From the monthly archives:

September 2010

Chicago: Anyone up for 12-pack?

by Christopher on September 22, 2010

On Thursday, Sept 23, at 7pm, I’ll be speaking at The Book Stall in Winnetka, Ill.
And that same day at noon, it’s supposed to be gloriously sunny and cool and perfect for a long run around Lake Shore Drive. I know it’s the middle of a work day and super short notice, but if anyone is up for a two-hour or so run, shoot me an email. I’d appreciate the company, not to mention figuring out where I’m going (on a recent trip to San Fran, I got lost while running to the event and came panting through the door about 90 seconds before showtime).
I’ll be at the corner of Belden and N. Lincoln Park (right down the street from the zoo) at noon. Totally spur-of-the-moment — no doughnuts and drummers this time.

First! Annual! New York City! Barefoot Fiesta!

by Christopher on September 21, 2010

That’s a lot of ADHD punctuation but all for a good cause. John and Maggie Durant, the brother-sister team who have become national leaders of hunter-gatherer athleticism and also helped mastermind our epic Harlem-Brooklyn Barefoot Run, are about to stage an encore: The 1st Annual New York City Barefoot Run, an event which Vegas odds already have at even money to become the Woodstock of Wild Human Animal Mayhem. Just look at who’s going to be there:
*Dr. Daniel Lieberman, “The Barefoot Professor,” who — while secretly disguised as the mild-mannered head of evolutionary biology at Harvard University — helped create the groundbreaking “Running Man” theory of human development and gave credibility to all us oddballs darting about in bare feet.

*Barefoot Ted McDonald: Fresh from his star-turning adventures in “Born to Run”, Barefoot Ted has been teaching his technique across the U.S. and Europe and recently smoked the Leadville Trail 100 in a pair of his own handmade huaraches — The Lunas — only taking them off, according to logic only logical to Ted’s Higher Monkey Consciousness, to climb the nastiest summit on the course in his bare feet.

BFT and me, his pack mule for the final four hours at Leadville.

*Erwan Le Corre: creator of MovNat, the natural movement technique that has wowed everyone from Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters to NASA astronauts-in-training.

The only thing wrong with this event, as far as I’m concerned, is that I can’t make it. So go, have a blast, and make me squirm with jealousy. Everything you need to know is here, including a killer flyer that I wish I could figure out how to embed.

“Born To Run,” Back on Tour

by Christopher on September 9, 2010

I’m going to be visiting a bunch of places around the country this fall, and hopefully sneaking in a run wherever I land. Here’s my schedule for the next week or so:

Saturday, Sept. 11: Winston-Salem, NC. Bookmarks Festival of Books.
**I’m also meeting some NC runners for a loop around Salem Lake at 8am. If you can make it, we’re meeting at the Fishing Station.

Monday, Sept. 13: San Diego, CA. Warwick’s Bookstore, 7:30 pm
7812 Girard Ave.
La Jolla, CA 92037

Tues, Sept 14: San Francisco, CA. Jewish Community Center, 7pm

Wed, Sept 15: Wayzata, Minnesota. Gear West, 6:30 pm
**We’re also having a group run across town before the event.

Chris -

Hopefully you get this email. I wanted to thank you for your book as you truly have saved me from surgery and reenergized my running. I have been very active my whole life, wrestling year round (running sprints barefoot during high school) and the Marine Corp (all training done in combat boots that have no cushion), but never was a runner. In 2008, I decided to take up running after my wife ran a marathon and I began training for the Marine Corp marathon in DC (I live about an hour north in MD). Nine weeks into training I developed very painful plantar fasciitis. Fast forward 2 years and I’ve still been suffering from the same fasciitis in my right foot. Every time I get over 10 miles a week it comes back, eventually getting bad enough that I have to stop running for a while. Almost four weeks ago now I finally gave in and decided to schedule endoscopic survey to cut the plantar fascia with the hope of finally being able to get back to training aggressively with the hope of one day competing competitively before I’m too old (29yrs old now so I’ve been worried my best years are passing me by with this injury).

At the same time my father bought your book, read it in 2 days then called me because he thought it was funny that you wrote the book to answer the same question, “why does my foot hurt?” We began talking about barefoot running and the concept behind it and the problem with money hungry shoe companies and their cushioning. For quick background, in 2008, when I went to see my first podiatrist he told me, following x-rays, that my feet “are really screwed up” and that I shouldn’t ever go without “quality” running shoes on…even while walking in the house. So since August 2008 I haven’t went anywhere besides the shower and bed without shoes on.

After my talk with my dad, I agreed to cancel the surgery and to try barefoot walking. For 10 days all I did was walk around the house barefoot. I even ripped out the insoles of my dress shoes so I didn’t have any cushion. That next weekend I went and bought the Vibram FiveFinger TrekSport shoes and went for my first run. My normal gait is a mid-foot strike, so I had to force myself in 2008 to do a heel-strike when I started running following advice from another runner. Wearing the Vibrams immediately brought me back to my natural stride. I ran 2.8 miles that day and it felt great. I got up the next morning and had ZERO pain in the foot! I couldn’t believe it. Two days later I did 6 miles and ran three of those at an 8:05 pace (I had to force myself to slow down and ease into barefoot running).

That was two weeks ago and over the course of the past week I’ve ran over 15 miles and I’ve had to keep myself from doing more. I have NO pain in my foot, no tightness in my calf…nothing hurts for the first time in 2yrs!

So I just wanted to say thanks for your hard work and dedication to the truth about running as it’s changed my life. I was on the edge of letting science cut me open, only to find out that all I had to do was throw away the 3 pairs of running shoes and go nearly-barefoot.

Thanks again and I hope we meet some time.

Michael Rossi

10,000-year-old Red Bull

by Christopher on September 8, 2010

I know why I got such a jolt out of iskiate, the Tarahumara’s Stone Age energy brew, when I was down in the Copper Canyons — I was dehydrated and hurting for calories. So was Carl Lumholtz, the great Norwegian explorer, when he explored Tarahumara country in the 1800s and took his first stunned swallows:
“I arrived late one afternoon at a cave where a woman was just making this drink,” Lumholtz wrote. “I was very tired and at a loss how to climb the mountain-side to my camp, some 2,000 feet above. But after having satisfied my hunger and thirst with some iskiate,” he went on, “I at once felt new strength, and, to my own astonishment, climbed the great height without much effort. After this I always found iskiate a friend in need, so strengthening and refreshing that I may almost claim it as a discovery.”

Witch's brew starter kit.

Recently, New York Daily News columnist Lauren Johnston has been experimenting with her own home-brewed Tarahumara Red Bull. Her reaction mirrored mine: You seriously expect me to drink this gunk?, followed by Holy moly! It works!
Meanwhile, over at Runningquest.net, Clynton adds his own gourmet version.

Angela Raines got a super upclose seat at the Boulder Book Store talk, but it didn’t come cheap. “I got to sit cross-legged on the floor,” she reports, “inches away from the author’s very own, bare and slightly grimey, feet.” (I’d gone on a dusty trail run that afternoon in a pair of Barefoot Ted’s exquisite “Luna” huaraches. Fantastic performance on gnarly terrain, little less so for foot spiffiness). But Angela soldiered on, and came away with some truly inspired and beautifully expressed insights. She’s more than earned a chair next time.

BTR on “Here on Earth”

by Christopher on September 2, 2010

Thanks to Wisconsin public radio and the excellent host of “Here on Earth,” I got the chance to tell the story behind the story of Born to Run