Friday, July 2, 2010

How Long Will I Be a Beginner?

I ran another barefoot mile today.

On the way out to the main drag, while walking in my bare feet with my little dog, I was saying to myself, "I'm definitely going to be a minimal footwear runner.  I can't keep doing this."

I had a little more fear and worry today.  The other days, as soon as my feet hit the pavement, it was sheer childhood joy.  I think it was the little scrapes that I wrote about the other day.  They were such teeny tiny minor scrapes, but the fact that I had not felt them happen, and that they weren't apparent when I first came back kind of freaked me out a little bit.

I'm the type of person who does not like skin to be punctured or torn or worn away in any way.  It gives me the skeeves.  I often think of how I don't think I ever could have been an R.N.  It really icks me out to watch thosel shows where you can see them performing surgery.

So, I am prissy and do not like to get little cuts and bumps.

There are really tough people I know who get knocked around and have all kinds of scars and don't blink an eye about it.  It's something that's part of life for them.  People who work with their hands, or outdoor sports people -- or even the other tougher fighters in my Kung Fu classes -- all seem to sport their little bruises, bumps, cuts and wounds as if they were some kind of merit badges or something.

But me, I'm nervous and timid about stuff like that.  I will probably develop really great self defense skills because my motivation to not get a black-and-blue mark will be extremely high.

Anyway, so today, spoiling the joy a little bit was a tinge of worry.  I was worried I was going to scuff my feet and scrape them.  This bit of worry was causing some tension.  Yet an important part of barefoot running form is to stay very relaxed.

I spent the run with a task, therefore.  The task was to stay relaxed and mentally calm about my worries.

"If I start to scuff my feet, I can always stop and walk." (what a simple solution)

"If you're so tired that you can't keep proper form up enough not to scuff your feet, then you should stop and walk," I said to myself.  In fact, scuffing my feet can be a sign that I'm losing concentration and/or going beyond what I should be at this point.  "Wow, it really is true what they say -- that your feet can tell you how to train."

The mile was over way too quickly.  For my Wednesday run, the one where I had first noticed the cuts, I had decided to go out in the Vibrams just to be safe.  Since I was in the Vibrams, I decided to run farther than a mile and went a mile and a half instead.

I've got two things being conditioned here -- my foot strength, and the skin strength.  The foot strength got a head start because I started running in the Vibrams for a while before I tried the barefoot running.  But now that I've started bare foot, I have to proceed very gradually because of the skin.

So, today when that mile seemed to fly by so so quickly, and remembering how good the 1.5 miles had felt Wednesday, I wondered if I should do a mile and a half barefoot?  Those little scrapes had healed up pretty well, and just like" ac" -- the commenter on the blog that day -- had said, the skin grows back strong.  So, maybe my feet could do it?

But I decided to stick with the mile.

I feel like I'm going to be doing this barefoot mile for a long time to lay a really good base.

Even though I am new to this barefoot running, it is having many life-changing effects on me.  One thing it is driving home is that lesson that I always want to jump ahead and do more.  Go faster and farther.  Barefoot running is making me understand in a new way how to be happy with where I am at.

As I ponder and ponder over why I got the case of plantar fasciitis last year, one factor looms the largest of all. It is that I had signed up to do the Disney half marathon.  Even though I gave myself ample time for a relative beginner to get there, and on paper my plan looked good, I believe that having this deadline pressured me in subtle ways. I couldn't just stick with the moment and how it made me happy and how it felt good.  I had to build by a certain time.

So, now I would just like to sit with what I am doing now.  I had signed up to run in a 5K on July 13.  I ran in this 5K last year and I think I put my plantar fasciitis over the top with that race.  So, this year, I can see that I have been running my modest barefoot mile 3X a week, and just this week I ran 1.5 miles in my Vibrams fairly easily.  But I am not going to be able to run a 5K by July 13.

So, I will not allow that deadline to pressure me.  I simply will not run it.

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