I grew up pretty much on home
grown organic produce, locally caught fish,
fowl and beef. At aged 13 I came down with
appendicitis and nearly died. When they
removed my appendix they found a chunk of
rotting beef in it that I ate 5 days prior.
That was the beginning of my pursuit of not
eating red meat. Which later in my teens moved
onto not eating any meat.
I got into Bicycle Road Racing as a teen and
quickly climbed the ranks to find myself
bumping shoulders with some of the best
roadies in the world. Bicycle Racing is an
expensive sport and I never could dial in the
sponsorship part of it to make into the Pro
levels of the game.
Over the span of many decades I logged over
750,000 racing and training miles pursuing
Erskien Lenier: An injured Knee
While taking time off from bicycle racing at
the end of the summer season in the 1970s I
damaged my right knee with too many miles too
quick when I decided I wanted to run a 26.2
mile Marathon just one month away.
up with a respectable time of 2:32:30 which at
that time was only 2 minutes 32 seconds off
qualifying for Boston. So my ego stepped in
and told me I had potential and I should let
my legs recover and go do some real training
and more racing.
Three weeks later I entered another marathon.
Much hotter temps, rolling hills, wind,
finished but way off my prior time and very
noticeable knee pain. I tried running for
about another 3 weeks but saw I was digging a
hole. I ended up in several doctors offices
and they told me I was a good candidate for an
That was all I needed to hear to go get back
on the bike and abandon running for decades to
Erskien Lenier: The Forest Gump Moment
One day about 4 yrs ago I had a "Forest Gump
Moment" and realized I had turned my last
pedal! I parked my bikes and sold them off.
Soon I felt a calling to return to running
which was something I had a passion for too
but way back.
Something cracked open in me that told me I
could return to running despite my initial
attempts resulting in the same pains, burning
sensations, grinding and clicking noises
developing in my right knee.
I bought the most expensive shoes money could
buy (every 3 weeks as I was grinding the
corner of the heels off in that little time! I
even recall questioning shoe design as I
thought the idiots who made shoes were not
putting enough rubber in the outer heel area
just to force runners to have to replace them
After creating a small mountain of shoes in my
closet with just worn outer heels and
investing in orthodics, special socks, and
still coming home in pain it was back to the
Internet to reach out to live humans about
what they knew about these problems.
That's when I began to encounter barefoot
. One by the name of Ken Bob
Saxton of Huntington Beach told me after I
spelled out my symptoms to "Lose the Shoes!"
"Run away from them!"
I thought he was a bit weird for even saying
that, but as he explained running bio
mechanics to me in regard to where my center
of gravity is (pelvis), where my feet were
supposed to land (under my pelvis) proper use
of the body (shifting weight from one side of
the body to the other and not using muscular
force to push or pull myself across the land
instead use gravity primarily through a slight
lean forward from the foot or ankle area only
while shifting weight from one side of the
body to the other kind of like a unicyclist
nights later I was restless as his words
rattled in my soul like a bee in a jar... I
needed to run... I went out without my shoes
on but brought them along just in case. It
only took a few steps to quickly realize how
good it felt to be shoeless! The
coolness of the clean, smooth concrete was
heavenly, the landing was much softer than I
expected. There was no "clop, clopping" of the
waffle soles of the running shoes, only
silence and sensations
That run was only a few blocks but it changed
my life forever... I knew beyond a shadow of a
doubt that I
would heal my knee
. I longed to be able
to run all day and 150-200 mpw (miles per
week) which would be the running equivalent to
riding a bike 350-500 mpw which was what I was
used to before. I knew I'd resolved the
pounding issue and it was a matter of
developing healthy feet, ankles, legs and
Erskien Lenier: Back In The Game
As I got to the point of running more than 1
1/2 hrs at a time fueling came into play again
and I realized my gargantuan bicycle built
thighs were too large for really long runs as
they rubbed so much that I burned up even
compression shorts in as little as 6 weeks of
running! I needed to not only drop more body
fat but excess muscle or protein too.
I started researching what other "Ultra
Runners" fueled themselves with. Most of what
I found was powders, potions, gu-type crap and
a hodgepodge of table foods that made me ill
to ponder consuming.
Then I reached out to Scott Jerek an extreme
high level Ultra Runner living in CO. who ran
huge miles consistently. After sharing my
current diet of confusion and the stuff I'd
gleaned from others he shared with me what he
I was surprised to find it was mostly fruit!
He suggested I get a copy of "The
" by Dr. Douglas Graham to
fully unpack my understanding of human
biochemistry, design and all the other
marketed "diets" out there including my
traditionally high cooked food carb focused
I got the book... I literally "absorbed it! I
was inspired by every word Doug wrote! I
dropped 30 lbs in the first 6 weeks of going
811 and my tempo speed over 15 miles increased
by 2.5 mph with no other changes!
I went from going aerobic at 6.5 mph to
bumping my threshold at 9 mph with some miles
in the 10+ mph range! My thigh diameter has
continued to come down to where I am now
wearing traditional running shorts instead of
compression bike or tri shorts.
Erskien Lenier: Raw Food Changes
What physical and mental
changes did you notice when going raw? Was it
I dropped 30
lbs in the first 6 weeks
, I can run all
day in the mountains and do speed work the
next day! I have no more cravings. My mind is
sharp, focused, I can juggle long chains of
numbers (of which I have never been able to do
my whole life!) My senses are all amplified or
more accurately restored to what they are
supposed to be! I sleep much better and wake
up feeling fresh and lively.
My skin looked decades younger and I tan the
color I used to when I was a teen. I was
tanning all blotchy for a long time and I was
concerned I'd over taxed my skins ability to
adapt. I feel more and feel more capable of
handling everything. I am much more in the
moment. My body seems so quiet for long
periods of time.
Have you been able to put on
muscle while raw, or found you lost some? Have
you had to work hard to bulk up to your
I now realize how unnatural
"bulking up" is. It's more of a liability than
an asset as you lose the ability to do so many
things when your bulked up. Nice statue! Big
thighs are like trying to run with gallon milk
jugs strapped to your thighs! Not fun... But
I've pretty much fixed that.
Did you find going raw to be
socially or professionally isolating? Have any
of your friends and family embraced your diet
since you made the switch?
I've never been much of a
social butterfly and being a full time cyclist
I've always been considered weird anyways. I
was surprised at the resistance my wife and
teen kids put up to considering living
Frugivorously or reading Doug Graham's book.
My youngest daughter wants to go for it but my
wife is struggling to convince her that what
I've done is not "how it's supposed to
be!" My youngest is vegan already. Its a
matter of time for her.
My son will consume my Juice Plus caps of
veggies and fruits and occasionally eat
salads, fruit and such raw but is still under
the "tribal spell" My oldest daughter who is
the house rocket scientist (very mental in
focus) who struggles hard with foods is
fighting knowing anything new almost as much
as my wife.
So that's all fun and weirdness. I think time
will sort them out. We can con ourselves only
for so long before we run out of genetic
reserves and symptom management gets old. My
position with them is like water flowing over
Erskien Lenier: Barefoot Running
Under what circumstances do
you choose to run barefoot vs wearing
I have a couple pair of
Huaraches and a pair of Newton's.
the huaraches along in my Hydration Pack for
when I know I am going to either be traversing
extreme hot temps on asphalt or jagged rock or
thorn infested trails.
They usually come back off after getting past
the danger zones. If I know there will be
multiple such areas I just keep them on. The
Newtons I use only for recovery runs over
thorn infested areas I know the thorns are
long enough to go through the huaraches into
What are your favorite types
of minimalist footwear?
Do you think the
minimalist/barefoot runner ethos melds well
with the simplicity of a healthy raw food
diet? It seems like an unusually large
percentage of raw foodists seem to be
barefoot/minimalist runners, or at least
highly interested in the topic.
Yes, If you have self
examined and questioned the appropriateness of
traditionally offer foods or shoes you will
find yourself questioning the validity of the
other. They go hand and hand. What I don't
understand is how so many barefoot runners get
stuck believing the Paleo
thing is optimal and natural for human
The technical gymnastics those folks go
through to make their foods attractive to
their tongues says it all. I always suggest
they go try taking down big game with their
"claws and teeth only" and try consuming it
right there on the spot with no fire.
Carnivores relish the thought. No carnivores
are disgusted with the idea or the act.
Erskien Lenier: Food and Exercise
What does your exercise
routine look like?
I do spontaneous push ups,
chin ups, climbing trees, fences, bars and
walls for body weight calisthenics.
How many miles do you average
in a week?
A low mile week is 85 and a
high mile week is about 150... so far...
Do you know how many
calories, on average, you eat per day?
Depending on miles, temps,
loads I'm carrying in my hydration pack and
altitude gain a low day is about 2500. A high
day is 5000 calories.
What is your fueling/
refueling regime for long runs? Some raw
long-distance runners find that eating
anything during runs run gives them cramps.
Others eat one date every 10 minutes, or
something similar. How do you refuel, if at
all. How do you carry this fuel with you?
: Any run over 1.5 hours burns
off all the body's stored glycogen reserves. I
begin refueling at that point with water rich,
ripe, sweet fruit that I have scooped (with an
old fashion ice cream scoop) out of it's rind,
into gallon sized reusable ziplocks. I put
about a quarter to 1/2 gallon of fruit in each
bag. My favorites are honey dew, Jamican red
papaya, mango, or watermelon.
I Also bring along from 8-16 ripe (with lots
of spots) bananas sometimes also or instead.
On the scooped fruit I usually take a take the
ziplock, open the top, and while holding the
other end pour the juice into my mouth first
(My God, this is the most sensuously delicous
way to take down "living water" there is!)
then I tilt a bit higher to begin eating my
fill of the bits mouth sized chunks of fruit.
Sometimes I just slow down to a trot to
refuel, and sometimes I fully stop and take
3-5 min to relish the moment. I find that in
stopping, not only am I fresher on take off
again but my overall average speed especially
in the mountains is higher.
If I run out of fresh, water rich fruit I keep
a small ziplock of fluffy Mojool Dates in my
pack too and will have them with plenty of
water to rehydrate them during digestion.
Once I begin refueling I eat a bit more about
every hour or so until home again.
So far: bananas, honeydews,
watermelons, Jamican papayas, prickly pears,
Favorite raw recipe (or
favorite of the moment)?:
I eat my fruit as they were
made. I might cut them into bite sized pieces
occasionally. My veggies are pretty much eaten
the same way. Not much of food prep person!
What are you passionate
about? What makes you excited to be alive?
I absolutely love to run, eat
fruit, and help others learn about natural
running and frugivorously fueling their lives.
Erskien Lenier: The Future
What are your goals for the future?
independent so I can focus just on running and
teaching others. I want to travel the USA and
the rest of the world meeting with groups of
passionate people who want to know more from
someone who has taken the back country road to
usual insights into optimizing life for fun,
fitness, and expanded family.
How about your plans to run
across the country barefoot?
I had hoped and planned to
set out this past spring but funding didn't
pan out as hoped.
I've since set up new funding tools to grow a
back ground income stream that will not
require me to actively daily work to
regenerate it. The speed of its growth will
predicate when I reset the new date for the
I really want to do it barefoot all the way. I
think if I can free up enough time to train,
fuel properly and perfect my form a bit more I
can reach the condition needed to do so.
I believe I can get fit enough to handle 35-40
mpd. Not sure how often I will need to or if I
will need rest days for the soles of the feet.
Perfecting my running gait further will reduce
the gradual wear of the skin. I have to get it
perfected enough in both form, nutrition and
amount of rest to regenerate each night what I
have worn off each day.
Erskien Lenier: Following Up