Saturday, January 30, 2010

Flute and running

My new flute in the key of E arrived. It's very nice. It's made of PVC plumbing pipe, which should make it look cheap and silly, but actually it comes out very nice and clean. It has a nice tone and the key of E has a nice feeling to it. It is made by Doug Tipple.

My plan is, since simple system flutes (flutes with just 6 holes and no keys like silver band flutes) play only two scales easily, is to use my E flute to play tunes in the key of A. On my regular Irish flute, the key of A requires one note to be played half-hole, covering only half the hole to make a G#. I find this to be easy enough on some tunes, but really hard on others. We play a lot of Scottish and Cape Breton tunes at my session, so I sit out a lot of A tunes. My E flute will play key of E and key of A easily. It's my new cheater flute so maybe I can play along with some of those tunes. The first one I'm learning is Frank's reel.

I went running a few times this week. Today I went for a run without shoes. It feels good to run barefoot. It's easier than running in shoes.

I run in a nice neighborhood in the hills above my house. The pavement is very clean up there and there aren't too many people driving by in cars to intimidate me bouncing all my blubber around.

You might think it's a lot more damaging to run without shoes, but actually it feels less impactful. Running barefoot is sort of a fad right now, or a movement, depending on your point of view. There have been lots of articles in the news and there are many web sites and blogs on the topic. One I've enjoyed is Barefoot Ted's site. He doesn't write often, but his site can lead you to others if you're interested in reading more.

My years of hiking have demonstrated to me vividly—with blisters, stress fractures and other skeletal problems—the damage that shoes can cause. My solution for hiking has been to wear my shoes 2 or even 3 sizes too big, get the widest I can find (4E is ideal) and wear them with the laces as loose as possible. I choose shoes without motion control and with as little to hinder the natural movement of my feet as possible. I've had better luck the more I've moved in this direction.

The result of all these years of walking has been to see my toes straighten out and separate. Only my littlest toes still bend a little inward. I get less blisters wearing big shoes. My ankles have always been strong like tree trunks so I've never felt a need for ankle support. In fact, the first time I went with low-top hiking shoes I was so amazed at the freedom to use the full range of motion of my legs to help me get up hills that I never went back to the restriction of high-top boots again.

Anyway, since I've become quite blubbery in the past few months of being home from the PCT, running is my new hope to get the weight off.

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