The Universe is Random

– Slight change of plans, should we ever sell this house: although we really enjoyed Port Angeles, there was something missing. We were out on the North Olympic Discovery Trail on a beautiful Saturday morning, and we had the whole thing to ourselves. Where were the runners? The race calender for the vicinity is pretty empty, too. We’d rather live in a place with a thriving running community already in place, than to try to get all Pied Piper/Music Man/Jim Jones and build one ourselves. So unless anyone out there convinces us otherwise, we will instead be moving to rainier (ha! a geography pun) but runnier Olympia WA. Assuming we ever sell this house.

– But, that could be eons away so life goes on here contentedly enough, especially now that summer is over and the bugs have finally(?) stopped biting. I’m continuing the gradual process of getting myself back in shape to start a consistent base. I feel slow, but good. Tentative goal is to focus on the Umstead Marathon in March, hoping to beat ac on his home turf.

– I’ve been volunteering at races a lot lately and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I got to start the marathoners and forty-milers at Triple Lakes. Instead of saying “go” like a normal person I yelled “KICK IT” as if I were a Beastie Boy. It was all I could do not to continue with “you wake up late for school, man, you don’t want to go.” I don’t know what came over me. The mic was in my hand, I had an attentive audience, and something just happened. What I’m trying to say is, you should volunteer at races every once in a while, if you don’t already. Obviously.

Iris has found the perfect hydration system: The Josh-Held.

– Next weekend I’ll be volunteering at the New River 50K. I look forward to meeting the race director and ultra champ Annette Bednosky!

– Speaking of ultras, that is, if one were to bring them (and my full-effort participation in one) up in conversation, I would respond with a totally sincere “who knows?” By “totally sincere” I mean not mysterious or coy in any way. There is no wink-wink involved, a practice I do not condone under any circumstances. I mean I really don’t know. And by “really don’t know” I mean possibly maybe. If I were to do a distance ultra, wouldn’t it be neat to return to the state of my upbringing and run the Ice Age 50? That might be neat. Possibly. I mean, who knows.

– Which reminds me, congrats to all the finishers of Grindstone. You’re all nuts. You too, Jason Robillard.

– Bob Neinast continues to make sense with his recent post, A “Perfect Storm” Of Myths. It’s a rundown of the main myths about bare feet. A conversation developed on the book of faces (where I had linked it) with an old friend that veered off to the subject of the where/how/who of anti-barefoot bias. I’d like to add one possibility to the pile that includes hippies, Victorian society, Kellogg’s, association with poverty, and the obnoxiousness of gravel: useful feet conjures up the image of monkeys holding bananas with their toes, and most people are uncomfortable with the notion they’re relatives. Feet remind us of our animal nature, so covering them up makes us feel less animal. Just thought of that one up, while eating a banana with my feet.

– There. a post in under 600 words.

What Do You Do When You See A Hotdog Running Down the Street?


Actually, I first heard this joke with “naked lady” instead of “hotdog,” but I don’t want to be forced to drink hemlock for committing the crime of corrupting the youth. And hotdog works better, frankly. FRANKly. Ha ha. At any rate, this is my way of introducing the theme of this post, which is ketching up.


1. After a long and arduous twenty-two days on the market, we sold our house. The closing date is expected to be on August 14. I’m going to miss lots of people, lots of dogs, lots of places. I’m also incredibly excited to be setting off on a new adventure, one that I expect to have a big influence on my running life, the details of which will be chronicled here for your bemusement.

2. Oh, hey, does anyone from the Olympic Peninsula area read this blog? Want to help us find a place to live? We have three dogs, so there’s that.

3. During the Gathering of the Barefeet in NYC last September, I met Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee. They gave me a copy of their book which I promised to review but never did. Hopefully promoting their very cool looking movie will help ease the guilt:

4. Instead of running yesterday, I leashed myself at the hip to one of our trees. Standing on a descent, I did 2000-Ups. My miles have been few, but my calfachilankle is feeling ok and I’ve been doing other exercisey things. I’m feeling good.

5. How good? I think I have another sub-18 for the Kernersville 4th of July 5k next Wednesday. This will be my last local race. It’s also the only race I’ve run every year since I got back in the game. My times were:

22:07 (2009 in walmart aquasocks)
19:45 (2010 barefoot)
18:26 (2011 barefoot)

6. The Scream Half ten days later is harder to predict. Have my minimal miles refreshed me, or depleted my endurance?

7. For endurance, I was going to find a used stationary bike to purchase due to the heat. My morning time is limited (work starts at 7am, half hour drive), and I just don’t see the benefit of running in extreme heat. I’m not saying there isn’t one, I’m just saying I don’t see it. I can’t, through the misery of the heat. Anyway, stationary bike, thinking of buying one, then PRESTO! There’s Angie Bee pedaling away on the very contraption I’d like to have. Iris did her Team Sutcliffe Mastermind Magic and ABRACADABRA! I have a FitDesk too. Stay tuned to Iris’ blog for a chance to get one of your own. It’s great. I can be productive fitnessly speaking while wasting time on the internets. My only complaint is that the seat is too cushioned. You know how I feel about cushioning.

This is what I look like RIGHT NOW

8. I left a comment on Jason’s blog that I feel like sharing:
If you’re competitive and having fun, you’ll be fit.
If you’re having fun and fit, you’ll be competitive.
If you’re fit and competitive, you’ll be having lots and lots of fun.

Tickity tonk!

The Barefoot Josh Fast Footing Footbook

My nemesis ac pens a flattering homage to yours truly, and so begins the buildup to the showdown on July 14th: The Scream Half Marathon. Our seething hatred for each other will fuel the duel.

That's blood dripping down my right shoulder from his Death Pinch of Death. He won that round.

My shorts were so long, then. If nothing else, ac was right about that one. Oh, and PS, we’re the same height when he’s not wearing moonboots.

No doubt he is obsessing about how I’m training. Obsess no more, my hot tub dwelling friend, I’m going to be an open book. All readers are going to get a play-by-play look into the Barefoot Josh Fast Footing Footbook. That is, my training regimen.

I should probably mention right now that I in no way advocate any of my methods. Any scientific validity to what I do is purely accidental, and if pointed out to me, will be eradicated from the program.

Hey, let’s start now. I’m going to run out in my pajamas and walk on some rocks:

Okay, so maybe not my best video. Still, let’s look at what we’ve learned:

1. I’m in pajamas at 7:30pm.
2. I’m capable of levitating horizontally in space.
3. It’s chilly, so I wore a hoodie. That’s not my hair.
4. We have a lot of big rocks in our backyard.

Why do I do this?
1. Walking slowly on the rocks works all the little muscles in the feet and ankles. This one I’m pretty sure about.
2. Walking quickly on the rocks sharpens the foot-to-brain information processing system. Or something like that.
3. Stepping on the pointy things works like acupuncture, injuring the body not enough to do any damage, but just enough for the brain to send out an overabundance of healing juices throughout the body. I’m basing this on something I read somewhere, sometime. By somebody. Somehow.
4. Such displays of machismo are a common means of intimidating one’s rival. Think Rocky hitting slabs of meat.

How does this make me faster?
1. Not sure yet. I just figure if you’ve got a backyard full of rocks, you should go out and step on them. I’ll report back if I think of something.

I offer training packages, by the way. There’s a little B&B a couple of blocks away, you can stay there for a week. I’ll take you on all of my regular running haunts and jaunts. A one week session is ten million dollars. Sign up now before rates go up! Prices negotiable. Make an offer.

Stay tuned for the next installment of The Barefoot Josh Fast Footing Footbook: Running With Frying Pans.