April 15 2012

Blogging From PrimalCon 2012 – Day 2

By Worker Bee

Day 2 of PrimalCon 2012 is done, and it was possibly the best yet.

It wasn’t the fact that the sun came out and the clouds went away and we spent the day outdoors. And it wasn’t just because they doubled the burger portions for lunch and served Asian-cut short ribs, three kinds of salad, and beets for dinner that made it so awesome. Nor was it the several dozen bottles of red wine served with dinner. All that stuff was incredible and definitely contributed, but the real reason today rocked most was that the structure of the day and its content was free and open-ended. Rather than have more formal lectures by top experts where attendees consumed information and insight, day 2 was about attendees engaging other attendees and the experts on their own terms.

The day began with Angelo dela Cruz’s VitaMove session, designed to loosen limbs and clear out the morning (mental) fog. While I’m not sure VitaMove could completely replace a cup of coffee, it certainly complements it.

Shortly after 8:00, once everyone had gathered, the groups split off for either the sprinting clinic with Michael Stember or the group Survivor Challenge. I won’t even try to explain the convoluted intricacies of the challenge, but rest assured that it involved sand dune chases, frantic digging, puzzles, and teamwork.

Michael Stember, former Olympian, broke the ideal running technique down step-by-comprehensive-step, covering things like breathing and hand position and ankle flexibility and elbow angle in addition to what most people imagine when they think of running – the foot hitting the ground. This is the stuff you’d never think of on your own – you’d just “go run” – but that makes the difference between an Olympian and someone who just runs. Oh, and he wore at least three different brightly colored track suits throughout the day, looking a bit like a Russian mobster with exquisite running form.

Lunch was held at a beach house about 3/4 of a mile from the park. The menu was the same as the last day’s, only with more of everything. Good thing, too; the line of hungry attendees stretched out the door, all the mac nut-cashew butter disappeared (a couple gallons worth), and I saw plates piled high with three or four grass-fed wagyu burgers. Folks were hungry!

Next was free time. For roughly three hours, the schedule was wide open. Impromptu sessions were popping up all over: Timothy led three sessions of sledgehammers, including a private one for yours truly; Kelly talked mobility some more to a huge crowd, showing people how to “mash” their quads to clean out any nasty tight bits, and used Mark as an example (you can see him wincing); I had the distinct pleasure of mashing Barefoot Ted‘s quads until he practically begged for mercy; Erwan walked up a vertical pole, then showed others how to follow; William Vives (formerly Billy) gave kettlebell lessons and then got some Olympic lifting lessons himself; Ted gave trotting lessons; Monisha White did her mom, Esther, proud and gave a fantastic talk on posture that had me actively rolling my scapula back in place all day and night; Angelo was working fascia and correcting dysfunction; and all the while attendees were connecting with each other and playing around on the equipment.

Right around 4:30, a couple hours before dinner was set to start, groups split up and either attended Chef Rachel‘s cooking demo or Erwan’s introductory MovNat session. This was the kind of situation where you couldn’t really go wrong:

Both presenters showed incredible attention to detail. Rachel’s simple tips about knife work, prep work, seasoning, and other stuff may have seemed minor, but they are invaluable to anyone who actually cooks. Erwan’s cues for movement may have spanned just a few words, if that, but they spoke volumes.

Both presenters gave practical advice. Everyone eats, and so everyone who cares about their food has to cook for themselves, but everyone also has to move, and so everyone who moves learned something from Erwan.

Both presenters stressed the importance of precision and efficiency. Erwan performed efficient movement done with the minimum amount of force required to complete the movement successfully and gracefully; Rachel performed efficient movement in the kitchen done with the minimum amount of extraneous steps required to complete the cooking movement successfully and deliciously.

Both presenters made everyone there realize they had a lot of work to do on themselves. It’s a humbling but necessary thing to realize.

And then dinner arrived. It was held at the same beach house as lunch, only this time there were four dozen bottles of wine. The food ran a little late, and I could sense the collective tension in the house, but as soon as the wine went around, everything just released. The mood went from anxious insistent hunger to the best rager you’ve ever been to (consult the Urban Dictionary if you need that one defined), only without the rohypnol, the keg, and the guy with the guitar who insists on playing “Wonderwall.” People were lining the stairways, squeezed onto couches, and spilling out into hallways.

The coolest part, at least for me, was that the conversations weren’t necessarily about this weird food we eat or the funny toe shoes or “How did you discover Primal?” There was some of that, but mostly it was people who had finally realized that they were among like minds. They didn’t have to talk about how different they were, because they weren’t anymore. They were home, in a way. We all were.

Oh, one more thing: during a dinner conversation about beets (what do you talk about at dinner?), four out of six people I talked to claimed that they taste like dirt. What? Is this a thing, like how some people have a genetic aversion to cilantro or a predilection for asparagus to make their urine smell especially bad? I thought everyone liked a good beet. Are I and Dwight Schrute alone in our love for them? Let me know.

Tomorrow’s the last day, and it’s a little sad, but what can you do except go out and make the most of what’s left? Til then, folks. Thanks for reading, and start making your plans to come out in 2013!

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49 thoughts on “Blogging From PrimalCon 2012 – Day 2”

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  1. Beets DO taste like dirt, good, healthy dirt! Their taste actually depends a LOT on the soil in which they’re grown, so your mileage may very considerably. The beets we grow are verra tasty!

  2. It’s true, some beets DO taste like dirt, but I wouldn’t say that they all do.

    I felt a similar feeling when I went to the WAPF conference in November. It was the firs time I was surrounded by other like minded people and it was so relaxing and lovely!

  3. Well, I always think of it as tasting ‘earthy.’ That’s why I love them. And yep, they take on the characteristics of the place they are grown. Another reason to eat/love them.

  4. What? They don’t taste like dirt to me… They are kind of sweet and almost carrotty. I have never heard that they tase like dirt before!

  5. I love beets and don’t pick up any taste of dirt. I do make sure to buy smallish ones because larger ones tend to be tough and less sweet. I’m also one of those people with red pee after eating them but I don’t care.

  6. They do kind of taste like dirt. Sweet juicy dirt. I know several people who dislike beets because of it. For me, it was an aqcuired taste… and a great one!

  7. Beets are great–especially with lemon. And I hear if you want an especially great tan for some event, start drinking beet juice two weeks before.

  8. absolutely thinking about getting away to the 2013 conference!!!!

    Also, in our house we savor the earthy flavor of our veggies and designate each one as tasting of delicious sunshine or yummy dirt 🙂 Beets are absolutely yummy dirt! lol

  9. Let’s say that beets taste like good, healthy topsoil (rather than like dirt).

  10. Sounds like a blast! Hope I can get there it in 2013! Regarding beets, of course they taste like dirt, but in a good way just like fresh carrots or mushrooms or potatoes taste like dirt. Sweet, fresh, earthy, delicious! Yum!

  11. This sounds like a fantastic way to spend a weekend. I’m envious of all of you. I love beets, but they do have quite a comical effect on my urine. It turns red – gatorade or kool-aid red.

    I would love to be part of a mobility discussion with Kelly. His website is incredibly useful to those that lift.

  12. Another vote for liking dirt! Beets are great, and the flavor is like dirt, but everything eats a little dirt sometimes – so why not! 🙂

  13. “They didn’t have to talk about how different they were, because they weren’t anymore. They were home, in a way. We all were.”

    If there was ever a reason needed to attend Primalcon I think that this is it!!

    1. And also boy are those lovely ladies! Is it just me or are primal women way more sexy than normal?:)

  14. I like beets. I’ve never tasted dirt though. If dirt tastes like beets, then I guess I would enjoy eating dirt.

  15. I love beets. My husband and daughter claim they taste like dirt. Might be some sort of genetic thing, like the one for bitter taste.

  16. Pickled beets, especially on top of a salad. The pickled beet juice makes a great vinaigrette dressing.

  17. Good evening Mark 🙂 First of all thank you for your fabolous blog. Im from Sweden but living in Greece and need to ask you,what is the “beets” you write about today ?(that many thinks tastes like dirt) Beet roots ?
    Take good care and good night,kinnd regards from Mirja in Rhodes Island.

    1. Mirja — The beets discussed here are just vanliga rödbetor.

  18. Beets taste more like dirt if you don’t peel them. I love them, but I generally peel them – either before I boil them or after I roast them (that’s easier, the skin just slips off them).

  19. My mother made them all the time. I grew up eating beets – pickled, steamed, roasted, or raw, and swimming in sour cream or butter. Yum:) to infinity!

  20. An traditional Greek way to eat Beetroots is to buy Fresh ones at the market place and then boil until ready.
    Slice them in big slices,put a little bit of sea salt,Garlic and then some Virgin Olive Oil over it-then eat this together with some Feta cheese. Kalo sas oreksi-Enjoy your meal !

  21. I roasted some beets a couple of weeks ago, skinned and ate them combined with all sorts of things. They were so good that I am still thinking about them. They were sweet, spicy and yummy. No dirt taste that I could detect.

  22. I LOVE a good golden beet, hence why they are going into my garden this year.

  23. The smell of beets gives me one of my fondest childhood memories of my mother canning them. I wouldn’t eat them back then, but love them so much now. Steamed, boiled, roasted, pickled, raw.
    Dirt, sometimes, yes.

  24. They do taste like dirt, and I keep trying to like them and failing, unless they’re the canned, pickled ones. Thus I stick with beet greens (which everyone else in this house hates) and feed them the flesh.

  25. For Monisha White:
    Hi I wish I had been there to attend your presentation, your Mom’s book “8 Steps for a Pain Free Back”fixed my back problems completely and changed my whole posture, way of walking, introduced me to the hip hinging and many other techniques. And I also got the habit of the shoulder roll, like the Worker bee comments 🙂

  26. I’m from New Zealand, and I was amazed when I travelled overseas that no-one put beets (we call it beetroot) in Hamburgers. A real Kiwi hamburger comes with the patty, lettuce, tomato,beetroot cheese, and an egg – delicious. Of course my hamburgers now don’t have the bun, but it all tastes better inside some lettuce leaves…

  27. One day I’ll get to Primalcon, and I agree , beets are earthy, to me, they taste like walking through a forest:)

  28. I can’t imagine people thinking beets taste like dirt… but then again we always pickle ours with some spices (cloves and such), so maybe that masks the earthy flavor? Anyways, we’ve got a garden full, they are nom, and I love them!

  29. Beets taste like dirt? I missed something. I don’t normally eat beets, but the way they were prepared were outstanding.

  30. sorry for starting the beet wars but they DO taste like dirt! LOL! Had a blast! Wish i could have stayed longer 🙂

  31. Enough about the beets! Did anyone see the picture of me? 😉
    Oh man, such a great time, and beets are awesome. I feel bad for anyone that has a genetic predisposition that makes them taste like dirt.