Thursday, September 30, 2010

Taco Bell, The Runs, and Speedy Surprises

Yesterday I did not want to run. I had Taco Bell the night before, and it didn't work out... It left me feeling weak and tired.

I set out to run one mile so I could at least qualify for USRSA. At the top of the hill that I was looping I did something I didn't even expect myself to do, I ran away from the finish. I ran the 3 miles I told myself I would run prior to the Taco Bell fiasco.  I kept it slow and steady, but I felt so great after I ran. Sometimes, a little run is all you need to ease the pain.

Today I slacked. I didn't run all day and was actually debating on whether or not to run. My heel was still bothering me. I iced it twice today and it finally started to feel better. I have been walking with Crocs on, but still running barefoot. I think the improper gait I use when I walk while barefoot doesn't help my heel. Crocs soften the step.

Anyway, tonight I went to Yahoola. I started out at a steady pace, then felt myself speeding up. Since I was only running 3 miles I figured I could let myself go a bit. The second mile came around 16 minutes 40 seconds. I decided to give myself a good run and ran as fast as I could. It really felt good to run hard for a mile. It gets the endorphins going and gives the body something more than step, breathe, step, breathe, repeat.

This is what inspired me to run hard... Thanks Jason!

I finished that last mile at 7:04, which is fast for me. While it felt great to go fast, I really need to focus on distance. This Sunday I will try for 15 miles and see how it feels. I have to double that January, so I might-as-well start it now.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I think I end up running more hills than my fellow runners, not because I have the ambition to be an excellent hill runner, but because there seems to be a huge hill everywhere I run.

Today I went out of my way to hit some hills. The route I like to run usually includes one big downhill in the loop, then one big uphill. Today, I got to the top of the uphill, turned around, and went up the hill I just went down. (That doesn't really make sense does it?). I ran hills today. BLAHHHH!

I actually really enjoyed it. The weather made all the difference. Maybe Fall is finally starting.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Couldn't Keep Away

I wrote about running in place earlier today, then I started reading up on the United States Running Streak Association. Since I already have a little over a week under my belt, I might as well just try to run 1 mile every day to try to play by their rules.

The weather was cool, but the sun was shining, so I ran.

I iced my heel earlier today and will do it again tonight. It is really helping the pain and I didn't notice any discomfort during my run.

Running In Place

I told myself that part of my streak would involve running in place if the weather did not cooperate. I did run in place today, because it was raining a lot, but I am considering going out to run more. Why? I feel like I cheated. :(

The United States Running Streak Association defines a streak as:
STREAK DEFINITION: A running streak is defined by USRSA as running at least one
continuous mile within each calendar day under one’s own body power (without the
utilization of any type of health or mechanical aid other than prosthetic devices).

If I want to be a member of this seemingly cool group in a little less than a year, I better get my butt out there! Then again, what do I care if I am part of some cool kids club or not? One mile today couldn't hurt though...

While browsing reddit's running subreddit I found this video. I think it is really great and displays trail running and a runners commitment nicely. Most of all, it makes me want to hit the trail!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


This morning I woke and my heel hurt. I iced it for 20 minutes and it felt so much better. After eating a huge lunch/dinner and hanging out with family I really wanted to run. It was cool and barely raining. The ground was wet. I needed to run.

I decided to run a flat area that I knew since I wanted to keep it easy and it was getting dark out. I immediately noticed how fast I was running. When the RunKeeper lady said 1 mile, 8:57, I was surprised since I wasn't trying hard. The next mile was faster, then the mile after that was faster.

All-in-all it was a great run.

I also hung out with my Aunt and Uncle today. She is a personal trainer. We talked barefoot running. I tried to not shove it down her throat too much. She seemed be interested.

I let her borrow The Barefoot Running Book and Born to Run.

She was complaining about shin splints. She said the nice man at the shoe store told her she was rolling in on her foot and that she needed custom orthotics. I showed her some barefoot running technique. With my 30 second crash course on barefoot running, Jason Robillards awesome book, and some inspiration from Born To Run, she may be set!

Welp, that's all for today. Keep on running guys!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Backwards Route

I did my new, but typical route, only mostly backwards.

At the start my heel hurt. I milked it by using more of the front of my foot to run, thus tensing my calf. Toward mid-run I was running mostly normal. Throughout this whole run my stride was very short and knees extremely bent. This made my steps really soft, which is great for me.

On my way home my fifth metatarsal on my left foot, the one with the heel problem, started hurting. Landing on the bone was hurting me. I walked for about 45 seconds, then started to speed it up a bit. I did my form check: back straight, head facing forward(not down), knees bent, short stride, and feet landing in front of each other. Sure enough I was able to run home.

During my 30 miler I will need to do this form check every ten minutes or so.

So yep, that's about it. I was afraid I wasn't going to get a run in today and would have to run in place tonight. I'm glad that wasn't the outcome.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 4, Some Pitfalls...

Today's run felt great. I ran it faster than I did on Monday and felt overall better about it.

A problem I have been having for a while is with my heel. I do land midfoot and gently rest the heel on the ground, but I think it is bruised and has been for some time. I think it has been sore for at least a month now. I believe it started by stepping on a pesky rock on the trail. It only hurts when I use my heel while walking, and it rarely hurts while running(because of my mid-foot stride), but sometimes during my runs I step on a rock in the right spot and it hurts like a mofo.

Anyway, I am debating what to do about it. I think I am going to wear more cushioned shoes during my day(I have been walking around in VFFs) so I take the stress off when I use my heel the most. I also am going to ice it today. After some internet research I have concluded that it is either fine or I am going to have to have surgery. Thanks internet. I will still run tomorrow, since I am gentle on my heel during running anyway.

I have posted this on Runner's World Forums to see what they think.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hot HOt HOT!

Day 3 of my streak was a little tougher than I expected. I got out of class around 11 and decided to do a mid-day run. The sun was shining and temps were in the high 80's F.

I decided to make it an easier run and leave out the tough hills from yesterday. I still ran a hill or five, but they weren't nearly as rediculous as yesterdays.

All day yesterday my IT band was hurting me. This never happens to me. I looked up some stretches, considered buying a foam roller, and watched a few videos on youtube. I tried to do one stretch, but it didn't do anything for me. I then walked outside and ran 3 miles. What do ya know? The IT band didn't hurt anymore! With my old schedule it could have hurt for days and just by running I was able to clear up the pain.

On some of the hills my left achilles was hurting, but it wasn't so bad that I couldn't run. I expected there to be some pain, as this is some of the most continuous exercise I have gotten in my life.

Finally, on my way home the sun was really shining and the ground was toasty. I know that my feet are getting more used to the heat. When I first started barefoot running my feet got blistered. Now, under the same conditions, my feet are fine. I even ran on some really hot metal. It was uncomfortable, but my feet were fine afterwards. Hooray for perseverance!

Day 4 is coming up. Might do a trail run in my VFF KSOs and see how big the difference is between them and barefoot on the trail. Then again, I might just run around town again. The change of scenery is nice. Maybe I'll take some pictures from my route. People like pictures. Right?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Keeping Up

I've been slacking. The last two months have been packed with college leaving me little room to run. Fortunately, I have found a way to keep myself motivated. I'm going streaking!

For those that don't know, a running streak is simply running every day for a specific amount of time/distance or more. Right now my goal is to run at least three miles every day.

On the days where the weather is really bad(lightning storms) I will run in place for 40 minutes. This is almost double the time of my fastest 5K. The reason being it is not as hard of a workout, but it is boring. It gives me incentive to just run outside. During these runs I will probably watch Rugrats.

So far, I have run two days in a row(yes, such a big deal). Yesterday's run was ~10.5 miles and todays was a 5K.

The 10 miler went great. My RunKeeper messed up, but I think I got the path correct. I know the time is right. It looks about right...

Today's route was completely new. I started at the same ol' spot, but went through some REALLY hilly neighborhoods. Once I reached the top of the hill at 1.2ish miles I felt like a king.

One section of this was through town. I was running on the sidewalk and a car was pulled over it waiting to pull out into the road. The driver was nice enough to back up and let me pass. I guess he felt I didn't really want to run on gravel. It would have been fine, but I appreciate the thought! He probably recognized me from The Nugget. It was a great run. A little hard on the hills, but I feel great right now.

Well back to studying Discrete Math. AdiĆ³s!

Friday, September 10, 2010

PADMA NailMat Review

A few months ago I contacted PADMA, the creators of the PADMA NailMat, to ask if I could do a review for them. They were kind enough to send me one!

I explained to them that us barefoot runners all have something in common, feeling. We love to feel the ground and anything on it.

The advantages of the PADMA NailMat are described by PADMA as:
For centuries, nail mats have been used for meditation and yoga in China and India. But you don't have to know the first thing about either acupressure, yoga or meditation to use your PADMA NailMat. Simply lie down on it and feel the mat start working its magic. Within minutes, you'll start feeling warm and relaxed. You might even fall asleep lying on the mat, and that's quite alright. You can hardly overuse your PADMA NailMat, and the longer you lie on it the greater its effect.
The first thing I did when I got the NailMat was read the instructions. They basically said that I can do whatever I want with the NailMat. I can lay on it with my shirt on, off, in any position that I want for as long as I want. I like to use a small pillow to support my head on my hard wood floor.

Naturally, I took my shirt off and dived right in! I lay down on it as fast as possible to apply an even amount of pressure across my back. At first it felt uncomfortable. My back kind of stung, but I stuck with it. I layed there for five minutes and decided to get up and let others try. My grandmother loved it!

The next day I tried it again. This time it wasn't as uncomfortable. I layed there for 5 minutes and decided to stay a little longer. This time for 10 minutes. I got up and felt nice and relaxed.

The back of the PADMA NailMat

I have been using the NailMat for about three months now and love it. I lay on it whenever I need to relax and take some time for myself. I can comfortably lay on it for extended periods of time. I found after the first five minutes I completely forget that I am on it and am in a very relaxed state.

After some time on the PADMA NailMat I get some cool markings on my back. As red as my back looks, it does not hurt. Actually, when I get up it sends a cool feeling to my back.

On the feet the PADMA NailMat is a little different. Even with the reduced sensitivity on my feet the NailMat is a bit uncomfortable to stand on. I do, however, enjoy sitting on the couch and put my feet on it. I don't think running in place on it would do much for a barefoot runner as far as training goes, since it gets you used to sharp small objects, which aren't so common while running barefoot. It could, however, help decrease the foot's sensitivity. I will have to try this more and see if it helps with anything.

The PADMA NailMat looks like it is a great product that will hold up nicely over the years. It obviously doesn't take much abuse, as I just lay on it. The construction is simple. There are two parts to it. There is the foam inside, and the cloth+nail outside. I have not needed to wash it, but I figure I can just put the cloth part in the washer and air dry it.

All-in-all I really enjoy my PADMA NailMat. I recommend it to anyone that wants a new way to relax. After fifteen minutes on the PADMA NailMat I feel refreshed and ready to continue on with my day. Hopefully you will too.

If you are interested in purchasing the PADMA NailMat, please do yourself a favor and use the promotional code KQ76-8382 at for a $5 discount.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Welcome Nuggeters

If you have recently read the article about me in The Dahlonega Nugget and have an interest in barefoot running, please understand that barefoot running, like any sport, can be potentially dangerous if not executed properly. Thankfully our bodies inform us when we are running wrong while barefoot. Barefoot Running is very fun and peaceful. I encourage anyone that is looking to begin running, improve their form, or just try something new to try barefoot running. To make things simpler for yourself, please do some research on how to run barefoot before attempting it. Here are some resources that I find useful:
If you prefer to have a physical book that will explain the many techniques of barefoot running check out  The Barefoot Running Book: A Practical Guide to the Art and Science of Barefoot and Minimalist Shoe Running.

For an amazing adventure, good read, and answers to many of the "Why?"questions, check out Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

If you want to go out for a run with me or ask me questions don't hesitate to send me an email at barefoottyler (at) gmail (dot) com.

Of course, look around, read some of my posts, and subscribe to my feed(located on the sidebar) or "Follow" me(also on the sidebar) so you can receive updates for

I Was On The Front Page Of The Dahlonega Nugget For Barefoot Running!

The other day I got a call from Matt Aiken. He wanted to conduct an interview on barefoot running. I was more than excited and took the opportunity to promote barefoot running.

This is the article. No shoes? No problem for local runner

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Night On The Town

I went running with my girlfriends, roommates, brother today. He was wearing VFF Bikilas. He wanted to do a 5K, so we did one.

The first thing I noticed was his form. I'm not trying to be mean, but his strides were really large and his steps were really loud. I think he should consider bending his knees more and taking shorter steps. It just sounded really painful. Of course, I started to tell him how to run, he said "what?" because he didn't hear me, then I realized he didn't ask so I shut up and we carried on.

The run went well. I wanted to fly down the hills, but he was stomping a lot and I didn't want him to get hurt, so I slowed down.

I guess if he asks for advice or complains about pain I will help him, but until then I will keep my mouth shut like a good little boy.

How do you go about giving advice to people that don't ask for it?

Monday, September 6, 2010

I'm Back In The Saddle Again

Today's run felt great. Probably the best run in a month.

I ran a different, more scenic route. I basically ran across the city of Dahlonega, starting at 52, crossing over 52, and ending up... on 52. Happy Hollow was like running on a cheese grater.

I also ran by a dead possum in the middle of the road. I had to cover my nose and mouth to stop from gagging. Poor thing.

My feet were really tender the day before yesterday. I ran 6 paced miles(runkeeper didn't track it). I let them heal and sure enough I was able to run longer and faster today. I am confident if I keep increasing my mileage and experiencing with new surfaces I will be able to run Alex's Fat Ass 50K no problem.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Comment Moderation

I recieved an uneducated, clearly promotional comment on my last post. I will exclude the link, since I do not agree with others using my blog, without permission, for promotion.
To me barefoot running is very dangerous. Come to think of it, you might step on something painful like broken glass or a contaminated nail perhaps. You never know, you might end up getting infected or something like that. Instead of searching on the Internet about barefoot running, why don't try barefootshoes like Vibrams. I think it's the best alternative for barefoot running. It looks like a glove and it's very light. In terms of comfort and convenience, I have to say it's very impressive. Here's a sample image to see how it looks like. [REMOVED LINK]
 Opinions are fine, but throwing a link at the end of the comment made me mad. I understand that the guy is probably just trying to make some money off promoting a website, but I don't want it on my site without my permission.

Other than that, his argument has considerable flaws.
you might step on something painful like broken glass or a contaminated nail perhaps.
Yes, but I am sure I will be able to avoid it by watching out in front of me. I have ran over broken glass and guess what happened? Nothing. My step was light and I did not even know it was there until my trip back over the same spot.  Contaminated nails aren't really anything to worry about. If a nail is laying down on the ground, it won't pierce the skin anyway. If it is, by some chance sticking straight up, anyone, even someone with shoes, can step on it and "infect" themselves.
Instead of searching on the Internet about barefoot running, why don't try barefootshoes like Vibrams.
Questions are typically ended with the symbol '?'... anyway. Barefoot running teaches one to run with a light step. A light step is needed for "barefootshoes", such as Vibrams. Additionally, I like to feel the ground, the dirt between my toes, and the moisture of the river; something that you can't do as well in Vibrams or other "barefootshoes".

So yes, that is my take. Don't post advertisements on my site without asking. I appreciate the advice, but I have done the research and enjoy barefoot running. Thanks.

I have enabled comment moderation from now on. All that means is that I have to approve comments before they show up on the site. 

First Run In Two Weeks

Yesterday was my first run in two weeks. Due to a trail race coming up, I hit the trails.

My pace was slower than I expected. It took me 3 times longer to run three miles on the trail than it did to run on asphalt. Pace is something I will work on after comfort.

My feet were a little more sensitive than two weeks ago, but I think they will be fine by the end of the week. I am going to try to run the trail as much as possible(probably for every run until the race). I really want to get comfortable on the large, loose gravel sections.

Lake Zwerner is proving to be troublesome. The sharp pointy rocks prutruding from the sharp downhills is causing problems. I have to almost walk down them. Of course, practice makes perfect, and in a month I should know the fastest route down them.

So why am I doing this? I love the feel of the ground. I won't lie, the wrong steps suck, but the right steps feel awesome. After I run and my feet are a little sore I feel like I accomplished something. Every time I run it I feel more comfortable. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Site, Barefoot Running Is Bad, Is #1 When Searching For Barefoot Running On Google

The other day I was trying to get more information on barefoot running when I came across this.

This, well, really sucks. I can see tons of curious people wanting to learn to run barefoot, only to see this. Worst of all, most people that have heard about barefoot running have doubts about it and are looking for more information on it. They search, and their doubts are verified.

Personally, I think a site like 'Barefoot Running is Bad' is pathetic to begin with. There are many sites on barefoot running, discussing its benifits and flaws. Why create one to bash it? Why not just create a site on shod running and talk about how great it is.

I understand that most barefoot running articles and sites tackle shod running and call it bad. The difference is, these articles are titling themselves as "Barefoot Running May Save Your Knees" as opposed to "Shod Running Will Cripple You". Downtalking others shows a weakness in your argument. Other than that, if someone wants to do something perfectly legal that you see harmful to your body, you should by no means pester them about it. If they complain of ailments, then offer guidance.

So how can this be fixed? #2 on the Google search for 'Barefoot Running' is the awesome site hosted by our good friend Barefoot Ken Bob, The Running Barefoot. Do him, and all prospecting barefoot runners, a favor and link to his site. This will boost the search priority.

Alright, heading out for a nice trail run... without shoes.