The Older Brother Ambles Over the Finish Line

Hiya, FatHeads!

Thought I’d post a followup report and let Tom focus on the book over the holiday weekend.

As I reported here, after reading “Born to Run” last year, I got interested in the idea of people being designed to run. Even old, fat people. So, with the encouragement of a couple of my coworkers,

(these ladies:)

I signed up for this year’s Abe’s Army training program, which consists of weekly organized small group runs with experienced runners, along with some personal miles logged, culminating 13 weeks later in participation in the 10k Abe’s Amble, which is run the last Sunday of the Illinois State Fair.  The race starts inside the fairgrounds at 7:30 am, heads out of the fair, through  nearby Lincoln Park, out the back of the park, through the (hilly) cemetery where Lincoln is buried, then back. BTW, for us non-metric types, 10k is 6.2 miles.

I missed a couple of the long group runs the last couple of weeks, but did running on my own, and I’d also starting pedaling the 2 miles to the office every day, so I felt like I was ready.

As an added bonus, it turned out that whoever organized the race this year must have some MAJOR contacts somewhere, because Saturday night Central Illinois broke out of a weeks-long string of 90-100 degree weather and we ended up with 65 degrees and overcast for the start of the race.

Here’s most of our group (Blue 2) just before the race started.

I’m the bright yellow one in the back with the funny “running shoes.”

About those — I’d been doing my personal runs in the Huaraches all along, but had been doing the group runs in a pair of Lems shoes that are zero-drop, barefoot shoes but look like running shoes — just to blend in a bit (the ones in the pic at the top of this post). I wore the Huaraches to the last practice run (3 miles), and when I walked up the trainers looked at my feet, then up at me, and said “so you’re not running tonight?” I explained to them that they were structurally no different than the ones I’d been wearing to the group runs. They were interested, asked about injuries, etc., but very cool about it.

When we got to one of the water stops that are set up around the training course runs, someone from another group who’d seen my footgear came up asked “how are your feet feeling in those?” I said “great – I’ve been running this way all along.” She said she hadn’t thought people could run like that. I replied that “really, we spent thousands of years being designed to run like this.” She said yes, that made sense, but “I see too many people with foot and knees problems” (I believe she’s in the medical arena); to which I replied, “and I bet they all wear running shoes, right?” She smiled a bit at that.

Anyway, my goal all along had been to run the race in the Huaraches, and the last practice run showed me that it wouldn’t be a problem.

So off we all went — the Abe’s Army program had around 150 people, but there were nearly 650 participants for the Amble. I ran with a buddy from my group (they guy on the left in the group pic), and we decided to keep using our training protocol of 5:1 intervals for the race — run 5 minutes, walk 1 minute, repeat, until you cross the finish line.

We moved towards the back third of the pack at the starting line so we wouldn’t be in the way of the real competitors, but be ahead of the walkers and dedicated slowpokes. Here’s me as I get past the starting gate…

(I don’t really have to go to the bathroom — that’s just the way my shorts bunched up!)

At any rate, I was able to maintain a blistering 13:10 min/mile pace (1:21:41.4 final time). I even had a bit of gas left in the tank for the finish and sprinted the last 100 yards. Of course, many people would mistake my sprinting for “strenuous jog,” but I still felt really good about it — way better than it looks like I felt:

 

In the final standings, I whipped 84 of the other folks’ butts (including most, but not all of the Olympic walkers and almost everyone over 70), and had the other 559 in front of me looking over their shoulders.

Well, maybe not all of them. The mutant who won, for instance. (This guy, Bryan Glass:)

 

 

He averaged 5:21 min/mile, with a final time of 33:09.4 MINUTES. He blasted past my buddy and me going the other way when we were approaching the 2 mile mark, so he’d already covered over 4 miles. He didn’t have to look over his shoulder — he could’ve seen me coming from two miles away!

Actually, calling Mr. Glass a mutant is a disservice.  I’m sure he’s got a good set of genes for running, but nobody can do that without training and focus beyond my imagination. He probably could catch his dinner ala “Born to Run.”

Me, I’m not selling my guns yet.

Four minutes behind him (and 44 minutes in front of me) was the first woman over the line. One of the interesting points in “Born to Run” was that the longer the distance, the closer women are to matching men.

 

 

It was a great experience, and it’s fired up my motivation to keep my activity level elevated. My running buddy and I are going to keep doing weekly runs; we’ve signed up for a 2 mile moonlight fun run/4 mile trail bike race in a couple of weeks; I ran 5k last weekend on vacation in Apple Canyon , IL (ALL hills!); I’m back doing resistance training once a week for the first time since my knee surgery last year; I’m biking to work; and I’m thinking of trying some swimming in the mornings at the local public indoor pool.

And besides all that, I got one of those “thanks for taking part” ribbons like Tom mentioned in his last Farm Report!

 

Icing on the cake, baby. Icing on the cake.

Cheers!

The Older Brother

Share

40 thoughts on “The Older Brother Ambles Over the Finish Line

  1. Owie

    Born To Run was my very first WTF moment in realising what I thought I knew (conventional wisdom, NIKE knows what’s best for us) Vs. what makes corporations money (followed closely by Fathead). Great book that inspired me to run for fun. Awesome that you are using Huaraches. I never had the courage! I got slammed just for running with a front foot strike.

    Reply
    1. The Older Brother

      We were running up a hill during one of our practice runs, and one of our group leaders said, “this will help you run on the front of your foot.” I said, “um, I think I pretty much do that anyway.” She said “yes, I guess you would have to with the barefoot shoes!”

      I was actually a bit surprised that as nearly as I could tell, there wasn’t a single other runner in the Abe’s Army (or the Amble) that was running barefoot style. I expected to see at least one pair of Vibram Five Fingers. There may have been a few in “stealth barefoot” shoes like mine, but I never heard a peep.

      Cheers!

      Reply
  2. Owie

    Born To Run was my very first WTF moment in realising what I thought I knew (conventional wisdom, NIKE knows what’s best for us) Vs. what makes corporations money (followed closely by Fathead). Great book that inspired me to run for fun. Awesome that you are using Huaraches. I never had the courage! I got slammed just for running with a front foot strike.

    Reply
    1. The Older Brother Post author

      We were running up a hill during one of our practice runs, and one of our group leaders said, “this will help you run on the front of your foot.” I said, “um, I think I pretty much do that anyway.” She said “yes, I guess you would have to with the barefoot shoes!”

      I was actually a bit surprised that as nearly as I could tell, there wasn’t a single other runner in the Abe’s Army (or the Amble) that was running barefoot style. I expected to see at least one pair of Vibram Five Fingers. There may have been a few in “stealth barefoot” shoes like mine, but I never heard a peep.

      Cheers!

      Reply
    1. The Older Brother

      Ha! Ha! Thanks. Not sure about your taste in legs. I always told people I got those legs because Mom got scared by a big bird when she was pregnant with me!

      Cheers

      Reply
  3. Galina L.

    Congrats on challenging yourself with running. A challenge adds excitement to human life. I personally don’t think humans are design to run at all ages, and certain types of knee joints and extra weight will definitely be injury-promoting. I think it may be a good idea for really overweight people to loose some weight fist than start running. There are no benefits in whacking knees. I am telling from my personal experience. At my middle 50-s I rather roller-skate and hike than run.

    Reply
    1. The Older Brother

      Thanks! I’m not saying I wouldn’t be better off losing 50 lbs first, but I don’t think I would maintain the other activities without the running. I also am only running one or two days, maybe three a week. I think running four or more days a week, especially for distance, as many “serious” runners do, does more harm to the joints and others issues than extra weight. Finally, I really do think the barefoot running forces you to maintain much better technique, which has a protective effect. I’m sure Bryan Glass and many of the true all out runners have near-perfect form, but people just a notch down sustain injuries from “running shoes” that cover symptoms of bad technique that results in injuries.

      The Older Brother

      Reply
    1. The Older Brother Post author

      Ha! Ha! Thanks. Not sure about your taste in legs. I always told people I got those legs because Mom got scared by a big bird when she was pregnant with me!

      Cheers

      Reply
  4. Galina L.

    Congrats on challenging yourself with running. A challenge adds excitement to human life. I personally don’t think humans are design to run at all ages, and certain types of knee joints and extra weight will definitely be injury-promoting. I think it may be a good idea for really overweight people to loose some weight fist than start running. There are no benefits in whacking knees. I am telling from my personal experience. At my middle 50-s I rather roller-skate and hike than run.

    Reply
    1. The Older Brother Post author

      Thanks! I’m not saying I wouldn’t be better off losing 50 lbs first, but I don’t think I would maintain the other activities without the running. I also am only running one or two days, maybe three a week. I think running four or more days a week, especially for distance, as many “serious” runners do, does more harm to the joints and others issues than extra weight. Finally, I really do think the barefoot running forces you to maintain much better technique, which has a protective effect. I’m sure Bryan Glass and many of the true all out runners have near-perfect form, but people just a notch down sustain injuries from “running shoes” that cover symptoms of bad technique that results in injuries.

      The Older Brother

      Reply
  5. Steve P

    Nice progression. I started running at 50 and now only run trails as it’s less boring and easier on the body. Check it out sometime. You can run trails in your sandals as well.

    Reply
  6. Steve P

    Nice progression. I started running at 50 and now only run trails as it’s less boring and easier on the body. Check it out sometime. You can run trails in your sandals as well.

    Reply
    1. The Older Brother

      Well, keep in mind that I’m a fat guy who’s been scolding people about what they eat for years, so it’s a pretty comfortable place for me.

      Plus, I ran two miles yesterday at an 11:40 pace, so I prefer to think of myself as a guy who knocked 1:30 off his mile in two weeks.

      At this rate, using my nifty Big Pharma scientific calculator, I’ll be running near four minute miles by Thanksgiving!

      The Older Brother

      Reply
      1. jason

        I’m just busting balls. It takes a lot to be able to finish a 10k, nice work.

        And the poster up above was correct, those are some beautiful, well shaped, legs.

        Reply
    1. The Older Brother Post author

      Well, keep in mind that I’m a fat guy who’s been scolding people about what they eat for years, so it’s a pretty comfortable place for me.

      Plus, I ran two miles yesterday at an 11:40 pace, so I prefer to think of myself as a guy who knocked 1:30 off his mile in two weeks.

      At this rate, using my nifty Big Pharma scientific calculator, I’ll be running near four minute miles by Thanksgiving!

      The Older Brother

      Reply
      1. jason

        I’m just busting balls. It takes a lot to be able to finish a 10k, nice work.

        And the poster up above was correct, those are some beautiful, well shaped, legs.

        Reply
  7. Linda

    Nice to see you, Older Brother! I’m so jealous of your being able to run! I didn’t necessarily want to run in retirement, but I did want to live in the country and garden and have chickens like Tom and Chareva. Now, I lift weights, but cannot run and the only walking I do is limited to doing it with a walker due to the wonderful world of statin drugs I only took for two months! I think what you’re doing is great, no matter your time! Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    1. The Older Brother

      Thanks. Sorry for your challenges, hope there’s some progress over time. Statins are this generation’s thalidomide. So, we can expect an apology in about another 30 years.

      Cheers

      Reply
      1. Walter Bushell

        I’m so stealing. “Statins are this generation’s thalidomide.”

        Unfortunately some women and thalidomide children are on statins. :<

        Some people should be tried for crimes against humanity, particularly for the statins, for thalidomide; who knew? For statins the data has been in for decades, particularly for women. But they have money and will escape.

        Reply
  8. Linda

    Nice to see you, Older Brother! I’m so jealous of your being able to run! I didn’t necessarily want to run in retirement, but I did want to live in the country and garden and have chickens like Tom and Chareva. Now, I lift weights, but cannot run and the only walking I do is limited to doing it with a walker due to the wonderful world of statin drugs I only took for two months! I think what you’re doing is great, no matter your time! Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    1. The Older Brother Post author

      Thanks. Sorry for your challenges, hope there’s some progress over time. Statins are this generation’s thalidomide. So, we can expect an apology in about another 30 years.

      Cheers

      Reply
      1. Walter Bushell

        I’m so stealing. “Statins are this generation’s thalidomide.”

        Unfortunately some women and thalidomide children are on statins. :<

        Some people should be tried for crimes against humanity, particularly for the statins, for thalidomide; who knew? For statins the data has been in for decades, particularly for women. But they have money and will escape.

        Reply
    1. The Older Brother

      Ha! Ha!

      Ok, either you’re just messing with me or you’re looking at the wrong picture. I’m the one in yellow, not the guy with the orange. Thanks, though.

      Cheers!

      Reply
    1. The Older Brother Post author

      Ha! Ha!

      Ok, either you’re just messing with me or you’re looking at the wrong picture. I’m the one in yellow, not the guy with the orange. Thanks, though.

      Cheers!

      Reply
  9. Bon

    Hey older brother, where can I find those barefoot shoes? Can you give a clue on what to google. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Older Brother

      The Huaraches I’m wearing in the pictures from the race are from Gladsoles.com. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to tie them, but when I found their site it had a couple of “how-to” videos that sealed the deal for me and I ordered them. Sent a note and they were extremely nice. You scan/email or mail them a trace of your foot, and they cut them, add the lace, and send them to you with a neat little burlap bag and spare set of laces. I kept lacing them up each time I wore them at first, but you can also just pull them off and wiggle them back on without all of the untying/retying once you’ve got a good fit.

      The black “running shoes” I’m wearing at the top of the post, and the majority of my shoes now, are Lems (lemsshoes.com). I’ve also got a brown pair of these (Primal 2), black and mocha pairs of the Nine2Five dress shoes, a sand pair of the Mariners (deck shoe), and just recently finished my collection with a pair of the buckeye Boulder Boot, so now I can hunt barefoot. Those are ordered by (I think) metric size. My 10 1/2 – 11 foot works with their size 45. I got a 46 for the boot so I can wear them with thick socks. They have a sizing template you can print out to check your foot. My first pair was too small, and they had a very fast, friendly, no questions asked, free exchange process that somehow made the experience more enjoyable than if they had just fit the first time.

      I also bought a pair of Amuri Cloud sandals from Xeroshoes.com. The guy from the couple that started the company is who did the laugh-out-loud “sh*t barefoot runners say” and “sh*t runners say to barefoot runners.” They’re both on YouTube as well as their website. The website also has a ton of good, fun to read info on barefoot running. I think the proprietor had stated somewhere that he’s a world-rated sprinter (over 50). Competition races are the only time he actually wears a sprint shoe with spikes.

      (I don’t think I ever had as many shoes before I went “barefoot!” )

      I like the looks of the Amuri and other Xero footwear better than the Gladsoles, but couldn’t get the color combo I really wanted, then they shipped me a color other than what I ordered. (Ordering is similar to the Gladsoles). They were also very nice and offered to exchange, but I decided to keep what they’d sent me, then did the dumbest thing you can do and went out and did a mile and a half of sprint/walk intervals to the gym, then walked home after a workout. I got big blisters on the bottoms of both feet where the strap goes between the toes (from the attachment point under the shoe, not chafing). Completely my fault, but I’ve only worn them recreationally a couple of times since then.

      To sum up, I’m very comfortable recommending any of these companies depending on your style preferences and budget. Hope this helps.

      Cheers!

      Reply
    1. The Older Brother Post author

      The Huaraches I’m wearing in the pictures from the race are from Gladsoles.com. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to tie them, but when I found their site it had a couple of “how-to” videos that sealed the deal for me and I ordered them. Sent a note and they were extremely nice. You scan/email or mail them a trace of your foot, and they cut them, add the lace, and send them to you with a neat little burlap bag and spare set of laces. I kept lacing them up each time I wore them at first, but you can also just pull them off and wiggle them back on without all of the untying/retying once you’ve got a good fit.

      The black “running shoes” I’m wearing at the top of the post, and the majority of my shoes now, are Lems (lemsshoes.com). I’ve also got a brown pair of these (Primal 2), black and mocha pairs of the Nine2Five dress shoes, a sand pair of the Mariners (deck shoe), and just recently finished my collection with a pair of the buckeye Boulder Boot, so now I can hunt barefoot. Those are ordered by (I think) metric size. My 10 1/2 – 11 foot works with their size 45. I got a 46 for the boot so I can wear them with thick socks. They have a sizing template you can print out to check your foot. My first pair was too small, and they had a very fast, friendly, no questions asked, free exchange process that somehow made the experience more enjoyable than if they had just fit the first time.

      I also bought a pair of Amuri Cloud sandals from Xeroshoes.com. The guy from the couple that started the company is who did the laugh-out-loud “sh*t barefoot runners say” and “sh*t runners say to barefoot runners.” They’re both on YouTube as well as their website. The website also has a ton of good, fun to read info on barefoot running. I think the proprietor had stated somewhere that he’s a world-rated sprinter (over 50). Competition races are the only time he actually wears a sprint shoe with spikes.

      (I don’t think I ever had as many shoes before I went “barefoot!” )

      I like the looks of the Amuri and other Xero footwear better than the Gladsoles, but couldn’t get the color combo I really wanted, then they shipped me a color other than what I ordered. (Ordering is similar to the Gladsoles). They were also very nice and offered to exchange, but I decided to keep what they’d sent me, then did the dumbest thing you can do and went out and did a mile and a half of sprint/walk intervals to the gym, then walked home after a workout. I got big blisters on the bottoms of both feet where the strap goes between the toes (from the attachment point under the shoe, not chafing). Completely my fault, but I’ve only worn them recreationally a couple of times since then.

      To sum up, I’m very comfortable recommending any of these companies depending on your style preferences and budget. Hope this helps.

      Cheers!

      Reply
      1. Bon

        Thank you for all the great information, I will be sure to check out the recommendations! Btw have you ever heard of grounding or earthing footwear? If you’re interested check out the earthing store. I bought a pair of “groundals” this year and didn’t get to wear them much cause my dog chewed one of them not long after I got them. Anyway interesting stuff to check out!

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.