Brandon's (and his family's)Big Adventures

We, as a family, press on towards the goal

2nd Half Marathon – Grand Rapids

Posted on October 19th, 2011 by Emily

This past Sunday I ran my second in my life half marathon in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  I look back over the past 32 years of my life and am amazed at the depth of change from just this past one year.  Who would have thought I’d run a half marathon?  Who would have thought I’d be a runner at all?? Certainly not myself!! And yet, here I am, a runner, a half marathoner.  It still blows my mind.

Sarah and I signed up for the Grand Rapids Half Marathon on August 14th.  That’s exactly 9 weeks that we had to train for this crazy adventure.  We had run only 3 mile runs ever and no longer.  13.1 miles is a few miles longer than 3 if you weren’t sure about that.  We knew that too, so we searched the internet for a 9 week training program for a 1/2 marathon.  We found one that would *probably* suit our needs and fit into our schedule pretty well.    Sarah was awesome and took the time to create a pretty fun and motivational calendar.

We did the first month of training pretty well.  I proudly crossed of the days that we ran the scheduled amount.  I added the days we walked miles too.  Just for fun.  It felt awesome to see our accomplishment and cross off the days and see just how many miles we had finished every week.  The long runs were difficult and less than fun, but we did them nonetheless.  I dreaded them for nearly the entire week but once they were over I did have a huge sense of awesomeness right along with the quad pain and general leg fatigue.  I remember our first 6 mile training run and how I dreaded it for days before.  Again, who would have thought I’d run a half marathon? ?

I ran the Quiver 10K on September 10th, and then Sarah and I ran the Mercy 8 mile run on September 17th.  After that eight mile run my knee was no longer happy to be a runner.  It was insisting I stop torturing it.  So the long runs were out.  Sarah, her sister-in-law Bridget, and I were planning a 12 mile training run and I set out on it only to turn myself back towards home after a mile and a half or so.  Sarah and Bridget finished the 12 on their own.  The longest I ran between September 17th and this past Sunday’s 13.1 was 3 wimpy miles, if that. Instead there was a lot of walking.  It was just pathetic.  And I was getting extremely worried that this 1/2 marathon was going to end tragically.  I had no idea how I’d make it that far with my knee hurting as much as it was.  I did end up waving the white flag of surrender and going to Hadley Clinic where Scott (the owner) was able to show me how to work out my muscle issues with a rolling pin and a softball.  It helped even though I only had three weeks left before the race.

Race day came, Sarah, Bridget and I lined up in the last 1/4 section of the runners.  It was EXTREMELY chilly out at 7:45 when we lined up in the chute.  Thankfully I was wearing my Zensah arm and leg sleeves.  A jacket would have been way too much once we started running and it would have driven me nuts if I ended up tying it on my waist.  I don’t have a long sleeve technical shirt or else I probably would have chosen to wear that.  (Don’t get me started on how disappointed I am about the Grand Rapids Marathon changing to short sleeve shirts this year….. Their long sleeve shirt was one of the major reasons I was geeked to run this race.) The arm sleeves I ‘borrowed’ from Lily ended up being the best part of my running attire.  Well, those and my sparkly piggy tales.  :)

About 3 miles into the 1/2 my knee started hurting me.  I wasn’t surprised at all but I wasn’t going to let a little knee discomfort (*read extreme knee screaming*) get me down.  Sarah, on the other hand was battling her own demons, which was shocking since she never seemed to have bad days like I frequently had.  We were in desperate need of motivation about 9 miles into the 12 and, thankfully, we got it.  The motivation that helped us the most were the spectators that were ‘different’.  The ones that stood out and were obviously having fun.  The ones with loud, peppy, fun music.  The one with the Rockband air guitar.  The ones with fun signs.  Those ones were the best motivation that we were in desperate need of.  Which made me think of how I’ve spectated in the past and what I’m going to do differently in the future.  In fact, here’s a list of Marathon Posters you’ll see me sporting in the future.

“In our minds, you’re all Kenyans.”

“Your feet hurt because you are kicking so much butt!”

“Your legs will forgive you…eventually.”

“Don’t stop — people are watching.”

“That’s not sweat, it’s your fat cells crying.”

“If it was easy, I would do it.”

“Run like you stole something.”

“This is easier than labor and delivery.”

“You’re not slow. You’re just enjoying the course.”

“Stop reading this and keep running!”

“Puke and rally!”

“Don’t worry, toenails are overrated.”

“Run like someone’s chasing you.”

“It’ll feel better when it stops hurting.”

“Mortuary ahead….look alive!”

“If I ran it, by God, you can, too.”

“Chuck Norris never ran a marathon.”

“Staying up all night making this sign was hard too.”

“You are NOT almost there.” (seen at mile 1)

“The end is near.”

“What path does a crazy runner take through the woods? A Psycho Path!”

“Hurry, we’re cold!”

“Toll booth ahead. Exact change only.”

“What’s your favorite part of Star Wars III?”

“Run Total Stranger, Run”

“Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na (Chariots of Fire).”

“Free Piggyback Rides”

“It’s OK to cry”

“You’re running the wrong way”

“Bus station, —–> That way.”

“Think of how many calories you get to eat today!”

?”I’m a total stranger, but I am SO PROUD of you!”

“Running is a mental sport and we are all INSAINE!”

and my favorite….

“Worst parade EVER.”

Anyhow, back to the run….

At one point, somewhere around mile 11 or 12 we took a minute to walk and rest our leg muscles only to have a very rude awakening when we started up again.  Our quads, calves, shins, feet and especially gluteus maximus’s were in serious pain.  As Sarah perfectly described, it felt like someone was clawing their way out of the back of our pelvic bone or butt bone, tearing our pelvis’ apart.  Yeah,  it was painful.  So we decided that walking was going to be very minimal from here out.  It just hurt way too bad to start running again.  Besides, we only had less than a 5K left to run.  We could totally make it to the end now.

As we rounded the last corner and we had the finish line in sight we started to get a little bit emotional.  Sarah had warned me that she was probably going to cry at the finish line and she warned me of the impending hug there too.  Thinking about our huge accomplishment together had me starting to feel extreme sadness that it was almost over and happiness that we had done something so huge.  I told Sarah that I was getting emotional, she admitted that she was too, but it made it to hard to breathe so we stuffed those feelings down until a later time and pressed on.

We got to about 50 yards before the finish line, and there was only one lady in front of us before the finish line.  Throughout the last half of the run we were deciding who we needed to make sure to pass and beat to the finish.  The one chick in the white who ran weird,  the one guy in the green that had a walk/run form, the foot scuffing old lady, the hard breather, the guy who looked to be in extreme pain, the really big lady in blue, the really tall chick in pink, and the one with 13.1 on her back.   We lost track of a few of those runners along the course and we are sure we conquered all but two people.  But here we were at the finish line and there there was only one lady in front of us right then so Sarah said, “Let’s take her!”  and we took off in a sprint to the finish line to finish our 1/2 just a few seconds in front of her.  That felt awesome to have beat one more runner, one last one at the last possible time.

I didn’t even have the time to look over at the clock and see our time.  I had no idea how long it took us to run the 13.1, I just knew we were finished.  WOOHOO!! Huge smile.  No tears, no hugs, just a humongous sense of accomplishment and excitement.

I must say running my second 1/2 marathon was much more enjoyable because I had someone to run with the entire time.  Someone to push me when I needed pushing and someone for me to push when she needed it back.  I’m so thankful to have Sarah as a friend and as my favorite running partner.

Anyhow, here’s a few pictures of the awesome day because I’m sure you’re super bored from reading my race report.  :)

Here we are keeping warm in the car before the race.  Brandon joked about me writing on the back of my shirt, “I’m here for the 13.1 mile wet t-shirt contest.” It stopped raining, thankfully!

Bridget, Sarah, and I pre-race.  Getting ready to line up and freeze for a few minutes before the start.

Here we are crossing the finish line.  Sarah’s husband, Robert, caught us AT THE EXACT moment we went across the mat.  How awesome is that.  Official finish time 2:46:46.

The Bling!  :) Best Bling EVER!

Brandon and I after he finished.  We rock.  Just sayin’.

Here’s me. All cute.  Wearing my bling, Zensah Sleeves and my favorite SweatyBand.

I have to say, I’m super proud of my bling.  Can you tell?

Here’s my awesome marathon family.

Lily was able to run the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Grand Rapids Kids Marathon on Saturday where she finished the last 1.2 miles with all the other kids.  She was VERY proud of her accomplishment of running the entire way. Many thanks to Jennifer who allowed Lily to join her family to do the marathon while we photographed a wedding. This was her third time doing the kids marathon and she loved every minute of it.  :)

Yup,  we are the Mulnix’s (Mulni) and we’re a running family.

NOT Last Place Emily – Lowell 10K Quiver

Posted on October 5th, 2011 by Emily

So, a while ago, September 10th to be exact, I ran the Lowell 10K Quiver run to benefit breast cancer and the Lowell Pink Arrow Pride.  I decided last minute to run it with my sister.  Somehow, however I’m not quite sure, I was talked into ‘pacing’ for her.  Only problem being that she runs a 10 minute mile and I run around an 11:20 – 12 minute mile.  No big deal right?  It’s not THAT much faster than I normally run….. Oh how very wrong that turned out to be.

So we started out by the football stadium and ran straight up a very long, quite good hill first thing.  That was lovely. Then down turned down Vergennes toward Parnell.  I did pretty well considering we were running quite a bit faster than I normally run, but that only lasted a short time.  I got to where it was hard to talk and run, then the 10 minute mile pacer passed us and my sister asked me if I could go any faster.  Truth was, I was DYING going as fast as we were already, there was NO way I was able to go faster and complete the whole 10K run.  So I had two options, run faster and not be able to finish, or run slower and no longer run with my sister.  I didn’t want to choose either, but I went with the second option and my sister went on while I took a short walking break.  There were quite a few runners of the 10K that had already turned around at Parnell and were headed back to the Wittenbach center when I finally did start to run again.  I’m sure I looked pathetic to them.  Oh well.

I wasn’t sure if I was in last place, but I didn’t want to waste time looking back.  The opportunity to see how I was doing came soon enough when I finally made it to the turn around point.  Nope, not last place, *whew*.  But third to last.  *YAY*.  There was a runner in front of me who I could tell was struggling and my goal was to make it to her and ask if she wanted to run together.  (Wow, wouldn’t that be bold of ME.)  So I took off running and was slowly catching up to her when I was passed, *sigh* and now in second to last place.  Apparently the lady that passed me had the same goal in mind, because when she got to the person in front of me, they took off together.  BUMMER.  Oh well, at least she has someone to run with.

So it’s just me and another slow runner behind me and I’m determined to NOT let that lady pass me.  Somewhere along here, which was before Wittenbach Center my knee started hurting a bit.  So I decided to run/walk the rest of the distance.  By the time I got up by the school again the 5K runners and walkers and all the 10K runners were turning to go back down to the track.  I saw Brandon and yelled “LOOK AT THAT GUY!!! HE’S RUNNING BAREFOOT!!”   =)  I knew he’d appreciate that.

The Wittenbach Center had me a bit concerned that the direction peoples had turned me the wrong way, but I finally caught up with a set of walkers way in the back of the woods.  Those two ladies in front of me were no where to be seen. After getting out the woods I started back over to the high school and the cop on the corner was chatting with a volunteer when they yelled at me, “Hey, there’s a cheater in front of you!!”  Apparently someone had cut across the field, but they were unsure if it was a real runner or not.  I guessed it wasn’t because I hadn’t seen anyone in front of me for quite a while.

Finally I reached the start line only to be told that the finish line was 1/2 way around the track.  CRAP.  I want to be done.  But I kept on,  Brandon cheered me on when I got to the football field, which was encouraging.  I ran over that finish line, dead, but with a sense of accomplishment.  I had finished a 6.2 mile run, alone, and wasn’t last….

HOWEVER, the Quiver peoples mixed my time up with the person who came in behind me (THANKS FOR THAT) and put my results as finishing in 1:32 and not the 1:17 that I actually did.  *ugh*  That super sucked because this was our town.  The town we do business in.  The town we have friends in.  The town we go to church in.  And there it was my results being LAST PLACE online.  And many of my friends competed in the run with me, so I knew they would be looking at the results online too.  What do you do when you look at the results for the races you’re in?  Look at the first place Male and Female and their times.  Your time, and oh yeah, the time of the person who finished last…. Oh well.  Maybe the lady who finished behind me was encouraged by not being in last place.  Maybe it was just what she needed to keep her running going.  I guess I’ll take it for the team if it did anything to encourage her and her journey.

I was not last place Emily in this run.  However… the Mercy run I did a few weeks later, that’s a different story.  =)

Mackinac Bridge Run – Labor Day 2011 – Meeting Governor Rick Snyder

Labor Day in Michiganis all about the Mackinac Bridge.  As a little boy I experienced the bridge from the back of a wagon pulled by my parents.  A couple of times through my early years I walked it with my parents just for the Fudge at the end.  This year I was finally able to share the experience with my wife and daughter.

Brandon Mulnix

My family

Our original plan for the weekend was to bike across the state, but that was scrapped when I was picked to run the bridge.  Unlike most short distance runs I really got excited to run the bridge.  My goal from the start was to run it barefoot.  The number one question asked was “Won’t the grates hurt your feet?”  Thankfully the grates only take up the middle lanes of the 4 lane bridge.   Prepping to run the bridge didn’t take much.  I hadn’t planned on my jaw being wired shut, but that didn’t slow me down. With hotel prices being outrageous on the holiday weekend in Mackinaw we decided to stay inHoughtonLakewhich is less than two hours drive.  It wasn’t theCrownPlaza, but the prize was free and the time spent with family and friends was priceless.  The distance did require us to get up before 3 am.  We only had to make one stop on the way and that was to pick up my parents who opted to stay in a hotel about thirty minutes into the trip.  I thought we would be able to make only one stop, but there is nothing open at 3:30 AM inNorthern Michigan.  We finally found a 24 hour McDonalds, but they were not prepared to take care of one car, let alone the five cars that showed up at that time of morning.  You would think they would be prepared for the 30,000 people about to show up to walk the bridge.

Brandon Mulnix - Short Bus

Waiting for the bus to ride to the Upper Pennisula

After the longer than expected stop we got back on the road and made it to the Mackinaw Recreation center right at 5am and I was able to get my race packet which included my Bib, my shirt, ID Band, and coupons for dinner that I chose not to attend (carb loading with jaw wired shut is not possible).  The cool morning air was already starting to get to me as we stood and waited for the buses that would take us to the starting line.  While in line I was blessed to run into Michael Grant who I had the pleasure of running with a year ago during a winter training run.  Michael and I had the pleasure of catching up on the bus ride to theUpper Peninsulastart.  He told me of his 100 pound weight transformation and his Grand Rapids Marathon finish.  It was such a motivator as I readied myself for the race ahead.

Fellow Grand Rapids Runner

Fellow Grand Rapids Runner

The cool air really hit home as the 243 runners waited just off the shore line on the north end of the bridge.  Thousands of walkers were all ready there for their 7am start when we arrived at 5:45.  Our start wasn’t till 6:40 and many dressed as if they were running a summer marathon instead of a fall 5K.  The temperature was around 42 degrees!  We all huddled behind a sign that blocked the north wind and we waited.  I was on the lookout for Lt. Governor Brian Calley.  His wife had facebooked me the night before instructing me to look for him, because he wanted to chat before the run.  The Michigan State Police motorcade arrived about 6:30 and Governor Rick Snyder came walking up with Brian right beside him.  As the Governor went to the front of the pack to give a speech I was able to spend a few moments with my friend talking about his daughter and how she was recovering.  To have Brian take a few moments out of his duties to catch up really meant something to me.

Rick Snyder giving speech Mackinac Bridge

Pre-race speech by Govenor Snyder

Governor Snyder led the wheel chair racer and the Fitness Ambassadors to the starting line and sent them off for their less than 5 mile trek.  The organizers led groups of 20-50 out at a time to start the race and space out the runners across the bridge.  I stood around and waited.  Purposefully wanting to be in the last group, not knowing how it would be to run barefoot across the bridge and run fast with the jaw being wired.  My invisible shoes kept my feet from touching the ground which got me lots of questions.  “Your going to run in those?” with my response “Heck no, I am going to run barefoot”.  It was fun having conversations with people that couldn’t understand me, and thought I was nuts. As the groups took off I made my way over to the start.  Brian was back doing his civic duty next to the Governor.  I was surprised when he waved me over to introduce me to the Governor.  To be introduced as a family friend also made me feel special.  Photographing Brian’s family on more than one occasion would make me his photographer, but a family friend was cooler.  Rick Snyder shook my hand and smiled while Brian took my picture.  The only thing I regret was not getting someone else to take the photo and getting Brian in there to.  He is the one who introduced me, and is just as important as Rick is.  I wasn’t paying much attention to the group of runners I was with, but someone else told them to “GO” and they were off.  Before I knew it I was the only one left standing at the starting line.  I forgot to take off my sandals before getting out to the start, so I just reached down and took them off as I started to run.  The race was chipped time with no awards so I didn’t really care about when I started.  Dead last meant I had lots of people I could pass.  As I started to run I heard about 10 people say “He’s running barefoot” from the Governor’s direction.  I just laughed and ran.

Rick Snyder Brandon Mulnix Mackinac Bridge

Meeting the Govenor of Michigan

The Mackinaw Bridgeis cold at 42 degrees on your feet.  My toes were used to 60’s and 70’s over the past weeks, but the cold made it kind of nice.  I didn’t want to leave my feet on the cement very long.  My pace started out really fast.  The excitement of the morning had made its way to my feet and I started passing runners.  The first ½ is all uphill to the crown of the bridge.  Since I wasn’t caring so much about my time, at least that is what I told myself, I tried thanking all the soldiers lining the bridge.  That only lasted so long.  My breathing had picked up with the quick pace and sucking in oxygen was my only goal.  Clearing your airway is tough when you can’t spit.  I usually spit a couple of times in the first miles to clear out everything, but I didn’t have that option.  I did my best to blow my nose “farmers blow”, but that was tough as well.  I didn’t want to hit anyone and I didn’t want to get to close to the edge.  As I passed runners I heard a lot of “Oh my God, he’s barefoot”.  I questioned why God would care that I was barefoot, but appreciated the fact people were praying while running. One runner called me out, before I even passed her.  She said that she was about to be passed by someone running barefoot, because she knew the sound.  Later she revealed that her running partner ran barefoot or minimalist and it sounded differently.  So that is what natural running sounds like.  One guy wore Vibrams and said there was another guy he saw in the staging area with sandals.  Who would run in those I thought?  He then figured out it was me.  The soldiers lining the bridge were cool and were usually surprised to see me running by.  I argued that they were much more hard core by serving our country, but they yelled it anyways.  The bridge crested and the by the time I started the decent my feet were alive and I was feeling the smooth concrete.  I was surprised to see my sub 20 minute 2.5 mile split.  I felt like I was flying and my time reminded me of that.  A hot spot started to develop the pad of my right foot.  I assumed it was because I was running too fast.  I adjusted my stride length to adjust for the decent and the hot spot started to feel better. The last mile is totally deceiving.  Up ahead you can see the finish and the turn off, but you don’t really know how far it is.  I never really sprinted.  I kept one guy in my sights the last half, but didn’t really care to pass him.  Being a social runner and not being able to really talk to anyone kind of sucked, but it gave me time to think about the run.  The crowd at the finish line was incredible.  There were hundreds of people there to see us finish.  My watch said I finished in just over 32 minutes (results here).  The distance 4.3 miles according to Garmin.  I was trilled since my last 5K was over 26 minutes.  While waiting around for the other runners to finish I had the opportunity to answer a lot of questions about barefoot running.  The number one question: “Does your feet hurt?”  Nope, they felt great was the best answer I could come up with.   It was the truth.  Nothing feels better than running with bare feet.  Sure there is the occasional stone bruise, but I wouldn’t trade them for all the shine splints in the world.

Mackinac Bridge Run, Finishing photo

Barefoot finish photo

Being 6’3” also has its advantages.  As we waited for the runners to finish they formed us up into groups based on our wrist band color.  I was given the blue sign to hold, and I held it proudly.  Like any first grader would I held it up high, yelled out our color, and made sure we were all the same color.  Yes I am that obnoxious.  I also had the pleasure of standing in the background of every other team’s photo.  Yup I am that guy to.   Our photo was taken and as I walked away Wilx News 10 fromLansingput a camera in my face to ask me how the run was.  What is my luck? Stay tuned:  The Labor Day Bridge Walk 2011- A new family tradition?

Just give it to HIM?

Posted on September 1st, 2011 by Emily


What’s keeping you from your dreams?  Just give it to him.  Anything is possible!!


RunAmoc Dash shoes the down and dirty details- Soft Star Shoes

RunAmoc Dash- Before the run, Injinji Toe Socks

RunAmoc Dash- Before the run, Injinji Toe Socks

I received a pair of RunAmoc Dash Shoes last week from Soft Star Shoes and I was intrigued from the start – Read about it here

I figured Independence day would be a good do to try them out.  I met up with one  of the race directors for the Yankee Springs Trail Run who wanted to run his own race now that everything was over.  I chose to wear the RunAmoc’s for the entire 40 miles planned.  Up to this point I had taken them out of the box and wore them one time to work and back to make sure they fit.  I decided the first lap 13.6 miles I would wear socks.  I choose by Injinji toe socks that I have grown to love as my blister protection.

RunAmoc Dash - Trail Running

RunAmoc Dash - Trail Running

Within a mile of trail running on a mix of sand, and hard packed dirt with little roots and rooks, I told Phil that it felt like I was running with slippers on.  The 5mm trail sole protected my feet and the top leather protected them from everything else.  The shoe felt like my running sandals, yet didn’t flop around as much.  I didn’t trip or fall the first lap and everything felt great.

RunAmoc Dash- no socks

RunAmoc Dash- no socks

The second lap was the lap of dirt and falls.  During a short break between laps I thought I would try a lap without socks.  The shoes felt even more like my sandals the rubber texture under my feet gave me solid footing, and the top kept my foot from sliding front to back.  About 7 miles into lap number 2 (20 mile total) I tripped on a root.  Okay my fault, I do this often and rolled away without injury.  In less than a mile I tripped again, as I caught the top of the shoe on another root and I went down face first into the dirt.  By now I realize the toe box of the shoe is longer than my Vibram Komodos so I decide to pick my feet up more and pay more attention.  Two more times in 15 minutes I kick rocks or stumps and almost fall.  Its that weird looking throwing your body forward only to catch your feet under your body and pull out of the dive to the dirt.  I again made mention to pay more attention, and this time I went down even harder.  I stepped on a mole’s hole dug out of the trail and the ground sank under me, catching my toe on the back side of the hole sending me flying through the air.

Lap three was doomed at this point.  I figured I would need a bath in antiseptic to clean up from all the falls, but I didn’t even stumble.  I still can’t figure out the falls, why so many falls when I normally don’t fall or if I do its once or twice an entire workout.   The extra weight of the shoes might have something to do with it.  I have been running in 14.2 oz Komodo’s compared to the 17.4 oz RunAmoc Dashes.  This little added weight is something I might have to get used to.

RunAmoc Dash - Mud running, stayed on in thick mud

RunAmoc Dash - Mud running, stayed on in thick mud

Overall the shoes were a success and I would recommend them to anyone interested in a minimalist shoe that will hold up to trail running or road running.  They did very well in the mud all three times we went through it, and they drained the water well when we cooled off in the lake.

The only area that concerned me was the ankle area.  After all the falls and dirt, and mud, I had blistering on both ankles both inside and out only when I didn’t wear the socks.  To solve this I decided to wear socks when I ran in them again today and no additional blisters.

RunAmoc Dash Shoes after 40 Miles of trail running

RunAmoc Dash Shoes after 40 Miles of trail running

For more information check out their website at



Your Day Without Shoes- June 11th + Giveaway

Posted on June 8th, 2011 by Brandon

This Saturday (June 11th) is “Your day without Shoes“.  Sponsored by the Primal Foot Alliance is sponsor this day because it’s a Day about You!  Its is all about promoting the education to others about the healthiness of barefoot running.

For More information go to

In honor of this event we are giving away a copy of Jason Robillard’s The Barefoot Running Book Second Edition: A Practical Guide to the Art and Science of Barefoot and Minimalist Shoe Running

How to win: 
1.  Share this blog post on your Facebook, Blog, Twitter, or Sky Writing
2.  Comment- Leave me a comment or question about Barefoot running or living and tell me where you Shared this post _
For every place you post you get 1 Entry-
 (except Sky Writing which will result in a free book, to verify you must send photo (limited to 1 book to the first person to share photo)) 
3.  Winner will be randomly chosen by all who qualify on Wednesday June 15th, 2011.

What is a Runner?  Response to Barefoot Running University Post

Staff Writer Kate Kift asks the Question: What is a “Runner”?  in a post on Barefoot Running University’s Blog. 

The definition of a Runner is simple “A person who believes they are a runner, whether fast or slow, run short distances or long, and while doing so enjoy running”

In life many things are given titles like runner, athlete, father, and friend.  One might say that each of these titles has qualifications or standards, but I feel there is more to these titles then a list of what make you that title. 

First is belief

Using runner as our title, a person must first believe they are a runner before they can accept that they are one.  Others may call them a runner because they participate in races, and activities that involve running, but unless the person believes they are a runner it’s a meaningless title given by others.  A “Runner” believes that when they participate in that activity they are part of it.  Not a spectator along for the ride, but a piece of the action.  They believe that when they participate they belong there.  Any doubt that they don’t belong will hinder them from being a runner. 

Second is the activity

Believing you are a runner while sitting on the couch all day doesn’t make you a runner.  The activity or action of running no matter what pace or distance must be participated in.  Take for example a doctor, a person who is schooled in the art and science of healing others.  If the person is schooled, but never participates in healing does it make them a doctor?  Same applies to running.  No activity = not being a runner.

Third is enjoyment

Just because a person believes they are a runner, does the activity, doesn’t make them a runner if they hate doing it.  A doctor tells this person that you will get fat and die an early death if you don’t participate in some kind of activity.  The person believes running is the easiest form of activity that will burn the most calories the quickest so they run.  They hate every step and only participate in it because they believe the doctor is right, and don’t want to die an early death.  Does this make them a runner? 

You could break down any title in this fashion, but after an awesome weekend with my family I want to break down the title of “Father”

Just because a man is the X half of the reproductive system doesn’t make him a father.  Does it make him responsible for ½ of the reproductive products existence, Yes it does. 

Belief in being a father,
Accepting the role of being a father is the first step in being one.  A person believing that the responsibility and upbringing of offspring is a responsibility not a right.  Its about believing your role as a father to the point of action.

Taking the action of being a father,
Sitting on the sidelines watching mom doing all the raising doesn’t make you anymore of a dad then a water boy on the sidelines of a football game.  Putting on the helmet and getting in the game.  Some fathers play a better role at offense, leading their offspring through life.  Some fathers play better defense by protecting their kids from the opposing forces.  Either way fathers take action and play in the game.  Sitting on the sidelines playing arm chair quarterback doesn’t get your kids anywhere.

Enjoying the role,
Going to work everyday and trying to provide for your kids can sometimes make a person feel like the owner of the team, not the coach or quarterback.  The provider many times hates their role.  They do the minimal amount required to get the kids through, but along the way hate every minute of it.  There are probably moments were they believed they are a father long enough to get their kids in the game, gave the kids just enough to get them there, but fooled everyone by playing along.  Enjoy being a father. 

So in closing in order to be something you have to believe, take action, and enjoy the opportunity given to you!

After reading Jason Robillards post today “Some Taboo Truths About Barefoot Running“  I feel it is okay to mention that my foot still hurts from running Mind the Ducks.  I have been afraid to mention it because I didn’t want to scare people away from barefoot or minimalist running.  To be honest with you, sometimes running barefoot hurts like hell! 

The reason I continue to run is very simple, I enjoy it.  Sure there is a rock once in awhile that I didn’t pay attention to and now I have a bruise on my foot, but I still enjoy it.  I found that when I step on something now the next step will erase or numb the pain from that one bad step.  If (or when) I stub my toe the pain goes away and everything is fine. 

To me its kind of like when little kid falls.  If no one is around or notices it, they get back up and keep playing.  When the parents coo and notice the kid, they immediately start to cry.  I am the same way with running.  If I stub my toe and ignore it, it goes away (sometimes along with the nail), but if I stop and look at it, it remains with me the rest of the day. 

Please take a moment and read Jason’s Blog “Some Taboo Truths About Barefoot Running” because it as created a lot of thought for me on this issue.  In regards to my foot pain, its probably just tendonitis from running 63 miles in one day.  It will go away, and with it my lasting memory of what it feels like after an ultra.

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