Friday, February 4, 2011

Season II -- Barefoot Mile Number 1 - First Time on An Indoor Track!

Well, bless my little barefoot heart, didn't I just have the answer to my barefoot winter prayers tonight!

An indoor track.


Just a couple of blocks away.

How cool is that?!?

You haven't heard much from me this January.  As soon as I got back from the Buzz and Woody's Best Friends 5K down at Walt Disney World, two things happened to affect my running.  First of all I got invited to black sash training at my Kung Fu school and have to be working out Kung Fu more frequently, and also going once a week to this very brutal black sash cycle training class.  That threw off the balance of my workouts.

In addition, before going down to the Disney 5K I had been motivated to train in the cold because I wanted to run that race barefoot.  But once I got back, I couldn't face the cold again.  I decided that January was a good month to step back, think about things, get used to the stepped-up Kung Fu training and just decide what I was going to do with this barefoot thing in the middle of winter.

I want to tell you something.  I have a treadmill.  In the basement. A really nice one that we got about 8 years ago.  A True treadmill.

But I just won't go near the thing.  Just won't.  Before we got it, I thought it would be a really amazing thing to own, but I found that I hated it.  When I heard that people called it "the Dreadmill" -- a term I heard for the first time in the past couple of months -- I nodded my head in complete agreement.

So, I have been in a state of paralysis about my barefoot running during this month of January.  I simple won't use the treadmill, even though many times I tried to talk myself into it.  And yet I just couldn't bring myself to run outside with shoes either!

I toyed with just going out in the very snowy streets and just running barefoot.

Here's some pictures of me doing that:

In fact, I took a movie just for you all of me walking a block and back.

What you see by this is a girl who very much wants to keep running barefoot, but is dismayed by the weather.  Like the last person who won't go home from the party -- doesn't want it to be over yet.

So, rather than give in and go out there in my shoes, I decided to take a little break and see if the weather got any better and I could just continue barefoot. But the weather didn't get better, and we just kept getting dumped on and dumped on with snow.

You've seen all the photos I've posted over the past Summer and Fall of the view I have of the City Skyline while running and how it's changed with the seasons?  Well, one day, during a snow storm the view completely disappeared.

And my running path got buried:

And I started wearing my boots all the time:

So this barefoot girl was very bummed out.  Very very bummed out and was just waiting to see what was going to happen.  Would she run in her Vibrams again?  Would she try the treadmill?  Would she try to go out in all that snow barefoot?  Would she wait until spring?

Then, a few days ago, I got this happy e-mail from my barefoot running buddy (Remember I met the barefoot running buddy and I wrote about it and she ran with me a few weeks and even came to the First Annual NYC Barefoot Run with me?  Well, she had decided to run on the outdoor track in our town because the streets and sidewalks were a bit rough for her.  So we had temporarily parted ways as far as our barefoot running was concerned.)

Well, this is what the e-mail from my barefoot running buddy said.  It was an e-mail from our town's recreation department and it said:
Alternatives to Cabin Fever
Our town's recreation reminds you that it offers
adult residents 18 and over
"alternatives to cabin fever"
during these long winter months

Had enough of the snow?

Tired of winter?
Not getting enough exercise?
We have indoor activities to keep you fit and healthy

At the local school gym, take a brisk walk or a light run
around the newly refurbished 2-lane indoor track!
And my barefoot running buddy had written:
"let's get together and do a barefoot run sometime."
So that's what we did tonight.

We were the only ones who showed up to run, and my barefoot running buddy had on her winter boots, and I had on my Vivo Barefoot Kalis and when we asked about the track (you had to go upstairs because it was above the gym, as you can see in my first picture at the top of this blog) the lady looked at our boots/shoes and said, "you've got sneakers, right?"  My friend answered really quickly, without batting an eye, "yeah, yeah, yeah."  I figured the lady meant that we couldn't run on the track in our boots, and I didn't think it was necessary to get into the whole barefoot thing, right?

The track was small.  We probably had to run around it 10 times to make a barefoot mile.  But it had a really cool kind of rubber, not too cushion-y, but soft enough to be a little bit of a treat surface.  It was nubby and textured enough to make sure the skin got enough to keep it conditioned, but in no way felt uncomfortable or painful.  It was really great.  I had a really great time and I'm so glad we went.

One of the recreation ladies did come up and take a glance at us running round and round on the track.  She did notice us barefoot but just went downstairs.  Later, when we were leaving, she said something like, "that track is not very soft," which I guess was referring to the fact that we had been barefoot.  Inside, I couldn't help but smile.  "Lady," I thought, "you have no idea how heavenly that surface is after running on the sidewalk all summer."  But I did not voice that thought aloud.

The only bad thing about it -- and it is a really bad thing -- is that I am completely busy with choir and Kung Fu every time the track is available.  There is only one night a week that I can avail myself of it.  But that's okay.  I feel so happy I could burst, to just have had this little answer to getting me out of my barefoot paralysis.

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