Paleo, Running Thoughts

The Tabata


It’s kind of a thing in running, if you want to run farther, start running farther. Do some Long Slow Distance (LSD) running. If you want to run faster, start running faster— sprint.

Enter the Tabata protocol. Part of the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) family, the Tabata Protocol is a four minute intense all out sprint program created by Dr. Izumi Tabata (The guy has at least one sneaker and one workout style named after him so you know he’s a fitness badass – alright, I did some further research and the sneaker thing is not true and he self named the workout so this entire paren is false). The protocol consists of 20 seconds all out sprint and 10 seconds of rest, cycled 8 times. It is said to have aerobic, anaerobic, and metabolic benefits that are ongoing hours after the workout is over.

So that’s 20 seconds on, and 10 seconds off. Sounds like a piece of cake when reading a report sitting in an Ikea POÄNG chair. Actually executing it on the street is a totally different challenge.  Not only did it challenge me physically, it also completely challenged me mentally. I carefully noted the bargaining, begging, and pleading my mind experienced as I went through this four minute torture session. If there is bargaining, begging, and pleading, then I’m pretty sure this form of exercise can be labeled as torture. It’s only four minutes though, and it will stop, and I will reap those sweet, sweet benefits hours after the workout has completed. I’m committed to it. It’s how I  keep myself in the optimum physical shape I so enjoy. 

Here for your reading pleasure is my tortured mind going through it’s gymnastics in one of my recent training sessions.

First interval:

3…2…1…Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (running) I am so owning this! Look at me, I’m so frickin’ fast. This session will be a piece of cake. 

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: I’m glad I get a chance to rest…

Second interval:

3…2…1…Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (running) Wait! That wasn’t ten seconds. Oh well, I’m running anyway. Got gas in the tank. Twenty seconds will be up any time now…now…no,n,n…now

…And 3…2…1…stop(10 second walk/rest)

Me: (gasping) Wait…

Third interval:

3,2,1,Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (running with less vigor) You have got to be kidding me! That was not fucking 10 seconds. I can’t make it.

SM (Subconscious Me or Sadomasochist Me, you decide): Keep running you can make it to the buzzer.

Me: Please God make the buzzer sound.

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: Gasp…Gulp…Swallow

Fourth interval:

321Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (running) Maybe this is where my heart stops. Dead runner in the road. It happened to Jim Fixx.

SM: Where’s your speed now Mr. Piece of Cake?

Me: Shut up!

SM: …or what? You’ll give me low self-esteem?

Me: Wise guy!

SM: I am.

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: I can’t take anymore. Maybe I’ll just sit the next one out.

SM: You can’t. You wouldn’t sit it out if there were a berzerking zombie behind you…

Fifth Interval:

3,2,1,Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (running) If there were a berzerking zombie behind me, I would be willing to die a glorious death

SM: You’re slowing down. Keep running.

Me: Fuck you! Okay, I will.

SM: Attaboy

Me: I swear to God this 20 seconds is getting longer and longer

SM: Keep running

Me: I am! My legs are filled with lead.

SM: At least you have legs. Use your gifts.

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: Beyond half way. I can do this

Sixth Interval:

3…2…1…Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (Running) I can’t do this.

SM: Yes you can. Run!

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: That went quickly

SM: You didn’t go all that quickly, but yes the time went quickly

Seventh Interval:

3…2…1…Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (Running) This has got to be the last one.

SM: Then give it your all. Your body hasn’t threatened to throw up yet, so go harder

Me: OMG you’re right. (Runs harder)

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: Hey, they didn’t give the completion signal. There’s another round?!? Damn it.

SM: You whine a lot. Would you like some cheese to go with that?

Eighth and final Interval:

3…2…1…Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (Running) I’ve made it to the end. Just got to get to the buzzer…I’m not going to make it.

SM: You’re going to make it.

Me: I’m not going to make it.

SM: You’re going to make it.

…And 3…2…1…stop

(10 second walk/rest)

SM: You made it.

Me: (Gasping for air) Yeah I did. (More gasping) I made it! (Walks to cool down) That was great. I should try this again tomorrow.

SM: You’re ridiculous.

Barefoot Observations, Getting involved, Race Report

Run For Charlotte (5k Fundraiser)


January 24, 2010 –

I have been in a running funk since the ground froze.  I went out for a barefoot run on wet roads and froze. I tried going out in Vibram Five Fingers and my toes got cold pretty fast. This guy, who is known as the local crazy guy in his community was wimping out big time. This is the same problem I have encountered every Vermont winter – shoes or no shoes. I wimp out in the cold.

I joke with my friends that my training regiment is  Wii fit and treadmill, except it is not really a joke. I’m not gonna knock the training regiment too hard, after all I am doing something as opposed to sitting at my desk watching youtube athletes doing the things I want to be doing (Long-boarding looks pretty cool; it’s hypnotizing.) and I have done my fair share of that as well.

As I headed into another athletically unsatisfying weekend, my stepson pointed out to me a 5k event in Vergenes, Vt. The event was a fundraiser for a family whose four month old daughter has a rare kind of cancer. This family is active in the running community and the running community was coming together to support this family. Being in a funk, I told the boy that I just couldn’t do it. I was ready to blow it off that quickly, besides we had guests, they wouldn’t understand, and I…I can come up with a million excuses.

The day of the race, I saw a friend on facebook had posted that he was participating in the event. Seeing this, something shifted in me. I was going to do this even if I had to wear…gasp…dare I say it…running shoes. I haven’t worn running shoes in almost a year. I have put them on a couple of times to quickly go into a store, they just don’t work anymore; my feet have widened and they are not happy about being shoved into a tight box. Then my wife, the light of my life, the brain that fills in the empty space between my ears, suggested I wear wool socks. This hit me like a two by four across my fore head.

When I first heard of barefoot running a friend of mine had told me of this guy he used to race with who was known throughout the Connecticut running community, Charlie “Doc” Robbins. This guy didn’t invest in moisture wicking  high tech running garments, or shoes. He would wear a ripped pair of cotton shorts and bare feet, if it got cold Doc would run in a pair of socks (The New York Times also has an interesting article on him).

After I was assaulted by this revelation, I realized I was going to be able to run this event on my terms – barefoot. I scrambled to gather my gear, while I explained myself to our guests (who when hearing donated to the cause).

A quick aside, I was given a Flip video camera for the holidays, so I grabbed that as part of my gear to document the event. I love the camera. It’s easy to use, but the editing  program that comes with it is overly simplistic and there are not many editors that seem to work or work well with the MP4 format.

Doing this event was great. I am often surprised at how many people know me or know of my running antics. I am happy to talk up running barefoot style (my brand of kung fu). It certainly showed me I am more resilient in the cold (and in life) than I think. Many people told me they found me inspiring, and I get it. I get inspired myself.

If you at all feel moved to help this family out you can send donations to:

Kim Palmer
42 East Street
Vergennes Vt 05491

Make checks payable to:

Vergennes Congregational Church

Getting involved

Girls on the Run

I just listened to a podcast featuring a program called Girls on the Run. This is a nonprofit organization that encourages preteen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running.

From my understanding, this program brings young girls together through regular gatherings and works on building self esteem and fitness. Eventually theses classes culminate into the girls participating in a 5k that emphasizes unity as opposed to competition.

Girls on the Run’s mission: To educate and prepare girls for a life time of self-respect and healthy living.

This is a fantastic program. I know kids who have participated and have really enjoyed the process. On the podcast there was a 9 year old girl who sounded so strong in who she was; she attributed her strength to this program.

So if you have elementry to middle school aged girls in your life, I highly recomend getting involved.

Here is the website:

Race Report

5k Stampede for the cure of Cystic Fibrosis – Bristol VT

Not quite awake, but ready to run
Not quite awake, but ready to run

This is the third anniversary of the first race I ever ran. My stepson and I got up early on a humid Sunday morning to take part in this race. We were the first to show up at the supposed race start.  I guess we were just excited to run. While we waited for other people to show up we reclined our car seats and had one of those conversations that we usually have.

“Do you think I can drive your car a little when I get home?” “I don’t know, we’ll have to see how I feel.” “If I were an alien, I think I would make a sexy alien” “Yes, you would make a sexy alien, you nut” “Do you think running will give me sexy legs?”“Well, I like to think I have sexy legs.” “Yeah, but that’s because you started running when you were fat…Ow”

People started showing up, Erin and I got out and started to warm up. We all assembled at the starting line and the race director hadn’t show up yet. This being a small country road race, all of us runners were privy to the deep dark secrets of what went on behind the scenes. The second in command hopped on the horn to get find out where the race director was.

Game Face
Game Face

Turns out she had decided that the race start was happening on the other side of town and forgot to tell everyone else. It was ok with all of us, she had a good reason. You see, I mentioned her briefly in my race report from the fourth of July. She was the pregnant lady. Well the pregnant lady had her baby somewhere smack dab in the middle of the interval of time between that race and this race, and she was still a bit woozy from giving birth. We all hopped in our cars and drove across town to the new race start, some ran (show offs).

We all lined up again on the new start after receiving a woozy rendition of what the race course would be, and we took off. I’ll tell you what, everyone took off fast.  I found it to be startling how fast the group took off. I decided to hang back and find my own pace.  My form was more important to me than a fast time.  It didn’t take long to forget that notion and get caught up in the speed frenzy. It felt like I had relaxed into a groove and I started to pour it on. I started to pass people, and I knew my form was not suffering for it because my feet felt fine.

As I approached the first mile, I realized something was wrong. I was breathing too hard. I always have this mental checklist I am constantly running, mostly so I don’t hurt my feet, but this item is usually doesn’t show up on my list. I started wracking my brain. Panic was setting in on the bridge inside my mental “Enterprise”. Lights were flashing, sirens blaring, and crewmen Guy’s running around everywhere…

…Did I go out too fast? What is going on? I need to ease up. Why can’t I breathe? This doesn’t normaly happen…Scotty, half throttle…

I eased off my pace to allow myself to catch my breath. I heard the last person I passed start to creep up behind me. I let him pass. Then I hit a rock right on the ball of my foot, and it hurt more than any other rock has hurt; another blow to my not so stable mental attitude. I throttled back more and started a stream of dialogue to make myself relax. All this took me  up to mile two.

My breath seemed to be fragile for the rest of the race. I would start to feel better, surge a little stronger, get winded, then throttle back. I was doing everything I could to keep a positive attitude.

Another racer caught up to me on the last leg of the race and she was huffing and puffing hard. I thought it would be good just to give her some encouragement.

“You’re doing Great..keep going”

“Not as good as you because you are running at a disadvantage.”

bitch; “Oh no, barefoot is not a disadvantage at all…Good luck”

I let her pass and get ahead a little. I then surged up and passed her only to get winded and throttle back again. She passed me for the last time. I was really hurting mentally, I had one last big surge in me.

As I rounded the corner to meet the greeting crowd at the finish line, I punched it. I sailed across the line at a blistering 29:32, a minute and a half slower than my last race. If you watch the video below, you will see me almost crash into the lady who said I was running at a disadvantage (actually, I live in a small town and she will probably see it too, if she does, then I really didn’t mean what I said above). I walked to cool down fighting the urge to throw up, nothing alarming there, I always feel that 30 sec – 1 minute after I finish a race. Some day I may just let go and yack just to see what happens.

When I collected my wits, I caught up with my family. Erin told me a guy with a GPS said the course was actually longer than a 5k and everyone’s times were two minutes slower than their norm. My wife brought me lots of water and my step daughter took all the pictures and video (Thanks for the support, guys). In the end, I walked away with a prize; a tote bag. How’s that for a barefoot guy in a kilt?

If I were to analyze what was going on for me with my breathing, I would guess, that as loose as I was keeping the lower half of my body, I was holding some kind of tension elsewhere which was causing me to get winded. Races will do that to me if I don’t keep an eye out for it.

Happy running.

It's a major award...a man purse.
It's a major award...a man purse.
Barefoot Observations

Barefoot Running

I made the announcement around this time on facebook that I was going to be performing an experiment. I was going to start running barefoot, on pavement, no shoes, you know, barefoot.

Back when I started running a couple of years ago, someone sent me an add for the Vibram 5 finger shoe . It was a foot/glove type of shoe with a pocket for each individual toe that would allow a runner to go near barefoot while having a protective barrier to keep their feet from getting punctured. I remember Zola Budd running barefoot in the ’80s but she was from Africa and they don’t know any better. I told my running friend about the 5 fingers and he told me to look up Charlie “Doc” Robbins. I did at that and saw he was from the state I grew up in, Connecticut. I don’t know why Charlie being from Connecticut gave barefoot running any credibility, but it stuck in my head and just rolled around like a red sock in the dryer.

As you might be able to tell from the lack of posts in this blog, my running got stale over the last year and it was beginning to look like the staleness was going to permeate into this year’s running season. Running was starting to hurt and I could not get the momentum going, not to mention that I had put on a good twenty lbs. Then I saw a news story featuring this crazy dude (Rick Roeber) who ran the Boston Marathon barefoot. Then someone showed me an article in Men’s Health magazine featuring a tribe of indians in Mexico that lived on chia seeds, bean burritos, and a corn meal stuff called pinole and they regularly ran hundreds of miles wearing slabs of tires on their feet fashioned into sandals. I was intrigued. Right after that I stumbled across an article on the Digg website that suggested maybe our running shoes are doing nothing to prevent us from getting injured, in fact they might even promote injury. That was the last straw. I needed to give it a try and so I tweeted my intention to all of my friends and went on my first run.

Bold new experiment today. I ran a mile…barefoot…on pavement! Feet are raw(understandably), but it felt alright. More experiments coming I am planning to keep going with this.

Something tells me this is a road I need to travel (No pun intended).