Caity from RunBarefootGirl.com recently sent me some questions for her site. I was happy to answer. I'm putting them here for the curious. Her site is very interesting. I'm going to link her here. She has a big picture, historical, outlook on barefoot running, and also talks about the barefoot lifestyle, which I'm a supporter of. Enjoy.
You've been blogging since 2009 - what inspired you to start? Your
passion for running? Something else?
I started blogging soon after I started running barefoot. It was, and still is, and experiment. I had been interested in blogging, but didn’t, because I didn’t feel I had anything unique to offer. My philosophy about a blog is it must have a unique ‘thing’, and idea or twist, something beyond just ‘I did this today’. The first things I posted were some essays I’d been working on about barefoot running, and the reason why I started, but then I ran a race and decided to just right about that one event, and that’s been the focus of the blog, mostly. This year I’ve run a lot more races than previous years, so my blog posts are up!
I like writing about the action, and my thought process(es), and even though they may be filled with action, I also try to reflect on what worked, and what didn’t, and to share with others my mistakes. But, I think it’s the action that people really like, and that’s fine. I now have 30 followers, most of whom I don’t know. I’m glad to have inspired people to try barefoot running.
What's the craziest thing that's ever happened to you while bf running?
At first I’d say it was that whispered comments at races, by people who thought I couldn’t hear them (although I also have a theory that they actually want me to hear them, so they can know that they really do think I’m crazy!)
After that, ‘crazy’ moments might be the ‘firsts’, like first barefoot marathon, first barefoot trail marathon, first barefoot 50K. I recently did two 50M, one of which, the Woodstock, was a complete mudfest! The other, Dances With Dirt, I have to walk upstream through a river, and walk through a lake! Those were wearing VFFs.
It looks like you mostly run bf - is that right? Do you have a fav
minimalist shoe brand? Do you go bf when you're not running?
Yes, mostly, though this Summer/Fall I tried ultra-marathons: Burning River, Woodstock, and Dances With Dirt, all of which I ran in VFF KSOs.
I’m not sure I’m entirely a fan of VFFs, though they’ve served me well. They’re good for trail running, but my feet end up hurting if I have to run on level pavement. They just kill the sensitivity in my feet.
I also have a pair of Barefoot Ted’s Luna huaraches, which are thinner than the KSOs, and more comfortable in warm weather. For any regular non-race running where I feel the need to use footwear, like when my feet are just too raw, I opt for the Lunas, but for races the VFFs are better. Lunas don’t work well went wet.
Also: A friend of mine just made his own huaraches with about 5 dollars worth of material from Home Depot. I’m not sure I’d ever buy a pair of Lunas again.
Nest next purchase is probably going to be a pair of Merrills: they look like regular shoes, but have the same bottoms as VFFs. I’d like something warmer in the cold weather! VFFs are not warm at all!
I love your documenting people's responses to your bare feet. What
would you like to tell people who are barefoot-curious?
If you mean barefoot running curious, I’d urge them to go ‘all in’, and not try to switch back and forth between shoes and bare feet. There’s potential for injury there, since the running style is different for both. I’d also say give it three weeks. The guy from Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me (Peter Segal?) wrote a negative review of VFFs after only wearing them a week. His problem was that his calves ached. That’s natural because we’re using different muscles. The ache goes away after about a week.
That said, I’d also urge people to run barefoot first, then incorporate minimalist footwear if necessary. Also, ideally, try to start in warm weather!
Do you foresee a world of barefoot people - or at least bf becoming
I would love this, but I’m not sure. The corporations have really brainwashed people, to the point where going barefoot may always be considered by most people as something ‘dirty’. There are places where BFing is more acceptable. I hear Hawaii is good, and the west coast. But here in Michigan, people are pretty socially conservative. I lived in Ann Arbor and could mostly walk around barefoot, but now that I live in Jackson, I’ve had people go out of their way to get angry with me, so I’ve opted to not be as barefoot as I’d like. I do see the barefoot lifestyle becoming more popular, though I also anticipate a corporate/government crack down. It happened in the 60s.
What would you like listeners of The Living Barefoot Show podcast to
know about you?
If you’re a runner, please check out the Barefoot Running Society website! It’s nice to make connections with others, as barefoot running can be isolating: http://barefootrunners.org/
Also, please check out my blog: http://johnsbarefootrunningblog.blogspot.com/
And, please feel free to check out my website, where you can find more info about me, and read samples of my poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction: http://www.johnyohe.com/
I just got back from the New York City Barefoot Run. Any reason why you didn't go? I've participated in the Merrill Naked Foot 5K (I
noticed you attended one, too), which was so wonderful - and NY is
like that and then some. Next year?
I can’t afford it! I spent all my money going to Spain this summer! The Merrill Naked Foot in Grand Rapids, MI this summer was awesome. Barefooters were in the majority for once! I’d love to go to NYC, I lived there for two years, but I’d want to go longer than one weekend. I’m a teacher and can’t take off time in the Fall.