Excerpt Four from THE CAVE AND THE SEA, A NOVEL                                  
This portion of the story describes a time when "barefoot" or "minimalist" running (also known as "foxrunning") was a necessity rather than a hobby.  Please enjoy the story, and do not miss the reference material at the end!
                                                                  CHAPTER 93: SAND                                                                                                   

Rugged, boulder-strewn territory slowly transformed to rolling hills and sand.  Dry washes, whose courses ran down to the river, reflected the evening heat up into their faces.  Kele had been correct: the temperatures were warmer in this sandy section of desert.

     The three of them did not push the pace until the sun dropped in the west.  The path above the river was much smoother and allowed for efficient walking, so they veered westward while the river flowed south.  When sundown arrived, they were almost running.  The rhythm of their strides lulled them into a form of meditation, effortless gliding in the night air that felt infinitely maintainable.

     After several hours, they reached a long, east-west running depression in the sand that was similar to a dry wash but narrower and more defined.  “Does this look familiar, Hawk?” Aayoni asked him.

     “The desert looks familiar, though in the dark I cannot say with certainty that I have been here before.”

     “So this is the Ancient Trail!” Coe said, pointing to the west.  “It would be fun to follow it, to find the hidden water sources ... if things were different.”

     Kele nodded.  “This is it.  My Songs become less detailed as we continue to follow the river south.  Hopefully Hawk will start to recognize things soon.”

     They pressed into the night, stopping at dawn to examine a rare, green oasis of river valley beneath them.

     Hawk gazed for a moment then excitedly demanded their attention.  “I have seen this before.  Much of my journey during captivity is a blur to me, so I cannot say exactly when I saw it or how far we have to go.  We are definitely moving in the correct direction, though.”

     “We will need to avoid people and their settlements at places like this along the river,” Coe said.

     “I agree.  At night we will continue to travel above the river in the desert, and we should do fine,” added Kele.


     For many sunrises and sunsets they continued on, stopping mostly for water, as sleep felt almost unnecessary; mostly sleep was just something to do to avoid the oppressive afternoon sun.  Nighttime temperatures continued to be comfortable, though it seemed that hot summer days here were as permanent as the desert sand.

     Kele and Coe each looked forward to the daytime respites that allowed them to talk and discover one another.  Often during the nighttime travel they would think of questions for each other to be asked the next day.  Hawk kept to himself, though he silently enjoyed watching the growing relationship between his two friends.  His thoughts were of Aayoni, wondering about her pregnancy but feeling confident that Coe’s mother and the others could care for her.  He had regained much of his muscle tone, though the serious demeanor that he now maintained felt foreign to him. 

     Suns came and went quickly; the desert and the river ran into infinity.  At times, the journey felt dreamlike, as if they were simply observing it as it unfolded for someone else.  Their sense of purpose was strong - purpose that delivered subtle happiness even in this desolate land.


Run Like a Child - Dr. John Douillard's outstanding video explanation of foxrunning

Merrell Barefoot Training - Awesome starter and how-to information
The following links describe some of the most efficient and effective Diet/Exercise plans encountered.  These bring unbelievable results, and are incredibly simple and inexpensive to practice.

Diet - Combine the principles from these resources (all are Paleo in nature)

Robb Wolf's Paleo Quickstart Guide

Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint

Tim Ferriss's Slow-Carb Diet

Exercise - Follow Coach Wade's progressions with Kettlebell Swings one day per week

Paul Wade's Convict Conditioning

Kettlebell Swings   

"I don't always drink alcohol, but when I do, I prefer NorCal Margaritas."

One year ago I started following a Slow-Carb Diet while reading The Four-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss.  At 5'9" and 154 lbs., Tim's concept of "body recomposition" had more appeal to me than the more common "weight loss" model.  My goal was to trade 10 lbs. of bodyfat for 10 lbs. of muscle by simply changing my diet, as the book prescribed.  Bye-bye Dos Equis!

It took a month or two for me to work out the bugs - for example, I would sometimes eat common protein bars for breakfast (I knew better but did it anyway) or would snack on peanuts and sugar-free peanut butter (not helpful at all.)  Eventually I dropped these from my diet and even cut back on the prescribed legumes as I didn't need the extra "slow-carbs" for energy.  Meat and vegetables were sufficient for me, with a weekly "Cheat Day" or "Cheat Meal."

By mid-2011 I had lost 2 inches off of my waist, while maintaining my bodyweight.  After an injury I stopped exercising for several months, and my weight dropped to 149 lbs., but quickly rebounded to 152 - 154 lbs. after restarting a weight-training/calisthenic routine.  Happy with the results, I stopped weighing in, and continued to seek ways to refine my new Paleo lifestyle.

So this week, one year after making this significant lifestyle and diet change, and several months after stepping on the scales for the last time, I walked by the electronic scale at the gym and decided to weigh-in, just for curiosity's sake.  My morning body weight was a surprising 164 lbs., a full 10 pounds HEAVIER than when I started one year ago!  Note that my waist is still two inches smaller and I have even purchased smaller clothing for the winter.  I am ready to call my Paleo Body Recomposition a success, though I am now armed with new knowledge and plan to improve even more.  Without The Four-Hour Body and Mark Sisson's The Primal Blueprint, I would have never believed it would be this effortless.

Soon I will post a sample of my daily menu, and maybe even a little info. on my experience with NorCal Margaritas!

"Stay Paleo, my friends...."
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