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Please be advised that the contents of this blog are opinions only (my opinion, the opinions of my family and the opinions of anyone else directly or indirectly involed in this blog). This is not an accredited training blog, nor is it an accredited anything blog. If you (and you) do anything that this blog says, or don't do anything that this site says not to do, and you get injured, sick or killed, you cannot blame me or my family or blame anyone else directly or indirectly involved in this blog. By reading anything on this blog (including this message) you are saying that you are a person who makes thier own choices in life and does not hold the writer of this blog, the writers family or any one else that may be directly or indirectly involved in the production or writing of this blog, responsible for your stupid and irresponsible behaviors, injuries, sicknesses or deaths. With that said, please enjoy my fun blog.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I didn’t think…

… I had too much to blog about. Then I remembered my feet were pretty tender. why?

I have graduated from kindergarten Barefoot school and have started my primary school lernin. There was an interval run on the schedule, but the group had other plans, so I just ran with them. We headed west from Glennfield parking lot in Fish Creek Park and like most recent runs it felt super dooper! We had run our normal paved path route over to Votiers Flats which was just under 2k. I started to head up the hill when Runner K says, we normally run this way and do a loop back to here. She is pointing down a gravel path.

Ok. lets.go.that.way. I hesitated for a moment. but then I thought about lernin. If I was to step up my learning, now was the time. I ran onto the gravel.

Holy shit. there was an amazing amount of teaching in the first 3 steps. In 3 steps I went from about 6 feet tall, to about 5’2. In three steps I went from relatively small strides to really really small strides. In three steps I went from a 6:00/km pace to a 7:30/km pace. In three steps I went from chatting and laughing to focusing on light/quick/smooth. In three steps I learned that what I knew as minor discomfort (at times) on the main paved trails became like a pillow top mattress in my mind.

Barefoot education

The path was probably as bad as I could imagine a gravel path to be. Recent hail and rain has washed any of the packed material away, leaving just the smallish sharp stones, neatly spaced like a freaking bed of nails. I did it, and I am super happy I did it. I ran 1km at the school of rock  (what?) today and the things I learned are:

  1. that my feet have a TON to teach me.
  2. that it can be done. slowly.
  3. that if I want to race on gravel, I may use my 5’s, and not feel guilty.
  4. that sometimes what your feet are telling you to do is walk, and walk on the grass. (I did a bit in the worst spots)
  5. that crushed brick path is like running on marshmallows in comparison. (about 10% of my class time)
  6. that packed dirt is like running on water in comparison (about 1 glorious % of my class time)
  7. that 40lbs off my Clydesdale physique would certainly help things…

Yep, that was my run today. When we got back on the paved path, it was so unreal smooth and luxurious, that it made me surprisingly happy!

OH!! yeah. I have now run 100km barefoot. exactly! *WoOt*

I have to say this, and it may sound corny, but barefoot running is changing my life. I am so happy, I just love everything about it.

I've got a 6k race pace run on Friday coming up as well as a 13k long run on Sunday morning planned. These will be run in Rosebud Ab. The loop around the town exactly 1k. So 13 laps! I wonder if  I’ll make some friends as I go by over and over for an hour and a half, barefoot. When I am not running, we will be launching rockets or making smores!

  • Barefoot mileage since June 29th : 100km
  • VFF mileage since July 7th : 11.8km
  • Shoe mileage since SOBF (start of barefoot): 5km (25:30 5k race PR on July 1st)

running product makers , it’s only going to get better!! Please sponsor me! Do you hear me Rosebud Alberta! I am coming to your town! What have YOU done for me lately!! LOL


  1. I had a humbling experience at the event I just attended running on asphalt, which I am not accustomed to. The other barefoot runners seemed to have no problem with it. I never thought I'd say this, but I've been pampered by the smooth tiles I run on. You are very fortunate, Neil to have progressed so rapidly in the beginning, but the way in which running barefoot keeps us humble is one of its strengths.

  2. Man, that almost made we weepy to read that. I'm happy to hear you're having a good time.

    Re gravel, yeah. That stuff is rough. Very few barefooters get comfortable on it. No shame in utilizing the footwear; that's what shoes are for. I carried my aqua socks up Grandfather Mtn because of the stretches of gravel. Didn't use the shoes, but that's because by the time I got to the gravel I was too tired to run anyway. Practice on the gravel, but don't feel like you have to master it.

    Avocational Singer: well said.

  3. Gravel sucks, gravel is evil. So I can walk on it even with a heavy backpack but running... that will take some practice. I mean lots of practice.

  4. You are amazing ... I cringe at those images of gravel and crushed brick ... oh my feet ...

  5. I dunno folks, Maybe I was so used to running in pain (before barefoot), that the comparison, while it would be agony for others, is like buttery velvet to me. Or I am so pig headed that I refuse to let a little bit of pain stop me.

    Thanks a kajillion for all the support! It is the people here (and in th cool kids run club) that have supported me to chase my goals!

  6. Hey--Thanks for coming over to my blog. I found your blog one night this week and have enjoyed the reading.

    I'll be honest. I've been running now for about 10-11 years. I have NO idea how the barefoot thing works. One pebble and I'd be writhing in the fetal position!!

    Maybe in some really soft grass. No gravel at all!!!

  7. "Maybe in some really soft grass. No gravel at all!!!"

    Heh heh. Neil, you want to tell him, or should I? I think you should.

  8. I almost posted a comment along the lines of "Josh, can you please handle this one!?" But I figured I would hear from you soon enough on the topic. hehe.

    64 Classic: No grass! scary things lurk in the grass and it does nothing for teaching you the art of barefoot (think cushioning). Smooth and hard(thats what she said)surface is a great start.

    That said, if you are happy in your shoes, great! I am not one to sway, but we couldn't let that 'soft grass' comment go... Take care and thanks for reading.