Monday, September 13, 2010

Distance Increase -- 2.75 More Miles for 55.25 BF Total So Far

As I set out today, I had gravel on my mind.  Gravel because I had read Neil Z's post this morning about how he was going along all fine and dandy in his race when he came to an unanticipated section of gravel.  I know it was kind of predicament for him, and it probably hurt a lot to run on it, but there is a comical aspect to it.  The kind of funny that you realize later, when you look back at it -- that it was all part of gaining experience with barefoot running and racing.  But in the moment -- ouch!!

My running surface is very smooth, but as I've added distance I've veered off into neighborhoods with more regular sidewalks.  Some of those sidewalks can be pretty rough, especially the kind that have the nubby set-in stones. As I gingerly ran across this stony kind of sidewalk I was thinking of that gravel and I realized that these sidewalks were kind of like a soft "intro to gravel."  It's kind of a controlled gravel, set in the cement.  It doesn't move around and it's gotten a bit smooth, but it still gives a kind of introduction to the unevenness and the way gravel digs into different sections of your feet and hurts.  It might be a good to pre-train on stony sidewalks like this for a while before attempting to run on gravel.

While I was in visiting the town where I grew up a few weeks ago, I visited this nature preserve that had been created by the local landfill company as a way to give back to the community.  I had already run that day, but I had thought, "hmmm, let me see what the nature preserve is like.  Maybe I can drive out here and do one of my runs here."  But when I got there, here's what I found:

Nuh -- uh!  It ain't happening.  I wasn't even sure if I would have been able to run on this in my Vibrams even.  The stones were sharp hiking around in my Tevas.

But, that was a few weeks ago.  Back to the present now.

I felt very good bumping it up to 2.75 miles today. Towards the end, I could feel it a little bit in the top of my thighs.  I think I forgot that the rest of my body -- the bigger muscles -- got conditioned for The Barefoot Mile faster than my foot, ankle and calve muscles and were kind of hovering in the background okay, along with the cardiovascular side of things.  All that time I was waiting for my feet to catch up, and once they did, I'm proceeding on.  I almost forgot that the rest of me is going to have to condition for further distances as well.  So, oddly enough, my feet and everything else felt good at this increase, but other body muscles need to gain strength too.  It seems almost like "everybody" is together now, and that the feet are not lagging behind the running in general anymore.  Hard to say for sure, but that's what it felt like.

I definitely felt like I could have kept running, but stuck with my plan.  I will be participating in that 5K race I mentioned this Sunday, and I'm almost sure I'm going to try to run it barefoot.  Mostly because I haven't used my Vibrams all summer and I'm not sure what would happen if  I just went and ran 5K in them.  Maybe I'd get some kind of Vibram blisters or something.  The event description says that the race will be on "totally waterfront paved paths."  That does not sound like asphalt to me.  I should go check it out ahead of time, but I kind of don't have time to get over there this week.  I wonder if I could see the paths from Google Earth or something.

There's a cool web site idea for barefoot runners.  A Google-Earth-type terrain view of all races, so a barefoot runner could figure out his shoe strategy from the comfort of his computer chair!

Now that winter is coming, I should do some training in the Vibrams or another minimalist shoe.  I will need to have shoe options as I go forward with this.  I --- just --- don't --- want --- to --- put --- my--- shoes--- back---on!!!!


Barefoot Neil Z said...

That gravel in your pictures would have felt like running on tissue paper compared to the 1" round and crushed rock gravel i ran on. yikes. I'm not sure if I have looked back at the humor of it yet. I'll let you know tho... hehe. Have fun in the race!

Julie said...

So glad you decided to run that 5k. Hope the road is gentle to your feet!