Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year -- First Barefoot Steps of the New Year

Happy New Year, everyone!  I feel most fortunate to have been able to go for a barefoot run on the first day of the year.

(I got a little ahead of myself with my blog posts.  Before I could post this one, I had to finish up the series "Winter Cross Training in Vibrams, Parts I, II and III."  That resulted in me posting a barrage of posts all at the same time.  If you missed the Vibrams series of posts, you can start reading it by clicking here.)

For the first day of 2011, I got ready with my warm layers, but when I checked the temperature out I was surprised to see that it was 50 degrees!  It had been a few days since I had run.  I was very busy doing two special performances in the middle of the week with one of my choirs.  There was a lot of rehearsing.  But on top of it all, a tooth that had been worked on about a month ago with my very first really big cavity started acting up, and now they are telling me that I may have to get my very first root canal.  I have never really had any significant cavities and this has been my very first toothache and I have not been liking the experience very much.

But I knew today that if I was going to make it in that Disney 5K next Friday -- toothache or no --  I was going to have to do a "long run" (which for me is a 5K distance).  I had cut back in recent weeks and had been running shorter runs to acclimate to the cold.  I figured that those shorter runs were maintaining my 5K distance for the most part that I had built up over the summer, but if I went much longer it was going to be tougher.

 When I realized it was 50 degrees out, I ditched my sweatshirt and hat and gloves and headed out barefoot.  Having decided that in the winter it is a good idea to take a little barefoot walk around to test the sidewalks, I did just that before I set out.  It is true that it was pretty warm, but the melting snow made the sidewalks really wet.  Since it wasn't freezing, I figured the wet would not be a problem as far as how cold my feet were, but would pose the usual problem of running in wet, some of which I first discovered when I wrote here about running in the rain.  The way was mostly clear, with occasional patches of snow in the way which looked easy enough to jump over. 

When I got to a spot like the one to the left here,
it was easy enough to find strategic spots to set
my feet, which you shall see in the next photo.

As you can see, there's always a way with these conditions. This is something I would not have realized if my hesitancy to try it out had kept me indoors. In fact, one begins to almost feel slightly clever  as one starts to discover little solutions out there.

I remember reading in one of my barefoot running books (can't remember which one) that feet getting wet can be okay if you find a dry spot to get them dry as soon as you can.  It's when they get waterlogged that there is more of a problem because then the skin starts slipping around and that's what makes one more prone to blisters.  So, that little bit of reading knowledge came back to me after I got my feet wet going over the snow patch.  I found a dry piece of sidewalk and made sure the water was transferred there as you can see by the photo on the left.

Speaking of solutions, I wasn't sure what to do when I had this snow bank blocking my way to my running path.  I had thought that by now they would have cleared the cross walks.  But there it was, the same snowbank I had walked through with my Vibrams earlier this week.

I thought about it and said to myself, "Well, I have walked on snow before, and that was when it was much colder.  I can do this with my bare feet.  There's bound to be dry spots on the path beyond and this will only take a second.  So, I took the plunge and just walked in the deep footsteps others had provided for my bare feet to follow:

Sure enough, it was easy, thanks to the fact that I had made myself walk in snow a couple of times.  As I've been learning, all this stuff doesn't have to be "all or nothing."  A little bit of walking on snow can be fun enough, and it's safer than deciding to go run 8 miles in a blizzard.  It gives one's feet a little taste of the experience without risking injury. It just stings a little.  But then again, doesn't it sting when you grab a handful of snow with your bare hands to make a snowball?

And it was worth the trip over the snow bank, because the path before me had plenty of dry stretches.  It was going to be good.

I ran about 3.15 miles.  That ought to do it for a long run.  I can have two more runs this week and then I'll be in good shape to run at Disney next Friday.  According to the Weather Channel, the low will be about 42 degrees that day and the high 69.  It says there will be a few showers, but that can be dealt with.

Notes to self:  Look for the dry spots and you will be just fine.


Angie Bee said...

ooooo! Cold!! Great photos :)

Ewa said...

Nothing seems to stop you. Very inspirational.

Avocational Singer said...

@Ewa -- That's a very nice thing to say and I thank you for it. But I must say that, in the face of the many blogs I read about much bolder and more daring runners (including yours), that my own little journey seems very small and insignificant.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your first first barefoot run of the new year--on the first day of the year!

This week I've run in huaraches and in zemgear "Ninja shoes" (basically socks with a rubber sole). Hoping to run bare some time soon.

You are an inspiration!