Posts Tagged ‘Barefoot’

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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After a bit of advice, I thought I’d change things up this time around and stick to the grass more (though not always – there are times where the sidewalk just looks safer). I knew I was in for more of a challenge – this being the second time out and my calves were still recovering from run #1, and I had a karate Fit class last night that killed my glutes, and…um…two pieces of sausage pizza kind of fell into my mouth before my run?

At any rate, I hit the road (grass, whatever) dragging. I did manage to improve slightly on my pace (13.16…woo); but the less regular surface proved to be a lot more work to run on than I was expecting. Easier on my feet, yes, but grass hides a lot of hazards. The benefit of going barefoot was that I could quickly adjust (though the twigs in my neighborhood apparently have it out for my instep!). I can see where doing this on soft surfaces is an improvement, but I still need that layer of protection if I’m going to make barefoot(ish) a regular part of my training. Luckily I tracked down a pair of Vibram Bikilas and they’ll be in the mail to me tomorrow! Woo!

I can tell that my stride needs work as well. I’m still wanting to hit hard with my heel and tonight, when I didn’t have the adrenaline of doing it for the first time, and my muscles were fatigued, I kept on falling back on that. I’ve read some interesting articles about kind of “falling forward” into your stride when you’re going barefoot and I think that, after I take a few days off, I’ll give that a serious go.

I did have one really solid moment towards the end of the run where the Season 2 theme for Buffy the Vampire Slayer kicked in and I decided “When Buffy is on, no matter how tired I am, I run.” That gave me the kick I needed and got me moving when I was fairly convinced that I was done for the night. Now I just need to figure out how to string those moments where everything clicks into a cohesive battle plan!

So a successful run, yes; but it’s definitely going to take some work to keep me going strong! Thanks for the support guys (and the song suggestions – they helped tonight, a lot!).

Apparently, I chose the hottest running shoe on the planet to start running with, as there are no Size 40 Bikilas in stock within 100 miles of Sarasota. (Assuming that’s my size, which I can’t confirm, because no one has them in stock, knows when they’ll be getting them, and are only taking first born for access to the call list)

So, Plan B. If I’m serious about this, the shoe shouldn’t matter. Heck, the shoe is actually the antithesis of the entire barefoot running trend. If I’m going to break through the plateau I’m on (Can you break through plateaus? Seems that you’d just drive off them), then I should stop reading about it, grab my iPhone, queue up Runkeeper, and just run.

Do or do not, right? I’ll be back in in a bit.