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.



                                                                                                 REFERENCE

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
http://robbwolf.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/thePaleoSolution_QuickStart.pdf

Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/#axzz1qJGK1Pfy

Tim Ferriss's Slow-Carb Diet
http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/04/06/how-to-lose-20-lbs-of-fat-in-30-days-without-doing-any-exercise/

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

Paul Wade's Convict Conditioning
http://www.scribd.com/doc/31798365/Convict-Conditioning-Charts
http://www.youtube.com/user/ConvictConditioning

Kettlebell Swings   
http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2011/01/08/kettlebell-swing/


 
 
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"Competent strength, power, speed, agility, balance, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance were essential attributes for our hunter-gatherer ancestors as they hunted, stalked, foraged, lifted, hauled, threw, climbed, and jumped."

Please take a look at this excellent discussion of The Definition of Fitness from Mark Sisson: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/what-does-it-mean-to-be-fit/
 
 
Years ago my friends and I tried a workout regimen that included multiple “Cal Runs” every week.  The Cal Run concept was simple: 1) Execute one minute of push-ups - Jog for two minutes; 2) Execute one minute of crunches - Jog for two minutes; 3) Execute one minute of squats or lunges - Jog for two minutes; 4) Repeat...

Nothing complicated.  The idea was to practice upper-body, midsection, and lower-body exercises with cardio mixed in between.  Our routine started with three to four 35 minute Cal Runs per week, and quickly grew to four 1-1.5 hour runs per week.

We were kinda proud of ourselves.  Sometimes we’d count reps of push-ups or crunches and brag that we had knocked out hundreds while jogging four miles or five miles or whatever.  One day we decided to experiment with an 8-mile jaunt.  With all of the stops and starts, the 8-mile Cal Run (one that included lots of M&M movie jokes) took 2 hours and 25 minutes.  Truthfully I thought I would be exhausted, but the next day was only a little sore.  The granddaddy of all Cal Runs was a 12.5 miler, which took 3.5 hours.  I was moderately sore after that one.

So what were the results?  It should be noted that our nutrition strategy during this time period was non-existent.  After 1.5-3.5 hour workouts, we would frequent the Pizza Hut buffet or pack away one pound of chicken fingers and French fries.  Our body-fat levels were much higher than they should have been, and diet is the reason.

But what of the workout?  Below is are lists of the Positives and Negatives of the Cal Run routine:

Good Things

- Confidence – after completing a 12.5 mile Cal Run, I was unafraid of greater physical challenges.

- Endurance – akin to Confidence, I knew I could perform for hours at a time without feeling tired or quitting.

- Muscle-tone – not sure on this one.  While my muscles often felt sore after a workout, my diet was terrible, and I suspect that the long workouts combined with poor diet may have been catabolic?  Did I end up tearing down muscle and training my body to store fat that I did not burn during exercise?

- Comradery – probably the most fun I have ever had while working out.  Cal Runs inspire spontaneous jokes and sometimes pretty deep philosophies.

Things to Improve

- Diet – of course.  One of these days I’ll try the routine again while being smart about nutrition.

- Rather than start at 35 minutes and build to 3.5 hours over time, the routine should have been divided into 3-4 week periods that increased in intensity.

My next experiment with the Cal Run will include: 1) one month of an Endurance phase, with three or four 30-minute to 1 hour cal runs per week; 2) one month of Moderate Intensity, with three or four workouts per week, each including calisthenics mixed with 200-400 meter interval runs; and 3) one month of Extreme Intensity, with calisthenics followed by sprints or speed jump-rope intervals in a circuit. 

I’ll improve the diet/nutrition portion of the strategy as well, and hopefully avoid the catabolic/fat storage effect.

 
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