Early August 2023 Community Update

Perhaps the title lacks a little originality, but it’s genuine. This has been a great summer so far, but for me it has seemed to fly by more quickly than usual.

I was sort of on the “party circuit” in June and July. We had several birthday parties, retirement parties, weddings, and BBQ celebrations to attend. Like 3-4 times per week for 7 weeks. And they were all awesome. I’m so grateful for the people in my life and being in the “circle of life” is an honor. My performance diet emphasized brisket, beer, and cake…at least some of the time. Seemed to work but I’m getting back to my regular routine now.

I was out camping last week. Great time. Got lucky with hot, sunny weather and no forest fire smoke in the locations we chose. Have a couple of mini trips, some backpacking and scouting, and other excellent outings this month, then diving into what should be a glorious hunting season. Hoping to bang out a fast mile along the way in semi-serious fashion.

Fit for the Field participants are going strong. Several members of the team in this online hunter conditioning system are reaching the finale of their 16-week pre-season prep as they approach August trips (as in Alaska and Northwest Territories and archery antelope in the lower 48). A bunch of other cats are targeting September, October, and November expeditions. All that rucking and sandbag lifting will pay off.

Training Tribe members are sharpening their quickness in the Speed Block. Sprinting, explosive lifting, rate of force development, and elasticity are being featured. It’s always great fun for me to see adults play, have fun, and go fast. There’s a smile that comes on their faces you only see at this time of year. We’ll have a few tests and comps this month and then they will prepare for the autumn Endurance Block.

Coaching clients have been doing great things. Getting out of pain and solving chronic injury problems. Dropping body fat. And achieving peak performances across a variety of sports. I’m humbled, challenged, and gratified every day that I get to work in this capacity with these amazing individuals. We’ve custom-crafted personalized programs, designed home gyms, and built relationships along the way.

My recent camping trip was sort of a “car-camping” Montana beach vacation. I have my old truck set up like a simplified overlanding rig, and every summer Eileen and I head out for an adventure, hitting a few campgrounds and also setting up in the national forest here and there. It’s luxurious because we take a lot of creature comforts and gourmet food, going and staying as whimsy drives us.

Since I was driving, and I have a few performance goals this summer, I decided to keep a bit of training going on my trip. Sometimes, especially if it’s backpacking, the trip itself is the workout but in this instance I had a little portable gym routine. Every morning, before we did some hiking, swimming, and feasting – I’d take a short jog (10-20 minutes) and then do a few light resistance exercises with the kettlebell and elastic band I’d thrown in the truck. It was just enough to keep me feeling like I was sustaining my training. I actually could have just used the band and grabbed a rock instead of the kettlebell, but since I had room it was nice to bring it along. It’s amazing how many exercises you can do with this setup, along with bodyweight moves and calisthenics. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that I feel better when I do something, even if relatively light and easy, almost every day. Travel training has always been a project I’ve helped clients with over the years and it’s fantastic how many shapes it can take.

As I sat on a lakeside beach one day, I found myself contemplating the pros and cons of summer footwear. Specifically, flips vs. slides vs. crocs vs. river sandals. I think there are some technical considerations here.

Flip-flops are perhaps the lightest, easiest, and most comfortable footwear to slip on for casual summer knockabout. But they suck for walking any distance. In order for them to stay on your feet, you have to sort of claw your toes through the gait cycle. This prevents the natural forefoot splay which needs to occur near midstance. Flips are seasonal fashion, but orthopedically speaking, they aren’t great for covering much ground, despite what some filthy dirtbags maintain.

Slides are more ergonomically appropriate. Everything from the apres-soccer types to Birkenstock style sandals. They hold onto the foot just enough to allow you to walk with a more natural gait pattern. But they don’t offer much protection when that’s a concern. 

Crocs give you a bit more foot coverage, and if you run them in “4-wheel drive mode” with the heel strap, they stay on your feet a little better. They are great when you want an “almost shoe” that’s easy to get on and off quickly. Some people even wear “socks with crocs” but there is controversy in the fashion world whether this is a faux pas or not.

River sandals take things to another level. I was in Arizona in the 80’s when NAU student Mark Thatcher invented the original Teva, based on inspirations from primitive people strapping old tire scraps on their feet. They hold snug and drain fast and can even be used for running. The newer brands and models offer a variety of strap and sole configurations.

No judgment on any of these, really. It’s great to have some summer footwear that’s cooler both in terms of functionality and fashion statements. It’s also great to go barefoot where you can. Freedom.

Enough random thoughts, ramblings, and musings. Have a great rest of your summer!

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