Friday, February 27, 2015

Skora's Latest, the Tempos

Spring/Summer Running Season is Coming!

Even though there's Mega-Tons of snow out there, I'm planning ahead.   Although I am 'Mr Minimal Footwear", I am also 'Mr Variety of Footwear.'  In a given week, I will cycle through 2-3 pairs of shoes. This practice:
  • Spreads the 'love' of tiny differences in muscle activation that occurs from differing footwear
  • Spreads out time that I need to make a (read: another!) shoe investment
In my rotation I will keep higher stack-height shoes.  They are a tool in my shoe-tool-box that I most often pull out when fatigued but need to hit it again, or in a drop bag of an ultra and need extra stack height to go on.  

 Typically, my back to back long runs on a Saturday/Sunday.  The Sunday run I will enter fatigued but I want to hit the larger muscle groups more aggressively.  Therefore, the more supportive shoe comes out!  Saves foot muscle activation when feet are tired. 

The Tempos are now my go to shoe for this purpose.  Holy cow, comfy.  The first two hours I owned them I ran 14miles at a decent clip.  The breathable upper will be heaven-sent in hotter weather, especially hitting the pavement.  On trails, I'll be bombing down a little more aggressively than normal - which will give me a good training benefit there! (22mm stack height, medium EVA cushion).  

Things I really dig: 
  • Grooves in sole.  Even though it's a tall shoe for me, grooves make it flexible.  I'm getting good foot mobility in there!
  • Breathable upper.  This mesh will be VERY refreshing.  I plan to wear them for my 100 km Road Ultra coming in mid March
  • Smart Lug Placement.  Great traction even on pea-gravel, sand collected on road shoulders.  
  • Zero drop. This should go without saying for me... We all have these amazing springs that return ground force reactions.  An elevated heel reduces those springs' effectiveness.  Zero-drop is a prerequisite for me (and should be for you.) 
  • Subtle little curve in the sole. When I am running long miles on unchanging surfaces (like road running). I find I will consciously adjust toe emphasis.  Force toes to relax, or curve them up, or press them down.  Varies over long runs.  The sole in the Tempos have a subtle upward toe curvature. This *may* weaken toe extensors over time, but my first impression is it feels NICE.  I last longer!  This is another reason why it will work for my road ultra! 
  • Color = visibility on the roads.  I'm normally shy, but I want cars, bikes to see me coming!
Things I dig less:
  • Can't wear in winter, can't add microspikes.  The elastic from my kahtoolas crush my toes. With thick boiled wool socks they can be a good winter shoe.  But I needs' my spikes'!  
  • Will I rely on them too much? Will that weaken foot muscles due to thick(er) cushioning than what I'm used to?  Can't wait to find out :).  

They're really good looking.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Take Stock in Broth

Marco Canora outside Brodo.Credit
Restaurants are starting to sell cups of bone broth in cups for customer s to swig.  

NYC restaurant 'Brodo' charges $3.50 for a small paper cup of the nutrient-rich elixir.  (I can't help think of 'Brondo' - which I believe has electrolytes, lol.)

Like an espresso drink, the broths at Brodo can be customized, with add-ins like grated fresh turmeric, house-made chile oil and bone marrow from grass-fed cattle, which transforms plainly delicious broth into a richly satisfying snack. 

“It’s been known through history and across cultures that broth settles your stomach and also your nerves,” said Sally Fallon Morell, an author of the new book “Nourishing Broth.” “When a recipe has that much tradition behind it, I believe the science is there too.”
The difference between stock and broth is elusive in the bowl but clearer in the kitchen. Many people use the terms interchangeably, but strictly speaking, both broth and stock include bones and meat, but stock has a higher proportion of bones to meat. And to those who have taken up “broth-ing,” it is the content of the bones — including collagen, amino acids and minerals — that is the source of its health benefits. Extracting the nutrients from bones is accomplished through long cooking and by adding some acid to the pot, like vinegar, wine or a bit of tomato paste, which loosens and dissolves the tough bits.
Of course you can make your own. Pleeeaaase make sure if you're using beef bones that they're grass fed.  As always lamb/bison is a better choice since we haven't figured out how to factory farm them.  Ask your butcher, even a grocery store butcher.

On a recent episode of podcast (no relation to this blog), Aaron interviews Dr Paul Jaminet and they discuss making bone broth.  Great advice in there, such as how to: make small batches and store as your liquid additive to anything you're cooking; pour out the first simmered top to remove bacteria and particulate matter, etc.  Cook with it, or take a shot every once in a while.   

PR90 Paul Jaminet - How to live the Perfect Health Lifestyle.  At time 23:48, Paul discusses his bone broth making procedure.

NYT article about Brodo

Friday, January 2, 2015

Coolest fact I learned in 2014

I need a better 'coolest fact I learned' schedule.  I stumble across things that I had better write down because they resonate and I feel the need to share (some may say over-share!).

Coolest fact: Starts with trees:  Ever wonder where their mass comes from?  The General Sherman tree, for example annually puts on the mass of a large oak tree every year.  
'where did it get its mass, its thick trunk, its branches?' — the instinctive answer would be from the soil below, plus a little water (and, in some mysterious way, sunshine), right?
From here"Would it surprise you, ... to discover that 95 percent of a tree is actually from carbon dioxide, that trees are largely made up of air?"  You can measure their carbon sequestration in pounds, baby.

The inputs to a tree are soil-minerals+sun+CO2.  the outputs are O2.  The growth in a tree is the difference between CO2 and O2's the tree breathes.  For humans, it's different - in fact opposite.  The inputs to humans is food+water+sun+O2.  The outputs are CO2+waste products.  

Humans gain weight through food, and lose it through exhaling.  
Consider this: All other factors held constant, the weight loss attributed to exercise is largely the CO2 you're outputting compared to the O2 you're inputting.  Exercise makes you breathe faster/harder.  

If you're packing on a few extra pounds, breathe yourself thinner.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Winter of Scarcity that Never Comes

This is my hypothesis:
Our distant ancestors had access only to berries in the late summer.  We consumed them and they were sweet which gave us a reward in our pleasure centers of our brains.  We ate them specifically to gain weight for the upcoming winter.  A food intended to fatten us up should NOT have a satiating trigger, that would defeat the purpose.   
Fast forward to today, sweet is available all the time.  Still no satiety trigger.  We are constantly fattening for a 'winter' of scarcity that never comes.  
If only there was a controlled way to test this... for example:

  • In the upcoming That Sugar Film, Damon Gameau, a filmmaker and TV actor, vows to follow a strict diet of “healthy,” low-fat food with high sugar content, reported....
  • Gameau reportedly consumed 40 teaspoons of sugar per day, or slightly more than the average teenager worldwide, according to According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the average American consumes 20 teaspoons of sugar daily
<40 teaspoons of sugar?? "to match averages." What did he do, just shoveled sugar in his mouth? Not exactly.>
  • “All the sugars that I was eating were found in perceived healthy foods, so low-fat yogurts, and muesli bars, and cereals, and fruit juices, sports drinks ... these kind of things that often parents would give their kids thinking they’re doing the right thing.”
  • Within three weeks, the formerly healthy Gameau became moody and sluggish. A doctor gave him the shocking diagnosis: He was beginning to develop fatty liver disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most severe outcome for fatty liver disease is liver failure.
  • Gameau said his sugar-laden diet left him feeling hungry, no matter how much he ate.
These are highlights taken from this news Article: "Man eats sugar-heavy diet for 60 days, receives shocking diagnosis"  (stupid click bait title, must be the new norm')

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

mark running

PR87 Mark Lofquist: Paleo Running

I talk with Mark Lofquist about his transition to barefoot and minimalist footwear.
I talk with Mark Lofquist about his transition to barefoot and minimalist footwear. Mark has an incredible story about how barefoot and minimalist shoe running allowed him to run pain free and enjoy the sport of running. We also talk about his experience with the Paleo Diet and Crossfit Endurance.

– 3Fu3l: 3FOLSON
– Audible

– YouTube
– Facebook
– Twitter
– Website

– Voicemail: (612) 567-2471
– email

“I realized the I could run more miles in my Vibram FiveFingers than I could in any other shoe/insole combination, ever. The first few runs I picked up some distance and was surprised that I could run the next day without soreness. The thinner the better is what I learned.”

Chapters & Links:
00:00:00 3Fu3l: 3FOLSON
00:00:39 Mark Lofquist
00:01:29 How did you get started running? 
00:02:35 How did you improve on your running? 
00:05:45 How long did it take to transition to minimal shoes? 
00:08:05 Working with Eric Orton
00:10:03 Transitioning to a barefoot style of running 
00:10:34 Newton shoes
00:10:41 Vibram FiveFingers
00:11:20 How many miles did you start with? 
00:14:17 Can everyone run barefoot? 
00:14:49 Barefoot/Minimalist Runners Facebook Group
00:16:43 Crossfit Endurance
00:19:30 How many miles per week do you run? 
00:20:10 Paleo Diet
00:21:52 What was the major dietary modification? 
00:22:52 What do you eat? 
00:23:02 Microwave egg cooker
00:23:52 Coconut oil
00:24:23 Grass fed butter
00:26:33 Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet
00:26:37 Chris Kresser’s Book
00:28:00 How fast could you run 1 mile? 
00:29:09 Audible Trial

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Qualitative thoughts about running form

Built to Run: If you have been convinced by the science that upright-walking humans are formed over time to be the ultimate long distance running machines in dry hot weather.  If you have not heard this hypothesis and its supporting evidence, please click here.

Running Form: With a rudimentary understanding of human anatomy we can make some assumptions about the running form most conducive to our structure.  Some of the action verbs required to run:
  • Twist - the trunk 
  • Swing - legs/arms
  • Reach - reach in front and bhind
  • Absorb - landing, absorbing the momentum down loads the springs of the body 
  • Propel/Push-Off - propel over the landed foot, and extend legs, toe off.
Big to Small: Always tackle a problem big-to-small.  Working on the assumption that the biggest muscles need to bear the biggest loads.
  1. The glutes:
"The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the human body. It is large and powerful because it has the job of keeping the trunk of the body in an erect posture. It is the chief antigravity muscle that aids in walking up stairs."
The glutes do two things: keeps you from folding in half like a pocket knife and pushes your thigh from a raised position to a lowered position (sitting to standing).  If you have good upright, "hips-open" posture when running, you can dedicate this muscle group to absorbing and propelling the leg down and back.  If your posture is bad, you engage the glute to keep you from folding in half.  The glutes need to share their capacity to maintain your bad posture AND run.  The strongest movement of the glutes is pushing back - this is what propels you forward.  Try to fire this muscle when it contributes most.  The glutes are ~25% of your running muscles, make them do 25% of the work.  (25% pulled from the sky.)

   2.  The quads:

The next biggest cluster of muscles and cetrtainly the longest.  The Quads is an eccentric powerhouse, it absorbs your landing, turning all that downward momentum into stored energy.  The quads stops you from collapsing and in contraction straightens your leg.  It is the heel-cushioned running shoes that incorrectly allows you to straighten your leg WAY too soon.  Landing with knees slightly bent stored the most energy, straightening the leg should happen at push-off, firing simultaneously with the glutes.  It's the one-two punch of propulsion.  The quads are ~20% of your running muscles, make them do 20% of the work.  (20% pulled from the sky.)

  3. The trunk:

Twisting the trunk is often over looked.  We coach pitchers, batters, boxers, golfers, etc to originate motions in the hugely muscled trunk.  A perfect punch begins at the foot, twists the hips, twists the trunk extends the arm.  The arm is a messenger of the forces generated from the 'big boys' of the muscle groups.  Running is the inverse of that.  A trunk twist turns into a foot motion.  Twisting the trunk allows the reach portion of the running stride and extends the push off out the back.  The more the twist, the longer the stride (at the same cadence).  I think of the 'X' created by the shoulders and hips when I'm driving my knee forward and pushing out the back.  Arm swing exists only to engage this twisty spring mechanism.  The trunk is ~15% of your running muscles, make them do 15% of the work.  (15% pulled from the sky.)
4. The hamstrings
Next on the size-matters comparison is the hammies (I told you, conversational tone, this is no kinesiology class).  Hamstrings do the opposite of the quads, and fold the leg to make the knee drive easier.  The torque on the hip flexors during the swing phase is a function of leg weight AND leg length.  You can't lighten your leg, so make it shorter by folding it.  Engage hammies to bend the leg before (or syncopated) to leg swing forward.  This is why leg-swing-forward is referred to as knee-drive, not foot drive.  Hip flexors getting sore?  Try engaging hamstrings sooner! The hamstrings are ~12.5% of your running muscles, make them do 12.5% of the work.  (12.5% pulled from the sky.)

       5.  The gastroc chain

Shorten to 'the calf'.  Absorbs energy eccentrically allowing the heel to drop to the ground in a controlled manner.  Energy return happens at push off.  If you raise your heel with heel cushioning in your shoes then you're reducing the effectiveness of this energy return mechanism.  This is why people that transition to minimal shoes or barefoot in one day complain about calf soreness.  these > 1 inch heel raises in shoes limits the calf range of motion from 5-10%.  (reminder, if you see a '%' then the number is pulled from my rear, i meant he sky.)  The calf is not a muscle used to push the body in the air at push-off, it's relatively too small. Absorb, hold, return - it's due to fire at the end of the glute/quad firing and just before the hamstring folds your leg.  This phase in the running sequence is sometimes referred to as toe-off. Calves sore? Try lifting the foot with heel and forefoot at the same time - lift your foot flatfooted. The calves are ~7.5% of your running muscles, make them do 7.5% of the work.  (7.5% pulled from the sky.)
 6. The foot
Almost a copy paste from above, the foot muscle contribute a small but necessary component in the absorb/release phases.  Most important is that the foot is thought to contribute ZERO, so strap them to an unmoving slab of wood (eg 'supportive' shoe).  We ignorantly turn off any foot contributions by selecting the wrong shoes.  Let the arch load eccentrically and return it's share to the push off, that's what it's for!  The feets are ~5% of your running muscles, make them do 5% of the work.  (5% pulled from the sky.)

        7.  Others - supporting muscles that help (sometimes hinder) the balance and movements of these larger groups.  The shoulders, traps, glute medius, muscles for balancing, muscles for left-right (frontal plane) movements comprise the rest.

Summary: Asking too much from a smaller muscle group will limit your performance or distance quick!  Having an awareness of what's getting tired, sore or hurt will give you clues of what groups aren't pulling their weight.  Practice mindfullness with your runningfullness!  Remember, endurance isn't how hard a muscle can work - it's as much turning off the muscle groups when not in use.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

100: Head/Heart/Feet

100: Head/Heart/Feet opens is an amazing look into the Vermont 100 (VT100).  At this point it's the most decorated ultrarunning film, appearing at 12 film festivals, receiving  director's award.  We follow Zak Wieluns in his third attempt at completing the VT100.  As the story unfolds of race, we flash back to his training and previous attempts.  This story is complemented with stories of other endurance athletes and germane interviews from professionals.  Anyone in the sport has failed an attempt at an event, or knows someone who has.  (Know thyself in my case!)

I am a sucker for these films since it is my sport.  I was stoked to be offered a chance to view a Kickstarter Screener.  I guess my wood working background appealed to 'Hammer and Saw films' (hehe).

100: Head/Heart/Feet opens at an aid station 'somewhere in Vermont' at 10:30pm we see a race that has been going on ALL day.  Weigh-ins for the runners, medical attention, head lamps, cramps, scrapes and (notably) dozens and dozens of volunteers, crew'ers.  So much support.  As a runner, I seldom get to see the behind-the-scenes work, concerns, logistics and support that goes in to races like this.  Movie summary from the creator's the site:
“100: Head/Heart/Feet” will follow the day-to-day life of ultra-runner Zak Wieluns as he trains for and finally runs a 100 mile race. The actual event is called the Vermont 100 Endurance Race, one of the original 100 mile runs in the USA. This year the Vermont 100, which raises funds to benefit the Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports Association, celebrates its 25th anniversary, promising an even more competitive challenge for the 300 dedicated runners who attempt to complete this grueling competition over Vermont’s paved streets, gravel back roads and wooded trails…in daylight and darkness…all within 30 hours. A well-trained few will complete the race; many will never cross the finish line.
Being a 'recreational' runner, like Zak, one finds a struggle for not just the runner but also for those close to the runner.  Many of us are: parents, husbands, cubicle-slaves, and.... also wanting to run 10-20 hours per week??  John Lacroix is interviewed in the movie and makes the most salient points about how the hobby of unltrarunning is <paraphrased> what we need to be happy.  It is important our loved ones understand that.  With equal fervor, we must encourage our loved ones' pursuits for equivocal levels of happiness! (just my opinion.)

This movie is the story of a journey, finishing something you've started.  Lean on people you care about to help you through your journey.  Never be afraid to ask for help.  I cried three times during this well put together documentary*.  The filming shifts to focus in on small details of what a runner might notice.  Explains the physical and emotional pains of reaching far to achieve something great.  This movie is for everybody, whether or not you plan to run 100 miles.

My favorite line: "dude I really smell, seriously I think I really smell."

My favorite scene: The recurring interjections of a sports psychologist explaining the underlying rationale an endurance athlete is making the decisions and reasoning they exhibit.  Tied with the interviews of ultra-athletes that give their own applicable experiences.  

What bothered me about the movie: The concept of weigh-ins for endurance athletes.  It's ok to see if someone is gaining too much weight (overdrinking!)  But losing weight in an endurance event will never lead to dehydration as is suggested.  It's not the movie-makers' fault for this potentially misleading information.  The concepts of calories in = calories out and drink to lower body temperature or avoid dehydration are antiquated and need to stop.  Hundreds of endurance athletes have overhydrated and died through exercise associated hyponatremic encephalopathy (EAHE).  Many times by EMTs not knowing what the athlete is suffering from and adding more hydration intravenously.  It's a pet-peeve of mine that this dogma continues.

Support the sport, see the movie.  Then train for something hard!

*As a teenager I swam for the state.  I was tested for VO2max, step-tests, etc.  At the time, I was under the impression I would be some notable athlete.  Mostly it was natural ability, decent genes.  After a misspent youth and young adulthood, I didn't do another competitive event until I was 39 years old.  Watching Zak go through some of the athletic testing resurfaced some of those emotions.  So well filmed, it hit me hard.

"So if you'll excuse me, there's someone I need to get in touch with and forgive.... myself"
-Fat Bastard

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Phone ArmBand

Carrying my phone on a run is non-negotiatble with me.  I'm making calls on low HR runs, listening to audiobooks/podcasts.  I love being outside, but as a paleorunner in a modern age I have found I need constant information.  Always learning.

 I once bought a set of headphones that came with an armband for my phone.  I became a big fan of holding the phone up high on the arm.  Soon after I tore it trying to fit credit card, building id card, car key, etc etc in there.  the armband adjustment was just folding the material - pretty cheesey.
Then I bought a bigger phone and had to retire this thing.  I went to carrying phone in my hand!  Or using 'Ultra' style vest just to have my phone with me.  Carrying it in my hand cost me $hundreds in cracked screens.  You never think you're going to trip... until you do.  :(

This new mofo from ArmPocket has it all.  It's roomy, extra pocket inside for incidentals.  There is a strap that keeps phone pressed against the inside of the clear plastic.  Touchscreen work just fine.  If you have Siri (or equivalent) you can execute quite a few commands by telling her what to do.
A photo posted by Mark Lofquist (@malofquist) on

A photo posted by Mark Lofquist (@malofquist) on

The Goods:

Easy to use adjustment strap. Extra Pocket.  Velcro to hold extra headphone cable.  Unzips/zips easily.  Touchscreen work through plastic.

The bads: Still searching for a downside.  Will take getting used to if you're new to an arm band, like you have to think through how to shed/add layers.  My only issue, and this seems silly- the zipper tabs are metal and there's two of them.  They *clink* together and I think there's something moving in the woods :).  Maybe it's just that I need to relax a little.

If you have to carry a phone, use this product.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Injured?? How could *I* be injured??

...Um, because I'm dumb and overreached.  

A rant:

After 5 years of injury-free running (5 years being the extent of my running ‘career’).  Starting in 2009 at age 39.  Ffwd to Spring 2014, running ~50-60mpw with 10-14k feet of elevation.  Mostly 70-90min runs at lunch time up into technical trails.  

Took a MAF test (fix heart rate to 180-(your age) and run 4 miles after warm up, record your average pace) on the only flat land around my neighborhood. I was clicking off 6:50-7:15 pace.  

Mid June broke my second toe (on business travel, tripped on a flat non-technical trail in Boston, ironic) and took 5.5 weeks off - cold turkey.  I cancelled a few summer races (reluctantly).  By mid July I was running again.  I tried to match pace and distance from before injury.  I had one more trail marathon I wanted to do in mid August.  With a month of training, I could regain the fitness I had.  no?  

I did a MAF test and noticed 8:45-9:15 min/mile!  Very sad I’d slowed so much with 5 week break.  

In my runs before the race, I was sore after my lunchtime runs.  Felt nice to be sore, but this made me abandon long runs on the weekends to adequately recover.  *Never run so sore that it affects your form!  

The marathon came, I had no expectations.  I ran it pretty well, but was limping the end of it.  The second half was all downhill and I found myself walking parts of it.  Just felt like I couldn’t handle that much time on my feet.  My longest training run was ~12miles since the toe break.  

I took the day off after the race felt good!  Just little aches and pains.  That Tuesday I decided to take a little recovery run.  Just to see how I felt.  I was 2-3 miles in and I was loose and feeling fine.  I ran some decent miles expanding my planned route.  Then I felt the pains that made me walk in the race.  I slowed then walked, then limped.  Nothing traumatic, just right leg seized up in many places.  *I am horrible at self diagnosing injury, level of pain, etc.  All I know is I couldn’t swing my legs correctly.  Reminds me of the sad image of when an animal gets hit by a car then tries to run away and seems surprised that their limps don't move the way they expect :'(. 

I took 4-5 days off.  Every day seemed to hurt more, limping while walking.  I tried a lunch time run, three miles out, then limped back.  Then repeat (4-5 days off, try, limp).  
Very unscientifically I threw a lot of things at it: NKT, ART, x-ray (no stress fracture), wraps, splints, acupuncture.  Actual diagnosis was soft tissue damage along fibula 2-3 inches above ankle.  This was the opposite leg from toe-break.  Probably some compensation issues and maybe rolled my ankle one too many times coming down a mountain.  

Late September, after a cortisone shot and a little bravery, I ran very slowly.  Every step hurt the same amount, but I felt my form was somewhat in tact.  That night and the next morning I noted that I felt much better.  I could walk without a limp.  I ran again, just 50mins this time, same slow pace.  Hurt during, but better after!  Repeat all week.  My MAF pace at this point was 11:30 min/mile.  Very depressing, but I’m so happy to be out there moving!  Part of this slow MAF pace is my form isn’t right, I’m purposely shuffling.  

The injury still prevents me from lifting my body weight (one foot’ed calf raise) on my right foot.  I can not jump rope, or launch off a rock with right foot.  I give runners advice all the time NOT to run if they can't do these movements.  But I think I'm being ginger enough.  I am closely tracking my runs limiting them to (180-44)bpm and only 4miles.  I have 2 routes I'm running, one hilly and one flat.  I will do these for 6 weeks (1 week down, 5 to go).  

HR fixed to 135 BPM
Course 2miles out, two miles back (Skunk trail)
Hilly course130313:4713:2914:0614:22
avg = 12:53avg = 12:41avg = 12:10avg = 12:59
HR fixed to 135 BPM
Course 2miles out, two miles back (at home, flat)
Flat course1-1610:5611:15
avg = 11:25avg 11:44

Still a work in progress.  Will post an update, and turn this into a 'part one'.  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I am elastic already i don't need your help

Elasticity - the ability of an object or material to resume its normal shape after being stretched or compressed.

When landing on your foot or feet, you compress tendons, ligaments, muscles.  If you return to original shape quickly enough, the stored energy in the springier elements in this kinetic chain give you an extra push.  Even when running slowly, pop your feet up quickly and deliberately to take advantage of this. 
To test how quick, deliberate motions take less effort, try jumping an imaginary rope at a natural rhythm for 10 jumps.  Then try to jump once every 2 seconds for 10 jumps.  Which took less energy?
 Your natural jump rope rhythm and rate-of-bounce turns on an amazing kinetic chain that returns much of the landing energy (ground force reaction) to the next jump.  To turn off segments of that chain try this.
10 jumps on your imaginary jump rope without bending your knees (turns off quad and hamstring absorption). Reset.  10 jumps on your imaginary rope landing on your heels (turns off lower leg, or gastroc. chain including achilles tendon, calf, soleus, etc). 
Now to the cushioning.  An extreme example of cushioning would be jumping on a trampoline.  If you tried jumping rope on a trampoline, you'd find it's ~3 seconds per hop.  You are adjusting to the resonance of the trampoline's elasticity.   You proved your natural rhythm is much faster, but you had to move to an unnatural rate to accommodate an outside spring put in series with your built-in springs.  

A less dramatic example would be hold a marble 24" from a hard counter top surface and let it bounce.  notice its first bounce is only a few inches less than 24.  Now place a paper towel on that counter and repeat.  You've lost 50% of the bounce.  The marble deforms more and thus returns more energy without the 'help' of the thin cushion.  Try a thicker cushion, try something springy - anything make bounce higher than the original test?  The poor deformed marble needs to re-expand to its original shape to deform this new cushion THEN push itself back up. 

These examples are of simple systems, elasticities that are rigid and only one value.  The beauty of the human form is muscles can tighten and relax in a way to adjust the elastic properties of your kinetic chain.  If you've ever ran across a trampoline, the trick is to pop your foot up so fast that you don't have time to sink into the trampolines large elastic value.  Pop-pop-pop.  That actually takes more energy, but you compensated.  Your shoes' cushions are the same way.  You can compensate, change your natural rate, vary your leg's spring-compliance but why should you? Why are treadmills another layer of springiness you didn't ask for? 

My first minimal shoes were slabs of thin, hard rubber with no foam and no EVA (also... no spring, rockers, air pockets, etc).  It took some getting used to but letting the natural springs take over took me from 5km to 80km runs.  

Beware of those unintended consequences.  Remember that 'help' isn't always helpful.