Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last post of the year!

I'm sure it's not as exciting for you as it is for me. I have to say it's been an amazing year. My kids are healthy, I'm (still)married to my best friend (not you, Larry...just to be clear...), I've made some great friends in my school cohort, and, not least of all, I got back to running. I can't really express enough what  a positive impact running has had on me this year, despite the challenges, injuries, and fact that I am generally unfit.

I really don't do "New Year's resolutions;" I just break themI think they're a little silly. I have, over the past few years, tried to set goals for the year. I can't say it's any more successful than resolutions, but it sounds less silly to me and has a sense of flexibility and achievement as opposed to the all or nothing proposition of resolutions. Not to mention resolutions are almost always too grandiose to be achievable. I like to aim small. It leaves less room for disappointment. So without further delay, here are some of my goals for 2012:

More of this:
That would be running, not being tubby.

Less of this:

mmmm...couch potato
Pretty simple, right? Anyone care to wager on the odds of my success?

I hope you keep all your resolutions (or break them in spectacular fashion, if that's your thing), and 2012 exceeds all your hopes and expectations.

Oh, and here's hoping the Mayans were wrong about that whole Apocalypse thing.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

another milepost

Today I increased my mileage by half. that's right, I ran a whole three-quarters of a mile (.76 to be exact. Hey; I paid for that Garmin, I may as well use it). For those of you who haven't given up on this blog, please mark your scorecard as follows: shoes 2, barefeet 0.

Don't get cocky. You can be replaced with nothing. Seriously. Have you been reading?

It seems I am on the way back from injuryville. the road is bumpy and long, though, and the going is slow. The foot/toe still aches a bit, but not as bad or for as long. I've been a good little convalescent over the holidays and my doctor didn't tell me not to run; he just said to use a more protective shoe (you can see where this is going...) and since 98% of my miles in the last 8 months were barefoot I could have run in flip flops and been in compliance. Ever the overachiever, I got a pair of "real" running shoes, took two weeks off and started back slow. I'll feel confident I've done it right and can push for more answers.

I'm a super patient (not really).
That's all great, but the best part of this whole day is the fact that Madzilla, my 9year old daughter, decided to start running and went out for her very first run with me today. It was such a big deal and she did awesome, running about a third of a mile or so. She did an even better job of selecting her new running shoes and ran approximately a half marathon around the store in order to assess each pair of shoes she tried.
So proud!

I think that's one of the things I love about running: the fact that I can share it with anybody, but most of all my family. My wife's a runner, and now Mads is showing interest. I'm pretty sure GoGo will run us all into the ground by the time it's all said and done. This gives me joy and hope for a long and healthy family run (some puns can't be stopped. Sorry).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I just ran a half


Cue sad trombone (womp-woomp)

It's been two weeks since my last run and I deemed myself healthy enough to begin the transition back to runner-hood (runner-dom?).  So, I laced up my New Balance Minimi (minimuses?) and headed to the park. I did one full loop, according to plan and ran home. This loop comes to just over .5 mile and it was a good start to my "ease back into running, dummy, so you don't stay hurt" plan.  Nothing hurt on my foot, which is good; 8 hours later it's still pain free, so I'm fairly optimistic. We'll see how I feel when I wake up tomorrow, as morning is usually the worst time for the stupid foot.

As to whether I'll keep the barefoot path or revert to shod running I can't say for sure right now. I'm truly conflicted about which way I'll go. Even if I was Mr. Committed Barefoot runner Guy I don't think I'd be running bare in the current weather (wet+cold. Ick), so I feel like i have some time to decide what I'm gonna do.

As long as I'm running pain free (or at least in the margins of normal running aches, pains and soreness) I'll be happy.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Stir Crazy

I'm beginning to think the Shining was a true story.

c'mon, seriously; just a quick loop around the block!

I'm 'bout to lose my mind. Sure, it's not like I'm stranded and cut off from the outside world; I just can't go running. Which may be worse. I find myself easily irritated and crabby the longer this progresses (my wife is a saint, by the way; allowing me to slack keep my foot up and rest like the doctor I don't like said).  I'm antsy and lethargic all at the same time. The only saving grace is that I haven't gained 150 pounds. Yet. 

Yeah; I heard you the first time

Despite all my disillusioned ranting, I really miss barefoot running. That hit me like a ton of bricks last night. I was wearing my Warrior Dash T-shirt at dinner and my brother in law said I should add "barefoot" to the "I survived the warrior dash" tag line on the back. Now, I don't associate barefoot running with badassery or proving anything; but it is something that I am proud of, a topic I'll address in a later post. Until I got hurt it was the single best stretch of running I have had in years decades (yes, I'm old enough to measure that).  

And about that injury: it was a freak accident thing. I was running in a race/event (hard to call something I participate in a race) and stepped on either a rock or some busted up pavement the wrong way and bruised or otherwise injured my foot. It isn't a chronic use or pavement pounding-type injury (I think). I've been wearing cushioned shoes a lot and trying to keep pressure off my owie, but don't love  the long term prospects of going this way. I think I'll be seeking out a new doctor next week, as current doc doesn't run and didn't seem to have an open mind about, well, anything. I'm researching my provider network to find those that list active pursuits in their "healthy living" bio in hopes that one will have room for new patients and an open outlook on alternative sports pursuits...
it hurts right there.

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and/or whichever other winter holiday you may be celebrating. Hug your family and enjoy the moments!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One week

I heard Barenaked Ladies on the radio earlier today and was reminded that it's been one week since I've gone for a run. It's really been more than a week if you take out the crap run of last Tuesday (which no self respecting runner would count as a run).
Lame. Like my foot

My foot is just starting to feel better, so I'm taking a few more days off to see how it goes before I put it  to any sort of test. In truth I'll probably wait until next Monday, given the holiday weekend and such. This allows more healing time and for me to consider and decide my approach to re-entering the running practice. Barefoot? Minimally shod? Full on running shoe? To be honest I just don't know. 

My biggest fear is injury keeping me from running in a long-term sort of way. I'm not highly confident in any approach as I write this, so time will tell as I work through my decision process. If history is any indicator, a gut feeling as I'm getting dressed for my run will be the deciding vote.

Until then, Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Well; that's that.

...Aaaand another experiment comes to an end.
Boom goes the death star!
If you read this blog closely (and I'm sure you do), you've probably already noticed a little change in the blahblahblahsub-title header content. I am no longer laying claim to the "barefoot runner" title. Yes, I am fully aware that absolutely no one in the universe cares, but I have a blog so I get to bore you with my thoughts so thanks.

I've been frustrated with barefoot for a little while now, feeling like I was always getting hurt and had traded one category of injury (knees, back, aches) for another (abrasions, impact ouchies and the like). I wasn't improving as a runner in any way, which was the whole point of trying barefoot running anyway. I mean, sure, I hadn't had shin splints or knee tweaks in almost six months...

Sure wish I had a helper robot to warn me...

So yeah, I actually thought the whole "I haven't had achy knees or shin splints in ages, just some little rock-induced foot bruises" consciously to myself. The VERY. NEXT. DAY I ran. Barefoot. And got shin splints, achy knees, AND the rock-induced bruise pain on my foot wouldn't go away. Awesome. In my non-running time I got to thinking and came up with a hypothesis.
Donuts will cure pain!
It isn't actually a new hypothesis; it's something I've been thinking on for quite a while now. What if barefoot running has had absolutely zero, zilch, nada to do with my ability to run frequently without traditional running related pain? What if the approach I took to running while barefoot was the key to injury free running? OK, let's back up a step or three and explain further: When I took up barefoot running I started out super slow not so much pace-wise, but in intensity. I started with 1/4 mile a day, every other day, because all the stuff I read on barefoot running said it was the best way to condition my body to the new/different stresses of barefoot running. What if I took the same approach to running like the rest of the general population? What if I started slow, over short distances and conditioned myself to running gradually? Would I have the same success I found at the outset of my barefoot escapades? 

It's a big question, get it?

Well, we're about to find out. I am currently waiting out some pretty major shin splints, and once they've faded, I'm lacing up my running shoes (real ones like this:  ) and going for a short, quarter mile run. Then I'm going to wait two days and do the same thing. After a week of doing this I'll add another eighth-mile every second day until I hit a mile or my legs fall off, whichever comes first. Then I'll follow my barefoot running progression with a mix of two and three mile runs and see how it goes. 

Maybe it won't be any better than it ever was; maybe it will. But I won't know until I match my methodologies evenly against one another and see how it all shakes out. I mean all I really want to do is run, preferably far and fast (well, fast for me anyway...).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Get it? I got another two miles in today (actually 2.14, to even out the sub-2 miles the other day). Now those of you who read this and are all "if it ain't marathons it's crap" I apologize, but I am neither young, thin, nor fit, so two miles is where it's at on a normal day lately.

I am a tad disappointed, but only because I didn't run yesterday as well. I had planned to run every day this week, just as a test of my mettle. I forgot, though, that Mondays are mayhem around here and there was no way I was going to get a run in. Oh well. I will run tomorrow and Thursday for sure.

By the by, I have worn the Altras for the last two runs and am pretty stoked on them for sure. Could this be the end of barefoot Tim?
The suspense is killing her
You'll have to keep tuning in and find out.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


...As is Against Medical Advice. I went for a run today (two runs in two+ weeks! I know; I'm an animal), even though my doctor didn't like it. I am waiting on X-ray results to find out why my foot still hurts more than a month after it started. But the sun was out, it wasn't raining (how often do you get to say that in the PNW?) and I was losing my mind from not running.
kinda, but not really

So I ran. And it felt. AWESOME. In the spirit of full disclosure I must tell you all that I did wear shoes. Real ones, with laces, cushioning and a soul sole. These shoes if you must know. It was a shorty; just a shade under 2 miles, which brings up another point of irritation. Until I got a Garmin GPS watch (see where it says "all around nerd" in my profile? It's things like this that earned that title) a few weeks ago I though that loop was two miles. But noooo, mister smarty computerpants tells me it's 1.8 miles. I verified it on my now working smartphone GPS (supernerd to the rescue!!!) today and validated the findings. 1.8 freakin' miles. Whatever; it's 1.8 miles farther than I ran yesterday. Or the past 8 days, for that matter, so I feel OK with it.

What I do have is an internal conflict. Do I stay committed to the way of the barefoot runner, or do I strap on the shoes and go? I'm running in zero-drop shoes, which keep my stride very similar to my barefoot form. Is this enough? I think it comes down to what I want. Do I have something to prove by being "Mr. Barefoot?" No. I generally enjoy running barefoot, for a whole list of reasons that can be easily uncovered by scanning through the archives of this here blog (IF you don't fall asleep before finding them...). What I want is to run, with as little pain and down time as possible, faster than I have been. My main concern with barefoot running is that I may be trading one class of consistent running related injuries (shin splints, knee pain, sore ankles and back) for another (impact damage from stepping on loose stones, blisters, shredded soles from runs on cold, wet, rough pavement). My last barefoot run took almost three days to recover from due to elements-induced issues. The whole point of this experiment has been to reduce down time. But, I felt I had to prove something that last run and barefoot it anyway  in spite of my gut instincts. I did not like the way it felt (physically or psychologically) and really have been re-evaluating my position on barefoot running since then. I'm not sure which way it'll go, but on thing is for sure: I will be running.

Even if, at least for now, it's in these

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

The things I am thankful for are too numerous to mention. That's not going to stop me from trying, though!

First, and always, I am lucky to have a healthy, wonderful family.

What a bunch of turkeys...

There's lots of other stuff I could list here, but I don't want to think that hard. I need to save my energy for the feast.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Trusting my instincts

What a week, kids. The weather has been crap, but I still got in some running. This is good, because it helps me stay sane. I've noticed something though; each time I've headed out I have second guessed myself about something in my gear/preparation etc. and made a last second change to my plan. And every time it has negatively affected my run (sockless with new shoes+3 miles=giant painful blister; over-layering for the weather = too hot and fatigued way too soon in my run). As I'm fairly new to "serious" running, these are all valuable mistakes in that I've noticed my instincts are good and if I'd just trusted them I would have had much better running experiences this week.

Yeah; like I'm going to pass up a chance for Star Wars references

Running wasn't the only time I got to test out my instincts. As it turns out, my teaching instincts got a workout this week, and fared much better than my running ones. That means i actually listened to them and things worked out. The plan had been for me to take over my mentor teacher's class for a couple days while she led a Writing Workshop clinic for other teachers at the school. Of course, being an intern teaching student I have to have a certified teacher in the room so a substitute was set up, you know, just in case and to satisfy the requirement. Thursday morning comes, I've planned out the two days' lessons with my mentor teacher and am ready to go, sub safety net in place In walks the principal who tells the sub and me that the building is short one sub, and asks if the sub would mind taking another class and would I mind taking this class solo...wait; what?! 

No adult supervision!

So yeah, as it turned out, I got to teach solo for two days (Friday had another substitute shuffle at the last minute...). I knew it was a big deal for the principal to trust me with this class and I didn't have time to second guess myself. I had to rely entirely on the plans and my instincts for how the day was flowing. I now know my  teaching instincts are solid; the two days went incredibly well (Friday was a little less stellar, but the schedule was so far off of normal that even mentor teacher would have felt it somewhat). 

Sure, I have a long way to go yet before I am ready for full-time class ownership; but, this two days were monumental for a couple reasons. One, it proved that I am on the right path and my instincts are sound. Two, I felt the confidence of those around me (confidence in me to take care of their kids). This was a huge deal and I don't take the trust lightly. Student teaching will be here before I know it. Now that I've had a taste of the full experience I'm even more excited to get there.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Good enough is never good enough

Here's a little bit about me: I'm never really satisfied with myself.  That last run could have been faster/smoother; the last lesson I taught? Never as good as it could have been. And so it goes in every thing I do. No, this is not necessarily a good thing, thanks for noticing. As a result of this self-critical existence I do not understand the idea of "good enough." those who are simply satisfied with OK baffle me. Sure, I sometimes (more than I wish) produce work that is less than awesome. And, yeah, I may project an air of being cool with it to those around me; it's a coping mechanism. Inside, though, I am reeling with the thousand ways I could have just done x, y, or z better.

How does it compute for someone to just say "eh, it'll do?" Is there nowhere to improve?  Nothing that can be done better? I honestly want to know. I see those around me do this and it makes me want to scream. We are striving to become teachers; how can "good enough" ever be good enough for our students? We have a responsibility to leave it all on the field and give no less than everything we have to further that mission; I can't overstate that.

I know that he who is on a high horse has far to fall, and I'm not trying to be that guy. I don't find myself to be better/superior/whatever than anyone else (see opening paragraph). But here's the thing. I did not take the decision to go back to school and become a teacher lightly. Frankly, I consider it a calling and a mission. I walked away from a career with a lot of growth potential and a good income to do this.  I'm not in it for the pay, the "long summer vacation" that everyone seems to believe teachers get, or anything else like that. I'm in it because I want to educate and foster learning. As a result, I relish every chance I get to learn something or improve myself. I know I have a long way to go and more than a little to learn before I'm ready to call myself a teacher. Don't we all?

I know; at 38 I'm a little old to be so naive and idealistic. Says you. I think the world needs more idealistic naivete. So, yeah, this hasn't been the usual happy slappy funfest. Sorry, but I needed to get this out; it's been burning me up all day. Thanks for reading

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Not too shabby

I had to go to the doctor the other day. Yes, naysayers, I hurt my foot whilst traipsing about flaunting my nekkid feet to the world East Vancouver (or possibly during my last 5K; I really can't be sure). I either stomped on a piece of stray gravel, which happens from time to time, or suffered at the hands of the terribly uneven and rough Portland asphalt in the race. Fortunately it was a minor, but deep bruise to the ball of my foot. I was afraid I'd broken a toe or worse gotten a stress fracture. I will say that, yeah, sure, I got hurt, but it is nothing compared to the chronic injuries I used to face running. Still happy with the bare foot. I'm on a strict half-arsed regimen of icing, staying off my feet (sure, I can do that), and not running for a week. The waiting not running is the hardest part (sorry Tom). I am as surprised as all of you at that last statement. No, not that I co-opted a Tom Petty lyric for my own purposes; I do that kind of crap all the time. The not running being the tough part thing. I have never felt that way before, and it's frankly a little weird; but, I crave my running time and not getting it is bumming me out. Nest Friday I should be able to attempt a short run. I'm like a kid on Christmas eve about it...I can't wait.

On the other side of my life, the one in which I am a teaching student, things are moving fast. I'm halfway through another internship already and don't feel like I'm boasting when I say I've made a real impact on the kids I've been working with since September. They've been engaged with all my lessons and I see the evidence of it in their work. A couple weeks ago I posted I was having doubts about this decision and what I should do. Well, since then things have totally turned around and I feel more confident than ever that I am on the right path (there was never any REAL doubt, just a tough couple of days). 

the right path...get it?

So, yeah, things are good. The ouchie is nothing I can't live with and is probably a blessing in disguise to keep me from overdoing things. On the school side, things are going great and I sense they're only going to get better from here. 

Woo Hoo!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Run Like Hell 5K rehash

This morning I did the local Halloween costume 5K. I did not dress up. Unless you count me being a runner as a "costume," 'cause that case could be made.

I'm more excited than I look here, I swear!
 The race runs through the great city of Portland, Oregon, and we had awesome weather. It was in the mid 50's and sunny (an October miracle, for those of you blessed my drier climates). I had been waffling all week over whether I'd run barefoot or in my running sandals. With weather like this I couldn't pass up the chance, so I did it (foot)naked!

I started at the way back of the pack. a.) because I'm slow and it's demoralizing to get passed by 8-year olds dressed in full giraffe costumes, and b.) It's a crowded race and I didn't want to get my feet stomped on. Nice thing about starting at the back? You get to be the one who passes people; double points for every "awwww, man, that guy just passed me and he's barefoot!" (I got two or three of those bonus passes. W00T!)
That's me in red, passing Fatman and the Green Lantern/Hornet Collective
Racing is no fun without fans, so I brought some with me. The super-awesome Mrs. M. and my two kiddos came down to watch/cheer/take pictures. It was awesome to hear the "Go Daddy" chants from the sidelines at the start and finish.
 GoGo muggin' for the camera

Stinky doin' her thang. I fear for her teen years...
I felt pretty good throughout the race. The first chunk is up a long, gradual incline, so the initial pace (for me) was pretty slow, with lots of runner traffic. The one thing that bugs me about these "event" races/runs are the blockades - groups that run three and four across, taking up the full width of the course. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that people are out there doing something active, but it makes it hard to keep an even pace going. I spent as much time running side to side as I did moving forward at times. Whatever, We were all having fun, so no harm no foul. 

After a short but very steep run-up, we leveled off for the return back to the finish. well, what do we have here? I see bare feet running up ahead! I'm not alone (I know there are other barefoot runners, kids, so chill; she was the only other one I saw today)! As I caught up, we chatted for a second. It was kind of cool to bond with a fellow loon during a race. Alas, she was faster than I, so our alliance was short lived.

What goes up must come down, so the last third of the course is a slight downhill. Downhill running is still a weakness for me, as far as barefoot goes; I feel wildly out of control and uncomfortable when I follow all the suggestions I've read. I've got to work on this, for sure, because I did slow down some. I should mention here that Portland has some of the worst paved streets I have ever seen or run on. It was like running on gravel in most cases. As a result my feet were a little tender by now, but nothing I couldn't deal with.
Making the turn into the finishing straightaway!

Making the last turn I had a good bit left in the tank, so I was able to kick into gear for a strong finish. This has been a goal of mine, to not be completely flagged at the end of a run. I want to stride across the finish, not stagger. Plus, it feels good to kick it up:) Unofficial time of 30:30 by my stopwatch. Not too shabby, if I do say s myself!
Post race revelry. Feelin' good.

 I'm pretty happy with my result. It helps serve as a baseline, since this is really my first race as someone who takes running seriously. I can make goals and plans now based on an authentic result and have built a basic foundation as a runner. Next task is to work on my form and some core strength to support (bad pun!) that.

Next race will be the Turkey Trot in the Tri-Cities on Thanksgiving morning. I will be sub-30 minutes; mark my words...

Friday, October 21, 2011

....And, I'm back

OK, kids; slump is over! Here's why:

First, I think I've finally gotten into my groove as an instructor. My last two lessons have been the best I've ever done; I still have a long way to go to where I'd be "happy" with my lessons, but for where I'm at in the learning process I'm doing pretty darn well.

The lessons were Writer's Workshops on supporting with detail, using Lucy Calkins's small moments narrative strategy. The better of the two lessons was yesterday, when we focused on using the five senses to help  stretch the moment and bring it to life for the reader. Those second graders blew me away with the understanding they displayed in their application of skill in writing. I decided to give them a story starter prompt so I could assess their application of the lesson skill instead of their topic selection skills.  It's early in the year, and our classroom is filled with some VERY reluctant writers (who have just this last week become excited about writing), so neither my mentor teacher nor I have really pushed or challenged them on writing choices; we've been mainly focused on comfort with writing a coherent narrative and the writing courtesies of punctuation and capitalization (NOT as simple as you adults reading this think...). Today, though, I saw such eager writers that I decided it was time. When I saw students resting on ideas like "it smelled good" I challenged them to go further and tell me what "good" smells like. Each and everyone of them rose to the challenge and painted rich word pictures to describe the flowers. My favorite was "the one flower looked the prettiest but smelled bad to my nose. It smelled of cinnamon." He revealed to me in our conference that he does. not. like. cinnamon. At all. It was hilarious. I was so proud of my kiddos, and it totally got my mojo back for teaching!
Yeah; I don't get it, either. Cinnamon is awesome. Especially in roll form

It didn't hurt that my mentor teacher was extremely complimentary of my teaching style. I think allowing myself to be goofy and a little weird (y'know, be me) when I'm teaching has really opened the kids up to me. It doesn't hurt that I lovelovelove this group of kids. they have the biggest hearts of anyone I've ever seen and just cannot wait to learn. It really makes it fun to go in and learn with them.

Thanks second graders! You made my week:-)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I got the funk

not THAT funk

I woke up today simply not feelin' it, as the kids say. I don't know what the deal was with me, but a lot of thinking just caught up with me. I've been going at full speed for  quite a bit lately and I think I finally hit the wall.

It was not fun to be in my head today. Here's a sampling of my thought process:

a. My running form sucks (worse than i even originally thought). I ran in shoes TWICE last week which caused my knee to go berserk (reason A-1 I went to barefoot running in the first place).  I have a "race" this weekend, so achy bits are not helping my motivation. I'm kinda feeling down about my running progress overall. Mrs. M. is probably calling me an idiot right as she reads this, but I still feel like I'm on a plateau that extends for miles in all directions.
Yep; that's about right

b. I don't know why or how, but I was totally fish out of water in my internship today. It was like I was going through the day in a third person . It was also the first time since I began this journey that I thought, just for a moment "am I really cut out to be a teacher?" I shook it off, but it was a terribly disconcerting few hours in my headspace. 

c. School has been crazy. There are about 3500 different projects, each of which is THE. MOST. IMPORTANT thing I have to do over the next six months, on top of student teaching, day to day classes and responsibilities. I feel buried every time I even think about school work. Ugh.
Almost there...
All in all, I have to think this was the bottom of a low spot, and I'm sure to climb out of it directly. There is so much I have to be proud of and thankful for that I can't let a single day take the wind out of me. I just have to make sure I'm not a complete downer to everyone around me in the process of sorting it all out...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Days are getting shorter, runs are getting longer

It's fall. Here in the NorthWet (not a typo) that means we get about 45 minutes of daylight each day, all of it filled with rain.
I'm sooo excited

While sane most people retreat to the warm confines of home and sip coffee while predicting the next indie rock phenomenon, others don headlamps and rain jackets to keep running. Up until this year I was a happy citizen of the former category, and have the iTunes playlist to prove it.  
Not the next big thing...Can't pick 'em all

This year, though, things are different. I want to run. Heck, I NEED to run. I have been consistently increasing my miles and really want to keep it up through the crappy season. I've signed up for a 5k at the end of this month, am eyeing one for November/December and have set my sights on a Spring half-marathon. I've found that having specific goals keeps me motivated and on track. Especially once I've paid the registration fee. 
Those paper numbers aren't free, ya know

So yeah; I've become one of "them." I have my headlamp, my screaming yellow, reflective trimmed rain jacket and, well, still no shoes so far (but we'll see how I manage as it gets wetter and colder). I've even thought of coming up with a *shudder* training plan (I KNOW, right!? who is this guy?). I have no delusions of grandeur; I just want to test myself and see how well I can do. 

We'll see. Next time we'll talk about how running and teaching go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


It's been a while since I've posted, and even longer since I've posted anything meaningful (have I ever written a meaningful post??). So first the highlights, then we get down to bidness:

Yes, I'm still running. Barefoot, even. I'm up to 3.5 miles at a time, and adding more mileage each week. I'm also still learning to teach. I've been spending a lot of time in the classroom getting experience and mentorship from an A-mazing teacher (I'll talk more about this in a later post).

Now that that's out of the way, it's time to get serious. Let's talk about yearning.


  [yur-ning]  Show IPA
deep longing, especially when accompanied by tenderness orsadness: a widower's yearning for his wife.
an instance of such longing.

Thanks, Dictonary(dot)com!

Everyone has some sort of yearning. Maybe it's a yearning to be better, faster, fitter, more loved, more loving, more fulfilled, anything. Face it; Everyone desires something with their whole heart. I try to fill the holes in my soul with running. Truth be told, I'm a pretty fortunate guy, so my yearnings are small and mostly centered around being a better runner/superfit dude (I really want to be "that" guy!). At times that fortune makes me feel a little guilty and lately is one of those times.

I have a friend who is going through a tough time. Loss of a relationship/heartbreak sort of thing. We've only just reconnected this year after too many years out of touch (Thanks, Facebook!), but she's one of my favorite people in the world. So, yeah, she's had her heart broken bruised by a guy that promised more than he ever could was willing to fulfill. Additionally she is bravely grieving in public (thanks again, Facebook...). I say bravely, because it takes serious cojones to face your fears, insecurities and feelings of ownership for such a loss in public. I think she's helping tons of people, though, because she's gonna come through this just fine and all the world will see it and know that they too can overcome heartache and douchebags to find a happy place.

Yay for that, but I know that doesn't help the yearning she's feeling right now. How do I know she has a yearning? She's shown it in her words and expressions of grief. Plus, if we're all honest, we have to admit we all yearn for something. I think right now she's yearning for honesty and answers. I don't know if she'll get that, but I hope she does. She deserves it. Even if she doesn't get that, I know she'll get peace in due time. Her friends and loved ones have that well in hand. She'll get her Prince Charming, too, for sure.

As for the guy that put the hurt on her: You used to read this blog, but I doubt you have the stones to read this post all the way through. I know who you are, Karma knows who you are, and you're lucky I have a strict no naming names policy on this here bloggy blog. Either way what goes around comes around, so I hope you know your day will come. Enjoy the now, because you've earned your turn to yearn. 

Yep; I'm a little angry over this.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

it's only Tuesday?!

I have been buried. Narcissism blogging has totally taken a backseat to everything else in life lately. Just to remind myself that the world isn't missing me, I thought I'd update this thing....

Here's the latest:

1. I ran a race a couple weeks ago. I loved it and will definitely be running more in the future. Like this one for instance.

2. I am no cobbler. Shoe maker. No, I never thought I was a deep dish fruit dessert. I made some homemade running huaraches. They imploded after 500 yards. So I became one of those people and ordered a custom pair from here. I'm pretty psyched about them and should have them in my hot little hand tomorrow.

3. I am in full field experience mode with school. I have been teaching lessons, escorting students to the office, and generally walking the walk of a teacher for three weeks, and will be until December. Then I have a small break before the home stretch of student teaching if...

4. I actually passed the test required for certification. I took it Saturday and either aced it or bombed miserably. There is no middle ground.

I'm sure there's more. I'm still studying, still running, and still dedicated to being the best dad and husband I can be.

Is that enough for you?

Monday, September 12, 2011

A race report? Really?

Have I so become "that guy" that I am now droning on about every running event I enter?

Yes. Yes I have.

Yesterday I competed participated in the Warrior Dash. I ran with a group of teachers from the school my wife teaches in and where I am doing my practicum studies. Hey; can we write off entry fees as "professional development/team building expenses?" Either way, it was an awesome time and I'm about to break it down for you all to enjoy:

As you all know by now, I am one of them "barefoot runners" and prefer to run that way as a general rule. Still, I didn't really think it was a good idea to go full on naked foot so I devised a brilliant plan to go as almost barefoot as I could. Like most of my brilliantly half-baked plans, this one fell apart about 500 yards into the race as my sandal blew apart and wrapped around my ankle. Great! I had to stop and rip off the sandals, then cut some cord to tie my timing chip around my ankle (all tolled, about 6 minutes against my time).  Plus I got caught in traffic and was facing a backlog at every obstacle (boo!).

Now,  I am totally barefoot. One would think I would be all smiles, but truthfully I was a little concerned. I hadn't done any barefoot trail running so my feet weren't really prepared. the scattered gravel forced me to walk a lot more than I planned and to "pick" my steps to avoid the pointy bits. Now, I am not at all fast, but I was moving slow even by my own standards. It was gonna be a long day.

But what about the obstacles??? I know...that's what you all want to hear. First off, the biggest obstacle was the course. I was in no way prepared for the steep (STEEEEEEEP!!!) hills and switchback turns of the race course. I was anticipating a fairly laid back run made tough by virtue of obstacles. Boy was I wrong, wrong, wrong. The man-made obstacles weren't that big a deal, really. OK, so I did get kicked in the face on the floating log-overs, and didn't have great traction in the mud pits; otherwise, though, being barefoot was an advantage in the obstacles. most of them involved climbing cargo nets or ladders made of 2x4's. My naked toes were like a secret superpower! While my competition (competing to not be last place, but competition all the same) were slipping around in mud covered shoes, I had monkey feet that could grab the ropes, boards, etc. and help me make up time. Time I immediately re-lost when the running began again. It was like a muddy game of leapfrog! I basically hung with the same group of runners (big ups to the Waldos, the Warrior Princesses, and the Alaska Airlines T-shirt guy, who still owes me a piggyback ride...). They were like my own personal cheering section.

Speaking of cheering. Dude. I felt like a rock star! Every water station crew, obstacle attendant or person that passed me was all "Barefoot Dude!! rock on! that's hardcore!" It really buoyed me through the last mile of the race. Thanks to all the volunteers, the crew and the super friendly runners I encountered on the course. I may have packed it in if not for you guys.

For the record, I finished in 1:04:20, or about 20 minutes longer than I'd hoped. Oh, well, at least I'm sure I can beat that number next year!

And now, some pictures:
 the whole crew, before the race
 happy, muddy people
be not fooled! Only I ran barefoot (that's me second from left) these poseurs kicked off donated their shoes to a good cause after the race 
 So proud of my sweetie! she is not a mud person, but had a blast!

Will I run the Warrior Dash again? Oh, yeah! and next time I'll be prepared to do it barefoot!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

arts and crafts!

Yeah; I haven't posted in a year. Whatever, it's practicum internship time and I am up to my eyeballs in second grade learnin'.

Anyway, I've been running pretty consistently through it all and have gotten up to a full 5K (3.1 miles for you non kilometric types). This is good, because I have a 5K "race" coming up this weekend in the form of the Warrior Dash. It's one of those crazy obstacle course races (I'm mainly doing this race to watch my dirt-hating wife crawl through a 200 yard mud pit).

I really wanted to do this race barefoot, but in a lot of spots I won't be able to see the ground well enough to ensure safe stepping. To remedy that I've made myself a pair of huarache running sandals. Yep, it's a little dorky, but a.) it's as close to bare as I can get, and b.) i won't utterly ruin a pair of otherwise useful shoes in the process of this run.
I made them all by my self!

They were pretty easy to make. You can buy them for real money, or you can go to the camping store and buy some cord and destroy sacrifice a 20 year-old pair of Birkenstocks (yes,  I have shoes older than you. so what) to get to the nice flat rubber sole piece. Lace 'em up and there you go. Running sandals for a buck twenty-five. They worked well on tonight's run (2.64 miles), so i feel confident theyll last through the dash.

And if they don't, hey, I'm only out $1.25!

Monday, August 29, 2011

hey! where have you been?

What's that? I've been slacking at my boring you with my life duties? So sorry; I'm a busy fella these days and it's only gonna get busier from here.

For starters, school is back in full swing and my next round of internships/field experiences are starting up. In fact I started today. I've been so fortunate in the cooperating teachers/mentors (Apparently I'm digging the slashes today) and my luck just keeps on going. I have been assigned to a brilliant teacher for the next few months and am eager to learn all I can and try my best to be an asset to her classroom.
Chalkboards, really? soooo 1988
Also, my folks have been in town so I've been soaking up the construction dust family time while they're here.
Not THAT kind of rubble. Jeez...
Finally, I took a break from running last week (only ran once) since I was staying so active with the work we were doing around the house. Since I tend to write most when it comes to running, I didn't have much to say.

I got back out this morning though for a two-miler before starting my day. It felt great, except for the odd appendages at the end of my legs...Yes, I ran in shoes (it's small 'cuz they're 'minimalist shoes'). They are ripping up the streets around here, and I don't mean like Vin Diesel in the Fast and the Furious. Construction debris is all over the place, with pointy rocks just waiting to savage my tender tootsies. I erred on the side of caution today and took off in my shoes so I could be sure to get some miles in. Turns out I could have left them at home! The route I ran was totally clear, or at the very least had alternatives to the choppy stuff. I guess that tells me I should stop being a wimp be more adventurous and leave the shoes behind so I'll get creative with my route choices. This would ensure I don't get bored as well.

Or maybe I'll finally get some of those huaraches all the cool barefooters rave about...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

remodeling the remodel

My folks are in town (it only happens once a year or so these days) so I am neck deep in renovation debris. So far we've built in a new walk in closet off the master bedroom, re-done half the kitchen (new sink and a tile backsplash). I am beat, man. The cool thing about these visits is how much hands-on work I get to do.
I don't think so, Tim

OK, so I really don't get to do much, other than observe, try to learn as much as possible, and hand my dad (the one who actually is handy) tools when he needs them. We're all better off that way, because he actually knows what he's doing. Most home improvement projects I do on my own get done at least twice before they're done right.

I did do tons of the tile work in the kitchen. If we're lucky it'll still be on the wall in the morning...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Things are looking up

I posted Friday that I was becoming really frustrated with my running progress (or seeming lack thereof). After I looked at my week's runs I realized I was making mountains out of molehills.

I ran four of five days last week! anywhere from a 1.5 miler to 2.5 miles. No wonder my legs felt dead and I thought my feet had been attacked by a belt sander! I was so frustrated with Friday's run, but Saturday's felt great, as did today. I'm still slow (10-11 minute miles), but I am getting stronger and becoming a better runner. I'm pretty psyched about it and hope to keep it going.

There's a lesson in here, both about running and about life; sometimes your big breakthroughs come right after your most frustrating days. Of course, if your most frustrating day stops you in your tracks you won't hit the breakthrough. All this is to say, when the going gets tough, keep going! It's not always as easily done as said, I know. The payoff is almost always worth the struggle it took to get there.

I'm sure, over the next year of my life, I'll need to refer back to that last paragraph many (MANY) times. I will face challenges new to me in many areas (running and professionally) and will have to remind myself to keep pushing on to make sure I get to the breakthrough.

The philosophy lecture has now ended. you may now return to your regularly scheduled business.