One foot at a time | One sole at a time | One hell of a good time


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Forefoot vs. Heel Striking

This clever animation created by the Newton Running Shoe Co. is pretty cool albeit necessarily oversimplistic.

I think that I agree with it as a barefoot runner, but personally believe that each runner has to figure it out on their own. Self-discovery through trial and error.

The Way of Running.


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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Custom Huarache Sandal Test Part 2

Running in Nature is Spiritual
Here's some of what I saw today running near my home in Los Angeles

Flying Free

Looking Homeward

My Path

Upward Bound

Vegetal Explosion

Rocky Road

Rock Feast

My chickens don't seem to mind my dirty feet.

Today's test went exceptionally well. The sandals are still intact after 8 miles of hard mountain trail hiking/running. At first I was worried about the performance of these sandals since the sole seems a bit thinner than the Raramuri racing sandals. Yet, they seemed to do the job. My feet did not feel confined. My foot was able to flex and move naturally. Feet were pain free on toughest sections of the trail.


An attempt a video of the downhill run. Poor quality.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Tarahumara Huarache Sandal Test cont.

Indigenous Design

Trail Home

As mentioned last week, I received some rubber sole material from Peter, Vibram sole designer. I quickly made a pair of Raramuri-style huaraches. The sole on these sandals is quite thin, just 5mm which makes them much lighter (about 4 ounces) than my truly authentic, Manuel Luna produced, huarache sandals and significantly more flexible.

Rock Climbing

I took them out on a 10+ mile hike-run in the mountains above Burbank, California. Today was quite clear. The ocean could be seen in the distance along with Catalina Island, Griffith Park and Downtown LA. The sandals performed perfectly. I think I am getting addicted.

Crest Running

My goal is to wear a pair of huaraches during the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon on March 4th in Urique, Mexico. The race is nearly 50 miles on mountain roads, so I am doing all I can to prepare. These modified sandals may be the answer.

Ocean View

Burnt Rock

New Tree

I have much more testing to do with these sandals, but today was a huge success. I did not need to constantly adjust these sandals. They stayed snug the entire journey. I did not get any hotspots or blisters. My feet are getting used to the leather straps. I do not like the feeling I get when I sweat a lot in these, so I plan on trying to add a rice straw or hemp top cover.

These really are the most elegant solution to portable ground that I have found. With only one small strap of leather coming up over the top of the foot, rocks and pebbles do not get stuck, they just roll out. Indigenous design at its best.

More tests are necessary. Perhaps a slightly stiffer rubber would be better.


Will Survive

Mountain Lion

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Mother Road 100 Completed 27:38:47

78 Miles Barefoot, 22 Miles Vibram FiveFingers

At the Start (Thanks Robin)

Running Route 66

The Mother Road

The Finish Line

Much more to come as I have time.

Looking forward to adding photos as friends that I met on the course send them.

Send to: ted@barefootted.com


My goal for this race was very simple: to finish. I had no pre-set time or strategy. I wanted to feel 100 miles of road. This year I have successfully accomplished my goal of tasting both a tough trail 100 mile run and a 100 mile road race. I know what to expect in the future.


1. Hillbillies Bed & Breakfast in Arcadia, OK

2. Drinking my complimentary Choc Beer at 6 am thinking that it was non-alcoholic.

3. Running 78 miles on Route 66 barefoot, the last 22 with my barefoot shoes called FiveFingers.

4. Getting lost...nearly impossible, but possible, with Jon Hulsey. He had a map!

5. Seeing the Carl's Jr. sign at the race finish.

6. The smiling faces and friendly folks found all along the Route.

7. It being so cold at night the water in my Camelbak tube was slushing up.

8. Lots of animals die along Route 66: skunks, armadillos, birds, raccoons, possums, snakes...

9. Meeting up with Louise Mason. Her MOJO helped me tremendously.

10. Running with Tom Christell and having his wife tell me to put on my shoes.

11. Getting a ride back to the airport by the Canadians John, John and Vincent, whom I met briefly at the Round Barn the morning of the race. Thanks.

12. Crossing the finish line with Fred Davis.

13. One can live off Hammer Gels and HEED if one chooses to do so.

14. Big thank you to Cynthia for making some KILLER pecan bars and date bars from scratch for the pre-race POWER. I fed on them all day Friday as I made my way to Arcadia. Thems were GOOD.

My email to the race director:

Howdy Thomas

Thank you for your crazy vision of putting on the Mother Road 100.

That was one unforgettable 24+ hour dose of Oklahoma that I will never forget.

I want to say thank you to all who made this possible. It is truly hard to believe how well everything went for a first time mega-event. Congratulations.

I have some incredible stories. As you know, I ran barefoot. I ran 78 miles barefoot and was feeling great out of the Bristow check-point.

Then we started going along those old sections of Route 66. I must admit, they were by far the biggest challenge for a barefoot runner, but still doable.

Just as I was coming up to the turn where Red and Sharon's BBQ is located I ran into Jon Hulsey who was looking at course maps. I figured this guy knows the way. By the way, out of Bristow, I passed at least 20 runners. I was feeling REAL good and running kept me warm.

Well Jon and I made a terrible mistake. Instead of going up 181st, Jon thought that we had yet another parallel section of old road, so we went left. There were no arrows pointing one way or the other, so I accepted his logic.

Remember I told you how I hated the old road, well this road made the old road sections that we ran on seem like butter. I was in agony, but figured it wouldn't last long as I cursed the texture of what I thought was the old route. On and on and on we went, up and down hills (20/20 tells me that would have been unusual for the Route). Each step draining me. Well, what seemed like miles later, the road finally became a field! We had gone terribly wrong. It was very depressing. My goal of running 100 miles totally barefoot was crushed. Now we had other problems. We were lost, we were cold and we had to go back on the same road. I had to put my back-up shoes on and accept my fate.

Finally, we got back to the intersection of 48 and 181. The police car with the Doc had been looking for us, but Jon was not able to explain where we had gone wrong. We were messed up. I was shivering uncontrollably and luckily got into an official's car and blasted the heater.

From that intersection, we were driven to Taturs by a race official. At Taturs, the Doc took care of my foot and Jon and I regained our composure. It took some persuading, but I was convinced that it was still doable. After sucking down a couple Hammer Gels, we were off again. Much worse for the wear, but not defeated, and I wanted my name on that shirt!!!

Thankfully, the motor started running again, and I was able to make it home. A Carl's Jr. sign never looked so good.


PS. I just finished doing some Google Earth measuring. It turns out that the road Jon and I took dead ended after 1.8 miles (so 3.6 miles out and back), plus, we tried to take another road out and had to turn back, so that added yet another 0.2+ miles. Finally, the road we were on was MUCH more difficult than the highway. At times it was turning into a sandy, rocky, hilly nightmare. My wife said that my favorite dog, Hercules, was whimpering for no reason around the same time I was suffering. I do not exaggerate when I say that that was the toughest stretch of running I have EVER done as far as pain goes.

Photo by Melissa (Warwick Aid Station- Mile 30)

NOTE: A huge thank you to SOLAR COMMUNICATIONS INTERNATIONAL, INC. for helping make this adventure possible.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Running the Central California Coastline

Standing on Point Sal; Photo by Luis Escobar

A big thank you to El Coyote, Luis Escobar, for inviting us up to visit this weekend. What an awesome trip.

It all started on Thursday when Christopher McDougall, El Oso, flew into Burbank airport. He has been on a whirlwind trip interviewing runners for an upcoming book. On Wednesday, he was in Seattle having dinner with Scott Jurek. Thursday, Barefoot Ted in Los Angeles. Friday, Luis Escobar in Santa Maria. We represented the tail end of a trip that had been going on for weeks.

My goal was to give El Oso a quick and dirty glimpse of my home turf. I introduced him to my family, showed him around our urban chitty-chitty-bang-bang compound and then gave him the gestault version of my running territory.

What I hoped to get him to see was that even in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world, one could find incredible niches where all the healing power of nature and trails could be found. He definitely got a good taste.

Point Sal from another vantage point; Photo by Ronald Williams

On Friday, we got up early and headed north to meet with Luis in Santa Maria. We spent the day with the Righetti High School Cross Country Team. They competted in the Santa Barbara County championships. Boys came in second place. I was very pleased to meet all of them. Apparently I have become a mini-celebrity for their team. Luis has been letting them do some barefoot training.

Friday night we dined on flatbread pizza and local wines at a restaurant in Los Alamos called American Flatbread. All I can say is that there is at least one reason I can think of for having more money and that would be to be able to eat food and drink wine like that more often.

Saturday morning up at 5:30am. We were off to Point Sal to do some cow trail running along the coast. California's central coast is gorgeous and pristine. Our 12 mile loop started a bit rough on rocky pavement in the dark. I had forgotten to bring my FiveFingers, so I was committed to whatever the trail would hand me. Thankfully, the road turned into a trail of sand, the softest, lushest sand one could hope for. It was like running on cool clotted cream.

Down to the rocky coast we headed all the way to Point Sal itself, and then along sheer cliffs to get a closer look at the massive rock called Lion Rock filled with seals and pelicans.

Coming back the trail got tougher, both in steepness and texture. We were running along the crest of mountains. The rocks were small broken cubit chunks. They did not want to be friends with my feet, but I persisted and got through unscathed.

Sugar, the wonder trail-running dog

Thanks to Luis and his friends, Jeff and Jeff, for a great time and to Sugar, Luis' Jack Russell Terrier.


Photos by Luis Escobar of Reflections Photography Studio in Santa Maria, CA unless marked otherwise

PS. Further research on Point Sal and environs leg me to the website of eco-hooligan (self-described) of Bill Denneen who runs a hostel near Point Sal. Very interesting character I hope to run into in the future.

Some photos from his site and his friend's site below:

Bill at the Winter Soltice Dunes Hike
Photo by Robert Bernstein

We Need to Go Back to Our Roots

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Barefooting the Grand Canyon

A big thank you to Jay Anderson, ultrarunner and RD of the Orange Curtain 100k and 50k races, and Tracy Bahr, a true ultrarunning champion, for allowing me to join in on a Grand Canyon adventure weekend.

If you ask the question, "Can one run down the Grand Canyon barefoot?", the answer would be yes. If you ask the question, "Should one run down the Grand Canyon barefoot?", the answer should be, "Hell no!"

Due to car troubles, we started 6 hours later than we had expected at around 11:30. Even though we didn't know it yet, it meant that we would not have time to do a rim to rim to rim run. Thanks to a nice couple from Tucson for giving us a lift to the trailhead. We crammed 6 people into a compact car. Nothing was going to stop us.

Running down the Bright Angel trail, barefoot, was certainly one of the most difficult things I have done barefoot. Going up the South Kaibab trail barefoot was fine. As I have said a thousand times, going up is always easier than going down on rocky terrain when barefoot.

Why was it so difficult? Well, it was not just that the trail was quite rocky and steep, two things that already made it difficult, but it was also filled with hikers, so I did not have the whole trail to select from when trying to find sweet spots to place my foot. Sometimes we would have to run off to the side of the trail to make room for hikers. That was hard.

I nearly made it to the bottom barefoot, but we came upon a mule train. At that point, I decided I had better put on my FiveFingers in order to help navigate around the mules, plus the trail was REALLY getting to me.

Less than a quarter mile after putting on my shoes, we reached a barefooters paradise: a river sand trail paralleling the river for another 1/4 mile until we got to a bridge to cross the river.

While running down the trail, all I could do was breath and focus. I had no time for anything else. Literally every step had to be thought out and executed consciously. There were a lot of opportunities for disaster. Is this zen?

When we finally got to Phantom Ranch, it was becoming clear to us that we would not have time to continue our journey to the North Rim, so we decided to return to the South Rim via the South Kaibab trail.

Coming down Bright Angel, I had not been drinking enough. I started up the South Kaibab feeling pretty damn good; however, I was sweating a lot, and since I was only wearing a singlet, the sweat was just pouring off me and not having time to cool me. When I sweat this much, I can get in trouble fast, especially if I have not been managing my electrolyte intake.

Sure enough, after feeling really good at the beginning of the uphill, I started feeling crampy. I was not peeing. So, I started drinking, but it was nearly too late. Lesson: manage your electrolytes and wear clothing that traps moisture and holds it so that it evaporates on the skin.

6 hours and 20 minutes later we were back at the top of the South Rim. It was cold and dark, and we were damn lucky to have made it in time for one of the last shuttles. In the van-shuttle bringing us to our hotel, we were comparing stories with other hikers. One guy said that he had seen a guy running down the trail barefoot. None of his companions believed him. I enjoyed egging him on a little. We had a good laugh when it was revealed that he had not been hallucinating.

As with most adventures, the location is just one part of the enjoyment, the other major part is being able to commune with other runners. Sharing and comparing life stories with travel companions is one of the most interesting things you can do. Each person represents a fascinating tale waiting to be told. When stories begin to intermingle, well, that just borders on miraculous.


PS. For the complete set of photos, click here.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

REVISED: Each Critter Unique - The Journey

Each Critter UNIQUE (it means you are unique, so don't try to be
someone or something you are not) - The Journey

How to learn to run well?

Run...a lot...or a little.

Run 10000 miles a week.

Run 28 hours a day.

Run 100 feet a week.

Run 10 minutes a day.


What happens?

You learn to run well for yourself.

Your body is unique in the universe. No one else can know it like you can.

So, run, and run without injury. Listen to your body. Listen, listen, listen.

What happens?

You learn to run well.

Guess what?

Running evolves all the time, even within a long run.

Watch it evolve and learn from it.

Gain wisdom from others, yes, but realize, you are you and you gotta
figure it out for YOURSELF.

So run and run and run and then run some more. You become an expert
for you...only.

After a while, you will get stronger, or not. Adjust, or not.

It takes a lifetime.


PS. This post was originally posted on the RunningBarefoot forum.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Vibram FiveFingers: Next Generation Prototypes

Seen for the first time?

Notice anything different?

Barefoot Ted's gone off the deep-end with PROTOTYPE FiveFingers Sprint

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Barefoot Runners

Found this bizarre little amateur film/video/animation by Out of Focus Films. Had to add it. Music by Projectojil Film by Filipey


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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Hansen Dam a Barefooter's Paradise

Hansen Dam a Barefooter's Paradise
Posted by Picasa

I sure hope to see some of you barefooters come out to my area for a visit. I have some really fantastic trails and areas near my house, especially when you consider I live 15 minutes away from downtown Los Angeles!

To see more photos of "my" Hansen Dam, click here.


PS. New video of the drive from my house to Hansen Dam via Stonehurst Ave. driving the my trusty 1966 VW Beetle. Nothing special.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

AC 100 Night Training Run 11 Hours

Jay Anderson, Andy Kumeda, BFT, Adam Ray, Jeff Stein and Kevin Bradshaw

Thanks again to everyone for all your help on Friday night's run.

To tell the truth, it was more difficult mentally than physically.

This was my first run that went all night. My mind was really playing
tricks on me...every patch of soft ground looked perfect for a little snooze.

All in all it was a good learning experience. I know that I need more sleep deprivation training...


PS. According to Andy, we climbed 7100' up and traveled 9600' down -- that's quite a bit for 35-ish miles.

PSS. Wore a pair of Yellow Vibram FiveFingers. Since we ran at night, they didn't get too hot, so NO blisters after 11 hours. I did cut my big toe kicking a rock. It would have been much worse if I were barefoot. Lots of places on the trail are very barefootable, but some are just nutty as far as difficulty goes.

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Monday, July 31, 2006

AC 100 Training Run Completed

From Eagle's Roost to Shortcut Saddle - 25 miles.

Yesterday I put in 22 miles barefoot during an Angeles Crest 100 training run. I finally put on my FiveFingers after the terrain started getting really nasty, i.e., steep, sharp rocky downhills.

It's nice to carry a backup pair of FFs as an insurance policy when things get too rough. Once I put them on, it was smooth sailing to the finish.

Thanks to Camilla and Michelle for camaraderie.


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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

San Diego Rock n' Roll Marathon

Howdy Folks

Ran the San Diego Rock n' Roll Marathon Sunday. It was a HUGE street party with live rock music all along the route.

I ran the entire race essentially as a pacer for the famous Barefoot Ken Bob. Believe it or not, he ran a marathon on Saturday in Indiana, got on a plane and flew to San Diego to run his second marathon in one weekend.

I knew that he was going to have difficulties. I thought it would be fun to run with him. He is what I would call a social runner. He loves to talk with other runners all through the race. His idea of a marathon is to have fun. Well, I had a great time running with him. Naturally, my FiveFingers with Injinji socks got a lot of attention, too.

For the last 10 miles I was doing my best to keep Barefoot Ken Bob going. Took nearly 5 hours (4:45). That was a long time to be running on pavement.

Photos and more reporting as time permits.


Pacing Barefoot KenBob to the Finish

PS. A big thank you to Vibram for sponsoring this race and thanks to my cousin Robert and his beautiful family for taking good care of me.

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Wild Mountain Runner Club - 14 miler above JPL

The Gatos at Hahamongna Park next to JPL

Sunday did some great running with members of the San Fernando branch of the Wild Mountain Runners. We do a lot of trail running in the Angeles Crest.

We ran up a very tough 14 mile trail that starts at Hahamongna Park, goes along the side of the famous Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) campus and on up to the top of Mt. Brown.

I used to run up this very gnarly trail barefoot, and still can, but coming down was always very difficult and usually made my feet hurt for the rest of the day, especially if I ran fast.

Well, wearing the FiveFingers has helped me to be able to run this trail completely pain free. I still get the feedback I need through my feet, I just avoid the terrible pain that one can get in the arch by making one false step.

I am currently wearing the same pair of Vibram Five Fingers to run in everyday trying to get an idea of how long they will last. So far, I must say, these suckers are holding up very well.


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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

FiveFingers™ Speed Training

photo by Ona McDonald

Did a little speed work today and yesterday wearing the FiveFingers™ barefoot shoes. I just had to get out and feel some of that sunlight that we have been lacking this past week here in Los Angeles.

I love running in and around Hansen Dam in the East San Fernando Valley. If you haven't been there, you are missing out on a great running spot.

Best Regards, Barefoot Ted

PS. You can view some more in-action running shots from this same day by clicking here.

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

FiveFingers™ Survive 25 MIle Tough Trail Run

Howdy Folks

This past Saturday, I put a new, properly fitting pair of FiveFingers through a very good test run: 25 miles and over 6 hours of hard, muddy, rocky, steep, slippery, multiple stream-crossing trail running in the Santa Monica mountains with a group of ultrarunners and adventure racers.

Photo by Suzy Degazon

The FiveFingers performed as well as any of the other shoes in the group, with a couple huge benefits.

1. They didn't collect tons of mud like the big, gnarly trail shoes did. The others complained of their shoes getting heavier as mud caked on the sole of their shoes. Since the FF are smooth soled, no mud collection.

2. No problem with the wet conditions and rock hopping, stream crossings. They had excellent grip on wet rocks, and still felt fine when wet.

3. I could FEEL the ground and adjust my gait accordingly. Shoe wearers do not quickly sense when the ground is too slippery or soft. With the FiveFingers, I could feel the softness instantly know whether or not I could plant my foot safely.

4. I could use my toes to grab the ground on steep, muddy uphills.

5. Some of the other runners commented favorably as to my style of trail running. Much lighter on my feet, far more aware of the course, surfing the course, or skiing the course rather than just plodding through it. Efficiency of movement brought about because of constant feedback through the feet leading to gentler landings and more thoughtful course selection and faster cadence, especially on downhills.

6. Low profile design eliminates the dreaded twisted ankle problem the high-heeled trail shoe wearers are prone to suffer.

Downfalls were the same for shoe wearers:

1. With NO traction, they had problems when confronted with super-slippery muddy slopes. Even the trail shoe wearers had problems here. My hope for the future trail version of the FF would be to allow for more toe spread to mimic the breaking strategy of mountain animals.

2. It ain't fun to kick rocks (but not as bad as without FF). However, barefoot trail running requires much more focus, so kicking rocks is far less common then typical trail runners.

I have done portions of this same course without shoes. However, I could never move as fast nor as confidently as I could with the FF on. The adventure runners were jealous.

Best Regards, Barefoot Ted

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Rain, Puddles, Mud FiveFingers™ Test

photos by Lisa McDonald

What happens if it rains during the Boston Marathon?

Would my FiveFingers™ shoes survive? Would my feet survive?

Answer: Yes!

Put in a little over an hour of hard running (about 8 miles) this evening. Ran through puddles, ran through streams, ran up and down muddy hills. Not a problem. Happy as a clam.

Best Regards, Barefoot Ted

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