Boring Barefoot Marathon Training Day 8

I didn’t want to get out of bed at five thirty this morning. I was too comfortable. Besides my legs were a little sore and I didn’t sleep well. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion…Once I got my ass out from under the sheets,  I strapped my on running sandals, but  the damned cord snapped. If you don’t own running sandals, then you don’t how much it motherfuckingsucks to retie them. It’s a fine art to get the delicate tension just right, especially when you’re using the “permanent knot” method. After fidgeting, cussing, and igniting the knot with a match*, I realized that had another impediment to overcome: my GPS needed to be reprogrammed. I needed to update my intervals. Thankfully, the update went smoothly.  Even so, I was frustrated because I was on a tight schedule. I need to get my runs before work. If I don’t run before work, the run hangs over my head like a well fed elephant. It also means that I’ll be stuck running in the heat or if it’s too hot, then waiting until eight or nine, which means going to bed at ten or eleven, skipping meditation and reading.

Fortunately, I was able to get out of door at a reasonable time. I had to force myself to break into a jog: It is by will alone I set my mind in motion… Once I cleared a few streets with my freshly tied sandals and my GPS programmed, I had a good run:

After a two mile warm-up, I ran ten sets of intervals: 2 minute fast (80-90% effort) with 1 minute recovery.  All told, I ran over six miles. Some of the intervals were unintentionally uphill. I didn’t plan them that way, it’s just the path of my regular running route. I don’t get much recovery uphill, but it tones the fuck out of my heart without staining my lips–for lip staining, I need the juice of sapho.

It is the day of the Mentat. This post it just to let you know that I’m still training. Check back tomorrow, perhaps there will be some of Paul-Muad’Dib’s wisdom.

 

* Setting fire to the knot shrinks it, thereby saving your foot from excessive agony.

Boring Barefoot Marathon Training Day 5

More than once I’ve asked myself whether I shall turn out to be the Superman or the Lex Luther of my own life. Each of us are given a fist full of earth. Some plant gardens, other throw mud pies, and some let the dirt slip between their fingers. Of course, we weren’t given the earth, we emerged from it. This planet truly is our mother. As the miles slide by, the bullshit of normal life lifts and there is nothing but breath: time dilates and contracts by its own weird logic.  Today, I ran 7.4 blissful miles. What does tomorrow hold? Check back to find out.

Barefoot Boring Marathon Training Day 4

 

Sometimes I have to bury myself to feel alive. That’s what the isolation tank is a like  for me, it’s a private, self-inflicted burial. I close the door and entomb myself in a Stygian crypt. But this post isn’t about the mysteries of isolation tanks. I’ll save that topic for another time.

This post is about a different kind of burial–one above ground under the hot summer sun–and the curious resurrection that accompanies it. This post is about running hill repeats. Today, my barefoot marathon training schedule commanded me to run 90 seconds up hill at 80%-90% max heart  rate with 90 second recovery for 30 minutes. On the first climb, I watched my heart-rate leap from 112 to 157 in a very short time. Breathing was troublesome. Soon I was wheezing hard. By the third repeat my heart-rate reached 175 and that’s when the panic set in. My hissing, gasping, wheezing lungs would not drag in anymore air.  The houses spun around and the street became a rolling wave. I couldn’t catch my breath, it felt like I was breathing through a straw that was getting smaller and smaller.  Am I having a heatstroke. No, what if it’s asthma- or a heart attack-I could die–OMG, I could drop dead right here!!!! This is dangerous. I should stop running. Should ask this lady to call an ambulance? and so on. Slowly as I jogged downhill, my breath returned. I was tempted to stop doing the repeats but quitting my repeats would have been a huge mistake. Instead of giving into the temptation to walk, I just forced myself to slow down whenever my heart-rate reached 152–I found that when I slowed at 152 it still climbed to 157 or 158, but those ranges are in my target zone, so the gasping and wheezing were tolerable. As long as I staid in my target zone of 80%-90% of max, I would be safe. The wheezing didn’t stop completely and the running wasn’t easier, but it all became uncomfortably bearable and I was able to finish my 30 minute repeats. After my run, I felt fantastic! I was reborn. I can’t wait to train tomorrow. Come back  to find out what’s next.

Boring Marathon Training Day Three (3)


I remember hesitating before clicking the order button. I didn’t know it then, but this was the moment that would change everything, the very thing that would force me to write a yet another shameless product plug—-> Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor. That’s the heart rate monitor I ordered from Amazon last week. I’m happy to report that it arrived today! After removing it from the box, I went straight to Polar’s Website, watched the get started video and set up the shiny new mirror of my heart. The controls are fairly intuitive. Once it was squared away, I tore off my shirt, poured cold water over the contact points of the monitor and strapped it on.  Then I sauntered without shoes through the simmering country streets.

It was fun to watch my heart rate rise and fall as I strode barefoot around the neighborhood. I was surprised to discover how often I misjudged my heart-rate. For example, I like to do handstands throughout the day. Not only do the handstands relieve the gravitation pressure on my spine, but they also round my shoulders and make me feel young. I assumed that the handstands would jack-up my heart rate significantly. I was wrong. They did not!!! In fact, a handstand only raised my heart rate by a few beats. Whereas a super easy jog across the flat street raised my heart rate by almost ten beats.

I couldn’t figure out why my handstands didn’t raise my heart-rate. As I said, I really felt like I was expending more effort doing them. Then I realized that strength is separate from cardio. To really prove that strength is not cardio, I did twenty push-ups. My heart rate only climbed up two beats. The effort I felt doing the push-ups was significant. Then I marched in place for twenty seconds, my heart rate increased by ten beats. I did NOT feel that I was expending as much effort marching in place as I did when I was doing the push-ups. Strength training really and truly doesn’t do much for your heart. I knew that, but I didn’t KNOW it until I saw it my silver display.

But the big eye opener for me was realizing how much faster my heart beats when I’m standing as opposed to sitting. Seated it beats around 44 bpm, standing it jumps to 60 bpm. Guess which position burns more calories?

Incidentally, in addition to my easy one hour walk and heart-rate experiments, I did Week One of Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 Workout. Technically Jillian’s Program is not entirely strength training because it has some short cardio intervals, I am not, however, concerned. It’s my wife’s DVD and it does have weightlifting segments, so I’m using it for all of my strength training days.

I didn’t think I would like wearing my heart on my wrist, but it’s really enjoyable. Tomorrow, I’ll be  running uphill at top speed for 90 second intervals. See you then.

5 Mistakes Barefoot Runners Make

  1. English: Illustration of the pain pathway in R...
    English: Illustration of the pain pathway in René Descartes’ Traite de l’homme (Treatise of Man) 1664. The long fiber running from the foot to the cavity in the head is pulled by the heat and releases a fluid that makes the muscles contract. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Running on the Tips of the Toes
    Tippy Toe running will chew up your calves and achilles; it will also hammer agonizing spikes of torment into your sensitive metatarsals. (As the illustration shows, it may also activate the long fiber running from the foot to the cavity in the head to release a fluid that makes the muscles contract. It may also disrupt one of the four humors, thereby requiring bloodletting to restore balance). So, don’t run on your toes. Your heel should touch the ground, but it shouldn’t be the first part to strike the ground.

  2. Too Much Too Soon (TMTS)
    This doesn’t only apply to those who scamper the streets without shoes. It applies to everyone who races on foot. If pain darts through your lower leg, then you’re rushing your training. This is the most frustrating aspect of barefoot running. It’s taken me a few years to develop enough foot strength to run reasonable distances. Even a mile barefoot walk can give some people issues. It takes time, but your body will adapt. Persistence, not distance is the key. BTW, I cross train with Pilates and I do High Intensity Interval Workouts on my non run days. When I was injured, I still exercised I was even able to adapt some of the cardio HICT moves.
  3. Running Straight Barefoot without Sandals or “Barefoot Shoes”
    There is nothing wrong with wearing sandals or truly minimalist shoes, such as Merrill foot gloves. I do most of my running in sandals, not only because the streets in my neighborhood are brimming with tiny stone spikes (pain pyramids), but also because I enjoy the jaunty style. Let’s face it, even the Tarahumara Indians run in sandals. Most runners do not expose their naked feet to the scraggy pavement. If you live in California or some other place that offers sunshine and smooth streets, you may ignore the previous sentence, but if, like me, you live in Oregon or a place with rough streets,  heed my warning. I do enjoy running completely barefoot now and again, but most of the time, I gallop about in sandals.
  4. Monotonous, Plodding Gait 
    The main benefit from barefoot running is the ability to connect with the planet as it spins around the sun. But that doesn’t mean that you should copy your stride over and over again, every step of the way. It is important to change pace and gait occasionally, especially on longer runs. Sometimes, I run like a gazelle, skipping my body along the dirt trail, other times I run like a cross country skier, gliding myself over the long asphalt road. I often do interval sprints from power line to power line; other times I just jog at slow to go pace. I have even been known to twirl myself like flamenco dancer; now and then, I even begin or end my runs with a flashy cartwheel.
  5. Giving Up Too Soon
    Because it takes some time to develop foot strength, many runners give barefoot running a try for a month or two. Usually, they end up getting top of foot pain, achilles pain, calf injury, or shin splints. That’s when they give up and write articles such as “Dangers of Barefoot Running”. While you should not run through real pain, barefoot running does hurt a little. Progress doesn’t happen in the “comfort zone.” Getting past the initial aches is part of the fun. Think of the discomfort as friendly college hazing from the barefoot running gods. Like all gods, they require sacrifice. The oblation of pain, is a small price for many joyful secrets the gods will share with you.
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Protect Your Smartphone from Water, Snow, & Rain

Tired of having your smartphone explode in a plume of toxic green smoke? Here’s an easy, FREE way to protect your smartphone from dangerous waters and other aqueous predators such as sweat.

Here is a Link to My Post About RunKeepr:

Track Mileage / Kilomerters With SmartPhone

Here is an Offsite Link to the Runkeepr App:

Awesome RunKeepr App

 

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7 Day Fruitarian Challenge: Day 4 (hump day)

Feeling great on day 4! Cravings for unhealthy junk foods have diminished significantly!!!!

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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.

Barefoot Running Got me to Love Running Again.
Now I can run 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:

These Barefoot Shoes Saved my Sole and Got me to LOVE RUNNING AGAIN!

Get Authentic Barefoot Running Shoes

Click here to Get Authentic Barefoot Running Shoes

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The 3 Miracles of Barefoot Running

Save Your Sole Run Barefoot
Save your Sole Run Barefoot

It’s been over a year since I tossed my Nike’s in the trash. Since then I have been running either in thin Tarhumara sandals or straight barefoot.

Last summer was a disaster. I didn’t run much because I battled lower leg injuries: Achilles tendinitis, a torn calf, and wicked bruises on the ball of my foot. All of the injuries resulted from over striding and doing too much too soon.

Now that I have overcome the difficulties I am having the summer I was hoping to have last summer. I’m back up to my previous mileage. And I’m loving my runs.

Here are three miraculous benefits I enjoy from running without shoes:

  1. No blisters.
    I have run 9 miles in the heat without ANY blisters on my feet. I challenge any shod runner to five miles without blisters. I am astonished after each run. On occasion I will get a tiny blister on my toe or near the ball of my foot, but they’re nothing like the heel blisters I used to get in shoes.
  2. No lower back pain.
    I took a break from running because my lower back was killing me. After each run, it would ache for days. Barefoot running has eliminated the pain. For my longer runs, I may feel a slight twinge of pain during the run, but it vanishes hours later. Barefoot running automatically improves posture while leading to lower impact forces. The bouncy cushioning of shoes blinds the foot from the terrain. As a result, the runner tends to either heel strike or hit the ground harder than he or she would in bare feet.  If you want to see a fluid PERFECT barefoot stride, watch any barefoot toddler run this summer. Barefoot children run with excellent form. And they DO NOT heel strike on the concrete or the lawn.
  3. Super Spiked Runner’s High.
    Maybe it’s childlike stride or perhaps it’s the steady pounding rhythm of my feet that releases the delicious sensation of flight, the wild insights, and the glorious communion the sexy universe. She kisses my arms face and neck with her cool breezes, she fills my eager lungs with the fresh essence of air and the scent of wet cedars; she delights me with the squish of soft earth, twisting a gentle tickle through my toes. Three miles completely barefoot in the woods is almost like smoking a joint–not that I would know what smoking a joint feels like 😉
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