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