Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cold Weather Running

I noticed that my feet feel tougher when running in cold weather than when running in hot weather. Something about the temperature softening the skin when its warmer. 

I've been running off and on this winter. Its been very moderate here - it still gets up to the mid 40's many days. That is very tolerable for barefoot running. 

My runs tend to be from 4 to 7 miles each, about 2 or 3 times per week. 


Thursday, December 27, 2012

A New Entry to This World

My son Michael and his wife Amanda welcomed a new baby girl to their family early this morning. 

Iliandra weighed 7 lbs 6 oz  and was 21.75 inches long. (I think that's about 1/4 of her mother, Amanda.)

Iliandra's arrival at 3:30 a.m. came after some excitement and anxiety! Amanda was trying for a home birth, but the baby was breach so they ended up loading Amanda into an ambulance and taking her to the hospital. Doctors thought they would have to do a C-section. After admitting her, they wheeled her to the OR to prep her for surgery, but at the last minute she gave a heroic effort and got the baby out by herself!  It was an all natural birth, no drugs, brute force! 

Michael jokes that the pool in which Amanda was trying to have a water-birth in their home did not allow any "diving" so Iliandra came out butt-first - Cannonball style!!  I think that's the nickname I'm going to call her:  Cannonball! 

Iliandra is still in the neonatal care unit while they check her breathing and see that her hips are okay. They might have been dislocated during birth.

Oh - I couldn't help but notice that she arrived "Bare-Foot"!!  Good girl!

Ryan - Grandpa

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Christmas Wish to Prince William and Kate:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Still Here

Wow! Long Time Since I Expressed Myself!

I'm still running, barefoot of course! Nothing of great accomplishment to report. My runs tend to be about 6 or 7 miles each, at least two times a week, sometimes 3 times. 

Lately I've developed a pointed pain in my right knee. No swelling or heat from it. It does not hurt at all when I run - mostly when I've been sitting at my desk for awhile. I'm afraid it might be arthritis, so I'm starting to Hyaluronic Acid which is supposed to be good for joints. We'll see. 

I ran across a poem that I absolutely love. Its message is deep and has a lot of meaning to me: 

Forgiveness Flour

a poem by Marguerite Stewart

When I went to the door, at the whisper of knocking,

I saw Simeon Gantner’s daughter, Kathleen, standing
There, in her shawl and her shame, sent to ask
“Forgiveness Flour” for her bread. “Forgiveness Flour,”
We call it in our corner. If one has erred, one
Is sent to ask for flour of his neighbors. If they loan it
To him, that means he can stay, but if they refuse, he had
Best take himself off.

I looked at Kathleen . . .

What a jewel of a daughter, though not much like her
Father, more’s the pity. “I’ll give you flour,” I
Said, and went to measure it. Measuring was the rub.

If I gave too much, neighbors would think I made sin

Easy, but if I gave too little, they would label me
“Close.” While I stood measuring, Joel, my husband
Came in from the mill, a great bag of flour on his
Shoulder, and seeing her there, shrinking in the
Doorway, he tossed the bag at her feet. “Here, take
All of it.” And so she had flour enough for many loaves,
While I stood measuring.
  ~ ~ ~


(Why does this site now only print in italics???)

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Hello Again!

Time seems to just slip away, devoured by the worries of each day. 

I took some time out this morning to browse some sites on barefoot running.

I spent some enjoyable reading time at this site:

and at this one: 

I also enjoyed this short video about MovNat - The Workout the World Forgot:

I am still running a little bit - barely enough! I ran 10 miles a couple of Saturdays ago, and I usually get in at least two shorter runs during the week -- usually about 5 or 6 miles each. I'm fighting the battle of the bulge, because I slowed down during this winter and indulged in too many sodas. Time to work on getting fit again. I would like to lose about 15 pounds and increase my running to at least 30 miles per week. 

I always wanted to run the Salt Lake City Marathon, which is coming up on April 21st - just 45 days away! I wonder if its feasible for me to be ready to go from my current 15 miles per week to 26.2 miles! There are other circumstances in my life that might make it not possible to be there -- but if I can clear those out, then I will have to ramp up my running very seriously to be able to do it. From what I understand, the SLC Marathon is very flat, and I know from experience the streets are mostly very smooth.  It is very tempting to me! 

The sun is shining - I'm feeling the pull to go out and run today! 

still smiling

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pilgrim's Story

In the early 17th century, the Church of England under King James I held total ecclesiastical and political authority in Great Britain. Anyone who opposed the church or the state, such as those who believed in freedom of worship, were heavily persecuted, often unto death. A group of separatists (believing the government should be separate from religion) fled to Holland and lived there as a community for 11 years. About 40 of them felt that living in the New World would give them the greatest freedom, so on August 1, 1620, they sailed on the Mayflower under the lead of William Bradford. While on the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established just and equal laws for every member of their new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs. This was the Mayflower Compact. The inspiration for this revolutionary document came from the lessons taught in the Old and New Testaments - the ancient Israelites were their example.

When the Pilgrims landed in New England in November, 1620, they were met with a cold, barren, desolate wilderness. During the first winter, one half of the Pilgrims died from cold, starvation and exposure. When Spring came, the Indians showed them how to plant corn, fish for cod, and skin beavers for warmth. Many people have been taught that the first Thanksgiving was a chance for the Pilgrims to thank the Indians for saving their lives. It was actually a devout expression of their faith and gratitude to their God, given in the tradition of both the Old and New Testaments.

What schools fail to teach is that the original compact by the Pilgrims called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share. All the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to community as a whole. They had formed a collective, a socialist society, where everything was owned in common and the fruits of their labors were shared in common. The result of this experiment was failure. 

Bradford discovered that the most intelligent and industrious members of society had no incentive to create or work any harder than the least productive members. Bradford wrote that “this community was found to breed much confusion and discontent.” Young men were reluctant to spend their time and strength working  for other men's wives and children without any recompense. They thought that was an injustice. The Pilgrims decided to scrap this style of government.

In its place, Bradford chose to unharness the power of free enterprise by embracing the capitalistic idea of private property. Every family was assigned its own plot of land and was permitted to market its own crops and products. The result of this new form of society was success. It made all hands industrious. Much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. In no time the Pilgrims founds they could produce more food than they needed, so they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians. Their profits allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London. Their success attracted more Europeans and began the “Great Puritan Migration.”

Thomas Hooker was one of those attracted to the new-found freedom and prosperity in the New World. He established his own community in Connecticut. This was the first full-fledged constitutional community and perhaps the most free society the world had ever known. Embodied in his community's foundation were principles such as strict limits on the powers of government, no taxation without representation, due process of law, trial by a jury of peers, and prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment.

The Pilgrims commitment to pluralism (diversity) and individual freedom were streamed into the form of government this great nation fashioned, a government unlike any other the world has ever known, one that cradled a society that has produced the greatest individual prosperity and freedom than any other. Our commitment to those same principles will allow freedom and prosperity to continue to flourish and to keep this nation the greatest on earth.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What's It Really About? 

This was posted by fellow barefoot runner, Harrish Shetty, at the discussion group called   --  I thought it was excellent, so I am copying it here! 

It is not about "Shoes vs Barefoot"
it is not about " that for millions of years Humans have been running barefoot"
it is not about "that running barefoot teaches you good running form"
It is not about "that running barefoot improves your balance, posture, strength
and stability"
It is not about "faster race recovery with running barefoot"
it is not about "saying goodbye to injuries therefore saving time and money"
it is not about "that you can save money that you spend on running footwear"
It is not about "that there is not enough research that barefoot running is
It is not about "that there is also not enough research that running with shoes
is good"
It is not about "that your feet are your best coach"

Then what is it about???

It is about freedom

It is about being in touch with the Child within
It is about being playful
It is about being amazed and discovering magic
It is about being connected,
It is about dissolving in nature
It is about dancing, gracefully
It is about Poetry in motion
It is about having a smile and not just enduring
It is about being peaceful, joyful
It is about being limitless
It is about simplicity
It is about being vulnerable
It is about being in Love

If you can experience that then it does not matter "to shoe or not to shoe"

Shoeless Shetty

(with a few edits by Me!) 

Monday, June 06, 2011

Fame    -   (meh!)

Some seek it at almost any cost. 
Some avoid it. 
Some (like me) just stumble and fall into it. 

Some time ago I got an email from a newspaper reporter (Mary Ann Albright, Features Writer, The Columbian) asking if she could interview me for an article she was writing on barefoot running. She was happy to find a local barefoot runner and wanted to get my insights about it. We had a nice chat and she asked if I would pose for a photo shoot. The next day I met the photographer at a small local park and he took a gazillion shot of me running towards him, away from him, standing still, showing the bottoms of my feet, running fast, running slow, etc. etc. etc. 

Almost a month later a huge article appeared in our Sunday newspaper - and suddenly everyone I know is congratulating me for being famous. 

I was worried she might write about how insane I was for risking damaging my body or other negative things. I am very happy about the article she wrote. I congratulated her on a job well done. 

Here is the article -- available online to read, at least for now - not sure for how much longer!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trail Running

Yesterday I hooked up with fellow Northwest BF runner Josh Humbert and friend Dan to run a short section of trails in the Forest Park area in Portland, Oregon.  I have run very few trails in the 7 years of my BF running experience. I felt like a total newby!  Josh was gracious enough to slow way down to accommodate my clumsy efforts. He and Dan floated over the rough stuff with exquisite grace while I seemed to test every sharp rock there!

It was quite cool out, sub 50F (sub 10C) and rainy. The service road from the parking area to the trail head was quite rough and rocky (by my standards). It was maybe 1/4 mile long. The trail itself was a mix of very slimy mud with a few patches of rock & gravel. The constant drizzle of rain only made it more slick as we went along.
We seemed to be more equal on the slimy sections - it was all we could do to keep from slipping right off the trail. There was one section where I became genuinely concerned for my safety. We were going downhill, and gravity was pulling me along faster than I wanted to go. Every time I tried to slow down, my feet started skating across the slick mud. When I stopped slowing down, my speed increased too much, and I knew it would be that much harder to slow down later. I wondered if I was just being a wimp about it when I heard Dan behind me let out a whoop as he also slipped. Josh tried to comfort me by exclaiming several times that this was the most slippery he had ever seen. I wondered what it would be like on a dry, sunny day.

When we got back to the service road and its relative roughness, Dan and Josh glided on ahead of me. I felt like the turtle of the group.

When I was done I found that my left foot had a puncture wound, and it was probably filled with mud. It felt like there might be something solid stuck in there, too. Last night I soaked my foot in calcium hypochlorite powder (pool shock). This converts to "hypochlorus acid" when dissolved in water, and is one of the most effective antibacterial agents (and anti fungal) out there. It has the added benefit that it does not harm healthy tissues at all and it is painless (unlike hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, or tincture of iodine.) Last night I sprinkled some calcium hypochlorite powder on a bandaid and slept with it applied directly to the puncture. Voila! No more swelling or pain by morning. I HIGHLY recommend this as a cleansing/healing method. (If you want to try something really "out there" - I know some people who put small amounts of this powder inside of gel capsules and ingest it for health. Search "MMS2" for more info.)

What I learned from yesterday's run:
>  rough surfaces encourage better form, 
>  Josh and Dan are leaps and bounds ahead of me in trail running,
> slimy muddy trails are fun in their own way, very challenging, and something I will not actively search for in the future, and
> trail running has its own unique sense of accomplishment.

Saturday I went out and ran a 10K that was actually a walking event. It was fun, lots of people, lots of stares and friendly comments. I still get a kick out of those people who stare but don't want to be caught staring - and those who have a look of total disgust on their faces (they are just feet, people, pretty common things!)

See you out there!


Thursday, March 03, 2011

Good Run Yesterday! 

I looked up a possible running route by looking at some bicycle trail maps online and then went out to see if they were runnable. I've wanted to find a decent route from Vancouver across the river into Portland. The routes I have tried in the past were not all that great. This one looked promising so I decided to give it a go.

It was mostly very barefoot friendly, except for a couple of sections. I was glad for our heavy rainfall this past week because it seemed to have helped wash a lot of the ice sanding grit off, giving me some smooth pavement where it usually would be very sharp and difficult.

One section of sidewalk was covered by a large puddle about 2 inches deep and twenty feet wide. It was under the freeway where beggars congregate. One of them saw me splashing through the water and said "THAT's what I like to see!"  Huh??

At one point a police car came by, and the officer slowed down to look at me. Probably wondering if I was a danger to myself or to society. I smiled at him and he drove on.

Once I had traversed the out-going part of my planned route, I was needing to find a bathroom. Knowing I would more likely find one if I kept on running, I kept on running. Several places said they did not have facilities open to the public, so I kept on running. Finally I found a place that would let me in, much to my relief, and I was ready to turn around for my return trip.

I took a few different turns on the way back, one of which crossed over an industrial road that had the worst wear on it from all the big rigs driving on it. I just sucked in it and ran smoothly over one of the worst surfaces I've ever encountered. Luckily it was only across about four lanes of road, so it was quite short.

The run back seemed much easier than the run out for some reason, until the last mile or so. I think my mindset has something to do with how well I ran. As long as I felt I had a long ways yet to go, I just settled in and ran easily. When the end of my run got near, I  anticipated being finished a little too early, and so my body said "Done!"

My total distance, according to, was 12.25 miles. It was mostly over very wet surfaces, including some water puddles and one section of soft slick mud. I was lucky it had stopped raining for most of the run.

All in all, I'm very pleased with this run! 


12 Mile Run - Vancouver to North Portland 

Monday, January 10, 2011

BTW: Happy New Year

Saying happy new year is kind of trite. What else are you going to say? Crappy new year? 

It fits in the same category as people telling me "Hey - you don't have any shoes on!" (like I don't know?) ((I thought something seemed different ... holy crap! where'd my shoes go?))

So, at the risk of sounding trite and obvious, happy new year to anyone reading this lonely post. I hope my saying it makes your day, or year!

Another Minimalist Shoe Idea

I heard about some kind of shoe/slipper made by a company called Zemgear.

They are less expensive than Vibrams, more expensive than water shoes. They come with different colored stripes, and they have a high ankle model. I got a low ankle pair and tried them out. Fantastic for cold weather running! I chose black on black. My wife calls them my duck feet for some reason.

Easy to put on, easy to take off, fit is superb, feel is great, extremely light weight, nicely warm, and I can easily stuff them into a fanny pack without feeling like I'm lugging a bowling ball around. I really like how they hug the arches of my feet. Their design is so simple, I believe I could replace the sole myself if it wears out. In fact, by turning them inside out, it would be easy to duplicate the size and shape of each component part and just make me some new ones out of any material I choose. I think I would like fleece; or maybe felted wool. 

My only problem with them is they soak up moisture like a towel. Not good for wet weather running. This means not good for about 80% of my runs up here in the northwest! But considering I only got them for running during the most extreme frigid weather, they should work out just fine. We only get a few days of truly frosty, sub-freezing weather here. I can run in everything else without any foot coverings. I'm not sure how they would do on icy surfaces yet.

Happy running to you - in any temperature! 


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Huaraches Abandonados

I have given up on trying to make a Huarache sandal that works for me!  I just wasn't very satisfied with the results of any of them. It turns out that I so much prefer running barefoot, that the Huarache concept seems to be taking my running in the wrong direction! Perhaps its because the Vibram material I chose was too thin. No matter what I did to it, it ended up flopping or bending in an undesireable way. 

I noticed that Ted McDonald (Barefoot_Ted_McDonald) is now making a Huarache sandal with a thicker sole. Its his Luna model. Here is a review:  Jason's Review of the Luna Huarache

I am much too "Scottish" (i.e. CHEAP!) to pour money into trying something that I am trying to avoid using! So while the Luna looks like a very promising minimalist sandal, I probably won't be getting it any time soon. 

This is likely my last comment about minimalist sandals. 

Although . . . 

I am aware of some kind of "stick-on" sole that adheres to the bottom of the feet. Its advertised as a strapless sandal. I wonder . . . ? 



Thursday, August 05, 2010

Huarache Redux

Another idea came from my Half-Huaraches experiment. This is a full-soled Huarache sandal idea.

Previously to trying my half-Huarache idea, I had laced the sides of my full-foot Huaraches in-line with my ankle bones, which - in retrospect - may have caused the ankle strap to pull the rear of the sandal forward, causing the sole to bend downward into a kind of a bow, which then collapsed when I stepped on it, making the clacking sound that bugged me so much. (That's a weird sentence - sorry.) So I was thinking, what if I connected the laces just forward of the actual ankle joint, in line with where the top of the foot meets the leg? (Perpendicular to the sole instead of at a backwards angle.) That way the straps would not be pulling the rear of the sandal forward. This also might have the advantage of helping the heel strap to stay on better. It kept on sliding off on my first Huaraches - maybe because my foot is a weird shape.
See the following illustration. The red lines are where I had tied-in the side laces on my first Huaraches. The green lines show where I think they would work better.
I also liked the idea of using the elastic from my half-Huaraches somehow. (The elastic turned out to be a girl's hair band. I found it on the beach one day and kept it for some future project. I'm like that - a scavenger always on the lookout for things that might prove to be "useful." I saw a package of 12 in the store for less than $4 the other day, many colors and several widths.) So last night I made up a new pair of Huarache sandals using my newest ideas. Here are some photos of them:

Description: They are the standard full-sole Huarache design. I put the side holes a little bit forward from my ankle bone. I added a second hole in the front, between my 3rd and 4th toes. The elastic band goes into the front two holes, with knots holding it in place. The elastic strap makes a 'V' on the top of my foot, one end of the strap goes between my big toe and #2 and the other end goes between my 3rd and 4th toes. The thing I like about the elastic is how it keeps the sandal nicely connected to my foot at all times, no matter how my foot is flexing and moving.
I put a leather lace through the outside side hole and knotted it to stay in place. I ran that strap through the elastic loop at the top of the foot, and through the inside side hole. I then ran the strap around the back of my ankle and knotted it to itself at the outside point (near the beginning of the leather strap.) The knot I used was a Boy Scout "Taut Line" hitch. This knot can slide up and down, increasing or decreasing tension. Really cool knot. I used this so that once my foot is in place, I can slide the knot a little ways up towards the top of my foot, tightening the whole lace-job and making the sandal more secure. I can loosen things by sliding the knot back down towards the outside edge again, in case my foot swells during a long run, or to make it easier to slide the sandal off. [After-thought: Looking at these pictures, I wonder how it would work to put my slider-knot on the strap that goes around the heel instead of on the strap that comes over the top of the foot? I'll experiment with that idea and see how it works.]

I wore them around the house last night to get the feel of them. I was worried all those knots under the sole would feel weird, but they were not bad at all.

These Huarache sandals slide on and off my feet very quickly and easily. Having the elastic strap connected in two places at the front of the sole makes the sole hug my toes more closely, which I like. Having the adjustable side-knot makes it so I can quickly adjust the tension of the lacing without having to untie and re-tie everything. Once these are tied to my liking, I don't have to untie them ever again. They are slip-on and slip-off. I like "quick and easy!"

I ran with them on a short run this evening, maybe 2+ miles. They definitely worked out better than my original ones. They fit very well and I liked how they tracked with my feet. I stopped and changed the sliding knot on one of them, so it slid towards the heel. It was a little bit better for tightening things up, but was a little bit awkward, perhaps because I put it together in a hurry and could have done a cleaner job of it.

That being said --- I still like running with nothing on my feet a whole lot better. Its just annoying to have artificial things in the way. I actually stopped and took them off (easily done!) and finished the last 1/4 mile barefoot. It felt so much better!! I would not hesitate to put my Huaraches on to get through short sections of "impossible" but would not wear them the entire distance. They will always be just a short-term crutch.