170 Miles Barefoot on the John Muir Trail

Last year I set out to complete the John Muir Trail (JMT) with a twist.  I’d hike it barefoot.  Why?  Barefoot is simple.  Natural.  Intense.  Every step is an adventure.  But the terrain was more difficult than I expected.  Out of the JMT’s total distance of 211 miles, I completed 150 miles barefoot, or about 70%.

This year I came back determined to do the whole thing.

The following is an account of what happened, written with three audiences in mind.  First, of course, hardcore barefoot hikers looking for a challenge.  Second, conventional hikers.  Presumably these people do not wear boots to the beach, so therefore I thought they might enjoy going barefoot where the trails are soft and sandy, putting on shoes when rocks appear.  Call it a hybrid approach.  Third, I had in mind the woman I encountered last year, descending from Donahue Pass (11,066 feet).  She said her feet were so sensitive she couldn’t tolerate going barefoot in the bathroom.  She won’t try it, but I thought she might be curious what it’s like. Continue reading “170 Miles Barefoot on the John Muir Trail”

170 Miles Barefoot on the John Muir Trail

I Feel a Need, a Need for Speed

Whether it’s a 5k or a half-marathon, I love to race, which means I’m always looking for ways to run faster.  So it was with great interest that I read a copy of Ultimate Speed Secrets by Ross Bentley.  To be sure, this book was not written specifically for runners.  Rather, it was written for high performance and race car drivers.  But no matter what the sport, you’d think speed would depend on the same principles, or at least similar ones.

Credit:  allracingcars.com
Credit: allracingcars.com

What is the secret to becoming a winning race car driver?  According to Ross Bentley, the secret is to drive consistently “at the limit.”  This means fully utilizing the traction of the tires.  Or put differently, driving as fast as possible just short of losing control.

Continue reading “I Feel a Need, a Need for Speed”

I Feel a Need, a Need for Speed