Sunday, May 15, 2016

Return from break

My poor neglected blog, how are you, it's good to see that you are still around.
Wow what a long break.
So, what happened to cause the break and why is it time to get back into maintaining the diary.

Well back in August of last year I had squeezed the discs in my lower back once more and this lead to a bout of sciatica that has lasted for 6 months.
Even now it is not fully right but it is much better than last year.
From August through to the end of last year I was probably only running around 20 to 25km per week, a 50% reduction on a year or so earlier.

I think I must face the fact that lifting heavy weights or doing deadlifts is not going to do my back any favours and I have to make a choice about which exercise I enjoy doing the most.
Running was my first love because of the sense of freedom it gives, to be able to move long distances under your own power is a bigger buzz than doing bench presses in a noisy gym.

So, now, I still have my gym membership but I only do core work and light upper body work but I don't mind doing chins and hangs from a bar as that stretches my back out.

The sciatica created a burning feeling around the lower calf/back of the ankle that I at first misdiagnosed as a calf injury. I wasted precious time by rubbing gels on my calf and using a roller and ultrasound to try to fix something that wasn't actually broken.

Once I knew what the real issue was I started to do a series of exercises that would begin the slow path to fixing it. It is frustratingly slow but it is getting better. I still have a slight amount of weakness around the right ankle but the burning sensation has gone.

The weekly kilometres have gone to around 30km.
The only races I did this year was the Christmas Fanatics Fun Run on Christmas day morning. Of the three distances 8km, 13km and 21km I did the shorter one. The reason I chose the shorter on was because it was a hot and humid morning with a hot northerly wind blowing. Even at 6am in the morning with the sun just coming up the humidity sapped my energy.
At the split point where you can divide off to do the 13km or head to the finish, I threw in the towel and headed for the finish line. I didn't record any times or bother writing down any position placements.
Now we are a few weeks off the Winter season and I'm trying to adjust to the colder weather with limited daylight after I finish work.
I shall try to totalise the distance I have covered during the break from postings over the last 2/3 year.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Almost End of Winter

Distance 143.5km [total: minimalist 400.3km: Barefoot 7595.4km] Week22 (13th July - 17th Aug)

Saturday 18th July 13km.
As it was a cold morning with temperatures below 10C I decided to run in my Vibrams today.
It makes a real difference to my running speed as I don't have to worry about the small bits of broken shell and small stones on the beach. It also stops the cold numbing my feet like it would if my soles were in contact with the sand.

Sunday 19th July 8.2km West Lakes loop in mild sunny conditions. A cold clear night makes the early morning run cold but if I can wait until after my gym session to run then it is a little warmer.

Monday 20th July 10km. This was the only run I managed this week, every other evening was wet and cold. 

Saturday 25th July. 5km. Legs very stiff today from lunges and squats at the gym on Thursday.  A cold windy day with a very weak sun trying to break through the clouds. I set off along the beach running into the wind, my feet felt frozen after just a couple of kilometres. The sand was damp and cold and i just couldn't warm up so I decided to pull the pin on the run. I headed off the beach and onto the road to make my way back out of the wind. I ran past the millionaires row of houses by the beach, some of them big enough to be hotels. I don't know what kind of jobs these people have but they must be earning extraordinary amounts of money. 

Sunday 26th July. My 8.2km loop around the lake. The wind has changed direction  today moving from a northerly to a south wind. So the first half of the run I had the wind at my back and towards the end blowing straight at me. The hardy model sailing boat enthusiasts were in their usual position at the bottom of the lake testing their skills in the stiff breeze.

Monday, 27th July. 10km. A decent day that started out cold but warmed up to around 14C from the sun. I got out of work by 4pm and got to the beach by 4.45pm. It would be my standard 10km tonight, Grange to West Beach and back to see how far I could get before sunset. The actual sundown time is around 5.30pm so I managed to get close to Henley Square on the return journey before it dipped below the horizon. In another few weeks I should be able to get around with the sun still up.

Friday, 31st July. A day off work so I could sort out some financial issues and also a chance to get a run in before the rain heads in tomorrow. It was a cool sunny day with a northerly breeze as I set off from Grange. I ran south along the beach path and Esplanade towards the caravan park and then onto the boat launch ramp another kilometre further on. A bit of calf/ankle tightness on the right leg today, probably lack of stretching recently, I should do it very day but sometimes forget. I did hear someone running up behind me at one stage so I increased my pace and they fell off. On the way back I was heading into the wind and it felt cold. The beach sand was also cold and as it molds to the shape of your foot when you land it chills the feet much quicker than running on the concrete. After 5km my feet were pretty numb underneath. I just kept my head down and concentrated on keeping up a good form and pace. I covered around 12km today 

Sunday 2nd Aug. The rain has stopped and there is some sunshine. The cool westerly is blowing but as we are running around the lake, 3/4 of the war is sheltered. I'm running today with David and Michael. We missed out on the July run as I was away on holiday, running in warmer climes. The sun had warmed the ground a very slight amount so my feet were not as numb as the Friday run. We ran 8.2km then headed off to the Dulwich Bakery for a coffee.

Monday 3rd Aug. 10km run from Grange to West Beach and back. No more runs through the week due to cold and wet weather.

Saturday 8th Aug 16km. A long run that started as my usual beach run to Semaphore that got changed as the north wind was cold and strong so coming off the beach was the best option. I left the beach around a kilometre past Escourt House then ran towards Delfin Island via the pedestrian footbridge. It was busy along Bartley Terrace as it is the hub of Saturdays sports, Soccer, Football and bowls. It was good to get over the footbridge and into the calm of the island. A lap of the island then back along the lake in the same direction as my Sunday run. The car was parked at Henley so I had to add another couple of km on to get back.

Sunday 9th Aug. I took it nice and easy today after my long run yesterday, the legs felt ok no stiffness. The ground was still cold despite the sun shining. the wind was blowing from the south and was pretty chilly. Lake loop 8.2km.

Monday 10th Aug. A cool south west breeze was blowing on my Monday 9.5km. The sky had plenty of blue sky but in the far west rain could be seen falling over the the Yorke Peninsular. The ground soon loses the small amount of heat it picks up from the sun during the day. I have been trying to beat the sunset on most of the evening runs, this time though the clouds obscured the sunset. With around 3km to run I could see the clouds moving in but I thought I could make it back without getting wet. I was wrong, with only 400m to go the rain poured down, bouncing off the pavement. There was little point in running to the end of the course at the jetty as I was soaked, I just wanted to get into the shelter of the car. The rain continued for another hour before easing off.
Saturday 15th Aug. The weather was wet during the week so not much chance to get a mid week run in so the weekend would have to be the time. But I was pushed for time today as I had a late morning appointment so I could only fit in a short 7km run today. Out along the beach to the river then back up onto the Esplanade to run back along the concrete.
Sunday 16th Aug. A could start to the day and also wet ground made me opt to run in the Vibram Five Fingers for a change. No worry about numb feet and small stones, I could also run faster than barefoot. My lungs had to catch up with my legs today on the 8.2km run. I did some Fartlek sprints followed by a short recovery walk then a moderate jog

Monday 17th Aug. A  very nice evening, I could feel a bit of spring in the air today and my feet retained some feeling over the entire run. I had taken a pain killer earlier in the day for a bit of back ache and I think it was acting as a bit of a performance enhancing drug. I felt very relaxed as I was running and I was going at a great pace without feeling anything. I covered 10km. Even came across another barefoot runner who I have seen a few times before. As I finished my run I stopped to have a chat with him for a few minutes. His name was Mike. I did ask if he was interested in going for a monthly run with our small group but I think he decides on a spontaneous basis if he is going to run or not.  10km


Sunday, July 12, 2015

English Holiday

Distance 50km+25.2km [total: minimalist 392.1km: Barefoot 7460.1km] Week22 (1st June - 12th July)

The month of June was spent in England visiting family and friends and getting a bit of running in as well. 
As Australia was heading into winter, England was heading into Summer, or that is how they describe it at least.
The weather did improve during the duration of my stay but the days of warmth were infrequent. That is not to say it rained all the time, I only experience around 5 days of rain but it was damp enough to ensure that I would not be running barefoot over here.
I had brought along my Vibram Five Fingers and they are getting the fullest amount of use since my last visit almost exactly 2 years earlier.
My first run took me down to the River Tame, following it along to until it hits Stockport Road where I have a little rest then turn back. The VFF's remove the need to keep a look out for stones or other small obstacles I might step on and they also give a good grip in the muddy conditions.
Other runs were done with the company of old mate Graham Hill. He knows all the ways of avoiding running along main roads and staying on quiet lanes or trails. The terrain is quite different from Adelaide in that it is much more undulating and there are plenty of hills to climb.
Now that I'm not a heel striker anymore I can tackle the steep Werneth Low Road in one go, it still hurts the legs but because I'm using gravity in my favour rather than working against it, I have the energy to climb the hill.
The route is show below, the distance is 10km.

 I ran this route about three times during my stay. The views from the top make it well worth the slight pain in the legs. The plains of Manchester over one side and the Pennine hills on the other.
A view of Werneth Low is in the photo below.

Werneth Low, looking back to the War Memorial and Manchester beyond
As you can see a great running spot. The trail is a bit stony so can be a little hard going on the thin soled vibrams.

A Bit Sweaty After Getting Down From the Hill Run

I arrived back in a wintery Australia on the 2nd of July and what a winter it is proving to be.
I have had just 3 runs since getting back. The first was on Sunday (5th July) after a gym session that included some deadlifts that gave my legs a whole lot of pain for the next 5 days. The run straight after the gym session was fine and I covered my 8.2km lake run.
Wednesday was the best day of the week from a weather point of view, a mild sunny day and I raced out of work to get down to the beach to run a 10km. It was dark by the time I finished at 5:45pm. I felt really fast and strong and put this down to the holiday and the relaxed running I was doing over there.
I was a little over ambitions with my pronunciations about my new found barefoot speed. Two days later and I'm hobbling around with calves that feel like they have been pummeled with a hammer. Running barefoot need much more calf strength than running in shoes and I overdid it in only my second run since getting back.
The weekend weather say a cold southerly weather system passing over the state, the temperatures plummeted to around 7C. I talked myself into doing a short 7km run along the beach and road. I kept it short as it was cold, wet and windy. My feet were a bit numb underneath by the end but still a good run.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Autumn to Winter

Distance 55.4km [total: minimalist 342.1km: Barefoot 7434.9km] Week22 (18th Apr - 31th May)

Saturday 23rd. 13km. The week was mainly a running free week due to cold wet weather. I did two gym sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. Today was the first run of the week. It was cold, it had been a cold night of 5C outside so I knew the ground would make the feet numb so today I decided to run in the Vibrams for a change. It is rare that I wear them as I prefer barefoot. They seem to give a bit more traction on the beach and I also don't have to watch for all the shells and stones to the same extent. This meant a faster than normal run, they kept my feet a bit warmer but they also rubbed a bit as well, nothing that left any mark but I was aware of a hot spot
Sunday 24th 8.2km. Why so I seem so late today! I did a gym session first that consisted of some lunges, shoulders, stomach and back, followed by a good half hour of stretching and flexibility. By the time I got back in the car to drive to the lake to run it was 11am. The concrete was cold, the pale sun had little energy to impart into the surface. I'm a bit paranoid when I do the lake run, at the places where the anglers frequent I pay close attention to the ground to watch for left behind fishing gear. A chilly southerly and some rain towards the end of the run cooled me down.

Tuesday 26th. 10km. A warm almost spring like day, at lunchtime I walked to the the gardens on South Terrace and lay down on the grass in the full sun just absorbing it's energy, closed my eyes and dozed off for 15 minutes before having to wake and go back to the office and the concentration. As soon as the clock hit 4pm I was off out of the door and heading home to get changed and then down to the beach. The sea was calm, hardly any waves, the sun poised off the western horizon just about to drop below some clouds. I ran along the shoreline then came up at the river estuary to run the rest of the way along the beach cycle/walkway. The sun had set by the time I got to the halfway point and darkness was slowly creeping in. As I ran past the redevelopments at Henley it was dark and then I run by feel, I can't see stones or other things I might step on so I have to use my reactions to protect my feet. Two other runners passed me today, I couldn't catch them but as I was on a low calorie day I didn't want to be doing any lactic acid inducing faster running. I did manage to keep a steady distance between myself and my last competition.
The rest of the week was cold and wet. I had planned a thursday run but just as I changed into my running gear the rain poured down and it was pointless to go out and begin a run.

Saturday 30th May: Great run today, 16km on a low calorie day. I really do feel different from when I would feel weak and wobbly without enough carbohydrates to burn. Now my body knows how to burn fat I can just run and run. I ran from Grange to Semaphore then back to Henley Beach and then to Grange. There was a northerly breeze that was quite chilly and so I was glad to get on the run back so I had it behind me. It felt like I was flying along and there was no fatigue as I approached the jetty at Grange so I decided to run on to Henley, a further 2km along the beach. There I got off and ran back along the road and into that chill wind once more. That was 16km on no food, something I wouldn't have thought I could have done only a year ago.

Sunday 31st May. My usual 8.2km lake loop. It had been raining overnight and the ground was still wet in patches. The sun poked it's way out from around the clouds occasionally and brought some welcome warmth but the feet stayed on the cool side. I passed a few other runners along the way and said good morning to all. I started off slow but got up to a good pace after a couple of kilometres. After the run it was off to they gym for a quick session which included some deadlifts, bench, triceps and abs.
The next few runs will be over the other side of the world in England, I have my Vibrams packed.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cold nights return

Distance 26.7km [total: minimalist 329.1km: Barefoot 7392.5km] Week20 (11th Apr - 17th May)

The week started out windy and wet, that is what I was running in on Monday evening. Darkness came quickly. The rain was not torrential but the sort that is carried a long distance from the clouds it falls from so when you look above you it seems clear but way off to one side it is black.
The rain came down it small spits on the outbound run, on the way back it gave me a bit of a soaking on the stretch from the river to Henley Square then it stopped once more.
The run was good, I felt strong and fast. I was trying to out run the weather but that was a bit of a failure. Distance covered 10km
The rest of the week I didn't run due to rain at times I was going to head out. 
Saturday was a tiring day, it was also my low calorie day so considering that I crammed in quite a bit of activity. It started off by a trip down to my small block of land to check the weed situation. I had sprayed weedkiller around but it seems to have had little effect on the metre high weeds.
I spend an hour pulling deeply rooted weeds from the ground, this made my back ache. I got it done eventually.
After than I went for a run on a course that was local to where I would be living in the future. The measured distance worked out to be 8.5km. The tide was at it's low point so I ran from the Seacliff sailing club along the beach passing under Brighton jetty then on to Somerton Surf club before coming off the beach and onto the road. I then ran a detour around the outside of the large facility set up for the mentally disabled before turning back towards the beach and running along the Esplanade through busy Brighton with all its cafes and coffee shops, then on towards Seacliff once more.
Sunday saw me oversleeping and getting out of bed at one of the latest times all year at just before 10am. It had been a cold night of just 5C outside. I did actually wake at 7.30am, had some early breakfast then promptly fell asleep again. I thought it was before 9am but it was much later.
It was a bright sunny day outside but the ground was still cold when I ran. My feel felt numb and a bit sore running on the cold concrete. I looked around all the time to run on the darker surfaces with the hope that they had absorbed some energy and would warm my feet up a little. 
I ran the loop of the lake in the bright sun which felt nice on the skin but it was too weak to warm the ground. Distance 8.2km


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Windy week

Distance 32.2km [total: minimalist 329.1km: Barefoot 7365.8km] Week19 (4th Apr - 10th May)

The winter weather is certainly with us now from the point of view of rain and wind but it has not yet got to the very cold that can be expected after June.
On the runs I have been on recently my feel have been cold but not numbly so.
Monday (4th) a short easy 4km run with a friend of mine from the river estuary to the holiday park. Cool, light wind. The coast path is mostly smooth concrete so easy to run on. There was some broken glass a couple of weeks ago that I keep an eye open for in case there are still fragments that have not been dulled off by the wind blowing the sharp points off.

The weather got worse towards the end of the week. A front came in from the west bringing rain and wind. I should have run on the Wednesday but I left it until Thursday and as I drove to the beach I could see masses of black cloud coming across. But as long as it's not raining heavily when I start I'll still give it a go. I parked the car and a few spots of rain were coming down. The tide was in so I ran on the concrete path that follows the beach. As I reached Henley the wind picked up to around 40km/h, I just put my head down and carried on. I decided to turn around if the rain arrived by the time I made it to the river. It did, there would be better running days. I didn't fancy running another 2km into the wind and rain before the return leg. As always, once the decision is made and I start running back the rain stops and the sun produces a beautiful projection through the clouds creating three beams of light. I put in a good fast run on the way back. Distance 7km.

Saturday (9th) I could hear the rain in the early morning and the wind was still blowing. I had a late start, it took me a while to get enthused to run. The rain stopped but the north west wind continued at 30-40km/h. The good thing about a north wind is that it is warmer than the south wind. This was a pre breakfast run so I started off at a steady trot to get the fat burning started. I had to keep the stride short so not to tire from the gusty wind blowing at me. I reached Semaphore then came off the beach and ran back along the foreshore before coming back to the beach at half way point. Now the wind was behind me and blowing me forward so I flew along the beach that I hardly noticed it. 13km.

Sunday (10th) Once again it was the rain I could hear in the morning, maybe a day to miss the run. I could run on the treadmill at the gym but I don't like the repetition of treadmills, I get bored not being able to look around and I most certainly would not be able to run barefoot. Toughen up! in my earlier running years I would run through blizzards and -15C cold with wind chill, a bit or rain and wind is nothing in comparison.
So, I get to the empty lake car park, no people fishing today. The path was quite dry due to the wind evaporating the surface water. The model boat enthusiasts were also absent today, the wind too strong. I got caught in a shower around 1km from home but I was feeling strong and splashing through the water on the pavement felt good, it warmed my feet a little. An enjoyable wet run. 8.2km


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

IBRD 2015

Distance 38.2km [total: minimalist 329.1km: Barefoot 7333.6km] Week18 (27th Apr - 3rd May)

Tuesday 28th Apr. A short run after work with a friend of mine covering a relaxed 4km. A nice late afternoon with some sun that is setting in the west. No chill winds blowing from the south but the air can be felt to cool as the sun sinks lower.

Wednesday 29th Apr. I got to the beach earlier today, the day had been warm and sunny and I wanted to do a beach run to Semaphore before the sun set. I got to the beach at 4.45pm and ran north along the beach with the breeze behind me. I was racing against the sunset, I kept glancing to the west to see how far above the sea the sun was. I got to the half way point and the sun was still whole, casting long shadows over the beach.
The sand had become quite cold and my feet were going numb. I came off the beach and onto the bitumen pathway that ran alone the foreshore. My feet sucked what little heat there was left out of the surface, it wasn't long before I was onto the colder concrete then onto the grassy surface behind the houses by the beach. The sun set just leaving a glow like a fire on the horizon, the cold started to creep in as I came back onto the back on to the beach with another 4km to run. The cold wind had started to pick up and was chilling me and slowing me down. I kept up a steady pace on the cold sand, the light had faded and I was running along a almost dark beach, keeping to the shore line to avoid any holes and uneven surfaces. I could see the lights on Grange jetty getting slowly closer, no silhouettes of people fishing tonight, too chilly.
I reached the jetty at around 6.15pm after covering around 13km. It felt good to haul myself back onto the path, wash the sand from my feet in the cold tap water then slowly float back to my car, knowing in a few minutes I would have warm air from the heater blowing over my feet.

Saturday 2nd May. A low calorie day for me, sticking to under 600 calories. The weather was holding up, sunny and around 18C. No breakfast as I headed to the beach at 9.30am. The tide was out so I had a nice flat beach to run on. South to Glenelg today, I wasn't sure how far I could run on an empty stomach. I can feel the hunger as I drive to the beach and when I start to run. I know the trick is not to try running fast, not to force it, just let your body decide on what pace to run at.
I start slow, a girl running with her dogs passes me easily and I just run at a slow steady pace. The body seems to know when to switch on the fat burning system, it seems to happen after about 4-5km and I feel better, the hunger evaporates and the running gets stronger. The distance to Glenelg is around 8km. I  mentally told myself I could turn back at any point if I felt too tired but I was fine. I reached the marina then made my way off the beach and onto the pavement. After a 5 minutes walk I began the run home. I was running into the breeze on the way back. About 4km into the run, another runner passes me and wonders aloud how I can run without shoes. I don't have the energy to match his pace and it would probably make my body try to burn carbs which are in short supply this morning. I began to feel a bit floaty and disattached towards the end of the run, still light on my feet but looking forward to finishing. I finished at the Grange cafe after a run of 16km.
I rewarded myself once I got home with a small bowl of oats and a cup of tea.
Sunday 3rd May. International Barefoot Running Day. I was worried earlier in the week that it was going to be a wet wintery day but as the week progressed the forecasts improved until in the end we had a sunny afternoon of 20C, perfect for a run. I met up with David and new runner Luke who has been running barefoot for a while now. That was the sum total of the turnout, Michael somehow picked the wrong time and place and the two girls were no shows. We ran at a good pace around the river/zoo loop a distance of 5.2km. I felt a little tired as I'd done some lunges and other weighted leg exercises at the gym earlier. Our nearby deli has shut its doors so we had to drive a little further to The St Peters Bakehouse for a coffee, quite a popular place judging by the lineup inside.
Neil and Luke after 5km Park Run

David and Luke after 5km Park Run