5,000 Miles Barefoot

Last May I reported on reaching the 4,000th mile of barefoot hiking and running since starting the practice almost five years ago.  Last week, the finish line of the Knob Hills Trail Race marked mile 5,000.

When I started, barefoot was primarily an experiment, to see if the practice would improve my form and reduce the risk of injury.  However, there was also in the back of my mind the idea that for an aging athlete it might not be a bad idea to embrace shorter distances and a slower pace, as would necessarily be the case without shoes.

The surprise was how much fun it’s been to run and hike without shoes.  I found that the barefoot practice taught me better agility and balance and a lighter step and turned every hike or run into an adventure.  Because barefoot’s more fun, I no longer train in shoes unless there’s snow or ice or too much gravel for me to handle, although I still wear shoes at work and other places where they’re expected….

Continue reading “5,000 Miles Barefoot”

5,000 Miles Barefoot

Knob Hills Trail Race

By way of background, I’d registered for this race a year ago, curious about the trail, only to find out a few weeks later that it was canceled.  Evidently the Knob Hills Trail is maintained by mountain-bikers, and when conditions turn muddy, they close the trails to prevent erosion.  The race was rescheduled to January 18, 2020, and my prior registration rolled over automatically.

For barefoot runners, the nature of the trail matters for the obvious reason that smooth dirt or sharp-edged rocks have different implications for speed and thus goals and  strategy.  Since this race would take place on the northwestern shore of Grapevine Lake, I imagined a mix of sand and dirt with some crumbled limestone strata, which is what I’d experienced on the lake’s southeastern shore, where I’d participated in the Rockledge Rumble…. Continue reading “Knob Hills Trail Race”

Knob Hills Trail Race