Barefoot running

The hardest part of joining the gym for my husband was buying shoes…

Several years back my husband got on the barefoot running kick after some program he heard on public radio. He ordered the book Born to Run about a tribe of elite super runners that ran barefoot. He decided to give it a try.

I thought he was crazy.

I learned at a young age not to walk around barefoot. With three younger brothers it was dangerous to go to the bathroom at night without shoes or slippers. I don’t even like the feel of grass under my feet.

Then there’s my husband…running around the neighborhood without shoes oblivious of broken glass, gravel, or what people thought of him. At first, his feet looked like raw beef, all red and speckled. He had to wrap them in large bandages. It was gross. After awhile, his feet grew a large layer of callouses over them. The bottoms of his feet looked and felt like leather.

People stopped him while running on the road. They asked him if he was hard up for money. They offered to buy him a pair of running shoes. They said that they couldn’t stand to see him run like that because it seemed so painful. People were doubting his sanity.

Then winter came and he couldn’t run barefoot anymore.

At the beginning of the next outdoor running season, he had to go through the painful raw meat stage again. His feet were cracked, bleeding, and blistered. They shredded up the sheets at night.

Paul said that barefoot running felt so natural. He ran differently without shoes, the way he was meant to. He said that he had less pain in other parts of his body.

But after the second winter rolled around, he didn’t want to go through the painful raw meat stage again. So, he broke down and bought minimalist shoes. They looked like water shoes with a separate area for each toe.

The minimalist shoes lasted forever. His one pair lasted as long as about 15 pairs of mine. After several years, they started to finally wear out. I won’t even tell you about how they smelled.

Once we got a gym membership, Paul had to buy some new shoes. Sadly, extreme minimalist shoes aren’t the in thing anymore and he couldn’t find another pair.

Paul really loved barefoot running. If we lived in a warmer climate, I know he would still be doing it today. He doesn’t like his wide feet being confined in a tight shoe.

I don’t know about you, but as for me, I will stick to my Saucony’s.

But sometimes I have to wonder….if Paul has such a high tolerance of pain, then why isn’t he running marathons with me??

If running doesn’t kill me, it will make me stronger!

On my way home from work this past week, I followed a drunk driver. He was weaving all over the road, in and out of the ditch almost taking out some signs, just missing mailboxes and garbage bins. I felt anger towards the man in the truck as I thought of the school bus returning the little neighborhood kids meer minutes ago. Then it hit me. I wasn’t safe either. Neither were the other bikers or runners. 

At my last doctors appointment, I was told that I was in great shape. My already low cholesterol levels dropped 50 points. My blood pressure was low. I am the epitome of health (something I always remind the doctors of when I am sick). My weight was perfect. Absolutely everything was wonderful. I attributed this to all of my running. I thought the doctor would prescribe me cigarettes, liquor, and a sedentary lifestyle. Seriously, how else is she going to make money off of me?? Injury, well yes, I suppose there could be that. 

There is no doubt that running has made me stronger and healthier. But my anxious mind also thought about how it could kill me. Here are my 50 ways to kill a runner:

1. Getting mauled by a bear, wolf, or dog. 

2. Getting struck by lightening. 

3. Getting overheated. Warm running days don’t happen that often in WI, but when they do we are not prepared for it. 

4. Freezing to death. 

5. Sweating to death. 

6. Tripping over my own feet and hitting my head on the control panel of my treadmill. 

7. Getting struck in the head by flying debris. This could happen when a truck carrying rocks goes over a bump or when someone tosses a beer bottle out the window. This happens, I see all of the crap that you throw out your window. 

8. Dehydration. 

9. Drunk drivers. I try to run in the mornings to avoid this problem.  

10. Dark trails in the woods that happen to be next to a gun range. What? That is a homicide waiting to happen. 

11. Getting hit by a stray bullet. 

12. Getting attacked by a swarm of angry birds or bees. You never know about the birds and the bees. 

13. Delivery drivers, they are always in a hurry. 

14. Now that I think about it, maybe my mail carrier. She never smiles or waves. 

15. Getting caught in white out conditions from snow and getting lost or hit by a car. 

16. Getting hit by a car. 

17. Getting hit by a car!!

18. Getting hit by a car!!!  At least you have a chance of outrunning the rapist. 

19. Getting swept away by a tornado. 

20. Did I mention flash floods?

21. Slipping on ice and bumping my head. 

22. Those service truck guys who ask for directions. 

23. Electrocution from downed power lines. 

24. Running so fast that people don’t seem to see you. 

25. Items that fall from overhanging trees. 

26. Trying to save a cat from getting hit by a car and getting hit by a car. 

27. New drivers. 

28. Old drivers. 

29. Getting hit by a train. 

30. Getting an infection from all of the chaffing. 

31. Getting West Nile, malaria, or Lyme’s Disease from bugs attracted to a sweaty stinky body. 

32. A deadly sunburn. 

33. Being scared to death by a runner that sneaks up behind you. 

34. Choking on rehydration products. 

35. The smell of stinky sweaty running clothes is enough to kill someone alone. 

36. Getting hit by a school bus due to kids distracting the driver. 

37. Training for a marathon. 

38. Infected bloody toenails 

39. Getting pneumonia from running in the rain. 

40. Running in the dark. 

41. Running barefoot and stepping on dirty needles. 

42. Idiot drivers that are texting. 

43. Women who are doing their hair or makeup while driving because they are late for work again. 

44. New parents distracted by a crying baby or the kid who snuck out of his car seat again. 

45. Is there really nothing good on the radio people who veer the direction they are changing their radio station in. 

46. Did I tell you about the wooded trails?

47. Creepy guys in white unmarked vans. 

48. People so in love they can’t keep their eyes on the road. 

49. Falling over in exhaustion. 

50. Seriously, do you know hard it was coming up with 50 ways to kill a runner???

I used to think that running would prolong my life, but now I am not so sure. 


Get a clue

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As a runner, I cringe every time I see this picture. In my former life, I was an actress. Ok, I had several lead parts in community theater to be more accurate. I wore these shoes when I played the part of Ms. Scarlett in Clue. It was my favorite part. I loved the character, I loved the music. It was one of the best times in my life. I walked in those shoes for 8 shows. I even dyed my hair dark brown. I got to make out on stage with Mr. Green, played by my husband. People asked us after the show if we were married to each other because if we weren’t we wouldn’t be married much longer. We had the chemistry. It was wonderful. 

But things weren’t always wonderful. Sometimes there was more drama back stage than on. Like that time that my husband was cast as “the husband” and I was the maid. I hated the part of having to be a servant of my husband and his new “wife”. The new wife was my age, beautiful, and outgoing. She demanded attention when I did not. The first time she met my husband she said to me, “your husband is so hot that I could do a little lap dance for him.” Needless to say an instant friendship wasn’t struck. That was the first time that my husband and I stepped down from a role. About a year later, his “wife” left her husband for another guy that she had a part with. 

I had a few other great roles; Cinderella, Glinda the Good, and the Sour Kangeroo (Seussical). We also had our whole family involved, it was great. My husband played the part of Scrooge and my son was Tiny Tim. Those were the days. 

Last night I watched my daughter perform as Alice in Alice in Wonderland. She is now filling out college applications for musical theater. She started at age 8 as a dwarf in the performance Snow White. Since then she has been in 30+ shows. There is nothing in the world like watching your daughter perform. It makes me miss the stage. I will be back. But I will not be wearing 3 inch heels. I wonder if I can perform in running shoes? 

“Run” way model feet

This week my husband and I went to a concert for a date night. I decided to dress up for the occasion. Being a hard core runner, this tends to be more of a problem than you might think. You see, I can’t really get away with wearing my running shoes with a dress. Maybe I could get away with it if I was running late for the show. Haha.

When I became a serious runner, I decided to give up the stiletto heels. I no longer wanted to wear shoes that could in any way harm my precious running feet. Without healthy feet, I have nothing to run on. Yes, high heels are extremely sexy. No, I haven’t given them away yet. I can’t stand to be barefoot. So, that pretty much leaves athletic shoes or slippers. Slippers can be dangerous too. This week I tripped over a rug while wearing them and fell into my sliding glass door. I also stubbed my toe. Good thing I am not a dancer.

So, when we went to the concert I was forced to wear dress shoes that pinch my feet, my left more so than my right foot. The seats were staggered back at the concert and I sat at an end seat with no one directly in front of me. During the concert, I thought I was being discrete when I took off my left shoe. The guy in front of us kept looking over at my feet. Then he started taking pictures. 

At intermission, the guy turned around and started talking to me. He said that he didn’t mean to stare at my feet the whole show, but did I ever think about being a foot model. He talked about how he noticed I took off my left shoe and not the right. He liked the shape of my feet. Nothing like sitting near a drunk guy with a foot fetish!

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Here is a picture of my feet. Now imagine them in a darkly lit room with strobe lights. Not bad, definately model material. Well except that my summer nail polish is half worn off. Oh, and I might lose a couple of nails next time I run a marathon. Will that be a problem? I guess I won’t quit my day job anytime soon. Oh well.

After talking more about my perfect feet and tripping over his beer cans, he seemed to notice that I was not alone. Now my husband is this big, burly, muscular man. The guy looked over at Paul and got a little nervous. “Oh man, is that your wife?” “Sorry man, I didn’t mean anything by it.” “Are we good, man?” This is always followed by high fives. I think that it would be funny, just once, for Paul to act really jealous and pissed off when guys hit on me or compliment me. He sure can put the fear of God into people.

When my son and his friend got into trouble a couple of months back, his friend’s mom threatened him with my husband. “No please, don’t make me talk to Paul,” he cried. Then he confessed to every bad thing he ever did with my son since 2008. It works great. 

Nothing like modeling feats and run way model feet.