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Showing posts from 2010

Taming Muses for My Giveaway

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So I've been drinking beer and designing again.I really shouldn't do that, but it helps with the whole creative process. Plus the only "me" time I get lately is after the kids are in bed or when my husband is done with work whichever comes first. That's when mama needs a cocktail. Did I mention that I have two boys? Seriously. A cocktail helps when you have two boys.

This is the third recession our business has weathered since opening up shop back in 1998. Lately, I've been working on an "as needed" basis because the print side of the business was virtually eliminated thanks to the economy. And since the majority of my work was designing brochures and printed marketing collateral, this was a hit. Luckily it didn't completely sink our battleship. Our web side of the biz (my husband's forte) exploded. Poor guy was totally overworked and burnt, but things have settled down since and I've been creeping back to do a little web design and a han…

DAY 26 - Another Crap Run

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I've been having a tough time running, lately. The kids have been home, the weather has been crud and for the second time in a row the swelling in my left knee started up again today. This swelling renders my left knee achy, heavy and hard to bend. Today, I managed to eek out a 4.75 mile run before giving up to the pain. I started out in my VFFs (which seems to be a recipe for disaster lately) and ran 1.5 miles in them. It was harder for me to run toward the end, but the pain stopped almost immediately when I started walking. No ibuprofen or icing needed this time.

Up until these last two runs I have been pain-free with the exception of a few superficial issues. I was totally OK with that. Barefoot running was working for me. I had my mojo back and was able to log some longer runs. Now, my old ghosts are back to haunt me. I'm hoping its just the weather and the cold. So I'm crossing my fingers. Lets hope its the weather and the cold.

On the bright side, swollen knees and rai…

Day 25 - Beer is good. Pain is bad.

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I ran 6.73 miles VFF and barefoot today.Almost half and half. I felt really good in the beginning starting off in my VFFs and then my crappy knee started giving me angst. Honestly, I have had fleeting knee pain (really its just uncomfortable swelling) since I started barefoot running, but its been nothing to blog about. I used to get it all the time when I ran shod more than two miles. I think its only happened twice since starting to go completely barefoot and it mostly happens in my VFFs. When I ditch the fingers it goes completely away. Today was another story. It went away for about half a mile and then came back.

So I tried adjusting my form. Slowing down. Increasing cadence. Bending knees (that really didn't feel good). I stopped a few times to "reset" my running form, but what I felt like I wanted to do is stretch. My leg just felt really uncomfortable even remotely bent. What was I going to do? I specifically picked a long route because I was jonesing for a long m…

DAY 24 - Barefoot Trail Running

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I ran my first trail completely barefoot yesterday! It totally rocked! I can't believe I waited this long to do a trail run barefoot. The latest weather left the trail soft and squishy. There were a few mud pits, but if you know me by now you know I'm good with the mud thing. My husband joined me for this run and about a mile in he decided to lose the shoes and go barefoot as well. For a first run (he's a mountain biker, not a runner and also not a stranger to mud) it was a great introduction.

It was a gorgeous warm day for a run out at Folsom Lake. We took a route along the Western States trail starting in Granite Bay and ran about a 5 mile loop. We stopped a few times to take pictures and make my own MovNat video. If you've never seen the MovNat barefoot running video you have to check it out. We thought it would be fun to do our own little camera-phone-barefoot-running-production. My husband wanted to make sure he got credit for all the in-camera editing and producti…

My Latest Eyesore and Giveaway Idea

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The latest shirt I got from my last race has got to be the ugliest shirt I've gotten in my entire 28 years of running. Seriously people. To call it an eyesore would be a compliment. Not to totally dis on someone's cool Turkey Day design, but I gotta call it like I see it. As a graphic designer this is just a car wreck waiting to happen. Really. Someone is going to see this as I'm running down the street, be blinded by my shirt or totally distracted by my bare feet, (or both) and run into me. I'm not going to risk it. Anyone want a free shirt?

Speaking of free shirts. I've been thinking lately. (I know. Its ominous.) I'm toying with the idea of doing a special barefoot runner shirt design and then giving away a free shirt here on my blog. I'm trying to see if the t-shirt company that does our team shirts will throw a little donation my way so I can design a really cool barefoot running shirt and then give it to a lucky winner picked at random. I'm waiting…

DAY 23 - Caught in my Cussing Crossfire

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This post will be short and sweet because I'm already on my second cocktail and I hear a nice hot bath calling my name. I ran 3.8 miles today completely barefoot. Weather has been cooperating and it felt good. No casualties today unless you count the people who happened to run past me as I landed on that small pebble wrong. 

That stupid sharp and jabby spot right below my pinky toe hurt like a mofo again today. What is it about that spot? Seriously. If I step on even a menial pebble there it throws me into a fit of potty mouth. I lose all control. Random passersby become inadvertently caught in my cussing crossfire. I take no prisoners. No one is safe. Honestly, I don't normally have the mouth of a truck driver. Really. Its like I'm possessed or something.

At any rate, I'm looking forward to the day that the sharp and jabby spot on my foot becomes less sensitive. Does that ever happen or am I just a hopeful optimist?
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DAY 22 - Lightening Fast Superpowers!

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Bloody feet are no picnic. Trust me. A sign that I'm still a fledgling barefoot runner. They're also a sign that, apparently, I have the pain tolerance of a stump. I have no idea that it's happening when it's happening because once I've taken a break and looked at the bottoms of my feet the curse words start a flyin! The outside of my feet (the bit under my pinky toe that attracts all the jabby things) tends to get raw when I run, but mostly towards the end of my run. I think. Honestly, I have know idea at what point they become raw and then get bloody, but its happened twice now after two long runs. Which is why I chose to go 100 percent VFF today. It was an enlightening run. I think I figured out what's going on.

Because I was hoofing it in my VFFs today, I was able to push myself a little more than usual. Getting back down to my old shodded pace feels really good. Once my cardio gets going I find myself in the perfect rhythm to obtain that elusive runner'…

DAY 21 - My Giddy Ritual

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I have this ritual I do after every barefoot run. Something I rarely did when I used to run shod. It doesn't involve sacrificing livestock, or piercing my body with a handful of oversized wooden needles. I don't walk over coals (although sometimes it feels like I have) and I don't don a pair of gloves full of bullet ants that sting. No. That would be all too unpleasant especially after running 5 miles barefoot. 

After logging my run in my Daily Mile account I head upstairs to take a shower. I never look at my feet right after my run. I save this for my pre-shower ceremony while the water is warming up. I don't know why, but I get kind of giddy at the thought of seeing how my feet fared after any given run. OK. I'm not sure giddy is the right word. I don't get all freaky, mad-scientist-like and rub my hands together, but I honestly feel like I'm sort of peeking at an unwrapped present. Will it be an unidentified embedded object? A friction spot? Some peeling …

DAY 20 - First Barefoot 5k Race

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Woke up early and crabby this morning. Didn't sleep well. Not because I had the pre-race jitters (I haven't had those in years), but because I watched a very disturbing, mind-bending horror flick last night. Shaking some insanely, deranged images from my mind I focused on the temperature outside. It was a nice crisp 26 degrees with a winter freeze warning. Great. My first barefoot race happens to be on an abnormally freezing morning. Hard to believe we had 80 degree weather not more than two weeks ago. My plan? To wear my VFFs until my feet warm up (usually about half a mile to a mile into my run) then strip them off and finish barefoot. I was excited about my first barefoot race, but bummed that part of it would have to be in my VFFs.

By the time the race started I could not feel my toes. Walking around in the wet grass did not help. Checking out the finish line it looked to be mostly soft and grassy with a small patch of gravel about a hundred yards before the balloons. Total…

Are Our Children Being Left Behind?

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I know this is my running blog about my running adventures, but I had to repost this blog article written by a fellow barefoot runner and teacher. This topic is so important. I honestly feel that, in many ways, our public school system has lost its way and has forgot about our children. Something needs to be done. We need to stop producing a generation of robots and start nurturing creative thinkers and intrinsic learners. 


Please read Jason Robillard's latest blog post: National No Homework Week: A Revolution to Reclaim Families and Children

Now. Imagine me walking over to my soap box, taking a large step up, then breathing in a deep sigh. Long exhale. I'm not one for preaching, but I do have my opinions about things that I feel very strongly about. One of which is our public school system and the mindset of American thinking today. Please bear with me while I have a moment.

I think kids are overscheduled and overwhelmed these days and it begins in preschool or even before that…

DAY 18 - Don't make me go all VFF on you!

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After taking the first steps of my run today I couldn't help but think, "This stings like a mofo!" Then I wondered how long it would last. Its not like I'm the kilted and caped superhero Maple Grove Barefoot Guy running on freezing snow. I'm in sunny California here where we are currently experiencing our "second summer" thanks in part to global weirding. Frankly, I can't remember when we had a November in the 80s in the valley like this. This morning was unusually cool at about 45 degrees, though (I hear the snickers from all you seasoned and rugged, industrial-strength, winter weather BFRs) and my feet weren't quick to warm up. It took about a mile in to lose the stinging sensation in my feet. I decided to take a route that had more cement as opposed to the normal asphalt I'm used to running on. I thought this would equal less stinging. Apparently not.

I ran about 3 miles completely barefoot. I'm not sure what was happening today. My fe…

Rockin' Out

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So its about 1 o'clock am on Friday night and I'm walking through our neighborhood in full 80s glam rock attire. I was all headbanged out, my buzz was wearing off and I was looking forward to barefooting it back home. My friend's birthday party was an 80s glam rock themed costume party. I wore heels to the party, which by the way, KILLED my feet, but completed the look so I sucked it up. Upon leaving the party, I was about a half a mile away from home and I was seriously thinking "Hmmmm. Maybe I can get a much needed barefoot run in." Nearly the entire Rocklin police department lives in our part of suburbia so I usually don't feel too threatened walking or jogging around after hours in my neck of the woods. My big hair was weapon enough to ward off any mugger and the weighted, oversized bag full of a half gallon of cranberry juice and a bottle of vodka (half full) would come in handy if I needed it. But the bag was too heavy for a jog and a good walk bare…

DAYS 16 & 17 - Speaking of Barefoot Running...

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So I ran in my VFFs yesterday.The ground was wet and covered in puddles. A stranger ran past me on the bike trail and yelled out "How do you like 'em?" as he's pointing at my feet. I literally have less than three seconds to respond while he runs past. How do I explain that I don't wear the VFFs unless I have to, they're not for everybody, if you're transitioning to something like a minimal shoe you will want to do your research, and they require a lot of patience and a serious introduction to some barefoot running. A little long-winded for a three second answer if you ask me. So I answer him. "Love them as long as I know how to run in them!" What kind of crap answer is that? But, short answer aside, I hate the fact that my quick " I love them!" could be encouraging the regular Joe Schmo to buy the minimal shoes without research or knowledge whatsoever of what he might be getting himself into.

That being said, I finally had a chance to …

Barefoot Running and Relays

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I'm in that rare fleeting space where I've caught up with enough sleep to be in a completely functional and conscious state.That will change in the weeks to come when my calendar becomes a living, breathing entity. I've been thinking a lot lately. About schedules, sleep, life, and running. I just haven't had the time to run as much as I would like. And now that the crap weather is engulfing my barefoot running opportunities I could whip out my VFFs but what I really want to do is run barefoot. < sigh >

At any rate, I was happy to see barefoot running given some credibility in the news lately. Yup. I'm part of that group of crazies (the Barefoot Runners Society), but now that Katie Couric has given us the wink-wink maybe people won't be so disturbed by my naked feet. I can only hope.

I've been toying with the idea of doing the Ragnar Relay in September 2011. Thanks to Jen at Lips, Hips and Asphalt I've been inspired to look seriously into this. The 2…

DAY 15 - Barefoot Masochism

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I ran at sunset last night.Perfect weather and my longest barefoot run so far at 3.91 miles. Did another mile in my VFFs once it got dark and to make sure I didn't overdo it. The run was a success, albeit a bit tortuous.

I picked a new route just for giggles. The newly-laid-looks-smooth-but-oh-hell-its-not! road route. I learned that newly paved roads look nice, but if you don't have impeccable form that shit will slice your feet up. Well at least that's what it felt like. My plan? To tough it out to keep my form consistent. You see, I'm trying to fix a strange habit I have of curling my toes when running. I often end up with these freaky blood blisters that wrap around the top of my middle toe. Just weird. I guess there's such a thing as relaxing too much when you run barefoot. To correct this, I have to think hard. So hard you can probably hear the cogs and wheels squeeking in my head. I literally have to flex my toes to keep them from getting in the way of my lan…

DAY 14 - Down and Dirty Minimalist Style

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"Get down in that mud, NOW! You paid for this!"That's what one of the military race officials screamed at me as I faced my first mud obstacle. I paid for it. And I loved it. I loved every last muddy minute of it. Not only was the Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run (on Oct. 31, 2010) one of the largest races I've raced in, it was one of the most well organized. It was also my very first 5k in my VFFs. I was worried that the obstacles and trails would be too tough for a minimal shoe, but discovered that my shoes were the perfect match for this race.

It was a very early morning start - we had to be at the venue (Folsom Lake) by 7:30am. The traffic was a bit frustrating, but moved quicker than expected. There was also a bit of a hike from the parking lot to the race start. A good, flat warm-up, I suppose. It was kind of chilly. The sunrise on the lake was absolutely magical and made me appreciate the break in the weather that I didn't think we would get. I was expecting r…

DAY 13 - Dirty MILFFs and Mud Runs

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I highly recommend a happy hour hot tub therapy session for any embedded objects that are as elusive as mine was.After about three vodka and lemonades and some chill time with my girlfriends in a 100 degree hot tub I was amazed to find that the invisible thorn/glass/thingy is gone. This made my 5.3 mile run today all the more enjoyable since I had some major work to do in fixing my form. I've been struggling with correct form in my VFFs and today I borrowed some more ideas from my friends at Barefoot Runner's Society to fix my form and guess what? It totally worked. Someone posted a thread on cadence and so I tried to pay attention to my turnover. I still can't seem to find any music to match the 180 beats per minute minimum that would help me, but apparently my 170 bpm is acceptable. I also concentrated on "peddling" my feet like a bicycle so I ensured that I picked them up properly. Seemed to work. Imagine me wiping the sweat from my brow. I had no knee pain or…

The Hazards of Barefoot Running

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As it turns out, the hazards of barefoot running aren't as bad as you might think. OK. So stepping on a four-pronged goathead may be a little less than ideal, but after running barefoot for close to two months now, stepping on sharp and pointy stuff hasn't been much of an issue. That being said, I have, however, discovered my first mysteriously elusive embedded object. You're probably wondering, embedded? I know. Its wrong. Things just shouldn't be embedding themselves in my foot for me to find them days later. I should feel them jab me and pull it out right away. I guess this is both an advantage and disadvantage to barefoot running. The soles of my feet are getting thicker so I may not feel things poke me and thus may stupidly walk, or even run on them, for days before even realizing that there's something sharp and jabby lodged into my trotters.

So I found this "thing" today right below my big toe on the ball of my foot. It was a little swollen and sore…

DAY 12 - Risking Dishpan Feet

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Can I just trade my left leg in for a new one?I think its a bit defective. It just doesn't seem to do what I want it to do. Funny thing too, since I'm left handed, you would think that I would be coordinated on that side of my body.

Ran another long barefoot/minimal run today, YAY! 5.43 miles again. Its was less than mojo though and I attribute that to running in my VFFs. Don't get me wrong... I like my VFFs so far (at least better than my old shoe blocks), but my form is just not the same in them as when I'm running completely barefoot. I wouldn't have worn them in the first place if it weren't for the wet weather, but I sucked it up and did it to avoid the dishpan feet I've heard about.

The first mile was...meh at best. Then it degenerated into knee pain and knot monsters in my left leg. WTF? Why just my left leg? My right leg needs to have a serious talking to my left leg since it seems to know how to run. So I paid attention. Seems like when my left leg l…

DAY 11 - Barefoot Running Breathrough 5.43 miles!

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I could totally scream like a girl!Ok. I know what you're thinking. But, Krista. You are a girl. Well, I'm not the kind of girl that screams all high and screechy when something exciting happens. Anyone who has teenage daughters will know exactly what I'm talking about. No. I'm a little more... simmered down. A simple "Awwwwwyeah." will suffice. Screeching is like nails on the chalkboard for me. But today, I could totally screech in that giddy, teenage high pitched kind of a way. Why? You ask. Because I finally ran my long run, completely sans my old motion control blocks of shoes. 5.43 miles. Beautiful. I did it. 3.14 miles of that was completely barefoot and the rest was in my VFFs. I think I probably could have gone further completely barefoot, but I didn't want to push it. It felt so good.

This morning was much cooler than most. The ground was a bit chilled. Starting out barefoot, I immediately felt pins and needles in the bottoms of my feet. Every lit…

DAY 10 - Running Out of State

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Hey Toto, we're not in California anymore. At least that was the case about a week ago when we were in Bend, Oregon visiting family. Getting off the grid for a bit, we left our sweaty Indian Summer down here and headed towards the northern chilled air. I managed to squeeze in a run and a small pocket of explore time between a wedding and a somewhat debilitating cold virus. 

Bend is a pretty cool place. There's public art installations at a few chosen roundabouts downtown... a school of metalwork fish, a super enormous flower made completely out of kayaks, a single funky yellow bird, which, according to my husband, marked the mountain bike trails as well. The Deschutes River was the picture perfect backdrop to a pretty lively downtown. Our first stop in town? The Deschutes Brewery. Had myself a tall pint of the Lug Nut. Awwwwwyeah. After 10 hours of driving, that one would definitely qualify for the tastiest brew award.

Sunday was my day to get out and run. I started down by the …

DAY 9 - Odd Looks

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I know I'm running longer runs now because I'm starting to run into the people who give me dirty looks. I guess I never thought of barefoot running as something that would warrant somewhat nasty looks. These are some serious looks of disapproval, people. WTF? Are people offended that my feet are naked? Seriously? Or are they feeling sorry for me because they think I've lost my marbles? Or maybe they're jealous because they're not tough enough to try it. Whatever it is, I find it slightly amusing that other people are so affected with what I'm doing. A total stranger that just passes them on the bike trail. To me that's weird.

That being said, I'm going to be completely honest here. Before I considered barefoot running, I didn't think "those"people were stupid, or crazies (er... well, I may have thought they were a little crazy). Actually, the thought I had about barefoot running was that it was the "extreme" version of running. Yo…

DAY 8 - Mojo Fi-yah!

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The run I had today was nothing short of mojo. I was able to run 2.12 miles barefoot and then complete another 1.87 miles in my VFFs. I was teetering on the edge of disaster by increasing my mileage more than the recommended amount, but I had no lingering pain issues and my form felt strong so I threw caution to the wind and enjoyed every little step of it. 

That is until I stepped on a goathead. 

If you don't know what these little nasties are they will make you cry just looking at it. They are four-pronged spiny little mofos and they are elusive! You'll never see them on the ground but you'll feel it in your foot. The first one got stuck in my heel but didn't go in very far. I caught the second one around the edge of my pinky toe. Luckily, my feet have been toughened up by the asphalt I've been accustomed to running on so the pain wasn't so bad. Another rite of passage I suppose.

All in all, it was a great run. My left calf started to pipe up within the last ten…

VFF KSO Modification for Webbed Toes

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There's something seriously wrong about cutting up a brand new pair of Vibrams. But... you gotta do what you gotta do.This project was a little nerve twinging, but it totally worked. Whew! My webbed toes are happy, little, freaky toes now.

I posted my dilemma over at Barefoot Runner's Society and they hooked me up with a helpful link (apparently I'm not the only one with these odd appendages.) Someone else had modified their VFFs and so I felt much more confident about making my own modifications. I documented my process in steps with pictures here below.

I consider myself to be a fairly adept seamstress, but VFFs are not your normal "seamed" shoe nor are they easy to manipulate and turn inside out. Well, I couldn't turn mine inside out at all. Which led me to my first realization: This thing is not going to be pretty when its done. So I embraced the ugly and picked a polyester thread that could be easily seen in the photos and is the same pretty gold color of …

DAY 7 - Turning Point

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I really felt like I turned a corner today. Finally. I'm sure I have further to go, but I felt like my run today was the best barefoot run I've had since beginning my journey just four weeks ago. It was also the longest at 1.9 miles. No hip pain. No calf pain. No blisters. Just a steady, decent run. Awwwwwwyeah.

Tried to run shodded after barefooting, but just running in place with my running shoes I felt my hip starting to act up so I threw off my blocks and decided to take my VFFs for a test drive. The left was good, but I had to squeeze two toes into one toe hole in the right foot to make it bearable. Looks like I will be doing some modifications this weekend.

After trying out my VFFs, I'm glad I transitioned sans the minimalist shoes in the beginning. There's a lot of feedback that I get from running barefoot that I don't feel in the minimalist shoes. I find that I can be heavy footed in the VFFs and really have to focus on running lightly and lifting my legs. I …