Thursday, January 11, 2007

Deer Mr. Moose, is there even such a word?....

I need to tell this story before I forget. It happened last Friday evening, as I was turning into Greenbrook Park off of Clinton Avenue. It was dusk. There were about eight deer grazing next to the Green Brook. They simultaniously raised their heads and looked at me as if to say, "What the heck is a human doing running through here?" One of the does started jogging towards me. It was kinda creepy. I thought she was going to charge me or something, as I was running parallel to the brook, passing the staring animals. I was looking to see if there were any horns, thinking a buck would be more apt to be aggressive, I reasoned.

Well, the doe didn't charge, but she took my line and jogged behind me at about 30 yards or so, and the other deer, all does I think, followed in a line. They followed me for about another 100 yards, then veered off to head towards the park road.

I remembered to tell this story because some people were talking about deer hunting after the run at Doll's tonight. I was saying that I killed two deer with my motor vehicles. Then I told them about the deer following me, and John E. said he was charged by a deer on the towpath. He claims deer can be mean. Deer mean creatures? Hmm. Then he was asking if I ever encountered a moose, meaning with my car. No, I said, but I have when hiking in New Hampshire. I was trying to get close to take a picture while the moose was laying down, chewing cud. When I got within 10 yards, the 8 foot moose stood. That was it - I backed away slowly.

"And if you ever watched Rocky and Bullwinkle, you believe moose are dumb," said I. "It is like reverse anthropomorphism."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Two Things: Blisters & The WSJ Article

Thing 1: A post at the Yahoo! Barefoot Running group was discussing that perhaps faster runners actually do have a problem with getting blisters while running barefoot. The discussion was brought up by this slanted Wall Street Journal article that claims barefoot runners suffer from blisters and a host of other maladies. I coincidentally got my first barefoot running blister yesterday. And it was on a day where my feet were sometimes damp (did the soften my soles?) and running what was for me a fairly fast-for-barefoot 5 miles @ 39:24 = 7:53/mile. It is a blood blister about 1/2 inch in diameter on my left forefoot behind my big toe. I also have a tender spot, that feels like a deep blister but I can't see it, on the tip of my left 4th toe. I didn't feel them develop, perhaps because the pavement was cold. I did begin to feel the blood blister during the second part of my run when I added 3.75 miles with XC flats on. (Shoes added due to darkness and falling temps.)

Thing 2: This blog,, has a post that downs barefoot running based on the slanted WSJ article, where it says, in part:
"There is a price to pay for adjusting to life without shoes, particularly blisters and cuts. Less talked about is the potential for muscle, ligament and bone injuries. The human body was never designed to run on concrete, asphalt or whatever is littered on the roads."
I commented:
"The WSJ article on barefoot running was possibly the worst barefoot running article ever written in mainstream media. The writer took facts and quotes out of context, and shaped them to his own opinion. And he could not have been more wrong. He even consulted with people from the Yahoo! Barefoot Running Group and ignored or manipulated their input. You can read the thread concerning this issue here. Running barefoot is the best thing I have ever done to improve my running. Yes, you can't change your training overnight, as is the case with any training change. However, the pain and drawbacks are much less than portrayed in the WSJ article. Here is a better article, from Men's Journal. See for the ultimate reference."

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Warm Dampness

The warm dampness I am talking about is this past Saturday, and today. The jet stream needs some discipline. It needs to get itself in line and behave the way it is supposed to. It needs to get some cold air down here into the northeast USA. An inch of rain, at least, overnight could have been a half foot of snow. Added to another few we could have gotten on Saturday. Instead, I ran wearing T-shirt and shorts again on Saturday, splashing through muddy puddles in the fields of Greenbrook Park. I didn't sweat enough because it takes two weeks to fully acclimate to warm weather physical response. Feeling the warmth of the sun in early January feels good, but it just doesn't feel right. I ran 40.5 miles in the first week of 2007; 66% barefoot. I think that is a masters-age distance record for the first week of January for me, as well as a barefoot record for January since I have learned to do this. Here is a view of my 2007 Excel running log for this past week.

My pace has been a little sluggy, because my December 2006 mileage was quite low and random, and I think I gained a couple pounds. The positive side to this wacky weather is that it is a good start for 2007 training.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Full Moon, Frozen Toes & Painful Pebbles

Last night I attempted the club run barefoot. It was a full moon and I figured this would be a good night to try it because I could see where I was landing my soles. Even though the unseasonably warm temperatures continue during the day, last night my feet were too cold too quickly. I also learned that South 2nd Avenue in Highland Park is quite rough. After about 1/4 mile, I turned around and went back to put shoes on.

Today I got out while it was still daylight. Ran about 6 miles barefoot, mostly on pavement. Did about a mile on grass, but it was very damp and froze my toes, so I went back onto pavement. By the last couple of miles it had gotten dark. It was hard to see the road debris. I stepped on a couple of painful pebbles.

Monday, January 01, 2007

First Barefoot Run ~ New Years Day 2007

Drove home from the holiday ski trip this morning. Even in the Catskills it was in the mid-40's, and I wore flip-flops. At home it was about 53 degrees, drizzle falling on and off. Shorts and a T-shirt, I ran for an hour barefoot. Half the run was in the mud and puddles of Greenbrook Park. Half was on the road.