Made the Switch to Barefoot Style Shoes!

One of the most exciting things I’ve done on my fitness journey was switching from traditional running shoes to barefoot style shoes. My Ninja/Parkour coach, @parkour_ninja975 suggested flat barefoot shoes, that they would help me with balance and make my jumps and landing more natural. I did some research and ordered the Xero Prio!

Wow, they were different and had immediate positive results on the balance beams. They felt so good, I didn’t want to wear anything else, I ordered another pair. I average 12,000 steps a day and for the first couple of days my feet were a tad sore, but it was a good sore….

My feet and lower calves are gaining strength and now I’m using my Zero’s in my 100-meter sprints. My daughter commented “Dad, it’s odd to see a 63-year-old man not wearing New Balance”, I replied “it’s odd to see a 63-year-old man doing Ninja Warrior and Parkour.

Movement is medicine.

My Spartan Race

Now that I’ve had two weeks to reflect on competing in a Spartan Race…my thoughts.

The Sprint is advertised as a 5K, which is 3.1 miles but it varies. My race was 4.1 miles with a 1000 foot elevation change. You run for around 1K before a series of wall vaults and wall climbs including an inverted wall, then a rock wall that’s transversed laterally. These were all super easy, next came my unexpectedly hardest obstacle…The bucket carry, picture a 5 gallon plastic paint bucket that’s weighted at 77 pounds that you carry up and down a 300 foot steep hill. I tried carrying on my back, on my should and cradled in front of me, if there was anytime I wanted to quit, this was it! Once down, I had to walk for a few minutes just to get my breathing under control. Lots of up and downhill running followed until I came upon the rope climb, super easy to climb up and down a 16 foot rope. Next was the spear throw, never had I thrown a spear and it showed…30 burpees. The rings were easier than expected, shorter and closer together than the rings at my Ninja gym, did them like monkey bars…Waiting for me next, was the Atlas ball carry, a 125 pound ball halfway in a hole that had to be carried about 30 yards out and back and laid perfectly in it’s hole…so so hard. Next were a serious of cargo nets, easy. I knew I was nearing the end of the course, I was pretty fatigued when I got to the monkey bars, they large and wet and had some give. You have to jump to the first bar, I spun right off and headed to the burpee pit for 30, lol. In hind site, I should off tried a two hand grip and transversed were a couple of mud pits filled with water, followed by another one except this one had a barrier that you had to dive under. I left some stuff out and probably have somethings out of sequence…Just remembered the slip wall, a slanted metal wall with water running down and a wet rope, I was up that wall in a flash….

After the race, I had a two hour drive to San Jose, when I got to the hotel, I could barely get out of the car, my lower back was severely inflamed. This was Sunday, took until Thursday when it didn’t hurt.

In training for this, I never ran more than 6K at a time, should have had some longer runs. The heavy lifting wore me out, I’m only 154 pounds and my training focus had been learning the technical skills required for the obstacles. I placed 7th in the over 60 Men’s age group, I was not a threat to the men ahead of me, couldn’t run as fast as them. I’m undecided on competing in Spartan Race again, I’ve fallen in love with Ninja Warrior training and that’s going to be my focus.

After the race, I had a two hour drive to San Jose, when I got to the hotel, I could barely get out of the car, my lower back was severely inflamed. This was Sunday, took until Thursday when when it didn’t hurt, still is a little tight. My right arm was pretty bruised from the heavy carries.

Huge shoutout to my personal trainer, Cameron Gurule @parkour_ninja975 at NinjaForce Gym,

He did a great job improving my shoulder mobility and upper body strength, pulling myself up walls was easy. I was able to hold on to the grips, use my feet and maintain my balance when needed, and figure out the best path to take, how to control my breathing.

I want to complete in Ninja Warrior, I think it will take about two years……

7th Place, Men’s over 60 Age Group, Monterey California 2021