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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Half Marathon in Vivobarefoot Evo IIs

Hi guys, so this school year I've been enjoying running barefoot quite a bit. On October 27th I ran my second half marathon in minimalist footwear. This time I was on home turf on the back roads of St. Johnsbury and Lyndonville Vermont. While in my first half I ran in my Xero Shoes (formerly Invisible Shoes), this time I was sporting my Vivobarefoot Evo IIs. I had recently purchased them in preparation for cooler weather. Last winter I had the Softstar Original Runamocs, but after a trip to New Zealand they took a little bit of a beating. Because the shoe broke down in less than a year, I decided to go with a different one. I had heard a lot about Vivobarefoot, a minimalist shoe company out of London, and how they had produced consistently solid minimalist footwear since their founding in 2003. After comparing all of their running shoes online, looking at weight, sole thickness, and upper material, I decided on the Vivobarefoot Neo. What's that? The Neo? I thought you ran in the Evo II? Well you'd be right. I bought my shoes through Leftlane Sports, which is a great discount site/app that sells name brand sports gear (if your interested in signing up let me know. If I invite you we each get ten dollars), and they only had the Evo II in my size. The Evo is a close second to the Neo, the Evo only weighs a little more. Since buying the shoe, I really love it. They fit well, there's no adjusting like my Xero Shoes, they fit right everytime, and they still keep my foot close to the ground, just 3mm away! The shoe is very flexible, you can roll it into a ball, and it's very light. So far they have fared very well for me.

The shoes were great for the half, although I could've worn my Xero Shoes. The morning of the race I described as "not warm but not cold". I ran in my tshirt and shorts but wore a long sleeve shirt up until GO. I got a personal best, 1:53:51. This is a great race for anyone who lives in the area. We had people from all over Vermont, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Quebec. I would describe the course as difficult but fun. As they told us before the race, "So there's rumors we took out the hills....we didn't. Actually we added one but we're not gonna tell you where it is." There was over 4,000 feet of elevation change, so you can imagine there were some big hills. So while it was substantially more hilly than my essentially flat half in New Zealand, I still had a lot of fun and enjoyed the familiar scenery, and some back roads I'd never been on. The last four miles of the course was where I had track practice in high school. As I was cruisn to the nine mile mark I told myself "Just another day of track practice." The toughest hill was about a mile long and was just before the seven mile mark. After reaching that highest elevation sign, I knew it would be smooth sailing from there. After the race my feet felt great, I felt great, and it was great to see many familiar faces I hadn't seen since high school. Many of my teachers were there, including Mr. Fink, a physics teacher who left after my Junior year to go work at a fiber optics company in Brattleboro. He has just recently planned to move back up North and so I had the pleasure of seeing him again. Many other teachers, friends, and fellow Vermonters were there, whom I had not seen in over four years. I also had the pleasure of cheering on my mentor teacher Jared Bailey from Williston Central School in Williston, Vermont. He and Joy Peterson, another teacher from our team, ran a great race, especially after the long drive across the state. Overall I had a great time and encourage all of you to do the Kingdom Challenge!

This was a big victory for me because after my last half marathon my feet were hurting a bit. This time my feet felt great, which really gave me confidence that my barefoot form has improved. When I'm training, I use the "posture reset" from Merrell Barefoot and Chis McDougall's 100 ups to correct my posture and form. I strongly recommend both of these for new or current minimalist runners. Now I'm back to casual running and looking ahead to a marathon in Hyannis, MA. Maybe I'll see you guys there in February! Until then kick off your socks and shoes and Go Barefoot!

P.S. I'm also running a Santa 5k on December 2nd in Burlington, VT! You get a full Santa suit and you get to keep the Santa suit!!! Can't wait!

The Kingdom Challenge Website:


The Evo II:

Friday, September 28, 2012

Invisible Shoes Has Color!

Hey guys, my favorite minimalist shoe company just got better. Invisible Shoes changed their name to Xero Shoes and released four new sole colors! Check it out here:

Perfect for those who want to stand out or enjoy mixing and matching color. Also, I just read Steven will soon be releasing a video on walking in Xero Shoes. Stayed tuned and have fun. As always, kick off your socks and shoes and go barefoot! (Especially when winter's soon approaching!)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why the Dates?

Some of you may have noticed the date next to previous blog posts and are wondering, "What's going on here?" Well I started my telling my barefoot/minimalist story on but recently decided to move to Blogger. As a result, I have transferred all of my old posts over to give new readers the whole story. Please read previous posts at your leisure. They say a lot about barefoot running in general, as well as my own personal story from shod cushioned shoes to now. I hope you have an interest or a love of barefoot running and if not I hope you do after reading some of these posts. Welcome and as I like to say, kick off your socks and shoes and go barefoot!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Technicalities and Chia Seeds (Feb 4)

Today I want to discuss a couple of topics: one the language I use to describe different kinds of shoes and running and two the great endurance food/drink, chia seeds. So early on I differentiated barefoot from 100% barefoot from minimalist. However, having read some more literature on the topic, including a post by my favorite, Steven Sashen, I have decided to reclassify how I reference this topic. You may have already noticed I switched over to calling all minimalist shoes, including huaraches and toe shoes, by the same name....minimalist footwear. Barefoot running, I now consider just that, running without any shoes. Go figure it makes sense now. Finally I will do away with the phrase "100% barefoot" except when wanting to add extra emphasis. Sorry to change this terminology, but as Steven says, it really doesn't make sense to call a shoe barefoot. Barefoot means just that. It's a small distinction but an important one. This doesn't change the fact that some shoes are more minimalist than others. created a continuum to more and less minimalist shoes (see here: under "barefoot running shoes continuum"). To see Steven Sashen's post on the classification of minimalist shoes vs. barefoot go here (


Now the other topic for today is the magical food chia seeds. Well I guess they aren't exactly "magical" per se, but they are an excellent source of just about everything. This is just a section I took from wikipedia to give you an idea:

"In a one ounce (28 g) sample, dried chia seeds contain 9% of the Daily Value for protein (4g), 13% fat (9g) (57% of which is ALA) and 42% dietary fiber (11g), based on a daily intake of 2000 calories.[8] The seeds also contain the essential minerals phosphorus, manganese, calcium, potassium and sodium[8] in amounts comparable to other edible seeds, such as flax[9] or sesame.[10]"

However, many sources have also applauded chia seeds, just type them into google. In addition, they also contain a substantial amount of calories, which make them a great endurance food. The Tarahumara put them in in water with a lime and a bit of sugar, also known as Iskiate. This is one of two endurance drinks that the Tarahumara live on when running 100s of miles non stop. So whether you use them for a natural daily superfood or for endurance running, these little guys can't be beat! They are also incredibly cheap and can be purchased at your local grocery store, I got mine at the bulk section of a local coop. They also have a shelf life of two years if kept in a cool, place. One CNN article praised the nutritional benefits but cautioned the amount of calories per serving. But if you use them for endurance running, they are perfect! (here's the CNN article Well that's all for today but definitely go buy some chia seeds and try them out. One last note, if you let them sit in liquid for a while they develop a gel coating, which creates a second kind of fiber (both are good for your body!). This gelling also helps them fight hunger if you are trying to lose weight or are running long distances non-stop. Chia seeds magnify the taste of what they are put in, making limeade taste more lime-y, chocolate chip muffins more chocolatey, etc. They can also be used in baking! You can substitute chia gel for butter in many baking recipes as well! As you can see there are endless benefits to these magical little seeds. However, if you need to take any drug tests any time soon, be warned that they make you test positive for salvia. While legal in the U.S. and many other countries, some businesses will not let you test positive so just be aware.


As always kick off your socks and shoes and go barefoot!


P.S. I wanted to share this hilarious video done by Steven Sashen. It has already been put on and it getting lots of attention.

Today's Run: Success! (Jan 11)

Hi guys, I just went for a short run and it was awesome!  This morning when I got up I knew I wanted to go for a run but I wanted to watch some more videos on form.  What I found caused a couple of epiphanies to occur, which finally fixed my form (or so I think)!

First I watched:

Which compared running forms.  What I took away from it was the reinforcement of rolling the foot from the outside in, and that toe striking is best and the hardest for shod runners.  However, when looking at his barefoot form he almost midfoot strikes, but I digress.  I had been going back and forth over toe and midfoot strike, this video encouraged me to stick with the toe strike (a form I had even with conventional shoes before my barefoot awakening) over new attempts at midfoot strike.  It also returned me to the foot roll, which Steven Sashen talks about on Living Barefoot:

Next I rewatched a favorite,

here we see Tirunesh Dibaba, an Ethiopian Olympian, doing a 10K.  What I take away from this video is her kick back with her feet, how far her knees come out in front of her, most of what the pop up comments say.  Today though, the biggest thing that stuck with me was that there was minimal up and down motion and maximum forward motion.  This was a central part of my run today that really improved my form and speed.  

Finally I watched "My transition to barefoot running - 7 months (#4)"

This video further reinforced the idea of rolling the foot from the outside in and also brought my attention to his kick back.  It isn't as significant as Dibaba's but still more than what I believed myself to be doing.  In the previous video, it noted that Dibaba was leaning forward slightly; however, here he is straight up and down.  I played with this on my run, but mostly agree with a straight body position.  However, there may be a slight lean forward at high speeds.

With this new found/renewed video form knowledge I took to the streets and went for a 15 minute run.  Another thing I thought about from the second part of the first video:

is that because I haven't been minimalist running every day, my feet and calves aren't as strong as they should be.  I do walk around barefoot or in my Soft Star Runamocs ALL the time, but it may not be enough to keep me in "barefoot shape".  Keeping this in mind I limited my run, also considering the cold.  Today the temperature came in right around 30 (nice and warm!) with no wind.

On the run, I focused on rolling my foot from the outside in, landing on my toes, keeping my body straight (although sometimes leaning slightly forward), stepping under my body, although the knee is allowed to come in front of you a bit, minimizing my up/down motion and really flinging myself forward down the road, and finally kicking my feet back and up.  My main focus was definitely moving forward quickly.  I know many sources say not to push/pull the ground but to place/lift your feet, however my mindset was to throw myself with my steps so as not to just bob up and down.  This made me a LOT faster.  At the same time I made sure to step light, being conscious of rocks under my feet, and to keep a high cadence (many steps per second).  Between my speed and the cold, I found myself having trouble breathing and my heart rate up before I became cold or felt any pain!  This is a first (at least for a long time)!  I actually was quite warm having worn long spandex and my winter jacket.

Overall I had a great run and look forward to many more in the future with the confidence of success!  Nevertheless, I am open to the fact that this form may not hold up over long distances, but I'll let you know as I experience it!


A shout out to Robert Ingram from the first and last videos of this post!  I loved his idea to record himself running everyday for a year!  He has some great info on running and it's fun with the snippets he throws in about his life.  It's easy to relate because it's just him running, no exceptions, no matter how he's feeling.  Check it out.

Thanks for reading and as always take off your socks and shoes and go barefoot!  Until next time.

Snow Shoveling Barefoot (Jan 4)

I recently read this post at and have been meaing to share it:

Steven Sashen has built an incredible tolerance for the cold and wears his invisible shoe huaraches all year long!  Check it out!

Colder... (Jan 4)

Just went for a three mile run, it's a balmy 15 degrees outside with wind here in Vermont.  Today I ran in my Soft Star Original Runamocs.  I found that my feet stayed warm except for what was outside of the shoe, i.e. the part of Achilles that was exposed and the bottom of my leg.  I wore long under armor spandex pants, which came down most of my leg, but the area around my ankle was still uncovered.  Overall, the coldest parts of my body were not my feet in my Runamocs.

Some things that were cold were my upper head and thighs simply because I dressed too cold.  As I have been recently, I worked on my form today.  After I was a third to half the way there my body got cold and numbed a little, which took my focus, and feeling, away from the sensation in my feet.  I know my right foot wasn't doing the same thing as my left because it hurt more in the ankle and was stiff.  I found my neck and shoulders were somewhat stiff also.  This prevented me from completely relaxing, which would allow me to move more easily and smoothly.  I tried a variety of things but couldn't really get my right foot to do the same as my left.  Nevertheless I tried everything from allowing my foot to "collapse" after the ball hit, springing up to prevent push/pulling the ground, shortening my stride/ taking more steps, bending my knees and compressing my legs more, all to no avail.  I also experimented with running faster and slower.  Certainly running slower allows one to focus on the details of their form more but sometimes going too slow causes one to over think things.  As creator of Invisible Shoes, Steven Sashen, says, everyone's barefoot form is different and cannot be "taught" (paraphrase).

After the run I noticed a couple of things: (1) I was cold, (2) my feet didn't hurt at all or feel any different except that my big toes hurt a bit.  I have found that I bruise my big toes due to my poor form.  Recently I have been trying to lighten my stride and experiment with placement to prevent this from happening.  

Next time I go out I will look warm up the area around my ankle, either with socks or sweatpants, etc.  Also, I will continue to work on feeling the ground and properly placing my feet so that no injury results.  Thanks for reading and remember to take off your socks and shoes and go barefoot! (Unless it's below 50, then consider minimalist shoes :))