Monday, September 6, 2010

Today's Focus -- Relaxing the Toes: 2.5 Mile Barefoot Run to make 47.5 Total Barefoot Miles

The Hot Pavement Barefoot Dance
I went out a little late today because I thought it was cooler out.  But it actually got a little warm and heated up the tiles in the sidewalk for me and the ground was hot.  It did not bother me too much while running, but when my little dog Daffodil stopped to do some business, I felt it and had to keep picking my feet up and running in place while cleaning up.  As I did that, I thought that maybe it's good to have a hot surface because it helps with that picking up action.

I realized that it had been a long time since I've brought my flip flops or vibrams along "just in case."  I guess that's not a good idea, because as I headed out, I remembered that there was a long hot stretch on the way back that could be tough on the way home, and I began to worry that I wouldn't have anything to "save" me if it got too unbearable.  I made a mental note to make sure I had some kind of flip flops with me on hot days.

It turned out not to be an issue, however, because once the dog was done, it was movement all the way for the rest of the run.

Relax the Toes!
As I ran along, I could feel my toes scrunching up a little.  That's been happening when I walk barefoot in the house, especially in the left foot.  I think I'm doing it to keep that second metatarsal bonehead protected.  That works against me because  as I try to find a good stepping place, and step lightly, I can't default to scrunching my toes as the solution.  Toes have to be relaxed so I find the better solution.

I've read so much about how relaxation is key.  I think I've got my calves and ankles relaxed pretty well. I think I've got all unneeded contributing parts relaxed pretty well.  But I'm now working on relaxing the actual feet themselves.  It's tricky with the feet themselves, because since they are being stimulated by sensory feedback from the ground, it's hard to tell is something is tense or not, especially my arches.  My arches have felt a bit stiff, and now I felt the toe scrunchies.  It felt better and better as I relaxed my toes. Relaxing the toes seemed to help the rest of the foot relax too.  My foot started to mold itself to the ground better, especially when crossing the streets on the asphalt.  I think it was good.

Passed by a Pedestrian
At one point something troubling happened today. I heard footsteps coming up from behind, and then a person who was walking passed me. Now, I definitely am slow -- how slow I am can be found here --  but I usually am consoled by the fact that I pass most pedestrians and fitness walkers and leave them way behind on the sidewalk. So the fact that this pedestrian passed me hurt my ego a little bit. But then I saw that he was heading over to take in the view and was not out for a fitness walk. Maybe he was booking it over from his parked car for a quick scenic stop. But for the few yards or so I was behind him, I was trying to ascertain why he was faster. My cadence was faster than his for sure, so I figured he must have a longer stride length. He only looked a little taller than I am, but I cannot see my stride length. I have a feeling my stride length is pretty tiny, based on how it feels. I'm afraid to make any bigger a stride length than I am because I don't want to heel strike and I don't know how to have a long stride while barefooting yet.

Lots of Smiling People
There were tons more people walking the boulevard today.  I guess it was because it was a holiday.  Many of the people I passed were smiling (laughing?) at me.  I was wearing my new RKF Sport "Possibility T-shirt"  Maybe it would put a smile on someone's face to see someone running barefoot wearing the word "Possibility."

I ran a bit longer today.  I hadn't planned to increase distance, but it just felt so good and I wanted to keep going.  I ran 2.5 miles without a problem and really felt I could have gone further.  When I first headed out to start running again last spring, it was after six months off to heal a bad bad case of plantar fasciitis.  I started running when that injury was about 95% healed.  I took a chance.  At that time I didn't know if this barefoot theory and anecdotes were accurate and there was a chance that running barefoot was going to aggravate the condition.  I was going against conventional ideas about plantar fasciitis, which encourage a person to avoid going barefoot while healing.

Well, I am happy to say that the plantar fasciitis is more than 100% healed!  I say "more" because not only is there no sign of that old injury lingering at all, but I feel my arch has gained strength.

As I ran along the 2.5 miles and finished up feeling really great, I've been thinking about the Possibility of running that 5K on the 19th that I wrote about in this post.  I think it's a possibility, and even a  possibility of running it barefoot.


Anonymous said...

You CAN do the 5K! You're not in anymore pain, you're running consistently, and at 2.5 miles, you're less than a mile away from a 5K! The race is on the 19th, yes? DO IT! :-)

Avocational Singer said...

Sounds like the master has spoken! Okay, Robin, I'll do it! (Hope it's not all on asphalt -- better check that out ahead of time.)

Anonymous said...