Stomp of Approval!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Haloween costume?


This is the first Haloween out of the 26 Ive experienced that Ive found the need for a costume that incorporates being barefoot. Im not sure that I had ever even thought about famous barefoot people in the past, or the present, so it took me awhile to decide on a good costume that made sense to be Barefoot with.

Heres a quick rundown of the few ideas I had for good Barefoot Haloween costumes... Unless your up to date on the "Who's Who" of the barefoot culture most of these wont make sense, but Ill ATTEMPT to include links to those that I can...

My first idea was to go as my hero Patrick Sweeny ( Unfortunatley Im no where near skinny enough, and Im hairless thanks to my Native American ancestery, so theres no way I could have pulled it off....

My second thought was to go as Christian (dont know last name) AKA "The Maple Grove Barefoot Guy" ( A few problems arose here... First off, Im only a mere mortal, so I dont possess any super human abilities. Secondly, I stand at a heigth of 5'10.597662" tall. This puts me about 3 feet away from achieving true MGBG status. So going as MGBG would necessitate stilts of some manner, which totally kills going BF. Third, umm... Ok, there really isnt a third reason.

Another Barefooting master I had thought about going as was Barefoot Ken Bob ( as hes the man! Many people look at BF Ken Bob as being the yoda of the barefoot world. His spoken name is often followed by a breif thumbs up or a peace sign. How could a little confused Padawan such as myself attempt to immitate a Jedi master? Plus the lack of hair thing got in the way again... That, and I dont own a tie-dye T shirt...

I could have gone as Jason Robilard, ( Once again, it would have taken me YEARS upon YEARS to grow a beard as masculine as his. Plus I dont like beer, so there goes any chance of attempting to immitate either Jason or Patrick.

I could have gone as Barefoot Ted ( since were both bald and have similar type bodys. Unfortunatley I couldnt manage to keep that crazy looking posture thing he holds all the time for more than just a few nano seconds.

Then I had a few ideas for non-barefoot runner themed costumes...

I do have a full sized Tigger costume I could have worn, but thats been my costune several times before, so I wanted something new.

The usual barefoot costumes are over done in my opinion. The flinstones, other types of cavemen and those kinds of things just dont do anything for me.

Then I hit me as I was walking through my garage. I noticed a pair of brown overalls in a storage box. I quickly threw them on and grabbed a long weed from the back yard.


This year for Haloween I am a hillbilly!!! It fits me perfectly! With my high percentage of white trash DNA it wasnt hard to pull it all together. Suprisingly enough, no one even though I had dressed up in a costume when we went out Saturday night! I think I was the only barefoot person at the bar too...

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Friday, October 14, 2011

One year down!

First off, before I even start, I want to send a HUGE Thank You to my wonderfull, amazing, beautiful wife for not only putting up with my ass, but for supporting me as well! Thanks honey, I couldnt have made it here without your support!

Well, today, October the 14th, I celebrate as my one year anniversary of running Barefoot! Thats right! A year ago today I ditched the shoes and rid myself of all types of aches and pains such as;

-Cronic Shin Splints!
I had been trying to get back into running again in 2010 since I finally had a job that would allow it. Unfortunatley I only ran for about 5 out of 10 months due to shin splints. They were so.bad that I would take a month off at a time with constant icing, stretching, and massaging and yet as soon as I ran again they would come right back. I finally went and saw a Dr and he just told me the usual bullshit of "take a month off and these anti inflamatory pills, then start back slowly..." Needless to say, that didnt help matters any.

-Constant lower back pain.
I felt like I was always suffering from a pinched nerve in my lower back. Like I had lifted something the wrong way or something and whenever I would bend over I would get these sharp stabbing pains in my lower back approximatley where my love handles are.

-Stiff ankles
My ankles always felt stiff in the mornings. It would hurt to walk for a few minutes untill they loosened up some.

I would only run 2~3 miles per run, but I always felt tired afterwards. It would take me an hour or two before I felt "recovered" from my runs.

-Ingrown Toenails.
I suffered from CONSTANT ingrown toenails. Both big toes and on occasion on my little toes as well. Since going BF Ive only had one ingrown toenail, and that was from running in my Vibrams, which isnt running barefoot.

Now thats all behind me!!! I can run without feeling any discomfort, and I can also go about the rest of my day feeling fine with no aches or pains!

Ive been through several stages and tried a few different training methods. Ive ran fast and hard for all my training runs, Ive been a vegatarian, Ive used compression sleeves, eaten while running, ran while fasted, done speed work, and now Im using a lot of these things in conjunction with the Maffetone method of running slow (and I like it the best so far!).

Ive ran on Asphalt, grass, dirt, cement, chip seal, concrete, crushed lime stone, synthetic tracks, brick roads, side walks, country roads, trails, and sand. Ive stepped on amd in a large assortment of dead animals. Ive also ran through large areas that were covered in broken glass. Yet Ive never seen any hypodermic needles....

So heres my PR's for my first full year of BFR. Keep in mind I only ever really "trained" for a half marathon...
Mile - 6:23
5k - 20:42
Half Marathon - 1:42:37

Ive only ran 1 5k race and 4 half marathons. In my next year I hope to drop all 3 of those times along with adding a PR for a 50 Mile for sure, and hopefully a few other distances as well!

Oh, my total mileage for my first year is 743.89 WONDERFULL miles. I feel like I have fallen in love with running all over again and I very seldomly ever have a bad run anymore.

So heres to a great first year!!! I hope for many many more!!!
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Maffetone Method!

There are a lot of different thought processes in the running world on how to become a faster and more efficient runner. One of the more commonly accepted is the "No pain, No gain" philosophy, which really just says you have to run hard and fast during your training in order to run fast in a race. I havent found this to be entirely true...

When I started running barefoot I was doing short runs at very slow speeds at first, steadily building onto my distances little by little but never doing any type of speed work. I was very surprised when I timed my first "fast" BF mile at 6:37. The best I had managed the year before running shod was a 7:14, and I was dead afterwards. Here I was now, almost 45 seconds FASTER without any proper "training" do get this result.

Fastforward a few months and Im running half marathons on no speed work, just easy runs, and I managed to run a 1:42 as a PR. Then I had a few months breal untill my next half marathon, so I started focusing on speed work, thinking it would be the key to get me into the 1:30's. Turns out it wasnt and I had the worst race of my life and had to walk a few times and finished with a 1:54 (my second slowest half marathon). So in search of an answer I came upon the discussion of the Maffetone Method on the Runners World Barefoot forum and became very intrigued. So I ordered the book online and am still in the process of reading it.

Maffetone suggests looking at training from a holistic approach in that one should be concerned formost on ones health, and not their physical fitness. In such he suggests a healthy diet, reducing stresses on oneself, and a good training regimen. His key thing on training is building an aerobic base, which is what I am currently in the process of attempting to do, and so far I am very pleased with the results!

Im order to build this base you have to run under your aerobic threshold, which is based on the heart rate at which your body stops burning stored fats for energy and starts burning eaten sugars instead. Maffetone has developed a formula for determining what your aerobic threshold HR is, mine is 152 but I keep it under 150 for all of my runs.

Theres a few ways to measure your progress while using the Maffetone method. The most obvious is to monitor your HR and how it corresponds with your pace. When I first started my pace at an avg HR of 150 for a 5 mile run was a little under 15 minutes per mile, with miles 4 and 5 closer to the mid 16's. To put this anoher way, it took me 1 hour and 14 minutes to run 5.5 miles, with several walk breaks because my HR would start climbing too high to continue running. Now Im running closer to 10:00~10:30 per mile pace for most of my runs.

The other way to check your progress is through a MAF test, which stands for Maximum Aerobic Function test. The way Maffetone suggests this test is by running 5 - 1 mile repeats at the same HR and the longer you train at this method you should notice 2 things start to change. The first is that your miles will get faster as your aerobic speed increases, but also your mile times in each session will get closer and closer as your aerobic conditioning improves.

I did a slightly different version thats reccomended by Hadd in the famous Hadd post. In this version you run 5 - 2 mile repeats at varying HRs. I have done this test twice and have seen pretty amazing results, which are listed below...

First Test

2 miles @ 139 avg HR = 27:26 (13:43 avg pace)
2 miles @ 147 avg HR = 28:06 (14:03 avg pace) not sure why I got slower here...?
2 miles @ 168 avg HR = 21:41 (10:49 avg pace)
2 miles @ 178 avg HR = 17:26 (8:43 avg pace)

I was running out of time, so I skipped the 160 HR cap run.

Second Test.

2 miles @ 135 avg HR = 23:21 (11:40 avg pace) 1:55 faster per mile
2 miles @ 146 avg HR = 20:56 (10:28 avg pace) 3:40 faster per mile
2 miles @ 155 avg HR = 18:33 (9:17 avg pace) no previous data to compare against... grrr....
2 miles @ 167 avg HR = 16:02 (8:01 avg pace) 2:48 faster per mile

Ran out of time (got kicked off the track) before I could attempt running 2 with a 180 HR cap, but I imagine it would have been quite a good bit faster than the previous tests results.

These tests were conducted roughly a month apart, one when I first started this method, and the second one about a month later. So in just a month Ive gotten around 2~3 minutes faster per mile at the same HR with no speed work type training.

Guess you could say that Im sold!
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