Huckleberry Half Marathon Barefoot

Barefoot Runner with Bigfoot Huckleberry Half Marathon Welches Oregon
Barefoot Runner with Bigfoot Huckleberry Half Marathon Welches Oregon

This morning (August 8th) I think I became the first person to run Huckleberry Half marathon in Welches Oregon with 4mm sandals. Whether I was the first person to run the event barefoot or not, I received an awesome Wooden Bigfoot Medal–it’s dangling around my neck in the photo and had a lot of fun.

What a great event! No one said anything about sandals until we hit the streets. Thankfully, a majority of the comments were positive.

Things people said to me as ran. “You’re a beast” (in a good way). “That guy’s wearing flip-flops.” “All the crazies are passing us!” (To which I replied, the key phrase is “PASSING!”) “Let’s catch the guy in flip-flips.” (His friend’s reply, “I’m trying, but I can’t.” And neither of them did. I dropped them on one of the many hills.)

Although scampering across the streets in barefoot sandals made me a celebrity, it also took its toll on my feet. After three miles, I discovered why no one else wore minimalist footwear: the Huckleberry Half is NOT a barefoot friendly route! The streets are  long slabs of jagged, gritty gravel.  The roads climb slowly then level for a short distance then fall again, then climb again, then climb some more, the result is a route that never takes its fangs from your legs. My quads and calves are still sizzling from the lactic acid and my tender feet and toes are battered from the ragged asphalt. It didn’t help that I hammered  my left heel on a rock the first mile. The 13.1 miles were a struggle. The run was much more challenging than I expected and my time was much slower than I anticipated. But it was well worth it.

The volunteers and other runners were fantastic. I‘ll be back next year, even it’s just for the novelty of having teenage cheerleaders swish their pom poms in the air as I cross the finish line. BTW, I ran it in 1 hour 40 minutes 56 seconds.

Boring Barefoot Marathon Training Day 20

I feel fantastic!!! Yesterday, I ran thirteen miles early in the morning and I felt great the entire day. I’m not even sore today. This marathon training program is amazing.  At some point, I’ll share my entire program in a post.

At any rate, today I went for a walk around the neighborhood and did Pilates. It’s a rest day.  I run intervals tomorrow. See you then.

Boring Barefoot Marathon Training Day 19

I should have more to say about my long runs. I ran thirteen lucky miles today. Each one was mostly joyous. I sipped some homemade energy drink and ate a PowerAid gel. The gel wasn’t tasty, but it worked. I’m well within in my target pace.

 

Barefoot Boring Marathon Training Day 17

I woke up feeling sad–about what I’m not sure. Even so, I forced myself out of bed this morning. It was nice to have a goal, even though the goal seemed more like a chore. The schedule is giving me some much needed discipline. After completing my morning rituals, I stepped outdoors with my heart rate monitor strapped to my chest and my GPS aimed at the heavens. Then I ran an easy 7 mile course, keeping my heart rate in my target zone (141). At the end of my run, I was surprised to discover a long sequence of 5s on GPS timer (55:55:55)–definitely NOT a speedy pace. The chain of fives must mean something. There were six of them. That feels slightly off, five fives would be more balanced. I’ll just have to run a little faster next time. But that’s not all concerning the number five. I found a five dollar bill on the curb by my car!!!! What’s up with number 5 today? The universe is telling me something.

Weird Running Time: 55:55:55

Weird Running Time: 55:55:55

By the way, I bought some raku clay for my ceramics class tomorrow. I also drove to Vancouver, WA in search of something that wasn’t there.

What does tomorrow hold?

 

Barefoot Boring Marathon Training Day 16

Fitness is a sexy bitch: Shit’s getting real! My right foot has been giving me slight problems. I’m running in the 4mm connect Xero shoes. They offer absolutely zero support and no cushioning whatsoever. They merely prevent the rough Oregon roads from chewing and stripping the skin from my soles. The thin sandals expose my soft toes to the sharp stone spikes cemented with clay into the trail. The angled rocks brutally smash into the tender, bruised point between my toes like a medieval morning star. When they strike, sharp bolts of agonizing pain fire my straight into my cerebral cortex forcing me to shout and curse, but not to limp. Luckily, my marathon training program offers plenty of recovery days, so the pain  isn’t stopping me from achieving my goal.

In other news, I bought a hydration pack for my upcoming long runs. Last week, I ran twelve miles, which is about as far as I can run without taking water and carbohydrate gels. The unwatered twelve miler brought me a little too close to my danger zone. After my run, my arms and legs were caked with salt, I could literally  scrape off the white crystals. They sparkled in the sun’s light. In the kitchen, I felt a little woozy and had to steady myself by clutching the sink.  My stomach was queazy.  Fortunately, it wasn’t anything that an orange, a banana, and a glass of water couldn’t cure. I recovered enough to work a full day afterward.

By the way, I ran six miles today.  Twenty minutes of my run was at 85% to 90% of my max heart rate. I felt great, but I was a little disappointed over the laggardly pace. I’m well within my target marathon pace, but I secretly I want to run much faster. I know I’m training for a sub four hour marathon, which I know I’ll achieve easily, but a part of me believes I’ll run the marathon in under three hours. 

All this marathon talk has me excited for tomorrow’s early ass morning run. See you then.

Boring Barefoot Marathon Training Day 15

I didn’t want to climb out from under the covers, but I did. I didn’t want to do my morning breath-work, but I did. I didn’t want to lift weights, but I did. In other words, it was yet another (test of) strength day.

Tomorrow I run.

Barefoot Boring Marathon Training Day 12

This morning before ceramics class, I watched carnies run safety checks on rides at the Sandy Days.  Under the scorching summer sun, I recorded a few time-lapse videos and shot some pics with a Yashika 35mm camera.  But I couldn’t get excited about show. Something inside me ached for excitement. So I walked to Joe’s Donuts and ordered a maple bar. Then I wondered down to Meinig Park as people set up their booths for Mountain Days. When I got home, I did Jillain Micheal’s 30 Day Shred. Nothing spectacular. It’s a strength/rest day. I shouldn’t have had that donut, but whatever. I ate healthfully the rest of the day.

Tomorrow is my long day. How far will I run? Check back tomorrow.

Running Barefoot in Fall: Crippling Dangers Finally Revealed

Leaves floating in an autumn breeze.
Trees cover a multitude of sins. But leaves can be hell.

It was  once said by an artist with an afro, “Trees cover a multitude of sins.” They do. But their brittle leaves conceal a deadly slew of treacherous sharp blades, dirty syringes, and filthy goop.

Don’t step into pain and misery this fall. Learn to spot  the Top Dangers Lurking  Under the Fallen Leaves.

  • Rusted Screws & Nails & Hypodermics
    The curb is a magic magnet for the remains of backyard mechanics, lusty teenage lovers, and pock ridden junkis or cheap-ass  diabetics who refuse to use sharps containers. The refreshing scent of wet pavement has glazed the sharp points of nails, screws, and metal shavings with a lethal dose of tetanus inducing rust. It’s not a bad idea to be up to date on your tetanus shots.
  • Slimy, Wet Rubbers, Minty, Brown Spit, and Squishy, Sticky Feces
    Sleazy leaves hug the nastiest filth imaginable. A leaf that clings to the pavement in the breeze conceals a disgusting surprise.
  • Pain Pyramids & Rocks & Action Figures
    Pain pyramids are arrowhead pebbles that have shaped themselves into stone spikes with a sharp point on every tip. Landing on them will blast a four letter bolt of pain from your toes through your mouth. Hitting a rock or hard packed plastic object with a naked foot usually isn’t too discomforting, until it turns into a seemingly inexplicable dull pain on the top of your foot or into a marble sized bruise in the ball of your foot, both of which will delicately embed an annoying ache in your foot–the same way listening to One Direction or Mit Romney effectively places an annoying ache in your brain.

What’s a barefoot runner to do?

  • Avoid stepping on raised leaves.
  • Trail Run instead of running on the streets.
  • Stay away from curbs and other drainage areas.
  • Wear —> Sandals or minimalist shoes when running on paved roads.
  • Be Current with Your Tetanus Shot.
  • Vote for Obama or help me move to France

The good news is that the universe has blessed most barefoot runner’s with an amazingly strong set of feet. Anyone who has spent a summer running barefoot on concrete will have a near indestructible hide on their sole. I have accidentally stepped on broken bottle shards, nails, and screws without injury.

May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you live with ease.

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Want to Read an Inspiring Story About Barefoot Running?

Isn’t it wonderful when people respond positively to your writing? I always enjoy interacting with readers. Here is a wonderful story I received from a reader. Enjoy.

Jarod runs the NYC half
Barefoot sandals got me running again.

My name is Jarod. And I’m writing to tell you about about how your website and barefoot running changed my life. About five years ago, chronic back, knee, and heel pain was killing me. It got to be so bad that I started to HATE running. My doctor said that I was getting too old for running and that I should take up another sport like swimming or yoga. I quit running cold turkey and did some hot yoga instead. I strained some muscles from the yoga; so I took up swimming. Swimming was OK, but I kept getting ear infections, I ended up riding a bike. I was close to quitting biking because the pain in my ass was almost as bad as pain in my back from running.

Then I read Born to Run. I found your blog while I was searching for barefoot running blogs. I learned a lot about barefoot running and shoes from your posts. And I really enjoyed the section about learning to run without shoes.

I tried running without shoes, but my feet started to hurt all over. Then I took your advice and gave Xero Shoes a try. They were just what I needed. My knee , back, and heel pain are gone.

I just wanted to thank you for the resources your blog provides. It was a real help to me. Thanks.

……

And now I take advantage for a SHAMELESS AD PLUG:

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Are Your Achilles Barking and Biting Like Wild Dogs?

You’ve discovered the many wondrous sensory delights of experiencing the world without shoes. You enjoy tasting the many exciting textures beneath your toes,

but there’s this nagging tightness in your calf and some weird,  tension and unpredictable pain in your heel. When you really think about it, you might also be experiencing some of the following symptoms:

  • A grating or cracking when you move your ankle.
  • Swelling, heat or redness at the base of your heel.
  • A bump on the tendon where it attaches to the heel.
  • When you pull your toes up, there’s some slight weakness.
  • You may notice that your Achilles feels stiff first thing in the morning.

What’s the Problem?

Achilles Tendinopathy

Achilles tendinitis is typically not related to a specific injury. The problem results from repetitive over-stressing to the tendon.

Insertion-Achilles Tendonitis / Bone spurs / Pump Bumps
Achilles pain can strike barefooters at the base of heel. This form of Achilles ache is also known as “insertion tendinitis”. The spurs result from over stressing a popular foot ligament, the plantar fascia.

Extra bone growth where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone can rub against the tendon and cause pain. 

What’s the Most Common Cause of Achilles Aches?

Chronic over-use. In the ridiculous world of barefooting acronyms this problem is dubbed TMTS (Too Much Too Soon). TMTS injuries afflict athletes who put too much stress on their bodies without adequate time for recovery. Here are some common causes of TMTS injuries:

  • Primary Cause:
    Sudden increase in the amount or intensity of exercise activity
    —for example, increasing your BAREFOOT mileage without giving your body a chance to adjust to the new distance.
    YOU SHOULD TAKE SHOD MILEAGE WITH A GRAIN OF SALT. Just because you can run 10 miles in shoes, doesn’t mean you can run 10 barefoot. All barefoot mileage should be regarded as NEW TRAINING ACTIVITY. 
  • Secondary CAUSE related to Primary CAUSE:
    Tight calf muscles—When calf muscles are given too  much work, they become slackers and transfer load to the Achilles. BAREFOOT RUNNING WILL PUT YOUR CALF MUSCLES TO WORK. Even WALKING BAREFOOT will add STRESS to your CALF MUSCLES. You must allow time for recovery. MASSAGE tight calf muscles with a ROLLING PIN after BAREFOOT WALKING AND RUNNING. (See Below.)
How do I Fix Ache-y Achilles ?
Rest.
Compression.
Elevation.
Rolling pin to alleviate muscle aches, break scar tissue, and increase circulation

 

 

 

Rolling Pin Massage alleviates tightness in the calf and can lead to a speedy recovery from Achilles tendinitis.

How do I avoid Achilles Pain?

Monitor your training volume, intensity and frequency of training carefully. If my Achilles ache, all I have to do is check my training. For instance, last week they were aching a bit. Upon reflection, I realized that I had inadvertently added 7 extra barefoot miles. No wonder, they reacted a little.

It’s important to vary your stride when you run distances longer than 3 miles. One of the many benefits of running without shoes is ability to alter your stride on the fly.

Barefoot running should be taken gradually. Here is a link to a FANTASTIC BAREFOOT HALF MARATHON TRAINING SCHEDULE. It provides plenty of rest days. I used it to run a half marathon at Wildwood in OR.

Watch this Video to Find Out Even More about Treating Achilles Pains:

Remember:

Abrupt changes in training load are the primary cause of Achilles tendinopathy. Slow and steady wins the barefoot race.

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