Sunday, April 10, 2011

Journey of 1,000 Barefoot Miles - Week Ending April 9, 2011

So the journey of 1000 Barefoot Miles has begun. I took my first plunge (both figuratively and literally) into my goal on April 2. I figured a Saturday to Saturday week count would work the best for me, as this gives me the opportunity to put in a good long run on Saturday if I think I am falling short for the week. I am not completely sure how this weekly updating will develop throughout the year, but life is a adventure, so we will just see what happens. My first thought was to log the milage and be done with it, but to me that is boring, and I like to look back at my runs to see how they went and what unique things happened (like they always do), along the way. So with no further delay, here we go, Everybody Ready, On Your Mark, Get Set, Gooooooooooooo!!!!!!

Week One:

Saturday, April 2, 2011:

14.5 total miles

13.25 miles Barefoot

1.25 miles in Vibrams

Yes, I know I have already thrown a curve ball (baseball season has started you know), I am also going to log my miles ran in my Vibrams too, because there is sometimes that bare just will not do. Anyway this was a great run with City Park Runners (CPR), a great group with a very positive and encouraging way about them, even towards a guy that does not wear shoes. Big difference from that other 'running store with the name that shall not be spoken.' Anyway this was my last cold (below zero) run of the year I hope, and the first of many barefoot runs to follow. There was lots of ice, snow, frosty concrete, gravel encrusted asphalt, etc to run over and through. Now you are probably wondering what the 1.25 miles in the Vibrams was about, well that was saved for the area from the Forks to the turnaround and back to the Forks, because the terrain was just too gnarly (that's a word I never thought I would use). As this was my first run of the season, the feet have not been completely conditioned for solid frozen limestone paths as of yet (or limestone of any type, ouch!!). Anyway once we hit the Forks again, the shoes flew off and I was back to 'Au Natural' again, one of my running partners even mentioned she could not believe how fast they came off. Lots of strange looks and finger pointing by pass buyers (are they in for a shock when I put the kilt on for the first race of the season), but surprising no comments.

In short a good first run, feet a little tender, but considering the distance ran and the terrain, I am not surprised.

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

1.5 total miles

0 Barefoot

1.5 Vibrams

Yeah, yeah I know, 2nd day into challenge and I am already wimping out. Well, all I have to say is you run 13.25 miles barefoot the day before first time out, then try to run barefoot the next day. Anyway this run was with my weekly fun run group called the Hash House Harriers (HHH), and no it has nothing to do with drugs. Beer, yes. Potato chips, yes. Silly names, yes. A whole lot of fun, definitely. It not often you can get a bunch of professionals (and serious runners) together who just are out to have a good run and a whole lot of fun. Anyway I am getting off topic, weather was crappy (started snowing, roads were really wet), my feet were still tender from the day before, and I wanted to try to keep up with these very quick friends of mine, so the Vibrams stayed on. End of story.

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

7.41 total miles

7.41 miles barefoot

0 miles in Vibrams

This was a good tempo run with CPR, weather was perfect, roads, sidewalks and trails were gravel filled but manageable. Company was excellent, as always. Lots more finger pointing, a couple of weird looks, a gasp or two, and a comment that I will save for the end. Overall, I was very happy with this run (also first one run of the year with shorts). I very much enjoy these Thursday night runs, lots of runners, and generally a good vibe. Kudos go out to the owner's of CPR who put on these run clubs (and Eric runs with everybody), and allows everybody to meet at their store and ensures that everybody is teamed up with the right partners and makes everybody feel like they have been coming out for years, whether your new or not. Awesome job guys.

Oh yeah, comment time, this one is a common question that I get, but if you logically think about it, it seems kind of silly afterwords.

Q: "Did you run the whole way barefoot?"

My response, " Yes, I did."

Q: "Wow, you must have some major callouses on your feet to do that?"

My response, "No callouses here, my feet are really soft, just tougher, thicker skin. Just think of it this way, you are running on gravel, asphalt and concrete, the rougher surfaces kind of simulate a pedicure, callouses are worn down in much the same way, leaving you with very soft feet. In fact, the soles of my feet kind of mold to the surface that I run on, but right now they are a little tender because i have been wearing footwear all winter, thus my skin layer has weakened and I need to get it built back up."

At this point I lifted up my foot to show them the bottom, and besides a little redness at the midfoot to front where I land, my foot looks perfect.

A couple of wows and that was the end of that. I do try to educate when someone is interested, but I will never be aggressive about it.

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

10.10 total miles

0.75 miles barefoot

9.35 miles Vibrams

Once again, I am realizing that right now I need about 3 days between barefoot runs, until I buildup my skin layer a bit. The weather was not the best, it was 6 degrees (but a very chilly 6 degrees), the ground was really cold and wet (I could not get my feet warm), and I was having a very difficult time picking up the sharp rocks in the wet ground conditions. With the tender feet, sharp rocks are really not a good thing, lots of pins and needles. I was also running with a quicker group this morning, trying to push myself, so I put the Vibrams on and off we went. This was a really good run for me, great conversation, running partners that were willing to push you to go that little bit harder (when one of us was starting to faulter, the others encouraged and outright said we would not let them slow down). This was great, because of this, we picked up our pace from mile 1 thru 10, consistently going faster, until by mile 10 we were at a 9:23 minute mile. This for me was awesome, because I normally go out to fast and by the end I am sucking wind, by the end of our run, I felt like I could of kept going, and even increased the speed a little more. This bodes well, because I run faster without shoes than with, so I am excited to see what I can do with this (maybe a 9:00 minute mile, I would be grinning from ear to ear if that happened). Thank you Romona and Kathy for a great run. Also of note, the other reason I do not like shoes when i run, with the Vibram run, also came some chaffing and bleeding on my feet where the seams run, irritating, but I will live.

So recap of milage:

Week: Barefoot: 21.41

Vibrams: 12.10

Total: 33.51

Year to date:

Barefoot: 21.41

Vibrams: 12.10

Total: 33.51

Note, I have done a significant amount of running in Zem's, mukluks and my Vibrams since the start of the year but I have decided not to account for these.

On On,


  1. Great going. The journey always starts with the first step.
    I like your response to the question "Did you run the whole way barefoot?". A lady asked me the same question as I finished my 15km race yesterday. Luckily 2 people around me answered in the affirmative for me. I am sometimes sarky and probably would've answered with something less than kind.

  2. Good luck on that 1000 mile challenge. It'll be really tough because your season is short, but I'm sure you can do it. I'll be following your progress. Are you running the Police? Mike

  3. Oh, and another thing, I notice I'm the only non-barefooter on your blog list. I'm honoured! Mike

  4. Yes Mike, I will be running the Police Half, probably the only one barefoot though, unless I can convince some other possible participants. If you see me (I will also be wearing a kilt), please stop and say hi, I would like to meet the author of one of my favorite blogs. Cheers.

  5. I'll be looking for you. It's a 20 mile day for me so I'll be running 3.5 before and 3.5 after. Crazy! Good luck. Mike