Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.

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Rubber Feet?

Caveman running

I’ve been asked quite a few times lately what I think of those FiveFinger shoes, aka Barefoot runners, Skeletoes, etc. You know what they are…those shoes that look like Rubber Feet.* Remember toe socks? Like those, but made outa rubber.

The thinking behind Rubber Feet is that modern-day running shoes provide too much support and cushion, therefore changing the biomechanics of running, causing injury. They use the example of how children run before they walk, and that they seem to launch at full speed everywhere sans shoes. They also claim that cavemen used to run for miles and miles just fine sans fancy shoes. Apparently donning Rubber Feet is like being barefoot, but with a thin barrier between you and the earth. Call it, Paleolithic-old-school and the answer to pain-free running.

Here’s what I think (brace yourself). First of all… sure, kids run like crazy for a few yards in the grass or inside the house, not down the road for 10k, or up some single track covered with rock. The caveman point is especially fun as I’ve never seen a caveman that didn’t appear to have walked all hunched over looking like he was in unbearable pain. My guess is, his feet his back and everything else hurt because he spent all day running on rock! Not only that, but cavemen only lived for about 20 years. I bet if they had to run around for another 30 years sans shoes they’d have figured out how to stitch up some nice fat pads for their trashed tootsies.

Basically, I don’t buy the Rubber Feet hype. In my mind it doesn’t add up, they look incredibly stupid, they make an annoying slapping sound as they trot along, more seriously, I’ve never once seen a person wearing them that didn’t look like they were in severe pain. During my last half marathon (on the trail) my Asics Trail Runners and me started just behind a young man wearing a pair of Rubber Feet. When the whistle blew the man took off running, a mile and a half up the road I passed him as he limped along delicately navigating each small pebble in the trail. I never saw him again, guessing he didn’t finish.

If your feet hurt when you run then you need to learn how to run properly. If you don’t support proper running form and mechanics, your shoe choice will not change anything. Learn proper running form and then play around with footwear if you like. My suggestions, hire a running coach, attend a clinic or take a class. Don’t just jump on the Rubber Feet bandwagon.

Now…I realize that I’m not being completely fair, as I have not personally tried to run in Rubber Feet. I am only sharing my educated opinion. With that, if you wish to prove me wrong and or convince me that running in Rubber Feet is a good thing, I invite you to send me a pair and I will happily try them, and revise my post accordingly. I take a size 9.

P.s. If you want to run barefoot, go to the beach and run in the sand. That’s something I approve of whole-heartedly. Stand tall, pick your knees up and have fun!

* The term Rubber Feet is a Kelleyism used to refer to “shoes” that look like fat rubber feet, make annoying slapping sounds when they hit the ground, look stupid and don’t make sense, in her mind.

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Hey there Mr. Bus, we kicked your butt and your friends’ butt too!

Where you been bus? Get a flat?

6:10 pm Wednesday, July 20th 2011. I arrived at the corner of Fillmore and Bay to find a group of 5 or 6 people stretching their legs. Yikes…I thought…it’s starting!

As I chitchatted with the first-comers, and suggested they warm up their legs, others showed up. Every time I turned around there were more people. My head was spinning as I tried to go over the “rules,” route and basic game plan. In my mind there was a lot to do. The initial plan was to get everyone to participate in a warm up sequence but alas all we did was swing our arms around.

As we warmed up (swung our arms around) I sent Mo over to make friends with the bus driver. Armed with a goodwill offering of a box of cherries (why cherries? Because they’re healthy and were on sale) Mo bravely went over to politely let our victim know what was about to transpire. I figured if he knew what we were up to, he might make an effort to travel at a respectable pace and play along.

After the cherries were delivered it took the bus about 10 minutes before it slugged over to the starting line at the corner of Bay and Fillmore. According to the official MUNI schedule the bus was scheduled to depart that out location at 6:32, it was 6:40 when it pulled up to the line (no surprise there). As the bus arrived it lined up at the light, loaded a few passengers and when the light turned green, bus and runners were off.

The pace down Fillmore to Chestnut was reasonable; the runners kept perfect stride with the bus all the way to the light at Chestnut. At the light everyone including the bus (obviously) stopped. When the light turned Green the runners went, immediately leaving the bus behind. That was the last any of us saw of the bus until the finish line, 1.5 miles up the road. Not only did the runners drop the bus they were racing in the first block, they caught up to, and passed the coach that had taken off some 5 plus minutes previous to the one we were racing.

It was amazing watching everyone run up the hill! 4 blocks of hard climbing! Every single person (and lady Jane, our K9 Mascot) dug incredibly deep, they even beat me to the top and I was on a bike! Geez!

In the end everyone seemed to have a great time, thanks to generous donations we had some fine top finisher prizes as well as a couple honorable mentions, all going to very impressive competitors.

Special thanks go to Brock at The SFist for helping me get the word out, Team P for their photos, support and bell ringing. I’d like to thank racer Ross for documenting the event and sharing his video and photos, to Mo for being Mo and to my two other fav Ab’s (that’s code) you made this event happen!

Finally, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who came and raced, brought their friends and had a good chuckle. This is the way life should be, a little nutty, a little challenging, and a little hot and sweaty!

Until next time…

P.s. Thank you for playing Mr. Bus! See you again next month. You might want to work on your hill climbing between now and then… Just sayin’

P.s.s. Wanna see more pix and a video of this event? Check out our Facebook page!


Allez! Allez… it’s Run With The Bus day!

The 22 Fillmore

Yippee! The very first Motion Starved Run With The Bus competition is here. In case you haven’t been following, we’re racing the 22 Fillmore Muni line from The Marina to Geary Street, here in San Francisco. The course is only 1.5 miles but includes a half-mile of climbing at about a 15% grade. “Ouch” is the word that best describes the climbing in this event.

At approximately 6:30 this evening runners will take on the janky electric bus. There will be spectators along the route as well as supporters on bikes to cheer us on. We have top finisher prizes and my pal Earl has built us a winners podium to insure top-notch photo ops. This is a pro operation folks, no messing around here!

With that, I’d like to take this opportunity to share a few hill running tips:

  • First of all, think “soft eyes, soft mouth, soft shoulders” when running/riding/doing yoga etc… A tense face/body is not an efficient use of valuable energy. Relax!
  • As you run, hold your arms so that your thumbs brush by, or just below your hip bones with each step. Most folks hold their arms too high.
  • Your arms should not cross your body. Think “cheek to cheek” (face cheek to butt cheek).
  • On a hill shorten your stride and pick up your knees pushing off with each step. Think, “push, push, push.”
  • Running uphill, lean into the angel of the hill. Thrust your elbows back hard as you run. Run with power and conquer!
  • Never, ever, look up the hill. Look straight in front of you about 50 feet. When you look up and see where you’re headed you panic. Don’t do that!
  • Breath! Holding your breath is dumb for all sorts of reasons that I’ll go into another day. Just remember to keep breathing.
  • Lastly, make friends with the hill. Most folks hate hills and panic when they see one. If you decide that the hill is your friend then you’ll have an easier time going up than the folks that are busy freaking out about it. Get me?

With that, we’re off. Good luck to all those participating in our Run With The Bus race tonight. I bid you a safe and speedy pursuit.

P.s. Official race report will be posted on Friday. Stay tuned…

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Sometimes you gotta just suck it up and dig deep.

I have a really nice house with a really nice yard, a really needy cat and lots of good friends, all of which are constantly calling for my attention. If it’s not one thing it’s another, the cat vomits, the lawn needs mowing, friends need calling. There’s always something to do. My point is, it’s hard to get out and do things that require more than just a little effort. Specifically things that take a significant amount of guts, or offer a challenge.

For example; last weekend Penny and I participated in a trail run/race that took us up 3,000 feet in the air within the first 3.5 miles. After that we still had to climb another 2,000 feet. Translation; up, up and up till you think you might puke, then down, around and up some more. Pen took second place in spite of the fact that she has a full-time job, two babies, a husband, a house and a very needy dog. Pen did so well because she dug deep and sucked it up. She knows no other way.

This weekend SarahSwitchblade participated in something we call The Double Dipsea. It’s another trail run/race. Translation; it dips from a mountain top to the sea and back up again, hence The Double Dip-sea. Switchie took first place in this torture fest. To my knowledge she didn’t puke, although my guess is she thought she might, more than once. Switchie too has a house, a bike racer husband whom she supports, pets, a job and all that.

When my Dad rode his bike across Iowa a couple of summers ago he didn’t wear socks with his Topsiders (not exactly “proper” cycling shoes). The ride was 7 days, and 500 miles filled with wind, rain, heat, pork chops and corn. Dad’s ankles bled the whole time. At one point I said “Dad! Your ankles are bleeding!!!!” Dad said, “What? No they aren’t!” Given that Dads ankles looked like hamburger, I then realized that he was sucking it up, doing what he need to in order to complete his challenge, so I shut up. Dad, has a very big job, a very, very big house, a wife, a not so needy dog, a cat and 3 grown, problematic children.

I know stepping outside of your comfort zone is hard. It’s hard every time you do it. It’s hard for me, for Pen, for Sarah for my Dad, for everyone. We’re all everyday people.

Remember, it’s not about “winning” something, it’s about making the effort, having the experience, or in my case, the story. Because in the end, it’s all about the stories!

(Am I right Pen? Switchie? Dad?)


You don’t have to be Kenyan to run

Run like the wind!

A fellow named Geoffrey Mutai won the 115th Boston Marathon yesterday.  Yep, Geoffrey is from Kenya.  Apparently a Kenyan has won the famous race for five out of the last six years. Geoff’s time, 2 hours 3 minutes 2 seconds, was the fastest marathon run by nearly a minute, and it smashed the course record, set last year, by nearly three minutes. Very impressive! I’m guessing he didn’t run with those tea-leaves in his hair.  The wind resistance would have slowed him down quite a bit. Anyway…well done and congratulations to you sir!

As of yesterday, Dean Karnazes has run his way from Los Angeles to Ohio. He has run across 10 states in 53 days. Dean’s on a mission to “Inspire a Nation.”  Maybe you’ve heard of Dean, he’s pretty well-known in the running world, he’s an ultra marathoner, author and speaker who lives here in The Bay Area. Apparently he’s pretty funny too. By the way, Dean is not from Kenya.

Anyway, Dean is running 3,000 miles from Los Angeles to NYC hoping to bring attention to childhood obesity. From what I can tell he’s doing pretty well.  As I said, yesterday Dean arrived in Ohio. According to his website, he’s running about 40-50 miles per day at an average pace of 11.5. Not bad considering the distance.  If you want to follow Dean’s progress, or spy on him to see what he’s eating, you keep track of him on his site.

My point — Check these guys out, they’re inspirational and deserve some recognition. The next time you go for a run, or in some cases a “trundle,” imagine you’re Kenyan, you just might run a little faster…

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No motion starvation allowed

What’s up for the weekend? I hope you will all be doing a little moving around. No motion starvation allowed.

On Saturday I’ll be participating in the first WTF Cycling team ride of the season. WTF is a bike team started by me and my best bike pals. The majority of us are retired bike racers that just can’t get the bike out of our blood so we formed a team. What does WTF mean? I think you can figure it out. If you’d like more info on WTF Cycling or would like to join us for a ride sometime, feel free to “like” us on Facebook so you can stay appraised of our goings on.

No matter what you get up to this weekend have a wonderful time of it. If you need a suggestion, how about a Scavenger Hunt?  I’m sending all my clients away for the weekend with this assignment and I expect full reports from them on Monday. Join in on the fun if you dare!

Here’s how it works — Go for a run, walk or combination of the two for one hour. As you travel along, hunt for the items listed below. Keep track of what you find and let me know how you did. I suggest you place this list in your phone so you have it handy. Check off the items on the list or better yet, snap a photo of your findings. I’d love to see what you come up with.

Be sure to warm up with some Jumping Jacks and a few stretches before you start to run, and stretch well post workout. Have fun and watch your step!

The List

Beware of Dog Sign

House with Green Door

A Bird House

Garden Gnome

Take Out Menu

A Swing


Someone 85 years or older

Water Bottle

Cardboard Box

Glass Bottle

Paper Bag

An Acorn



Fruit Pit

Pink Stone




Your Hunt Reports are due to me by Monday.  May the force be with you!

See you next week…


Is the Universe trying to tell me something?

Not again!

I did it again, sprained my ankle. The same one I messed up a few months ago. It sucks, I’m not a good sick person and I don’t deal well with immobility. I was running on the trail about 2 miles from my car and like the last time, my foot just turned under. Me, my favorite Lululemon togs and a sexy white tank top all became airborne just in time to for a slew of Trail Worker Dudes to witness the calamity. Landing, I slid along the path picking up leaves and sludge turning my white top into a camouflage print. Like I always do when I fall, I screamed. It’s a reflex I have no control over and it does well to magnify the peril. Once on the ground I looked up to see 3 very cute young guys standing about 20 feet away looking at me in shock. They just stood there looking at me with wide eyes. Maybe the scream frightened them? Nobody said a word, they just looked at me. Feeling a bit foolish I let them know that I was okay. ”No worries, I’m fine, this happens to me a lot.” Then one of them said, “Are you sure?” “Oh yea, I’m fine.” At that point they mounted their official vehicle and I was left to stumble back to my car some two miles.  As I dragged my rapidly swelling foot along the trail I began to speak out loud using words that might cause one to assume that I was deranged. Then the tears started to come. Poor me, I fell again! Life sucks, whatever will I do now? I might as well just lay down and die. Poor, poor me!

Everyone has had setbacks at one time or another. The only way to survive is to adapt. So I won’t be able to go for a walk on the beach tonight or run this weekend but I can certainly do plenty of other things.  I’m just going to have to look outside of my little box and find new and wonderful things to do.

It’s important to be adaptable and creative in all areas of life. If one thing doesn’t work then you have an opportunity to try something new.  Maybe my fall today was the Universe’s way of telling me to pay more attention to my bike or to work a little harder on my upper body. My arms are starting to look a little saggy…

I have to look at this as an opportunity and use it to my advantage. Something tells me that if I do this right I’ll be better for having had this little spill. After all, I’m a Scorpio, you can’t take us down, when we rise, we rise up even stronger.

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The beach makes everything better

A day at the beach

Growing up in Southern California, I went to the beach every day until I moved to Nor Cal. That’s just what we did. Rain our shine (although there were few rainy days). Maybe that’s why I love the beach so much. Any time I’m feeling sad or anxious I head for the beach. Guess that’s why I like to run on the beach in the rain. Strange as it seems, it makes me really happy.

With the weather starting to get nice and the evenings staying light longer I’d like to suggest that everyone get themselves to the beach one evening every other week. I’m out there at least two evenings every week and it’s wonderful! Lets celebrate the season and the beautiful place we live and hit the beach!

You can do anything you like at the beach, walk, run, ride your bike in the hard sand. Aside from the emotional lift you get from being at the beach, working out in the sand requires added balance working your core and makes everything a little harder. Even just a few beach runs strengthens your ankles, arches, and all below-the-knee muscles more than running on harder surfaces. Sand work also burns 1.6 more calories than working out on hard surfaces. How do you like that?

The goal I’m putting in front of you is to simply go to the beach. However, once you’re there I suggest tossing in a few of the following exercises along with your walk or run. Bottom line, just get out there!

If you’d like me to tell you how many of each exercise to do I will, if not, just go out and play around, have some fun and mix it up.



Train your feet?

Foot Love

I’ve had many wonderful trainers and coaches in my life but not one of them has ever told me to train my feet. Fortunately, I managed to figure this out on my own through various aches, pains and research.

If your feet aren’t fit then how do you expect the rest of your body to be? Your feet support three times your body weight when you walk, when you run they support seven times and when you jump, 10 times your body weight! Think about that!

When we exercise we usually focus on everything but our feet.  When your feet hurt that affects your ankles, knees, hips and lower back. Remember, The anklebone is connected to the knee bone.  Keep your feet in top form, and they’ll support the rest of your body making everything you do in your life a little easier.

Here are a few suggestions on how to keep your feet happy.

Stretch your arches every day – I like to sit on my shins, butt resting on my heals with toes curled under. You can also stand with your toes against a wall (one foot at time) and lean slightly into the wall until you feel a stretch along the bottom of the foot. Do each foot twice. If you don’t like those ideas, just sit on the floor and pull your toes back with your hand. The idea is to stretch the bottom of the foot.

Stretch your toes – Squeeze your toes together (they might crack) and hold for a few seconds, then flex them up. Do this a few times every day.

Don’t forgetAnkle Circles and Toe Points to keep the supporting joints flexible.

Stimulate the bottom of your feet – The soles of the feet are extremely sensitive due to a high concentration of nerve endings. Post workout give ‘em a nice soapy scrub with the loofah to wake up all those neurons & synapses. A little lotion massage after is always a good idea too.

Rule of thumb – As soon as you’re finished working out take off your shoes. Your feet will swell from the workout (or hard day at work) so give em’ room to breath.

Running Shoes – Replace your shoes every 300 to 500 miles.

Best foot friendly places to run – Rubber Track, Treadmill, Grass, and Dirt.

Any questions?

Giddy up!

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If they worked for Granny…

Recipe for recovery

Remember your Granny’s support hose? Ever get a look at a pair of those uncomfortable contortions? They looked like a full-length girdle, sort of. The good news is they’re back in fashion, although now they’re called Compression Socks.

Anyway — Compression Socks or sometimes-called Recovery Sox are currently all the rage. Essentially they’re a knee-high version of Granny’s support hose. Their soul-purpose is to create an upward flow of blood through the lower legs helping to get unoxygenated blood out and replace it with fresh oxygenated blood. A desired effect for anyone who wishes to increase circulation in the legs. I.E. athletes, diabetics, folks that work on their feet or sit for long periods of time.

Fresh oxygenated blood is what athletic recovery is all about, which is why athletes are willing to drop $30 plus dollars for these magic socks.  I have a pair thanks to my friend Mo.  At first I thought “gee, thanks Mo…what do I do with these? They’re ugly.” Now I am addicted to them. I can’t say for certain if they help my legs recover but I know they don’t hinder recovery and the squeezy feeling is oddly nice.  Kind of a tingly massageie feeling. I even sleep in ‘em sometimes.

Get your Google on if you want more info, or take a risk and pick some up.  They’re socks. Everyone needs socks and these are magic socks!