Thursday, 30 September 2010

The haunted forest


This morning we woke up at 6AM to go for a 5km run. It was still pitch black outside so we put on our headlights to see where we were heading. Today will be our first run in the forest while its still dark.
I don't like the forest when its dark. During daytime I love to be there. It's beautiful, it smells nice and I love to spot some deer or a hare. But when it's dark I just don't wanna be there. I think it's spooky and my nightvision sucks so I don't see a thing. But I went.... the upcoming 6 months it will be dark every morning so I better get over it. 
The haunted forest. Dark, moist and spooky...

So we're off. First a short track on asphalt before we reach the forest. It gives me time to get used to the dark and the wobbling light on my head. And to get over my fear for the 'haunted forest' because thats what it feels like to me right now. Yes I know this is kinda childish. Maybe my parents told me to many scary stories about the dark forest... Lucky enough I have company so I better keep up with Michelle otherwise I will be running alone in that forest. 
We're there... We first enter the forest on a straight path that is less dark then the forest itself. After a 200m we bend to the right and we enter 'the darkness'. For a moment I thought 'I am not going!'. But Michelle was already ahead of me and the thought of being alone in the dark in 'the haunted forest' didn't atrack me at all. So I tried to kill my thoughts and started running at a higher pace to keep up with Michelle. Man it was fucking dark! I tried to point my headlight down to get a better view at the ground because there are a lot of branches and roots and I don't wanna trip on something. This surely took away my scary thoughts because I was too  busy not to stumble. 
Being so busy not to stumble it didn't give me the opportunity to relax and enjoy the run. I couldn't get the headlight right and kept stepping on branches and roots. I told myself to trust my feet and try to keep a relaxed pace. If I am relaxed my feet will correct themselves when I step on something. These thoughts helped me a lot and being more relaxed my feet did adapt to the bumpy surface and corrected themselves where necesary. While running down the path suddenly out of the dark 3 big deer appeared and headed towards us. They just crossed our path 3m in front of us. That was awesome! That really brings you close to nature...
It was a long 5km today but I did enjoy it. I am proud of myself that I did go into that dark forest. And it was hard because you have to adapt to the bumpy surface without seeing it very well. Trust your body and relax. It's not just running, its so much more! Its a mindset, listen to your body and your feet. Push your limits!


P.S. when I came home I found out that my headlight was adjustable and it could be pointed up or down. Duuuuh! So that will solve my problem next time we're running in the dark. I'm looking forward to it!

-Esther-

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Energy boost


It's nice to see that so many people are visiting our brand new blog. We get about 90 views a day and we're just online for one week. Thanks everybody for being interested in our stories! That keeps us motivated even more to share our stories. 



Yesterday I went running in the pooring rain. At first I didn't wanna go. Getting all wet and cold, bleh! Winter is coming up and there will be much more days like this to come. So I grabbed myself together, put on my runningtrousers and went outside. It went out to be a great run! I ran 6km and I loved every minute of it. My VFF got soaking wet and I was a little afraid of getting blisters. When wet they might start rubbing my feet. But no! No pain at all! I ran 2,5km on asphalt and 3,5km in the forest. Running through the mud and puddles is so much fun. Trail running is really what I like to do. I am lucky to live in the countryside so I don't have to run and breath the exhaust of all the traffic coming by. Nice clean air makes running so much better. 

-Esther-

Monday, 27 September 2010

How to avoid blisters

This morning I did some research on how to avoid those blisters I've got from yesterdays running. I found some interesting websites about this subject. And also Ken Bob Saxton was so nice to give some advice and emailed me some tips. Thanks Ken Bob, they were really helpfull!

How to avoid blisters:

www.therunningbarefoot.com
www.articlesnatch.com

-Esther-

Sunday, 26 September 2010

We went naked... all the way! (5Km)

This morning we went for our first naked feet run. We were so excited! We went to a bike and skate race track which has very smooth asphalt and some grass to excersice. We first gave our feet a little warm up with some excersises. Walking on your toes, walking on the sides and walking on your heels, just to get used to the feeling of walking barefoot. 

Allright enough practising... lets go! And we went running not defining any distance or speed. The first 500m where very tense. Our feet burnt a little and the steps where a little bit cautious. But after a while your feet get used to the feeling and you just run and enjoy! At the end we ran 5 km with an average speed of 8km an hour.

After our run I didn't have the feeling I had done much damage to my feet. One toe felt a little sore and the ball of my right foot was burning a little. It appeared that I had a blister at the ball of my right foot and a small cut in my little toe. Michelles feet looked a little better then mine except for the fact that she' stumbled in the last 10m and her nail started bleeding.

I would have thought after running 5km my feet would be much more damaged! The skin on my feet is very thin and really has to build up a bit more. Michelles feet are used to more excercise due to the fact she been walking around barefoot most of her upgrowing life. She's a South African so she has the real bushmen feet  *ghe ghe*

Unfortunately winter is coming up in Holland so it will be very cold and we're not such die hards yet to walk barefoot in the snow. But we surely loved the experience and wanna give it another try. We'll be looking up some more nice asphalt tracks and keep you posted.

To be continued naked for sure! 

 Our feet after running 5km barefoot. On the left my 'citygirlfeet' and on the right Michelles 'bushmenfeet'

 The bottom of Michelles feet after the run. Not bad!

 Michelles bleeding toe.

 I had a little cut on my right toe and a blister on the ball of my feet.

The bottom of my feet. Pretty okay!

-Esther-

Michelles first real barefoot run - 5Km

Barefoot in Nieuwkuijk, the Netherlands


We will be testing barefoot running tomorrow on a smooth roller-blade outside track in Nieuwkuijk (NB). No shoes, no sox, just the skin2surface. We have been watching some really awesome Youtube clips about (real!!)barefoot running, so we're gonna check it out for ourselves. 

I do believe that it's not about what you put on your feet that matters, but really what you do with them that  counts (as per Chris Mcdougall), nonetheless, we're excited and can't wait to get going, (Fred Flintstone-style perhaps ???).

So this means our Vibram Five fingers can take a load off and enjoy a days rest.

Catch you thereafter!
-Michelle-

p.s. ToddB, thanks for your inspiration... Response to follow after this experience ;-).


Thursday, 23 September 2010

It's all about splitting hairs... we have been warned!


It’s interesting... our blog-site seems to have created a hang-nail effect by some true ‘barefoot runners’. Quite funny actually, we started this blog-site a whole 3 days ago and already much has happened in the background. Do read on!

It all started with an innocent mail to the world of barefoot-runners, especially those epitomized in Chris McDougall’s wonderful book “Born to Run” asking them to link to our blog-site and of course to share of our newly found passion, barefoot-running… or almost! And that’s just it. You can imagine that some (extreme) loyalists got their toes stepped on when we made such an innocent mistake. See here below for the full on e-mail communiqué between ourselves (the newbie’s) and the ‘bearded loyalist’ whose name has been changed for dramatic effect! (of course!) Please note! It has become quite apparent that there needs to be a distinction made between actual barefoot running and barefoot style running (on minimalist footware). So without further ado, enjoy the educative and hilarious chain of e-mails over the past 24 hours:

We deleted all the names of people involved because we think that it would be inappropriate to mention them here.
This is how it all began;

"Hello ***
!

We are two Dutch girls and we recently started a blog about barefoot running. It's called barefootfarmgirls, simply due the fact that we are two nice girls who run barefoot and live on a farm ;-). If you got time you might wanna take a look and tell us what you think? If have something interesting we can put on our blog, please let us know. We really do wanna spread the word in Western Europe about barefoot running so any information be more then welcome!

We did also put a link on our site to your website. Maybe you can be so kind to link us back"

With kind regards,
Esther & Michelle



Our receiver responded kinda sweet;

"Esther,

My mom was a barefoot farm girl.

what is the URL for your website?"

Have fun,
***
 

I thought that was nice of *** to forward our blog to all of his friends and thanked him for that;

"Hi ***
!

Thanks for forwarding my message to all of your friends. And if your mom was a barefoot farm girl then we must be family!

The url to our website is:

http://barefootfarmgirls.blogspot.com

Have fun and thanks again ***
!"

-Esther-




Seemed that *** didn't have that many friends at all;

"Those aren't my friends... well O.K. they are, but they're also my fellow Running Barefoot representatives from around the world.

Ummm... I 'm a little bit confused by your website, is it about "Barefoot" running, or is it about "barefoot" shoes - which make absolutely no sense whatsoever, kind of like naked shoes, or food that starves people - I'm not saying that such things don't exist, just that if it starves you, it isn't food. And if it covers your foot, it isn't barefoot...

Sorry, to be a stickler here, but I'm really tired of telling people that I run barefoot, and them asking me "what kind of shoes do you wear when I run barefoot?"

Life is really confusing enough, without being clear. Me, and the Barefoot Runner's society, and folks on the Running Barefoot discussion groups, have pretty much agreed to the term "minimalist footwear" just so we can speak without seeming deceptive.

So, if you promise to agree that there is no such thing as "barefoot shoes" or "barefoot footwear" no matter what some marketing people may tell us (do we always have to adapt language from people trying to sell us something?), and if there is actually something on your website about running LITERALLY bare foot (right now, I see some post about you running barefoot, but the other posts talk about running barefoot in shoes, so I can't tell if there is a difference in your language, or if you're actually running barefoot???).

Anyway, let me know if your site is actually going to be about running barefoot - and I will consider putting you in the links at TheRunningBarefoot.com website...

No need to let me know if it's only about running in minimalist footwear, as in that case, I'm not very interested - the people selling minimalist footwear are doing fine, and can buy their own advertising."

Have fun,
***


WOW... He's taking it really seriously! So this was our respons;


"Hello ***
,

Hmmmz, You've made a very valid and clear point... the terminology is confusing, I can see that now. So I must thank you for enlightening me ;-). Since we have only just kicked off in this new adventure, I will alter the context and content of the blogsite for it to be more specific toward 'minimalistic footwear'. This only because it is a matter of principal (which is important) and since I am not marketing anything except the enjoyment of running in minimalistic footwear, I will be more specific.

In this regard, I can understand if your not interested, and I respect that whole heartedly. In today's marketing environment, it is difficult to keep certain things pure as they should be and having said that, I'm gonna wish you good luck in  fighting that battle. Although I must say, how often do you get to e-mailing 'almost' barefootfarmgirls all the way in the Netherlands, based on a misconception ??? hihi
 
*** thanks alot for getting me up to speed and if ever your in the land of cheese, look us up! We'd be happy to give you a grand tour, BAREFOOT n'all!

"Houdoe" (which means 'see ya' in the southern part of the Netherlands)

-Esther-

p.s. The moment we're as naked as you are when running, we'll let you know!"



Other people who were copied in by *** are getting involved too and it's getting really exciting now!;


"Well, i just looked at their website and they have taken your words and corrected themselves and now its titled Almost Barefoot... they seem humble in their correction from ***, and with integrity to change when challanged...
 
******"


"Without opening it, I initially deleted the first email that was sent with the subject "barefoot farm girls" because I thought it was porn spam....

And I am pretty sure the background image at that blog is a violation of copyright.

--
~~~****"



As a respons from *** we have now been cc'd in a message to 'his friends' instead of him directing it to us. Hello... ***..? We're over here!;


"As it turns out, "Barefoot" in their minds, means running with footwear..."

Have fun,
***



We're becoming quite famous now because 'the whole world' had to read this according to *** because he keeps copying in all "his friends". So lets respond to 'the world' then;

"Allright.... is seems thats everybody gets involved know. So for your (complete) information I'll send you the email I send to ***
yesterday. We also posted a message onto our blog in which we correct ourselves.

* To ****: We made a picture reference note and a link on our site to Luis Escobar, in refund of using his picture.

* To *******: Thank you!

Below the email I send to *** yesterday;

"Hey ***
,

Hmmmz, You've ...... we'll let you know!" (see above)


 
The man keeps coming back;

"Esther,

Sadly, as **** pointed out, your choice in website name is also victim to the same misleading type of marketing... That is, just as you confused our Running Barefoot website with one that endorses minimalist footwear, the idea of farm girls running barefoot - or otherwise, innocently is easily mistaken for a porn website...

But, I'm not all about keeping Running Barefoot "pure". What I'm talking about is not misleading people with false terminology - sure the footwear advertisers misuse the word "barefoot" when selling footwear, and sure, porn sites want to lure folks in to see some "innocent" barefoot farm girls - but as individuals and organizations not interested in "selling" something for what it isn't, we should be more responsible than sales and marketing people.

More importantly, the supposed benefit of minimalist footwear, "to protect the bare soles" from feeling the ground, is the biggest danger!

Before you go out for another run in your minimalist footwear, please read my article:
**********************************

Have fun,
***



Allright enough of this... its wasting our time! We emailed a 'grand finale' to *** and "the world";

"Hey ***, 

have you not got anything else to do with your time and talent ? Instead you waste your energy preaching. Pffffffffffffff!

It does strike me though as how conditioned you have become to porn. It´s quite apparent that you have had enough exposure to such like sites to be able to visually conjure up images of bare/breasted farm girls running up a sweat, with or without footwear. No, no, I´d rather imagine you spending your energy ´preaching´ to the foot/fetish blog-sites. I´m sure you’ll have a far bigger fan club over on that route.

Thanks for being so kind as to sending us your article. I’m sure you’ve spent half your lifetime writing it, however, we choose not to read it. It is ultimately the freedom of choice one inevitable has in this day and age, which we choose to exercise when we share about what it is that excites us!  So, take a bite out of this, shave your beard and grow up. Perhaps a pair of shoes will help you in not getting your toes stood on so quickly."

Thanks and regards,
Esther and Michelle


Now all of a sudden ***'s tone has changed;

"Yes I do have better things to do with my time... And I wasn't criticizing your choice of website name, I was criticizing the porn industry for making people associate an innocent sounding title like yours with their sites... (That's the kind of sites I have filtered through in 13 years of random searches for barefoot running, and related topics - even at work, when I once made the mistake of searching for information about a "hard drive" - I work on computers for a living - well, you might imagine not all the results were computer related...)

Anyway, yes, I have spent 13 years on-line "preaching" about running barefoot, and it's benefits - but more important than "preaching" I have been listening to my soles, and other people who have been running barefoot and in minimalist footwear, and I'm tired of getting messages from people who claim that they broke their foot while running "barefoot" in minimalist footwear. If they were actually barefoot, they wouldn't have been pushing their feet into the ground hard enough to break their foot, because that would have hurt enough to make them stop doing it, long before they broke their foot! And that instant, emphatic feedback from the bare soles, that teaches how to run even more gently than you can imagine (until you try it) is the true benefit of running barefoot.

And that is what I have that is better to do, to help write stuff like this, for those who are interested in listening, hoping it might help some peaople have even more fun running (barefoot or otherwise), for the rest of their lives.

And seriously, do HAVE FUN!"

Have fun,
***

Thank you ***, it was very instructive and entertaining! 

-Esther & Michelle-

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

We stand to be corrected!

Hmmmz, yes yes! Listen up..

A rarely spotted yet familiar, barefooted little bird whispered in my ear tonight. The message: If it ain't naked, it's not barefoot. And since we're girls of integrity, we thought we'd be more specific about our newly found passion, which is running 'minimalist footwear' style and not (for the moment) barefoot. We're not die hards... yet! So humble apologies for the confusion, but it is all about our passion and not about marketing something for what it isn't. 

p.s. off tomorrow for an early start, Es in fivefinger Vibrams and I'll be running in Terra Plana Vivo doing a short n sweet 5k run.

-Esther & Michelle-
(almost)barefoot farm girls

Review Huaraches from invisibleshoe.com


  



We're so excited! We've just been asked to review the "Huaraches" from InvisibleShoe.
Huaraches, the running sandals worn by the Tarahumara, give you the freedom of barefoot running while protecting your feet. 
Invisible Shoes are a modern spin on the traditional barefoot running sandal — durable, stylish and affordable — and so light and low-profile it’s like you’re not wearing anything.

You can understand that the Barefoot Farmgirls can't wait to get a hold of these and go out for a run in the forest! So keep posted for this review.



-Esther-


The Beginner's Guide to Vibram Five Fingers

(Thanks to www.birthdayshoes.com)


It's been a long-time coming, and with ever more interest in Vibram Five Fingers barefoot shoes with each passing week (and Lieberman's research on impact forces in heel-striking vs forefoot-striking continues to make the rounds in the press), I decided it was high-time a simple guide was put together to help would-be VFFers learn about the "barefoot alternative" — Vibram Five Fingers.


I present the "beginner's guide" to Five Fingers

The "beginner's guide" is a twenty-one page how-to document aimed at Vibram Five Fingers "newbies." Why would you need a guide to a pair of shoes? Well, a couple reasons. For one, foot gloves aren't your typical footwear, and two, any shoe that requires measuring the length of your foot from heel to longest-toe on your longest foot and then using that measurement to determine your shoe size by matching it on a grid by model and gender — well yeah, VFFs kinda need a guide!

The beginner's guide to Vibram Five Fingers covers some of the basics regarding the barefoot movement, generally, and VFFs, specifically. It includes background info, advice on which styles/Vibram Five Fingers models you should consider first (including user photos and links to user stories), tips and how-to on determining your VFF size, where to buy a pair, and what to do once you've finally gotten them on your feet!
The beginner's guide to Five Fingers is completely free to download and share.

As the document is electronic, it will be updated and edited based on feedback received, so if you want to make sure you've got the most updated version, just use this link, which will always point to the most current version.

If you already have a pair of VFFs and are way past the beginner's point, I encourage you to download this guide, anyway. My hope is you'll find it a useful tool to pass on to friends and family who are interested in your quirky five-toed footwear.

Go to http://birthdayshoes.com for a FREE download of the Beginner's Guide.

Another thing... Do your VFF have a funny smell? Take a look at The definitive guide to cleaning vibram five fingers

The effect of running to your body

Just wanted to share my happy running feeling with you! Running has a special effect on your body. It's gives you a 'happy' feeling. Your energy level goes up and your body keeps asking for more. Before you know you're addicted to this happy feeling and you want more!

"Yet, most serious runners will say their addiction goes beyond the physical benefits they achieve from running. Runners say the intense exhilaration and euphoria that comes after a run is what motivates them most. In fact, this euphoria comes from a betaendorphin release triggered by the neurons in the nervous system. Intended to alleviate the pain after a run, it creates a feeling of extreme happiness and exhilaration. Runners become addicted to this intense high, and it can often replace other addictions to drugs, alcohol, and even food. While runners claim to achieve more energy in daily life from running, it also helps bring appetite, exercise and food into balance. Furthermore, as running makes the body function better, it improves sleep, eating, and relaxation."

From www.vanderbilt.edu 'The benefits of running.'

What I've been noticing is that my body doesn't ask for sugar as much as it did before. It has a hunger for healthy food. I eat a lot of vegetables, fruits and nuts. I am much more physically active than I was before and my body tells me know that it needs other ingredients to keep up with my new way of life. I am reading the Paleo Diet and its very interesting stuff! Back to basic food and delete all the crap and food that makes us all sugar addicts. Did you ever notice that everything (and then I mean EVERYTHING) you buy in the supermarket contains sugar? Yes, even gherkins! 

-Esther-

Monday, 20 September 2010

The first Barefoot Run is a fact!

The first Barefoot Run is a fact! I've just read on the site of Barefoot Ted that the first Barefoot Run will be on 10 october in New York. All big names will be there and I'm sure it will be a fantastic run. Check it out on: http://nycbarefootrun.com


Barefoot Farmgirls on Hyves

The Barefoot Farmgirls have their own Hyves page! So if you're from the Netherlands and want to post, chat or just wanna become an even bigger fan of Barefoot Farmgirls go to:



http://barefootfarmgirls.hyves.nl

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Open for a new experience

Allrighty! So this is Michelle here, "Hi!" Believe it or not, but this is actually my first Blog entry... ever! What a wonderful topic to start off with then, our passion for Barefoot-running. This is one of those things in life which you just roll into. We didn't go out looking for this, it just so happened to cross our pathway, and thus we've embraced it whole-heartedly.

Being an avid adrenaline-beast, I was rather apprehensive about running in shoes which had nothing less than a rubber sole and nylon uppers. The first thing that crossed my mind was: "Oh my God... the injuries, the pain... uuugh". I was fearful that running barefoot may negatively impact my flow... Nonetheless, I took on the challenge (actually, I just thought the whole concept made real sense, theoretically) now all it takes is for me to be convinced. There is only one way to get hooked, and that is JUST TO DO IT!

So now we're DOING IT! 3 weeks down the road and I can't tell you how naive I was before... In short, I believed it to be normal that all running shoes had a support system and today I'm thinking, Support for what ?
We weren't born with them, (although, some get buried in em), and our distant hunter-gatherer fore-fathers and mothers didn't need them (perhaps because there was no asphalt or concrete in those days).

ANYWAY! Back to the experience. As I was saying before, having embarked on this barefoot-journey has truly opened my eyes as to increasing your personal performance and at the same time, increasing the experience, the flow. Back to basics, has been my theme for the past half year and this is a perfect activity which not only honors that, but fuels it too!

That's it for now. Thanks for taking the time and we'll catch you later.

- Michelle

p.s. Be warned! When starting out on barefoot-running, please take the time to adapt to a new way of running. Barefoot running doesn't make you a better runner, it forces you to run better. So take the time to listen to your body and before you know it, you're running experience brings you closer to yourself than you have ever been.

Welcome to our Barefoot running blog!

Hello and welcome to our blog! My name is Esther and together with my girlfriend Michelle we started running Barefoot. It all started 3 weeks ago. I used to be a frequent runner 3 years ago. Running has never been easy for me. It was a struggle everytime I went outside to do my workout. I ran 5 times a week for one hour but it was hard! Michelle is a sprinter. She was one of the fastest girls in school so running for her is something natural.

Recently we moved to a little village and now live on the countryside in the Netherlands. We are surrounded by nature and outdoorsporting is the greatest thing for us. In summer we've done a lot of cycling on our hybrid bikes and now Michelle thought it would be a great idea to start running again. Tone my tummy! We both needed new pairs of running shoes so we headed for the shops. A good friend of mine, who's running for some years, introduced us to Barefoot running. He and his wife changed their way of life completely and introduced running and good nutrition into their lifes. They never felt better before! And they look great too! Recently they opened their shop http://www.anyonesrunshop.nl where they sell their new lifestyle. So here we are... trying on some crazy looking shoes with seperated toes.
We ran up and down the store and it felt great. We're always into something new so we bought the Vibram Fivefingers Speed, specially designed for rough terrain. We run in the forest so we do need a bit more protection for our nice little feet.

Our Vibram Fivefingers Speed


Your feet do have to get used to the feeling of walking barefoot. It takes a while to get these shoes on because every toe has its own little socket. But when you get used to it you fit them just as quickly as your normal shoes. We first started walking to get used to the feeling. You feel the earth beneath your feet and that is so nice! You feel every brance, every acorn and every stone. But your feet adapt very easily to this unusual sensation. My feet liked it! The contact with the earth is so special... We wanted more! So the next day we started running. Short tracks and enough walking i between. Your calves have to work now and that's new to us. But it feels more natural to run like this. Your foot lands on the middle and not on your heel. And that happens without even thinking.about how to walk differently.. Because its natural? I just started running at a slow past and enjoyed the feeling sliding through the air. No hard working and fighting and struggling. Now I enjoy running for the first time in my life!

We've been running now for 3 weeks. This morning we ran 6 km and I am so proud! My dear friend told us to take it easy and not run to far to quickly. We very carefully listen to our body and take a day off when our body tells us to. We do have a goal but having fun and enjoying nature is our biggest goal. Your body is your personal coach. It will tell you exactly what to do! So slow down when you're in pain or getting tired. And enjoy when a smile appears on you face.

We love to share our experiences on Barefoot running and tell the world what is has done for us. If you wanna have some more information about barefootrunning techniques please come back to our blog and check out the links on the left side.

Michelle and I will be back soon
with more of our barefoot adventures!