Monday, March 11, 2013

A Monday Minute: Everybody, Do The Flamingo!!

"Our strength grows out of our weaknesses." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 
Want to be a stronger, happier runner??? Do the flamingo, everyday ;) For most of us our greatest weakness begins at our feet. it's further exacerbated by sitting for hours working, driving, watching TV...

I began a little experiment on myself about 2 weeks ago, after attending the USATF Distance Summit and listening to and talking with Jay Dicharry. He posted a picture of a flamingo (much like the one above) from his book Anatomy For Runners  and presented compelling evidence supporting the view that relying on shoes to solve our foot woos is a bad idea not just for your running but for your mobility for life. Studies indicate that in parts of the world where supportive shoes are the norm, medial knee osteoarthritis occurs at a much higher rates than in other areas of the world. In fact, in areas where supportive, raised heeled, shoes are not prevalent, knee osteoarthritis is rare. Instead, hip osteoarthritis occurs, but it shows up, on average, 20 years later.  Supportive shoes alter how impact is distributed across the the knee, so the impact is subtly moved more medially. Now, this is no argument for barefoot running, and Dicharry is very clear that that is probably not optimal, nor practical, but it does suggest that instead of relying on shoes and other gadgets, we should be working out our feet as much as the rest of our bodies. We ignore foot strength to our detriment.

What struck me and stuck with me was when Dicharry said: "Shoes do not stabilize people, people stabilize people." Of course I knew this, but seeing the results of not doing this just drove the point home.

So, my experiment: I teach about 4 hours a day - that's four hours on my feet (one of my classes is 2hs and 5 minutes long) - and I'm what you might call a peripatetic teacher - I walk. I never stand still. But over the past 2 weeks I've been doing the flamingo in class. Yes, my students find me to be a constant source of entertainment, but I'm okay with that. Balance has always been a big bugaboo for me, and I use to chuckle at my klutziness, but no more. Now I'm working on it.

Of course, all things in moderation, and as Dicharry points out in the video below, a little work goes a long way. I'll see how my experiment works out and hopefully I won't topple over while explaining Kant's epistemology. Though that would make for a lively class!

So everyone. Do the flamingo!! Everyday.


  1. Will you toss a ball to your students while doing the flamingo?

    1. Now that's an idea. That would certainly keep them awake!

  2. Hi Caolan:

    I'm a PR rep for Dirty Girl Mud Run, and I was wondering if you are interested in being a blogger ambassador. The event is coming to Colorado Springs on Saturday, April 13. Email me for more info. Thanks!


  3. Hey! Just found your blog (linked from the Running Wizard facebook page..) and have really enjoyed reading it. Smart, insightful, and all about running! Woohoo!

    1. Thanks! and Welcome. I always love finding new readers!!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Any comments that could easily fall under the definition of "Cyber-Bullying" are promptly deleted.

Cyber-Bullying is a crime punishable under Federal Law and in some cases Individual State Laws. By posting a comment to this blog, you acknowledge that you understand and accept these laws and are aware that you will be prosecuted for offenses under the full extent of these laws. By posting a comment to this blog you also agree to waive your anonymity, and any rights associated with that anonymity, by having your computers I.P. Address tracked.

Everyone Seems to be Looking for "Motivation"...

  "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going" ~ Jim Ryun It's January. For many of us that means cold...