10,000 Miles Barefoot

How irritating — that they would spread salt so liberally everywhere, not only in the streets, but on the smooth white sidewalks where I’d planned to run (and not a patch of snow in sight).  Later I asked my Mom — she didn’t know, but agreed it must have been the City, which forced me to consider the possibility that the local population was so lacking in balance and agility that a late November snow-dusting was seen as potential calamity.  In any case, due to the salt I cut my run short at 4 miles instead of 5 and stepped into a favorite coffee shop for my morning cappuccino, only to be confronted by a young woman behind the counter.  I saw a pale white face, light-blue surgical mask, and a pair of hazel eyes glaring at me. 

“We can’t serve you — it’s the health code.”

With raised eyebrow —  “In Illinois.  Really?”

“Even if it’s not against the law, it’s our right.”

So I left. 

Once back at my hotel, I opened laptop, entered the mileage in my training log, and saw I’d finally crossed the boundary — I’d just passed my 10,000th mile of barefoot hiking, walking, and running.  And then I went back out, still searching for my morning coffee….

Continue reading “10,000 Miles Barefoot”

10,000 Miles Barefoot

Hyper-reality and the Desert of the Real

Flying into LaGuardia, the City shimmering outside the airplane window — labyrinth of light beneath squid-ink sky.  Bridges spanning black waters, buildings silhouetted against dark vistas, boulevards radiating in concentric directions. Circuit board of the digital economy.

“City of hurried and sparkling waters!” sang Walt Whitman, “city of spires and masts!  City nested in bays! my city!”

But it’s not my city.  Not anymore.  Never really was… Continue reading “Hyper-reality and the Desert of the Real”

Hyper-reality and the Desert of the Real

Homeless in Dallas

Black tarmac slips into view — tires impact — with jolt and bounce we arrive.  I’ve left New York behind, and with it, family, friends, routines, familiar places – in a word, I’ve left behind my home.  Traded it for a city with a herd of larger-than-life bronze bulls and a brassy sun.  By the way, I like it here fine.  For a two-week stay, anyway.  The issue is, splitting my time between two places – not to mention other travel too – leaves me feeling spread a little thin.  Like Bilbo Baggins, who told Gandalf, “‘Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread.”  Then he briefed Gandalf on his plan: to leave his home in the Shire, to see the mountains one last time, to find a place to rest, and maybe finish writing his book. Continue reading “Homeless in Dallas”

Homeless in Dallas

More Nature, Less Technology

“You’ll be the troublemaker.” Arif gave me a sly look as he guided me to a far corner of the restaurant, and I nodded, because surely life is too short for small talk.

There were six of us seated at the table.  Four middle-aged women — each one attractive, intelligent, engaging, successful.  A quiet-spoken serious young man with a shock of brown hair.  And me, wearing camouflage-colored Yankees cap and a few days’ worth of stubble.

This was an “intergenerational dinner,” hosted by the Hoot Owl, a cozy restaurant in upstate New York with a loyal local following.  The event was organized around a series of questions designed to elicit discussion.

Anne had been tasked as the table’s guide, and now she opened with the first question – what makes you feel most alive? Continue reading “More Nature, Less Technology”

More Nature, Less Technology

Barefoot on the JMT – 2022

After three years and three attempts, this summer I finally completed the 211-mile John Muir Trail entirely without shoes.  Whether sensible or not, that was my objective all along.  As my friend Mat reminded me, when I ran in to him at Red’s Meadow, “finishing what you start is a good habit to get into.”  And then a few seconds later I realized that’s what I told him — in 2021 when he’d seen me struggling on Glen Pass, shortly before I gave up and pulled on shoes.  So throughout my 2022 journey, especially when things got tough, I kept thinking to myself how much better it would be to report to Matt a successful outcome, rather than explaining why I failed again.

I’m working on a detailed write-up, which is quickly expanding to book-size length, adding to a great mountain of material that awaits the light of day.  For now, this post contains links to a number of short videos I filmed while walking down the trail.  You can also access these videos on my YouTube channel. Continue reading “Barefoot on the JMT – 2022”

Barefoot on the JMT – 2022

Mike Valentino’s 70-mile SRT Race Report

This is a guest post by 2022 SRT 70-mile finisher Mike Valentino

It’s been 3 weeks since the race.  As I look back on my experience all I can say is, WOW!  First of all, I can’t believe I finished. It was the hardest race I’ve ever participated in – between the distance, terrain and having a minimalist format.

 At the start, I really had no idea if I could complete the task at hand. When I signed up for the SRT, my wife said “you’re crazy!” and “why didn’t you sign up for the 30 mile event?”. I knew I could go 30… but 70 miles?  Continue reading “Mike Valentino’s 70-mile SRT Race Report”

Mike Valentino’s 70-mile SRT Race Report

Mike Morton’s 2022 70-mile SRT Race Report

This is a guest post by 70-mile finisher Mike Morton

The following is a basic report of my race which mostly includes how I felt, my planning, what went right and what went wrong.  I love both Russ’ report and Kate’s report for their insights into the course.

A huge thank you to Ken, Todd and all the volunteers on the SRT Race team.  Everything was extremely well organized.  Everyone was super friendly and helpful throughout. Continue reading “Mike Morton’s 2022 70-mile SRT Race Report”

Mike Morton’s 2022 70-mile SRT Race Report

Kate Shumeyko’s 70-mile Race Report

This is a guest post by Kate Shumeyko, who won the 2019 30-mile division.

After teaching a full day of school on Friday, I raced home, changed, grabbed my gear and our overnight bags for Saturday night, dropped my kids and dogs to my parents, and then Paul and I headed to High Point.  We decided to eat “car sushi” as my pre-race meal- I kept mine very bland with no raw fish and though the salt and carbs would sit well.  I’ve run ultras before eating veggie sushi during the race- so I was pretty confident this would work.  Not sure if this is what would mess my stomach up later on or just all of the sugar I would be consuming but it was going to be a very long, uncomfortable night ahead…. Continue reading “Kate Shumeyko’s 70-mile Race Report”

Kate Shumeyko’s 70-mile Race Report

Barbara Evan’s 30-mile SRT Race Report

This is a guest post by Barbara Evans, who successfully ran the 30-mile SRT in 2022

After volunteering at the finish line of the 2021 SRT, I couldn’t get the race out of my head. Having lived in New Paltz for a number of years, then completing a section-hike of the Long Path in 2021, I thought maybe I could do the 30 (70 was out of the question). In the winter of 2022, I started getting out on various sections of the course, to see if I really thought I could do it – I’d do an out and back, add a mile or so each time. After about 2 months of that, knowing the generous cut-offs, I went all-in…

Continue reading “Barbara Evan’s 30-mile SRT Race Report”

Barbara Evan’s 30-mile SRT Race Report

Russ Dresher’s 2022 SRT 70-Mile Race Report

This is a guest post by Russ Dresher, winner of the 2022 SRT Run 70-mile division, and course record-holder (he won the race in 2021)

SRT Family

Thanks to all the volunteers that made this event possible. A special thanks to all the firefighters who battled the fires in Minnewaska State Park leading up to the event. For your work, you certainly earned a seat at the SRT family table. Of course, an extra special thanks to Ken and Todd for all that you do. You organize and put on one heck of an event. Your welcoming attitude is one of the main reasons I decided to run this race for the second year in a row. Congrats as well to all the runners. This course is no joke. Feel proud for however far you went or what your finishing time was. Welcome to the SRT family! Continue reading “Russ Dresher’s 2022 SRT 70-Mile Race Report”

Russ Dresher’s 2022 SRT 70-Mile Race Report