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Steady Slow and Slow

February 24, 2011

Come backs are really tough. I have been trying to get past the 45 minuet mark and progress is slow. I just try to run and focus on light steps and having fun. Problem being is some days I allow myself to stop and I think I may need to push just a little harder. I have been getting quite good with form and I will keep progressing. Form not distance and the rewards will come. I have been only in Five Fingers and they feel great . Have fun out there. Jay

Back Into Full Swing

February 16, 2011

Coming off this layoff has been tough. Why one would ever walk away from being in peak condition is a mystery. It starts with missing a day here and there and before you know it your out of shape and blah!

I ran in the Tom Roger’s Invitational this last weekend and it was cold and pouring down rain. I Ran in flats on crushed gravel and I felt O.K. I feel slow and bit pissed off that I am not what I used to be. I have been training mostly in the Five Fingers KSO’s and I am focused on form rather than speed. In hind sight I think changing your running style might be best achieved when one is out of shape and starting over again. I have not had to fight feeling like I am slowing down by changing my gait. I am slow right now so no biggie, I can focus on proper form and maybe this is a blessing in disguise.

So that is the tip for you go get fat and out of shape, eat tons of pastries and pizza. When you can’t make a lap around the block without being out of breath then make the switch from shoes. You will be slow and this is exactly what a guy like me needed. The problem that cannon balled me in the past was over exuberance and let me tell you you don’t have to worry about it when your out of shape. We runners are funny people because we struggle with ego. Yeah, thats right EGO…we seem to want people to know how many miles, how fast, and what a PR’s are. Don’t believe me? Try this little test, run for a year and never mention to a soul how far, how fast, or what event is next. Run for fun not for fame.

I am loving the Five Fingers right now and I am not too sure how long or how far I am running right now. I run until I am not having fun anymore then I stop. I have been enjoying sprints mingled in with my runs and it is fun to fly along. I will stay focused on form and fun and we will see where that leads. I’ve been down the other road before and  it will be quite interesting to see where this leads. Take care, Jay.

Has It Really Been a Year????

February 6, 2011

At first I focus on the title as a question of time, then a question of accomplishments. The time has flown by and my fitness level has had a steady decline the whole year. My career has blossomed and being a parent has been great. A look in the mirror has me seeing changes I don’t like and getting back into my active lifestyle has been a struggle. Never give up the physical activity for a career no amount of money is worth the sacrifice and getting back to where I left off seems like a long road. My feet would not take a two mile run outside right now so I am training in some flats. the weather is wet and cold here so I have learned that short little runs barefoot will be the key. How far could a guy slip? Well, I am now just getting comfortable with the 5k distance with shoes right now. I have been circuit training in the gym and starting to get back into the swing of it. I am going to be using the Five Fingers for a while and I am happy with that. I like to take things to the extreme and overdue it so,  I will be working to go slow and be patient with the progress. I used to see this as a failure when I did or did not do things a certain way as others would do. This time through I will do what feels good and puts a smile on my face. Tending to blisters or nagging injuries make me crazy and that is what my old training habits led to. Life is a practice and I have learned valuable things in my time off this time will be different (I hope!).

I had a fellow barefooter stop by Toyota of Bellevue out of the blue after reading my blog and it was perfect timing to get me off my butt and update. Thanks George for the visit and the reminder that being barefoot is just good no matter what. Walking, lounging, running, getting asked to leave certain places, life is just good barefoot. Take care.

What happened to Barefoot Jay???

January 30, 2010

Howdy all,

I have been on one of the biggest adventures life could throw at a man. Not climbing Everest or running barefoot around the globe…..parenting!  Yup that’s the adventure and if you are a parent you will understand and if your not, well, you may think you understand. Let me tell you life can grab you by the feet and shake you upside down twirl you around and leave you dizzy for days and that would be a good starting point for a new parent. Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining one bit because I love my new son with every drop of energy I have and that leaves little for training and writing about it right now.

My runs have been on the light side lately and that’s ok for the barefoot running because running bare in this cold wet stuff it just kinda sucks. I have been using either flats or five fingers when out and I have found a huge change in my running form. Good change from where I was when this whole thing started. Barefoot has been a great teacher and I will be doing some indoor barefoot soon. I have been skiing as much as allows and my friends ask if I do that barefoot too. No, not yet but you can never rule things out!  With the sleepless nights and the  struggle to develop a balance during these times I take what I can get and keep in mind life is what it is and having fun is the number one goal. The road will never be the same and neither will I and accepting that is a challenge. Putting some of my activities second has been difficult while the decision is quite easy. I wait patiently for the day when I share all this with my son, barefoot!

I welcome any calls about barefoot running as I have much to pass along to others who seek this style of training. You can find me at Michael’s Toyota of Bellevue where I work as a sales consultant my cell is 425-283-9227.  I can’t sell cars barefoot the management just can’t wrap their mind around the whole idea at this point!  Bare soles feed the soul and I look forward to seeing yours soon.  Jay

Coming Back

August 15, 2009

Kenpo X 005

Kempo X Workout barefoot of course

It has been way too long since my last post. I have many excuses as to why I took my leave of absence, but, the truth is I find it difficult to stay focused. I enjoy the newness of challenges and projects and when the fun starts to fade I tend to move on. Lots of things have changed and I will attempt to catch up with this post and keep the updates coming.

With all the changes I still am barefoot almost 98% of time. I have had some struggles with sticking to the barefoot way of life at times and I attribute that to the long learning curve. I have had moments when I have thought about going back to shoes and from time to time I will run in my minimal shoes and I find it to be nice. Running barefoot in the Seattle area can be a challenge. There is no shortage of sharp debris on the ground and there are times I get fed up with stepping on stuff. When I started this journey I thought I would just step on all of this stuff and over time become immune to some of the harsh sensations. I have come a long, long way from my blistering start eight months ago and I am continually amazed of the benefits being barefoot. I do wonder if I will ever get used to the sharp single rocks that patiently await my foot arrival. This is the one area of bare footing that I do grow tired of. There are days when I just want to run and not feel all of the sharps. I can avoid them for the most part by running in certain locations and that defeats my long term goal of running anywhere barefoot. I am realizing the achievement of that goal and I believe I can handle any surface that comes my way. It may not be pretty, pain free, or fast but I can get from point to point if needed. I have been running less lately and walking long distances. When I started I could not go three miles walking barefoot and today I could walk into double digits with no problem. The progress is there and quite remarkable if I take the time to realize it. I am not a big fan of being patient with progress. It fails to enter my mind that I have been in shoes for over 40 years. I thought this would happen quickly like a month or two. It takes some time to reverse all of the negative impacts that shoes have on our bodies and I would say after 40 years of shoes my progress is good.

My feet have changed without me knowing it. The first notable difference is the size of my feet. I knew that my feet would spread out a bit but I had no idea how much until Patti and I were preparing for a rock climbing trip into Oregon. I have about 5 pairs of rock climbing shoes for different conditions. When I was putting together our gear I thought I had better try them on to see how they felt. All of my rock shoes used to fit perfectly except one pair that was always too big which I used with thick socks for winter rock climbing. You guessed it; I now only have one pair of rock shoes and four pair that are so tight I could not climb with them. This is just a small example as all of my footwear seems to be uncomfortable. When I do wear footwear my feet are not at home and they beg to be released from their confinement. Once you get used to walking around as you should structured footwear does not feel right and my knees feel like they are suffering from misalignment. The only footwear that does not affect me is my very minimal running flats.

All of my P90X workouts are barefoot. At first it was a little tough and my weak ankle nagged me with some of the high impact exercise. Being barefoot has had a very positive impact or should I say less impact. What I mean is P90X has Plyometrics (jump training), Kenpo X (martial arts kick boxing), Yoga X, as well as, high intensity weight training that is a six day a week training schedule for 90 days. High impact exercise has the ability to injure easily and that is why low impact exercise became so popular. High impact develops explosive strength and I believe it is very important to any person or athlete. The catch is the impact can be damaging or hard on joints, ligaments, and tendons. This is where barefoot has provided so many benefits for me. When I wore footwear to cushion my landings I experienced more impact translated as joint pain. Since training barefoot I have increased ankle strength and lowered my impact during high impact training. My feet tell me how to land softly and my progress is measurable with the absence of joint pain. Another notable benefit is my balance as evidenced in my yoga practice. I have noticed a huge improvement in all of my balance poses and my strength has increased as well.

Being barefoot is the best way to go for all human beings without question. I believe there are times when footwear is in order and I don’t shy away from protecting my feet when I am doing something extreme that will cause me injury. I find it to be fun most of the time and when I don’t I have to remember the benefits far outweigh the minor inconveniences that I experience. Over the next couple of weeks I will attempt to update this blog with some of the wild experiences this summer and there has been many. Check back soon, Jay.

Still Running Barefoot and Free

April 26, 2009

spring-fling

There are times when life really gets busy and one of the first things to go is the time I spend writing my blog. I have gone from lots of time on my hands to very little. I started learning a new trade recently and it has been a great challenge. This has pushed my workouts to very early mornings and squeezing in my runs in the evenings.

My feet and form are continuing to improve and the surfaces that I run on that used to give me some discomfort have become trivial. My right ankle has been doing pretty well, but the ligament is still tight and can be a bit sore after my runs. I have been keeping the mileage down to prevent overtraining the ankle. I am rethinking this whole summer as a strengthening time putting the marathon goal off for a little while. I am enjoying running and when I need a pick up a run always does the trick.

I was running to a meeting on Thursday and when I passed the local tavern where there were a few people outside having a refreshing cigarette. I could hear the comments and the one that stood out was the guy that said, and they say I’m crazy! I guess society views a barefoot runner as crazy and smoking a cigarette and boozing it up as sane behavior. I admit it I am crazy, crazy for the fun stuff in life and feeling good.

After a long work week with P90X workouts and running I finished off with a backcountry ski tour with my wife Patti and her friend Erika. The weather was good and the snow was nice as well. I felt like I could run up the hill and despite the nasty cold I am battling I feel like I am in really good condition. Sunday will be just a sit around and rest day since I have been going non-stop for a couple of weeks. I imagine that my posts will be limited in the weeks to come and I will miss writing them. Life is sweet, a gift that I unwrap everyday continually surprised with what’s inside. Live large, fast and free!

Barefoot in Seattle

April 9, 2009

barefoot-on-alki-4-9-09-001a

I’ve been slacking on the blog this week. I have been running and skiing all week and after working 11 hours today I felt like a run on Alki would help me relax. The weather held out and while the temp was not that warm it was quite nice for early spring.

I remember the last time I ran out here my ankle was really bothering me. I would say that I’m about 85% and I really don’t worry about the bottoms of my feet anymore. I have more confidence now and my body is more relaxed and my progression is measurable.

I started off and I usually take a little bit to get into the groove. Tonight was not the case, I was never really able to find the groove. My pace was fast, my mind was wandering, and my feet never really felt good. When I stopped to look I thought I might find blisters, but everything was looking just fine. I suppose it could have been the cold temperature combined with the fast pace that contributed to the discomfort. It was still a fun run and the lengthy sprint at the end was a great feeling. I love the floating, gliding along with hardly a sound, pure joy. If I could run that fast all the time…well not today, but it is possible with time and training. Something to shoot for in the years to come.

The words of the day: When you hit the wall and think that things may never get better. Stop, pick yourself up, make it through the day, and never give up no matter what you think. Nothing ever stays the same except the man who quits.

Have fun!

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