Friday, September 29, 2006

Barefoot T-Shirts

I've been thinking up t-shirts to design to wear when I'm running barefoot. A couple of these I've already made. Here are the ones I like the best, so far:

I've actually made the first and third ones and wear them all the time. The "balls" t-shirt gets smiles and some comments from people. I don't know if they catch the joke in that one or not.

This one at the right is my latest idea. I think I'll make one of these and wear it the next time I go running around the Nike campus in Beaverton!


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nike Teaser Run

Well, I did a Nike Teaser run today at noon. I parked about 1 mile away, not knowing where else to park. Turns out I could have parked curbside in front of the corporate campus! Oh well.

I wore my homemade t-shirt that says, "It Takes BALLS to Run BAREFOOT!"

I passed oodles (or is it gaggles) of presumably corporate runners, some were coming, some were going. I wonder if they get bonus points for running on their lunch breaks? A few struck me as being fairly elite runners. You can just tell who they are. Others were just plodding along, huffing and puffing, maybe meeting some quota. One lady looked terribly anorexic, poor thing. I wished I had a cookie or something to give her.

Reactions were interesting. A lot of conversations suddenly stopped as I drew near. Shock? Awe? Dumbfoundedness?

A couple of guys came up from behind me and I moved over to let them pass. One of them said, "Nice day!" and they moved on ahead of me. I decided to pick up my pace and follow along behind them. A couple of hundred yards later one of them turned and looked at me with surprise. Either he didn't know I was shadowing them or he was surprised I had kept up with them. They turned and entered the campus and I kept going.

I actually got two smiles from other runners - both ladies. Was it my t-shirt? my bare feet? or my manly legs? Whatever, it was flattering.

Quite a few times I ran past cars waiting their turn to go. Lots of stares from drivers, some actually gawking. Lots of BMWs.

I made it around the campus one time and decided to give it another go for an additional two miles. Lots of the same reactions along the way.

On the satellite map I noticed a strange lighter-colored band going around the campus, obviously some kind of trail. Turned out to be a shredded bark running trail. Maybe it became cement in some places. I thought, now why would all these runners need a soft, cushy bark path to run on? Aren't their cushy shoe soles adequate? Is the corporation worried about its workers getting running injuries upon its property?
Think lawsuit here. Did some risk manager recommend a cushy bark running path? Hmmmm, makes one wonder!

The bark was pretty chunky and rough on my feet so I chose not to try it out this time. I'm pretty sure someone would have noticed me and called security. I found it would be a cinch to get on that trail and run their private corporate running path! Maybe I'll try it next time!

I'm thinking about making a t-shirt that says: "Really Free, Nike!" I'll wear it when I try this teaser run again.

Oh - No dobermans. No black limos following me. No serious folks in shades speaking into their wristwatches. I'm so disappointed!

Anyway, mission accomplished! I hope I rang a few mental bells, shattered some corporate paradigms, planted some seeds for thought, etc. It was fun and a pretty good run.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Catching Up

Wow, its been two whole months since I last posted here! I guess things that were once new and exciting become routine and boring.

I've enjoyed harvesting lots of great produce from my garden -- chinese pea pods, corn, broccoli, beans, raspberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, chiles, zucchini, and onions. I usually have more than I can use so I've been giving some of it away. The tomatoes are especially nice this year. I heard that it helps them to cut back on new growth starts and to trim away some of the older larger leaves so that sunlight can get to the fruit. This helps them to ripen. Last year I only had a lot of green tomatoes that rotted before they ripened. This year I've been picking lots of nice, red tomatoes.

I'm continuing to run barefoot, about 3 times a week, usually about 5 to 9 miles at a time. I get mostly positive comments from passers-by. This week a street person on a bicycle rode along next to me for about 1/4 mile. He was amazed that I could run barefoot. He said he had never seen such a thing before. On that same run I ran alongside a guy who had a "chest band" around his chest. I asked him what it was for. He said it was for monitoring his heart rate so he could keep it within the ideal training zone. About that time he noticed I was not wearing shoes and he exclaimed, "Pass the plate for this guy! He needs shoes!" We talked for a while about running barefoot. He said he could never do it. I asked him if he had heard of Pose Method, which he had and tried one time but didn't take to it very well. He was in training for a triathlon.

The other day I was running in Portland, Oregon for an 8 mile run. I had just come back down to the waterfront after running a loop up through the city streets. Up ahead of me I saw a group of younger (20's) people sitting on a bench and one guy was barefoot and running in place with exaggerated leg motions waiting for me to arrive. The other people there were laughing at his antics, so I figured I had me a real joker to contend with.

As I ran past them he started running along side me. I asked him how long he thought he could hold out running with me, barefoot. He said he could run the whole distance with me, and explained that he runs 20 miles at a time at a 6 minute pace. I then realized that he was not really making fun of me, but just wanted to meet me. We talked about the Hood to Coast race and he asked if I had ever run in it. He invited me to run with his group in next year's race and I gave him my telephone number to contact me. He only ran with me about 100 yards -- I could tell he was not really an experienced barefooter by his form.

So it turns out he was actually sincere in wanting to meet me! I'm hoping he calls me so I can set up some runs with him and his group.

Some time before that I was running while wearing one of my home-printed t-shirts. This homeless guy saw me coming and called out, "Hey, Runningbarefoot dot com! Way to go!"

This week I ran from the Convention Center in Portland up to Washington Park and the Rose Gardens. I decided to try coming back down hill a different route and ran over to Burnside. On the map it looked like a major route and I hoped it would have decent sidewalks. It was awful. The sidewalks were very narrow and overgrown with blackberry bushes in a lot of places. The cement was covered with gravel from when they sanded the road last winter and a lot of glass. They sweep off the road surfaces but ignore the sidewalks. Traffic was too heavy to run in the roadway, so I had to gingerly pick my way through about 1 1/2 miles of very slow, tough going. When I got home I noticed two places where I had glass slivers in my right foot and I could not get them out. That was a very tough 9 mile run. For future reference, I will return the same way I went up -- no gravel or glass to contend with!

Still happily running (barefoot of course!)