Art class starts today!

Tonight I’m teaching an after school class at the cultural center in downtown Greensboro (4:30 – 6). The theme is Art Cards – the image has to fit on a 3.5″x2.5″ canvas. It’s a great way to avoid getting sucked in to minutia, and seeing the overall big picture (on a little canvas). There’s still room, so come on by and sign up if you’re within the ages of 9 – 14 or so.

I still need more students for the Portraits class on Wednesday (4:30 – 5:30).

Here’s an example of a portrait ON an Art Card:

That would be Red Byron, the first NASCAR champ.

I don’t think he ran barefoot.

Rest, part II and Faster Faster Kill Kill

The soft tissues and stringy things in my feet are still unhappy with me for throwing so much at them so quickly, but I was able to do 10 comfortable miles in the vibram’s at the Chinqua-Penn path yesterday. Normally I’d run through this discomfort, but I’m trying to be smart and practice preemptive resting. I might have to downgrade to a half marathon at triple lakes instead of the full, if I don’t get more mileage in.

My humility needs training, too, I guess.

In my defense, I was conducting a bit of an experiment. Having lumped running shoe technology with Phrenology and Ion Bracelets, I wonder how much running lore is nothing but turtles all the way down? What about training? Surely, if I’m running more efficiently I can add miles as I please. Our ancestors didn’t have the luxury of planned rest days and easy days.

And it seems like every training plan is geared towards two goals – getting faster and pain management. It’s about pushing yourself. I wonder…

What about a training schedule focused on making the next marathon as fun as possible? Instead of speed or heart rate, what if every run was focused on the maximization of joy? What if I search for a way to run that makes me want to stay outside on my feet as long as possible? And then run as much as possible?

Here’s the problem with joy-based training and starting to run barefoot: once my feet were conditioned enough to handle rough surfaces and I started to grok smooth form, I never wanted to stop. I lacked the discipline to take it slow.

Well, now I know. After years of no running, two marathons within seven months of starting up again is asking for an injury, barefoot or not.

“Really Sherlock? Tell me more.”

So I’m taking a we’ll see attitude. Every marathon is just training for the next marathon, I read somewhere. If in the next couple of weeks I don’t think I’ll be able to enjoy 26 miles of trails, I’ll settle for 13. Maybe I’ll do them barefoot instead of with the vibram’s…

Slow down! and sweatshops

OK, so after that last post where I’m basically bragging about how I can run as many miles as I want with no repercussions, I’m now going to eat crow. I’ve had a mildly dramatic drop in weight, and my left foot/ankle is feeling a little tweaky from stepping on a rock (twice – it stuck to my foot and I didn’t realize it; it was big, too!) and hitting (literally) the trails too hard in the vibrams. It was a little sore from the rock, no big deal, happens from time to time, but I kept on stepping stupidly with it. I was also running with the dogs (unruly beasts) and tweaked it again as they jerked me around down a hill (again, in the vibrams…). Basically, the Universe has been conspiring against my left foot (no relation to Daniel Day Lewis). Hey, I never said being barefoot could cure stupid.

So this week will total a little over 30 miles. I’ll shorten my weekday runs this week, and hopefully I’ll be up for going long next weekend. Fewer miles equals less sweat, which is my lazy segue into…

I suppose I should preemptively address the whole sweatshop issue, and whether or not that has anything to do with my ditching the shoes, as it’s bound to come up sooner or later. My answer is no. It doesn’t. I think the running shoe is a modern day snake oil, and am not going to spend money on something that has no scientific evidence to back it’s claims. I’m also not a big fan of boycotts in general, because

1. economies are fungible. Every transaction can be traced to someone being a prick to someone else at some point, so it’s a symbolic gesture at best. I don’t like symbolism. Especially when it’s portrayed as “doing something (just do it?).”

2. I suspect that crappy, miserable wage-slave based economies might be an unavoidable step in the transition from poverty to wealth. Every affluent country went through a sweatshop phase (I think; let me know if I’m wrong); if you take that away, I fear you’d be condemning a society to eternal poverty.

3. if I were working for Nike at a sweatshop, I would like the concerned consumer to at least ask my opinion on whether or not the company that pays me $1/week or whatever should be driven out of business.

But I digress. Nike laborers could be payed with an abundance of pancakes and micron pens (that’s the currency standard in Joshtopia – take that, goldbugs!), and I would still call BS on their product. Same goes for Asics, Brooks, that saucy one I don’t feel like checking the spelling of, etc.

Not all of their products, though. I wear a Nike hat. It’s very lightweight, comfortable, and I think it’s funny to wear a shoe-centric company product on my head while running barefoot.

Speaking of art (I know, that wasn’t even trying), I have been drawing. Just nothing worth posting. Did a nice picture of my parents holding me as a baby. My parents turned out alright, but I need to work on my infant drawing. In the photograph, I look like a normal baby. In my drawing, demon spawn.