Subscribe: ART AND SOLE
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
barefoot  cold  day  don  feel  feet  felt  foot  frostbite  good  half  mile  miles  run  running  start  time  weight 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics


The bare foot is the best running coach money can't buy.

Updated: 2018-03-06T01:13:00.120-08:00


I've gone over to wordpress


I'm still getting my act together, but figured I'd post this in the event anyone reads this on a feed. The wife nabbed the url, so... there you go. Just about everything made it over there, except for Shannon's recent comment informing me that ac duped me into believing he had frostbite.

Iris' Run To Victory


First I recommend reading her account of the event over at the MadMayo Running Club site. To summarize, she kicked the ass of the course. It was cool watching her run to the finish at a good clip with a smile on her face after five miles. And she finished in the top half of the field!

Of course I wish I could have run; it was weird not hearing the "check out the barefoot guy" whispers behind my back. I was just a regular person. Blew my mind. While there were too many speedy runners in the half for me to have been competitive, I would have placed in the 5 miler. Maybe even won (the winning time was around 33 minutes). Stupid toe.

That said, I like the role of support crew. If this were the cycling world, I'd be a domestique. It feels good to know that I had contributed to Iris' great run,  that I played a part. I also recommend to any runner who gets injured to volunteer at a couple of races while they heal. It's rewarding, fun, and sure beats wallowing in self-pity.

Stupid toe.

Bandaids are stupid and other musings


Why haven't I heard of these new adhesive pad things? More importantly, why didn't the doctor or any of the nurses not mention them? I've been changing regular bandaids three times a day. Not fun. Very painful. And to think all this time I could have been wearing an adhesive pad, which I only have to change once every four days.

I finally got a box of Johnson + Johnson First Aid Advanced Healing Adhesive Pads and just slapped one on. It totally covers the wound, as opposed to the menagerie of bandaids that lose their stickiness. I can leave it on for days. If claims and reviews are to be believed, my toe will heal more quickly, too.

To recap: the doctor tells me I have frostbite when it was meteorologically impossible, waits at least half an hour to give me a tub of warm water to soak my foot which, if I had frostbite, I would have needed immediately, then tapes me up with a bunch of cheap bandaids that were too small when there are much more suitable products on the market. Oh, and what do they give a supposed frostbite patient to drink his Advil down?

Ice water.

Next time I have a medical issue, I'll google it and heal myself. That's what's going to happen anyway; I should cut out the middleman.

Big Chicken


Race stats


What with all the toe drama I forgot to post the particulars:
Mistletoe Half Marathon
Time: 1:36:33
Overall: 79th out of 969 (813 finishers)
Age (30-34): 13th out of 56

Lots of speedy guys my age in this one. I was shooting for a 1:39, so I guess I got that! Not a bad way to end the year, performance-wise.

Frostbite Update: Not Frostbite


If I have frostbite, the National Weather Service is reporting fiction. They state very clearly that the air temperature has to be below freezing for frostbite to occur. Even in the wet and windy conditions, there was no way the air temp got over ten degrees colder around my feet.

Don't get me wrong, my foot is messed up. Recovery is still going to take a while, and caution should be exercised when racing in cold rain (meaning slow down or don't race at all).

How did I get that diagnosis then? My glasses. They make me look smart. Plus I have good diction, which adds to the illusion. I walked into the emergency room, showed them what probably was the grossest foot they had seen that didn't come from a house fire, and stated that I had frostbite. There's not much frostbite going around in NC, so I think everyone took my word for it. If I were the doctor, I would be tempted to let a patient think his injury is worse than it is, if it means he'll take better care of it.

Lose weight with amputation!


No, the frostbite isn't getting worse. In fact, I'm starting to doubt if I have frostbite at all; just a bad injury. The doctor said the frostbitten area was small - 2cm; I thought he was crazy, given how gory my foot looked, but the other affected areas now look like regular old (but still serious) blood blisters. I still can't put any weight on my right foot, though. Apparently you need skin on your toe for that. Sorry - too gross?

I don't know how much longer I'm stuck on the couch. I do know that I'm going to weigh more once I'm mobile again.The only thing that means to me is I'll be slower and get tired sooner. I think people worry way too much about their weight. I mean really, what does the scale really tell you? Nothing you don't already know. If you're eating your fruits and vegetables, running 20-40 miles a week, and feeling good, who cares what your weight is? Thinking light and skinny = health is kind of backwards, and in my opinion, dangerous (coming from me, in my current state, should say something). Being healthy and active will likely make you lighter and skinnier, although maybe not as much as you would like.

Don't get me wrong, I think weight is interesting. I like to see the fluctuations; it's cool how we can influence the size of our bodies. When I started running last March, I weighed close to 160 lbs. I've been around 130 since July, after Grandfather Mountain. But that doesn't mean anything other than that's what I weigh when I'm running and eating a lot. If I don't run but continue to eat a lot, I'm capable of gaining 30 pounds before I run out of pants.

If I were a personal trainer, I wouldn't stress weight loss. I would train my client instead to learn how to get the most achievement and enjoyment out of the equipment they have, and to help figure out how to get more. Who cares how many calories you burned in that mile - how did that mile feel? If that mile, with practice, feels better, who cares what you weigh? If the runner is getting faster, their runs happier, should they be disappointed if their weight hasn't changed? Of course not!

Everything in moderation, ESPECIALLY moderation. Tis the season, and all. Go ahead and pig out. Accept the fact you're probably going to gain a few pounds, and it might take a while to shed them.

The only question is, do I really believe all of the above, or am I trying to lull the competition into complacency while I'm on the injured list?

Sooo... What happened, exactly?


I'm going to try to do a play-by-play of the events of the Mistletoe Half Marathon. This is going to be looooooong.......First, thank you thank you thank you to all the well-wishers. I've been watching mysteries on Masterpiece Theater (Inspector Lewis), so in that spirit let's evaluate the circumstances of the case.What was I wearing?head:1. NIKE wicking baseball cap2. fleece ear/headband (removed at mile 4-5)torso:3. poly wicking short sleeve shirt under long sleeve cotton shirt under cotton tee.hands:4. gardening gloves (my rose-pruners)legs:5. nylon running pantsWeather:Low 40'srain (not hard, but consistent)Wind steady at 5mph from the north, with gusts at 12mph around 930am (miles 10 and 11)What did I feel/do?At the start:Waiting at the start was chilly and wet, but not to the point of shivering (I shiver and chatter easily). I could feel the ground just fine; no numbness.First mile:8 minutes. I took it easy (relatively) to make sure I could feel the ground fine and my form was good (no overexcited pushing off). Still no numbness, felt I was going to be fine.Miles 4-5:My head was getting warm, so I took off the fleece ear cover headband. That was probably a big mistake. My feet felt chilly, but I could (or at least thought I could) feel the ground. To be careful, I was flexing and wiggling my toes every chance I got.Miles 10-11:Here's where I think the damage happened. We were in a more open part of the course with fewer trees to block the wind, which had started gusting at 12mph. It wasn't strong, but it felt REALLY cold. I remember saying to the runner next to me "Jesus H Christ, that can stop any time," as my fingers (in gloves) started feeling really chilled. My feet felt warm.Finish:I couldn't move my fingers enough to hang on to my ribbon. I have no idea where I dropped that thing. My feet felt fine. From the top, they looked fine. The bottom of my right foot was nauseating, with a destroyed blister and exposed black patch on the big toe, and a huge frozen blister on the ball, with a lot of blackness underneath. On the left, there was a black spot on the pad of each of the two toes next to the big one. I didn't show anybody and made a bee-line for the emergency room, swearing profusely. I started to feel pain as my feet gradually thawed. Then I put them in a tub of warm water (104 degrees is the suggested temp). The pain of that made me shake. Once my feet defrosted completely, the water felt cool. I thought my feet cooled the water, but the temp had stayed the same.Here's what I think happened: the gusts of very cold winds at miles 10-11 blew away the heat my soaked, cotton shirts were holding in. My body, prioritizing my vital organs over fingers and toes, sent blood from my extremities to my core. My fingers were freezing because, ironically, they were warm enough to feel cold. My feet, as I said, felt warm. That should have been a warning sign, but I thought at the time it was a testament to improved circulation from running barefoot.Remember, it wasn't just the 12mph wind from nature. I was running about 7:15 minute miles at that point, or a little over 8mph. PLUS, my cadence was around 200 lifts per minute. Spinning feet = more wind resistance. So we're looking at gusts of at least 25 mph on exposed, wet skin, farthest from my heart, that is repeatedly coming into contact with cold, abrasive, heat-sucking wet pavement. Man, when I put it that way, the outcome sure sounds obvious.One other possible contributing factor: The day before, I did a quick 3.5 mile run around the neighborhood in about 30 degree (dry) weather. My feet stayed cold to the touch until I took a shower. Instead of warming them gradually, I just stepped into the steam. They were itchy for about an hour later, then felt fine. Maybe I had done a little preliminary damage?The biggest lesson I learned from this: AT NO POINT DURING THE RACE DID MY FEET [...]

MistlefrostbittenTOE Half Marathon


I don't know any details yet other than I finished 1:36something. That's because I was in the emergency room during the award ceremony.

It turns out fellow Barefoot Josh was prophetic when he cautioned me about the weather. Wet and wind are not my friends.

I left the house with temps warmer than forecast - around 42 degrees, but raining heavily - wearing thin socks inside my gortex socks inside my aqua socks. It was a little tighter than I thought it would be. That thought was nagging me the whole drive into Winston-Salem. It was really bugging me.

I picked up my shirt and number and went back to the car. "I'm wearing the Vibram's," I decided. So I make the switcheroo. Decision made.

At the starting line waiting for the gun, the Vibram's got soaked. Which made my feet cold. "Well that sort of defeats the purpose," I figured. So I took them off.

The race went perfectly. My left foot wasn't tight, my hip was fine. My toes felt a little cold, but not as cold as my gloved fingers. After the first mile at 8 minutes on the nose, I ticked off the remaining 12 at a steady 7:15-7:30 pace. I had enough to pick it up at the end. I was exhausted, but very happy with my effort. Until I looked at the bottom of my right foot. I want to be honest and forthright about my barefoot running experience, but I don't think I'll be posting any pictures of the foot anytime soon. Just google "frostbite," if you're into that sort of thing.

Fortunately I parked right next to the finish line. I got in my car and gingerly put a couple pairs of socks, stepped in my sandals (I brought everything today) and hobbled to the ambulance. They said "yup, it's frostbite. Do you want us to take you to the hospital, or can you drive?" Is it that bad? I panicked to myself. "We have to ask." I drove (my car, not the ambulance).

You get funny looks when you tell a nurse that you have frostbite from running 13 miles on a cold wet December day. Sort of a cross between No Shit Sherlock and I Might Need To Sedate This Lunatic. When the doctor showed up, he asked my which injuries were from the race and which existed prior. He (understandably) assumed that a barefoot runner would have messed up feet. "Doc, my feet were beautiful this morning." Those words hit me like a brick. Especially the past tense-ness of it.

An excruciatingly painful warm foot-bath, some bandages, a tetanus shot, some Advil, and a miserable drive later, I'm home. It doesn't hurt too badly, although I almost wish it did. I assumed it had to be freezing to get frostbite. Plus, I recently ran ten miles in similar conditions, and my feet were fine. Iris (the wife) thinks I might have started the damage on my very cold short run yesterday. Who knows. All I know is 1. I can't run for one, maybe two months 2. When I can run again, it can't be in the cold 3. My base training for Blue Ridge is over, and 4. I'm feeling very depressed and embarrassed and stupid.

So there you have it. After 490 barefoot miles, I'm done for the year. At mile 477 the feet looked and felt great. Since I can do little else but sit for a while, hopefully I'll start posting some art.

That is, until I cut off my hand in a watercoloring accident.

Bloggy Food Love


I got some bloggy love from Das Mixture for my post about the importance of including fast food in my diet. It seems only right to give it back, so go visit Das Mixture.

Speaking of food, I just stuffed myself with vegetables for lunch after a week of pastry and cookies. Interestingly I haven't gained any weight, but the veggies are sitting in my stomach like a big mac with fries.

New PBCR (Personal Barefoot Cold Record)


I woke up this morning to 30 degrees outside. Normally I like to take the day off before a race, especially a long one, but I wanted to see how the feet felt in freezing temps.

Cold, not surprisingly.

But not bad after the first mile. But here's the question: did the feet actually warm up, or was it the beginning stages of frostbite? I only ran 3.5 miles. What would happen on a longer run? Do I feel like finding out tomorrow? The hot shower after the run made my toes itch like crazy.

My anxiety over the Mistletoe Half tomorrow may be for nothing; the latest weather report says 40 degrees at 7am with a 50% chance of rain. 10am is predicted to be the same temp, but with an 80% chance. Those conditions are unpleasant (at first), but tolerable. If I'm going fast (and generating heat), all the better.

If it's raining at the start, however, I might just engage in a little triple sock action: aqua socks over waterproof socks (they're gortex) over, oh, I don't know, maybe cashmere socks. I'm a delicate flower.

On that note, there's another dilemma/identity crisis. If I run barefoot tomorrow in crappy weather, people will think I'm a tough guy, ergo only tough guys run barefoot. Which of course is the opposite of what I'm preaching: you need to be a wimp to run barefoot. BUT, it's so rare for people to think of me as anything but a wuss, maybe I should just embrace the tough guy persona when I can.

I'll end this post with a quote from my patron saint:
It is impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, and certainly not desirable, as one's hat keeps blowing off. - Woody Allen

Test coming up


in the form of the Mistletoe half marathon this Saturday. I'm a little worried about the weather: low 30's, chance of rain. The "chance of rain" part is the latest prediction, and the part I'm most worried about. Or more to the point, it's the standing around waiting for the race to start in that weather that I'm worried about. I've never run barefoot in temps that cold before. And rain/sleet/snow? Sheesh. I might be bringing the VFFs along. Don't be surprised if I wear them for at least part of the race.

The feet/rest o' me are doing well with the latest increase in mileage/pace. I've got a mild soreness in my left hip flexor, which I've had off and on ever since I had a job wearing a tool belt. The job wasn't "to wear a toolbelt," just for clarification. I think the soreness has something to do with how I'm handling steep hills; I have a feeling I'm using my hips instead of my knees downhill. Bend the knees! I also have a little bit of tightness on the top of my left foot. That popped up after I tried the Gravel Path of Misery (Farris Park) last week sans vffs, which is ironic. You would think the pain from running/walking/stumbling on sharp rocks would be at the bottom of my feet. But since I find the rocks so stressful, it's hard for me to relax. If I don't relax, ie let my heel touch the ground, it puts strain on all the stringy bits in my foot. Hence, tightness. Just like I used to get when I wore vffs and aqua socks before going barefoot.

So how's that for a preemptive excuse? I almost hope I don't do well. How annoying would it be to find out that speed necessitates cold wet misery? Right now, I think I'd rather be slow in the tropics. Must be February. What? It's only December? Great. Just great.

The streak ends


Greensboro Gobbler 5k
7:05 pace first half, 6:45 pace second half
62nd overall out of 1311
8th AG out of 75

I figured I was going to be slower, having bumped up my miles a bit. I also had a feeling I was going to start slow if I was going to follow through with my promise to myself not to waste energy passing people at the gun in such a big crowd/tiny course. It seemed like all the slow runners (ie, 8 year olds and their moms) were in front of me, all the fast people behind. Tokyo subway craziness ensued. I just tucked myself behind a gaggle of mid-paced runners and let everyone else elbow and push their way to the front.

Once it strung out, I was kind of comfortable going at the slower pace. I waited for the second half to start passing people, and then only casually. I wasn't feeling very racey. I'm pleased to be able to say that about a pretty quick time, though. That, and I didn't step in anything from the Dog Walk/Run.

Check out the full race report at , which should most likely be posted by the time you read this.

Tomorrow: Greensboro Gobbler 5k


It's going to be crowded. 1000 people on a 1.5 mile loop. That's a lot of runners to catch, and a lot of runners to catch me... I have a feeling my time is going to be a little slower. It's pretty hilly, and I just ate five peanut butter cookies. So, as of right now, on the couch, I don't feel very fast.

A significant percentage of the MadMayo Running Club are going to be running as well. There will most likely be pictures.

Just thought of something - there's a Fun Dog Walk right before. Crap. Literally. I'm going to have to REALLY pay attention. And bring some Charlie's Soap, of course.

The Cold Rain


"They" say one of the reasons people keep running marathons is that we have some kind of instinct to forget the pain and suffering, and only remember the highs. I don't know if that's true, but I notice the exact opposite happens when getting ready for a run on a cold rainy day. I dread it. All I can think of is that first uncomfortable mile. I hate being cold. We moved south in no small part because we were tired of the brutal winters.

However, once I'm warmed up, I love being active in cooler temps like 40 degrees. But I don't seem to remember that when I'm bracing myself for that first barefoot step on cold cement.

Today I had Cold November Rain going through my head. Both the song and the chilly weather drenching my hat. My training plans are loose, but I had figured on going ten today. I didn't have to, and was considering cutting it short while shivering through the first mile. Eventually my circulation kicked in and I could feel the ground again and was able to relax. Then the rain felt good, the cold pavement felt refreshing. Still, the first ten or so minutes of cold left me feeling a little worn out.

I do a 3.5 mile hilly loop around town three times for my hour and a half runs. The objective is to run each lap a little faster. Today was 30 min, 29 min, 27 min. The last lap felt good, but I was definitely done. "Done," in my interpretation of Lydiard's description, is feeling pleasantly tired but able to vacuum after toweling off. If I'm too tired to vacuum, I ran too hard/far and the wife is mad.

I vacuumed.

Anyway, great run in the cold rain, much better than anticipated. It seems like the miserable weather runs always are better. But then, I haven't run in the 30's yet...

MadMayo Shine Run


As stated in the comments, I'm totally rocking the V for Vendetta look and now my parents know about my calavera tattoo.

Go give some bloggy love to the club and read the write up.

Throwing Pasta on the Wall


Because you never know what's going to stick.

I'm not sure what I mean by that; that's the thing with analogies and metaphors. Some readers may read the above statement and nod sagely, uttering "so true, so true." Others ask,"why would you throw pasta on the wall?"

But we (I) love analogies and metaphors all the same, because when they do work they provide a real Eureka! insight into the topic at hand/foot. "The rough surfaces are your vegetables, the smooth are dessert," or "learning how to run with shoes on is like learning how to sing with earplugs." I believe Barefoot Ken Bob Saxton came up with both of those, by the way.

Sometimes, however, the best analogy is an instruction for an entirely different task. Like how to clean your feet without dirtying up your tub.

I used to have little black toe-prints in my tub from day-after-day of cleaning road grime off my feet. I figured that was a small cost of running barefoot; increased frequency of tub-washing. Then Ken Bob posted a how-to guide for foot hygiene that included this advice:
3. When the floor is wet, step gently into the shower/bath. Do NOT twist, or slide your feet around, as this grinds the dirt into the floor (especially plastic showers/tubs).
Sound familiar? Now, between this advice and the use of Charlie's Soap,  my tub is cleaner after I wash my feet than before. But that's not my point. You see, this advice also pertains to running. Imagine your feet were dirty and you had to run across a clean surface. Your objective is to keep that surface as clean as possible, running across without leaving a mark. How would you do this?

You would avoid skidding, twisting, sliding, grinding, etc at all costs. You would step as lightly as possible. You would focus on lifting your feet. You would run smoothly, gently, and efficiently. You would run like a singer on vegetables.

If you know what I mean.

If food were running


I would have just completed a long tempo run. That translates to another round with Burger King, but with some changes.

In the name of science, I switched from fries to onion rings, and consumed a Whopper instead of a Whopper Jr. I suspect the difficulty I had with my previous BK training might have been the fries. If I regret it later, next time I'll remove the onion rings. After that, a chicken sandwich with onion rings and fries, and so on and so forth. Mr. Wizard would be proud.

The reason I insist on eating fast food isn't to calm cravings or to "reward" myself for eating a lot of brown rice, beans and broccoli all week. It's that I don't want to be a delicate eater. If I'm out on the road in the middle of the country, starving, and the only eating option is fast food, I want to be able to eat. And enjoy it, without repercussions. And who knows; maybe Wendy's will stage a coup and take over the government, nationalizing the food industry. If that happens, I'll be ready.

On the flip side, the vegetarians could take over. I'll be ready for that too. If they do, I'm sure when driving late at night, starving, I'll see a Chickpea Hut and think "Ooh! Veggie pilaf! Super!"

On a running note, everything feels fine after my effort yesterday. The "edge" - and no, I can't seem to write "edge" without quotes - was really definitive, like a wall. I could run with minor discomfort (effort-wise, not feet-wise) at a consistent pace, but if I pushed it a little I really felt it. I was a little out of breath at the end, but otherwise felt fine.

Afterward, a lady actually touched my feet. Someone wanted to take a picture of my soles (for their scrapbook, maybe). As I was posing, like the pro that I am, a lady nearby sidled up next to me and touched the bottom of my foot. I felt so violated. "Unhand me, you brute!" I squealed. Actually, I just thought "Huh. That would have really tickled before." She said she couldn't help herself.

Hope Iris isn't mad.

Next week consists of two ten-milers and a seven-miler. Unless it doesn't.

Uh... I am the Second Warrior (new PR!)


Warrior 5k in Walnut Cove
Time: 20:02 (previous PR: 20:22)
Overall: 2nd
Age (30-39): 1st
Weather: perfect 60 degrees, sunny

Me with medal and Tito and struggling cabbage at my feet.

Not too shabby, especially with a big hill. I could see the leader the whole time, and basically hoped he got tired so I could catch up... didn't happen. He finished in 19:0something. If I could have seen the finish clock earlier, I would have sprinted for a sub-20... oh well.

I ditched my plan pretty early on - the counting felt silly. I did start a little farther from "the edge" and didn't push too hard at the beginning. But after the first minute, it was just me and the High School kid. So I tried to stay as comfortable as I could without letting him get too far away. At the halfway point, his mom told me not to catch him. "Don't worry," I panted. "I think he's safe."

The foot reception was very pleasant. Again, everyone was very nice and curious. I had ample opportunities to promote my sponsor, Charlie's Soap. The organizers were great, and I hope to race with them again soon. Good start to the day - now I'm off to teach art!

Oh - and how about knocking another 20 seconds off my PR? Thanks, Nike! You make a great hat!

I Am The Warrior


You run, run, runaway
It's your heart that you betray
Feeding on your hungry eyes
I bet you're not so civilized

Tomorrow is the Warrior 5k, and I'm going to try something different. I would like to see what happens if I can run negative splits, which means starting slower. Of course I tell myself to start slow as I'm waiting for the gun/horn, but that never happens.

Shooting at the walls of heartache
Bang, bang!
I am the warrior
Well I am the warrior
And heart to heart you'll win
If you survive the warrior, the warrior

Ahem. Sorry.

So anyway, at the start, I'm going to slowly count to ten. At ten, I pick it up a bit, repeat. If I can't pick it up, I'll try to hold it. I'm hoping this might keep me in check at the beginning. Does anyone else do this? So that's the plan.

Or, I just start chasing people like a maniac.

The Warrior 5k benefits the Middle School in Walnut Cove. I don't know anything about the course, but I expect hills.

Once I'm done, I put on my art hat and tutor a new student. So, that's a good day.

AND, tomorrow night is Cotto vs Pacquiao. Man. We might have to go to Hillbilly Hideaway for dinner and make it a totally awesome day.

Shooting at the walls of heartache
Bang, bang!

Training, etc


So far I'm enjoying the Lydiard training, which right now consists of running 7-10 miles at a comfortable but fast pace (between 7:30 and 8:00 /mi), three times a week, with casual miles on the other days. I'm trying to build the mileage gradually, which is creating some interesting math problems: does a casual mile = an aerobic mile? Who knows; I just have to feel it out Iguess.

Speaking of Lydiard, I found an interesting interview with him at the Twin City Track Club site. (This, by the way, is a great group. I've run two races organized by them, and had a great time at each.) In the interview, the 1960 Olympic Marathon comes up. That's the one won by Bikila barefoot. Lydiard coached the runner who placed third. Check out this quote:

Abebe Bikila in his bare feet probably had a better grip on the road than anyone else. That's not detracting from Bikila, he was a great marathon runner. I saw him run and win in Toro, and undoubtedly he was the champion, but when people look at the times in that marathon, they've got to realize it wasn't on a nice smooth paved road in daylight; it was on uneven ground, the lights were such that it was very difficult to see the ground, you never knew when you were going to hit the ground with your heel, and also flashing lights blinding you all the time.
 Sooo... Bikila had an advantage on a blind, rough, rocky coarse because he was barefoot. That's cool.

I'm going to run a nearby 5k this Saturday. I'm curious to see if the endurance training will show yet.

Today's run (7.1 miles, 55:05) was 50 degrees in the rain. The first mile was pretty miserable, but I warmed up ok enough. My biggest concern was blisters, so I focused on not sliding the feet with success. The soles are a little sore, which I think should be expected in this weather, on hills, and at a brisk pace.

One last thing: check out the new MadMayo Running Club! Want to be a member? All you have to do is buy a shirt.

Mindfulness and the Grackle Invasion


I stepped on a rock today.

Of course, I step on rocks every day. There was nothing special about this rock. In fact, I don't remember it at all; but it's safe to say that since I was running around the neighborhood, chances are I stepped on a rock today.

Even though I don't remember this rock, I can tell you what happened. As my foot landed on the ground, in the first few milliseconds it felt a protrusion. My brain sent the message back to my foot, "telling" it to relax and start bearing the weight of my body on some other part of the sole. Usually, if the rock is on the outside of my foot, my weight shifts a bit to the inside, and vice versa. If the rock is in the middle, my forefoot bears the weight and my heel never touches the ground for that step. And so one and so forth.

Part of the trick (and joy) to running barefoot is to be constantly mindful of your surroundings. Feeling the texture of the ground, using that steady flow of information to adjust running form accordingly.

It's grackle invasion season here in Cackalacky. Thousands and thousands of grackles chatter away in the trees and on the lawns. When they move, they're a flowing river of blackness, their flapping wings sound like muffled waves. As I watch different groupings fly from one tree to another, I wonder what their training regimen is. Do they have a nest-to-5k program?

And then - chaos. A red-shouldered hawk comes shooting out of the sky, into a tree that explodes with grackle. The hawk performs acrobatics, darting in and out of the tree, trying it's best to put on a gruesome show for the savage bi-peds watching below. No luck this time. Why? Because the grackles were mindful. The moved away from danger. If you were to ask them a little later on, they would probably say something like...

I was chased by a hawk today.

Of course, I get chased by hawks every day. There was nothing special about this hawk. In fact, I don't remember it at all; but it's safe to say that since I was flying around the neighborhood, chances are I was chased by a hawk today.

ANALOGY UPDATE: the grackle does not represent me the runner so much as it represents one of my footsteps. Just thought I'd clarify. What can I say; I'm obtuse at times.

Sole... and Art!



A guy needed a gift for his wife's birthday, so he commissioned me to draw a picture of their daughter.

Running has ruined my fast food experience


I've never been a fast food junkie, but I do enjoy a Whopper or Big Mac (hey McDonald's - want to sponsor me? Check out my arches!) every now and then. Or at least, I did, until I started running again.

My approach to eating healthy (or at least, healthier) is simple. I don't avoid any type of food, but instead make sure I get enough good stuff (fruits and vegetables, etc). Usually once I've consumed a smoothie instead of a shake, or chicken, brown rice, broccoli, and black beans instead of a Big Mac, I'm full; and once I get in the habit of eating the good stuff, I start to crave the good stuff.

But every once in a while, sometimes out of spite, I'll order something from the value menu at one of the many drive-thrus. Sure, I enjoy eating greasy goodness, but lately the after-effects are messing up the cost-benefit ratio. I had a Whopper (Jr., no less!) yesterday afternoon. It sat in my stomach like a greasy rock of deliciousness. Very unpleasant.

MadMayo Running Club


And so it begins...

Tonight is the inaugural (I'm getting good at spelling that word) MadMayo Running Club meeting. Not content with mere internet domination, I'm going analog. If you're in the Madison-Mayodan area of NC, stop on by the coffee shop next to the general store in Madison at 6:30 tonight.

That's how directions work in these parts, I've learned. No addresses or street names. Just landmarks. It's like a scavenger hunt for new folks. I like to think of it as encouragement to better familiarize yourself with new surroundings.