Monday, August 9, 2010

Barefoot in the Park - Part III: Run Around the Lake

In the Prologue to this series, I explained that I'm setting off on a new adventure to explore new running territory, a county park. In Part I -- Setting the Scene, I did just that. I showed you the environment where the new-to-me barefoot running experience would occur.  In Part II -- The Trail Warm-Up, I took you on a walk with me and Daffodil on a county-made trail through the woods as a warm-up, and at the end of that post I was now ready to start running.

Now I am ready to show you some views of the lake, which is .82 miles around (according to and I ran around it 1 1/2 times.  And, like always, I had little moments of interesting small encounters.

The trail around the lake looked like asphalt, but it was much smoother and cooler. It didn't have those stones that asphalt does that kind of bump up your metatarsal heads. A great surface for bare feet, and if you're ever in the area, I highly recommend a run around that lake on it.

Next I saw a bunch of women coming toward me from what I think was a runner's meet-up group. I had seen this group gathering near the tennis courts when I first parked my car.  Well, now they were out and coming around, and from what I could hear, it was a group made up mostly of beginners who were being encouraged by a couple of "coaches," whom I supposed to be the organizers of the run.

As they rounded the bend, I was ready to start running, so I thought, "why not? I'll just start right in with them and run along with them."  Well, the speed I run is very slow, so my "running with them" lasted only a few steps.  At the point where I joined in, a bunch of them had stopped, 1 or 2 of them teen-aged girls.  I heard the coach, who kept running, say: "C'mon girls. Let's keep running.  You just wait until next week. You're going to feel so surprised how easy this is next week. You're going to say like, 'omg, I feel good!'"

The girls started running again and continued round the bend way ahead of me. They stopped and started a few more times, but, like the girls I remember from my days back at high school cross country meets, even with periods of walking they are still going faster than I am.

I thought about how I want to join in with the barefoot runners in Central Park on Wednesday at the Chris McDougall Harlem to Brooklyn Barefoot Run. Yes, what is probably going to happen is that most of the runners will kind of proceed at their faster pace on ahead of me, and I will probably only run a few steps with everyone before I am left running alone in Central Park. (I shall be sure to photograph that moment for you and share it on this blog).

But, you know what?  It's okay.  I am really happy and enjoying myself at my slow pace.  Those girls looked like they were really suffering. I  thought to myself, "well, maybe if you were running at my pace you wouldn't have to stop."  I don't mean this smugly in the least.  I mean it as maybe a strategy for beginners. OTOH, maybe I'm the one who should push myself more.

See that guy in this picture.  He came up from behind me and passed me!  Lol, most of them do.  But I do know that I am actually running.  Do you know how I can tell?  Well, I usually do to pedestrians what that guy and all the other runners do to me.  I am sure that I am the absolutely slowest runner out there.   But then again, I wouldn't know about the people behind me because they wouldn't catch me. OTOH, I have not passed anyone who was actually running yet.  Just pedestrians.

Some wildlife for wildlife-deprived urban dwellers.  I saw some turtles perched on the rocks too, and don't you think I would have LOVED to get some turtle pictures for my adventure story.  But they didn't want to be photographed.  They slipped right off the rock into the lake when they saw my puppy.

The "asphalt" -- or whatever this surface I was running on is -- was very cool, so being in the hot sun was not too much of a problem for the feet.  But Daffodil and I were longing for some shade after running the sunny side of the lake.  Fortunately, a big chunk of shade was just up ahead:

This last photo is a view of the entire lake.  The buildings in the background show how close we really are to civilization.  (Had you fooled with all those trail shots earlier, didn't I?)

I felt really great about this whole day. I enjoyed myself thoroughly.  I will finish up this series in the next post which will be called Part IV: Afterward. I'll talk about how I'm doing with technique and how that second metatarsal is doing today.

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