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Category Archives: Barefoot Running

Location: Middletown, California

Length: 7 miles

Directions: Middletown is in Lake County CA is on Highway 29 between Calistoga and Clearlake. The run is on the property of Harbin Hot Springs Retreat Center. http://www.harbin.org

Trail Description: From the retreat’s office take the Spiritual Path (1.10 miles) to the Ridge Trail Trail head (@1625 ft.elevation).

Ridge Trail is a fire road with many dips and ascents (2.5 miles).

Connect to Dancing Deer Trail (1.20 miles) and take the cut off to the right bearing SE, it is very narrow. If you miss it you are off property.

You will be scrambling down scree at first and then be on a deer track. The trail is marked with multicolored neon ribbons at regular intervals so it is good track training. You will come to a shady copse with a canopy of stunted oak and mossy covered volcanic rock then eventually ascend to Boggs Mountain Trail (0.5 miles).

Then down onto Harbin Springs Road (1.5 miles) and cutting across the meadow to pick up the Village Paths in the camping area (0.6 miles).

Finish your run with a soak in the legendary pools of Harbin.

Added to seriousrunning.com by polynesian_metal on 7/9/10

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Smashed my little toe into the wall this morning and had a sore big toe yesterday so a predawn barefoot run on the beach at Fort Funston seemed moot.  Slept a couple more hours and thought I’d put together a run across the Bridge and into the Marin Headlands.  I looked up at the Tenderloin skyscraper and saw that the American flag was lying flat so knew with my weather sense that there would be no wind at the coast and already the sun was shining.  I was warming up to the heat of the day and opened all the windows in my flat after I got out of the shower to invite whatever little breeze out there into my home.   Nice enough to wear my Adidas speedsuit, my technical onesie and what I’m gonna rock for the day of the San Francisco Marathon.  Got my CamelBak refueled with water and I’m on the road out to the Presidio to park in the free lot above Fort Funston.

I love running with my activity partner but I also love my solitude on the trail.  Rare for me to be out late Saturday mornnings and there were numerous “teams in training” either running or cycling in groups.  I started my run, but about a quarter of the way on the Bridge decided to pull the top down of my speedsuit for thermoregulatory purposes.  Its a cruise across the Bridge and then under it, singing out lound to DarkWave cruising under the Golden Gate Bridge, “…all of her sweet promises… crumble… to dust…

Then I’m picking up the Coastal Trail and I’m seeing trail runners on the ridge there and I literally get chills of excitement so happy to see and be on a brand new trail in my backyard.  Now that I know how to work the Marin Headlands trail system from the City I can do my long runs for the SF Marathon and at the same time training for the North Face Endurance Challenge Championship, the penultimate race of my racing season.  The SCA trail proved to be quite tasty:  single track trail imposed upon by  overgrown flora from the recent rains ascending in switchbacks dancing like a deer in a wake of butterflies while I scattered skink.

  • 29 May 2010
  • 8:36 – 10:16am
  • 1:37:19
  • 8.02 miles
  • 12:08 avg. pace
  • 4.95 avg. speed
  • 1350 feet climbed
  • 1214 calories burned

Didn’t know where to run today but I had some success the other day on the Golden Gate Bridge so I thought to hit that again this morning and penetrate somewhat into the Marin Headlands to try and figure out the trail system there.  Arrived at my staging area above the Historic Fort Point, Battery East, just after 7am set up my hydration system and loaded the electro pod-cast that I started to run to on Wednesday.  Danced about the Contour to get loose and limber.  Classic San Francisco morning with the fog streaming through the strait and obscuring the top of the Bridge’s towers.  The thick fog was most likely responsible for the GPS on my iPhone failing to load up on RunKeeper, but I started the course anyway because I’m concerned about the accuracy of the GPS on the iPhone anyway.

Hit the Bridge feeling remarkably well, realizing my treatment with @forbodyandmind was exactly what I needed to rid myself of the toxins and tensions of training and race.  Felt fleet coming up the gentle incline of the convexly bowed Bridge and hit it where it rounded off and leveled remarkably fast.  Incorporated my research in barefoot running and consciously worked a side foot stride which definitely is a speed boost as opposed to what barefoot runners critique shod runners for the injury inducing heel strike.  Loving my Adidas Marathon 10’s because they are quite minimalist for a trail running shoe, even though they aren’t designed as trail running shoes per se, they meet all the requirements: grippy tread, gussetted tongue, minimal cushioning and feather light.  Also a bit ugly looking, as a 21’st update of a classic 1980’s jogging shoe, but its just that ugliness that makes them so fucken tite.  I ordered two pair.

Coming down the decline of the Bridge I saw a really tasty switchback leading down the Headland mountain that serves as a pier for the Northern Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge.  At the Vista Point I saw a trail that was likely to take me down and it proved to be the trail I observed from the span.  The trail deadended at a no-trespassing gate that lead to a construction area under the Bridge so I took the social trail down to Horseshoe Bay blazing my own trail through overgrown bushes and weeds gripping the barbed wired chain link fence for balance.  I was enjoying the plasticity of mind that comes from being lost on a trail and the strategy involved to find one’s way back.  I popped out on a road that led up to where the gate forced me into a wild detour and a slow sign for bicyclists was posted which had me a bit confused and wonder where it led.

Now I’m amongst the piers of Horseshoe Bay running along Sommerville Road and I see a WWII Battery ahead and think to run out to the curved pier, but think not as I’m worried about my timing.  Then I see some trail markers and realize that I am on the Bay Trail and I’m all: Cool! I really am trail running!  This takes me up East Road and I’m getting kind of confused so I stop to check my GPS and realize that East Road will take me towards Sausalito where I can connect to Alexander Avenue and trackback to the Bridge.

Little scary running facing traffic up what is essentially a Highway, getting somewhat confused and lost, playing chicken with cycle packs as they barrell down Alexander and finally getting bearings and making my way back to the Vista Point.  Stopped to take my 3rd piss of the morning run and hit the Bridge to return back to the Contour.  Late enough in the morning now where tourists started to appear for their scenic Bridge walks and a little more hazardous from the congestion of pedestrian groups and commuting cyclists.  Rolling, cruising feeling strong and even fresher than at the start, I cruise past the Gifuto Shoppu and straight into the bathroom for my 4th and final trail run piss.  I’m in a stall and realize there are no urinals.  I’m in the ladies.

Back at the car, realizing my tracked run is all fucked up, driving home, even forgot to stop the timer on my Garmin.  So much tech I need to minimize it.  How useful is it really?

  • 14 May 2010
  • 7:22 – 8:41am
  • 1:18:35
  • 7.25 estimated miles
  • 752 feet climbed
  • 852 calories burned

Ten feet onto a graveled trail in the Presidio, my inquiry into barefoot running reached a conclusion: unsustainable except for at the beach or on loamy trails.  Although today’s training run with Cameron was the same distance as what we had run on the beach, the course consisted of a lot of gravely trails.  I tried to start barefoot but I was experiencing to much tenderness in my feet landing on a cold rocky trail.  So as far as I’m concerned I may do more barefoot running on the beach, but no way am I going to be doing it on these gravely trails that I’m used to running shod.

Cameron did well in his new pair of New Balance.  I had to run in an old pair of Adidas Daroga’s.  He stopped twice and is complaining about a pain in his knees, but I could totally see his endurance improving.  I suspect that it is the pain from the torqued nerve from over pronation that signifies piriformis syndrome.  The spasms are just an alarm from the body that the muscles have been neglected and are impinging the nerve.  Running brings up pains. Pain is a component of the sport. Its just important to be smart about it and learn effective ways to train through, rest and recover.

When I got to the Group X Studio for 7am Yoga the gym’s air conditioning was broken and blowing chilled air into the classroom.  A full class of yogis and yoginis walking around trying to stay warmed up and confused about the new wrinkle in their environment.  I was pleased to see @suzboop in the studio and she was concerned about the cold room suggesting that she might do a home practice instead.  I was prepared to stay, it wasn’t easy getting up for yoga and since I was already here I wasn’t going to turn back home.

I was well prepared with my Samoan lava-lava in a richer stiffer fabric than the rayon Aloha sarongs.  I was also in a nautical tattoo print cotton hoodie so I knew I could moderate my temperature in the class with the air conditioner on even though I was wearing a pair of skimpy old school Olympia Beer gym shorts over a Steamworks bathhouse jockstrap.  Ben led us in an active Vinyasa and soon the class was generating heat and the only two people left seemed like they had to do so for time constraints rather than because of the unexpectedly cool classroom.

After class @suzboop and I left the gym together and chatted on the corner of Market and Noe.  I went home to make a cup of coffee and get changed to take Cameron down for his last training run at the beach before we start a new trail together.

To change for the beach I just took off the gym shorts and jockstrap and put on a really old pair of black Adidas warm up shells to accompany the hoodie and the dirty wife beater I had already worn to yoga.  Made some coffee and took the spilling mug of it down to the Contour to go and pick up Cameron around the corner and drive to the beach.  I was still excited and impressed that he has stuck with his commitment to running trail.

It wasn’t as cold as I expected at the beach so I was a little overdressed in the track suit bottoms nor was I aerodynamic.  But these training runs with Cameron are foremost to build up his endurance and for me to continue my inquiry into barefoot running in a safer, saner and more consensual way.   There really is no need for me to keep track of timing statistics, because the paces are Cameron’s and not mine but I will put down a map at least once of each course we train together.  On Monday I didn’t think that I’d be able to do the next trail barefoot with Cameron, but now I think I will, keeping a spare pair of shoes in the storage compartment of my CamelBak just in case I get freaked out.  The distance planned is just under 3 miles so I really think I will be ok and am excited to try out multiple terrain, dirt trail, gravel trail and some road completely unshod.

As a note for Cameron, he only really had to stop once, but if he ran just a little slower and paced himself I don’t think he’d have to.  I am concerned about his shoes, and hope he gets a more suitable pair for our run on Friday at 7am.  My feet are getting tougher, I think that a mind to foot, foot to mind consciousness is developing, so even though I am not planning on running any races barefoot, I can see the improvement that barefoot cross training is doing for me over all.

In today’s Sunrise Yoga practice I felt centered like I do sometimes on the trail and found a reserve of upper body strength that I was pleased to tap into.  I had to modify my practice to accommodate the hip but I found the yoga stretches helping to strengthen the ass muscles surrounding the site of the soreness.  I confessed to my yoga instructor Anita as she was winding down the class that I was modifying on my own and if I was doing ok with it.  She said she had noticed and thought that it might be my quad but when I told her it was my hip she said, “Oh, its piriformis syndrome…” Eyebrow alert!

She said it could possibly be from running, but I know that the spasms happened in yoga class last Thursday because I was feeling really open and getting deep into my poses when I first noticed.  Just like any athlete, you don’t want to say that your sport could be the possible cause of your injury.  I know with me the piriformis syndrome or hip joint pain to be utterly clear is an ongoing chronic condition.  I think the problem comes mostly from the way I stand at work, rooted with pressure on the outside of both feet but more so on the right.  This brings tension through the knee and through the hip.  I used wikipedia to find out more about the syndrome and it pretty much diagnoses me spot on.  I found this quote there that is encouraging and letting me know that this piriformis syndrome is manifesting itself as a result of my activity. It seems the best remedy is through activity. If I continue doing what I am practicing in sport then I’m probably going to end up save my hip at an older age:

When piriformis syndrome is caused by weak abductors combined with tight adductors, a highly effective and easy treatment includes stretching and strengthening these muscle groups. An exercise regimen targeting the gluteus medius and hip adductor muscle groups can alleviate symptoms of piriformis syndrome within days.

And this quote below describes my body mechanics when I am standing behind the chair at work.  I truly do resemble this remark:

Piriformis syndrome can also be caused by overpronation of the foot. When a foot overpronates it causes the knee to turn medially, causing the piriformis to activate to prevent over-rotating the knee. This causes the piriformis to become overused and therefore tight, eventually leading to piriformis syndrome.

So it is my suspicion that I truly do suffer from this syndrome and it is coming up in my endurance training so overcoming / acknowledging / managing it will be a targeted focus of mine.  I think because of the yoga I’m doing I’m getting the strengthening and stretching.  I think I really need to see a podiatrist at Kaiser and have them design some orthotics for my combat boots that I wear as part of my uniform and see if I can try to alter my working stance.  Also, I think barefoot running is going to help a bit and so will massages with my body worker. I got the team in place.  I feel good about this diagnosis.

I had it pretty much planned out this morning but nothing happened in the predicted sequence yet all my scheduled activities got done.  Yoga came before the coffee and the NPS volunteer uniform came before the trail. Was out of coffee and went to yoga and had a very superficial practice.  Got the coffee came home realizing I was hungry and was out of rice.  Still made a breakfast of shredded pork, a baguette with butter and fried fertile free range eggs.  Mellowed out relaxing on the couch watching an episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race before getting into my NPS Volunteer Uniform.  Nice day at the park spent my time googling barefoot running, directions for tourists and BlackHawk Military Warrior Ops Boots.  Like I said earlier in today’s post MOOT, I had no intention of pushing it.  I was just gonna check in and see how the body felt and permit or deny the activity through the subjective filter of the mind and attempt to find some sort of integrative compromise between the two.

Yoga was strengthening my weak hip and I didn’t notice it much throughout the day and all that research got me kind of fired up so after my shift I changed into my gear in the front seat of my car and endeavored to do a 6.66 mile run from Aquatic Park to Fort Point and back.  I found myself in a pack of rush hour runners and the presence of all these recreators to be inspiring.  Fell in behind a girl in a blue top and bell bottomed running tights and she led all the way to the road to Fort Point before I overtook her, but she regained the lead again on the way back when I had to take a piss in the restrooms by the warming hut.  Everybody was so into their own groove it was quite amazing, realizing maybe I am that yuppie running in the Marina and being fine with that.  Lots of hot guys as always down on Crissy Field some bearing the early evening chill with no shirt but having an hour of added daylight contributing to that overall tan.

  • 22 March 2010
  • 5:32 – 6:40pm
  • 1:08:02
  • 6.67 miles
  • 10:12 avg. pace
  • 5.88 avg. speed
  • 349 feet climbed
  • 907 calories burned
  • 158.6 lbs.

Got my training run in before I took Cameron to the beach to do his trail run.  I’m just finishing up the 6ish mile run through Golden Gate Park and after that I’ll be targeting a new 6.66 mile course somewhere, most likely from Upper Fort Mason.  Even though I went to the company party in drag and high heels last night and ended up at Chap’s II a drunken fish, I still got up to go out and go trail, surprising myself a little bit.

And today’s training went really well.  It showed how the body really responds to regular practice.  Even though my head wasn’t in it, my legs were totally fueling it and I had respectable sub 10 minute splits over the first 3 miles.  I was also probably responding to the 2 days of recovery, but I still have a soreness in the joint, not the muscle of the hip.  Doesn’t hurt when I run, oddly enough but does so when I stand.  Probably an over extension from too much yoga.  I hope I can adjust it in Warrior’s Choice Yoga tonight.

Stopped at home to pick up some cash because I spent what was left over from my Starbuck’s coffee on $19 of gas at the Arco on Oak Street.  I was obsessed with getting a pork bun.  I picked up Cameron around the corner and we stopped on 5th and Clement at a Chinese restaurant to get the pork buns and shrimp balls and had Dim Sum in the Contour on our drive out to the beach.

Pretty amusing to see the glued on glitter still on the toes of my right foot.  Far from glamorous.  I did the run on the beach barefoot to continue my own investigation of this dubious trend in trail running.  Cameron’s endurance level is steadily improving.  After the run I drove him through the Presidio to show him what his next course will be like once he finishes up one more run on Baker Beach.  We’ll be doing a loop to Immigrant Point from the Presidio Golf Club.

I have to note the weather before I close.  It was an overcast day with no wind and it is the 2nd day of spring.  A perfect morning for a run.

  • 21 March 2010
  • 7:39 – 8:41am
  • 1:02:37
  • 5.98 miles
  • 10:28 avg. pace
  • 5.73 avg. speed
  • 368 feet climbed
  • 816 calories burned
  • 157.4 lbs.

Tuesday night the cocktails got me overconfident and I found myself feeling super model thin and thought I’d throw on a swimsuit and heels and take it to the transvestite club CHASER.  I was going to grab a slice at Chico’s, but after putting on my one piece swimsuit and tight Levi’s, leg warmers and my Giancarlo Paoli open toe stilettoes I thought that pizza would make me feel blooted and kill the effect I was going for.

It was Minnie Ripperton night and I was convinced she was Millie Jackson, until the show started.  There were only two other drag queens performing so Monistat let me perform for a drink ticket.  I picked Ripperton’s “You Take My Breath Away,” hoping it was the Berlin version but it was altogether something else.  So I performed to the empty house on wobbly heels, feeling sexy hot and doing drunken yoga poses.  The lip synch was, well you can imagine.

So later that morning I find myself in the yoga studio looking a little flushed with glitter on my face and smudged kohl around my eyes. Still feeling a buzz.

After yoga was a training day for Cameron.  Just starting out again on the beach, he running in a pair of Pumas, I barefoot.  We are getting an early spring and it was hazy and warm with big breakers crashing on the shore.  I was impressed that Cameron was able to get up in the morning to run, I think that is ultimately one of the toughest challenges in the sport.  I told him that I was willing to taking him out on the trail on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays and he enthusiastically agreed.  I kind of feel that he will need to put in some miles on his own as he progresses but for now this is a good safe and sane start.  As far as my own training is concerned, starting out a new runner is really good for me because it is gentle on my legs and I get the strength training from running barefoot at a slower pace and a shorter distance.  I’ll be able to get in the mileage I have planned in training for the 20k trail race at Redwood Regional Park and soon Cameron will be caught up and running exactly the distances that I need to do anyway.  I’m thinking about making a prognosticative chart to see how many miles he will be up to by my race day.

Time change got me and I missed Warrior’s Choice Yoga with Josh Camire and I’m in a blogging mood so I’m going to publish my training schedule for my upcoming 20 kilometer trail race.  My first race of the season, hosted by Pacific Coast Trail Runs will take place in Redwood Regional Park in the Oakland Hills on Sunday 9 May 2010 at 8:30am.  So I have 9 weeks as of today to train for it and I’ve estimated the mileage I have to do to get up to that distance and be comfortable doing so.  This will be my first 20k and if I worked the math is right and my training holds up I should finish quite respectably.  I’m going to keep on doing course repeats 3x and the next course repeats will increase in distance by 10%. I am always going to be mindful of changing up the degree of elevation on a course and alternate hills with flats mindfully.  Hopefully Cameron will continue his training and I can get some more barefoot practice in.  I think the barefoot business and coaching will help me with overall form and stability.

MARCH MILEAGE:

  • 15th:  5.5, 6.15, 6.15, 6.15 (23.95 week total)
  • 22nd:  6.86, 6.86, 6.86, 7.54 (28.12 week total)
  • 29th:  7.54, 7.54, 8.29, 8.29 (31.66 week total)
  • 83.73 monthly total

APRIL MILEAGE:

  • 5th:  8.29, 9.11, 9.11, 9.11 (35.62 week total)
  • 12th: 10.02, 10.02, 10.02, 11.02 (41.08 week total)
  • 19th: 11.02, 11.02, 12.o2, 12.02 (46.08 week total)
  • 26th: 13.22, 6.61, 6.61 (26.44 week total)
  • 149.22 monthly total

MAY MILEAGE:

  • 2nd:  13.22, 6.62, 6.61 (26.45 week total)
  • 9th:   RACE DAY! 20 kilometers (12.43 miles)
  • 271.83 aggregate miles in training and racing

It may look crazy, but I can do it.  It is useful to blog this out now because as the miles get longer, so do the hours of training.  It is probable that I may not get a whole long run in the morning before work but I can make up the miles at the gym or start banking miles training others.  I’m stoked, I can do this.

Since I’m in training mode, I’ve plotted a race calendar for 2010:

2010 RACE CALENDAR

It appears as if I have no races scheduled during the summer, but I will try to find at least one.  November is hardcore training for the North Face Endurance Challenge, this race is my Championship.