Monday, May 31, 2010

Dave Broke The 30

Dave has been trying to break the 30 minute mark on his 5K run for about a week. We started our normal run at a normal pace and all went well. Toward the end I pushed him a little bit and notified him that he was going to make it. He sped up and nailed it at 29:14.

He had just gotten new custom orthotics. I noticed he was heel striking a lot more and making a lot of noise. I only speak when talked to, so I didn't say anything about it except when he was talking about them. I wish I could just tell everybody to take off their shoes, but I really don't want to be that guy. Successfully running next to him and being able to push him is more of a mention than anything.

I was looking at my RunKeeper today and noticed I was at 43.3 miles for the month of May! I am pretty proud about that and have set a new goal for June, 57 miles(I just made that number up).

Last night I met Barefoot Ken Bob. More on that tomorrow!

Barefoot Hike To Preacher's Rock

Whitney and I decided to go on a short hike up to Preacher's Rock. We had been there before, so I had an idea of the terrain.

I decided to hike it barefoot. Why not? I run barefoot all the time. The first few minutes were tough, but after a few minutes everything becomes mechanical and dodging odd rocks is easy.
Along the way flowers flaunted themselves. My mom told me to keep a lookout for flowers, so we took some pictures for her. I believe they are Mountain Laurels and Flame Azalea. 

Once we made it to Preacher's Rock we decided to just keep walking since my dad mentioned a trail tree that was up ahead. After walking around confused and joking about there being no trail tree, it finally made its appearance. It was so cool!

This one is my favorite

After leaving this location, we started my RunKeeper(I doubled it back afterwords). It was pretty accurate except for a 5 mile flaw that was really easy to get rid of.

We took a side route and found a cool little camp site, purely out of boredom.

On the way back we passed two guys. One said, "Barefoot hiking. That's pretty rugged man." The other asked how the traction was. I just smiled and said, "Great!"

Continuing on, stopped on Preacher's Rock and ate. Mmmm... Peanut butter and jelly!

The view was beautiful. It is so awesome living near the Appalachian Mountains!

It started to rain when we finished up eating. It was all downhill, so we picked up the pace and started running. My feet hurt a bit, but it felt AWESOME running through the mud. I love how the body naturally dodges rocks and shifts weight to keep things smooth. We got some great barefoot running pictures.

My feet at the end of the run

Man I felt GREAT when we were finished. It helped that Whitney gave me a kiss at every white blaze(The Appalachian Trail markers). On our way home we swung by the river and cleaned our feet and legs off. What a blast!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Sprint To The Finish At Yahoola

Dave and I met up at Yahoola park again(I am thinking about changing locations since it is getting boringish). He mentioned he was weezing at the end of our last run since we upped the pace. We agreed to take it slow for this run and just run at a conversation pace.

We took a slightly different route since some core kids from the college were running circles. HOW BORING! Please someone, give these kids an adventure.

So anyway, we were coming up on the 5K mark. We had half a mile left when he asked me what his time was. I told him he had 4 minutes until the 30 minute mark(he is at a race with my dad to get a sub-30 5K. Well, I forgot a 5K was ~3.11 miles and told him he had 4/10 of a mile left. He took off into a sprint. We sprinted for a few minutes side by side. I looked down at Runkeeper and it said we were past the 30 minute mark. I didn't tell Dave. He kept going hard. Toward the last few tenths of the mile I told him he wasn't going to make it, but he kept pushing. We ended up hitting the 5K mark in 32 minutes, which is great for him since he first started running last week.

We walked a 1/4 mile lap and went out to eat some breakfast(I have to restore my calories somehow right?) I ended up eating biscuits and gravy, home-fries, and scrapple(special order).

All in all a great run! I am going to take a few days off since I am having some top-of-the-foot pain. When I run again I am going to take Barefoot Ken Bob's advice and run as described below.

"Pain in the top of the Foot

Many of us have experienced pain on the top of the foot – sometimes following a distinct “snap” sound during push-off (or in my case, when I once kicked a sand hill).
I can’t give a specific diagnosis, but, as a general diagnostic guess, I believe that, living in a shoe-addicted culture, our foot muscles atrophy from lack of use. In any case, I do have the benefit of the experiences of many other (especially newbie) barefoot runners behind me.

Personal Experience

Though not from “pushing-off”, I have personally experienced a similar pain, following a snapping sound. I was running on the beach several years ago (barefoot – naturally), and I didn’t pick my trailing foot up enough to clear a small sand hill. When I kicked the sand hill, it torqued my foot backwards, and I heard/felt a loud snap. The interesting thing, though probably I shouldn’t recommend doing this, is that I not only finished a 5K race the following day, without any pain, by using the techniques below, But I even managed to finish 2nd in my age division! (O.K. it was a small event)

Do You Know When You’re Singing Off-key?

But on to the actual problem…
Ever try learning a new song while wearing earplugs?
Many folks, particularly those wearing “transition” footwear, might think that these pains are simply a result of trying “too much, too soon”. But, If we had actually been barefoot, we probably wouldn’t do too much too soon, our soles would complain, LOUDLY. And “too soon”, doesn’t necessarily mean “before we have toughened up” (to endure our off-key singing) - it really should mean, “until we have learned to sing on key.”
When we remove rigid shoes, and especially if we replace them with minimalist footwear – which blocks some of the feedback from our soles, feedback which would encourage us to change our running technique, to a more gentle way of running (singing on-key), which would reduce stress on our feet – and then those minimalist shoes don’t provide the support necessary to do the “push-off” we might be used to doing in more rigid shoes – that is, we continue to run as if we had the support of rigid shoes, without the support of rigid shoes – then, we are asking for trouble!

Typical, but Unnecessary, Pain for Beginning Barefooters

The best way to avoid this type of injury (and perhaps most running injuries) of course, is to transition to Running Barefoot, by;
  1. Removing our shoes
  2. Not replacing our shoes!
  3. Taking the time to relearn HOW to run, this time, gently, as if our shoes aren’t supporting and cushioning our feet, while gradually allowing our feet to build and develop from the gentle exercise they had been denied while living inside rigid shoes.
Take the time, like a child, to feel the earth beneath your soles, to discover how it feels for your soles to interact with the earth, to play and experiment (are the two really different?) with touching the earth with your bare soles. And since you probably aren’t an infant, to understand that it can take months for your bones, tendons, ligaments, etc. to develop the strength necessary to run barefoot – and that is if you have taken the time and attention to learn how to run gently!

How Strong Do Our Feet Need to Be to Run Badly?

I can’t even begin to guess how long it takes to develop the strength to run badly, without injury - perhaps forever, as many folks who try, are forever plagued with pains and injuries (their solution, sadly too often, is to take more drugs, and run even more).
If we are trying to run the same way we ran with shoes (assuming we weren’t, then, running as if we were barefoot), except without the rigid shoes, then we are most likely going to, at some time, suffer from some sort of pains, as we are discussing here. And rigid shoes are going to create their own set of problems, so best to just Run Barefoot, naturally, or at least, as if we were barefoot. But, before we can run ”as-if” we are barefoot, we must first, almost necessarily, be barefoot – we must remove the earplugs, so we can hear the tune, and learn to sing on key!

Starting As If Going Barefoot Is New to You – Because it Probably Is New to You

Standing, walking, and running, while barefoot, exercise and help develop muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc., on the top of the foot, but only if we run correctly - and most beginning barefoot runners do not run correctly. After years of wearing shoes, and trying to ”power” themselves through each run, pushing-off has become an ingrained habit. Add to this, that, we, sadly far too often, get the advice (usually from “experts” who have never run any significant distances while barefoot), that ”Running Barefoot IS running up on the balls of our feet” – but Running Barefoot really is NOT running up on the balls of our feet - NOT if we want to run barefoot without injury, in the long-run (so to speak).

Building up Gradually

So, as we build up distance walking and running barefoot, the plantar (sole) muscles, grow stronger with exercise, and we often end up straining the weak upper foot muscles (until we begin to change our running technique as described below). This pain is like some sort of counterpart to Plantar Fasciitis, a similar pain in the soles and heels (common among shoe-wearers), which seems to respond well to barefoot exercise of those tissues.

Exercising While Walking or Running Barefoot

I used to recommend the exercises below, for this problem. But, more recently, have come to the conclusion that the best solution involves learning HOW to run barefoot, which, when done as described below, will provide the same sort of exercise with each and every step, as well as providing a less stressful, more gentle stride.  Specifically, the problem seems to occur (along with other problems) if we have a tendency to “push off” while running (and most of us do have this tendency – just look down and watch your trailing foot, just before you lift it off the ground), and especially if we add the “ball-of-foot” landing as mentioned above – so that the foot never really gets a break, or at least not a good break, as in a rest, but it is likely, eventually to get a break, or at least a severe strain, if we don’t give it a rest, by letting the pressure distribute across the entire sole, by keeping our heel down.
But It isn’t just about NOT pushing off, but also a  failure to let the ankle flex as the foot is lifted, resulting in too much pressure on the balls of the foot, and strain along the length of the foot.
Instead of pushing off, begin lifting your foot BEFORE it lands. Also, do not try to get up on your toes. Instead, try to keep your heel on the ground, until the foot begins to lift. In keeping your heel down, you will be exercising the muscles and tendons on top of the feet. Basically, while the foot is in contact with the ground, try to keep your entire sole on the ground.
But, let’s go a step further, and take an ACTIVE roll in this. Let’s PULL the front of our foot up, in order to allow the heel to stay on the ground – actually, we WILL need to pull the front of the foot up, if our knees are bent enough – if we don’t NEED to PULL the front of our foot up, then we NEED to bend our knees more…
And that’s how we prevent these injuries. If you are already injured, try the following simple exercise, which I devised, and have recommend with good success, as reported by folks who have suffered this type of injury or pain in the top of the foot (but, I now believe these exercises will rarely be necessary, if we follow the above advice on running technique – which provides the same type of exercise during each run).

Extra Exercise

Note, this exercise is no longer necessary, and not even recommended (I left it here, just for reference, and those who have already injured their foot), as you can get a better version of this, with every single step you take, while walking and running, simply by lifting your WHOLE trailing foot (not just the heel) – a fore-foot lift.
Place a small weight (up to 5 pounds) on top of the toes, and resting the heel on the ground, GENTLY lift the weights a few times each day, with the front of the foot.
With a small dumbbell you can curl the toes up, to keep the dumbbell from rolling off the front of your toes, while lifting. Leave only the heel of the foot on the ground, while raising the entire fore-foot. If you try lifting the weight with only your toes, while keeping the balls of your feet on the ground, your toes probably won’t be long enough to lift the the dumbbell.
The heel can also be raised slightly, by placing it on a book or board or something, which tilts the foot forward, and keeps the weight from rolling too far back on the foot.
As far as body position, I’ve done this exercise lying on my back, with my knees up, sitting on my butt, with my knees up, sitting on a chair with my knees bent, or even standing, with my knees straight (but not locked), and lying on my stomach (see below).
Also, since this isn’t a case of injured tissues, or overuse, but more a case of tissue not getting enough exercise,  in my experience, the pain does not go away UNTIL I do the exercises! (or change the way I run – see above)
Just be certain to pay close attention to how it feels WHILE exercising. Be sure to exercise both feet, even if the other foot doesn’t hurt… YET…, and respond appropriately. If any of these exercises exacerbate the pain, then STOP! If the exercises cause sharp pains, there may be some tissue damage to address with your health-care provider.
In my case, the feet seem, immediately, quite happy to be exercising (and running correctly) – though in all fairness, it took me a few weeks to figure out this exercise, so some healing had already occurred (but the pain persisted, until I started the exercises).
Do NOT be afraid to try variations of this, and other exercises! Remember, it is lack of variation or balance that likely contributed to the problem in the first place.
Barefoot Larry recommends stretching these tendons.
Another variation can be done while in bed, laying on the stomach, and hanging the feet over the edge of the bed. GENTLY push the top fore-foot against the side of the mattress. Remember, GENTLY. This is not a contest to see how far you can drag your body toward the edge of the bed, this is about gentle balance. If you build these top muscles too much, you will be out of balance, once again, with the muscles and tendons in the soles, then your feet might start curling into a ball. Besides, you might never be able to fit your bulging muscular feet inside shoes again – hmm… maybe that’s not such a horrible side-effect, after all…"
Source Pain in the top of the Foot

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Slightly Painful Trail Run

Today I ran around Zwerner Lake. I didn't do the lap because I don't feel comfortable running next to the road. Let me just say, my feet are not accustomed to trail running. I have only ran this trail barefoot one other time, but I didn't run as far as I only did the one lap.

So, the pain mostly came from the rocks and stuff that I had to run over. When I came home I found some wear on the tips of my toes, probably from digging in to get up hills.

By the time I was at the half way point I was a bit thirsty, but encouraged myself to keep going. By the time I was 3/4 the way done, I was in zombie mode. I was thirsty, tired, and hungry, but I still managed to take this picture at one of my favorite creek crossings on the trail.

On the way back the muddy spots were EXCELLENT! It was a great reward.

I got back to my car, drank some water, and started driving. I pulled up to the end of the parking lot and realized I needed to calm down and drink some water. I backed up, turned up the AC, then relaxed.

It was an awesome run!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My First Ultra

My attempt to wear Vibram Five Fingers Classics

Today I went out to The Outside World and tried on some Vibram Five Fingers Classics, since they didn't have the KSOs. My size was between a 40 and a 41, even though the measurements suggested 38. My big toe was touching in both the 40 and 41, but my heel wasn't as snug in the 41. I couldn't really get a good idea of of the ground feel since the store had a smooth cement floor. I think I am just going to stick with my Walmart Aquasocks, as they fit more comfortable and are $70 cheaper or maybe try to make some huaraches, even though they look sillier then running barefoot. To be honest, nothing feels more natural and free than barefoot, so I will continue that as much as possible.

My "socially acceptable" Walmart Aqua Shoes
                    Yes, I am quoting myself

Oh yes, about the ultra. I informed the guy that I was a barefoot runner and he told me about a great race they are sponsoring at Pine Mountain Ridge. More info here.

SingleTrack Goes to Georgia from Sam Thompson on Vimeo.

I want to run the 50 Miler. I am no where near being able to run it. I ran 6 miles the other day. I felt fine, but my feet had a little sting on them. I know I need to improve. I am going to start running trails like noone's business. I figure if I can run 20 laps around the lake(it's 2.5 miles) in under 13 hours, I should be good. If not, I will sign up for the 50K, but as far as I am concerned it is not an option.

I am trying to make this a Barefoot Runners Society event. This may also affect the distance I run, as I would like to run with other barefooters as well.

All is going well for me and running. I am having some slight top-of-the-foot pain, but it goes away when I run and comes back when I walk. When I walk like I run it feels fine. I suppose it will heal itself since I am not stressing it while running. I have also been walking around a lot in my Walmart Aqua Socks. They are a little sweaty, but are a socially acceptable alternative to walking around barefoot.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Potential Barefoot Ken Bob Emoticon

Check out this cool little Barefoot Ken Bob emoticon I made for the Barefoot Runners Society forums.

To anyone that wants to make it better or modify it in any way, feel free to download the Gimp file.


Man did I feel great today. 6AM came around awfully early. We(Dave and I) had to get a head start since he had to be somewhere at 8:30. I drank my new protein shake, drove out, and met him at Yahoola Creek Park. As soon as he got there we started running, since he was already warmed up and I don't really care to stretch.

We started the pace a little faster than Thursday and kept it going alright until the end. He told me that he wanted to cut the 5K short, and that we did. In 23 minutes we were at 2.3 miles. He so could have knocked that 5K out sub 30 minutes!

He left, but I didn't feel finished yet... So I ran some more. I did the same route we had just done, noticed that I was at 5.3 miles. So I figured I might as well make it a 6 miler. I had never ran that far, but I felt great. By then, about 7:40ish, more people started showing up. I got some odd looks, but after 5 miles I didn't really care what people were thinking. I just tried to smile and keep running.

When I got back to my car it was 8AM. I felt great and was ready to eat, but I forced myself to walk around for 5 minutes. After calling my love and avoiding some speed-walkers, I went to McDonald's to even out the calories I just burned off.

Later today I plan on swimming with Whitney at the college pool. It does wonders for my feets.

Oh my feets, I almost forgot, here are some pictures of my feet after 6 miles. They looked fine. They kind of sting a bit, but I am definitely getting used to running barefoot.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Running Is Better With Friends

Today Dave and I met up to run a 5K together. This was nice since I typically don't run with anyone. He did a great job and kept the pace nicely. We didn't have to stop to walk, even though I told him it was fine if we did. It was a great morning, much better than yesterday. I need to start dragging myself out of bed to run earlier, because it really is nice.

He runs shod and I could hear his cadence compared to mine. He is also pretty tall, but it was still neat hearing three barefoot sounds to two shod sounds.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Want To Go To There

I was browsing reddit today and found a discussion about training necessary for this race.

 Click To Enlarge

Let me just say, this looks sick! It looks like a really great way to get exercise and meet some cool people.The fire is ridiculous!


I feel fried both mentally and physically. My run today was sluggish. I got out late and had to deal with hot pavement. I didn't realize how hot the pavement was(it was only 65 degrees outside) until I stopped to warm down. My feet aren't as burnt as they were last time, but are still uncomfortable. They will be better by tomorrow.

I plan on running with a long-time friend(he knew me when I was in diapers), Dave. He is my dads age but wants to get into running. I told him I would take him on our 5K route around Yahoola.

I think I just need a change of scenery. Running with Dave might help, but I also want to switch up my locations. Maybe I will run the 2.5 mile trail or run around the college before the end of the week.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


This site will be converted to . I know... conceded. I fought with myself whether or not it should be hyphenated, but I figured I could say, "barefoottyler *gasp* dot com" easier than "barefoot *gasp* hyphen *gasp* dot com".

All my previous links will still work. I hope to be able to tell others this during races so I can share the barefoot love.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Just Ran...

My day started off with my calves still hurting me from doing the 5K the other day(the hills got to me), but I wanted to run again today.

I started off showing my mom how to run so she could reduce stress on her body. She was having Iliotibial Band problems. She mentioned that they started to come back around mile two, which was much more of an improvement! After it came back she did run/walks and noted that it didn't hurt anymore. Awesome!

So my run... I started out running on some trails. These were gravel trails. They sucked. I really wish I could run these better. I need to practice more.

I moved on and ran on a road I have never ran on before. It was all uphill and and wet in some parts. Luckily I did not get any blisters or encounter any problems. While I was running I didn't check my RunKeeper. I just relaxed and enjoyed the run. Running downhill was worse than uphill. I have tried different strategies for going downhill, but I can't seem to go any faster than the speed I run when I go up hill. I guess things could be worse.

I met up with my parents, walked around for a bit, stretched and went home to drink some Gatorade. What an awesome day!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Race Review: Mountain Flower Fine Art & Wine Festival 5K

Yesterday I ran my first 5K in six years. More importantly, this was my first barefoot 5K ever!

The race took place between two churches and offered a shuttle to bring runners back to the start. I brought Whitney with me so she could cheer me on/meet me at the finish line. The race was more of a test run for me. I originally intended to do a 5K later in June, but I saw this one and wanted to try it.

I didn't pre-register for the race(I don't think many people did.), so I got there at about 7:35 to register. There were four places I could register and all of the volunteers were happy to work with me. I got the number 123. During this time I heard the mother of a friend, she's really a wonderful woman and a great person, explaining to the children that the first rule of running is to have a shoe with good arch support. This was fine by me, as we are all entitled to our opinion. I just kept my mouth shut and focused on running the race my way.

We lined up in the road, I set my RunKeeper and the race begun! I kindly pushed my way through a few people and made my way to seventh place within the first couple minutes. During this time I heard the many whispers of, "Look! That guy is running barefoot!" I shot past a woman going uphill only to be passed by her again going downhill. She upped her pace and left me behind at my own pace. 

For the rest of the race I went back and forth with one guy, I will call him White Shirt Guy. He would slam past me on the downhills and I would pass him on the uphills. As I was running I wanted to beat him more and more. I think neither of us would have done as good if we didn't push each other.

Right at the two mile mark we started going uphill. Now, this wasn't a dinky little hill. Most of the race was up a hill, down a hill, but this hill sucked. RunKeeper noted it as a 200 foot climb over 6/10 of a mile, which is a 13% grade. I saw White Shirt Guy start walking. I remembered the "trail runners motto", or whatever Christoper McDougall called it in Born To Run, which states, "If you can't see the top of the hill, start walking." I began power-walking and forced myself to start running at the end of the hill, which was a battle in itself.

White Shirt Guy and I went back and forth until the final stretch. The race director mentioned a loop around the church. This worried me because I thought White Shirt Guy could possibly catch me at the end. Before this final stretch was a medium uphill. I knew my uphills were better than White Shirt Guys, so I passed him and sprinted to the finish at 24:14, my best 5K time yet. The cheers of others as well as the smile on Whitney's face made the finish way more important than the time I got.

After I finished Whitney took a few pictures. Apparently I got first in my age group. Surprisingly I was the only person in the 20-24 category, which made this feat much easier.

Some people, actually more people than I expected, asked me why I ran barefoot. To the ones that seemed interested enough, I went into some detail, but others I just told them it taught me to run with less stress on my body. Less stress equals less injury!

Others asked to see the bottom of my feet. I showed them my right foot, since it is the most healed from my burn incident. I have a couple of marks from the race, but a large majority of them are just unhealed boo-boos from when my form was worse.

I would like to especially thank the volunteers and contributors to the race. You all were more than helpful and kept me hydrated and full with Powerade and bananas!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Where The Pain From My First Metatarsal Came From

I was having pain under my first metatarsal after doing my 5K. The pain was in one spot, and only able to be found when I did a massage that involved rolling a tennis ball under my foot.

So, a few days passed, I asked some questions online and iced it. Finally I remembered something...

The Running Barefoot mentioned in the guide for running barefoot to
Gently bend your toes up – this stretches the skin on the sole of the foot, before landing. 
I remembered this line toward the end of my run. My toes were feeling a bit scuffed. I tried lifting my toes, but I over-lifted. I lifted my toe and poked out my metatarsal(kind of like how a knuckle pokes out when you bend your finger toward your hand) and ran that sucker into the ground. It didn't hurt, but I think after a while it caused bruising.

The moral of this story, don't repetitively slam bone into the ground. It hurts.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Short Diagnostic Run

Today I decided to go out for a free run. I probably only ran 0.3 miles, but it felt great.  I focuses strongly on my cadence and how my foot was landing. I felt zero pain in my foot and my feet felt great after. This gives me hope for the 5K tomorrow.

I also tried out these dynamic stretching techniques. I wasn't really having a problem before, but I feel great!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

About The 5K on Friday...

I have decided to run the 5K on Friday. I had varying opinions when I asked others about whether or not I should run. Reddit told me not to, while Barefoot Runners Society told me to go for it, but take it easy. They noted to not try to get caught in the pace of the pack and just focus on what I felt was right. After reading more of Born To Run and learning about the peacefulness of the Tarahumara, my mind was set on this already. Barefoot Runners Society also told me to bring a pair of socks, just in case.

So yup, my first 5K will come a little early, but I think I can handle it and not do any damage. I am not going to run for the next few days and just stretch to keep the muscles moving.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I am planning on doing a 5k this Friday, barefoot! It will be my first 5k in about 6 years and my first overall completely barefoot.

I have been running barefoot for 3 weeks. I have built up to the 5k over these weeks. I am satisfied with my form, and I do not have any overwhelming pains that I can't run through. I do not want any pains during the 5k, so I was considering not running at all until the 5k. The last 5k I ran I gave myself 3 days to heal prior to it, and it felt great. My form was the best it's ever been and I felt totally comfortable. My feet weren't all scuffed up and the only pain I had was along my metatarsals, specifically my first, fourth, and fifth at varying times, and like I said it isn't bad.

So does my plan sound like it will be okay? Will resting help me in the 5k or hurt me?

Run/Walk At Yahoola Creek

I try not to train every day, especially since I have just started running barefoot and am trying not to hurt myself or do too much too soon.

My mother and I were supposed to be run/walking a 5k at Yahoola Creek Park. I ran right next to her, letting her keep her pace. She doesn't go as fast as I do, which worked out fine, since I was trying to take it easy.

She is having trouble with her illio-tibial band(she thinks), which is causing her pain all throughout her left leg and somewhat higher up. She was pretty miserable and couldn't run or even walk as much as she wanted. We went 1.82 miles and decided to call it quits. She didn't want to hurt herself and I didn't really want to do 5k anyway, so it was fine.

My feet are holding up pretty good. I am having some pain under my right leg's metatarsals, specifically my first one. There is one tiny spot on it that if I squeeze, it hurts. Hopefully it is just my body getting used to the new stress I am putting on it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Yahoola Creek Happiness

Today I ran at Yahoola Creek. It was by far the easiest run to date, as well as the fastest and longest! I wanted to run a 5K route that my dad made, but I modified it slightly toward the end.

Throughout the run my foot only hurt a little in the spot that I burned a while ago. The skin is still growing in. I checked my feet a few times and they actually looked better than they did before I started running! I hope I have found my form.

My only complaint is some slight soreness on my 5th metatarsal on my right foot. I think it is just due to me putting it to use.

I intend on running tomorrow with my mom, we'll see how that goes. It is raining now, so if the roads are still wet I may have to reschedule. Moisture + new feet = blisters.

All-in-all I am proud of my success so far. I have been reading Christopher McDougall's Born To Run, which has been a great inspiration! I hope I can keep up my running and enjoy myself as much as the Terahumara.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Once Around The Lake

A Trail Tree... On The Trail :)

Today I got up the nerve to try trail running barefoot. Shortly after this run I read in Jason Rubillard's book, The Barefoot Running Book that I shouldn't be doing this for few more months. Oh well...

Let me just start by saying that TRAIL RUNNING IS FUN! It requires an active mind, even more than that of barefoot running on pavement. Amazingly, the human body almost does this naturally. I suppose years of evolution will do that to ya.

I had walked the trail before, in my shod days, and remembered some gravel. I know my limits, and I know that I am not comfortable running on gravel. There are also some spots that are right next to a major highway which may have contained trash. I figured it is better safe than sorry and carried my Crocs.

I apparently took the Jesus route...

I came across a group of four: two girls, a baby, and their dog. The look on one girls face when I came running by without shoes was priceless. I could see what was running through her head. It was something like, "Runner... Gotta move out of the... Oh look no shoes... Wait no shoes!?!..." She smiled and asked me, "Don't your feet hurt?" I just replied that they were fine and ran on, approaching their dog and greeting it enthusiastically. It was pretty stoked to see me.

As the trial went on I hit some really steep inclines, which I walked up. I didn't feel the need to run hard and hurt myself, especially since I would be stuck in the woods with two girls behind me to scrape me up.

One thing that gave me some major problems were the downhills. These were really long, steep inclines. Jason pointed out in The Barefoot Running Book to handle these situations by essentially decreasing the incline of the hill. He says to turn the body at a 45 degree angle and go down it skier style. He discusses it in the video below.

My feet... Well my feet are getting worn. I burnt myself on pavement a few weeks ago, and I had an extra layer of skin over the ball of my left toe. While I was running this trail the skin halfway came off and dangled the rest of the way. I came home and cut it off later, but the new skin is still kind of sore. Also, the outer parts of my big toe are worn every time I run. I understand this is due to pushing off instead of falling forward. Gotta work on that... Another thing I noticed is how my left foot is always more worn than my right. I believe this is due to a previous injury, broken right femur, which now causes me to unknowingly baby my right foot a bit more. I really need to work on my form I guess. I am just happy that I have the awesome ability to do the things that I am doing.

One other thing I want to point out, so I remember it next time, is the large amount of "debris" near the bridge. I don't know what they are feeding those ducks, but it sure is slimey...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I realized I have had a lot more success if I rest between runs. It allows time for my muscles to heal and my poor feet. I still have a burn mark on the bottom of my foot, but it doesn't hurt. It just looks and feels weird.

I decided to go a different route today, avoiding the mean dogs. The route was more flat, but I was able to put the most mileage on. I ran to the end of the road and back. Here's my run. All in all it was 2.87 miles. I am almost to that 5K point. I hope to keep improving so the 5k I want to run in June will be easy.

My heels kind of hurt, but I think that it is okay. Before I was babying them, now I am introducing them to a little more stress. I am starting to find my balance in barefoot running and I hope I can heal up in the next few days so I can do it again.

Adventure Days!

Although this isn't about barefoot running, it was a great adventure that was partially celebrated without shoes.

Whitney and I planned an adventure yesterday, and it was a great success! We rode The Greenbrier River Trail for about 11 miles(we started at the 3 mile point), then hopped in a conoe and went back down the river. That's a whole lot of work for finishing at the same spot you started, but we were able to see some really neat aspects of nature.

Here are some pictures!
It's not just a boulder... It's a rock!

I climbed up a waterfall

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What Should I Do About Scary Dogs While Running?

I am visiting some friends for a week. After running through their neighborhood I came across three dogs that were unleashed, but appeared to stay close to their yard. One of those dogs barked like crazy at me, chased me a bit(crossing the property line and down the road). Honestly, the dog seemed all bark and no bite, but it is still scary thinking that I may have to punch a dog in the face... yeah... that's whats scary...

So should I beat them or join them? I was told if I pepper-sprayed the dog it would most likely leave me alone, but I personally don't think it's the dogs fault if the owner doesn't cage it. A dog only knows as much as his owner teaches.

I was also considering giving it a treat, so when it sees me run it will salivate at the treat rather than at me. Would this reward for bad behavior really be a big deal?

If I lived here I would call the owners, but since its for such a short period of time I'm not going to bother. There are leash laws, but most people don't bother since it is a smaller neighborhood.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Testing The Waters

We drove up to West Virginia to raft the New River, ironically one of the oldest rivers in the world! It was awesome and much different than the last time we went, since the water level was much lower this time. We were able to hit rapids we couldn't even see before and jump off rocks into the water.

The company we chose was the same as last time, New & Gauley River Adventures. They are a cool mom and pop group that work hard for their business and treat the customers great. The tour guides are super fun and more than enthused to cater to your needs. That and they are significantly cheaper than the "polished" competitors. In my book, adventures don't need to be polished, they need to be exciting!

After a long day of rafting (~6 hours) we came home and ate dinner. I was debating on whether or not to run. My feet had been through a lot of moisture and I was afraid they would break easier. On the other hand, it was supposed to rain for the next few days. So I brought some Crocs along, laid them on the side of the road, and went running.

I was supposed to take a looped route, but I think I missed the road. Maybe I'll find it tomorrow. Here's my run! I found motivation when I was reaching the top of the hill, and at the same spot going down it. A dog started chasing after me and barking me. If it would have gotten near me I probably would have punched it, but it was all bark and no bite... *knocks on wood* People need to keep their dogs on leashes or caged in. Just a bit more up the hill I encountered another bigger, black dog, but he was nice and ran next to me and just looked at me funny when I talked to him(those were the brief periods that I stopped running). I was really hoping he wouldn't continue to follow me into the other dogs territory, as that could be bad for everyone. I ran back, took a shower, and chilled with the family.

After all that commotion my feet were kind of hurting, but only in the spots that I burned previously. One piece of skin was broken, and it was on the left of my big toe. I have to remember to lift my toes before I land! Other than that it was smooth, and now, the next morning, my feet feel fine. I have been stretching more, and I think that helps a lot.

Okay, well until next time... RUN ON!