Running Thoughts

Spring Run Training Redux

I wrote this post yesterday. I was, in my opinion complaining about having to start over. I was grousing about how long and dank winter in Vermont was. Winter was like a dungeon and yesterday I was that creaky prisoner released with the squinty eyes of one who has not seen light for a decade.

I woke up this morning glad I made the effort and a voice called out from the depths, it was very quiet as it was so far away, “do it again”.

I had to chuckle. I dismissed it. “Oh, you little imp. I need to recover from yesterdays exertions. I am older now and don’t heal like I used to. Now run along.”

The irony is not missed. I told the voice that was telling me to run to take a hike.

I moved through my day and the voice kept repeating like a mantra, “do it again”.

I was starting to get agitated. I can’t possibly put my body through that again. I was pretty sore last night, but not really today.

“do it again”

Alright voice. I’ll show you. You know you are going to crap out after I put on the shorts, lace up the shoes, and apply the anti chafe regiment.

Out the door I went. It was 65° today. The sun warmed my skin and felt like the breath of an intimate. Trepidation evolved into this pleasant feeling. My legs felt like a newborn colt standing, a bit of unsteady and wobble. Whenever I have seen a video of the newborn foal rising for the first time, it is always a joyful celebration for the observer, not an anxiety ridden pox on the devil for making this necessary. I had a bit of that same joy.

I ran my intervals, exhilarated at those moments when I ticked off each next achieved goal.

At run’s end. I conceded and apologized to the voice of which I was so dismissive. I thought I might be crazy for going out and trying to run again (I don’t think I am crazy for arguing with inner voices). I had run the day before and was convinced it had harmed me. I alluded I didn’t love it anymore. Today I did.

Running Thoughts

I used to love this sport

Love is not the verb I would have used today as I heaved my mass down the road. Today’s training was difficult and on a grander scale, resuming spring training has been difficult. In the past I have wintered over by doing an obscene amount of pushups, pull ups, squats, or anything movie/liftie like. It is my understanding that to move is to live and to stop moving pushes us through the back 9 quicker. I continually ask myself why I do the things I do. If I catch myself responding that I want to try to look like Hunky McSteamer in Impossible Standards Magazine, I encourage myself to look again. I have a health standard to which I aspire and it’s not that. I want to tie my shoes without losing my breath, climb stairs without feeling like I’ve summited Everest, stand and sit without extreme protest from the knees, be able to lift my body from various positions.  All the handstands and other crazy things I tend to do are just fun things I like to do. They are not part of that standard. This winter was really hard for me. I didn’t move at all. I was depressed and couldn’t summon the gumption to do anything. I really understood my depression and did many good things in the face of it, but it was startling that I couldn’t get myself to move. The sun has gotten higher in the sky, it warms my skin and melts the snow and ice even on the colder days. I have started to feel the pull to move again. It’s a relief. I missed it. The tough part is it feels like I am starting from scratch; like the first time I ever tried to run. I have done it before and I am ready to do it again. The truth is, I am still in way better shape than when I did try to run for the first time. I can hit most of those points in my standard. I feel fortunate about that. I am really curious to see where this season takes me because I feel like a new person ready to relive old experiences with a new mindset. Today I went for a run. I felt like a bag of meat lurching down the road. It won’t be like this forever, just for now. If you have your own experience of not being able to live up to your personal standard, or if you have had to start something at which you excelled over, I would love to hear about it in the comments.

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.

Running Thoughts

Running Thoughts


When I go out for a solo run or walk, my brain comes alive. Ideas and poetry-like mantras spill into my thoughts as I travel through space, propelled by my feet. I believe they are pieces that have meaning to me. The meaning is not always clear. Days later it might make sense as that puzzle piece clicks into place. I’ve started to capture them in the voice memo app on my iPhone and repost them here.


As a human being
we come into this world
and all we want to do  accelerate.
Right from the get go,
once we realize we have a body
with limbs,
limbs to propel us
all we want to do is accelerate.
We go from laying on our backs
flailing at the air
to rolling over
to crawling
to cruising
to walking
to running
to flying
We get to a point where we go so fast
our toes barely remain in contact with the ground.
And then the scale tips.
Life starts slowing us down.
We accelerate
just to keep ourselves
from slowing down too fast.
We suddenly realize there is an inevitable.
We have memories of being able to soar.
We have memories of actually soaring.
Now, it’s a fight to stay aloft.
Fighting all the way
we are back on our backs.
Back to the Earth.

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:

Barefoot Observations

Objects Embeded

I have had two things embed in my feet. One was a piece of glass…erm…in my kitchen. I missed it cleaning up shards from one of the kids broken glasses from the night before. I thought it ironic the real danger was at home and not on the street. The other was a splinter of some sort. Took it right in the arch and was far enough away from any place to have the tools to remove it. Every step was a stinging reminder there was a splinter in my arch. I finally sat down and got creative, using a rock with a pointy edge to remove it. There was a wierd sense of primal accomplishment in dealing with that issue. Totally caveman! I ran home and washed my foot well. No problems since.

Incidentally the splinter incident also happened away from the road. It was on a walkway leading to a high school track.