Monday, May 30, 2011

Hot Sidewalks

Ouch, ouch, ouch-ouch, ouch, ouch ouch!!

I made a mistake today.  I waited too long to get out there for my planned barefoot run and the shadow from the wall along my boulevard was not there and the tiles were hot -- very hot!

Last year I very methodically and carefully built my mileage up bit by bit.  I started running only about 100 yards, then a 1/4 mile, until I could run a barefoot mile.

While I was gradually increasing my barefoot distance, gradually toughening the soles of my feet, gradually strengthening the unused muscles and tendons and ligaments and bones, I was also gradually acclimating the soles of my feet to the heat of the sidewalk.  I eventually got to the point where it didn't bother me to run on a hot sidewalk, but even so, I planned my runs so that I didn't have the hottest sidewalks and so there would be patches of shade along the way for relief.  I also would carry an emergency pair of Vibrams or flip-flops just in case I got stuck out there or something.

But this year I've been regularly running about 2 miles out there.  There hasn't been a need to build gradually from scratch like I had to last year. Feet have felt great in every other way so I wasn't really thinking there would have to be any kind of re-conditioning for the heat.

But I was wrong.  We had a kind of cold rainy spring and we just plunged straight into hot summer days this past week.

I sort of thought because I had kept my feet somewhat conditioned for the cold that they would be tough enough for the heat too.

Lesson for today:  Cold conditioning is a separate state than heat conditioning.

I got out there and was trying to walk my 1/4 mile to my starting place and I could feel the burn on the bottom of my feet.  I considered just going ahead with it anyway.  I really didn't want to go back.  I wanted to get the run done.

I looked across the street to see if it was shadier there.  Nope.

I could have just ignored common sense and gone ahead and tried running.  But deep down inside I knew that it was not a good idea to go ahead and run.  Why did I know?  Because my feet were telling me.  They were sending really strong signals that I'd be in trouble if I went ahead and did it.  I actually experienced myself block out the "voice" of my feet as I was considering the options, kind of like a mom might block out her kids' voice when she's thinking something over and not realize the kid has a good point.  But suddenly the principle of listening to my body came back to me and what my feet were saying came into clearer focus.  No, don't do it.

So, I made a decision to turn around and come back.  I will go out later when there is some shade.


Claire said...

Good for you! I usually tell my inner voice to shut up..and I pay for it later.

Anonymous said...

Smart move! Always listen to your body.

Avocational Singer said...

Claire and Ken, you are both right! Today's run was great and I know it was good that I didn't foolishly burn my feet!