Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Goal Race: Savin' The Girls 5K at Yahoola Creek Park

The alarm went off.

My body fills with excitement despite the five hours of sleep after a long night of work. Four months of training, all for this day. There is no way I am hitting snooze.

I debate with myself whether or not I should wet my hair and clean up a bit. I will be out in public... but these people are runners so they understand... but it will only take a second. I dunk my head under the shower-head and get it over with. "Ahh... That feels better."

I grab a granola bar, drink some coffee, finish my routine, and head out the door.

I started running four months ago. After taking note to my parents and their new found love of running, I decided to give it a try. It was late one night at the library. I had been studying for finals for five hours and my mind was starting to wander. Old thoughts of running stormed through my head. I was remembering my track days in seventh grade. I was remembering my awful shin-splints, staring down at my shoes, and wondering why the pain never went away.  I also, for some reason, remembered reading an article about barefoot running and its advantages. "Hmm... Well I am at school, without running shoes. I suppose I could try out the barefoot running thing..." I read multiple sites about barefoot running form and such, then went out and tried it. I ran one quarter mile lap and I was hooked. I decided not to run too far to avoid any chance of injury, but I wanted to try it again. I set my goals on the Savin' The Girls 5K hosted at Yahoola Creek Park in Dahlonega, Georgia on June 27, 2010. I have been barefoot running ever since.

Four months later Dave and I are lined up at the front of a pack of runners. I have ran one 5K before, and took some notes. I know that if I am not in the very front of the pack, on the start line, I will have to weave through the walkers. I tell Dave this. We both agree to start out in a sprint just to get ahead of the pack, then go from there.

Dave began running with me about a month ago. He picked up on the sport nicely, ran for two weeks, hurt his neck, didn't run for a week, and ran for the fourth. He told me he was running the Yahoola Creek race. I told him I was going to go hard on that race, but would like to meet up with him there and hang out.

The race coordinator counts down, "Three, two, one... GO!" I take off, leading the pack. Running beside me is a middle aged man. I know he is more experienced than me. His pace, his breathing... I don't know about this guy.

Within a quarter mile he is ahead of me. We plummet across a wood bridge, hit some light gravel, and start on a heavily graveled trail. I knew we would be running over this section. I clear my mind, watch where I step, and take each step carefully. I try to keep my pace up. The middle-aged man has broken away from me. Behind me, I hear nothing, but I know the others are coming. I keep my pace up, make my way to the asphalt, and make a sharp left. I can see him again, forty feet in front of me. I get the feeling he is probably going to beat me.

I quickly snap out of my thoughts. I have close to sixty people behind me. Worrying about the one in front of me isn't going to do me any good. Second place is really good for how long I have been running. I just need to keep my pace up and try my hardest. Second place is fine. Regrets are not. I tell myself to just run and not give up.

We run over the bridge and take a right. I know this area better than anyone else there. THIS IS MY SPOT! I haul up the slight incline and head back to the start point. We pass the finish line at 10:10. My body is drenched. I have been pushing hard and I'm starting to feel it, but there's NO WAY that we are finished. I ask, "How much longer 'till the finish?" She responds, "You have to go around again, then you'll be done." I smile and say, "Okay!" and run on.

After hearing that news I am slightly frustrated. The map didn't show two laps, but I guess if I came here to run, I better do it!

I push on, crossing the same bridge and hitting the gravel. At this point in the race my adrenaline has decreased and I can actually feel the gravel a bit more. It's not so great. I should have trained more on this gravel. "Go! Go! Go!" I tell myself. I hear the crunch of a shod runner behind me. Darnit! I have to go faster!

I step on the asphalt and run as fast as possible. The runner behind me, a sixteen year old in orange shorts and no shirt on, is next to me. We run side by side. I am tempted to say something nice and encouraging like, "Good pace!", but keep my mouth shut and just run. The kid and I approach the bridge and I pull away. I get the feeling he was sprinting. If I just keep this pace I can get second.

At this point I am weaving in and out of the walkers that are still on the first lap. They are very courteous and respective of the runners. They all seem to be keeping an eye out for runners. I hear a woman exclaim, "What do you mean we have to go around this again?" I crack a smile.

Around the turn that leads back to the circle I sneak a peek of the kid. He is ten feet behind me. That is nothing at the end of the race. I slightly pace myself at my already-faster-than-usual pace and aim for the finish. I hear him behind me as we go down a slight incline. I hear heavy breaths on top of stomps behind me. I think, "He is only slowing himself down by stomping the ground." I remind myself of my last 5K, where I was the slow one going down hills. Now the tables have turned and I am at an advantage. My feet graze the ground as I conserve my motion.

We hit the circle. I can see the finish line but I know I am no where near done. I am going to have to pull something to keep this kid off me. I wait until there is about half a lap. I try to anticipate his comeback. When is he going to do it? When is he going to sneak a sprint? I run. C'mon! Do it already!

His breaths get closer. I run as fast as possible. My legs are burning and my mouth is pumping in air. I hear the same behind me. His heavy breaths follow mine. This is anyones race.

There is less than a tenth of a mile left. I run. I really run. I put everything into it. He is getting closer. I can't let him catch me. I hear something. The sounds of glory? Maybe, but those are definitely the sounds of dry heaving. He is running so hard that he is about to puke! I keep running. The dry heaving continues, but he keeps going. I feel myself pull away in time and cross the finish line at 20:51. Eight seconds later, he does. I calm down and walk around. I grab some water and go straight for my dessert, the grass. See, barefoot running doesn't hurt, but grass feels awesome!

Hosted by

after seeing how close together the pictures were taken, I had to animate it

I ask myself, "Could I have run that race any better? Do I regret anything about the last twenty minutes and and fifty-one seconds?" Nope. I am happy. Four months of training and hard work allowed me to get the best time I have ever achieved on a 5K. To say I was happy was an understatement.

Dave finished at 25:51! In my opinion, this is a great time for someone who as only been running for a month.

After the race Dave and I meet up with some of his friends and talked. I speak with the kid that finished behind me. I congratulated him and talked barefoot running with his parents.

I look off in the field and see my parents. I say, "I'm already done." They laugh and ask me how I did. I tell my dad I owe him a dollar.

Here's the deal. My dad told me he would pay my race fee, $25. For every place I lose I owe him a dollar. If I win, I don't owe him anything. Pretty sweet deal unless you get stomped.

My dad asks me who beat me. I said, "Some older guy." and pointed off to the winner. We approach him and my dad asks, "What was your time?" He responds 18:56. My dad, impressed, laughs, and we start talking. The guy thinks its cool that I ran barefoot. He says, "Yeah in that gravel section you didn't even have a chance." I laugh, because it is true.

 My Dad, Dave, Tom, and I Discuss The Race

I tell him about the deal between my dad and I. He says, "Well, I respect the fact that you ran it barefoot. I'll give ya a dollar for that!" He runs off and returns with a dollar and runs away. I hand it off to my dad. The deal is done!

I recollect my morning and the past four months. I am pleased with myself. This doesn't happen often, so it feels extra good. I head home to relax. I am happy.

warmin' up before the race(rough gravel section)
around here, most races start with a prayer

Runkeeper Map(I made this after-words):

Race Results:
********** AGE-GROUP RESULTS **********

                            Savin' The Girls 5K
                           @ Yahoola Creek Park
                            Dahlonega, Georgia
                          Saturday, June 26, 2010

                Results Provided By Runners Fit Race Works

               ********** FEMALE OVERALL RESULTS ***********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1     7 Christy Elliott                 36 Gainesville, GA       21:59  7:05 

                ********** MALE OVERALL RESULTS ***********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1     1 Tom Eckel                       57 Milford, OH           18:56  6:06 

               ********* FEMALE AGE GROUP:  1 - 10 *********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1   102 Karlee Armstrong                 7 Dahlonega, GA         35:18 11:22 
       2   142 Madison Shook                   10 Demorest, GA          45:59 14:48 

                ********* MALE AGE GROUP:  1 - 10 *********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1    16 Riley Herndon                    8 Dawsonville, GA       23:36  7:36 
       2    30 Tyler Tate                      10 Cartersville, GA      25:49  8:19 
       3    61 Derek Nutt                      10 Dawsonville, GA       29:37  9:32 
       4   110 Evan Minter                     10 Ellijay, GA           36:02 11:36 
       5   113 Clay Ott                         7 Ellijay, GA           36:34 11:46 
       6   134 Canon Wood                       7 Dahlonega, GA         42:58 13:50 

              ********* FEMALE AGE GROUP:  11 - 14 *********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1    29 Brook Loggins                   11 Clarkesville, GA      25:44  8:17 
       2    40 Destiny Tate                    12 Cartersville, GA      27:31  8:52 
       3    50 Hannah Caufman                  12 Demorest, GA          28:46  9:16 
       4   126 Ally Schnetzer                  14 Dunwoody, GA          39:56 12:51 

               ********* MALE AGE GROUP:  11 - 14 *********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1    11 Bret Aldridge                   14 Dahlonega, GA         22:38  7:17 
       2    17 Jimmy Grunfelder                14 Dahlonega, GA         24:24  7:52 
       3    23 Drew Bodney                     13 Dahlonega, GA         25:09  8:06 
       4   148 Braden Crabtree                 14 Roswell, GA           49:07 15:49 
       5   149 Tiger Greene                    12 Alpharetta, GA        49:07 15:49 

              ********* FEMALE AGE GROUP:  15 - 19 *********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1    13 Danielle Cureton                19 Cumming, GA           23:04  7:26 
       2    35 Savannah Anderson               16 Dahlonega, GA         26:39  8:35 
       3    88 Jaymelea Whitfield              16 Cleveland, GA         32:51 10:35 
       4    94 Phoebe Dinkler                  16 Fayetville, GA        33:37 10:50 
       5    97 Rachel Black                    16 Cleveland, GA         34:45 11:11 
       6   115 Magge Holly                     15 Cumming, GA           36:45 11:50 
       7   120 Katie Schnetzer                 16 Dunwoody, GA          39:00 12:34 

               ********* MALE AGE GROUP:  15 - 19 *********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1     3 Keith Aldridge                  16 Dahlonega, GA         20:59  6:45 
       2    15 Joseph Dinkler                  15 Fayetville, GA        23:32  7:35 
       3   165 Tyler Edelberg                  17 Dahlonega, GA         59:50 19:16 

              ********* FEMALE AGE GROUP:  20 - 29 *********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1     9 Tana Martin                     29 Dahlonega, GA         22:33  7:16 
       2    18 Julie Smith                     22 Dahlonega, GA         24:27  7:53 
       3    34 Ashley McIntyre                 25 Cumming, GA           26:38  8:35 
       4    55 Mallory Sadler                  25 Pendegrass, GA        28:51  9:18 
       5    58 Joy Bramblett                   24 Gainesville, GA       29:03  9:21 
       6    70 Starla Prickett                 26 Gainesville, GA       30:43  9:53 
       7    72 Holly Carpenter Desai           29 Hoschton, GA          30:49  9:56 
       8    74 Alyssa Esco                     20 Braselton, GA         31:00  9:59 
       9    84 Kira Barcus                     25 Dahlonega, GA         32:25 10:26 
      10    85 Negin Akbarshahi                25 Alpharetta, GA        32:31 10:28 
      11    86 Michelle Bagwell                22 Cumming, GA           32:39 10:31 
      12    87 Lisa Dickey                     29 Dalton, GA            32:50 10:35 
      13    90 Hope Myers                      29 Dahlonega, GA         33:02 10:38 
      14   111 Elizabeth Carter                25 Gainesville, GA       36:10 11:39 
      15   139 Erin Buchanan                   27 Canton, GA            45:08 14:32 
      16   140 Rogers Bethann                  21 Cleveland, GA         45:08 14:32 
      17   153 Meghan Shannon                  21 Gainesville, GA       52:55 17:02 
      18   160 Kelly Phillips                  28 Cumming, GA           56:38 18:14 
      19   161 Kelly Todd                      21 Dahlonega, GA         57:44 18:35 
      20   166 Candace Wells                   24 Dahlonega, GA       1:00:16 19:24 

               ********* MALE AGE GROUP:  20 - 29 *********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1     2 Tyler Rusk                      20 Dahlonega, GA         20:51  6:43 
       2     4 Marc Dahlquist                  28 Cumming, GA           21:40  6:59 
       3    10 Andrew Pfeiffer                 24 Dahllonega, GA        22:37  7:17 
       4    28 Zach Anderson                   20 Dahlonega, GA         25:43  8:17 
       5    32 Kirk Lundquist                  24 Dawsonville, GA       26:13  8:27 
       6    46 Ben Ellgass                     20 Dahlonega, GA         28:18  9:07 
       7    52 Anthony Sadler                  21 Pendegrass, GA        28:48  9:17 

              ********* FEMALE AGE GROUP:  30 - 39 *********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1    19 Jennifer Nutt                   38 Dawsonville, GA       24:29  7:53 
       2    27 Jaime Herndon                   33 Dawsonville, GA       25:41  8:16 
       3    36 Catherine Allen                 36 Cumming, GA           27:11  8:45 
       4    37 Karen Battles                   38 Dahlonega, GA         27:15  8:46 
       5    39 Susan Holman                    32 Gaineseville, GA      27:28  8:51 
       6    43 Dana Mincey                     32 Dahlonega, GA         27:44  8:56 
       7    51 Jill Graham                     35 Dawsonville, GA       28:47  9:16 
       8    63 Ashley Trammell                 32 Dawsonville, GA       30:11  9:43 
       9    67 Amy Thraikill                   39 Dahlonega, GA         30:25  9:48 
      10    69 Dawn Sosebee                    36 Gainesville, GA       30:38  9:52 
      11    71 Alycia Gravitt                  31 Cumming, GA           30:46  9:55 
      12    73 Sarah Formica                   36 Dahlonega, GA         30:58  9:58 
      13    79 Christina Everett               38 Cumming, GA           31:55 10:17 
      14    82 Dana LaPrade                    37 Clarkesville, GA      32:15 10:23 
      15    83 Jennifer Hester                 37 Gainesville, GA       32:20 10:25 
      16    92 Julie Windham                   30 Dahlonega, GA         33:25 10:46 
      17    93 Angela Crane                    32 Dawsonville, GA       33:28 10:47 
      18    96 Jenna Marshall                  36 Dahlonega, GA         34:11 11:00 
      19    98 Misty Grizzle                   38 Dahlonega, GA         34:54 11:14 
      20    99 Bridgett Calhoun                36 Dawsonville, GA       34:56 11:15 
      21   103 Jennifer Lancaster              34 Dahlonega, GA         35:44 11:30 
      22   109 Valerie Fambrough               30 Dahlonega, GA         36:00 11:36 
      23   123 Alisha Matthews                 37 Dahlonega, GA         39:27 12:42 
      24   131 Kristina Millican               36 Clermont, GA          42:08 13:34 
      25   135 Jessica Gabrels                 31 Clarkesville, GA      43:01 13:51 
      26   137 Jennifer Foster                 33 Cumming, GA           44:14 14:15 
      27   143 Tonya Stewart                   38 Jefferson, GA         46:01 14:49 
      28   144 Angie Kemp                      35 Gainesville, GA       46:27 14:57 
      29   145 Sherry Sutton                   38 Moultrie, GA          46:30 14:58 
      30   146 Jennifer Moye                   37 Dawsonville, GA       47:15 15:13 
      31   147 Jodi Scroggins                  32 Dawsonville, GA       47:20 15:15 
      32   150 Nichelle Lucas                  36 Snellville, GA        49:22 15:54 
      33   156 Candace Sosebee                 34 Cumming, GA           53:02 17:04 
      34   157 Shannan Wade                    34 Dawsonville, GA       53:03 17:05 
      35   158 Jacquelyn Bowden                31 Dahlonega, GA         53:19 17:10 
      36   163 Joy Edelberg                    36 Dahlonega, GA         59:49 19:16 
      37   164 Tina Brown                      39 Dahlonega, GA         59:50 19:16 

               ********* MALE AGE GROUP:  30 - 39 *********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1     6 Anthony Montoya                 37 Gainesville, GA       21:58  7:05 
       2     8 Dean Dewey                      35 Cartersville, GA      22:25  7:13 
       3    12 Tony Ledford                    36 Commerce, GA          22:38  7:17 
       4    14 Tim Ferguson                    37 Dahlonega, GA         23:29  7:34 
       5    20 Steven Nutt                     39 Dawsonville, GA       24:47  7:59 
       6    24 Don Farr                        38 Cumming, GA           25:13  8:07 
       7    25 Erick Phelps                    36 Bradenton, FL         25:23  8:11 
       8    45 Ricky Cornett                   39 Dahlonega, GA         28:16  9:06 
       9    47 Chris Dowdy                     35 Cleveland, GA         28:35  9:12 
      10    48 Andrew Woznicki                 32 Dawsonville, GA       28:44  9:15 
      11    56 Chad Turket                     30 Gainesville, GA       28:59  9:20 
      12    62 Jay Davis                       30 Dahlonega, GA         29:57  9:39 
      13    64 Daniel Herrick                  38 Dahlonega, GA         30:15  9:44 
      14    95 Christopher Sosbee              39 Gainesville, GA       34:04 10:58 
      15   119 Kevin Holman                    35 Gainesville, GA       38:25 12:22 
      16   154 Kenneth Millican                34 Clermont, GA          53:00 17:04 
      17   159 Gary Jordan                     36 Gainesville, GA       54:10 17:26 

              ********* FEMALE AGE GROUP:  40 - 49 *********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1    33 Stefanie Carroll                40 Dahlonega, GA         26:32  8:33 
       2    54 Mary Minter                     43 Ellijay, GA           28:51  9:17 
       3    57 Carol Holly                     45 Cumming, GA           29:01  9:21 
       4    60 Glenda Strickland               41 Moultrie, GA          29:35  9:32 
       5    65 Carla Rauth                     49 Dahlonega, GA         30:17  9:45 
       6    75 Julie Roberts                   43 Cumming, GA           31:01  9:59 
       7    77 Betsy Gagnes                    47 Dahlonega, GA         31:32 10:09 
       8    80 J. Lynn Anderson                46 Dahlonega, GA         32:06 10:20 
       9    89 Stacy Reichert                  43 Dahlonega, GA         32:52 10:35 
      10   101 Lisa Aldridge                   46 Dahlonega, GA         35:08 11:19 
      11   105 Jill Armstrong                  40 Dahlonega, GA         35:46 11:31 
      12   108 Jere Lynn Whitfield             49 Cleveland, GA         35:58 11:35 
      13   112 Samantha Gay                    42 Gainesville, GA       36:16 11:41 
      14   114 Betsy Gagne                     47 Dahlonega, GA         36:34 11:47 
      15   117 Leslie Caufman                  40 Demorest, GA          37:55 12:13 
      16   118 Sandy Ott                       40 Ellijay, GA           38:08 12:17 
      17   124 Stacy Crabtree                  42 Roswell, GA           39:40 12:46 
      18   125 Marsha Greene                   47 Alpharetta, GA        39:54 12:51 
      19   127 Debbie Schnetzer                43 Dunwoody, GA          39:59 12:53 
      20   128 Angela Erwin                    42 Cleveland, GA         40:01 12:53 
      21   132 Melanie Vaughan                 42 Dawsonville, GA       42:33 13:42 
      22   133 Paula Smith                     46 Dawsonville, GA       42:58 13:50 

               ********* MALE AGE GROUP:  40 - 49 *********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1    21 Brett Minter                    41 Ellijay, GA           24:59  8:03 
       2    22 Tim Strickland                  44 Moultrie, GA          25:08  8:06 
       3    31 David Corbacchioli              41 Dahlonega, GA         25:51  8:19 
       4    38 Jem Clement                     48 Clarkesville, GA      27:16  8:47 
       5    42 Doug Minnear                    41 Dahlonega, GA         27:38  8:54 
       6    44 Keith Andrew                    49 Dahlonega, GA         28:04  9:02 
       7    49 Douglas Gibson                  42 Cumming, GA           28:45  9:16 
       8    53 Robert Rickert                  42 Dawsonville, GA       28:50  9:17 
       9    66 Kevin Strohman                  46 Commerce, GA          30:24  9:47 
      10    76 Mark Sills                      46 Murrayville, GA       31:03 10:00 
      11    81 Robert Ledford                  43 Gainesville, GA       32:12 10:22 
      12    91 Russell Caufman                 43 Demorest, GA          33:19 10:44 
      13   104 Neil Armstrong                  40 Dahlonega, GA         35:44 11:30 
      14   136 Robert Foster                   47 Cumming, GA           43:05 13:52 
      15   155 Noah Reichert                   43 Dahlonega, GA         53:01 17:04 

              ********* FEMALE AGE GROUP:  50 - 59 *********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1   106 Becky Thompson                  51 Dahlonega, GA         35:53 11:33 
       2   121 Wanda Bryant                    54 Cleveland, GA         39:07 12:36 
       3   122 Sally Kelley                    53 Dahlonega, GA         39:19 12:40 
       4   129 Barbara Myers                   58 Dahlonega, GA         40:22 13:00 
       5   138 Jamie Smith                     57 Roswell, GA           44:29 14:20 
       6   141 Sherry Rogers                   52 Clevenad, GA          45:58 14:48 
       7   151 Sarah Shannon                   50 Fayetville, GA        49:37 15:59 
       8   167 Debbie Head                     50 Dahlonega, GA       1:00:17 19:25 

               ********* MALE AGE GROUP:  50 - 59 *********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1    26 Perry Steger                    51 Griffin, GA           25:36  8:15 
       2    59 Bruce Pilgrim                   54 Dahlonega, GA         29:10  9:24 
       3    78 David Watson                    57 Dahlonega, GA         31:54 10:17 
       4   100 Michael Brown                   58 Warner Robins, GA     34:57 11:15 
       5   107 Jim Higgins                     51 Dahlonega, GA         35:53 11:33 
       6   152 Matt Shannon                    52 Fayetville, GA        49:49 16:02 

              ********* FEMALE AGE GROUP:  60 - 99 *********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1   162 Trish Higgins                   60 Dahlonega, GA         58:09 18:43 

               ********* MALE AGE GROUP:  60 - 99 *********

   Place O'All Name                           Age Hometown            Time    Pace  
   ===== ===== ============================== === =================== ======= ===== 
       1     5 Wes Wessely                     62 Clermont, GA          21:54  7:03 
       2    41 John Bryant                     66 Hayesville, NC        27:38  8:54 
       3    68 Tom Deal                        72 Dawsonville, GA       30:25  9:48 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Goal Complete!

Hey guys. I just finished the 5 kilometer race I have been looking forward to since I started running. This is a major benchmark in my running, since(with anything) I set a goal and didn't fail! Thanks everyone for all the great advice you have given. I ended up in second place and getting a 20:15. This is the best time I have ever gotten on a 5 kilometer run. I'll write a race review later.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Gathering Statistics

Jason Robillard and I are gathering statistics about runners so we can write a personalized training schedule that is more specific than those on other sites. In order to do this we need to gather statistics. Please go here and take the questionnaire. It will only take a minute and will help us and potentially you in the near future!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


My last two runs have been great. I ran ten miles each time and increased my pace to 9:30ish/mile on the second. Today I tried running and I just sucked.

I gave myself a day of rest since my last ten miler. I hydrated the night before and had a nice breakfast. I got out of my car, started running, and everything just sucked.

I developed a blister on my big toe from sprinting at the end of my first ten miler this week. My second ten miler didn't bother it, so I just kept on going. It was hurting the day after my second ten miler this week, so I soaked it in Epsom Salt and warm water. It helped.

Anyway, so I start running today and I just feel tight and uncomfortable. I try to keep a 10 minutes/mile pace, but I couldn't even do that running in quarter mile circles. I tried to go other places, hit some hills, etc, but everything just felt wrong. About a quarter of the way up my big hill I decided to stop. My Achilles heal was hurting, as well as the top of my foot. I know those aren't great signs, so I stopped. Walking back to my car I told myself that I am doing the right thing by playing it safe, but it sucks going from running ten miles to barely being able to run two.

I think a large majority of my problem was the lack of sleep that I got last night. Maybe I can catch up on my sleep and feel better.

This Saturday is my goal race(note my labels: Stages 1 and 2, Stage 3...). I am going to try to run this race as fast as I can. I think I am going to not run for the rest of the week. It will be hard, but I know I need to heal.

I am thinking there will be a road of gravel in the race. I have ran it three or four times and every time I am more comfortable with it. My feet are really starting to develop into some nice transportation units!

Thanks for reading and if you have any tips for getting over the "I feel terrible." feeling, please let me know.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Am A Socialite

Okay, well not really, but I did talk to quite a few people today while running.

First, my Dad and I went out to run. Dave showed up and ran with me while my Dad took a different route. My Dad is being really smart about transitioning to his Vibram Five Fingers. He is upping his miles slowly and doesn't claim to have any pain. We were all running next to me and my dad mentioned that, from left to right, we were sloping more minimally, from shod(Dave), to minimal(Dad), to barefoot(me).

Dave took me on a cool shortcut that reduced the amount of time we had to run next to the busy road. I am all for that. I like peaceful times.

When Dave and I approached the parking lot, my Dad was talking to a woman. I figured she was asking him about his shoes, then I saw him point to me and I was pretty certain I would be talking to someone about running barefoot. I was surprised by her first question, which wasn't the typical "Doesn't that hurt?", but "How does that affect your speed?" I told her I honestly didn't have an answer, since I didn't start running in shoes. We talked about RunKeeper and we were both having problems with it throwing a random point one mile away. I turned 3G and Data Roaming off on my phone and turned 3G off on hers. WiFi was already off on both. I think it worked better after I did that.

During that time, some older people we know came walking by. The man joked about joining together to buy me some shoes. His wife, who was extremely supportive, said, "He's got it right! Now he doesn't have to buy a $100 pair of running shoes!" Darn right! I joked, "Yeah well I figure my mom made this for me, I might-as-well wear them." She agreed and was super enthusiastic.

I then did my second run, ran by a few people who I just said, "Good Morning!" to and smiled. They seemed cool. One woman was really concerned.

Her: "You're not running barefoot are you!?!?"
Me: "Yep, it feels great."
Her: "Okay then... if that's what you want to do..."(or something like that. I was running and any negative feedback is just ran away from.)

Which reminds me. The other day I was called "Bananas." Let me explain.
Walking Man: Ouch doesn't that hurt!?!
Me: No it feels great.(as you can tell this is my typical response)
Walking Man: Okay whatever bananas.
 So yep. I suppose I am getting popular in the Yahoola area. Whatever, I am just running the way I want.

Anyway(sorry about rambling there), I ran about three more miles after everyone left. The asphalt was getting hot hot hot, so I ran fast.

Okay, so judging by the conversations above maybe I'm not a "socialite", possibly just the local nutcase.

I Want To Go To There

I remembered reading about this one time, but I totally forgot until now.

Ladies and gents, I am going to make a treadmill desk. I found a $25 manual treadmill on Craigslist. I will probably pick it up tomorrow.

See where it levels off? That is where the desk portion will be. Awesomesauce! I can now do two of my favorite things: walk/run while browsing the internet or programming!

Up uP UP!

I am glad to see my milage is going up. I have almost ran the same amount of miles I ran last month and this month is only halfway over. SWEET!

I met a really cool runner on my long run day. He was training for marathons and was doing eighteen miles in a loop. We discussed nutrition and different aspects of running. We are going to run a half or full marathon in October.

I noticed last time I ran my ten miles I got hungry around mile 7. I brought a nutritional fiber bar with me on my long day and it held me over quite nicely. I ran and ate. A friend of mine was there with his black lab. That dog is sweet! I ran with him for about a half mile and my pace went up one mile per hour. That dog is crazy! Later, I hit ten miles and was like, "Woah! I'm not really that tired. I'm gonna run another!" So I ran somewhere around eleven miles that day. I want to get my long runs longer anyway.

I then ran a mile with the cool runner guy. By ran, I mean chased after him as he upped his pace on his last mile. I was impressed.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Dad's Transition To Barefoot Running, My "Counterfeit" Vibram Five Fingers, And Anything Else On My Mind

I started writing this as just a short blog post, but after twenty minutes of typing I realized it would be much more. If you read this, or even skim through it, thank you!

A Spark of Interest
My father called me as I was driving to a restaurant. He asked, "Does that store down the street have those Five Finger shoes?" This surprised me, as he always seemed to doubt my barefoot running. I said, "They do, but not the kind you want." I assumed he wanted KSOs since they are what everyone seems to be using. I cut the call short, not wanting to give a huge speech on barefoot running over the phone, and told him to wait until I got home.

I think to myself, "What could have caused this sudden change in thought?" Then I remembered, I let him borrow Born To Run, by Christopher McDougall. He must have hit one of the last chapters where it basically explains some of the benefits of barefoot and minimalist running.

I explained to him that he needed to be comfortable running barefoot before buying them so he could learn to run right. He said, "I am going to, I just want to wear them when I go to out to the store and stuff so I can work the muscles in my feet." Fair enough.

So the next day I was planning on running five kilometers run as fast as I could. We met at the park and I ran next to him, giving him tips. We went slow, so I could run and talk at the same time. He only wanted to do one mile. I actually suggested a quarter mile, but it sucks to drive somewhere to run and only run a quarter mile. That and he wears his fifteen year old Dockers a lot, which are quite minimalist, at least at this point. Maybe his muscles are a little more developed than the average beginner?

I tried to make him not run strictly on the balls of his feet and actually land mid-foot and gently land on the heel. He had a hard time doing this. I am going to read some articles tonight about barefoot running and figure out what he may be doing wrong. This left him with a tiny blister and discomfort the day-after-next day he ran shod.

Here's my five kilometer run by-the-way. It was in fact the fastest I have ran five kilometers at 24:20. This was almost two minutes faster than my last attempt at a fast five kilometer run, which was at my previous race.

The Hunt
Later that day we went out in search of the infamous Vibram Five Finger KSO model. It was like finding a needle in the hay stack. We went to one REI, they didn't have squat. The second REI we went to had only the classic and one other model, but did measure our feet for us. They did this without the Vibram measuring tool, just using a measuring tape. They told me I was probably a 40. REI did help us out by mentioning that they were even sending people to their competitors to find the shoes. They were kind of enough to list those competitors, Half Moon and Abbadabbas.

So, next stop, Half Moon! We arrive and start hunting for the shoe department. The store was kind of small, but had a second level. As soon as we found the shoe department and spotted the Vibrams I walked back and requested assistance. We told the salesman, Dusty, our sizes. He said that he didn't have anything in my dads size, but my size may be available.  He brought out the best he could find, which were a size 41 Mens KSO in grey/palm/clay. These fit comfortably, a little too comfortably.

The sizing chart said I was a 38 or 39, so these were probably too loose. I tried to run in them, they felt great but my feet slid a tiny bit. I know that if my feet are sliding when I am thinking about my form, they will most definitely after ten miles of do-or-die.

I asked him if he had anything smaller and he said he didn't. This was so frustrating, so close yet so far! He then perked up and remembered woman's sizes. He ran to the back, and came back with a womans 39 in the same color. I tried to put them on, but my foot was crushed. Darn! He saw my feet were scrunched, skipped the 40 and brought out a 41. He said that size 41 was kind of a middle ground, where 41 is about the same size in both mens and womens. Luckily, it was a tiny bit smaller. I slipped one on my left foot and it felt a tiny bit snug. I put the other one on my right and noticed it too felt a little bit snug, but something cool happened. I had spent so much time trying to put on the right shoe that I forgot the left shoe was even on! These shoes will work!

Meanwhile my dad was trying on other models. He found a 43/44 worked for him.

After some running around the limited space in the store we bought mine. I was doing work with my dad later that day and he paid for them, telling me that this was pay for the work I was doing. Sweet! Kind-of-free Vibram Five Fingers!

So what's next? My poor dad could not find his size in the KSO. Luckily there was still hope.  We called Abbadabbas, and had them put some on hold for two hours. I was really surprised they had them. We had to go do the job so we could hit it on the way back.

When we got to the job, the persons mother was there waiting for us. She was wearing running shorts and a shirt from some kind of running event(I forget). My dad mentioned that I run barefoot, and while she never tried to run barefoot, she was interested and brought up Born To Run. It is really neat meeting other runners and hearing about what they have to say. She actually did triathalons. She has all my respect. I can't swim for the life of me.

After spending thirty minutes battling Atlanta traffic we  walked in, informed her that they were holding them for us. She asked us our names, because "the people who called about the Vibram Five Fingers" was not enough. Apparently there were something like sixteen pairs on hold! Oh my god these shoes are selling like crack!

After spending five minutes putting them on, my dad said they felt right. We compared how they fit and agreed that it was the right size. He noted that they felt like his heels were going to slide out, but didn't. He had read this in reviews as well, so didn't put much thought into it since the rest of the shoe felt great.

The sales-man asked us what we were using them for. We both replied, "Running." He talked about how a lot of people that he has met swear by Vibram Five Fingers. My dad talked about how he was reading Born To Run and said, "I'm just trying to buy some time with my knees. They aren't bad now, but I want to keep them that way." This was great to hear. I sure hope this barefoot/minimalist running/lifestyle is for the best!

Counterfeit Vibram Five Fingers?
I started talking to the salesman, who was a really great guy! We discussed barefoot running and I informed him that it really doesn't take that long to get used to it. Somewhere in our conversation I mentioned that we had just bought my Vibram Five Fingers and the only difference I could see between the mens and the womens were that the mens had Vibram written on one foot, and the womens had Vibram written on both.

He immediately said, "Umm... Where did you get those from? We have been told that a lot of the fakes have Vibram written on both feet." I told him it was from an authorized dealer, but could some fakes somehow have gotten in the batch? At this point profanity was running through my head. He asked me to take off my shoe so he could compare them. Here are the differences that he spotted.

1.  The Vibram logo was on both feet:
 My dad's right shoe is on the left

2.  The Vibram logo was written slightly different on the side.
 Once again, my dad's shoe is on the left. Note how mine stand our more and have more glue around them

3.  The rubber looked a slightly different shade of grey.
 My Dad's are on the left. Although dirty, his are a bit darker

The greens looked slightly different.
Dad's are on the left. My greens are a bit more gold

The Vibram logo on the bottom looked a little less bright.
 The flash kind of screwed this picture up, but mine are a tiny less bright

At this point I was really mad and confused. I called Half Moon. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey, I just bought some Vibram Five Fingers from you. I am at another retailer and the sales-guy is pointing out all these differences between the model you sold me and his. Some of these differences are signs of fakes. Is there any way I can verify that these are real?

Dusty: Yeah man all of our Vibrams are real. We get them straight from Vibram. I am 100% confident that they are real. If you want to bring them back it's fine, but I am positive they are legit.

Me: Okay, that's fine. I don't mean to be accusatory, but I was just checking. You guys seemed cool, I was just kind of looking out for you too.

Halfway through this conversation I was walking around the store, looking for and praying for evidence that my Vibram Five Fingers KSO model was real. Then, I spotted the new Vibram Five Finger Bikila. I showed it to the salesman and it was constructed similarly. A lot of the things that were "wrong" on my shoe was also "wrong" on them. At this point I was slightly relieved but stil pretty confused.

The sales-lady called Vibram and asked them about it. Apparently the first of the newer models that they manufactured were manufactured "incorrectly", the most noticeable "flaw" being the Vibram logo on both feet. This was also true for some other models, including the Bikila and KSO. I assume all the other "wrongs" were due to them just being newer models. The models were structurally sound, they just had some originality!

Thank God! This was the best news all day, besides the fact that they even stocked the shoes I wanted. We thanked the people at Abbadabbas. They were super happy to figure out what the problem was, even though I didn't buy the shoes at their store.

I did owe someone an apology though. I called Dusty from Half Moon back and notified him of what I just learned. I apologized for accusing him and the store of anything being fake. He said it was fine and seemed interested to learn the same information I did.

Finding Balance
That day and the next my dad and I tested out our Vibram Five Fingers KSOs. My dad said he walked around in them a lot. I didn't so much.

I figure that I am really happy with being barefoot. I want to be barefoot as much as possible. The places I can't go barefoot, like school, I will wear them. Until that occasion arises, I will just be Barefoot Tyler.

The next day my dad complained about different muscles hurting him. Keep in mind, this was only after running barefoot, not in Vibrams. This soreness was not in his feet, but elsewhere in his body. He ran that day, shod, and couldn't remember which muscles hurt. He also spoke of a blister on the bottom of his foot from running barefoot and how the skin on his heels hurt.  I assured him that I would be running the next day and we could run barefoot for another mile and work out the kinks.  I intend on looking up some barefoot running instructions so I have something to think about while watching him run.

All-in-all, my Vibram Five Fingers are cool. I wore them today since the weather was in the high eighties and the sun was shining bright. I have burnt my feet. It stinks. I just walked around a bit in them. It definitely is not barefoot and should not be called barefoot, but it is a step in the right direction. Woah, that was punny. I think my cushion-less Walmart aqua socks have more ground feel, but they are hotter and more restrictive. 

Like I said before, I don't actually intend on running with my Vibram Five Fingers. I like to feel the ground and get feedback from it to my body. I really enjoy it. The Vibram Five Fingers will be saved for events where I need to dress my feet all fancy and junk. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My First Ten Miles

I ran my first ten miles the other day. I hydrated by drinking two liters of water the night before and ate some Raisin Bran the day of. I got hungry around mile eight, but held it together to finish. I wasn't really shooting for a specific time, I just wanted to know I could do it.

Here's a video and some pictures to go with it!

Although my feet look a bit battered(I thought this in the video), after I washed them they looked smooth and pretty.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blah Trail Run

So I did a trail run around the lake again. Let me say just say, I was miserable. I was feeling great through the first 1/4 of the run, then I degraded from there. Toward the end every step was painful and every step was work. I think this is mostly due to 1) dehydration and 2) lack of food.

I have a new pre-run diet that I tested yesterday, and it most certainly works out great.

So what good came out of this run? Well I did work pretty hard, broke a sweat, etc, but I also snagged some great pictures.

 Anyone know what kind of flowers these are?

 I like the mark of the man and the dog. Kind of says something about the man eh?

 Another great thing about this run was the amount of trash that I collected. I picked up a Walmart bag full of trash! Thanks Serious Case of the Runs for the great idea!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

LSD On The Lake

My last trip to the lake left me zombied and not feeling so swell. I knew I needed to change something. I decided to run with a Camelbak and do some LSD.

Long Slow Distance running is a way to keep the heart rate lower. Some people use heart-rate monitors. I choose to just breathe through my nose.

I slugged along around the trail, taking my time, enjoying the views, and focusing on running light. This went great!

I reduced the impact of my running, which in turn hurt less when I stepped on a rock. I could tolerate running on a trail and actually get enjoyment out of it.

I have been told to add a long slow distance run to my workout once a week for a number of reasons. Some excellent proof of it working is on Barry's Blog.

Another thing I noticed was my attention level. Sometimes I like to get lost in a run and just think about things. Typically I will zone out, realize I am still running, and find humor in it. During this run I zoned out some, but it felt different than other times. I was really relaxed. I think this has to do with my convenient water source and the slower pace.

All-in-all it was a great run. I saw some neat things, like this cool ant pile!

I also checked up on someones GeoCache. They just told me where it was so I could make sure it was still there.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Barefoot Ken Bob's Workshop - Peachtree City, GA

*Sings* I met Barefoot Ken Bob! I met Barefoot Ken Bob! *Sings*

I don't think I could have met the great Barefoot Ken Bob at a better time in my barefoot running adventure. I have had time to learn from the internet and advance to a point of comfort, but still need to work out some kinks.

We met up at Drake Field. My parents drove me down there, since they wanted to GeoCache around there anyway. After searching, a group of barefoot people appeared over the horizon. They all seemed to be talking and enjoying themselves. This must be the place!

The first known person I spotted, well besides Barefoot Ken Bob, was Barefoot TJ from Barefoot Runners Society. She greeted me with a hug. She is so nice.

Within twenty seconds Mokaman, also from Barefoot Runners Society, came up and shook my hand. I had vaguely remembered him from the site, but I wasn't sure what he looked like. We talked about the Appalachian Mountains and the various trails out there. I think I need to hang out with this guy more. He seems really cool.

After wondering around I found that I did not drive the farthest to get there, two hours, but someone from South Carolina was there! He was a cool dude. I think his name was James, or Justin, or something like that. This just shows how far people are willing to travel to get some of the best barefooting instruction this world has to offer.

There were some great people there!

Barefoot Ken Bob took the stage with his dog, Herman. He went over some of the basic things that are covered on his How To Run section of his site.He took questions, then took us on a group run through Drake Field and along the asphalt trail that goes around it. There was a spot with clay, which made some beautiful art across the asphalt.

We began running on the asphalt trail. During this time I caught up to him and asked him about running through really rocky trails. He summed it up as, "If you are jumping around to avoid the rocks more than going forward, you might-as-well just run straight through the rocks." Great advice! I tried this today and it holds true!

After that he gave autographs, answered some more questions, and took pictures. He signed my shirt and took a picture with me. 

Let me just say. This man loves what he does and truly enjoys his life. He is constantly smiling and always supportive. The way he acted with his wife(she is deaf) was great to see. He is patient and loving of her, even when there was a communication issue(He was asking her something and she was having a hard time getting all the details of the question). He is so chill and happy, I just can't see him ever getting frustrated or mad at anyone or anything. On top of learning about running barefoot, I witnessed people treating other people right. That makes the two hour drive worth it right there.