Posts Tagged ‘God’s Engineering’

Reinforced Hobbit Hole Sanctuary


Here I am in the reading nook, aka a sitting cushion that folds up for when I’m on the computer at the kneeling desk.

Living with brain injury includes having a brain that is easily short circuited by loud sounds, bright flickering lights, scents and any other sensory input. Thus, the concept of a sanctuary, which I call my hobbit hole.

I was blessed to receive from Catholic Charities and GE Johnson Construction the gift of new windows and increased sound proofing in the walls (a friend took several years arranging it). The result is beautiful. I am going to keep things very simple.

At this end is my desk (I kneel on a kneeler) and the floor couch (think thin sitting pad) for visiting with my family in the quietest room in the house. The other end houses my cloths and is my walk in closet and reserve bedroom for when the town is too loud and I need somewhere quieter to sleep. Not bad for 200 square feet.

One of the therapies that is very effective at restoring God’s Engineering and helping me both function and heal as much as possible is floor living. Our whole family sits, eats, plays, sleeps on the floor. This keeps the body’s core very strong, keeps us shifting positions every 20-40 minutes, and keeps us feeling lithe and limber all the time. Our bodies did not evolve to be in chairs or cushie beds. Quite simply we feel far better all the time because we live on the floor. I never need to stretch before running or biking, I just go. It also uses space much more efficiently.

The earphones are Bose noise canceling headphones. The mechanical rumble still comes through the walls and windows a wee bit (there is a fan on the restaurant across the creek that runs 24/7 that none but me can hear, and it puts out sound that carries through most things — the longer the waves the harder they are to stop). So unless I am talking with the family, my earphones are on.

The windows and walls now stop the infra noise that was finding its way into my hobbit hole, and that is perhaps the biggest gain. I have been able to write and think far more in the week I’ve been in the new hobbit hole than in the months before (at least until the doctor’s office debacle). We’ll see what the noisier spring and summer bring!




Here I am at the kneeling desk on the computer. The desk is two night stands connected by a board in the middle, which happens to be the right height for kneeling.


Here I am in a wider shot, and you can see the small couch area in front of me, where is works to meet with family in a quiet room. Before I couldn’t have many conversations with my family until the town quieted down in the evening (if it did, in summer it stays pretty loud (for me)).

Quest for the Right Primal Running Shoe

My preferred primal running footwear.

As much as I love running barefoot, the combination of the distances I run, the roughness of the trails I run, and the temperature most of the year in the early morning on Pikes Peak, I need primal running shoes.

Like many of the folks in the ever more popular sport of primal running (running barefoot and/or with minimalist shoes), I have tried a lot of shoes and they’ve all (so far) fallen short of what they need to be.

Here’s my list of essentials for a minimalist shoe:

  • zero drop (no raised heel)
  • zero cushioning
  • zero support
  • thin (4mm or less), natural material, gripping sole that mimics the foot’s natural shape and flexibility. Leather and rubber are the two I’ve found work best.
  • curved outer edges
  • lightweight and breathable
  • Foot shaped (broad forefoot, narrowing though the mid-foot and narrower heel). Most shoes are last shaped, which is further limits and damages our feet.

I’ve worked with a number of custom moccasin folks and while I love an all leather sole, I’ve not yet found a traditional moccasin maker able to meet the demands of longevity and flexibility. The top simply causes blisters on the top of my foot when worn without socks (essential). See previous posts for some info on that adventure.

Terra Plana Barefoot line offers some great primal footwear. Their Evo, designed specifically for running, unfortunately uses a narrower last than their other barefoot shoes and is poorly engineered to cause blisters (they claim it’s been fixed, but multiple folks I know on the list have tried 2nd-3rd run Evos and they still cause blisters. TP’s claim that they just need breaking in is absurd considering it takes several hundred miles.

So, what do I currently run in? a modern moccasin, made by Terra Plana, called the Oak. They are pricy, but offer occasional coupons (worth signing up for) and are made exceptionally well. I have nearly 200 miles on my first pair and they are holding up well.

As you can see, I’ve modified a few things. I’ve:
removed the optional insole
punched air and drainage holes around the shoe
removed the back logo tab and cut a notch out of the achilles area.

I have my eye on Altra‘s Adam shoe and Merrell’s barefoot line, both of which are due out in the somewhat near future.

Brain Food Burns off Brain Fog

Everyone experiences, it just hits us brain bludgeoned harder. Brain fog from drop of protein, fat, and sugar in our blood. Granted, there are other reasons for low brain energy, but if eating something tasty can not only burn off some of our brain fog, but keep it from coming back, what a gift!

Here’s what I do. Every two hours I eat. If I’m running or exercising, I eat more frequently. Not a lot, just a handful of gourp (trail mix).

Peanuts, along with other nuts and seeds, yoghurt, cottage cheese, keefer, and other foods have a good supply and balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrate. As these drop in our blood supply our bludgeoned brains are extra sensitive and can’t draw on reserves most people have.

Experiment with what works for you, both food and timing. I make a gourp (trail mix) of pumpkin seeds, peanuts, dates, craisens, dark chocolate chips, refried bean flakes, and oats. I keep this or other similar food with me at all times for this exact reason.

Eat often enough that you stay ahead of the fog. Try and avoid foods with a lot of sugar, as the brain can easily get a sugar high and sudden crash after.

All kinds of science backs up the brain’s need for protein delivered via fat and carbos as brain energy.

Sometimes the simplest solutions can make a huge difference. This one has for me!

Let us know in the comments section how it works for you!

Breathing amazing!

Today’s run was amazing. I ran 3 miles on my “easy trail” (just 200 feet drop and climb in 1.5 miles). Then I added in a more vertical road loop that climes 200 feet in a half mile to see how I would do breathing. I entered into the climb and while my breathing deepened it was still slow(er than it used to be) and relaxed. I could feel I was really raising the CO2 in my blood supply and also reaching my threshold at which I could maintain my pace.

On a second run, I did one of my favorite trails, a 4 mile out and back, with a 900 foot climb in the first mile. I definitely pushed my limit the whole way up, but literally within steps of the trail getting less steep I was already able to have a short pause in my breathing.

It is truly amazing to be running in “primal glide” while breathing slow with a pause. No billowing cloud of breath in my visual way in the 5F air. No cold mouth or lips. Just properly warmed air by the time it got to my lungs. This sure feels like how we’re born to run!

Plus 8.5 miles
Total: 427.3 Miles

Starting Buteyko Breathing — Amazing!

This is my third day of breathing using only the shallow breathing advocated by the Buteyko Breathing Method. I found it on the internet after starting to breathe exclusively through my nose. Doing so, I felt better than I have in a number of ways, but after running I experienced severe sinus congestion akin to allergies (from some sort of irritant, no real idea what — perhaps simply oversensitivity to particles in the air, cold air, or volume of air).
Immediately after starting it, I was able to run a few miles and return and not experience any sinus congestion. How? By taking shallow breaths. There’s not really any more to it than that (that I know of yet), but the book and practitioners can guide you through it as the amazing simple can be oddly deceptive when it comes to something so foundational and unconscious as how we breathe.
Yesterday, I did a regular run and kept up my normal speed. Again, no congestion. Today I’m experiencing a “cleansing day” — the idea is that by breathing shallower (normal), my O2 and CO2 levels begin to come into balance, which makes the oxygen more accessible to the cells, and everything in the body works better. However, when first starting this, it’s possible to experiencing the body cleaning house of scum that couldn’t be gotten rid of when there was too little CO2 and too much O2 — a bit like how scrubbing the tile and grout in the bath makes a mess in the tub.
Here are a few excerpts from my breathing log:
Today is an intriguing day. I feel like I have scrubbing bubbles of accessible oxygenated blood everywhere in my body, like all my tissues and capillaries are effervescing. Images of the cleaning solution with the “cleaning bubbles” seem appropriate. I don’t want solid food (a first for me since my brain injury), but am instead craving only salad, “Green Magma” and fruits. We’ll see how long that lasts. Clearly I am cleansing, or detoxing, at a cellular level, but I’ve never felt it happen this way. While my body is resting and not up for much, it’s rather the feeling of resting in bed on a cold winter’s day, than a negative thing that I strive to embrace and carry on as best I can (those “brain fatigue” days happen a lot with brain injury, and are one of the things on which I’m curious to see the effects of Buteyko. The bottom line today: even feeling worse, I feel better.
I continue to have layers of paint feel like they peal out of “new” areas of my sinuses — perhaps areas that have been closed off?
Breathing light is very easy now, feeling more like a new normal than a new odd. The rhythm and feeling of shallow breaths is starting to be more unconscious and conscious. I have done no sprays or oils or other sinus meds since starting Buteyko.
I suspect that my body has to be cleansed to the fullest extent possible before it’s ready to make the next leap in improved Control Pause.
Deacon Patrick’s Round the World Progress

Deacon Patrick's Round the World Progress