Know any barefoot runners? No, not minimalist shoe-wearers — ten-toed, bare-soled barefoot runners. Michael Arau, one of Gametiime’s frequent users and a big supporter of the Greater Seattle running community is just that. After two serious running injuries and a lot of research, Michael took the plunge and discovered a renewed perspective in his running life by kicking off the shoes and running completely barefoot.
Read more about Micheal’s running story below.
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get into running? That is a long story to tell. Suffice it to say, I found myself in a position where I had to change my lifestyle.
What races have you run in the past? Too many to count, really. In fact, a runner friend once took all my saved bib numbers and made herself a running jacket from them. Lots of local, short races. One of my favorites is the Rhody Run; it’s a 12K in Port Townsend. The course is challenging and meanders through back roads. The local residents come out in front of their houses to cheer the runners along and, on occasion, offer treats, water, and even showers from their garden hoses for cooling off.
Do you have any future race goals? I have aspirations of advancing into ultra running. In the meantime, I have decided to do another marathon and signed on to run the Amica Seattle Marathon in December of this year.
What was your favorite/most memorable race and why? My first marathon. It was a bucket list event. I ran the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon in Victoria, BC. The course was on back roads and through neighborhoods. I felt welcomed by the locals and enjoyed the entire experience from arriving on Vancouver Island, to running the race to having a big plate of fish &chips post race.
Funnest race experience? I was running a 5k that consisted of three loops and a turn off to the finish. I was working so hard that I missed the turn off. It was the longest 5K I have ever run… I think it was well over four miles long.
Any advice for someone (perhaps starting out with a couch-to-5K program) who thinks they could never run a marathon? It’s all about commitment really. Physiologically, we are all capable. If someone is willing to put in the time and training, it can be done. Get involved with other runners with similar goals and support each other through the good and bad times.
What’s your favorite running gadget and/or gear? I’m such a geek, it’s hard to say really. I really enjoy my metric devices. I use a Nike Plus FuelBand and a GPS watch to keep track of my efforts. It helps to see physical data to help me improve based on this information. Besides, I’m a real sucker for colored graphs and charts.
And, on your feet? A cool breeze. I’m a barefoot runner. If I must wear something, it is incredibly minimal. I like the Xero Huaraches, Vibram FiveFingers KSO and Merrell Barefoot Run Vapor Glove. They have no support and the thinnest soles. I like them for trails, really bad road surfaces, and the winter when the temps drop below 35. I have been known to run barefoot in snowfalls.
What motivates you when you don’t feel like training? My online running friends. When I am trying to talk myself out of a run, I will go online and read their running reports. It doesn’t take long for me to get motivated.
What’s on your running playlist? Birds. I don’t listen to music as a rule… I find it distracting. I enjoy running trails and enjoy the natural sounds around me.
If you could run any race, anywhere in the world, what would it be? So many choices. Perhaps the Comrades Marathon in South Africa.
Anything else you would like to add? Run. Run like you’re being chased. Run for yourself, not for a win or to be fastest or furthest. Running should come from the heart and be very personal.
I recently submitted a blog post that covers many of the questions asked. It’s a long tale, but I think it reflects on the spirit of running and explains how I came to be where I am now — running-wise. (You can check out Michael’s running blog here!)
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