Friday, December 23, 2011

My 2012 Race Wish List - so far

I've come down with a terrible case of the F-its at work today so....

Here's my wish list for races in 2012.  As you can see, I'm looking to get into the Ultra scene this year.  My family thinks I'm nuts but I'm really hoping my wife will be supportive as long as I don't try to go on a 6-8hr run every weekend.  That would be way too much to ask with a 6yr old and 2yr old running rampant around the house.  I'm sure I'll have to pare this down a bit.  Hopefully I can add some other local 5K/10K stuff that we can run as a family.

3/18 TARC Spring Thaw 6 Hour – Harold R. Rafton Reservation, Andover, MA 
This would be my first Ultra attempt.

3/31 32nd Annual Boston Tune-Up 15K - 9.3 miles, Upton, MA
This is the first race I ever did and it has a special place in my heart.  And it's 4min from my house. I may volunteer for this one instead of running as this is my local club.

4/15 Boston Marathon – Not running it but volunteering at a water station.

4/28 TARC Spring Classic – Weston, MA (Registration opens 1/1 here )
I doubt I'll make this one but it might be cool.

5/12 Wapack and Back – Ashburnham, MA (Registration opens in Q112 here )
I missed this last year and it should be fun.  22mi over a bunch of peaks!

May 26-27th, 2012 Pineland Farms 50k New Gloucester, ME
This is #1 on my wish list.  I've heard from tons of people that this is a hell of a party!  I can't pass up a chance to meet some of my facebook friends at this one.

Somewhere in here will also be a Road Half marathon, I think.  My friend Amy will hopefully be healthy enough to try her first and I want to be there for the fun!

Cheers and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Injury update: First post with Blogsy

Back on December 4th, I did a monster faceplate during a lunch run.  The cause was toe meets railroad track.  In this case, I'm lucky I was wearing shoes as my Vivobarefoot Evo's absorbed the impact of the toe on steel.  My elbow and ribs did not fare so well.  The result was a fracture of the radial tip.  That's one of the bones in your forearm and the part I broke was near the elbow. Basically the left bone in the left most image below.  

The doctor told me to take it easy on it and work on getting my range of motion back.  He did not splint it or even recommend immobilizing it.  Unfortunate, he also said no running. 
Fast forward 2 weeks.

This is my X-ray from today.  The radial tip has not moved any further and I have essentially full range of motion. This mean I will not need surgery. Its not healed so I'm still not allow to do anything stupid or lift anything heavy. Try to explain that to my 2 year old daughter. I can start running again on 26 Dec and pretty much will be unrestricted in time for the Super Bowl. Yeah!
This post isn't really about anything in particular but I needed fodder to try out Blogsy for the iPad. It's not all that bad and without a doubt the best blogging app I've tried on the iPad. Thanks to and all my other super blogger friends for the recommendations.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

20% off Gift Cards at Running Warehouse

Even if they don't have much in the way of minimal footwear, they have decent gear. Grab some gift cards and then order yourself a present at 20% off.

Running Warehouse:

'via Blog this'

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A new reason to go minimal! Never before published

OK...  This is a little bit of an unconventional benefit but I discovered it today.

It's fall here in New England and I was out blowing leaves in my yard wearing my Vivobarefoot EVO II's.

I also have a dog.  Jasper leaves presents that are well camouflaged in the leaf litter so you inevitably step in poo while doing the fall cleanup.

The EVO's I was wearing have great ground feel and very minor treads.  This ground feels allows proprioception which is what allows you to react to irregularities like stones and loose ground while running.

Dog poo feels just like uneven ground.  I found myself instinctively unweighting the unfortunate foot when I would step in it.  When you combine this with almost flat EVO tread, I was almost poo invincible!  Most of the poo just stayed on the ground with an EVO tread print on it rather than attach to my shoe.

This is definitely another case where minimal shoes beat out barefoot by a mile!


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fun Run with the Robillards and Merrell

Saturday, October 29 was a terrific day. Well, the morning was at least since New England got hit with a freak storm that afternoon and as of 4Nov, there are still people without power.

Anyway, Merrell and City Sports of Wellesley, MA were kind enough to host a run and clinic with Jason Robillard. Some of you may have heard of him before or read his posts on Barefoot Running University. Heck, most of you are probably already facebook friends with him since he is basically friends with the entire world. Jason and his wife, Shelly, are traveling the country to teach good running form. They are doing it with their 3 kids (ages 2, 5, and 7) and their neice in a travel trailer. You can follow their shenanigans at

The morning started out in the parking lot where about 30 or so people had gathered. Merrell had demo pairs of their barefoot shoes for folks to try but I was already sporting my well worn pair of Trail Gloves. It was pretty darn cold and most of us were itching to get moving. I got to chat with Jason a bit before the event and he's a terrific guy. I'm a complete geek when it comes to running shoes, gear, gatgets, form, whatever and Jason is no different (geek is a compliment in this case, of course.) I know I could have talked about this stuff forever.
Geeking out about shoes and running.  Photo courtesy of

Jason led the group in a Bareform Technique clinic. Bareform is pretty simple and should be very helpful to anyone who is interested in learning a more natural way to run. I won't try to regurgitate the lesson but I will link here if you are interested in learning more.

After the lesson, everyone was encouraged to put their new found knowledge to the test with a 5k run through the parklands of Wellesley. I got to run for a bit with Shelly and we chatted about kids (I have 2 of similar ages), running, ultras, and traveling around the country in a trailer. It was really great to shoot the breeze while running with her. The social side of running is the best part. Shelly had just run Bimbler's Bluff 50k and said it was a great time. I am definitely going to set my sights on that one for next year.  With all of the great company, the 5K went by too fast.

Most people were wearing shoes for the run since it was chilly. My friends Matt and Ivan are hardcore and went naked footed. Represent!

After the run, we went into the store for coffee and more socializing. Merrell raffled of 5 pairs of their shoes which was awesome. I didn't win. :-( Jason gave everyone a copy of his Barefoot Running Book and autographed them all. I highly recommend this book if you are interested at all in the whole barefoot/minimal thing. Worth the read. I'll even let you borrow my copy as long as you promise to give it back.
Hanging with Jason after the run

Somewhat fuzzy pic of Shelly and I
All in all it was a terrific day and I'm really glad I went. I'm really looking forward to hooking up with Jason and Shelly again. Hopefully, I can make it to Pineland or NYCBarefootRun next year.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Barefoot Winter Survival : Treadmill Tips

It's November in New England and the days are getting shorter and cooler. It is about the time of year that my barefoot running would start to tail off. I'm not that hardcore about it and I prefer to be comfortable in the cold so winter equals minimal shoes when outside.

Last year was my first winter as a minimal/barefoot runner and I dabbled a little on the treadmill through the dark months. I'm pretty convinced that it helped me really keep my form and foot condition in tact. I would say I did about 30% of my treadmill time without shoes last year.

This year, I have much better form and slightly tougher feet and I don't see myself wearing shoes at all this winter while on the dreadmill. I've definitely learned one or two tricks that have helped me immensely.

1. Buy your own treadmill and put it in front of a TV or iPad. I haven't heard of many gyms that allow you to be truly barefoot on their equipment and I really am not a fan of gyms anyway. We've had a treadmill at Casa Durtyfeets for about 10 years. It cost about $800 at Sears and has thousands of miles on it from winter running. It doesn't owe me a dime. Having my own treadmill also lowers the bar a ton for the spur of the moment winter evening runs. It's not the greatest but it's better than sitting on my butt.

2. Pawback! This is a slight alteration of your stride so that you start pulling your foot back slightly before touchdown so that it is moving at about the same speed as the belt. Good trick to reduce foot to belt friction which can be problematic. Jason wrote a good post on it over at BRU last year. You should definitely check it out.

Here's the money advice.

3. GET FAN AND BLOW IT DIRECTLY ON THE BELT! The belt gets pretty damn hot on my treadmill. Until I learned the fan trick, I used to have to move around to different spots to allow areas to cool down like Jason suggests in #2. I ended up with slight burns a few times. Nothing terrible but it was uncomfortable enough to make me stop. I fixed all that by getting a big box fan and putting it at the end of the belt. Problem solved. The belt stays plenty cool enough.

So there you have it. Winter sucks for runners and really sucks for barefoot runners but you don't have to let it get you down. Just take off your shoeshine up a good movie on Netflix and jump on the treadmill.

- Cheers!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vivobarefoot Sale 30% off

For those who are lamenting the price of Vivobarefoot shoes, do what I did.  Wait for the sales.
30% off until 1Nov.  Pick up your pair of Ra now.

Use the code VBHALLOWEEN30


Make sure you don't end up terrified this Halloween. Don't miss out on our Halloween sale, where everything is 30% off when using the code VBHALLOWEEN30 at checkout.  

Take your style to the streets and look dapper in our Dalston or simply stock up on your favorites, like our best-selling Evo. Try out our newest addition, the Neo Trail, which is the perfect complement for enjoying the outdoor fall weather off road.   

The styles may differ, but all VIVOBAREFOOT shoes have an ultra-thin, puncture-resistant sole for maximum proprioception with protection for the best possible barefoot experience. 

This offer is only available October 27th - November 1st on

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fun Run in the Trails! | City Sports Blog

Woohooo! I'm very excited to meet Jason Robillard and go for a run with the crew. I just hope I can get permission from the family. :-)

29 October in Wellesley!

Fun Run in the Trails! | City Sports Blog:

'via Blog this'

Monday, October 17, 2011

Barefoot Newport Half Marathon Race Report

Newport Half Marathon 16Oct11

This was my first barefoot half marathon and my second half marathon all together.  The course views were spectacular with views of Rhode Island Sound from Brenton Point Park.
Looking out towards Jamestown from Ocean Drive

The course meandered through the Newport Mansion district as well if you wanted to do some house-hunting.

The weather was absolutely perfect and the half marathon course had a nice cool tailwind for much of the race.
This did not suck.

I was pacing for a friend who was running the full marathon so we had a good time chatting it up and having fun with the spectators and other runners.  I absolutely love getting hi-fives from kids.  It makes your day.

My friend Bethany on her first full marathon

 It was also pretty fun to thank the mansion bus-tour people as if they were spectators as they waited to cross the street.  Many of the folks were not really sure what to do when some sweaty guy wearing nothing but  shorts, a do rag, and funny leg warmers comes by and thanks them for coming out to cheer.

I have to admit that the road surface wasn't particularly pleasing for me.  The pavement was rough for about 75% of the course.  More seasoned barefooters would probably find this course fine.  It was a bit challenging for me and really made me focus on form.  Unfortunately, after about mile 8, my hip flexors got tired and my form went to crap.  The result was a few blisters but nothing terrible.  Just uncomfortable and no need to go to my bailout shoes

Despite the minor discomfort, I had a huge smile on my face for most of the race.
Shirtless, shoeless, smiling nut job on the course.  

During the race, several folks asked me about barefoot or minimal footwear and I ran for the last mile with another barefooter doing the full marathon.

I will definitely do this race again and maybe even try this as my first full marathon next year.  I will be probably wearing huaraches or other minimal shoes, though.

My own personal cheering section visiting me in the beer garden with my celebratory 'Gansett tall boy


ASIDE:  I'm definitely noticing more interest from "normal runners" in the whole barefoot and minimal thing.  It was probably a 70/30 split of people striking up a conversation and asking genuine questions about my experience vs. the usual under the breath comment about how "that guy is nuts."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Barefoot in a half marathon???

Hello! It's been a while. Life has really interrupted this bloggin thing and I'm still looking for my muse. Anyhow........ I'm running in the Newport Half Marathon tomorrow and I'm thinking of trying my first barefoot half. My longest barefoot was a 10k earlier this summer. It was great. The paved trail was fine on my feet. I'm a little worried about my ability to push that to 13.1 though. I'm not really sure what the roads are like either. At this point, I'm ganging to say f-it and chuck the shoes. I'll carry my huaraches in case my form goes to hell. Here goes nothing! Cheers!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Turning Japanese: Beginner Barefoot Tips on Cadence

Take a look at normal humans (not elites or track stars) at any 5K race and you will generally see slow foot turnover (cadence) and very long strides.  I used to be that guy.  I thought I was going faster by taking longer strides.  My knees would ache after a race or hard training runs.

After reading up on barefoot running, I learned about the 180+ Cadence.  This basically means that your feet should hit the ground 180 times/minute.  That is 90 times/minute for each foot.  While you can use a metronome to  get a sense for the beat, I prefer to use Podrunner podcast mixes to calilbrate myself. DJ SteveBoy mixes 60-90 minutes of electronic music at a consistent beats per minute (BPM) and publishes that cadence it in the title of each podcast.  Pick any one that is 180 or more BPM or faster and drop your foot every time he drops the beat.  
If I don't feel like using headphone, I frequently sing Turning Japanese - by The Vapors in my head or out loud if the moment strikes me.  

It's pretty good for keeping that cadence and it satisfies my inner 80s high school student.  I can't take credit for idea as I read it somewhere on the interwebs a long time ago.  Please excuse the lack of credit if you happened to be the first to hum this song while running.

If you are like me, the high cadence will be a bit taxing on your aerobic conditioning at first.  Stay with it.  It will get easier and in the not too distant future, you will become more efficient in your running style.

This cadence does a few things.  
  1. Your feet don't have time to stay in an unhealthy impact with the ground because you are picking them up quickly.
  2. It discourages you from "throwing" your foot way out in front of you.  You won't really have enough time to send your foot that far out and you will almost naturally place it underneath you.
Stay tuned for more Beginner barefoot tips and trick here at


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Back in the saddle

It's been a while since I have posted. Between vacation, the heat, and the teething toddler; blogging energy has been in short supply.

Over vacation I was contacted by a college friend who recently started running via Couch to 5K. He's trying to up his miles and has been experiencing knee pain. He asked me for pointers on natural running gait and even tried some barefooting.

I was happy to help. It also crystalized the need for me to write a few posts on my good form tips. I've been obsessively reading great instruction websites for over a year now and I've synthesized something that works pretty well for me.

I'm not a coach or a superhero or an ultramarathoner (someday) or primal. I'm just a regular 40 year old dude who has been happily barefoot and minimal running for a year.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be posting some quickie tips and tricks that have helped and continue to help me while a learn to run naturally.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Incoming Shoes!!! Invisible Shoe 6mm Contact Huarache

Invisible Shoe recently introduced their FeelTrue™ outsole.  I'm pretty excited about this as they are using what appears to be a molded outsole.  This outsole has the tiniest amount of toe spring.  For those not hip to minimal shoe jive, toe spring means the toes curve upward.  Most minimal shoe folks will cringe at toe spring as extreme toe spring interrupts the barefoot feel.  In this case, the tiny toe spring is barely noticeable and seems to perfectly address the user need of big footed-long toed dudes like myself.  To accommodate my finger like toes, my current huaraches are so long in front of the toe knot that they flop or fold over at inopportune times.  
My original huaraches

The tiny toe spring of the Feel True outsole will add what I'm hoping is just enough stiffness to keep the sole close to my toes.

As has been noted by Maple Grove Barefoot Guy in his Invisible Shoe review, Steven and Lena at Invisible Shoe are the model of prompt and polite customer service.  Within 20 minutes of placing my order, I got a personalized note from Lena saying that my shoes had shipped.  Awesome!  It has so far been a true pleasure to do business with Steven and Lena.

I ordered the 6mm Contact Huarache Kit  for my aforementioned finger length toes.

The 6mm choice was based on Steven's recommendation in the Feel True intro video on the site.

I'm really hoping the USPS will have them to me before my vacation because it will be a great opportunity to put some miles on them.  Stay tuned for a review once I get some miles on them.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Huaraches Update

I really love running barefoot. The sensation of your bare feet on cool pavement is awesome.

Cool is the optimal word. At the moment, it is friggin hot around here. It has been approaching 90 deg for each of my lunch runs this week. The resulting asphalt temps make it waaaayyyy too hot for barefoot and the thought of shoes and socks is equally unappealing.

So I decided to give my "invisible shoe" style huaraches another go. I did some Internet research on tying methods and decided to try the "traditional" Tarahumara way.

This was 10x better than my former "slipon" tying experience. I still got a little hot spot in the tender area in the crook of my toe but I think I can remedy that with wider leather laces. And I was hot and tired so my form was crap. I'm also not sold on how floppy my sandals are. I'm thinking of getting a thrift store leather coat or skirt and gluing on a top sheet.

I should probably just bite the bullet and get some Luna Sandals from Barefoot Ted but I will experiment a little first. Besides, my Evo IIs just arrived and if I order more shoes, I will have a fork embedded in my skull.

I think I can learn to love Huaraches and I'm willing to try and make my relationship work.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Faith in the American People

My dad will occasionally forward chain emails.  They are never offensive, to me anyway, and many are quite inspirational.  Quite a few are patriotic and show support for our troops.

A recent email that he sent triggered a familiar response from me.  It is a fairly standard email that portrays our troops and citizens in a great light.

Will you give this to my Daddy?

As a Company, Southwest Airlines is going to support 'Red Fridays.'

Last week I was in Atlanta , Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed One of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.

Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering.

When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and Cheered for, it hit me.. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.

Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal.

Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our Service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said 'hi..'

The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her...

The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.

The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter's name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up.

When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second... Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it..

After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, 'I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.' He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying 'your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.'

The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event.

As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.

We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American.

RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the 'silent majority'. We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers.

Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday - and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that.. Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers.

If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long before the USA is covered in RED.

The first thing a soldier says when asked 'What can we do to make things better for you?' is......We need your support and your prayers.

Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example.

The emotional side of me connects immediately with this email and I tear up.

Unfortunately, I am also a cynic.  My cynical side reads this and thinks it is a made up story that someone is using to, at best, drum up support for the troops or at worst, the original author is just an egomaniac trying to see how many people will wear red on Fridays.

Truth be told, I hate this cynical me.  I'm literally ashamed of these cynical thoughts this when I read emails like this.

I really want to believe this email is genuine.   I really want to believe that the citizens of this great land appreciate those who protect us.  I know I am grateful to every man and woman who has served to keep me and my family safe and free and I attempt to thank our veterans and troops at every chance.

This weekend, my family and I got to watch the oldest 4th of July Parade in the country in Bristol, RI.  Thanks Mom and Dad!
3 Generations of Durtyfeets watching the parade (at right)

One of the parade divisions was for active military.  Each branch was represented.  While the branches passed, many of the spectators were standing and applauding loudly.  Everyone from our group was standing.  It was truly a wonderful site.

Other divisions had veterans groups and police and fire.  The crowd cheered for these divisions as well.
People even cheered for the sailors who were walking back down the parade route to get back to their ship.

It was great!

God bless America!  God bless our troops.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Barefoot Angie Bee: Somnio Nada Review and GIVEAWAY!

Barefoot Angie Bee: Somnio Nada Review and GIVEAWAY!: " Before the Nada's graced my life I had overlooked Somnio since it catered to those who wanted a padded, cushioned, stabilizing running sho..."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Kids love barefoot running

Typing before you today is one happy dad. My son is almost 6 years old and I have been trying to encourage him to go barefoot as much as possible.

Last night, as I was unpacking the car barefoot, M asked me if he could come along barefoot too. Part of the parking lot is gravel so I prepped him that it might feel a little pokey but if he was careful and walked softly, he wouldn't get hurt. He thought it was great.

This morning, asked me if we could go for a barefoot run in the parking lot. I was very happy to oblige.

M and I ran around the smooth asphalt barefoot for about 10minutes or so. M kept commenting about how nice the pavement felt and that it felt cooler than he expected.

HE GETS IT! He had a blast.

I watched him run back and forth a few times envious of how effortless and perfect his barefoot form was.

What great way to start a beautiful day.


Location:Neck Farm Rd,,United States

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Barefoot Running University » Run for Fun: A Running Plan for the Rest of Us

I've been meaning to write about something like this but Jason absolutely nailed it.

I've been running for fun for a while.
If I don't feel like it, I don't go. If I feel good, I just keep on running Forrest Gump Style.

If running is painful, that's OK as long as you are having fun with it and you aren't injured.

For those of you just starting out with C25K or similar plans, use them if it works. My advice is to just go out have fun and run when your body tells you that you can. You will be up to 5K in no time at all. Hell enter a race anyway and walk if you need to but run it with a good friend to share the experience.


Barefoot Running University » Run for Fun: A Running Plan for the Rest of Us

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I really want to love huaraches!

It's finally turning into summer around here.  In New England, that means muggy and mid 80s at the moment and mid 90s soon.

My quick lunch run route is mostly pavement and has very little shade although there are stretches of grass that I can run on.  I've determined that pavement at 85 degrees in the noon sun is just about too much for me to go barefoot for 3 miles.  Unfortunately, the prospect of putting stinky VFFs or socks/Trail Gloves on isn't too appealing either at 85deg.  I have a pair of Vivobarefoot EVO II on order but those will likely not be much cooler than my Trail Gloves.

I really wish there were a well ventilated super minimal shoe option....... whatever can I do?  Wait, what are these huarache things?

My huarache experience is limited to my homemade "invisible shoe" style sandals.  They are made with 4mm Vibram Cherry sheet and 3/16 nylon cord.

I've only logged a handful of miles in them because they are just not comfortable for me.  More than likely, it is my crappy form and not the sandals but they slip under my feet and give me hot spots.  The other unfortunate side effect of the slipping is that the "between the toes string" and "toe knot" rub under my big toe knuckle.  The bottoms of my feet are well conditioned but the tender underside of that part of the toe rubs raw in about a mile.  I've experimented with numerous tying methods and nothing seems to keep them from sliding.

I'm an engineer so I usually like to analyze failures and correct them but I haven't really had the time or desire to tackle this one.  Of course, we had 27 million feet of snow this winter and spring lasted pretty much until last week so I have not really had much motivation.

Now, though, it is getting hot and the pavement is burning the hell out of my bare feet on my lunch runs.

I've been toying with getting a pair of Unshoes Wokova sandals because they have gone with a climbing web design instead of the cord and, according to MGBG's review, they have managed to minimize the toe knot and make a pretty comfy shoe.  I'm optimistic that their use of climbing web will make the toe situation better for me.  I'm also really excited about the Pah Tempe as a casual sandal and I wish Terral at Unshoes godspeed in getting that design down.

For some reason, I just can't pull the trigger because I'm not much of a gambler.  My wife would kill me if I order another pair of shoes (i.e. Wokova for running.)  And..... My wife would kill me AGAIN if I then ordered the Pah Tempe for my casual, minimal, hiking sandal.

Maybe I should just bite the bullet and get the huaraches...... or just give up and have live with sweaty or burnt feet.  Still struggling with this one.


Running and Rambling: Soft Star Moc3 Review

These seem like pretty cool shoes for minimal cover if you are like me and can't get used to the tweener toe string on huaraches.

Running and Rambling: Soft Star Moc3 Review

Barefoot with the Wolves!

I recently ran a nice 10k race on a Wednesday night. It was called Running with the Wolves 10K and it was put on by the Highland City Striders of Marlborough, MA.

The race was an out and back on a nice smooth stretch of the Assabet Rail Trail. Because it was in Marlboro and on a Wednesday night, I was able to convince a few friends to enter it with me.

I also recently joined the New England Barefoot Runners meetup group to meet some new folks. On a lark, I posted this race as a meet up. To my pleasant surprise, a few folks actually RSVPd.

So on Jun 15, I drove to Marlboro and met up with my friends Amy, Checca, and Birdie from college

as well as some new barefoot friends, Jim, Preston, Matt, and Barefoot Todd.

As you have hopefully read already, I have recently completed my first 5K barefoot and was toying with the idea of doing the 10K barefoot. I was a little intimidated by 6.2 miles because of my earlier experiences with 5miles (Read Five Mile Fail.)

Preston and Jim were very encouraging and helped bolster my confidence. Jim offered to run with me and coach me through the 6.2 miles.

Another great surprise was that Amy decided to hang back with me in the slow lane. After the gun went off, Amy and Jim and I started out at a very conservative 10min pace. Amy and I got to catch up on old times and get to know Jim a little.

We kept a nice easy conversational pace until the turn around when Amy decided she was going to speed it up a bit and left Jim and I. I was still opting for the slow barefoot pace at this point but I felt absolutely great.

Sometime around mile 4 or so, I was feeling very comfortable and Jim and I decided to pick up the pace. We just kept going faster until we reeled Amy back in at around mile 5. At that point, Jim and I were working hard at about a 7:30 pace. I was astonished that I could sustain that barefoot and even more astonished when I pushed to just over a 7min pace. As you might imagine, Jim and I weren't talking much at this point. I finished the race at an all out sprint on the Kelleher field and I can honestly say this was as close to a puking finish as I've ever been. On the plus side, my feet felt great.

I wound up with a 58:18 time and not a single blister or hot spot on my feet which was much better than I had hoped for considering how slowly we had started.

I also got to participate in my first barefoot kickline with all my new barefoot friends.


Location:Marlboro, MA

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Review: Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove

Like many others who have been on the barefoot and minimalist journey, I was very excited by all the shoes that were announced last fall.  I was eagerly awaiting the NB Minimus and the Trail Gloves.  Merrell got my hard earned dollars because they released first and I was able to get some good early feedback from shoe review sites that these were good shoes.  It didn't hurt that Jason Robillard, founder of and vagabond, was involved in the development process.  I have great respect for Jason and I think he and I must have similar feet because his reviews are generally spot-on for me. 

On to the "Science"

The Trail gloves are marketed as zero-drop and verified by many others in the blog-o-verse as such.  The soles are very aggressive and you can feel the tread features when walking on hard surfaces.  It is something I notice while walking but quickly disappears when running despite the surface.

For a fairly rugged trail shoe, the Trail Gloves are still pretty flexible.  Are they barefoot flexible?   No way but what did you expect.  They are flexible enough that you can get a "foot massage" when running on rocky trail but they are rigid enough to protect you from the sharp pointy ones.  They also flex well enough that you can grip the trail with your feet on the more technical stuff.  They have really good grip on flat rock too.

My size 12 Trail Gloves fit me just right (I wear a 45 in VFF KSOs for comparison).  I have plenty of room for my wide, but not freakishly wide, feet.  My toes can splay nicely.  They tend to fit snugly in the arch and metatarsal region.  The lacing system and overlay material really hold my feet while running on roads or trails.  Much has been made of the arch on these shoes in other reviews as some people find it too snug and annoying.   I don't really notice this while running.  I do, however, find the tight arch somewhat annoying when I wear the shoe casually.  I'm wearing them now and my right arch is a bit sore.  I have been dealing with some ankle and arch tenderness after hard runs so this is likely not due to the shoe but I can't say for sure. 

FLAIR (Style)
I have the smoke and adventure yellow version and I really like how they can fly under the radar among runners and laymen alike.  These will not get you weird looks like VFFs.  

List price is $110USD on the Merrell site.  This is steep but you can find coupon codes for online footwear retailers to take the sting out.  If you want a rugged trail shoe that is zero-drop, it's a pretty good deal at this price.

When I am not honing my barefoot running skillz, I run in these shoes.  I got them back in February and have logged almost every one of my trail and road miles in Trail Gloves.  I've run in deep snow and torrential rains/mud.  I've raced my first half marathon, a 15K and numerous shorter races so far and they did great.  There is little sign of sole wear which speaks volumes for the vibram sole as my form is generally crappy.  If you are in the market for a rugged trail shoe that will help you running with good form, I would recommend the Merrell Trail Gloves.  Caution:  These are my experiences and I encourage you to read many of the other great reviews out there.

A note on running in the rain, the shoes take FOREVER to dry.  I can't compare this to any other shoes because I've only recently learned the shear joy of running in rain and through the mud and puddles.


Review Criteria:  Since it appears that every blogger needs some type of schtick, I've somewhat uncreatively come up with my 6Fs. Flat, Fit, FLex, Flair, fPrice, Finale. There is no F synonym for price so I have taken the liberty of adding a silent F.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Review: SPIBelt-Small Personal Items Belt

This spring at the Cox Rhode Races expo, I was lucky to find a company called I had seen them online but wasn't really convinced enough to take the gamble.

I need to carry my phone while I run for my wife's peace of mind and because I like to have the iPhone camera available in case I see something awesome on the trail.  When I have shorts with pockets, I'm always freaked out that I will loose the phone along the way. Running clothes are unfortunately not designed with gear bearing in mind.

Enter the SPIBelt, which is short for "Small Personal Items Belt." It is really a well designed tool. It holds my iPhone perfectly snug and does not move or bouce around at all. There is extra room for a gu or keys too. The added bonus is now I have a pocket for when I'm running in my Stillwater Thrifty Kilt too.  Kilt review coming soon!
Glamour shot courtesy of
They clearly are photographers than your humble author

My SPIBelt model is water and sweat resistant so it is made from what looks like a thin neoprene. The pouch zips up to securely hold it's contents. The clipped belt is elastic and adjustable so it fits tightly without bouncing. When I bought mine, I was given small bungees and toggles to hold your race number rather than pin it onto your shorts or shirt.
You can see the SPIBelt holding my
iPhone and race number here.

At $24, it isn't the cheapest solution but it is really well designed and has served me reliably over the past 2 months. I take it on every run.

If you are looking for a small pocket, get yourself a SPIBelt.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Self soothing fun

I'm sitting here helping my lovely daughter RELEARN how to fall asleep. It was not a cakewalk the first time around at 14mos but she only took a few days. after that she was a great sleeper for the most part. Since then, we've had a few colds and ear aches that have required some tender care and snuggling.

About a week or two ago, Amanda, 17mos old, completely fell off the sleep wagon. She began waking at 10-11pm every night screaming. She would also wake sometimes at 2-3am. She has now apparently decided that she can't fall asleep at normal bedtime either.

We've ruled out all the likely causes like ear aches, teething, fever, etc.

It is now time to rely on low technology and my ability to, at least outwardly, turn my heart to stone.

It's, at least, somewhat entertaining this time around because some of the screaming vaguely resembles a long shoreman's vocabulary.

I really need to go for a run!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

FREE eBook!: The Barefoot Running Book eBook Giveaway! - If you are interested in barefoot or natural running, get this book.

Jason Robillard, newly minted gypsy and purveyor of such famous internet sites as Barefoot Running University and Robillard Adventures is offering his popular barefoot running eBook for free download.

Get it while it lasts.

Seriously though, if you are interested in trying barefoot, minimalist, or good form running; get this book, read it, and ask others about their experiences. Most of us are glad to help.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cure for hangover?

Pam was gracious enough to let me go on an annual trip this weekend.

Every year for the last 20years, friends from college have been descending on Martha's Vineyard for a good time. Mostly this means to drink beers and catch up with each other these days.

As is typical, those of us who arrived on Friday went straight to work on the beer supply. We then proceeded to go to a bar to watch the Bruins game. Naturally, more beer.

After the disappointing loss, we were sitting at the house and HBIII (Harold) decides we need a little Dr. McGillicudy for our sorrows.

Long story short: one bottle down and significant hangover on Saturday morning.

There go my grand plans for a long run on the beach. So i says to myself: "Self, might as well start in on the hair of the dog."

Well my buddy Q shows up grabs a beer, hears me lamenting my lost run and says "let's go!" This surprised me since running is fairly new for him. Go Q!

We set off at an easy pace around the ocean road and before I knew it, the hangover had been push way to the side. It was still there but it was sort of scowling at me from afar.

Q and I got to catch up on old times since we only seem to get together about 3times a year. We occasionally stopped to enjoy the view.

We got back to the house after a nice easy 4 miles and did what everyone in our situation would do... Proceed to drink more beer and do stupid things.

Not sure if it was the run or the hair of the dog but somewhere in there, I killed the hangover.

Disclaimer: the stunts and actions portrayed in this blog were performed by trained individuals under no supervision.

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME unless you want to.


The eve of my 10K Barefoot adventure

Life has recently nudged my running and blogging out of the way. Stanley Cup finals (Let's go, Bruins!), tee-ball, my family, my job, yardwork, and summer weekend trips.  All of the above things are a great part of my life and I'm happy they are there, except the yardwork.  It has been hard to even get in a few runs in the dark.

Tomorrow, I am running in Running With The Wolves 10K . I'll be running with great friends from long ago college days and new friends from the interwebs  I am slightly nervous....

You see, this will, hopefully, be my first 10K without shoes. As previously posted, I've done a 5K race barefoot and it was quite nice.

Unfortunately, the one time I tried 5miles, I was less successful. I'm telling myself it was the road conditions that were above my conditioning but this is the source of doubts.

I know I will make it across the finish, though, because I have the great fortune of running with local barefoot legends tomorrow. I recently joined the local barefoot meetup group,, and posted this race for the heck of it. At this point, it looks like there will be 4 barefoot runners (Barefoot Todd, Preston, Jim, and Me) which will be awesome. I'm really looking forward to meeting these folks and sharing my experiences and hearing theirs.

Race report to follow.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Kid's Cancer Buzz-Off

It all started a few months ago when my friend, Greg, sent me a fundraising email asking me to pledge for him to shave his head for Kid's Cancer.  He was doing it for his niece, Quinn, who was diagnosed at age 3weeks with leukemia and has lived her whole life in Children's Hospital since.  She's a fighter and currently in Memphis for t-cell treatment (I think that's the right term.)

Greg and Bethany have been good friends of ours for the last 7 years and their family has always been very kind to the DurtyFeets.  I was about to donate some money when I thought "I can help here too."  After confirming that it was open to all, I signed up.

I was a member of Team "Buzzing for Quinn" in the Kid's Cancer Buzz-Off organized by One Mission.

from the One Mission Website:

One Mission is a childhood cancer foundation dedicated to enhancing the lives of pediatric cancer patients and their families. They are a registered 501 (c) (3) foundation that provides help, hope, care, and support to children and their families touched by pediatric cancer. One Mission funds patient and family support services, cutting-edge cancer research, and programs and services that help children and their families cope with the many physical, emotional and financial challenges associated with this disease.  All of the programs they fund directly benefit children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer, the families who support them, and the medical community who compassionately cares for them.

I have wonderful family, friends, and colleagues who were willing to give to the cause and ask their friends to contribute.  In the end, my donors contributed about $1,200 and our team raised something like $22,000.  I'll update this post with a link to the wrap-up page by One Mission when it is released so check back if you are interested in the final tallies.

This past Sunday, June 5th, was Shave Day!  I was a little nervous on the way there.  I've had really short hair before but I've never been skin on top.  And I was planning to shave bald later that afternoon.

We're on the Jumbotron
The official figures are not out yet but approximately 110 buzzees and their guests descended on Gillette Stadium for the Shave-Off.  They served a nice breakfast for us while we waited for the opening ceremonies.  Not one person there looked like they had any doubts about shaving their heads.  It was a very positive and powerful experience.  Everyone had huge smiles on their faces.

The main organizer, Ashley Haseotes, whose son is a childhood cancer survivor, told a very moving story about the day they had to shave her son's head because the chemo was taking effect.  They asked Kevin and Quinn to come up and talk about her journey too.
Kevin and Quinn telling her story
Once the opening ceremonies were done, our shave groups were called and we each sat at one of 20 chairs where a stylist was ready with the clippers.

Here we go!
 It was pretty quick for me since I didn't have enough hair to donate to Locks for Love.
At least my kids are not terrified of the melon

Sarah, Kevin, Bethany, and Greg.
Not too much of a stretch for guys to do this
but I have to give all the girls huge credit.
You all look beautiful!

Quinn was a trooper all morning

Quinn, Kevin, and Gran
"Thanks, Dad!  You rock!"

Chicks really dig the bald head or maybe I just have adorable kids.
Nah.  It's gotta be the head.
Once everyone was shaved, we took a group photo of 110 bald heads and made our way back out the to world with our new hairdos.  It was definitely weird.

I got home and grabbed a razor and shaved down to skin just to see what it was like.  Sunday afternoon also happened to be my 40th birthday party so I got to do the big reveal to my Mom and Dad.

I think I look pretty good.
Of course, the dome needs a little sun.

As a bonus, the kids and I also got on local TV which is apparently nothing new for them after the Cox Rhode Races but I was thrilled.  WPRI-12 TV Coverage

I want to thank all of the wonderful people who sponsored me for this great cause.  I had a terrific time and we all did a wonderful thing for the kids.  I will definitely do this again next year and I think Matthew might join me.  I especially want to thank Quinn and say a prayer for her speedy and complete recovery.  God Bless and Godspeed, Little one.