’m going with Portugal on this one, I think if nothing else they will be more motivated.

Euro 2012 Knock Out Predictions

I guess I better get this down in writing before the games start!
Czech Republic vs. Portugal: Czech. I don’t know if I’m picking them because I’m not a fan of this year’s Portugeuse team, or if I really think the Czechs will be the better team. I definitely think the Portugeuse are not as good as the Dutch game would lead us to believe.

Greece vs. Germany: Germany. It would be a big upset if Greece won. Germany is playing well, and the should have an answer to Greece’s tactics.

Spain vs. France: Spain. I’m not at all convinced with the French team. Even if Spain are having problems scoring goals I think they will get it done agains France.

Italy vs. England: I really like the way that Italy have been playing. I don’t think England has much of a chance against them…

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