Wednesday, July 28, 2010

First Dog Poop --- Ewww!

Well, it happened today. One of the reasons I bought Vibrams first instead of trying barefoot running was my concern about stepping in unclean things. So far I have artfully dodged and avoided these "things" on the sidewalk as I've run the past 19 barefoot miles of my life. I know that I probably have been stepping in all kinds of things like doggie wee wee and other kinds of residue that is not apparent to the eye, but -- like the swimming pool where all the kiddies are swimming in the summer -- you can manage by pretending that everything is clean.

But there was no pretending about the sticky feeling squishing in the hollow space between my big toe and the heads of the first and second metatarsals.

This, like the stubbed toe of two days ago, was not done while running however. Again, while I'm barefoot running, my concentration and focus level is pretty high.  I think I might even be safer in my bare feet while running because of that.

No, this happened while I was cleaning up after my pooch, Daffodil, who runs with me.  She had left a little extra piece without my having seen it, a few inches away from the main pile.  When I thought I was done, I stepped away and -- "squish!"

This is just -- well -- this is just not me. I am way more genteel than this. I feel like I'm leaving ladyhood behind with each barefoot step I take. I kept thinking of the lyrics from a song in the musical Guys and Dolls:  "A lady doesn't leave her partner .... it isn't nice" and they were running through my head like, "A lady doesn't step in dogpoop .... it isn't nice!"

I had a paper towel with me, thankfully, but had failed to put in the little bottle of hand sanitizer that I had purchased for my little running waist pack. Gotta' remember to bring that next time.

But once I got into the run, the little mishap was forgot as I concentrated on landing my feet properly.

I have been having trouble with my left foot -- mentioned here before -- with a sore or bruised feeling on the fifth metatarsal head, which I thought was being caused by leaning too far over on my foot to avoid hitting a sore spot on around the third metatarsal head. I also mentioned that I have a bruised spot on my heel, which may have occurred for the same reason as the other. So, I've been trying to figure out how to handle these symptoms.

I have several choices. I can just stop running altogether and heal up those spots and start all over again. I would rather not do that, of course, because I spent 6 months healing up the plantar fasciitis and have been so happy to be out there again. However, doing this properly is more important than any feelings of happiness I may have about running again.

I can decrease the distance I'm running and go back to a mile -- or even less, a half mile -- and just stick with that for a few more weeks (months?) But I am feeling so good out there I hate to do that. When I stop now I want to go further and have been holding myself back.

I can see if I can improve my form, which I did do today. Trying to fix it on the go. I noticed that as long as I'm running an a smooth surface, there is very little problem or pain. It's when I hit those kind of sidewalks that have the bumpy stones in them, or go out on the asphalt where it's not smooth and a little more "rocky," or when I run on those bumpy tiles I've shown you. The uneven stones hit those sore spots and dig in to them.

I feel my excess weight is aggravating the situation as well, and if I could just watch my nutrition better and drop a few pounds, that would help.

I noticed that when I land like I'm running in place, that I land pain free without aggravating any of the spots.  It's hard to describe, but the sense of pushing forward on that third metatarsal head is not good, but the feeling of lightly landing on the midfoot area slightly back from that metatarsal and the feeling of lifting the foot up, like you do when you run in place, feels much more right.

However, I forget to do this.

So part of my task today was to keep reminding myself : "Run in place."

And what do you think happened? I came upon a man, standing on the boulevard, just running in place. He was in an immaculate white sweatshirt, and he was just standing there running in place.  I passed him, and took a look at what his feet were doing. Yup, that's kind of the way I want to pick my feet up and put them down, I thought.

I ran a few blocks past the running-in-place man and then turned around.  I came upon him again and made another note of what his feet were doing.

I was almost done, but I thought it was really weird that it would be in that moment I would see the "message" of the running-in-place man.  Almost a reinforcement of what I had been thinking and trying to do.


ac said...

congrats on your first dog poo!
I haven't had mine yet, but I will. I run with 3 dogs

barefootjosh said...

Try to focus on bending your knees more and relaxing your ankles. If you're having form troubles over rougher terrain, it's because you're (understandably) scared and get tense.

The heel pain is almost definitely a result of your knee(s) not being bent enough.

And posture. You have an advantage, being a singer. You know what "good" posture is. It's the same with running. If you're leaning forward too much, you'll land harder to catch yourself.

Re dog poo, while gross, it's pretty anti-climatic, isn't it? But hey, a milestone is a milestone. Congrats!

Avocational Singer said...

Thanks, BFJ. I'm going to check on the bent knees during the next run, but thinking about posture, I know I've had this idea that I have to lean forward that I got from reading about chi running. So, it makes sense that I might be leaning forward too much. I'll check on that too.