Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tarzan Returns

Halloween 5k trail run
Tarzan was spotted again.  This time he was seen running through the woods at the Ganaraska Forest this past October 31 for the Runner’s Life Halloween 5k trail run.  It was only a few degrees Celsius above zero but the sun was out and the air was still.  I started out way too fast this time because I was a little chilly.  It didn’t take long to warm up though and by then I was already starting to feel tired.  By 2k I had slowed quite a bit and just wanted to find a pace I could maintain with out loosing a lung on the many little hills.  I stuck with it and finished in a time of 24:18. When I compare this to my time last year it doesn’t look so good but last year I had done a lot more training in preparation for the half marathon and it was before the injury.  On the up side, I was still able to podium as a second place finisher in my new age category.

10k James run on crushed gravel trail
On November 7, I headed up to Trent University for the James Fund Walk/Run.  I ran the 10k and it was an out and back course on the mostly crushed gravel trail heading up to Lakefield.  It was another single digit temperature morning without wind.  I had never run a 10k race on gravel before and I don’t think I have even walked 10k on gravel all at once before.  The first 2k were easy with no real discomfort.  After the next two, I started to notice more discomfort and was looking forward to turning around and heading back.  By the time I was past 5k and was heading back, I was looking for places beside the trail that I could run on.   There were only a few short stretches that had grass or dirt where I could run and some of the places were covered with fallen leaves.  The leaves felt good but I was nervous of not being able to see what was under them and opted to stay on the gravel trail where I knew what I was landing on.  At about 7k I reached a point where I didn’t feel as uncomfortable and my souls were more tingly than tender.  I finished strong at about 50:30 which I thought was pretty good for a gravel 10k.  My feet were feeling quite warm and a little sensitive, so I walked on the cold grass for a few minutes until they felt better.  The next day I noticed a tender spot on my left foot that I think would have become a blister if I had continued running on the gravel for much longer.  Over the next few days my foot was still a little tender but I could feel the skin thickening and I was able to run 10k on the road the following Thursday night.

Running with Reid Coolsaet
When Dave posted that Reid Coolsaet was going to be at Runner's Life and was going to join us for a workout, I was interested but didn’t know who Reid was.  When I went to the store that Tuesday night and found out that he had finished the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in a time of 2:11:23, the fastest time ever by a Canadian on Canadian soil, I was impressed and curious as to how he accomplished it like everyone else there.  It wasn’t until he ran with us for our workout that I got to talk with him.  He was not really training that day but ran gently (for him) around the subdivision with us.  I was impressed with how he was so easy to talk to and had no over inflated ego.  He ran beside me for awhile and we started talking.  He had noticed I was running barefoot and told me he though that was a good thing.  He said that he often runs barefoot in the grass as part of his workouts.  It was nice to get supportive comments from someone of his calibre.

I finished Michael Sandler’s book Barefoot Running.  It is a really good book for beginners and a great reference for more experienced barefoot runners.

I also finished Daniel Howell’s book The Barefoot Book: 50 Great Reasons to Kick Off Your Shoes.  Everyone who has feet should read this book.

The barefoot movement is really starting to gain momentum now.  It is not surprising that a lot of shoe companies are scrambling to find a way to profit from this by coming out with minimalist shoes for runners who want to be more barefoot like or  transition to barefoot running.   However, if you want to go barefoot all you have to do is not put anything on your feet and this is how you should start if you want to run barefoot.  You have to walk before you can run.  The more time you can spend with your feet free from footwear, the more adapted they will be to the environment.  So the best way to start barefoot running is to start living barefoot.  I find myself a bit unique among barefoot runners in that they are mostly trying to “transition” to run barefoot.  Whereas, I try to do everything barefoot and only look for a foot covering when I really need one.  I would prefer to allow my body to adapt to conditions than jumping straight to an aid.  For example, I did a lot more walking than running this year due to my injury, but I found that my feet are stronger now when I run.  I find myself now looking for opportunities to walk barefoot on the most challenging surfaces I can find.  Surfaces like gravel are difficult to run on but when you walk you can go at a more controlled pace and move very gently to avoid injury.  When I walk over difficult terrain I try to go until my feet start to hurt and then I will avoid that terrain for a couple of days and then go a little farther on it the next time.  I have even got a couple of small storage bins that I put gravel in so I can jog on-the-spot at home and toughen my feet all winter.  Todd Ragsdale has a video showing this here

This weekend I will be running the Whitby 10 Miler, but the really exciting part of it is that I will be running it with a couple of other barefoot runners I have recently met online but have yet to run with.  There was even some talk about having local media do a story on us running the race barefoot.  I like the idea of informing the rest of society about the benefits of barefoot running and having them realize it is not a crazy idea, but I tend to shy away from attention.  However, I would like to see a day when barefoot runners are just runners and running shoes are cause for a double-take.
I am now hoping for an injury free winter running season as I try to find ways to meet the challenges that come in winter and my goal of running the Peterborough Half Marathon barefoot in February.

No comments:

Post a Comment