So pretty. So shiny

Well the plan had been to run 8 miles as my “short” long run in the new SeeYas.

That didn’t quite happen.

As soon as I got a steady pace going, I noticed that there was a lot of rubbing around my Achilles on my left foot. Of course, I did what every distance runner does when they feel a twinge in the first mile – I ignored it. Obviously, my body was just trying to trick me into stopping and that wasn’t going to happen. Buckle up, boys. It’s Long Run Day.

But by the time I got over the bridge that bit of irritation was growing into a sharp point of awareness. Sure enough, when I stopped for water at the bait shop on the other side of the bridge (an aside to the MTC volunteer that puts the water cooler out there every weekend – you’re amazing), there was a nice red sore spot where the heel cup was rubbing. There’s so little structure in the upper that it was allowing a lot of travel in the heel cup, nothing like the Bikila. I could tell if I let it be it was going to be raw by the time I ran back. The honeymoon was already over.

So three miles out and a killer blister on my left foot, I decide the most logical thing to do is to pop the shoes off and finish up my run totally barefoot.

It’s almost a shame, what’s gonna happen to you

The difference was astounding. That first mile was the fastest of the entire run and it felt fast. It’s been so long since I’ve done any work without my shoes, I’d forgotten how different my feet react. The toes splay and grab as I strike. The various surfaces – sidewalk, pavement, terrazzo, grass, sand – all provide distinctly different feedback (beyond slick, not slick, slick, not slick). It was an invigorating “accident” and served to remind me that I need to work to incorporate regular barefoot runs into my training.

I’m still not ready to ditch the shoes – the sore spot on the pad of my right foot is a good reminder that feet and pavement don’t like each other all that much; but I’ll make sure I’m prepared on my next run with some Bodyglide and a few Band-Aids (just in case).

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The inaugural run of the SeeYas will just have to wait.

Logging what was to be my last run with the Bikilas on Runkeeper, I clicked over to take a look at my history. Turns out I was only 6 miles away from reaching 800 miles!

How could I retire my shoes when I had such a perfect round number within my grasp?

My OCD got the best of me and I strapped on the old reliables one more time.

Remember these babies?

Well they look considerably worse for wear now!

You can smell them from here, can’t you?

One great thing about running in minimalist shoes has been how quickly my stride patterns show on the sole. I was able, early on, to see where I was striking hardest and and gauge whether or not I needed to adjust how I ran. Interestingly, I always thought I came down harder on my left leg; but if I’m to base judgements off of where the first hole showed up, I seem to favor my right leg. I’ll have to see how the SeeYas wear.

It’s all about sole.

Looking back on my nearly two years of running; I’m really pleased with how far I’ve come. The first few runs in June 2010 I was struggling to maintain sub-14 minute miles and any mileage over 3 was a challenge. Now I’m contemplating my first full marathon and am pushing myself harder to drive that average pace consistently under 10 minutes per mile. Not bad for someone who loudly proclaimed running to be the stupidest way to ruin a perfectly good walk.

Can’t wait for the next 800!

772 miles later (give or take a handful of beach runs), my original pair of Vibram Bikilas have finally given up the ghost (as much of a gear geek as I am, I chose the least effective running style for quickly cycling through shoes). The soles had been wearing down considerably quicker as I increased my weekly mileage leading up to the Sarasota Half last month; but I thought I could make it through the summer (and till the pre-season shoe sales!).

But it was not to be and now the quandry before me is, do I stay with what I know, with what’s worked, and get a new pair of Bikilas; or do I grab the new hotness and snag some SeeYas?

…I think we all know how this will end up.

Posted: April 25, 2012 in Shoes
Tags: , , ,

In an effort to make sure I hurt myself as much as possible whilst training, I’ve come up with a new game to keep me active at the office.

The most direct paths to the bathroom and break room are now gone. They’ve been scorched from the earth in a fiery Hellstorm. Now, the only way for me to take care of vital functions is to go down the stairwell closest to my cube, exit at the ground floor, walk across the building to the other stairwell, go back up to the third floor, then walk through the “undestroyed” portion of the building.

I may decide that internal hallways on the first floor have been flooded with nanoscopic ninjas at some point, forcing me to circumnavigate the building outside before re-entering and gaining access to the stairwell. This will likely not happen till it’s cooler (little known facts: nanoscopic ninjas love heat, detest cold weather, and will only venture indoors once the temperature dips below 75).

With all the articles coming out lately about standing desks, sitting desks, and how your sedentary job will kill you quickly, I figure that a little more activity in my 8 hours at the office is a good thing. Besides, the only vertical work I ever do is the occasional hill out at the Celery Fields and maybe the Ringling Bridge. This is a small change I can make to incorporate an overlooked portion of my training.

Treated myself with a couple of 3-mile training runs out at the Celery Fields. They just opened the trails a few months back and they’re amazing. There’s a huge hill there in case you’re feeling especially ballsy; but the best path is across the street. Approximately three miles long (maybe a little less), it wraps around a bird sanctuary. I made sure I left the iPod in the car for these runs – between the Mallards, Coots, and Sandhill Cranes, there was more than enough sonic scenery.

Besides, I’m sure there’s a gator or two in the ponds back there; I want to make sure I hear ’em hissing before I run into them!

The path though…theoretically it’s fantastic – loose scrim and dirt that provides decent traction and a fair amount of cushion. But with my choice of shoes? Let’s just say that after two nights I felt every damn rock poking me in every damn soft spot on the bottoms of my feet. I’ve never been so glad to hit pavement! I’ll still go out there; but maybe only once a week (or I’ll suck it up and find a pair of trainers with thicker soles for trail running).

The runs themselves were nice reminders of what the Fall will be like – storms rolling in on both evenings so it was nice and cool (and wet on Wednesday). Though I was wondering around 2.5 miles why exactly I was doing this to myself. I’ll need to work on that mental fortitude!

Tomorrow? A well deserved rest. Maybe some yoga on Saturday; then Sunday is my first “long” run on the plan. Four miles, here I come! I’ve managed to not to take walk breaks both nights; let’s see if I can make that stick.

Mileage 8
Weeks to Race 14

Changing it Up

Posted: August 23, 2011 in Running
Tags: ,

Training plan called for 3 miles today and 2 tomorrow; but the reality of juggling 4 schedules hit early. Had to flip-flop my runs. Ended up being a good thing since about 1.25 miles in, I was wondering how I could run .75 more; much less 12!

Granted, I was running in the garage and it was hot as all Hell. Can’t wait for the Fall when at-home workout options don’t come with a side of “you may die from heatstroke.”

In the end I hit my normal sub-12 pace (even if I did pump the treadmill to 8 mph for .1 miles). Not super fast, but good enough to knock the cobwebs loose.

Mileage: 2
Weeks to Race: 14

On Scheduling

Posted: August 23, 2011 in Running
Tags: , ,

Just spent a solid 30 minutes detailing my training plan for the next 14 weeks. Feel rather accomplished and now see no need to run today. After all, I thought about running…a lot. It’s practically the same thing!