Friday, November 25, 2011

Road ID Review and Giveaway!

Road ID is a company that began after a near miss and a good idea.  Edward, one of the owners, was nearly hit by a truck while out running.  His father had been bugging him to carry ID, but Edward didn't think he was in any danger while out running.  After the near miss, Road ID was born.

The concept is pretty simple.  You need ID, but you don't want to carry stuff while running.  Wear the ID.  Problem solved.  The other issue is that sure you can carry stuff around, but what if that stuff gets lost in the shuffle and you are unconscious?  A friend of mine who is a rescue diver for the county told me once (paraphrasing) that the only thing an EMS crew is sure to take with them when they pick you up is your body.  That's why it's a good idea to make sure that ID is coming with you.  It may just save your life.

I was firmly in the camp of not wanting to carry stuff around, including my driver's license.  I was more worried about losing my license than I was about getting hurt and needing ID.  However, my wife likes me and wants me around.  In fact, she prefers it that way.  I thought a Road ID would be a good way for us both to get what we wanted.

Like a lot of people, I was first exposed to the company at a race.  They sponsor races by providing number bibs and they sponsored the 5K I did last June.  I'm also proud to have them as a sponsor of the Turkey Trot we just hosted on November 19th!

"I need a Road ID.  This giant tag makes me look silly."
They offer 8 different styles of ID.  Three that are worn on the wrist, two that attach to your shoes, a chain/dogtag combo, an ankle ID, and one for your furry four-legged friend (or hairless cat).  Being a barefoot runner, I chose the ankle ID because it doubles as a holder for your timing chip during a race, solving a problem of the shoeless runner.  Double duty!  That's smart.

Besides their ID products, they also offer some night-time safety/visibility items, extra bands if you like to color coordinate your fancy purple shorts one day, and your fashionable yellow bike jersey the next day.  They have some apparel too, all at wicked low prices.  Buy some shirts and tell people you are a sponsored athlete.  They won't know that your main competitive sport is beer pong.

Here's a couple shots of my Road ID.  The band is neoprene and has a Velcro closure.  There is space to print six lines of text on the ID tag, and tags are interchangeable between different ID products.  There is a reflective strip that runs the length of the band to help with night-time visiblity.  The ID's are fresh and saltwater safe.  The neoprene band is very comfortable and the the thing is so light you don't even notice that it is on.  It fits above the laces when I wear it with Invisible Shoes.  There are lots of different color choices depending on the style of ID you choose, and some of the styles work great for kids.

I promised a give-away so here it comes.  I have three $15 gift certificates to the Road ID store!  One of them could be yours, and here's how you make that happen.  To enter, do one or more of the following things:
  1. Share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, or Google +.
  2. "Like" Road ID and Barefoot Chiropractor on Facebook.
  3. Follow Road ID and Barefoot Chiropractor on Twitter.
  4. Follow this blog in the sidebar to the right and get all the knowledge you could want in a timely manner.
Leave a separate comment below for each thing you do.  I'll count them all up and pick three winners using  The more you do, the more chances you have to win!  The contest will be open until midnight December 2nd.  I'll pick three winners and let you know who won!  Check back to see if you are a big winner!  Have I used too many exclamation points!?!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Invisible Shoes on Sale! 25% Off!

You all know that I love my Invisible Shoes.  I anticipate them getting me through the winter easily, and I even did a run at 26* F last night with no problems.  My hands were actually cold, and my toes were just fine!

Steven and Lena are coming up on two years of business with Invisible Shoes and they are having a HUGE sale to celebrate.  From now until midnight, November 28th, you can get 25% off everything at the Invisible Shoes online store including Custom-Made Invisible Shoes, FeelTrue™ kits, extra laces, decorative add-ons, and even the limited edition Colored Vibram Cherry kits.  When I'm not barefoot I run in the Invisible Shoes 4mm Connect featuring the FeelTrue rubber and they are awesome!

Click on the banner below or the Invisible Shoes logo to the right to check out their products and Feel the World™!

Barefoot Running Sandals by Invisible Shoes

Sunday, November 20, 2011

4th Annual Gilman Memorial Turkey Trot Race Recap

The 4th Annual Gilman Memorial Turkey Trot was on Saturday, November 19th.  It's a 5K run/walk with all the proceeds donated to the Alzheimer's Association.  We named it for my grandfather Fred Gilman who suffered from Alzheimer's disease.

This year was certainly the best so far!  We had 54 runners/walkers not including a few pre-registered runners who ended up not being able to make it.  Due to the assistance of four awesome people (Terri, Brittany, Becca, and Becky) runner check-in and race day registration went perfect.  We had 30 runners register same-day.  We are pretty sure that because of the date and the unpredictable nature of Minnesota weather, people wait to register.  Not a huge deal, but it makes it a little hard to plan.
A few of the runners before the race.
I wanted to do this race barefoot and the temperature would have allowed it, but there is a stretch of old street that can only be described as tore up.  I knew it was bad but I was still planning on running it barefoot until I went out to mark the course before the race.  It was worse than I thought so I decided to use my Invisible Shoes instead.  I had some good conversations about them before and after the race and a few people seemed genuinely interested.  One runner (the eventual first place finisher, Mario) was wearing Vibram Five Fingers, and I also spotted someone wearing New Balance Minimus but I didn't get a chance to talk to him to see how he liked them.

I made a couple of announcements right at 9:00 am, then Race-master Terri got the runners going!  I started towards the back of the pack so I ended up winding my way through a few runners right at the start, but by the time we were just a few blocks in, I was comfortable with my pace and I settled in hoping for a good run.  I'm not really a morning runner, and I hadn't really had anything to eat so I was worried about getting tired too fast.  At 1.5 miles I checked my pace and found out I was running 8:35 minute miles!  That's about 40 seconds per mile faster than my usual runs so I was pretty psyched up.  The thrill of racing gives quite a boost to an amateur like me I guess.

I kept a steady pace through the rest of the course.  The course takes you on the "scenic route" through Dodge Center so there is a lot of turns to make sure the course ends up at 3.1 miles.  We had volunteers stationed throughout the route to make sure everyone stayed on course.  We have had at least one person go off course every year, but I'm happy to report that everyone made it through with no problems this year.  It really bugs me when people get lost because it makes me think I didn't do a good job marking the route and I really want people to enjoy the run and come back again next year.

Sara, Terri, and Brittany clocking the finishers.
I finished the race in a time of 27:05, which is a personal best for me so I was pleased about that.  The only thing I wasn't pleased about was that I wasn't really tired afterwards so I wish I had made a little more of a kick through the last mile.  Not a big deal since this is only my third race since I started running last Spring, and my fourth overall (I did the Bix 7 in Davenport, Iowa in 2000).  Every time I do a race I learn a little more so I hope that my PR's keep dropping.

The men's overall winner was Mario Minelli (Champion two years in a row!).  The women's first place finisher was Erin Erpelding.

Here's a list of the finishers in order with bib numbers and times:

Name           #           time
Mario Minelli 17 17:55
Jesse Delgado 31 18:27
Jack Mallmann 35 19:48
Paul Haase 18 21:16
Travis Turner 13 21:27
Jacob Chapman 33 21:55
Peter Tate 12 22:16
Gary Lovelace 44 22:19
Andrew Galbus 47 22:27
Jace Minelli 15 23:23
Erin Erpelding 49 23:25
Kelly Erpelding 50 23:42
Brad Schrader 45 24:05
Rodney Myer 48 24:12
Sarah Chapman 34 24:54
Lori Yokiel 32 24:56
Melissa Mergen 46 25:47
Jeffrey Haase 14 26:46
Jenny Delgado 30 26:56
Jordana Thompson 39 27:05
Andy Klein 62 27:05
Michelle Yankowiak 38 27:15
Colleen Keuten 37 27:30
Cherie Jensen 42 27:31
Al Keuten 36 27:37
Elizabeth Adamson 28 27:42
Samantha Porche 9 27:47
Chris McKrern 43 28:53
John Cook 1 29:14
Tracy Culbetson 27 30:13
Suzanne Norby 24 30:56
Jenano Delgado 29 32:14
Emily Billard 3 34:17
Tina Kasper 5 34:17
Carin Minelli 16 34:44
Amy Evans 51 36:09
Ann Greise 41 38:52
Teresa Walter 40 39:50
Tom Haase 19 45:27
Dennis Ross 21 45:27
Keara Ross 22 45:27
Amanda Ross 23 45:27
Susan Allen 56 45:27
Mary Haase 20 45:33
Gabriel Domask 52 46:37
Scott Stroh 55 46:37
Bob Sponsel 57 46:45
Davey Stroh 53 46:50
Lean Stroh 54 46:50
Phil Putratz 7 49:52
Veronika Spieker 58 49:52
Kathy Thielges 25 53:30
Jack Culbertson 26 53:30
Cheryl Gillard 4 53:36

We had a ton of sponsors for the run this year.  Many thanks to them!  Some of them have been with us since the first year!
Sponsor Banner with our wicked 2011 logo.  Visit the event page on Facebook to see a list of this year's sponsors.
Ready for a little more Gilman Memorial Turkey Trot action?  Visit Super Mario's race review for his perspective!

If you couldn't make it this year, don't worry!  The 5th Annual Gilman Memorial Turkey Trot will be held November 17th, 2012!  I already have it on my calendar, do you?

Run on, Runners!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Invisible Shoes - 4mm Connect Huarache Review

Invisble Shoes - the shoes for barefoot running, walking, hiking and... FUN

Ever since first hearing about huaraches I have wanted to try a pair.  What the heck are huaraches you say?  According to the Beach Boys, they are the footwear of choice for surfers.

Basically, a huarache (pronounced in my Spanglish as "whar AH gee") is a thin soled sandal that you tie on your feet to protect them from rough terrain.  Huarache translates directly to English as sandal, so there you go.  A quick Google search reveals all different types and styles of huarache sandals so I guess some further definition is in order.  To a runner, a huarache is a very thin, flat, flexible sole that is is lashed to the foot.  Historically they are leather, but now you see rubber as the more common soling material.  Laces are typically made out of leather or nylon.

Interestingly, there is a traditional Japanese sandal called a waraji that is constructed out of rope and lashed to the foot.  WarajiHuarache.  I don't speak Japanese, but it sure looks like the Japanese "waraji" is pronounced a lot like the Spanish "huarache".  I consider this definitive proof that aliens initially populated our planet allowing each specific culture to progress independently but maintaining a common language throughout the ancient peoples.  I eagerly await the return of our alien overlords through the Stargate.  Somebody better call Kurt Russell.  Whoa!  Went off on a tangent there!  Anyhow...

We're looking for James Spader.  Have you guys seen him?
(Note the sandals on the aliens!  Huaraches! Or, Waraji!)

Stephen Sashen from Invisible Shoes contacted me in a blog post and asked if I would like to try out a pair of his huaraches.  I never look a gift-Steven in the mouth so I jumped on the opportunity.  He gave me the option of a custom built pair or a do-it-yourself kit.  I chose the 4mm Connect sole made from Invisible Shoes' Feel True rubber, and of course I picked a DIY kit!

Invisible Shoes has been in business since November 2009 and up until very recently were using a 4 mm soling material from Vibram called Vibram Cherry.  They now offer their very own Feel True rubber in either 4 mm or 6 mm.  The DIY kits with Vibram Cherry soles come with a square sheet of soling material and laces, requiring you you cut out the soles and punch all the holes.  The Feel True kits are a little easier to make, since they come pre-cut in standard sizes.  All you have to do is measure your foot, send them the measurement, and they get you the correct sole along with your choice of lace color.  There is a video on the Invisible Shoes website that shows you how to measure your foot correctly.

I should also mention that there is a TON of other videos on the site that show you how to cut, punch, lace, and tie your Invisible Shoes.  Customer service is second to none with these folks. The Feel True soles have both ankle holes pre-punched and the ankle area is reinforced to prevent tearing.  You will need to punch the toe hole.

I resisted the urge to take a picture of the floor and try to convince you that the shoes were really invisible, so here they are from the top.  Yes, they really are that flat and thin!

Here is a picture of the tread pattern on the bottom.  The new Feel True soles were created along with two designers that were formerly with Nike and Reebok.  The tread pattern will help prevent slipping in less than perfect conditions.

Here are the laces that came with my kit.  I chose a stately and classy lime green.  If you are going to have crazy sandals to run in, you may as well have crazy colored laces to go with them.  You can also just barely see one of the legs of the bobby pin they include in the kits to help you lace them.  The pin makes them very easy to lace since the holes are just a bit smaller than the laces to help keep them in place.  You just stick the end of the cord in the pin, stick the pin in the lace hole, and pull through with a pliers.  Easy-peasy.

These babies are flexible!  I made a Shoe Roll-up to prove it.  I could have rolled it up tighter, but you get the idea.

Bottom of the sandals after lacing.

Close up shot of the figure-8 knot that anchors the lace.  It looks like it would constantly push on your foot but because of the position, it lies between your toes and you don't really feel it.

The basic lacing pattern.  From the toe hole, down through the outside ankle hole, back up and around to anchor the lace and create the heel strap, down through the inside ankle hole and back up inside the heel strap.

First attempt at tying.  Kind of messy, but I've refined it to be easier and distribute the extra lace more evenly.
Here's a post on my tying style.

I got them in the mail on a Thursday, laced them on Friday and played around with them a bit running a couple hundred yards outside my office, causing my new assistant to question her career choices.  I then wore them around most of the day on Saturday.

The first time tying them took about 10 minutes each.  Second time about three minutes each.  After just a few tries I can have them both on in under two minutes, just as fast as I can put on my Trail Gloves.  That is tying them toga style, not just slipping on.  From what I hear there is a "correct" way that huarache purists tie them on, but it pretty much just comes down to lashing them onto your feet snugly but not so tight that they irritate your skin.  End of story.

On my first run I did 1.8 miles at a 9:55 pace.  I really expected to get some hot spots between my toes, but no problems at all!  There wasn't even a line of redness between my toes.  I hope that says something about my form.  I did almost trip once stepping up onto a curb when the outside edge of my left huarache caught the concrete.

Running Overview
These are really nice to run in and I've put a lot of miles on them so far.  Since it is getting dark so early now and I don't really like going barefoot in the dark yet, all of my weekday runs have been using the sandals.  My Trail Gloves are getting lonely.  I like running in the Invisible Shoes way more than just wearing them around.  When I'm just walking around in them, the laces tend to be uncomfortable between my toes.  I think it's because I have the laces primed for running form, so when I start walking and landing on my heels, the laces pull funny between my toes.  They aren't showing any major signs of wear yet even though the rubber seems so soft.

I am definitely not silent in my Invisible Shoes, but when shortening my stride the noise diminished. The "sandal slap" isn't too bothersome though.  I'm left wondering if it is a problem with my form, a problem with the way I'm tying them, or if some amount of noise is inevitable.

While running on asphalt trails and sidewalks I went out of my way to step on some things and the groundfeel of the shoes is awesome!  They certainly diminish the intensity, but you can readily feel even small objects.  More on off-road groundfeel below.

Trail Running

I'm not yet an avid trail runner but to do a full review I felt the need to do some off-roading in these bad boys.  I went out to a park that is built on the site of an old limestone quarry, strangely enough called Quarry Hill Nature Center.  I've done some hiking here (pre-barefoot days, so wearing boots) and I knew the trails would be a good test for the Invisible Shoes.  Like I said above, groundfeel is superb with the thin soles.  Here's what I was running on:
This is the first hill off of the asphalt path, up to the quarry trail.  It looks like a nice dirt path covered in leaves.

It actually consists of large pointy rocks, covered in leaves!

These trails were a whole new experience as far as my running goes.  The little bit of gravel I encountered during the Warrior Dash doesn't compare.  These were big rocks and they were everywhere.  This was an awesome test for the Invisible Shoes, and they passed with flying colors.  Their job is to protect my feet and that is what they did.  I'm not going to tell you that they made this path comfortable because they didn't, and that isn't really the point.  They allowed me to run over the rocks and uneven ground without an undue amount of pain.  I couldn't attack these trails with abandon, but I could go at them with gusto and not worry quite as much.  I did hit a couple of pointy hidden stones that made me yelp with pain but no cuts or bruises.
This is the path at the top of the hill.  The bigger stones are about fist-sized, but are a little flatter in this area compared with the uphill trail.  You can see that there is no avoiding the rocks though!

The path eventually leads to this wall.  No trouble scaling it in my sandals!  The trails continue at the top.

I headed out of the quarry into the wooded trails for a while too.  The dirt/rock trail runs right up the middle of this photo along the creek bed, then off to the right.  The leaf covered trails were sometimes tricky but the outstanding groundfeel kept me stable and upright.  I also found that wearing the sandals made me concentrate a little more on where I was putting my feet and the flexibility made it easy to find a good grip on logs and rocks.
Final Thoughts
Since this is my first pair of huraches, I don't have a rating system or anything to compare them to.  I will say that I like them a lot.  They are super thin and are as close to barefoot as you can get without just taking them off.  Groundfeel is superb (better than my trail gloves), and you can pick laces in 10 different colors.  They will protect your feet under extreme conditions, including the cold day runs.  They are a conversation starter too!  People give you a confused and interested look as you run by!

They are quick to get on and off.  The Feel True DIY kits are easy to finish up and require little in the way of tools.  Don't be afraid to trail run in them either.  They will take the punishment and shouldn't let you down.  There was a couple hidden rocks that I expected did some physical damage to the soles, but they were just fine.  I did get some gravel bits between my feet and the sandal on the downhills, but nothing huge will get in there because the sole stays well in contact with your foot.

In the "cons" category, I've spent a bunch of time trying to get the laces to the right tension.  Too tight and they will rub, too loose and I've had the heel strap literally come off while running.  I've got them set now, so just take a little time to fiddle with them before you start running and don't expect to get it right the first time.  One other con is that just like any other foot covering, they do decrease some feedback and can cover up issues with form until it is too late.  I developed blood blisters at the ball of my foot on both sides when I went out for a run in a worn out state and my form was suffering.

There are any number of ways to tie huaraches.  In regards to tying my Invisible Shoes, I think I'm going to stick with the "Toga style" for now.  I just figure that you are already running in something that is going to blow most people's minds, why not use a bunch of lime green cord too? Anything that makes you feel like Maximus stepping into the Colosseum has to be a good thing, right?
"Why won't anyone give me a hug?"

Run on, Runners!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Minnesota Barefooters Unite to Form An Unstopable Group of Running Superheros

Ok, maybe it wasn't all the Minnesota barefooters, and we did stop a few times, but Superhero is certainly an apt description.

Sunday was my first official group run with the Minnesota Chapter of the Barefoot Runners Society.  What a great time!  Seven of us struck out from the Maplewood Community Center and headed down the Gateway trail.  It's a pretty flat route and was a nice run.  The trail was asphalt/chipseal and helped us "build character".

Here's an official recap from our fearless leader the Maple Grove Barefoot Guy.

At a distance of about 6 miles this was technically my second-longest barefoot run since my longest was the ill-fated 7 mile "get lost on a trail" run back in August.  The results of this one were much better!  I didn't end up in pain after this run and I probably could have squeezed out another mile if I had wanted.  The thing is, I'm trying to prevent those overuse injuries from ever happening again so I wouldn't have pushed it another mile.

All in all, it was a great time and I look forward to more group runs in the future.  I got some news from the MGBG that the Med-City Marathon in exotic Rochester, MN next May could turn into a real barefoot fest!  Looking forward to that in a big way!  I won't drop the names he did since I don't want to put anyone on the spot (not like they read this anyway, but still).  I'll just be doing the half-marathon, but that means I get to hit the after-party first!

If you are interested at all in barefoot running, I really encourage you to find a Barefoot Runners Society group near you.  Homebrewers and barefoot runners are the people I like to hang out with and both groups consist of the same laid-back people.  These group runs are a great place to get a little instruction, camaraderie, and confidence in your barefoot running endeavor.

Are you running the Med-City next May?  Are you going to run it barefoot?  Is anybody still reading?  Leave a comment below or on Facebook and tell me all your hopes and dreams!

Just so you don't think I've forgotten, the Invisible Shoe review is coming.  I'm hoping the snow holds off and I can go out and get some off-road running done in them on Sunday.  If not, I'll post the review with only road miles, and do a trail running review separately.  Here's a little spoiler for you:

Me, after my first run in my Invisible Shoes.  Before you ask, yes I am rocking a 1995 DHS Monarch Track and Field vintage long sleeve t-shirt.  That shirt is magical and I will never give it up.  In case you were wondering, I also have the 1994 edition at my disposal.  That's just how I roll.

Run on, Runners!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Eddie Izzard's Barefoot Running Adventure

Eddie Izzard is one of my favorite comedians.  Possibly even my most favorite.  Since most of the video I've seen of Eddie usually features some sort of stiletto heeled boot I was surprised to hear that he was a runner.  But not just a runner.  More like a freakin machine.  In 2009, he ran 43 marathons in 51 days.  After five weeks of training.  Five weeks of training.  Five.

Now, he is planning a barefoot run across Africa.  That's right an 1,100 mile barefoot run across Africa.  It is a charity fund-raiser for the British charity Sport Relief.  Eddie's first running stunt was also a fund-raiser for Sport Relief.  Sport Relief itself is a fund-raiser for Comedy Relief.  That is a lot of relief!  Anyway, they raise funds to help people who need help, which is a great reason to run!

Here's a quick story on Eddie's upcoming adventure.  There isn't a lot of details yet, but follow Eddie on Twitter and I'm sure he will be keeping us up to date on the run early next year.

Here's a little taste of Eddie's stand-up for your enjoyment.  My favorite clip of him on YouTube.  I will bet you can figure out why.  Enjoy!

Here's one more, just because you deserve it. Also because it's about Star Wars.