The Postponed Post

Another bank holiday, another camping trip!

We arrived early at the campsite near Dursley on a sunny Saturday morning, and even before I stepped out of the car I removed my shoes. I had two reasons for this; one, I wanted to spend as much time barefoot as possible, and two, the grass was really wet and I wanted my shoes (vivobarefoot evo IIs) to stay dry!

Unfortunately, as soon as the sun started burning off the morning dew, some heavy showers accompanied by lightning and thunder kept the field wet, bordering on waterlogged. The first shower caught my evo’s by surprise while they were sunbathing outside the tent, and they ended up as soaked as the field.

Luckily the second day was glorious, with the sun shining as two friends and I set off on a morning run. One friend is transitioning to minimalist running in merrell trail gloves so took it easy and hung back. The other friend is a three time Ironman, and completed his first 6 hour ultra trail run a few weeks ago. He also wears vivobarefoot shoes full time. He had roughly mapped out a 10-ish mile route possibly incorporating some trails depending on their condition.

I decided to start off barefoot and see what lay ahead on uncharted terrain, so carried my trusty fivefingers. I was a little apprehensive as my soles had spent the previous day on wet grass and I wasn’t sure how much this could have softened them.

The route turned out to be a mixture of smooth and rough road, long grassy footpaths, wet and muddy wooded hilly trails with both roots and rocks, and dry stoney paths including half buried rocks. In other words, way more complex than I have ever run before. But my feet coped superbly with every type of surface we covered. Even the 7:17 min / mile pace for the last couple of road miles felt good. I did pop the fivefingers on for about a mile of wooded descent, but this turned out to be too steep to run anyway. I remember thinking “This would be barefootable” while I clung to a tree to stop myself sliding tens of metres down the slope!

This was also the first time I have run barefoot with another runner, and it didn’t feel awkward at all. I’m not sure if this was because he is a minimalist runner, or because I’ve known him nearly ten years. Whatever it was, it gave me the confidence to remove my shoes and run barefoot with twenty or so other runners from the running club on Tuesday nights hill session. And none of those are minimalist runners and I hardly know most of them!


That’s blog site downtime, not me (fortunately!)

I last posted on the 17th August following the family holiday. I attempted to make my next post a week later but found the blog missing all my previous postings. In fact, it looked like it did after the initial WordPress install, showing the default welcome page!

I went through a series of steps involving database table checks, etc but couldn’t find anything wrong. The only thing that worked was resetting the DNS address with the domain registrar before changing it back to the hosting site, all of which takes a few days to propagate through the webosphere.

I’m not super web tech savvy, but I can sort most things out with google holding my hand. I can’t quite get my head around this one though – I didn’t modify any files on the site but everything is back to normal?

I was just glad I had a recent backup (although I have updated the frequency from weekly to daily!)

BMI Baby

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post, the delay being due to a weeks holiday in Brittany, France. I had hoped to write a post towards the end of the week about my running experiences, but an unfortunate accident sidelined any plans for the last few days.

After a sunny afternoon on a small beach, a relative cooked dinner for us all on a portable bbq. Afterwards, he attempted to safely dispose of the hot coals by digging a hole in the sand and tipping the bbq contents in. Unfortunately he stepped on the super hot sand the bbq had occupied. After 25 minutes with his blistered foot cooling in the sea, the ambulance took him to hospital, where they had to remove the entire skin from his sole, as the hot sand had embedded in. Four days later he was allowed out hospital, but it will take weeks to heal.

As a runner I appreciate my feet, and as a barefoot runner I especially appreciate my soles. As a non runner, my relative…. treasures his soles just as much. I wish him a speedy recovery.


Back to my original post subject though. We holidayed in the same area last Easter, when I was starting out in vibram fivefingers. Last year I returned with tendonitis from a few 6 mile runs. My first holiday run this year was a 13 mile barefoot run, during which it struck me how far I have progressed.

This run included 5 miles along a flat beach, perfect for running, shod or otherwise. But there were no runners! In fact I hardly saw anyone running all week. Five runners tops. I see more than that on an evening run back home.

What I also struggled to see were ‘large’ people. Young and old were between average or slim, and it was refreshing to see. But this seriously hit home on our first service station stop in England, where the opposite held true.

I quick search revealed the following table: (clicking on the image should open the original source pdf)

The bars show the percentage of adult population with a BMI greater than 30, ie obese. USA tops the table at 33.8%, with the UK in 7th with 23%. France is towards the bottom of this list with 11.2%, roughly half that of the UK.

So how come I saw so few runners in France but the obese percentage is half that of the UK’s? Our holiday location was very rural, but the nearest city, Lannion, had very few fast food ‘restaurants’ or take-aways. My home, Market Harborough, has a huge choice for a small town. Could this point to a cause? Maybe, but I’m sure there are many more reasons beyond my understanding.

An interesting site to calculate a BMI value is

My result of “You have a lower BMI than 96% of males aged 30-44 in your country! The #BBCNews body fat calculator says that I’m most like someone from DR Congo” saddened me. I believe I should be around 65-70% if the health of the UK population was ‘normal.’