Why I Broke Twitter’s Stupid Rules

I originally entitled this post: Why I broke the Rules with Gravity’s Jack Hammer, but decided it was too cryptic. Then the phrase Gravity’s Jackhammer slammed it’s way into my cranium. It became a kind of challenge for me to work in the phrase, “Gravity’s Jackhammer” into this post three more times. Gravity’s Jackhammer just sounds like the title of bad science fiction novel. One in which character A says to character B, “Stop Character B, you can’t. You can’t do it. You can’t beat Gravity’s Jackhammer!” And character B says, “Then I’ll just have to beat, GRAVITY!!!!!” And then there are some spectacular explosions, time warps, steam/cyber punks, and other stuff that happens in science fiction novels.

And since I don’t have a nice transition to my actual post topic, I was drowning in Twitter‘s deadly Shark Tank of censorship. My links to posts in Tweets had been broken and then dragged through prison sewers like Andy Dufresne in the excellent film The Shawshank Redemption. Though I was never accused of wrong-doing like Josef K. in Kafka‘s the Trail, my blog was suddenly banned from Twitter. With one swift stroke, Twitter had silenced the gush of my yatchety chatter and compelled me to over use similes like a bad writer who who thinks similes are simply metaphors who like to strip an lick brass poles like Nomi in the epic film Showgirls.

I almost gave up. But then, I got an idea. And I felt the way I felt when I finally kicked off my shoes along with the old quagswagging stride–the one my joints called Gravity’s Jackhammer.

In an instant, I discovered that Twitter’s blacklist is really stupid. And not just birds lifting whales stupid. Really stupid. How stupid? It’s so stupid it went to dentist for BlueTooth. I mean it’s so stupid, it tripped over wireless. I overcame its stupidity with a URL shortener: bit.ly.com

And so my blog hopped on the bus to the Internet’s version of Zihuatanejo. Once again, you can happily tweet my posts.

The Shawshank Redemption
The Shawshank Redemption (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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Sad News

With my previous job, I got so busy I missed the tragic news about Born to Run legend Micah True (aka “Caballo Blanco“.)

It’s odd that someone I’ve never met or spoken to could have such a monumental influence on my life. You wouldn’t be reading this blog if it weren’t for Micha True’s manic itch to run crazy distances in even crazier terrain with the Raramuri.

That’s NOT hyperbole. I’m a barefoot runner because of Caballo Blanco. If it weren’t for him, MacDougal may never have written the bestselling book Born to Run and I wouldn’t have kicked off my shoes to run again.

Since I am slightly Irish, I give this famous blessing to the fallen Caballo Blanco.

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

(And by “God” I mean “universe”; and by “meet again,” I mean “meet at all in the great beyond.” And “Yes!” This is blessing given to the living. But all that crap ruins the rhyme scheme and sentiment. Somehow, I think Micah understands or would have understood, and he would have shown that understanding with a quick nod of his dusty head and a fleeting smile across his cracked lips, before he said, “Run Free, Brother, Run Free.”)

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Easy Training Schedule for Barefoot Half Marathon

Have you always wanted to run a half marathon? Most people can achieve the feat. Unfortunately, many programs don’t give barefoot runners enough time to recuperate. This regime gives a person one day of rest between runs. The rest periods allow for recovery, thickening of the foot pads, and time to write blog posts. This program is also good for a person who is transitioning into minimalist/ “barefoot” shoes.

Maybe you ran a full marathon in 2011 and just want t take it easy this summer. Maybe you’re wondering which barefoot running shoes work best. You might ask yourself questions such as, “Are there running shoes for mid to long distances?”

Sandals are my personal choice for all distances. BUT I did buy a pair of Merrel Road Gloves for work and I love how comfortable they are. Vibrams five fingers suck!!!! They look stupid, they stink, and they give satanic blisters. They are the pandora’s box of running shoes. Next to sandals, Merrell’s are dang good. Enough five fingers, sports shoes, barefeet, running without shoes keyword stuffing.  Onto the program:

Easy Barefoot Half Marathon Training Schedule
MON MILES WED MILES FRI MILES SAT OR SUN
WEEK 1 3 3 4
WEEK 2 3 3 4
WEEK 3 3.5 3.5 5
WEEK 4 3.5 3.5 5
WEEK 5 4 4 6
WEEK 6 4 4 3
WEEK 7 4.5 4.5 7
WEEK 8 4.5 4.5 8
WEEK 9 5 5 6
WEEK 10 5 5 9
WEEK 11 5 5 10
WEEK 12 4 4 Rest Half Marathon!
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Mad Dog and Marlboros the Holy Grail of Endurance Training

Steve Prefontaine in post-Olympic track and fi...
Steve Prefontaine in post-Olympic track and field meet 15 Sep 72, at the Crystal Palace, London UK (Photo credit: The Happy Rower)

Did you know that smoking and drinking are as healthy as running a full marathon? That’s what an exciting report from Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests.

The irrefutable, infallible logic:

  • Serum hemoglobin is related to endurance running performance. Smoking enhances serum hemoglobin levels. Furthermore, alcohol may support this beneficial adaptation.
  • Lung volume also correlates with running performance, and distance training increases lung volume. Smoking increases lung volume too!!!
  • Running is a weight-bearing sport; as a result, lighter runners are typically faster. Smoking reduces body weight too!!!

Because smoking and drinking increase lung volume, serum levels, and can lead to weight loss, booze and cigarettes are just as healthy and as running marathons.

The take away message is clear: it’s better to lead a healthy lifestyle sitting on the couch sipping a  bottle of hooch and blowing smoke rings than it is to rise at the crack of dawn and run ten miles.

Find excellent reviews for endurance boosting economy liquor and spirits at Bum Wines:

Smoking drinking healthy as running marathon

Are you a fit and healthy wino who sucks cheap fags? Post your experience in the comments below.

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How to Wear Shoes & Not Be a Dumb-Fuck Hick

The fight happened early in the morning New Years Day, 2012. It was, clear, cold, and windy. Patches of frost powdered the shaded parts of the road. A few strips of shiny ice painted the rough black asphalt. My Achilles were aching a bit; so, I decided to cut my run a little short. I went down a street on my shorter route, the route I haven’t taken since summer.

Like most other barefoot runners, I ran in the middle of the empty street.

When I heard a car drive beside me, I edged over to opposite side of the road to let the vehicle pass. The driver slowed his rig, unrolled his window and shouted, “You alright!?”

I said, “Yeah, I’m great!”

He said, “Because you’re running barefoot in the middle of the street.”

“I know,” I said, “it feels fantastic.”

He said, “I mean you’re running barefoot in the middle of the road!”

I said, “I know. You said that. I’m not blocking your way. Drive on!”

He pulled over into a driveway a few houses ahead of me. He got out of his car and stood by the door, waiting for me to pass. When I was half way down the block, I heard him shout, “Yeah, you better keep running barefooter!”

I freaking lost it, my adrenaline was already pumping from pounding the icy concrete and my endorphin level was cranked up because it was the last leg of my run. I sprinted over to his car, shoved him, and said “What the Fuck! Keep running!? I run where the Fuck I want! How the Fuck I want! And when the Fuck I want! I wasn’t blocking your Fucken way. And if I was, you can drive the Fuck around!”

That scared the shit out of him. His tone changed.

“I was just concerned,” he said, “It’s cold and you’re running barefoot in the middle of the road. I just wanted to make sure you were alright.”

Then, even though I didn’t need to, I decided to state the obvious: the road is warmer in the middle of the street, there are fewer shards of glass, nails, metal scraps, pebbles, etc. in the middle of the street, and the pavement is generally smoother in the middle of the street. That dose of sensible logic relaxed him a bit. It’s NOT freaking rocket science, anyone with a brain bigger than a walnut could have figured it out.

Then I offered my hand in friendship, which, to his credit, he shook. He apologized for yelling at me. I decided to stop saying Fuck and be nice for a change; so I said, “It’s fine. We’re men. Sometimes shouting at each other is how we talk.”

I completely understand his point of view; he sees some guy running barefoot in the middle of street New Years morning. Maybe he thought I was high or something. That’s really stupid conclusion because I don’t know of any drug that would cause a person to suit up in running attire to go for a barefoot run at eight in the morning. I mean a barefoot running pill would kick the asses of other pharmaceuticals.

Jump from Sandy, OR to San Jose, California.  When I ran barefoot in Willow Glen, I did get a few quizzical stares, but no one said anything negative. The expressions conveyed puzzlement rather than objection. It wasn’t as if my being barefoot was like spitting chewed up walnuts in their faces. The few Californians who did speak to me while I ran barefoot said things like, “Right on Brother!” or “You’re hardcore!” or “That’s cool!”

This verbal fight wasn’t the first time I’ve had to deal with idiots saying stupid shit in Sandy.

In fact, I wasn’t going to post this because most of my neighbors are cool–they affectionately call me “the barefoot guy”.

Dear MINORITY of Dumb Fuck Hicks who live in Sandy,

When you see me running without shoes, grow a brain, pretend you’re from California, and just say, “Right on Brother!” or keep your Fucking mouth shut!

How to Stop Viscous Dog Attacks

Trained attack dog Samo leaps forward toward a...
Image via Wikipedia

One of my pet peeves is irresponsible dog owners who don’t lease their dogs.

Every runner has been chased or barked at by an obnoxious loose canine. All animals, including humans, are unpredictable.  A dog owner who lets his Rottweiler, Pit-bull, or Doberman run loose and says, “Oh, my dog won’t bite, he’s friendly” is mistaken. I am always cautious when I see dog, even when the owner is close. But the dogs that concern me the most are the ones without an owner in sight.

Facing a huge beast with sharp teeth and iron jaws can be frightening, but there are a few actions that may prevent an attack from a dangerous dog.

  • Stop RUNNING. Do not yell or make loud noises or make sudden movements.
  • Stand still; pretend you’re a tree. Slowly cross your arms over your chest, as if you are giving yourself a great, big hug.
  • Look away from the dog’s eyes. Also, DON’T SMILE or show your teeth to the dog.  Direct eye contact and the bearing of teeth are signs of aggression to a dog. Usually, simply standing still and avoiding direct eye contact will cause the dog to lose interest. If the dog approaches. Talk to the dog in a firm low voice. If it sniffs you, just let it sniff. Don’t stare at it and don’t make any sudden movements.
  • If the dog isn’t showing further signs of aggression, but isn’t moving. Toss a rock, stick, or anything else away from you and away from the dog. The sound should attract grab the dog’s attention. The dog will usually move toward the thrown object to sniff and investigate it. This will give you a chance to slowly turn and walk away. Once you are far enough way from the dog, you can resume your run. If you live in a neighborhood full of unleashed dogs, you might want to run with a tennis ball. That way, you’ll have something to throw.
  • Carry Pepper Spray <—–Shameless Product Plug. This is a last resort and should only be used if the dog tries to attack. Nevertheless, it’s one of items that is “better to have and not need than to need and not have.”

Sobering, true story about a dog attack close to home.

My neighbor enjoyed breeding pit-bulls; he swore that they were misunderstood and very docile animals.

One day he was sitting on his couch watching television. Bella, his female pit-bull,  jumped up on the coffee table and licked his face. Since he was trying to watch TV, he told her stop. But she kept licking. So, he decided to put his hands on her head to turn her face away. He had a mouthful of chips and turned to her with his mouth open, her sharp  powerful teeth sunk into his lower jaw. Luckily she didn’t clamp down for long. But the full force of her bite brought an ambulance to his house and left him visible scars on his lower jaw. When he got out of the hospital, he told me that the didn’t which was more painful the bite or his having to put Bella down.

On that happy note, have a great day!

Was that too much of a downer?

Read my light hearted post about “man’s best friend”.

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What Barefoot Dreams May Come?

G.-B. Duchanne de Boulogne, Synoptic plate 4 f...
Image via Wikipedia

“What dreams may come…?” That’s the plot device Shakespeare used to stop Hamlet from ruining the tragedy. Death, Hamlet decides, is too mysterious; why “fly off” to new troubles? Instead, he stays alive and essentially kills everyone he loves.

But the dreams of today are not road blocks to suicide.  Quite the opposite. The dreams of today are the automatic million dollar money machine cash bank, the instant rejuvenating, anti age cream that boosts metabolism while increasing libido and leads to world domination. The dreams of today are incentives.

Marketers sell hope and make desire. How? They speak to the heart, not to the brain. Logic comes AFTER the emotional decision to buy. It’s not good it’s not bad. But it’s the way marketing works. So, they appeal to our feelings, they tell us stories or better, yet they try to get us to tell ourselves stories.

The Barefoot Running Industry is no different. Take this commercial which stars long distance running super star, Anthony Krupicka.


The music, the scenic footage, the “all natural” feel are not accidental. The ad is designed to make you dream of injury free barefoot running. It sells the dream of being an all natural runner.

The reality of barefoot running is that you’ll probably get injured at some point. You’ll step on glass, aggravate your Achilles, stub your toe, or have pain on the top of your foot. The dream of injury free running is there. But the reality is too. There’s nothing wrong with dealing with running injuries. I have had my share from running barefoot.

It seemed that I traded upper body problems for lower leg problems when I started out. I’m still getting over a terrible tear in my right calf. Yet, I’m still running barefoot.

Am I crazy? Maybe a little. Am I glutton for punishment? Maybe a little. Do I secretly hate myself? Maybe a little less. But I carry on not because I’m chasing some dream of injury free running, but because running barefoot actually makes me ENJOY running. That isn’t a dream. That’s a reality. I look forward to my barefoot runs.

While I do think that many of my lower leg injuries have disappeared, I don’t think they’ll be gone forever. My feet are much stronger than before. But I think that constantly running on hard concrete regularly does test the integrity of the foot.

Maybe injury free running isn’t a dream, maybe this time next year I’ll have a different view. But won’t sell that dream until it’s real.

I’m not barefoot runner because I think it will keep me from being injured. I’m a barefoot runner because I love the way it feels, I like being connected directly to the earth, I enjoy feeling the wet cold asphalt, the squish of moist fallen leaves, and the rough texture of the road; heck, there’s even a part of me that enjoys the glowers from my neighbors.

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Unexpected Pleasures of Running Barefoot

The happy family ...

I have written about the annoying things people said to me when they first saw me running without shoes. Lately, the comments have shifted.

One lady said, “I like your style.” Two of my neighbor’s children saw me running bare and ran along side me for a few blocks.  In fact, my neighbor’s are so used to seeing me run without shoes that they say things like, “Not going bare today” when they see me running in sandals.

It’s odd. Like most things unconventional, barefoot running brings out the best and worst in people. I’m glad my neighbors are getting used to my naked ass feet stomping through our rough streets. I have a feeling that when spring hits, I won’t be the only one running without shoes.

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Running with Ghosts

The Ghost of Maria Marten, who was murdered in...
Image via Wikipedia

A few months ago I wrote about one of my many forest ghost encounters.

But I found an equally frightening one when I was clearing the boxes of old books from my closet.  While reaching for a box, an old journal I used to keep when I lived in Santa Cruz, CA tumbled down from the shelf. It popped open onto an entry I tried to forget. The penciling was faint on brittle pages, but the memory of the encounter was vivid and sharp.

“It happened around dusk along the narrow trails at Fall Creek.  My run took a little longer than I anticipated. Started too late. It was getting dark fast.  I remember hearing the wisps of air flowing in and out of my lungs, the drips of water gliding over the stones, the chirps of birds flitting from the limb to limb, and the creepy low groans of the redwoods bending in the wind. I think that’s how they speak to each other.

Up to that point, it was a great autumn run. The temperature was perfect, there weren’t any bugs or hikers on the trail. I felt really good, happy to be alive. But then something wasn’t right.  A bolt of fear shot through my chest.  It drained me; I felt empty, alone, and afraid. An image took over my minds eye: a latino man in overalls was running away. He was bleeding from a board to head or something; he was caked in pale, grey dust. I felt his panic. He was frantic. Trying to escape.  It was strange. I felt like my mind was being controlled, the images were being inserted into it. I had no choice but to look. When I closed my eyes the vision was brighter, when I kept them open, I could see normally, but the images were still there, simultaneous. I could see them and the trail, but they were separate.

Suddenly, I heard someone, someone REAL, running toward me on the trial.  I watched in terror as the bushes onto the trail spread open and the man who was in mind burst from them. He charged toward me, but didn’t seem to recognize of perceive me;  I jumped off of the trail to let him pass. As he ran, he kept turning his head to see behind himself. Soon, I knew why. Two men also in overalls and covered in the same pale dust were chasing him. They were thick, burly, men with strong jaws and crooked noses. One had a heavy bludgeon of some sort, the other a hammer. They too didn’t seem to notice me as ran past me. My heart was blasting, but I decided to run in their direction anyway. As soon as made it around the corner, I saw the two larger men standing over the latino. His head was was a mess of gore and bone. The two men just stood over him satisfied, there bloodies tools swinging gently back and forth. I said, “Hey! Hey!” But they remained where they were. I came closer, “Hey!, Hey!” I yelled. As they turned, piece by piece each one slowly merged into the scenery. The dark stains in their overalls became the weird shadows of leaves, mangled head resolved into the red moss and mud, the filthy hair became pine needles.

I sprinted the rest of the way to my car. Just as I got to my car the light was gone; the forest was black. It was good to be off the trail; those weren’t the only spirits lurking is the darkness. ;0)

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Now You Can Prevent Barefoot Blood Blisters

Grown male right foot (angle 1)
Image via Wikipedia

It’s difficult to believe, but running barefoot can decrease the number of blisters you get from running. Of course, running barefoot the wrong way can dramatically increase the number of gruesome blood blisters you get too. Blistering usually occurs around the front of the foot or on the toes. Blisters on the toes and front of the foot indicate a tendency to sweep or pull the foot backward. It is this longer contact with the turf that produces  more friction resulting in the unsightly blisters.

The key to preventing, not eliminating, these nasty blood blisters is to decrease friction. The foot and toes should NOT drag across the ground. They should bounce up and down. You’re not trying to pull yourself across the pavement, it’s more of a hopping motion. Terrain also plays a role. Asphalt will give more blisters than soft dirt or grass.

Ugly blood blisters are not the end of the world, but they aren’t fun either.You can, however, decrease the severity and frequency of blistering by improving your stride or by wearing running sandals. If you do get a blood blister, it’s best to leave it alone. Do your best to protect and prevent anything from breaking it. If it does break, put some antibacterial cream or ointment on it to decrease the chance of infection.

Luckily, blisters on the soles of your feet and toes tend heal more quickly than the ones on your sides of your foot. You, do, of course, feel the ones of your soles a bit more.

 

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