Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Plus 3

Brigid and Mama are now home! No more hospital gauntlets between me and seeing either. YEAS!
Total miles: 46

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Autumn Colors

Purple red sunrise,
luminous leaves breathe hawk's wings,
lilted soft landing.

Plus 7.5 miles
Total: 43 miles

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Life!

Our fourth daughter, Brigid, was born yesterday! Mama and wee one are doing well. What a wondrous reminder of God's abundance.

I was startled by another example of God's abundance. Hospitals are a gauntlet of overstimulation. Yet I was blessed to be able to coach my wife through her delivery and survive long enough to spend Brigid's first hours with her. I've been able to do that with our other two daughters who were born after my disability. However, both those times it took me 2 weeks to recover.

Not this time. The combination of the gifts of the O2 rich blood from the hyperbaric chamber and increased blood flow in my brain from the inversion table both combined to help me recover from my 14 hours of hospital barrage in record time. This morning I went on a 5 mile trail run. Yowza!

Welcome to the world, Brigid! May we be wise and loving parents and help you become the fullness of who God created you to be.

Milage Total: 35.5

Friday, September 25, 2009

Why do I go barefoot or minimalist?

It's becoming increasingly popular to go barefoot. With a book like "Born to Run" storming the nation, the idea that God made our feet so we do not need the support of shoes, and indeed thrived as a people for thousands of years without supportive footwear, is catching on.

I've yet to read "Born to Run." I discovered barefooting and minimalist footwear mostly out of desperation.  I'd been hiking is simple sandals for a few years already -- year round. Then this summer I wondered "what if I got rid of everything and grew my own shoes, on my own feet?"

Ever since I was ten, I've "needed" orthotics to compensate for a "weak arch". Here's a secret: most, if not all, of the "weaknesses" in our feet and ankles is due to footwear that makes us move in a way we weren't designed to move (landing heel first), which throws things out of whack, which means we "need" more support to compensate for poor biomechanics.

I started slowly. Going around the house barefoot. Walking the gravel lane in front of our house for two-tenths of a mile. Ouch! I persevered despite my tender feet. That first day something amazing happened. My feet "woke up!"

You know that tingling feeling you get when you finally move a leg that's fallen asleep because you crossed it and cut off the blood flow? That's how the bottom of my feet felt. I kept at it. They felt that way for a week.

Here's what I discovered about going barefoot/minimalist:

-- my woken-up feet provide all kinds of information about where I am in space, helping me compensate for my constant neurological vertigo (which feels like being on a rollercoaster that can go any direction at any time while seated in one of the "Da Vinci" man gyroscopic twirlie thing-bobs). In fact, I can now run again, for the first time since becoming disabled at the end of 2002. I'm now able to stand while shaving and cooking, leaning on the raised counters. Wow!

-- God made our feet to function beautifully. Modern footwear arrogantly modifies how our feet function, altering and messing up our ankles, knees, hips, back, shoulders, neck. Instead, of wearing footwear that alters the function of our foot, we should be using footwear that helps protect our feet only if needed. From rocks, cold, heat, stickers, etc. That means no support at all. That means learning from scratch how to walk (landing ball/midfoot first, taking smaller, quicker steps, and more).

-- There are very few options for good minimalist footwear. Vibram five fingers are the current best, but I have some challenges with them. I'm currently working with a moccasin maker to overcome those and create better minimalist footwear. I'll let you know how we progress.

It's not the Geese, it's the Honking that'll kill ya.

Going through town with brain injury is always a gamble. We live in a mountain metropolis of 700 year-round residents. I was running through our town park's parking lot when someone decided the geese weren't moving out his way quick enough and he honked his custom fake and bizarre horn right beside me. That was it. The end of my run. The sound had overloaded my brain and I couldn't take another step. I called my wife to come get me, though I could see our house a mere 50 yards away (the route I was running is an out and back, out a different way and back, so half-way was next to our home).

I don't do it very gracefully and it's a struggle, but I try and say a quick prayer of blessing on folks who short-circuit me. They are, after all, simply going about their lives without any idea how what they're doing effects me. And I'm thankful they don't have any idea -- because the only real way to know is to have brain injury and that's not something I'd wish on anyone.

So, I've now done my inversion table (which helps increase blood-flow to my brain and helps me recover a bit from short-circuiting like this) and am recovering in my sanctuary of a "hobbit hole" -- a room we have sound proofed and made so it has minimal sensory input, which allows me to focus on whatever I am working on.)

Today's miles: 3.5
Total: 30.5

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chilly Trail!

Four inches of snow at the top of the trail -- extra fun for minimalist footwear! I really look forward to the moccasin prototypes being ready for me to start testing! Grin. Still, the fish leapt onto my hook, catching the limit in about 30 minutes.

Plus 7.5
Total Milage: 27

Email your friends and family to spread the word

Dear Family and Friends,

I am Shooting the Moon for Brain Injury and I'd love your support! Did you know that every 22 seconds someone in America gets a brain injury? That totals 1.4 million people in America every year. Yet brain injury is one of the least known and least understood injuries.

Shoot the Moon for Brain Injury seeks to change that! You can help, and it's easy.

Shoot the Moon for Brain Injury has a very simple goal: people collectively traveling 1.4 million human-powered miles to raise $100 million for brain injury research and rehabilitation.

You likely already exercise. If so, you can count your miles! Please see to learn how to contribute your walking, running, hiking, cycling, or wheel chair miles and help us reach our milage and fundraising goals!

Your generous donation of miles and money is wondrously welcome! $5, 10, 50, 100, 500 or a per mile donation makes a tremendous difference. Here's the link to donate (tax deductible)

(Many people wisely don't forward emails -- but this one can change lives. Will you please forward it with abandon?)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Running, hiking, walking, and cycling groups welcome!

If you belong to a group that does human powered miles, we'd love to have you join us in making our 1.4 million miles and $100 million goal a reality!

How teams can help:
-- spread the word to family and friends! The more who learn about Shoot the Moon, the closer we'll get to accomplishing our goal!
-- Make the suggested donation of $50 or more per participant tracking their miles (if you are a brain injury or survivor or caregiver and that amount is a hardship, we are happy to waive it!).
-- Check out our Wish List and help with our mini-projects!
-- Raise money among your family and friends!
-- Other ideas? We'd love to hear them!

We would love to have your group help us Shoot the Moon for Brain Injury!

How this all began...

Even since I became disabled due to brain injury at the end of 2002, I've wanted to do some sort of trek to raise awareness and money for brain injury. The challenge is that even shorter treks I've attempted get thwarted by the realities of my life with my bludgeoned brain (I've had 8+ concussions since I was 12). All the normal challenges aside -- how was I to accomplish hiking the Appalachian Trail or cycling or running across America when any sudden loud noise could end my ability to travel for days on end? As it is, I sometimes have to call my wife to come pick me up -- because I get "short circuited" by wind-chimes, or construction trucks just trying to make it through our small town of 700 year-round residents.

Then it dawned on me (on the trail, of course!). I'll do the distance from right here -- where I have the greatest chance of things working. And why just do this myself? Others might really like a way to contribute to the vision of better rehabilitation and research for brain injury.

That all naturally led to the idea of a group of people pooling their human-powered miles to achieve something never done before -- 1.4 million miles representing the 1.4 million Americans who sustain a brain injury every year.

Life with brain injury is a lot like shooting the moon, so that seemed the perfect name for this ambitious endeavour. I'd love to shoot the moon with you!

Amazing Beauty!

Plus 4.

Total milage: 19.5

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Plus 3

Beautiful late season flowers along the trail!
Total: 15.5 miles

Plus 4

Plus 4 miles. Total: 12.5

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Walk with the very pregnant wife...

Today's a "medium" day for brain fatigue. I just barely made it back from walking 1.5 barefoot miles with my very pregnant Beloved who is really hoping to keep the wee beggar's head down. Baby Peanut (as we call each one before they're born and we know their gender) apparently loves somersaults. Sardonic grin.

Total 8.5 miles

First 7 miles!

My trip round the world began yesterday with 7 miles, wearing Vibram Five Fingers Sprints. It was a beautiful new moon night! The stars were incredible! I can't wait to have others join me -- at least from afar, on their own journey of our shared journey!

Total milage: 7

I want to Shoot the Moon!

Who can count their miles?
-- brain injury survivors
-- caregivers doing their miles with their survivor
-- loved ones doing their miles in memory of someone who died due to brain injury
-- miles you choose to dedicate to a survivor (we'll help you meet one if you'd like!)

That can include anyone, even you! So, if you're one of the above (and you are!), we'd love to have you join us in traveling 1.4 million human-powered miles! If you want to help in ways other than traveling human-powered miles, please prayerfully consider donating and/or helping us with our wish list.

Here's how to register:

1) use the comments section of this post to register. Include your name, your activities, and your personal goal.

2) We suggest a donation of $50 or more per participant. If you are a brain injury survivor or caregiver and that is a financial burden, we're happy to waive it!

3) if you want to blog about your experiences, you are welcome to become an author on this blog. Please email Deacon Patrick with a sample blog entry and I'll get you set up! Then you can start by posting an about you blog entry, and then tell about your journey as you take it, challenges, set-backs, successes, and more!

4) Track your miles. For now, please track your miles on your own, and post them to this blog if you have joined as an author. Once we have a milage tracking tool, we'll include directions here.

5) Consider sending out donation request emails to family and friends, letting them know what you're doing. Write your own, or use our template and change as you see fit.

6) Consider contacting press in your area to share with them how you are Shooting the Moon for Brain Injury. We'll have sample press releases and instructions posted in the near future.

That's it! You're now Shooting the Moon for Brain Injury!

Wish List

Here's an ongoing list of things that would really help us out...

-- Donations (here's how...)
-- Internet tool for having multiple users enter and track their miles, so we can see individual progress and total group progress and post it to this blog. Anyone know of or can create such a tool?
-- Internet tool for tracking money raised.
-- Logo for "Shoot the Moon," which we'll then use on t-shirts and more to help spread the word!
-- Marketing: write press releases, help research press addresses and emails, etc, serve as a press contact.
-- Design banner for this blog -- 660 pixels wide (and not so tall, so about 250?).
-- Write a donation request letter for participants to send to family and friends.

I'll Donate!

Fantastic! Thank you for helping Mind Your Head Brain Injury Cooperative achieve it's fullest potential! We greatly appreciate your donations, and they are tax deductible, according to the laws where you live.

For each participant, we have a suggested donation of $50 or more. If you are a brain injury survivor or caregiver and that is prohibitive, we are happy to waive the suggested donation.

Donate via PayPal:

If you prefer to mail your donation, please mail to:

Diocese of Colorado Springs
Chief of Staff
c/o Mind Your Head (this must be on checks note for them to be designated properly)
228 N. Cascade Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Mind Your Head Brain Injury Cooperative is a non-profit ministry of the Diocese of Colorado Springs, headed by Deacon Patrick Jones.

What's this all about?

Our vision: brain injury survivors traveling 1.4 million human-powered miles to raise $100 million for brain injury research and rehabilitation through Mind Your Head.

Human Powered Miles?
Yup. walking, hiking, running, cycling, wheel chairing, swimming, and perhaps a few I don't know of yet.

1.4 Million Miles?
Absolutely. Every year in the United States, 1.4 million people receive a brain injury. That's 6 times more people effected by brain injury each year than MS, spinal cord injury, HIV/AIDS, and breast cancer combined -- which is why brain injury is often referred to as the "silent epidemic."

$100 Million? How will it be used?
Yes, $100 million is an ambitious goal. Big challenges require ambitious endeavors. We want to ensure that it all goes to fund research and innovative rehabilitation techniques for brain injury. Patrick Jones is in the process of founding Mind Your Head, a non-profit for this specific purpose. All money raised will benefit brain injured through Mind Your Head.

How Long Will 1.4 Million Miles Take?
We don't know. Patrick's motto for life with brain injury is "as fast as we can, as slow as we must." Because of variable brain fatigue (where the brain's energy bank is at zero-ballance), we often don't know how we'll be doing on any given day. Some days I'm able to hike for miles, while other days my brain is recovering from something overwhelming it and I struggle to get to the bathroom. We've intentionally not set a time line for reaching 1.4 million miles because that's how life with brain injury is. We get there as fast as we can and as slow as we must.

I'm Brain Injured and Want to Include My Human Powered Miles!
Wonderful! I look forward to journeying with you, completely separate. And isn't that how we experience life with brain injury? We can support each other, yet we travel our own road with our own unique challenges because brain injury effects us each so differently.
Sign up here.

I Want To Donate!
Fantastic! Here's how...

Are There Other Ways I can Help?
You Bet! We have a variety of needs and are always open to ideas. Please see our wish list.