Thursday, October 6, 2011

New York City Barefoot run 2011

Barefoot in New York City?

That sure is a long way to travel just to run 2 miles. 

If this is this is the kind of shenanigans that go on
 how could I resist?

In order to save a few bucks on my plane ticket I had to take the Tuesday night Red Eye from Lax to JFK.  I didn't sleep and stumbled my way through the New York City subway system for the very first time.

When I emerged from the urban burrow I felt like Punksatony Phil on Ground hogs day.  Would the city swallow me up or would my foot print leave its mark?

Heck if I know
 I just flew all night without sleeping and needed a cup of coffee.  I really had no agenda for the day other than ditch my stuff at some random dude "Chris" who's home I would be staying at. Near 87th and Amsterdam. (wherever that is).  I didn't want to arrive to early so I picked up  4 bannanas from a fruit stand (only $1) found a coffee house and watched the city come to life.
My first impression?
"Damn this city is clean! a totally unexpected realization."
Second impression?
"The Americans here aren't as fat as in Los Angeles.  I guess that's what happens when you dont have a car.  Perhaps all the fat ones just stay at home.  The only fat people I really saw were cops, and guess what ? they all had cars."
Chris Hawsell AKA "The Premiere Barefoot Runner of all of New York."

I like to run barefoot (shocking revelation huh?) and when I say run I mean 10 mile plus runs everyday not a 2 mile run every other Tuesday in vibrams.  Lucky for me I got hooked up Chris.
This dude run's too and from work in Manhattan barefoot everyday racking on average around 70 barefoot miles.  When I got to his home I was embraced by him and his family could not have treated me any better.
Thank you Chris!
I was worn out from my flight.  But I was here to make the most of my trip so Chris immediately took me on a 6 mile barefoot run around Central Park which happened to only be about 2 blocks away.
Obelisk in central park built in 1600b.c.
(who knew they had one of these)

I don't consider myself as having tough feet and I think any toughness your feet gain running barefoot is lost with in a few days. but on the flip side our bodies adjust amazingly fast and it only takes a few days to turns ones feet from that of princess to a pauper.  I hadn't been running much on hard surfaces  and it would take me a few steps to adjust to the environment.  I could tell I was slowing Chris down a bit but he was cool with that.
Observation # 3
People running around central park seemed to much faster than the laid back Los Angelino's I'm use to seeing run on the streets.

Time to sleep?
Isn't this the city that never sleeps? or is that Las Vegas?

Chris's wife told that the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art costs only a suggested donation to visit. So that even a poor bastard like myself could take in a little culture.
I had noticed it earlier on my run near the Obilisk, maybe I could find some enlightenment from the master artist's of the past?

I really dig Museums and like to visit museums and generally like to visit them by myself so that I am not pressured into moving on to the next piece of art till I'm ready.

As I wander around trying to get it all in and I find myself in the middle of  this huge exhibit of oil paintings depicting Nudes that were either very old or morbidly obese..  It was the highlight of the day :)  Not the art but watching everyone eles facial expressions as they entered the room.  I could of sat there giggling all day. It puts a smile on my face just thinking about it.

I believe this piece was called "Kicked in the balls."
For the most part I just studied the sandals of the past.
I eneded up staying at the Met till the gates closed and they kicked me out
On the way back from the museum I stumbled upon the Strawberry fields memorial.

I was  up for about 36 hours straight by the time I got back from the museum and and into bed on Chris's couch.  The trip was going good and I was looking forward to what day 2 may bring.

Day 2

The next morning Chris had some business to take care of. I wanted to go explore the Town!  What better way to see the city than to set off barefoot and shirtless through the big apple.  I headed north up the Hudson river with really no destination in mind.

Can you spot the hypochondriac pylon?
Wine bottle camper.  I could totally live there.
After running for around 11 miles I somehow ended up on Wall St.
The New York Stock Exchange

The streets were amazingly clean. more so than any big city I have been to and even cleaner than home town Manhattan beach.  Along the way I only saw one piece of glass which I picked up and through away.  It felt like Disneyland if someone threw a piece of trash on the the ground there was a dude with broom and dust pan there to sweep it up before anyone noticed.

Bomb Squad. 
Th U.N. was in town which made traffic a nightmare for cars. Many of the roads were blocked off but for a dude on foot with no destination in mind it just made things more interesting.
Fresh local cider $1.25 Sadly it was nonalcoholic
Fruit stands were everywhere.  During my run I purchased 5 bananas for $1.
(I wish they sold bananas on the beach where I normally train)
Empire State building
I wonder if Barefoot Ted has tried to scale up the side yet?
I kept passing places I'd seen on T.V. 
Strangly enough I was the only guy not wearing a shirt or shoes.  Go figure?
As I snapped this vanity shot I have three groups of tourists snapping a shot of me as well.

Later in the week I would be pulling a rickshaw. I tried to get some pointers about pulling a cart from the horse.
Central Park Zoo
The miles were racking up and I was almost back to Chris's house I decided to finish my run in the park
"L'Allegro" at LACMA
At times I felt like I was running through a Thomas Cole painting
It was great way to explore the city I ended up running just over 20 miles and my feet felt great.

Within 30 minutes of finishing my run I was cleaned up and out the door to go hit up the Natural History Museum

Along the way I picked up a Hummus sandwich at some hole in the wall called Alibaba's a place I would return a few more times.  About 1/2 my calories during the trip would come from hummus pita's and falalfal.

Did they run out of letter you U or did they just get a really good deal on V's?

I want to hang with this guy
In college I took Geography of the Pacific my teacher was all about the Betel. It's something I would like to try and when I do I promised Barefoot Ted I'd save some for him.

The Tupari know how to party
These guys would fit write in with barefoot running crowd.
Inspirational devotion.
I seriously doubt the white man handled justice this swiftly amoung his own people.

My favorite of all the sandals I saw.
Anthropologists have questioned whether Homo Saipiens bred with Neandertal? With women this sexy how could we resist?

Once again I had to get kicked out the museum because it was closing I wish I had more hours to spend there.
Along the walk home I stopped by a local pub and tossed down a few including a Brooklyn Lager (Never again). Brazier's were hanging from the rafters,  you get free drinks if you take yours off and let the bar keep it.
My dumb ass had forgot to wear one. :(

Day 3

The next morning Chris and I decided to head north on an easy ten mile run to the 
The little Red lighthouse
The terrain was piece of cake. :)
On the way back I had to go check out who was buried at Grant's tomb

 The weather report predicted rain everyday.  I got extremely lucky until Friday afternoon when the gods decided to spill their bladders upon the city.
(those were the only drops I felt the entire time)
Even in the rain the farmers market must go on.
Still no sign of Barefoot Ted scaling the side?

That afternoon chris and met up Maggie Durant the co run organizer with her brother John.  She was just about the sweetest girl I ever met.  Chris and I offered our services loading of the alcohol in few vans at the Vivo-barefoot store.
I like the concept of vivo-barefoot shoes however none of them fit my feet and why the hell I need shoes anyway?
Smuttynose was the beer sponsor for the event.  As I was loading their ale in the van I  noticed they were using   a Stone Arrogant Bastard keg.  The smuttynose IPA was the least hoppy and bitter IPA I ever had.(not a good thing)  Although I ended up drinking copious amounts of it was no Arrogant Bastard.

Kate and Krista
I'd never met these broads  before (lol, I bet they love being called broads).  I think some of the first words out of Kate's mouth were "I finally get to meet all my friends." There was real interesting dynamic going on, it seemed that everyone already knew each other but only through cyberspace.
The drinks were flowing and judging by the pictures I found In my camera the next morning I had a pretty good time.
The most minimalist sandal I've ever seen
Everyone loves the race director.
Maggie and Barefoot Ted
Krista Caity arefoot Ken Bob and Kate

What do you get when you cross Charles Manson, a hippie and a stripper?
Drunk Ken Bob
Kate was getting cold in the bar and didn't want anyone to notice.
Just a couple of lunatics
 Chris had left the bar by now. it was about 1:30  I really didn't know where I was but Manhattan really isn't that big If I got lost all that would mean is more excercise trying to find his apartment.
I made it back and was asleep well before 3 a.m.

 Day 4 Saturday

Barefoot Ted as part Luna Sandals sponsorship for the event had brought rickshaw all the way from Seattle.. It was all boxed up and Ted was a little intimidated by difficult it would be to assemble it.  Chris and I promised to come by his hotel at 9 a.m. and help him out.

Much to our surprise the custom rickshaw was designed superbly and we got the thing put together in  a few minutes and were out of the lobby and off testing it out down the Streets New York City.
Whether your a hippy, a monkey, a child or drunk housewife the Luna sandal's rickshaw provides an outlet for wild foolishness to those willing to embrace the freedom comes  when you live your life as a Lunatic.

Like watching Mickey Mantle pull Babe Ruth.

The rickshaw made in one piece to Battery park.  It was here that Ted and a few other would give clinics on barefoot running.

about 400 people showed up for the clinics and had all all the free coconut water you could drink thanks to Vita-Coco.  I was a little dehydrated from the night before and drank about 12 of them consisting off all the calories I had until dinner.

Chris and Maggie Durant
Barefoot Eve and Patrick Mcgee
I was stoked to see some friends from the Copper Canyons

East and West coast Sweeney's

You've heard the saying Brother from another Mother or Sister from another Mister?
I guess this would be.
"Sweeney from another Weenie."

While farting around the park I ran into this dude Sweeney and so did he. Anyway he told my some story about meeting Scott Jurek and Scott being excited to meet me which was him not me. (enough with confusing rhetoric onwards withe days festivities)

Maybe I should try to learn something from the clinics?

Barefoot Ted
Ted is by far the most engaging of all the speakers.  Everyone of his clinics is different.  It's hard not to be  captivated by his enthusiasm for life!
Ken Bob
Ken Bob's clinic was by far the most fun to observe.  He had just about every pretty girl prancing  around looking stupid with  huge grins on their faces. 
It was a beautiful thing to watch.
 Ken bob did not have quite enough free t shirts for everyone. Luckily these girls were okay with sharing.

 Barefoot Jason
 Mr. Robliard's clinic had a good vibe.  He seemed to have dialogue going with his students as if he was there to learn from them as well.  He is the least dogmatic about his approach and knows there is a lot left to be learned.
Michael Sandler.
A lot of people seemed interested in what he had to say.  To me he sounded like he was reading from a book.  Maybe I could have learned something but it felt like I was in high school and the substitute teacher was explaining trigonometry.  

I think there were a few other people giving clinics such as Lee Saxby? (seems like a sincere guy) and certified teachers from Vivo-barefoot (yes a shoe company certifying barefoot running instructors) which seemed pretty silly to me but if it keeps people from hurting themselves, more power to them.

It was interesting how different everyone's approach was.  For me I work best learning from my mistakes.(lord knows I make 1,000's of them a day)  That's why I've become so damn sophisticated and such a premium barefoot runner.

There's realy only 2 things you must know if you want to run barefoot. 1. You Can't wear shoes! 2. You need to run, I would suggest at least 5 to 7 times week for at least 5 miles at a time.
Piece of cake.

I had noticed that John Durant had brought a frisbee.  Chris and I thought are time would be more adiquitly spent tosiing the disc.
I think we spent about 2 hours playing catch.
If only we could got a game of Ultimate frisbee going that would have been epic.
Chris decided to run back to house about 8 miles. I made some lame excuse that since I had my backpack I didn't want to run but really I was just being lazy and wanted to save my legs for the actual event the next morning.  

I decided to race Chris on the subway, which I ended up winning by about 5 minutes.

The festivities at the park were a rousing success. It was now  time to head off for free drinks and barefoot lectures from the likes of Dan Lieberman and Christopher Mcdougall.
I got all dressed up for the occasion wearing my finest pajama shorts and Luna t-shirt
While we waited  for the lectures some of us got drunk while Bookis and the other Sweeney got tasered by the cops.
I mean were break dancing.
The speakers were all pretty engaging I'm sure. 

The other Sweeney had been working  the bar I decided to drink the free Barefoot wine (I wasn't really digging the smuttynose ale anyway)  I figured this would get me drunk faster and I'd be ready to go hopefully well before midnight.  We sat in the back goofing off and causing a ruckus. 

We were beginning to annoy people so we took our Tom Foolery outside where we were met with the usual suspects.
 The nice thing about New York is that nobody would be driving home.
Christian Peterson, Shelly and Jason Robbliard and Kate Kift

By this point in the evening everywhere I looked I found a smile.
Ladies lined up to take their pictures with me only bucks a pop
 The ale kept on flowing

They are smiling because they are not looking at me
Jennifer Aniston didn't want anyone to know she was at the party.

I didn't want to leave but enetually I said my goodbyes
Most of these people weren't planning on running all that far the next morning.  I myself was planning keep going until there was nobody left.  I'm not sure what time I left but I believe I made it back to Chris's well before 1 a.m. 

Day of the Run

Chris and I had volunteered to help out the next morning.  I think the alarm clock rang around 5 a.m. and we made it down to the ferry by about 6:30 just in time.
We were by far the creepiest dudes on the subway.

From one Island to another
There really wasn't that much to set up.
Other than the best aid station  ever!  Next year I'm bringing some hot sauce.
The event didn't start till I don't know? later some time, so I walked around smelled some flowers 
 and pondered wtf as I enjoyed the Island's many sculptures

 Liberty and Guacamole for all
Over 400 people showed  up.

3 dudes wore skirts mine The Sports Kilt was the longest. The Maple Grove Barefoot Guy standing next to me had the second longest and Chris had the shortest. Why did we wear Skirts?
Why not?

Let's do it.
 Ted was ready to get the ball rolling.

The official start of the run occured when barefoot Ted ran through the crowd pulling a couple of barefoot runners in his ricksahw who had just gotten engadged over the weekend.

Not everyone ran barefoot some people wore shoes.
While others were thrilled to take their shoes off.
I love the joy on her face!

The course was pretty crowded during the first lap.  I cruised along a steady pace around a 10 minute mile. chatting with whom ever was close enough to hear my babble.  About a 1/3 of the runners stopped after the first  lap and another 1/3 stopped after the second.
(who could blame them when there was free beer and barefoot wine)

Not everyone has taught their body to drink and run like have.
Most of the days laps I ran with Bookis. He's a real cool guy to chat with.  I found out that on his planet sound travels faster than light.
(did you really think our conversation's would make sense?)

There goes the Caveman
This stretch of the course was my favorite part until I noticed some sand on the other side of the fence.
 I felt like I was  back at home except Instead of seagulls I had Canadian Geese to play with.

The maniacal Barefoot Ted

Every lap it seemed Ted would come by,  often in opposite direction. Sometimes he was pulled by a beautiful lady  and other times he was breaking child labor laws.

   The laps kept adding up.  I did stop a few times for wine and beer while on other laps I just took it with me.  By the time I hit 12 miles there was only a handful of people still running.
Bookis and Caity
Bookis claimed he was getting tired and took a break but I think he was just getting sick of me.  There was much better company to hang out with at the benches

Self portrait of  Teressa on the back of her calf

Among the runners still at it was this Chick Teressa whom was the first woman ever to run the Boston Marathon barefoot.  I guess she had the same plan of running till everyone else had stopped.
If we both run till we die I wonder who's gonna last longer? I was up for the challenge.

Luckily it didn't come to that and she stopped around 18 miles.

By this time the festivities of the event had pretty much wrapped up there was very little booze left and and 75% of the participants had left the Island.  I felt like I was just getting started.

I ran into Kate and Krista as they walked to catch ferry. I had promised them a rickshaw ride and had yet to deliver.
I have a feeling next year they won't forget their whips at home.

I never thought of myself as much of a masochist but I was having a good time.  Along they way explained to them my plans for a future business, which started with the sentence  "First off I am not propositioning you."

When I returned I saw Ken Bob standing around. I yelled at him to come join me and much to my surprise he did.  He's a happy go lucky dude (a character trait I highly respect) and it was one of the more enjoyable laps of the morning.

I think it was on this lap that some dude came by with the last of alcohol.  I was out of water and he offered me sip of champagne.  I took a huge chug it was probably the most enjoyed sip of bubbly I ever had.  Thanks dude.

By the time I hit mile 26 there was only one dude still running and that dude was my buddy Chris.  He taken a few laps off to socialize but was back out flying around the course.

My feet felt pretty damn good I was only running about a 10 minute mile at the fastest.  I figured I keep going for at least 50km without having to work.

I found it a little odd that all these great barefoot running teachers were at this event yet I hardly saw any of them out their running?  I guess it's one thing to teach and another thing to actually do it or want to do it.
 The last few laps Chris and I were Joined by the only remaining runner on Island Sweeney.  I didn't really need to stop and it would have been a lot of fun if I had other runners wanting to do at least 50 miles. But I called it quits after running just over 34 miles  Chris ended up running a respectable 22+.
The nice thing about running for 6 hours is that you get all the room you need on the subway.

I was really happy with the way the day unfolded.  I got to meet and run a bunch of  great people my only gripe is that the event was too short there was still plenty of time for good times to be had long after everyone else had left.  On the way back I was already looking forward to next year!

The Next Day

After having my first really good nights sleep in New York I was ready to spend my last full day in the city as a tourist with my buddy Bookis
 Ground Zero
I had never seen the twin towers in person yet the void in the skyline that these colossal structures left was quite moving.
 St Paul's Chapel across the St.
Inside the the chapel
Check out the Bare feet
Excelsior is my new favorite word.  Did you know it is also the New York State Motto?

On our way to the Brooklyn Bridge we cruised through Wall St. which was being occupied by protesters.

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge

Once on the other side Bookis found something to hug

 Eventually we both found a Vegan Pizza.
 I'm  a big baseball fan and Bookis scored some seats in the "Excelsior" Level.
The Met's blew the game thanks to Jose Reyes and his bonehead base running.  Neither of us really cared and it was cool to check out a new ballpark.

Final Day
(I managed to stretch this trip out into  a pretty good vacation)

I had to fly out that afternoon and couldn't really figure out what to do.  I hadn't seen the Bronx yet so I took the subway to it's final destination and decided to peruse around.
Van Cortlandt Golf Course
Once again I was just cruising along with no destination in mind, when I came across the oldest public golf course in the US. established in 1896.
I kept walking
I ended up in some rich man's cemetery. I searched for the Sweeney Clan but my ancestors I presume were more inclined to spend their fortune living life than building a tomb.
However If I had to have one I'd want one like this.  
I was lost in the cemetery when I got a call from Bookis to come meet him and Ted for Lunch.

I jumped on the subway and took a quick pit stop to do a lap around the new Yankee Stadium.  Honestly I thought it was the ugliest ballpark I have ever seen.  Gates tomb was much more impressive to me.

After a nice vegan lunch with Ted, his brother and Bookis. I took my first New York City cab ride to Greenwich Village to see some of Ted's brother's art being exhibited. I think it was are Taxi driver's first day on the job and I don't think he stopped at a single stop sign.

Anyway the artwork was very impressive and I felt honored that Ted's brother wanted to share it with us.
 I was running a little late and had a plane to catch but decided to peek my head up at the Time Square subway exit.

Whoop de do.
I was back on the subway less than 5 minutes after I got off.

I really should conclude this blog post with some words of wisdom or maybe talk about some kind epiphany I had but the sun is calling me to go outside and play, maybe I'll add something later but for now it's time to go running.

I had a great time in New York but am glad to be back home


  1. This is by far the best recap from the event!
    I was pretty surprised that not many people ran very far at the event.

  2. Angie, I hope to see you there next year.

  3. I think its interesting that you and I both began our trips looking at art. I checked out all the Chelsea galleries in the art district. There was some cool stuff there. So cool you got to see Ted's brother's show. Ted was telling us about that at the pub on Friday. So glad you had a great time. Loved all the pictures!

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