Sunday, December 25, 2011

Still puffed up but hit 2000+km

Distance 33.5km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 2002.2km] Week 52

Monday, 19-Dec. 8km
A warm Monday evening finds me at the beach at 5.30pm, the sand is soft and it's easier to take to the footpath. I am finding with the tendon problem in my right ankle that I have a problem keeping my big toe
lifted when I land, this is causing a bit of friction and I have rubbed a blister up on an earlier run and I can feel it each time I run on the pavement. I could have run a 10km today but I was a bit cautious and thought of my feet and turned around 1km from my usual point. I had nothing to fear the feet were fine after I gave them a clean.

Wednesday, 21-Dec. 11km
My longest run for a while. I had to test my calf out and it didn't fail even though it is enlarged. What the hell is it I keep asking myself. I have never had a calf problem that has caused ankle swelling, when you get mysteries like this it is unnerving, you always think of the worst. This was a late evening run, I set off after 7.30pm and ran up the beach to Semaphore and managed to turn around and run down the concrete and grass and get halfway back before the sun set fully. I was feeling tired by the end but happy with my effort.

Thursday, 22-Dec. 6km
A word of advice, one that everyone knows anyway. Don't go running shortly after having your evening meal as you will feel like crap. Well, I did and... I did.
My left calf is still swollen but it is not that painful, it is very strange. I had thought that maybe a run would help it and it would be good to see how a back to back run would go. Not very well as it turned out. I felt slow and the food sat heavy in my stomach. I intended to run north up the beach until the sun set at around 8.30pm then turn around and come back but sometimes you just know when to call it a day. I managed about 3km up the beach, it wasn't going to get any better so I turned around and headed home.
Now only a few days until Christmas day race and I'm still a wreak (but improving very slowly).

Sunday, 25-Dec. 8.5km
Well I managed to get around the Fanatics Christmas run unscathed. I was conservative, if you call barefoot running conservative, and ran the short course of 8.5km. My sports watch bleeped furiously the entire way around telling me that I was above my training zone, I felt breathless for the first few kilometres then just accepted it wasn't going to get any better. At the turn off point for the 13km and 21km I decided to head for the short course home. I seemed to get to the finish line 1st, as it was an informal race that doesn't necessarily mean I won but it would be cool if I did. I recorded a time of 45m 23s which beat my time from last year by I think around 3 minutes. If my fitness had been up and no calf problems I could have got closer to 40min oh well there is always next year. I hung around and got some photos of the other finishers so I can send them to the running club for their gallery.

I also hit the 2000 kilometres of barefoot running mark with this run so that is a nice Christmas present. The next run in the calendar is on Australia Day on the 26th of January, the 16km run to Hallet Cove from Brighton. I hope my legs are good enough for that one.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Puffy ankle!!!

Distance 5km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 1968.7km] Week 51

Saturday, 17-Dec. 5km
What a week, and injury tsunami. Not only did I get calf knots last week, this week my left ankle swelled up. Not in a painful way, it was some kind of fluid retention, I believe caused by the calf being injured and not flushing out the lower leg area as it normally does. I also spend around 8 hours a day in a sit down job where I hardly move away from my computer and so that would be like being stuck in an aircraft for a long flight, day after day
I was desperate to get out for a run. I went out on a short test run today and covered about 5km on beach and road. I felt very unfit, my heart rate was high for what would normally have been a light jogging pace. The beach was hard work, no flat wet sand anywhere, it as all dry and scuffed up making running harder again. I can still feel my ankle pain, more around the top side, must be where the tendon attaches to the tibial bone. I'll focus the ultrasound more on this area now.
The Christmas race is now just 7 days away.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Return of the Calf Knot

Distance 7.5km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 1963.7km] Week 50

Monday, 5-Dec. 5.5km
A good day for running. The ankle is feeling a slight bit better but now I have sore calve. I was going to run an 8km today but having sore calves does not make for the best running experience so I called it quits after a run down the beach then halfway back. You have to run how you feel and if it doesn't feel right just stop.

Wednesday, 7-Dec. 2km
The tide was on its way in and the sand was soft and angled at the north end of the beach.  I started slow to get into the right rhythm but I was aware of some calf tightness in my left leg, left over from some deadlifts at the gym I assumed. After a kilometre I decided to come off the beach and run on the pavement, the pavement was hot from a day under the sun and I started to worry that I may get some foot blistering if I kept it up for too long so I headed back to the beach. That was when the calf tightened and it became painful, I stopped straight away and had a bit of a dip in the water. There was no way I could run on it now so I had no choice but to walk back to the car. I thought I'd put all this behind me well over a year ago but no it doesn't seem to matter how many years of barefoot running is under your belt the calf problems can still arise.
I am no on enforced rest for this week, I'll see how it feel next week, meanwhile I'll keep up with the Thera roller to see if I can find where the problem areas are and massage them out.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

10km on pavement again

Distance 21km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 1956.2km] Week 49

Monday 28-Nov. 4km.
My short Monday run along the beach. The ankle pain is still with me, I can't tell if there is improvement or not. I have been using the ultrasound unit for around a week now but there are no noticeable changes to the ankle.

Wednesday, 30-Nov. 7km
The afternoon sea breeze was more like a gale blowing from the south, whipping up the sand, making it swirl around on the flat beach. I don't mind running into the strong wind when barefoot, the shorter stride makes it more efficient and I don't get tired. In fact running with the wind behind me gives me more problems in that I can't control my landing as well. I managed 7km before the ankle irritated me enough to make me stop. It really does take the fun out of running when you are trying to shake and injury.

Saturday, 3-Dec. 10km
Time is zooming by now, only 3 weeks to Christmas, not enough time to get the miles in to run in a half marathon, especially when still not fit. The good thing about a morning run is the wind hasn't picked up at that time of day, it always gets stronger as the day goes on. I felt ok enough today to run on the pavement, I took it gently and my ankle didn't complain too much. It has been the longest distance I have done in a month and my feet are not seasoned to the surface and distance. They felt a bit sore in the last kilometre. I was quite happy with the run, I didn't get any after effects in the ankle. That usually comes the next day after a nights sleep. When asleep the foot is usually in a planar flex position and that seems to irritate the ankle and make it feel painful when I wake and walk around. I am going to try gentle dorsiflex stretching to see if I can get the foot back into the full range of movement without pain.


Sunday, November 27, 2011


Distance 17.5km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 1935.2km] Week 48

Wednesday, 23-Nov. 7.5km
A very windy Wednesday, especially at the beach where the wind blowing up from the south was around 35kph.
The beach has some good crust sand and also wet sand, there was quite an incline on the wet sand though and that seems to irritate my ankle.
It was tough work running into the wind but with the barefoot style it is much easier than how I used to run back in the days of shoes. Running into the wind back then would have seen me stop numerous times to rest, now, with gravity on my side, its a breeze so to speak.
I still have not shaken the ankle pain off, it is persistently hanging on. My portable ultrasound unit arrived at the beginning of the week and I have commenced treatment, starting on a medium setting for 10 minutes twice a day. I just move the head of the unit in a circular motion around the area where the pain is coming from. This is meant to break up any build up of scar tissue, the tissue is the bodies response to the injury, it encases the joint in strong fibrous support material so stop excess movement while the tendon heals. The only problem is that it is not removed after it has healed and you are left with a stiff joint.
It is making a difference, the ankle feels less painful after and has more flexibility.
I am hoping that in a couple of weeks I will be back to full fitness and back to running on the roads again.

Saturday, 26-Nov. 8km
I got my short summer haircut today in preparation for the warmth of the summer months. Although I was getting to like the longer hair. The day was blustery with black clouds all around threatening rain, the wind was still blowing as it has been for most of the week. There was plenty of firm sand to run on today which makes for faster running. I kept the stride short and cadence up at 180. The ankle still niggled but not in the way it has done a week ago.
I was satisfied with the run and extended it out a little to 8km. I finished up just in time to avoid the downpour that followed.
I have been treating the injury site with the ultrasound, a 10 minute session in the morning and another in the evening. It is making a difference even though you don't feel anything as you are massaging the area with the ultrasound unit.
I also got to try out my new Thera Roll which arrived yesterday. It takes a bit of getting used to and when you do roll it over a tight area it really digs in, it is very hard to relax and let the muscle release. Some areas are just too painful, the ITB down the upper sides of the legs, they probably need a lot of attention.

Sunday, 27-Nov. 2km
Drills, back to the Pose drills. I had intended to go for a run today as the weather was perfect but once again the ankle was playing up, a cramping spasm made it sore. As an alternative I decided to go across to the nearby field and get some long overdue drills to sharpen up my form. It has been so long since I last did some I couldn't remember which drills I used to do. Interestingly my ankle felt better doing the faster sprints that it does on the longer runs. I also found some advice on the net that I will follow to see if it makes an improvement. Where as I have been doing eccentric calf drops that strengthens the calf the advice was to do 4 x 1 minute up on my toes, this must be done 4 times a day. I will try this for 1 week to see if I find noticeable difference.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Slow start

Distance 23km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 1917.7km] Week 47

Monday, 14-Nov. 4km
Just a short run along the beach. I have a tight left calf since I ran on Saturday. I'm am not going to stretch as it might cause more damage. Its not too bad to run on but makes itself more noticeable as soon as I stop.

Wednesday, 16-Nov. 6km
The calf soreness is still with me and I actually cut the run short this evening as it was irritating me too much. After getting back I tried some trigger point therapy by rolling my calf along a rolling pin, wow that was painful, I must have lots of knots in there. Each time I rolled it onto a painful spot I held the position and tried to relax, relaxing at first makes the pain stronger before it starts to subside.

Friday, 18-Nov. 7km
Well the rolling pin trigger point therapy seems to be working. I have worked most of the stiffness out of my calves. It was a hot day today, getting up to 37C, it would have been a few degrees cooler at the beach maybe around 32C when I went for my run. I had some decent sand to run on, not too soft. The calf felt a lot better but I still have niggling ankle pain. It is not the end of the week and still no sign of my portable ultrasound unit. I shall send an email to the company in the USA to see if they can help me track it down. It would be helpful to know if it was sent by air or by sea, if it is by sea then a month for deliver is common. If it went by air then in must be held up somewhere. If I can find out which city it went to then I may be able to contact the postal service to find out where it is.
I have also purchased a Thera Roll. This is the the thing tat will replace my rolling pin as a treatment aid to get the muscles into shape and iron out the tensions. They are a bit pricey but I hoping it will be money well spent, after all a massage costs around $60 per hour.

Thera Roll - Firm version (purple)

Sunday, 20-Nov. 6km (walk)
A bit of early morning rain woke me up at around 7am, I checked outside, it looked like the rain would be around for a while, but while eating my breakfast, it blew away and was replaced by blue sky and sunshine.
I resisted the temptation to run and instead had a good barefoot walk for an hour, covering around 6km. The ankle felt good but each time I tried a light run on the pavement I could feel some pain return. I really enjoy feeling the surfaces I'm walking on, from smooth to rough, cold to warm and yet all around me people have runners strapped to their feet that are making their feet hot and sweaty and depriving them of any sensation. I just wonder how much landfill has been used in the disposal of all the millions of worn out running shoes, what a waste of resources.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Getting better

Distance 7km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 1894.7km] Week 46

Saturday, 12-Nov. 7km.
After a week of restraining myself from any running I went out today to see how my ankle would respond. I had plenty of sand to run on as we were at low tide.
The weather was clear and warm, I set off at a nice pace but soon found my heart rate monitor telling me I was at the high end of my training zone, I slowed down but still found it beeping at me. It seems my aerobic fitness has dropped in the few weeks of no running, normally my heart rate would be much slower at this pace.
I ran the full 7km without any increase in ankle pain, the inflammation has reduced but not gone completely.
I had hoped my ultrasound unit would have arrived this week but I believe it is probably languishing in the Australian customs. It moved swiftly from the States to Australia then ground to a halt. Hopefully next week I shall see it.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Barefoot Walking

Distance 15km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 1887.7km] Week 45
Saturday, 5-Nov. 7km Walk
Another week of warm spring weather goes past and it another day I spend on the sidelines. I drove to the beach early as it was going to be a hot day.
The sand was soft and dry. I tried running but the pain returned around the ankle, frustratedly I walked off the beach. I wasn't going to drive home again without doing some exercise so I walked along the foreshore path doing a 7km out and back. It would get my feet back into shape if nothing else.
At first I could feel my frustration as runners would whiz past me as I walked, I so much wanted to be running but I was locked into a quick walking pace. I get no pain while walking only when there is the added forces associated with running. As the walk progressed my mood lifted and I even ran about 300m on the soft sand on the way back. The injury is healing but it is a slow progress. I am expecting delivery of a small ultrasound unit next week so I should be able to treat the area and see if I can get some strength and flexibility back.

Sunday, 6-Nov. 8km Walk
In contrast to yesterday the weather has cooled off. Good walking weather. This time I drove the short distance to the river around 4km from where it enters the sea. This was another barefoot walk and once again the feet were great on what was quite rough bitumen. I had been prepared to cut the walk short if I found my feet getting too sensitive after yesterdays walk but I didn't have to. It began to drizzle as I approached the beach, it didn't turn to full on rain which was good as I would have not been able to make a quick retreat.
I don't get any ankle pain from walking, it seems to come just when I run, when the ankle is at a different angle and loaded. It still looks swollen compared with the none injured ankle.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rest and Rehab

Distance 0km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 1882.7km] Week 44

Well, here it is, the zero week, a week free of any running and boy it is soooo frustrating. After enduring the colder winter weather with numb feet, then a cool wet holiday in England I was looking forward to the spring days here in Adelaide. All I have been able to do is watch the nice weather come in without getting any long runs in, I feel like I'm being left behind. Will I still manage to run in the Christmas half marathon? I don't know.
The ankle is feeling better but not clear, there is still pain but much diminished from a couple of weeks ago. I know this time not to run on it as last time I brought the pain back again.
I have sent off for a small portable ultrasound unit as a treatment tool to speed up the recovery and rehabilitate the tendon. Better to learn the art of healing yourself than paying money out to physio's to do it for you.
I'll schedule a run in for next Saturday, a short 4km and if I feel any pain, stop straight away rather than push on. Only a matter of time to get over the injury.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Posterior Tibialis Tendonitis?

Distance 12.5km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 1882.7km] Week 43

Monday, 17-Oct, 5km.
Yet another test run along the beach for a short distance. The pain is still there, not to the extent it was at when I first noticed it around 3 weeks ago but it is enough to stop me going out and putting some long distance in. This run was an entirely beach run as I have been doing for the last few weeks as a softer alternative to the road. It may be a mistaken belief on my part that running on soft sand is easier on the ankle than running on the hard road. The hard road may not be as forgiving but it is a stable, predictable surface. I still managed a 10minute 2km run, even with an injury.

Saturday, 22-Oct, 7.5km
How my weekly distance has evaporated once a chronic injury pops up. Is this shaking my belief in barefoot running you may ask. No, it's not. It never was going to be a total end to all injuries as there are many reasons you can get injured.
After poking around on the internet to locate the exact point of my ankle problem I have revised my diagnosis. I don't believe it is an ankle sprain like I first thought, usually that requires a trauma to start it off which I couldn't recall having. I now believe I have Posterior Tibialis Tendonitis. An inflammation of the tendon that wraps around the lower part of the ankle and controls the foot arch. The other end goes up into the calf area.
I now believe I started this off when I came back from my overseas holiday. I got back into my gym work and did lots of leg work, including hamstring deadlifts and calf raises. During this first week my calves were so stiff I could hardly walk, but, I managed to push myself out for a few long runs in the belief that this would ease the stiffness. All I have done is unbalance my running style and aggravate a tendon problem. I then compounded it by doing more leg work at the gym and repeating the exercise, thinking I was helping the problem when in reality I was making it worse.
So here I am 3 weeks later, not cured.
I ran 7.5km today in perfect conditions, the ankle pain was still there so I took it nice and easy. It is not swollen to the extent it was 2 weeks ago but it is still enlarged.
I have sent of for some KT Tape to strap across the foot to act as support. Another rule I shall add to my book is not to run when I have done a leg workout that has given me sore muscles, in fact it may be easier just to say why do I need to do leg exercises anyway, running is all I need.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Slowly coming back

Distance 11km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 1870.2km] Week 42

Thursday, 13-Oct. 4km.
A warm spring day of 26C and I'm itching to get out for a run at this best time of year but I am still recovering from an ankle sprain.
Since Saturday I have been taking anti inflammatory tablets to reduce the swelling around the ankle. I did run a short 4km on the Saturday, since then I have been resting and the pain has been subsiding. A slight swelling has remained.
I went to the beach and ran another 4km. I can still feel the pain signals from the ankle so I didn't run any further than the planned distance. I'll rest again until Saturday and assess it again.

Saturday, 15-Oct. 7km
The warm wet weather of yesterday has given way to a cooler change, clear but a strong north west wind. Another test of my ankle today. The stiffness is still there but I can run on it. I extended my shorter 4km run out to 7km today. My fitness has dropped off I can tell, by the feeling of breathlessness. I had the wind behind me on the way out and towards me on the way back. Still it was an enjoyable run. The swelling has subsided, only a small amount left now. I'll go for another run or two during the week.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Almost a Zero

Distance 5km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 1859.2km] Week 41

Saturday, 8-Oct. 5km
No running during the week as I give my ankle a rest to see if the swelling will reduce. I did a bit of reading up on treatment and immediately see that I have not done the right thing.
My first error was not recognising I had a sprained ankle and continuing to run on it and hoping it would go away. If I had recognised it then the fastest cure involves anti inflammatory tablets, rest, ice and compression. It was only on the Saturday I realised this and rushed down to the chemist at the last minute to buy some tablets.
I went out on a short beach run on Saturday to see how the ankle was feeling. There was still soreness but I could run on it. I kept my distance short and the run relaxed so as not to cause more problems.
So I managed to put in a few kilometres and didn't have a zero week.


Ankle injury

Distance 14.5km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 1854.2km] Week 40

Sunday, 2-Oct. 14.5km
The weather had been pretty awful for must of the week and yesterday which is usually my long run day it was very windy and cold, along with that I still have some ankle problem and I had to be out of the house early for a get together to watch the football finals. So I delayed my run until today.
The weather today was perfect in comparison. Clear blue sky nice flat beach, perfect running weather.
I wanted to test my ankle out after resting it for a few days, but I was disappointed when the pain returned shortly after setting off. It eased off as I continued to run but it was still in the background.
On the way back I got into a bit of a race with a younger guy who was running with his dog. I had just started out on my return run along the foreshore when I heard this guy running behind me, he overtook which I don't mind, but then moved right in front of me, this irritated me. So I relaxed and increased my pace and overtook on the other side I stayed well in front for a kilometre. I made one mistake, I couldn't hear any footsteps so I glanced over my shoulder, he was about 10m behind. Looking back was a signal for him to catch me up and I hit some gravel patches which slowed me so he then got the edge. It didn't last long as about another 100m he stopped to give his gasping dog a drink. I carried on past and continued my run.
Despite carrying the ankle injury, I still did one of my best times for the course of 1:26:06.
My ankle swelled up later on even though I had a dip in the cold sea water after the run. I may have to have  a longer enforced rest until it clears up. I have applied ice wraps and a compression bandage.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Sore calves for week

Distance 10km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 1839.7km] Week 39

Monday,  26-Sep. 4km
A shocker or a run today due to calves being very sore after a gym session on Sunday. It was a beach run and I didn't feel very fluid at all, my legs were achy and stiff and I didn't feel like I was running correctly. The sand was soft as well which didn't help matters, I had to run along the tide line to get a bit of firm sand.
I didn't even bother completing the run back to the first jetty, sometimes you know when to call it quits.

Tuesday, 27-Sep. 6km
Calves still sore, not much improvement from yesterday, in fact maybe slightly worse. I headed to the beach again as it was going to be the last of the good weather for the week, the rest of the week would be cold, wet and blustery.
I have a bit of a pain in my right ankle that I still haven't got to the bottom of. I can run on it but I think I may have a swollen tendon or maybe even a small tear. It is more around the inside of the ankle, not at the back. I could still run 6km on the concrete without problem but I don't feel I have the speed. It was a warm afternoon which also took a bit of getting used to.
I'll take it easy for the rest of the week as the weather is going to be very wintery and get back to it on the Saturday.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Back into it

Distance 29.5km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 1829.7km] Week 38

Tuesday, 20-Sep. 10km
My last day of holiday before I start back at work tomorrow. An opportunity to get out for a run in perfect weather.
I had to see how my feet would hold up after over a month of running in the Vibrams. I set off for my run at 11.30am, the tide was far out and there was lots of flat sand to run on. I began by running on the beach then switched onto the pavement close to Henley Beach. I hadn't forgotten how to run barefoot, it came back instantly. The only problem I was suffering from was an injury caused by doing some leg extension exercises at the gym. The Lateral Collateral Ligament that stabilizes the knee cap on my left leg has always been problematic. It was a bit swollen and painful to bend the leg, running was no problem though, the pain disappeared. It reappeared later that day so that I had to wrap a bandage around the knee.
I ran 3.5km on the road before turning around and running another 2.5km back then heading back to the beach again as my soles were getting a little tender. Time 55:33m

Wednesday, 21-Sep. 5km
A short faster run this evening. My calves are sore today, caused by the change back from wearing a minimalist shoe to barefoot. It seems that you need more calf strength when barefoot than even wearing thin shoes. I could still run and even got in a bit of a race with 3 lads on the way to Henley jetty. I am learning more and more that the key to good running is the level of relaxation you can get to, you don't want adrenaline to pump around as all it will do is mess up your breathing, heart rate and muscles flexibility.
I took it nice an easy on the return leg and was surprised to see I ran jetty to jetty in 9:47m one of my faster times, as I said relaxation is the key.

Saturday, 24-Sep. 14.5km
A cool Saturday morning for my long run. The sun was out so I did put some sunblock on my face as I would be out for 90minutes.
The run from Jetty to jetty was one of my fastest to date at around 40minutes. A bit of tenderness in my feet as they re-adapt to being barefoot, the calves also are still recovering from the run earlier in the week.
The sand and roads are now gaining a bit of warmth as we head into spring time, I didn't have the numb feeling underfoot.
The return journey back to Grange was a bit slower on the grass and trails. I stepped on a few spiky seed cases of some of the plants along the trail, that made me jump a bit. I also came across a Stumpy lizard which I just had to pick up, it was around 20cm long and seemed quite happy in my hands as long as I kept stroking him on the head, I released him back into the bush where he darted into the safety of the undergrowth.
I'll see if I can step my distance up to 40km per week in the next few weeks.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just Avoided a Zero Week

Distance 13km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 1800.2km] Week 37

The bad weather that was forecast arrived on Monday, high winds but little in the way of rain. I could have gone for a run but with only a day before I was due to fly to Singapore I didn't want to have any sweaty laundry build up.
I flew out on the Tuesday, arriving in Singapore on Wednesday morning. I didn't get any runs in while in Singapore mainly due to the high humidity and the fact that I was suffering jet-lag. I did compensate by doing 3 gym workouts and swimming on each day of my stay. The gym was small but sufficient and as there were no other users I had no problem waiting to get on equipment. The same applied to the pool, it was almost like my own private 20m pool, it was fantastic. I got plenty of practice of my swimming stroke.
In the afternoon I would go on walks around the city, sweating profusely.
The coolest place was up at Fort Canning where Stamford Raffles summer house was situated up on the hillside. It's only on a slight hill but apparently it is on one of the high spots on the island (43m) and offers a slightly cooler environment from the city below (17m).

I did get my barefeet onto the ground at the Fort and did most of my walking around up there this way. I didn't want to try it in the city as I'm sure it would have attracted too much attention and as it was so crowded could have been a danger to me.

Bare Feet at Fort Canning, Singapore

Bare Feet at Stamford Raffles House
On the Friday I boarded the plane to Adelaide and had a mostly sleepless night. I spent the day unpacking and sorting out all the chaos that a holiday leaves behind. I would have loved to have run in Singapore if I had been there longer but I think I would have turned into a puddle of sweat and been removed from the hotel had I attempted to enter.

Sunday, 18-Sep. 13km.
My first run back on Australian soil (or sand as it happened). I'm still suffering jet-lag, if I were in the UK I would have still been asleep as it would have been around 3am. Consequently I wasn't feeling as full of beans as I should have. I even managed to put my running shorts on backwards for the run. Still my time was still good but I started to feel fatigued on the way back and had a few rest stops. My heart rate monitor was reading a high pulse rate but that may have been due to the battery being on its way to need replacing.
Well, lets see if I can get my running distance back up to around 40km per week by the end of the month and also get them back from out of the protection of the Vibrams and get the soles back onto the ground.


2nd Anniversary

Distance 13.5km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 1787.2km] Week 36

My brief holiday in Anglesea was made even briefer by the awful weather that afflicts the British isles. The only good day we encountered was on the day we travelled to the place, a small isolated farmhouse on the northern coast. We were due to be there for a week but ended up coming back 2 days early due to bad weather. I didn't go for any runs along beaches as I envisioned as when we got to a beach as howling wind and rain nearly blew me off the beach.

I have passed my second anniversary of my barefoot running adventure and I can say that I have had a big reduction in my running injuries. Gone are the shin pains and Achilles tendon pains, back problems, hip problems and knee problems. I still wander around sports shops out of curiosity to see what they are selling. It is good that I am under no pressure to buy anything these days as there are so many shoes to choose from it must be quite bewildering for new runners.

Friday, 9-Sep. 13.5km.
A widow of opportunity opened in this rain soaked land. We were actually due to see some sun, it made it's appearance in the afternoon. I went for a run at around 11am, it was still grey and overcast at that time. The canal towpath was an obstacle course of mud and puddles, I wonder if it will every dry out.
The humidity was up today and I felt my energy being sapped as I climbed the hills, I stopped for a rest a couple of times.
I'm still struggling with my downhill running. I find it hard to keep my legs bent and relaxed to absorb the shock so I compensate by keeping a short stride and trying to pull my feet up. I recorded a slow time of around 1.5 hours for the run.
This might be my last in the UK before I head back to Australia. The weekend forecast was for more wet and windy weather.


Friday, September 9, 2011

First barefoot walk in England

Distance 23.5km [total: minimalist 242.8km: Barefoot 1787.2km] Week 35

Tuesday, 27-Aug. 13.5km. 
After a few days of wet weather I got the opportunity to get out on the road again for a run today. The sky was still covered with grey clouds but the rain held off for the entire way around. I tackled the longer hilly course that I ran last week. I am still experiencing some ankle stiffness in my right ankle and a bit of soreness in the tendon on the same foot, not enough to cause me a problem running but just enough to make me notice that maybe all is not 100%. It could be due to wearing the VFF's rather than being barefoot and it changing my style slightly, running too heavy? I also got a jabby pain in my left knee for a brief time on a downhill section, a quick stretch sorted it out. I'm finding downhill hard to get right. I can't bend my knees enough due to the slope, my only solution for now is to shorten and quicken my stride. My canal towpath run was slow at 10:05m but it was very and slippery along the way. It took 21:23 for the climb from Compstal up to Werneth Low high point, average pulse rate 142, the highest of the sections.

Thursday, 29-Aug. 10km.
The first really sunny day of my holiday, one where I could actually feel some warmth from the sun, still, the temperature would be struggling to get over 20C.
I took the river trail and it was still muddy along much of its course, it would take weeks of warm sunny weather to dry it out. I came back on a different route on the other side of the river then up into Woodley and back along the road.
I was quite happy with the run, no stiffness in the legs from a walk I did the other day along the ridge at Mam Tor near Castleton. I did half of the walk barefoot, only putting the shoes back on when I got to the proper roads. My feet were strong enough to tackle the rocky footpaths and it felt good to get the feedback from the ground I was walking on.

Mam Tor, Castleton

Small Climb up to Back Tor

No more runs for the rest of the week as I go for a short break to Anglesea. If the weather is good I may be able to get some barefoot beach runs in, I am getting a bit tired of wearing the Vibrams and am missing the barefoot running feeling.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Run to the hills

Distance 20km [total: minimalist 194km: Barefoot 1787.2km] Week 34

Monday, 22-Aug. 10km.
Hooray, warm summer weather, what is going on, this is England after all.
I was feeling good today so I put in a short hilly 10km up over the top of Werneth Low. Running along the canal towpath again then starting the climb up to the top of the hill. The steepest part is the last kilometre of the hill which would be a 25% climb. I managed to run the entire length of the hill, something I didn't do often even in my younger days. I can't say if I was faster or not as I don't have comparative times. My calves were starting to burn as I neared the top.
After a few kilometres of level ground there is one more climb before the descent. Google Earth has a neat feature I found. Once you have traced a path of your run using the Path tool you can then look at the elevation profile of the run. It tells me the following. From a low point of 88m at 1km from the start, I climbed to 270m at 6.1km, a climb of 182m (579ft).

Saturday, 27-Aug. 10km.
After a bit of a break from running while visiting some relatives in the south of the country it's back to reality of weather in England, rain. Looking out of the window at the low dark clouds moving across I didn't feel that enthusiastic about going for a run. A small window of opportunity opened at 11.30am so off I set along a muddy canal path. I ran the same course as on Monday only this time the rain started at about the halfway point and continued until I got back. Once again I ran all the way. I have found it harder to run downhill. I have tried Ken Bobs suggestion of letting the legs collapse and pulling the feet right back. It works but it needs practice. Slight hip soreness with the hill climbs, only when I'm running though, I must be weaker in this area due to all my flat running in Adelaide.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Does it rain in Manchester?

Distance 30km [total: minimalist 174km: Barefoot 1787.2km] Week 33

Tuesday, 16-Aug. 9.5km.
I called my friend and one time running mate Graham Hill to see if he wanted to go out for a run today. Time to tackle the hills! since living in Adelaide I have been running on predominantly flat terrain. My old running routes were always hilly, would I cope.
We set off at around 9.30am under grey clouds with the threat of rain. The route was a loop that would take us along the canal towpath to Woodley then the start of the climb up to Greave. Once more I ran in the Vibrams, the towpath was far too muddy and dangerous for barefoot. With my new running form I was surprised how easy I found the running, even the climbing wasn't that bad. On the top of Werneth Low you get a view over Manchester, from there I could see the rain heading in. It came in by the time we started make our way off the hill and by the bottom it was raining steadily. Running in the Vibrams was easy now that I have calf strength and correct technique. The distance was approximately 9.5km and took 1:04:58pm.

Thursday, 18-Aug. 13.5km. 
This was a tougher run, one of the routes I used to run in my early 20's. Could I still climb the hills? I started off following the same route as Tuesday but this time dropped down into Compstall which sits at the low point on the course. Small farm access roads then climb up from a height of 90m up to 270m. I managed to run all the way up with only one 60 second rest stop. On the earlier part of the run I timed myself for a distance of 1.25 miles which I used to run in around 6min 50sec, back when I was 20. I was a bit slower this time, running in my vibrams and not running at top speed but I managed it in 9min 23.5sec so it was quite a bit slower. The weather was a big improvement on Tuesdays effort and makes running much more of a pleasure.

Saturday, 20-Aug. 7.5km. 
A nice sunny morning managed to coax me out for a short run along the river. It still feels like a nice winter morning in Australia rather than a summer day in England. It is still muddy along the river trail that will take quite a few weeks of dry weather to dry out. I covered the distance in 45m as it quite undulating. I've been wearing the Vibrams on all of these runs as the trails are not barefoot friendly, lots of rocks, horse dropping and dog droppings, not stuff I would like to be running in.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Wet Week

Distance 15.5km [total: minimalist 144km: Barefoot 1787.2km] Week 32

Not a lot of running done this week as we had a lot of rain over the earlier part. I've finally shook off the cold completely. I did a gym workout session on the Wednesday and now, as I write this I can feel the muscles in my back aching, not in a bad way though.

Thursday, 11-Aug. 8km.
I had to squeeze a final beach run in before I leave for a holiday. The weather had finally cleared up after quite a bit of rain. I stuck to the beach as I wanted to make sure my ankle was ok again after the soreness I picked up over the weekend. I still have no idea of what caused it. I must have bumped something or maybe it was the sprinting at the end of the Saturday run.
The tide was high but on its way out when I got to the beach so I had around 2m of flat wet sand to run on, the only problem being it was at an angle of around 10 degrees. It was a good run and the sun was up for most of the way, setting now at around 5.40pm which is giving me plenty of time to run a 10km without being in the dark.

Sunday, 14-Aug. 7.5km.
Well, here I am, on the other side of the world and my first run. I decided to tackle a short distance run of only 7.5km that would take me along the River Tame up to Ashton Road then back. I set off at 9.30am under grey heavy clouds. I wore my Vibrams as I knew how rough the trail was and how unhygienic it would be what  with many dogs being walked. It was also damp and wet and would not be a pleasant barefoot experience. I always worry about wearing the VFFs due to the lack of feedback and the way they might make me run beyond my ability. I did fine though, my technique is far better than it was a year ago. It began to rain on the last kilometre. I seemed to get a high heart rate reading, maybe that was something to do with all the tiredness from travelling.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Winter illness

Distance 29.5km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1779.2km] Week 31

Monday, 1-Aug. 5km.
I had to take half a day off work today as I was coughing and sneezing and people basically don't want you around if you are spreading cold virus around the place. I didn't feel too bad when I got up but it did start to become more of a hindrance as the day passed.
The weather was warm and sunny around 22C, I went for a gentle un-timed run along the beach, a no pressure run. My lungs were a bit congested but not too bad. I felt much better after the run.

Wednesday, 3-Aug. 10km.
After a day of sickness (Tuesday)  away from work in which I didn't get out of bed for most of the day because my eyes would start watering as soon as any light got into them. I found it easier just to sleep.
I made it back into work today, still congested in the nose and chest but the eye watering has stopped and the sneezing has abated so that may indicate the more contagious phase has ended.
The day was one of the warmest of the winter so far 25C but a change was on its way. I finished work at 4pm, drove home, got changed and down to the beach by 4.45pm. The tide was in so I ran my 10km road course. I decided to do an easy run, my chest was constricted so I didn't want to cause any problems by over stressing my system. I recorded a time of 57:53m

Saturday, 6-Aug. 14.5km.
Feeling better today, the cold is almost at the end of its cycle. A chilly morning, temperature just over 10C and a light breeze at the beach when I set off. The tide was off its high point by about an hour so there was some fresh sand to run on. The only problem was that the sand was very spongy and quite hard to run through.
The wind began to pick up by the time I'd run half the distance up the beach, 28km/hr with 40km/hr gusts blowing straight at me. I sure was glad to reach the jetty at Semaphore and begin the return journey with the wind behind me. Running on the bitumen path was easier then the beach.
I gave my ankle a little twist on the way back going over the rocky trail but it seemed fine and I had a good burst of speed in the last kilometre back on the beach. I recorded a time of 45:26.9m on the way out and amazingly 45:26.1 on the return.

P.S. I must have hurt my ankle a bit more than I thought as I have a bit of pain and swelling on the inside of the right foot, just below the ankle. I'll try the ice treatment and rest.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Winter tempearture I can handle

Distance 41.5km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1749.7km] Week 30

Wednesday, 27-Jul. 10km. 
Now this is more like the winters day I like, sunny for most of the day and a high of 20C, superb.
I did my standard 10km run and it was warm enough to feel the ground and get good feedback. I think I may have pushed it a bit much as my feet were a little tender later that evening. I was concentrating more on speed that form and that may have led to a bit more wearing of the pads due to the abrasive surface.
I really should slow down a bit and get the light quick foot touch and let the speed come on its own rather than force and by racing against the clock. Time 56:04m

Saturday, 30-Jul. 14.5km. 
Friday marked a very wet end to the working week. I'd decided on a gym workout rather than a run and it seems like it was a good decision as I looked out of the window to the rain bouncing off the road. I fell asleep that night to the sound of the rain. I seem to remember waking in the night and hearing rain. By morning it had stopped but there was plenty of water around on the roads and pavements. After a brief shopping trip I got to Grange jetty by around 9.30am, I wasn't feeling the best having woken up with a sore throat. I set off up the beach, the sand cold under foot. The sun began to burn away the cloud to the east and by the time I got to Semaphore jetty the weather had lifted my spirits.
I ran back along the road and trail and by the time I broke back onto the beach with about 2km to go it was a beautiful day. The sand reflecting the sun and now feeling warmer to run on. I added a burst of speed in the last kilometre. Time 1:25:43.

Sunday, 31-Jul. 17km. 
Once again, woke with a sore throat and feeling that I'm on the verge of coming down with a cold. I had an appointment to keep though for a run with Peter.
The day was bright and sunny so that inspired me. It had been down to around 6C overnight but must have been double that by the time I parked the car at Grange. The idea this time was to do the complete run to Glenelg and back that we didn't manage last week due to the bad weather.
It took me a while to warm up, the virus making my breathing a bit more laboured. The ground underfoot was cold as it was in the shadows cast by the 2 storey houses along the beach road. I looked forward to run on the opposite side where the sun had reached and added a bit of warmth.
Sunday seems to be the day that the majority of runners get out to do their runs. No barefoot runners were spotted. I began to get the spring back into my step after 3km. My feet were getting a bit sensitive on the path near the West Beach boat ramp, the brick pavers with the worn down surface exposing the sharp crystalline material they are built from. I made it to Glenelg , right through a big area of broken glass that I navigated through. After a few minutes rest we set off back to Grange. I was starting to tire at around 16km and the pavement was pressing into my feet. We switched to the beach for the remainder of the run.
I was quite happy with the effort, recording a time of 1:35:53.
Would a time of under 2 hours for the 21km be possible by Christmas, I think so.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

From Sun to Rain

Distance 45.5km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1708.2km] Week 29

Well, a good week of running there!
Wednesday, 20-Jul. 10km. 
An early break from work to get out on my usual 10km run along the walkway by the beach. The week has seem some cold nights but this also meant that the days had some sun. As I am writing this a few days later I don't think this was one of them. I ran a time of 55:54

Friday, 22-Jul. 10km. 
Ah some sunshine and I think I can just about make it back with some light left in the sky, no more stumbling through the dark (not that I was actually stumbling). The pavements had captured a bit of warmth from the sun during the day but it faded quickly. Sunset is now at around 5.28pm My time for today was 56:18.

Saturday, 23-Jul. 14.5km. 
A cold night of 5C. I checked my thermometer when I got up and outside it was a bit warmer than that now. I was hoping by the time I went out for my run at 9am a few more degrees would have been added onto the scale.
I got to the beach at just before 9am and found the tide at its high point and on its way back slightly. This meant I was running on soft, cold, well trodden sand. There were also many large furrow marks left by tractors moving sand around the beach and shoring up defences to the sea. It was a was a tough run, up and down troughs, avoiding the deep horse footprints. I kept my stride choppy and fast and that helped a lot with the balance of the uneven terrain. I ran back on the hard bitumen surface and made better time before slowing again on the rocky trail. I had a good burst of energy at the end and did a time of 1:30:56 by the end.

Sunday, 24-Jul. 11km. 
A friend of mine asked if I wanted to go for a run today. In his message yesterday he said the weather would be nice, the best day of the week, ummm. I don't think weather forecasting is his forte. I had all my running gear drying on the washing line outside on Saturday when it started raining and it was still raining this morning, retrieving it was not an option as it was still thoroughly wet.
My feet were feeling a bit sensitive from all the recent runs and I wasn't looking forward to a run in the rain and cold.
He did intend to run from Grange to Glenelg, a full 16km but I said my I would feel the cold too much in my feet on the wet ground. We did my usual weekday run but starting a bit further north. My feet were cold as soon as I stepped out of the car, it was 10C and raining lightly. On the return journey this changed to raining heavily. I ran as lightly as I could. I was soaked. Still I did enjoy the run. I shall give my feet a well deserved rest for a few days now, they have done me proud.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Longest hard surface run.

Distance 25.8km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1662.7km] Week 28

Thursday, 14-Jul. 10km.
The days are gradually getting lighter, 10 minutes of extra light from the shortest day. All this means I don't have to rush to get out as early so that I am not running in the dark.
The sun had been out during the afternoon and so there was a little residual warmth in the ground as I ran out to West Beach. That warm had gone by the time I made my way back. I recorded a time of 56:39m which was one of the better times I have managed. By summer I should have that down to the low 50's.

Sunday, 17-Jul. 15.8km. 
The plan today was for a run with Peter at 9am. I woke at 7.00am to the sound of heavy rain outside. Well, it may stop by 9am, I had breakfast and an hour later it was still raining and didn't look like it would stop any time soon. We called off our run.
I went to the gym and had a workout instead, working on chest and arms. The rain had stopped by the time I got out but it was still grey and cold outside.
By mid afternoon the clouds blew away and the sun came out and brought some warmth. I went to the beach and planned to run my usual road 10km then, if I felt good extend it further. I felt fine by the time I got to the caravan park so carried on towards Glenelg. In the end I ran all the way to Glenelg, a distance of 7.8km. I felt a little tired as I got to the 12km mark, the feet were cold and I didn't feel as smooth in my running form.
This would have been the longest distance I've run entirely on the roads. I did a foot check after getting cleaned up and my feet were fine, my form must have been good, no blisters or scrapes.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Good long run.

Distance 33.5km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1636.9km] Week 27

Thursday, 7-Jul. 10km
First day without rain before dusk. A chilly day with the daytime temp hitting a max of 13C. I got to the beach a bit later this afternoon and didn't start my run until 5pm, I only had 20 minutes of light left. The sun had set even before I got halfway.
I was trialling Barefoot Ken Bob's advice of bend the knees even more that you think you should and, well yes, there was an improvement. You are powering your legs internal springs. I would never have imagined running could be so easy.
The ground was dry, there was a cold southerly blowing, only 10C when I set off. I was happy to be on the return journey and have that wind at my back instead of in my face. I was running in full on darkness by the time I got to Henley Beach, not many people around now, a few runners, finishing off their exercise for the evening.

Saturday, 9-Jul. 18.5km. 
I arranged to meet up with one of the people who came out for the International Barefoot Running Day event, Andrew, to go for a run.
The threatened wet weather didn't arrive which was good. I intended to just do my usual 14.5km run, up along the beach then back along the road and trails.
It is definitely easier covering the distance when you have a distraction in the form of chatting to a fellow runner. We arrived at Semaphore jetty in what seemed like a blink of the eye.
I was wondering what the people walking along the foreshore path were thinking as now two people were running without shoes... a 100% increase in numbers.
We were both still feeling pretty good by the time we got back to the start point so decided to run to the next jetty and back to add a further 4km to the distance.
Andrew had a huge Garmin sports watch which did everything except cook breakfast I would say. It had a GPS and so could record the distance ran. It turned out that my Google measurements were pretty accurate, it was 18.5km.

Sunday, 10-Jul. 5km. 
I didn't get a call from Peter to go for a run today, I had prepared just in case. I had my breakfast early and would have been ready if he wanted to put in a 7km like last week. So, I could relax and have a lie in instead.
I cycled down to the gym and did a workout which included some hamstring deadlifts (I must be used to them now as I and no longer crippled the next day) and some back exercises.
In the afternoon I did a short 5km Interval training session. After warm-up I would walk 100m, jog 200m then sprint 300m then repeat. I managed to cycle my heart rate up to around 146 and down to 100.
It wasn't the best of training runs, it was cold at just over 12C and very windy, I was only wearing shorts and a t-shirt and the muscles felt a bit stiff.

I'm well over half way through reading Ken Bob's 'Barefoot Running Step by Step' and have already made notes on a few things to improve my running, curl the toes up being one. This stops any blistering caused by friction as the foot lands on the ground. I think I was already doing it but it is good to have confirmation of the technique.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Running in the rain

Distance 37km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1603.4km] Week 26

Monday, 27-Jun. 10km.
My usual road run for the evening. They day had been sunny and there was some residual warmth in the pavements while the sun was still up. The ground temperature seemed to drop once the sun fell below the horizon. I actually think it may be more due to the length of the run and the feet not being able to get enough blood down to then to heat them up rather than a sudden drop in surface temperature.
I must have been a bit heavy on my landing tonight as I had a bit of wear on the big toe on the left leg and pads on the right foot. I did do a good time so that probably added to the wear. You have to keep your form better the faster you want to move.
I'll rest up now until the weekend.

Friday, 1-Jul. 10km. 
An unseasonal warm winter day, 22C it got to today, fantastic. I was itching to get out of work early, for 3 reasons, one was the weather, second, I was feeling a bit stressed and third I had a headache. Running is the best medicine for stress and headaches, within 4km I was fine, at peace again.
With the warm weather the path surfaces were a few degrees warmer that I have had over the past month and I got no numbness in my feet, oh joy.
It was still dark when I finished my run. I will be glad for the extra daylight over the next few weeks. I will be able to see the ground again and not be as tense in my landing because my feet are searching for the ground.

Saturday, 2-Jul. 7km.
I woke to the sound of rain on the metal verandah. Rain had been forecast today and it sure had arrived overnight. Yesterdays warm weather has been chased away, replaced by more normal winter weather. Well, no point crying off, if you are a barefoot runner rain should be no impediment. I should feel more sorry for the people in shoes with soaked feet and squishing socks. I set off at 9.30am in pouring rain, only a short run today, I wasn't going to run 14km in a downpour.
I ran 3.5km along the road and through puddles but my feet managed to stay warm. I turned onto the beach to run back. The rain eased off for the return journey as I made my way up the deserted beach. As I was leaving the beach the rain returned, much harder now. I was pretty much drenched by the time I got in the car.

Sunday, 3-Jul. 10km
I had a call from a friend of mine early this morning, asking if I fancied going out for a run. I had just planed a workout day at the gym today, but, how could I resist.
It had been a chilly and wet night but the sky had now cleared but there was a strong northerly wind blowing.
I met up with Peter and 9am at Grange Jetty and we agreed on a short 7km run to the river and back. The ground felt cold underfoot as it was wet, the wetness conducts the heat out of your feet much faster than on cold dry ground.
There were lots of runners out this morning, far more than I usually see on a Saturday running the same course. I couldn't convince Peter to ditch his shoes, not even his orthotics. It's so good not to have to lug around and extra kilogram of weight on my feet. We ran back along the beach and straight into the wind which was quite strong by now. The sand was cold but manageable.
An enjoyable run that we will repeat on a regular basis.
After getting home I got changed and then did a workout at the gym for and hour, the afternoon was a relaxed recovery of just reading.
The early part of the week was very wintery, heavy rain on most days so I went to the gym instead.
I did run 3km on the treadmill, now that my form is better I find the running easier. The only problem was that the air conditioning was off and by the time I stepped off the treadmill my t-shirt was soaked in sweat, not only that but I just couldn't stop sweating, it was embarrassing.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

First week of Winter

Distance 35.5km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1566.4km] Week 25

Tuesday, 21-Jun. 6km. 
I just had to squeeze a few kilometres in on the shortest day of the year. I couldn't go too far as I had to be out of the house early tonight to catch a movie so I was quite happy to turn around at the 3km point and head back.
I believe the winter solstice is supposed to be the official start of winter. I know I can cope with running long distance on cold surfaces now without any problem (when I say cold I mean around 10C which to a lot of the barefoot running community is actually reasonably warm). It had been raining earlier on but was reasonably dry by the beach, there was a good chill wind blowing up from the south.

Wednesday, 22-Jun.10km.
The full run this time. A clear sky and I managed to set off at around 4.40pm to make the most of the light before the sunset. The sun was just on the horizon as I made half way, another kilometre and it was gone. There was enough warmth in the brick and concrete on the outbound journey to make the run pleasant and easy. On the way back the temperature has dropped a couple of degrees and that that makes a difference, the numbness starts to get more of a grip so you have to rely on memory for correct form rather than feedback from the soles of the feet.

Saturday, 25-Jun. 14.5km.
I started late today as I wanted to get some shopping out of the way before the crowds built up. The weather was near perfect, clear blue sky, the breeze was a bit strong from the north, the one consolation being is that is would be behind me on the way back. Setting off at 11am meant the sand had warmed up as had the bitumen on the foreshore on the way back. I didn't have my timing watch on me but I think I set a good pace on the way out and on the way back until I hit the rough stony trail at the 3/4 point.
I find that when I hit that point, if I am too tired then my concentration is not good enough to run at a good pace without banging my heels on something. That was the case today, I was slightly out of sync with my feet so I took it nice and easy until I hit the beach again.
I did consider running an extra 4km towards the end but as the time was around 12.30pm, hunger was starting to build so I called it a day.
Since the shortest day we have gained 2 minutes extra day length yeehaw!

Sunday. 26-Jun. 5km
 I'd not done any shorter faster runs for a while so as I had done a gym workout in the morning and it was a nice sunny winter day it was time to hit the beach.
I forgot to take my sports watch so there would be no clock watching on this run. I jogged up to the jetty as a warm up then took off for the jetty 2km down the beach.
I felt like I was flying along and didn't feel like out of breath like I did a year or so ago, this is what running is all about. I'm sure I would have run under the 10 minutes for that. I was pretty breathless when I got to the other end.
I had a rest for a few minutes then set off back, easy at first but gradually winding it up until I was going at top pace by the half way mark. A great run. (Post Added)

I filled in another online survey during the week concerning barefoot running. It seems there must be quite a few studies going on at the moment to collect data on injury rates. Is it possible to change running form and reduce injuries: most definitely yes it is.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Almost winter solstice

Distance 28.5km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1530.9km] Week 24

I always feel a bit of relief when I get past June 21st as I know the evenings will be getting just that bit lighter day by day. That doesn't mean of course that it will be getting warmer, I expect the colder winter weather to be over this side of the solstice.

Tuesday, 14-Jun. 10km.
Usually my night of going to the cinema with friends but winter bugs are catching up with people so it was called off this week. It gave me a chance to get out for a run after work. I put in 10km on the road. It felt cold under foot especially on the wet concrete. In the summer the concrete is great as it cooler than most other surfaces but in winter it is colder than most of the other surfaces, but, as it is smooth, if you have good form, the numb feet should be little to worry about.
I was in the dark for the last kilometre, I need a small LED lamp so I can see the path in front. I made note of a broken bottle on the path on the way out and stayed over the other side on the way back.

Saturday, 18-Jun. 18.5km.
After starting my run and getting a few kilometres away, I was feeling kind of tired, lacking in energy, maybe no dinner last night was the reason. It also looked like I was going to get rained on, I kept going and bother my energy improved and the dark clouds moved on and the sun shone, wonderful.
My feet were numb when I got to Semaphore jetty and it felt good to walk along the wooden boards as they were slightly warmer. The home journey was on the foreshore walkways and then trails through the sand dunes. The distance goes by quicker with the narrower horizon.
In the last few kilometres I'm back on the beach and it feels nice and easy before I take to the road again and my feet are starting to feel a bit tender after 17km.
I shouldn't complain about the running barefoot in the cold as compared to the Barefoot Sisters Isis and Jackrabbit in their book Southbound this is nothing. They are in early winter now after hiking all through spring and summer from Maine on the A.T. to Georgia, they are walking barefoot through frost and ice. Their feet have toughened up an have an insulating layer to keep the cold out.
I prefer running in the warm but I can run in the cold and it is far easier now than it was for me this time last year. I think this year I will be strong enough to tackle some of the longer races up to half marathon, a distance I have not run in probably 25 years.
It seems the barefoot running snowball is starting to gather pace as it rolls down the hill, lots of new people on the forums asking about pains and injuries. All caused by impatience, similar to myself in the early days.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Incredible Shrinking man

Distance 22km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1502.4km] Week 23

Thursday, 9-Jun. 10km. 
Earlier in the week it was pretty cold, only around 13C for daytime maximum. I usually run on a Monday but it was raining so I gave it a miss.
Thursday the weather was not looking all that good, intermittent rain through the day and low grey clouds racing across the sky, not very inspirational weather.
I set off from work at 4pm and the windscreen wipers were going on the drive home, I was in two minds whether to abandon tonight's run and just take it easy in the indoor warmth.
It is always a little drier in the west as most of the rain falls on the Adelaide hills and I noticed the ground was dry when I got home. To the beach it was then!
I ran 10km on the road Grange to West Beach caravan park and back. I could see rain pouring from the clouds out to sea but made it around without any coming down on me. Once again, it was dark by the time I got back.

Saturday, 11-Jun. 12km. 
Up a bit later today, slept a bit longer than usual. No sun coming through the window to wake me, cloudy outside. I got out for my run at just after 10am, the temperature was around 11C. I ran an all road course again, just extending my Thursday run by another kilometre each way. I was going to run further, all the way to Glenelg but I hit a patch of brick pavement close to the beach that was all worn by the sea spray exposing a sandpaper like surface, tiny pieces of shiny crystal pieces sticking up. This was very hard to run on and in the end I called it a day at that point. Next time I will bypass that area. The feet were fine when I got back just a little tender from some of the rough surfaces, they will be fine in a few hours.

My neighbour commented on that I seem to be losing weight, a few people have said that now. I wonder if barefoot running burns up more calories as you are using more muscles. I have probably dropped about 8kg in weight from last year, I am now just under 70kg. I need to eat more. I think since banana prices went through the roof and I abandoned them and I have been drinking the green smoothies which probably don't have a lot of calories in the weight has been falling. I'm not lacking in energy or anything though which would be a sign of under nourishment. I may book in for a check up at the doctors just to see everything is ok.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Weekend running

Distance 43.5km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1480.4km] Week 22

The weather this week was calm, plenty of blue sky during the day but quite cold at night, getting down to 6C and below.
On my usual work day I only put my shoes on as I get out of the car at work. I walk around at home and to the car and drive barefoot. It doesn't take long for the numbness to take hold while walking around on 6C concrete. I could still cover a few kilometres but I wouldn't want to be running longer distances.

Monday, 30-May. 5km
A pleasant sunny day but as I am working I miss most of it, instead shut in an air conditioned office. I escaped from work just after 4pm and got to the beach by 4.45pm, the sun would be up for another 25 minutes, better than nothing.
I did a beach run on the outgoing tide then came up onto the pavement for the return run getting some good speed up during the last kilometre.

Thursday, 2-Jun. 10km.
The warmest of the days this week, up to 21C at its high point. It is going to cool off and be much wetter over the next few days. I ran from Grange to West beach in an out and back. Feet were perfect. The sun was with me until the turnaround point when it sunk into the sea in the west. Darkness comes quite quickly, cars all had their headlights on and the street lamps were turning on as I ran back.
In the last kilometre I'm running in near darkness, concentrating on the ground directly in front of me, looking for small stones. I have to slow down as it gets darker as it is harder to judge the surface with lower visibility. I still get curious looks from a few people. It must be getting to the point now where I am a familiar sight and I don't cause any reaction.
I covered the distance in 27:43m out and 29m back (total 56:43) a couple of minutes better than last time.

Saturday, 5-Jun. 18.5km.
Far from the cold wet weather forecast the sun is shining, the sky is mainly blue.
I'm on my usual run, jetty to jetty along the beach then onto the bitumen and trails for 60% of the return journey.
I seem to be coping better with the cooler conditions, the pads on my feet went a bit numb but not too bad. I enjoy running the grass section on the return journey as I don't feel the cold on the grass, maybe the contact is much less.
I'm getting a bit better at the rocky trail section but I did manage to come down a bit heavy on my heel at one point.
I decided to squeeze in an extra 4km when I got back to my start point by running to the next jetty and back. I was feeling pretty tired by then an my form was starting to deteriorate.

Sunday, 6-Jun. 10km.
This time the rain did come and I got caught in it. It was a sunny but blowy day, in the distance across the sea, black clouds were moving in. I thought I may make it around without getting wet but I could see the rain coming down and I ran into it at around 5km. There were plenty of breaks in the clouds and the rain eased as I got closer to the end. The rain did make certain patches slippery, some of the tiled pavement that was less porous was something to take care on.
I was thankful to get back to my car at the end and get the heater on to revive the feet.
I may have a rest now until later in the week, it is getting colder so it won't be much fun in the cold, wet and dark.
The kilometres are piling up much faster now that I am not being hampered by shin pains and the many other injuries I picked up running in shoes.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cold feet

Distance 24.5km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1436.9km] Week 21

The rainy weather arrived this week so I curtailed the running as it isn't very inspirational running in the wet, cold and dark.
Thursday, 26-May. 10km
I did manage to get a 10km run in on the Thursday. I left work at 4pm so I could run in as much daylight as possible. I got to the beach at around 4.40pm. There were some dark looking rain clouds around but also enough gaps in the clouds to let the last of the sun shine through.
Now it is colder it is time to move out of the shorts and into warmer running gear. I put my compression leggings on and a long sleeve top over my T-shirt. I'm testing the idea that if you keep your body core warm, the heat might try to dissipate through the feet and keep them warmer while running. One myth that I thought I should check before committing to the blog is that of losing up to 40% of body heat through the head. It is in fact a myth, the head area as a percentage of the total body surface area is around 7% and the heat loss is proportional to that surface area ie 7%.

Saturday, 28-May. 14.5km
A misty start to the day, my thermometer was reading just 10C, pretty chilly, I wasn't going to get up early for a run that was for sure. I did make it down to the beach at 9am. The sand was cold and I was wondering how long it would be before my feet were numb. I kept up a short efficient stride. I kept trying to will heat into my feet. They did seem to go through different zones, numb cold, a bit warmer then back again. I am trying to resist wearing the VFF's but that will only work if my feet get accustomed to running on cold surfaces.
I got to Semaphore jetty in a time of 44 minutes, I climbed onto the jetty and felt some warmth in the wood. The sun was now out and adding a bit of energy to the darker surfaces, a bit of feeling came back to my soles.
I ran back along the foreshore then, as last week, along the back of the houses by the beach. The run is far more interesting on this route.Time 1:32:04
My feet are quite sore now due to the cold, the right more than the left. I have much harder skin on the forefoot pads on the right foot, this seems to get sore when cold and wet. It will be fine by tomorrow.
I stepped on a glass splinter while in the house yesterday, it stuck in my big toe and before long was gushing blood. I couldn't retrieve it with tweezers so waited for the blood to stop first, cleaned it up then picked around with a needle. I seem to have got it but I couldn't find a trace. So much for the dangers on the road outside!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rain on its way

Distance 39.9km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1412.4km] Week 20

Only just over another month to go before we hit the shortest day and I can then celebrate as the days get ever so slightly longer again, or rather, the daylight hours.
Of course that doesn't mean an improvement in the weather, the coldest part of the year is over the other side of the shortest day, anyway enough of wishing my life away.

Monday, 16-May. 9.4km
I've been looking for a course to run that is more road based rather than beach as the sand is going to get colder and in darkness more treacherous. I decided to run from just beyond the Grange sailing club where I park my car to the West Beach surf life saving club, I wasn't sure of the distance but I would go off time in this out and back run.
My splinter problem seems almost fixed now, whatever it was has either stopped irritating as it has come out or else the caustic pencil that I used on it has worked.
The distance from my park spot to the River Torrens outlet is about 3km, this is where I usually turn around and run up the beach. This time I continued over the bridge and along the walking path on the foreshore.
The ground was pretty cold and my feet were getting a bit numb underneath. When you are not getting good foot feedback you are never sure if you are rubbing up blisters or not, I was a bit worried as my foot felt a bit tender.
By the time I got to the turnaround point at nearly 30 mins the sun was was down, it would have sunk into the sea in the west but the clouds were blocking the view.
After a quick check of the feet I set of back, the feet were fine. I got back in a slightly quicker time. It was dark when I got back.
It was a good route to run as there are not many cars around and it is fairly easy to see glass and debris on the path as it is concrete. I measured it on Google and found it to be about 9.4km.

Wednesday, 17-May. 5km
A nice warm 21C today, that would keep the run a bit warmer under foot. The tide was high, sand soft and not much beach. I ran one direction on the soft sand to keep the balance skills up then came up onto the foreshore path to run back. I picked up some good speed in the last 0.5km and just collapsed onto a bench at the end gasping for air. It's hard to describe how good it feels to run at speed barefoot, you just feel so light and springy. It is something I couldn't have ever even imagined a couple of years ago.
So, while the debate still rages between podiatrist and advocates of more natural running about who has to prove their case all I can say is that the evidence I have discovered is that barefoot running is far better for me than running is padded shoes. I have learned how to run properly and I am now free of the injuries I suffered from for years. Of course it takes persistence and learning from mistakes but once you learn, it is like riding a bicycle, you don't forget. It is as liberating as running itself. With running, distances are not daunting, now to be able to do it barefoot is on another plateau again.

A last gasp of warm autumnal weather this week with temperatures in the mid 20's but the wind of change is blowing outside and with it comes the cold and wet weather so I decided to put as many kilometres in as I could before the wet weather arrives.

Friday, 19-May. 10km
I ran my all road route from Grange to the West Beach holiday park, unlike last time there was a bit of warmth in the ground with made the run far more enjoyable.
I extended to the run I did last time covering exactly 10km. As I managed to escape from work at just after 4pm and arrive at my start point by 4.45pm I had the sun out for over half the distance.
I was running through semi darkness in the last kilometre so I had to keep my eyes on the ground in front of me, scanning for potential sharp bits

Saturday, 20-May. 15.5km
It was due to reach 26C today and be blowy with the change coming in by evening. I did my usual beach run and covered a distance of 15.5 km by adding some extra distance at the beginning and end.
The northerly wind had not gained strength as I set off, there were bits of rain in the air and it was a little chilly early on.
On the way back I took a different way, running first on the foreshore pathway then behind the houses that back onto the beach. There is always a strip of land that is owned by the council between the houses and the sand dunes. The home owners sometimes like to give the illusion that they own the land (which they do not) and grow plant in the area. I just ran straight through and it was a good trail, grass and sand and trees that offer shelter from the wind. It also takes away the long distance you can see when you are on the featureless beach so that is good.
I gave the lower legs a good soak in the now chilly sea when I got back to squeeze out any stiffness.
I will rest now for a few days while the wet weather comes in and see what conditions are like towards the end of the week.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weekly update.

Distance 26.5km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1372.5km] Week 19

A wet wintery week didn't see a lot of running but since the last time I have managed the following:

Monday, 9-May. 5km. 
This would be the best of the days during the week, the weather was due to change tomorrow, rain and cold weather pushing in from the south.
Only a short run this evening, not much sun around at 5pm and a bit breezy from the south but still dry. The beach was good for running, good flat stretches as the tide appeared to be out. I didn't bother bringing my stopwatch out tonight but I did manage to pick up a bit of speed when I got into a race with a runner going in the same direction along the beach.
He passed me as I was having a short breath catching stop under the Henley jetty. I didn't immediately give chase but waited for him to get a good 200m distance away. I managed to overtake him around the midway point between jetties. Once I do this I have a policy of 'never look back' I must keep up my passing speed or even increase it to thoroughly disillusion the opposition. By the end I was flying along the sand and kept my eyes down so I didn't have to look at the jetty and see what distance I had to run. Only once I got to the jetty did I allow myself to look back. The other runner was about 100m behind, hopefully I made him pick up his speed as well, maybe a win win, I don't know.
Well the rain arrived on the Tuesday, it poured on Wednesday as well and also on the Thursday. Finally, on the Friday it stopped in the afternoon.

Friday. 13-May. 7km
I went out after finishing work and ran 7km. The sun didn't stay up long. I set out running along the road for 3km then turned onto the beach. I think sunset is around 5.30pm, I set off at around 5.10pm so by the time I got to run back along the beach the sun was down. As it was also cloudy it made it darker than normal. By the time I was at the halfway point there was not much light around and the beach was largely empty. I got to Grange jetty in the dark, there were lights coming from the nearby pub and cafe and some small lights along the jetty but the beach was dark. I walked back the final 500m to the car not willing to risk running in the dark and standing on something I couldn't see.

Saturday, 14-May. 14.5km
I put in my 14.5km today. The sand was cold and my feet numb by the time I reached Semaphore jetty. I was actually looking forward to running on the bitumen as it might be a bit warmer than the sand. It was slightly warmer but my feet were so numb underneath I found it hard to get the right feedback from my soles. Back on the beach for the final 6km home I was running into a cold southerly wind. I shortened my stride and tried a faster cadence as I wanted to get out of the wind and away from the wind chill. I was glad to get back, I did a time of 1:32h but there were a few exploratory diversions along the way. I didn't hang around to stretch but jumped straight in the car and put the heater on and blew warm air on my cold feet.
I've had enough winter already and it hasn't even begun yet.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Splinter gone?

Distance 25.5km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1346km] Week 18

Wednesday, 4-May 4km

During the week I was still being tormented by a nerve irritating splinter in my right foot near the small toes.
It always seems to hurt more after I have been sitting for a while or when I get out of bed in the morning.
I have gone over the area and found nothing except a hard bit of skin which is the source of the pain.
I went for a short 4km run on Wednesday to see how it would go.
I was aware of it and it is almost like listening for a dripping tap at night, once you have felt it you are waiting for it again.
I tried to run as lightly as possible but I could feel it each time my foot hit the ground. I had planned to run a 7km run today but cut it short as it was hurting a bit too much on the hard surface. The beach was much easier to run on despite the tide being right in. It must have hit the high point and was now slightly receding giving me just enough wet sand to get some traction.
I put in a good effort and felt like I was flying along. I walked the last bit of the course along the pavement as I knew as soon as I put pressure back on the pad, the pain would be like a needle.

Thursday, 5-May. 0km
Thursday: I rested but had a good dig around the pain spot with some nail clippers, chopping away at the hard spot. I covered it in Betadine after just in case.
I rested again on Friday.

Saturday, 7-May. 14.5km
A nice sunny morning. I would go to the beach today and do a 12km at least. If I felt good I'd try to extend it. The pain from the 'splinter' was mild today but I did have some pain in the back area of my right leg due to my modified walking. I needed to get back in balance.
The beach run went great. I just concentrated on form and soon enough all the pains disappeared from the legs. I decided I could go a bit further so added an extra 1.25km each way making it a total of 14.5km. I put in a kilometre on the road and that went well to, the pain was fading, I felt light and springy.
I got back in a time of 1:28:14h which was quite good for a relaxed run. I think it may have also done the trick of dislodging whatever was causing the irritation to my foot.
Back to joyful running again.

Sunday, 8-May. 7km
 I left my run until the afternoon when the sun has had chance to warm the pavement and beach. I did a 7km run along the pavement and back along the beach. I still have the splinter pain in my forefoot pad, I've not managed to shift it yet. I can run on it if I keep nice and light. I still can't work out why it hurts more in the morning after I get out of bed then fades once I walk around for a while. (post added)


Sunday, May 1, 2011


Distance 16.5km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1320.5km] Week 17

Monday, 25-Apr. 6km
The irritation was back, just between the smallest toe and the next one and about 1cm back onto the pad. I think it may be just a callous that I've rubbed a bit hard during the run.

Tuesday, 26-Apr. 6km
On the Tuesday I went for a run in the afternoon, giving the ground a bit of time to warm up. Once again I did a short 6km and was aware of the irritation underfoot. I gave the foot a soak in warm salty water during the evening.

Wednesday. 27-Apr. 0km
It seems to be feeling better now, still there in the background but diminished. It looks like I did need a bit more rest after the run.
I should be fine for Sunday 1st of May which is more than can be said for the weather forecast which is telling of cold and rain. Earlier in the week it was going to be warm and rainy but now they have subtracted about 5C from the top temperature.
My IBRD t-shirt arrived so I can look the part on Sunday.

Sunday, 1-May. 4km
Well, it has arrived, International Barefoot Running Day (IBRD) the first attempt at getting everyone out for a barefoot run on the same day.
The forecast was not looking good over the weekend, the rain started on the Friday night and went into Saturday morning  but then cleared and just left grey cloud.
Would the rain hold off for Sunday was the question I had on my mind as I went to bed on Saturday night. The answer came on Sunday morning, no, it was pouring down. Maybe it would ease off and stop by 10am I hoped.
I got a call from a friend of mine who said he was at the meeting place early, I threw some gear into a bag and set off for Grange.
The rain was coming down quite hard, the cars wipers were going and I had my headlights on. I parked up in the car park near the cafe. The rain was coming down steadily. I saw my friend getting out of his car and we looked around for some shelter. There was a plastic sun shade on the grass by the beach so we headed over there and waited to see if any others would turn up.
Shortly after David turned up with some VFF's, he was still fairly new to barefoot/minimalist running and was trying to get a feel for it. A little later Andrew and another Andrew turned up, one rather bravely cycling the 13km from the city in the pouring rain.
More people started to show up shoeless and I thought wow, news must have travelled further, around 10 others were now sheltering under the roof. But, no, they were not here for the IBRD they were just there for soccer training on the beach.
After introductions and a bit of background information swapping we all agreed that we could cope with the 2km of road run and 2km of beach.
It was actually very enjoyable running through the rain and puddles, it wasn't cold, it was around 16C and by the time we got to Henley the rain has eased off. Everyone got there in one piece without any injuries.
A brief rest there then onto the different surface of the beach. The tide was out and it felt great running up the beach in a group.
 Chris, David, Neil and Andrew on IBRD Grange looking wet

Chris, David, Andrew and Andrew IBRD 4km Run

All 5 of us made it back in one piece, there may be the odd stiff calf next week but all enjoyed it and we rewarded ourself with a coffee at the local cafe before heading home.

Thursday:  I fitted in a quick 8km run along the beach as it would be the last of the good weather before the rain came in over the weekend. Foot felt fine after, the irritation has abated.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Athelstone 10km

Distance 14.5km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1304km] Week 16

Tuesday, 19-Apr. 4.5km
A short run at the beach, only 4.5km. The tide was high and there was no firm sand to run on and in places the tide was right up to the sea wall. Perseverance under these conditions is not worth it so I came up onto the road to run on the pavement. I spotted another barefoot runner on the pavement further up, maybe there are a few around, now that I have been a regular fixture running up and down the road for over a year now.
I really got some good speed up in the last kilometre and felt like I was flying along. It really feels good to be moving at speed.
The Good Friday race is close now. It looks like it will be the coolest of the days over Easter at only 19C, may even rain. I am still keen to give it a try.

Friday, 22-Apr. 10km
While most people are having a lie in on a day off I was up early preparing for a 10km race over the other side of the city.
This was a free casual run and I said to myself if I woke up today to the sound of lashing rain I would give it a miss and just stay in bed myself.
At 6am I looked outside and it was dry so I had some breakfast and threw some things together and set off at 7am.
The roads were pretty empty at that time of the morning which made the travelling quick and easy.

Athelstone is in the Adelaide foothills and as I approached I could see the low cloud over the hills.
The roads were wet from earlier rain and as I got closer to the start point fine drizzle coated my windscreen.
I got there with 30 minutes to kill so had a wander around as all the runners were looking very professional and limbering up.
It's all looking very technical there days, gel packs, belts with drink bottles on, wet weather gear and there's me shorts and a t-shirt and that's it.
There were 2 courses to chose from, the River Flats course or the more challenging hilly route. Stick to the River run as the hill run would be gravel, wet gravel at that.
10 minutes before setting off it was raining steadily. Lets see if I am any better at running in the wet these days.
The course went along some small back streets before following the linear park along the River Torrens in a westerly direction.
One thing I learned was to avoid running on the white line markings in the middle of the path, they were as slippery as a banana peel when wet.
The course was far from flat, it was more undulating, lots of ups and downs. The rain held off for the first half of the run but poured down over the second 5km, I was soaked.
I had been aiming to see if I could run the course in under 1 hour and by the time I got back to the start point and stopped my watch I recorded a time of 51m 17.9s wow that was great, very pleased with that. If it had been dry I think I could have managed under 50 minutes.
I'll mark this down as another race I'll have to do next year.

Saturday, 23-Apr. 0km
I noticed that the day after my 10km run that I had a bit of soreness on the pad of the right foot. I gave it a thorough clean to look for possible puncture points where some irritant may have entered.
There was a bit of wear and tear on the forefoot, probably needed a few days to rebuild after a race, but didn't see anything that indicated I'd stood on a sharp object.