Very important disclaimer

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.

Monday, January 31, 2011

So, this got me thinking, and pondering, and thinking some more…

I received a very interesting comment for a (I think) new reader, who by my Sitemeters account had spent 2+ hours the other day reading this here blog. Now you know how long it takes to read an average blog, so to spend that much time here, this person covered a LOT of ground.

Neil I enjoy the blog, well written and so well-updated. You can almost smell the upcoming 'but' here...
...the 'but' is because half the reason I enjoy the blog is the car crash waiting to happen. After injuries etc. and the low mileage you managed to keep at the end of 2010, I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned that you simply aren't ready for a marathon. Sure you'll complete it: it's evident you're a determined guy. But a better plan would be to build a base and run one in the fall, hit a goal time instead of just completing the 26.2. I know you'll all disagree, but this dissenting opinion needs to be written :0)
Speaking of determination, put some shoes/VFFs on when on the treadmill. The staff at Goodlife may not have had the rule to hand, but if they don't have it in the manual it's because it's one of the more obvious and common sense rules, like don't workout naked or bring your own 1980's boom-box a la Venice Beach.
Again, I know you won't like or agree with this, but it's a liability issue. This is moving machinery with hard edges surrounding it - one slip from your sweaty, hotspotted feet and you can get a good chunk of toe or heel go missing down the treadmill gutter. You'd wear protective gear at work - where the WCB or insurance won't pay if you don't - so why is it different in the gym?
The counter-argument I guess is that you would never be too effin stupid to lose concentration on form or proprioception to slip on the treadmill....
Exhibit A:

Ok, so at first it’s a little bit shocking, (just a little bit) and my nature tend to make me get my guard up and want to defend, but I pondered for a short time before I wrote this in response.

Thanks for the comments. I appreciate the time you took to read through my blog, and feel free to check back often! I hear your concerns loud and clear, and just know I am a pretty thoughtful guy, and I hope I am making good choices. Only time will tell, right. One thing for sure is I have always had a full disclosure policy on this blog, so if you keep reading, you will be sure to find out of you are right on any or all counts!
Stay in touch ok? Oh, I have a reader mail section I write every once in a while, do you mind if I repost your comments there? I love a good debate!
How did you find my blog by the way?

But now after a couple days of some poderance and reflectivitness, I have have come to some conclusions about myself and my running.

This single comment has actually made me think about and FIGURE OUT the REAL reasons I run…

the results of all this thinking in a near-future blog post, right here on BATCKADI.. stay tuned.

Ps. why do you run?

Pps. I actually couldn’t smell the upcoming ‘but’ there. the rest of that comment took me complete surprise. I thought I was being complimented. :O)

Ppss. I ran 16k on the ‘mill at Goodlife tonight. It went as well as could be for being sick and tired, was about 1:50 of running. VFF’s were the worst part of the run. couple hotspots and tiny little blister. Might have to cave and wear the injinji’s.

PpPss. Goodnight.


  1. It is really awesome when people take that kind of interest in your work. It beats "go get 'em. tiger" that's for sure. I'm down.

    But then I got thinking, do you actually think I can improve my pace if I loose the boom-box?

  2. I run to see if I can. I don't usually enjoy doing it, but I like being able to. Bc there are so many cool events to try.

    Questioning isn't so bad when it's constructive. Having to defend your beliefs definitely helps clarify them for least that's how it works for me.

    16k on the treadmill? Wow...go get 'em, tiger! :)

  3. Patrick I think you should keep the boom box, it's good for an upper body workout. Since when is "complete a marathon" not a good plan. I always find it interesting when people give me suggestions on what they think is a good plan for me. Do they know my life goals? Why I run? What I'm trying to get out of the marathon? I think some are quick to assume we all want the same things out of running.

    There are always people who are going to tell you you can't. What do you say?

    BTW there is a lot of chatter among experts about "building the base" being the old school running method. Not necessarily for everyone or the best way to train. Of course there are arguments on both sides. People have to choose what works best for them.

  4. Isn't your marathon in May? Um, I think that's why they call it training. Unbelievable comment.

  5. Sounds like a Goodlife employee...

  6. I can't tell you how many people tried to tell me I wasn't ready for a marathon.

    They attacked my low mileage, my speed. Whatever, everyone has their opinion and no one knows us better than ourselves.

  7. Maybe it's the former New Yorker in me, but my response would have had a lot more eff's in it. But my question after reading this is, who is this person who thinks their two hour view of your blog was enough to share such a negative outlook on something you've been preparing months for? I agree with the Green Girl, Whatever...

  8. I like Kate's comment, "I run to see if I can". So do I! I also run so I don't get fat or stay fat. Not everyone would know that about me. It does kind of sound like a Goodlife employee.

  9. I think it comes down to your philosophy of running and how you approach any race. From my point of view, which I am sure many disagree with, building a base is common sense. However, it also begs the question of how much "base" someone needs. 20 miles? 15 miles? 12 miles? There are examples of people doing well with all of those - sure, in some cases that is the exception, but the point is, it is doable.

    The other thing to study is the expectations of a runner. Do the expectations meet the training profile. This past weekend I ran the Houston Marathon and I know one runner who decided not to run because he knew his training would not enable him to meet his expectations. So rather than run a slower than normal race, he opted not to run at all. On the other hand, another friend of mine knew he would be well off his typical time, but ran it anyway. It comes down to what you are willing to accept and ensuring your expectations are in line with your training.

  10. Wow, he obv doesn't get the marathon.. your first should not even have a goal other than to FINISH! I'm quite shocked. Secondly I'm not even going to go there on the BF treadmill stuff.. My kids even run bf on the treadmill and it is SAFER becuase your feet are flat on it. Slipping? Really?

    I run to compete with the beast with in me, sometimes I win, sometimes it does.

  11. Hmmm, this posts reeks of a "good natured" goodlife employee...

    The facts ran a half mary late 2010. Your full is 16+ weeks away. If you were to follow any 16 week program, your LSR would probably start out in the 5-7 mile range(8-12 Km for the Kanadians...)...You ran 16km on the dreadmill last night? Your "base" is fine. This is your 1st marathon; you are not out to run a BQ...your goal of 4:15 is reasonable. To take the advice of your commenter and wait until the fall, at best you knock off 15 minutes? Perhaps you run a Spring Mary & a Fall Mary.

    As far as the BF treadmill running...I too would hate to see you catch a toe in the belt, but the gym should be able to provide you with a copy of the rule...Hell, they could have drafted a "copy" of it by now, it's been a couple of weeks.

    I like Kate's comment about questioning your beliefs causes you to examine them. Don't let this comment rent too much space in your head. Assess the information, make an educated descision, and drive on!

  12. The comment was well written and thought out. Responding with a bunch of F words. Really?

    I would be grateful that someone thought enough about me to put pen to paper. The concerns are valid.

  13. I put out a post when I started my blog asking "Is there Blog Etiquette?". The replies back basically told me it was the Wild, Wild West out there and if you are going to put it out, you may have to expect some negative returns along the way.

    It is good to see differing opinions once in awhile to maybe have you think (sometimes question) about what you are doing. With that being said, follow your head and your heart and you will get to where you are going...your way!

    Just my 10 cents...keep up the good work! the fact you did ponder it for a few days. I believe in the 24 rule of firing back at a commentor for at least 24 hours if you are pi$$ed. Gives you sometime to put things in perspective.

  14. It's interesting what will make you realize things about yourself...

  15. Hey Neil - oops I was referring to Dash's comment. My bad.

  16. Hey Neil:

    How on earth can she determine whether or not you are ready for a marathon? And there still are a few months will be ready by then.

    I started running at 32 in a foreign country, training myself and ran a half and a full marathon that first year in 36 C heat, humidity, and pollution with no Gu's, no hydration pack (in a country that often ran out of water at aid stations), in shoes that weren't appropriate...anyway, you get the picture. You'll be fine. I have faith in you.


  17. I read! So count me in on your sidebar

    And thanks for the shout out! (says this former big girl hehe)

    Hmmm....I run because I can, when once I couldn't.

  18. Grr
    Base training is old school. When I trained for ironman it was all about intensity. 90% of the run training was more like 5k or ten k training. The distance did not come until 8 weeks out. To each his own but by putting distance on speed instead of speed on distance time management for endurance sport is more manageable.

    I have been going some gravel bucket training to keep the feet conditioned through winter and has helped make the occasional barefoot run on graveled
    paths completely doable

    Thanks for making it interesting

  19. Sorry, late to the party.

    Re marathon, you'll be fine. You've done plenty of half marathons, you've been running pretty consistently for a while now, and you're barefoot. Things are just easier for the unshod.

    Like others have said, it comes down to your expectations. If "running a marathon" means BQ, then you're not ready. If it means sub 4hr, you probably are not ready. If it means finishing the distance without hating life (too much), I think you're ready.

    That said, I agree with the author enough to say that if you were to build a base for a fall marathon, you're performance would most likely be better. If you build a base for a couple of years before a marathon, even better still. "Better" meaning faster, I guess, maybe less suffering. But again, that's all up to you on race day.

    Oh, and injuries? The spurs were already there, and aren't going away. The only other injury I remember is when you kicked the ground. No offense, but I'm not impressed. Which is a good thing - you don't want impressive injuries.

    Look, 26.2 miles is a loooooong way to run, but it's not the inhuman effort many make it out to be. That's all marketing. It's as hard as you make it. Giving up coffee is harder then running around for a few hours.

    Re treadmill, the concerns of the letter writer are out of proportion with reality. However, like the scaaaaary marathon distance, his/her perception is the commonly shared one. If you run barefoot on their equipment, you're asking them to be on your side against the majority of their customers.

    It's ethically wrong, of course. They don't want you to run the way you run because you look different. Your bare feet are compared to complete nudity, which is silly, and noise pollution, which is beyond silly. What the real issue is is that your visible feet challenge convention, and that makes people nervous and want to attack you to preserve the illusion of order. Dogs behave the same way.

    When the dogs gang up on an individual, I squirt them with a water gun. I don't know if that will work at the gym...

  20. Interesting. Verrryyyy interesting.

    So, I’m firmly planned in the shoed field, but I don’t get the concern. I think that if you look at the propensity of injury amongst the shoe vs barefoot it is probably very similar. Sure, the barefoot may have fewer soft tissue injuries but is honestly more apt to have a handful more stubbed toes, cuts, etc. So, I’m not sure that is a valid argument.

    On the marathon front. You’ll be fine. Seriously. I never got the whole “you gotta be running 80 years before you even think about a marathon”. I had been running for 10 months before I ran my first one. It was my first EVER race. I didn’t get hurt. I did slow down a bit at the end, but I’ve done that in 2/3 of the 11 marathons since then. As long as you have a run over 18 miles and a run at 20 miles before hand you’ll be JUST fine.

  21. Blogs are such a fickle media :0) Commenters can place just about any meaning on what a writer had thought a simple sentence. I want to be up front about why I wrote that comment - and those of you who used the word 'constructive' read my intentions correctly.

    A couple of years ago I had a terrible marathon by my standards. I know a lot of runners, and 99% sent me complimentary emails and support. It would have been easy to ride that wave and be happy with my time. But one buddy, a no-nonsense type of runner, asked me the question that needed to be asked - "dude, what happened?" It was the most constructive email of the bunch, if not the most candy-coated.

    But sometimes the sycophancy needs to be broken up a little. I wasn't trolling, I do think you barefooters are a little militant at times, and the treadmill story needed a devil's advocate :0)

    My dissenting opinion is just that. It doesn't claim to be correct, just different. I see a lot of new marathon runners every year (I have run with literally hundreds), and most complete the marathon. However it takes so much out of some noobs that they don't run again for an age.

  22. The purportedly witty Runner's Field Manual says this:

    "But the nearly fetishistic frenzy now surrounding the marathon distance is troubling. In fact, it could backfire in a big way. When inexperienced runners rush headlong into a 26.2 mile foot race, they epitomize doing too much, too soon...their risk or injury or burnout is quite patient. Race shorter distances for a year, two years, or more. Build a strong foundation. And then consider a marathon."

    I agree with posters who say the marathon is not a scaaary distance, or an "inhuman" effort (as in barbaric? you may be right...). I would actually say that completing the distance is so quotidian that to "get" the marathon, you have to remember sometimes that it's a foot race. You'll remember your first marathon, then you'll remember the first one you raced. But with a little patience they can be the same occasion.

    I will debate a few points with a poster or two, just for giggles and shits:

    1. To 'finish' a marathon is not a good goal. There's no quality value attached to a 'finish'. Is finishing enough if the roads are all closed, the crowds have gone home and you don't get a medal because you miss a cutoff? (and btw I'm not suggesting anyone in this forum has ever done that, but what if?) If you want to finish uninjured, or under a certain time, then that's a goal. Even the "finishing the distance without hating life (too much)" is a good goal. But no-one wants to walk big stretches of it because their body isn't ready (again, not a personal comment).

    2. Base building is old school only in the sense that Arthur Lydiard is old school. The current penchant for triathlon training and a lack of sport specificity has brought on the intensity stuff. Why? Well you can't run 20 hours a week if your are Ironman training, there just isn't enough time in the day to do that or recover. I've done Ironman events, and though I suck big time on bike or swim, I certainly don't envy the second-class marathon training. Or the little IM tattoos on the ankle.

    3. I think I 'get' the marathon :0) I ran my first in the early 1990s, and I know I still haven't gotten it right. If true knowledge is knowing we know nothing, then I really know marathons :0)

    4. I don't work for Goodlife LOL. I'm a runner of inconsequential talent but significant experience.

    A parting note: kudos to anyone who runs 26.2. And kudos to the posters and bloggers who didn't jump down my throat, for *ahem* 'challenging the convention' within this blog.

    ps Comparing barefooting to nudity is only silly if you're not a naturist. They take it seriously. Of course barefooters think it's fine to run barefoot on a treadmill, just like dog owners assume everyone loves their dog, and smokers assume their breath smells of the botanical gardens...:0)

    pps I've seen fair share of treadmill injuries. Some induced by alcohol ("OK Go" have a lot to answer for), some not. If you're tired and not concentrating, it's not an unrealistic eventuality.

  23. @D.E. Murring: Nice thoughtful response. I'll try to respond in kind, and let's talk about Neil like he's not here.

    Re preparedness, I confess I haven't been following Neil's training. I know he's been running for a couple of years now, and almost a year barefoot/minimalist. He's also run a bunch of shorter races, including many half-marathons. To me, that says ready to give the full a shot. Not ideal, but definitely good enough. But I definitely agree with your concern about new runner's "bucket list" mentality.

    Re treadmill and injury, I'm really in no position to comment. I hate the things. I think they're dangerous regardless of footwear. And perhaps it's my bias and imagination, but I think they make me run stupidly.

    Re bare feet and nudity, that's fine if the argument against being barefoot is about modesty. But that's not what the gym is saying. If you show up nude in a public place, no one is aghast because you're at a greater risk of injury or unsanitary.

    The people who confronted Neil at the gym really should have checked to make sure the rule exists before enforcing it. Doing otherwise was unprofessional.