My first ‘Barefoot’ 5k run – 26th April 2012

I had been meaning to test my running “form” for ages, to see if everything was looking good for my Ultra in June, so when It stopped raining and the sun came out I thought I’d give it a try.

I picked up my Luna’s (as backup in case things got ugly) and headed off to do 6 circuits of the nearby roads (5k). That way if it went bad I could drop out and not be far from home.

I started my Garmin and headed off “barefoot” down the road!

The first thing I noticed was the different temperature and texture of the various road surfaces where the road had been repaired at different times.

Lap 1 went ok, so did lLap 2, after which I just kept going, spurred on by a mental picture of Dr Mark Cucuzzella’s impressive barefoot video (except a hell of a lot slower).

Well at 30 minutes it wasn’t the fastest 5k I have ever done, but it was certainly the first I have done completely barefoot!

In case you wondered, no blisters so I must be doing something right!

I’ll try and repeat this once a week, with the aim of toughening up the soles of my feet to reduce the chance of any blisters when wearing my Luna’s on the Ultra in June.



Bushy Park 10 mile training – 24th April 2010

As I had almost 2 hours to kill whilst my 12 year old was at Scouts I headed into Bushy Park as it was just next door. The fact it wasn’t raining was also a big driver for a longer run (we currently have a hosepipe ban due to a drought, even though it has pretty much rained every day since they announced the ban!)

Unsure if it would be muddy I wore my KSO Trek’s and carried a water bottle with a Nuun tablet (Tri-Berry) to see if it made me drink more.

With regard to the route I decided to pretty much run around the outside of the park and cut in to make up the distance as I reckoned even at 70% HR I should be able to get 10 miles in before I had to return to pick up Oliver.

Regarding wildlife, the deer were out as usual and starting to move to their evening places as the park would shortly be closed to cars and I disturbed several green woodpeckers who were rummaging for food in the long grass.

Well the Nuun was a success, after 1 hour I had drunk around 2/3 so had to ease off so I had some left at the end. The electrolyte also helped as I didn’t spend the night “running in my sleep” (and getting kicked as a result) which sometimes happens after such runs.

Croyde Coastal run – 22nd April 2012

I didn’t go “overboard” on the wine at the wedding on Saturday as I’d found a nice coastal path for a 5 mile run for the Sunday morning (ate loads though!).

The wedding was in a village in North Devon (Croyde), famous for its surfing, and my route took me along the coastal path which I hoped would be pretty quiet early on a Sunday morning.

I left the house at 8:30am wearing a waterproof (it just started to rain) and wearing my KSO Treks (as it looked like it was going to be pretty muddy), and carrying a water bottle. I reckoned I had about an hour before the rest of the house woke up.

The run started along the road, before turning up a track to a farm beyond which it became a heavily rutted track which looked like it had been worn by several hundred years of cart wheels.

I turned right on a left bend onto an overgrown footpath leading east which led me down across open land to Putsborough, where I joined the coastal path and started to head west back around Baggy Point towards Croyde.

The sun came out at that point and the beach at Putsborough looked welcoming, if only for surfers!


The path seems to pretty much “hug” the coast, I hope it doesn’t get icy or snow very often as an icy slip would herald a very quick and unpleasant descent to the rocks below.



Alas the rain arrived.


The path continued around the coast (and the rain continued on and off) and finally I could see Croyde beach in the distance.


After a total of 6 miles and around 800ft of elevation I arrived back at the house to find everyone still asleep! Damn, I could have done a longer run!

Crediton run – 21st April 2012

As we were staying overnight with my friend Phil (on route to a wedding in North Devon) we decided to go for a run in the morning. It was Phil’s default run of around 7 miles and was pretty hilly by my standards (it explained how fast he was on the flat at Brighton marathon last weekend).

It was all roads (so my Luna’s were fine) and in the space of just over an hour we covered around 900ft of climb on winding Devon hills past small farms and rolling hills.


I made a point of sipping from my water bottle (I now always run with water) after finding out last week that I lose 1 litre of water for every hour running.

My quads felt the hills but it did seem that a week of kettlebell work had done something positive to them, so I shall continue with 100 swings per night and hope it pays dividends in June.

Brighton Marathon (well, pacing for 8 miles of it anyway)- 15th April 2012

Now before anyone gets excited I didn’t run the whole Brighton marathon, but I paced a good friend for the last 8 miles, at least that was my intention anyway.

I generally run a couple of half marathons each year with my friend Phil, but as this was his first marathon I said I’d come down to Brighton and maybe help him out.

As we were staying at my ‘Parents in Law’ just outside Brighton we got to the start in plenty of time and I agreed to meet him around 18 miles and see if I could run along side on the pavement or something and provide encouragement, as miles 18 -26 took you a long way out West of Brighton and back and looked like it could get someone down at that stage in the race. I was wearing running gear, albeit with a few extra layersand my Camelbak , tracksters and a windproof top and of course my Luna’s.

The race started @ 9:00 and I made my way to the nearest Starbucks for tea, breakfast and to warm up as it was pretty cold just hanging about for the last 90 minutes. I reckoned I had got about 2.5 hours before Phil reached 18 miles, so I installed the neat iPhone App for the race that could tell you when your runner hit halfway, and could then estimate (on the previous 13 miles) where they were on the course.

An hour later , recharged (both me and my iPhone) I started walking a few miles West towards another Starbucks closer to the 18 mile point.

According to the App Phil had reached 13.1 miles in 1:56 so he was well on target. I watched till it said he was approaching 16 miles and headed out of my second Starbucks of the day where I had been making a small cup of tea last forever (I didn’t want to be looking for toilets and Phil).

Around 18 miles the road was very wide and I was able to stand in the middle section with runners entering and leaving this 4 mile loop off the main course, and started looking out for Phil who should be returning from the loop back to the seafront to reach the 18 mile point.

At last I spotted him (as well as a barefoot runner a few minutes in front) and as the runners were pretty spread out I jumped in alongside and began running with him!

He was doing very well, hydrated, snacking on Shot Bloks and looking pretty comfortable. We carried on till about mile 23 where I had to stop for a second to remove my windproof top (I was overheating and missing the pint of blood I gave away 2 days earlier), at that point Phil either decided to drop me, or else something “attractive” ran past him and he gave chase, either way I never caught up with him.

Looking at his splits I’m not surprised as he increased is mile pace by around 40 seconds per mile from that point to the finish.

Whilst I was looking for Phil, a runner alongside (who’s name I have since forgotten, but as his memory is younger that mine he may remember this blog address) started a conversation about my foot wear (Luna Sandals) and it was only when I looked at his I saw he was running in Vibram Bikilas. We chatted about each others minimalist footwear experiences, the sad loss of Caballo Blanco (it seemed we both met him in The Barbican talk in London last year), and the “clubmasloco” Google group that we were both members of.

We were both impressed at the 2 “real” barefoot runners we had seen in the race, of which at least one would be finishing around 4:15 I think.

At about 25 miles we stepped up the pace so he would get under 4 hrs, and I bailed out of the race at 26 miles having paced an old friend and a new one.

I met up with Phil at the agreed point beyond the finish (he was very pleased at his time of 3:44) and we made our way to the train station. We had a very welcome shower and Sunday dinner at my Parents in Law, after which I drove us back to Twickenham, and Phil then carried on home to Devon.

A good weekend and an excellent first marathon time for Phil.

Bushy parkrun – 14th April 2012

Having given blood 2 days before, I was going for a gentle run round on my Saturday Bushy parkrun (I know from experience that after giving blood I feel like someone has removed 5th gear from the car!), so after a quick photo of the deer having a paddle I headed to the start.


I bumped into my neighbour Dean and we joked about who would be slower this morning.

I set off a lot further back than normal and settled in for a comfortable run. Around 2.5k (halfway) I caught up with Dean and asked what his PB/PR was, he said 24:15. Come on, I shouted we can beat that if you want. He said he couldn’t as he hadn’t trained all week but I said I was missing a pint of blood which put us even.

Anyway he took the bait and we closed up and started to slowly move through the field together.

I continued to push Dean to keep together and at the last 100m shouted hang on as I broke into my usual sprint for the line.

It worked, Dean achieved a new PB/PR of 23:56, a 19 second improvement, and I had a rewarding parkrun helping a runner and neighbour.

A good morning.

Bushy Park 10k training run & hydration – 11th April 2012

One thing I never got round to testing during my training for the EcoTrail Ultra was how much fluid my body actually uses per hour running. So after listening to Nutritionist & Ultra Runner Sunny Blende ( on UltraRunner podcast ( I decided it was time for a test.

I weighed myself naked, went running for an hour, towelled myself dry, had a pee, and then got back on the scales. The result was a weight difference of 0.9 kilograms meaning I had lost almost a litre of fluid in an hour! That was running in the evening, at around 9:45 min/mile, HR of 60% and a bit chilly so I wore Toesox with my Luna’s.

I was a bit shocked, as even on EcoTrail I ran for 7.5 hours, in 22 degrees C, and probably drank only 2 or 3 litres (which may explain a few things alas).

Running “The Wall” 69 mile Ultra in June ( in something like 18-20 hours means I will need to drink a hell of a lot, which is tricky as frankly the taste of water sucks, so I may have to look at Nuuns or something to a) make it taste better and b) get electrolytes back in.

Looks like I’ll be taking a drink with me for all runs an hour and over from now on.




River Crane 8k run – 6th April 2012

It’s a public holiday and you wake up to sunshine, so what do you do? You go running of course.

I headed out for a 8k run around Crane Park to stretch my legs as I was thinking of a PB/PR attempt at parkrun tomorrow.

The light was fantastic, with frost still on the ground where the sun hadn’t reached yet.


The old Shot Tower was just peeking through the trees as I approached the little climb away from the river. The drought really showed in the low water level of the river.


I ran in my Vibram KSO Trek To give my feet a rest from my Luna’s but I’ll be back in the Luna’s tomorrow at parkrun.

It was a refreshing run, cold but with warm sunshine, one of those ‘good to be alive’ mornings!

River Crane 8k run – 3rd April 2012

Does the English weather change frequently or what?

After the sunshine of Sunday’s run in Richmond Park I went out for a run last night just to stretch my legs. Rain was forecast so I threw on a light waterproof just in case.

I managed to run 1 mile before the skies opened and it ………hailed!

I had to stop and have a closer look, but yes it was raining pieces of ice, otherwise known as hail.

This was a new experience, particularly running in my Luna Sandals as the hail stung my feet.

The result was a quicker than intended run, returning to a large mug of tea and a slice of banana and chocolate chip cake.

Well I do need to keep my glycogen levels up!

Sad 16 miles in Richmond Park – 1st April 2012

Caballo Blanco, the central character in the book ‘Born to Run’ was found dead in New Mexico wilderness area yesterday after a 4 day search involving some of the best Ultra runners in the world.

Caballo (real name Micah True) went for a 12 mile run on Tuesday morning and didn’t return.

I met Caballo last year on his UK visit and we joked about me running his Copper Canyons Ultra Marathon (CCUM) in 2012, whereas I wanted to run it in 2013. We continued to stay in touch.

He was an incredibly selfless person whose sole focus was to improve the lot of the Tarahumara Indians who live in the canyons, and for whom the CCUM is held.

Thousands of people around the world went for a long run in beautiful locations today in memory of Caballo, it seemed a fitting way to remember him.

My run was in Richmond Park.

Run Free Caballo.