Sunday, March 27, 2011

Island loop

Distance 38.3km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1166.7km] Week 12

Tuesday, 22-Mar. 7.7km
A day off work always feels good, this one was because I had put an effort in to get a job out on time they gave me a 'free' day that doesn't come off my holiday time, very nice.
The weather was a bit changeable today but I managed to get out for a run before the rain came in. Tomorrow is going to be wetter again so choosing today as my free day was probably fortunate.
As a change I decided to have a run around the lake at West Lakes. The last time I did this was a couple of weeks leading up to Christmas as a bit of training run for my race on Christmas day.
That training run didn't go all that well, I ended up with sore feet and ankle.
This time it was no problem. I extended the run out by adding some extra distance on at the top end of the lake I covered a distance (Google measured so its probably more than this) of 7.7km in a time of 45:05m or 5:51m/km average heart rate 137bpm.
I got one comment from a runner going the other way asking if my feet were ok, 'Fine' I replied, I could have been clever and came out with 'what! I've forgotten my shoes, oh dear' but be nice I told myself.

Thursday, 24-Mar. 8km
the weather has been very wintery this week, wet and blowing wind, very unusual for March, more so in that Perth, some 2000km to the west is enduring a drought and has had a few months of temperatures above 30C now.
In Adelaide the weather is like Perth but 3 days later, not now it seems. We are stuck in cold weather patterns.
I covered 8km on Thursday evening 4km on road and 4km on beach. I put in a good effort on the road as I gave chase to a fellow runner but didn't catch her in the end , I had to run a slightly less direct course to stay on the paved surface as the road was very rough in places.
The tide was high on the beach section of the run and I could see more erosion of the sand dunes due to the stormy weather through the week. All the sand manipulation and drift fencing put up by the council will not stop the ocean going where it wants to.

Saturday, 26-Mar. 12km
I ran a shorter distance today, only 12km as I was due to meet a friend of mine after the run so that he could film my running style with his camera to make sure that I have the right form.
The sand was cold today and my feet were numb after the first kilometre. How the hell do you warm your feet up. I must admit I do not like running with cold feet.
On the way back I was running into the cold southerly wind so to conserve my energy I kept my steps short and quick and before I knew it I was back.
I met up with my friend at 9.30am and went back to the beach to do a few runs up and down on the sand to see if my feet were landing under or in front of my body. I will have to slow the video down to really get a good idea of what is going on. I shall post in once I have it edited.

Sunday, 27-Mar. 10.6km
Just started reading the book Slow Burn, lent to me by a friend who said it was well worth a read. I always devour books on running and so I am about a quarter of the way through so far.
One thing I have picked up on is that you should not pressure yourself on every run to beat previous times, instead enjoy the art of running, look around you, observe the scenery, the sounds and smells. If you make the experience enjoyable you will be eager to get out and do it again.

For todays run I decided to run around the lake at West Lakes again, take it easy, relax and enjoy. It definitely works, it becomes like an exploration adventure. I increased the distance from what I ran the previous time around the from 7.7km to 10.5km by doing a loop of Delfin Island, a man made island full of snazzy homes in a man made lake.
It was nice and quiet running around the roads, people mainly drive, not many walk these days.

A triathlon was under-way around the south part of the lake, quite a large gathering by the look of it. I got to run alongside the runners on their run leg of the race, that must have brought them some amusement. I passed one or two before I peeled off and made my way back to the car.
That was a nice easy 10km and it took me around 61minutes, a good fat burning pace.

sn't it amazing how ruthlessly efficient the body is when it comes to allocating resources.
What do I mean by that, well, let me explain.
Over the past 2-3 weeks I have stepped up my running as the weather had been just right, at the same time I have been doing less gym workouts, after all it is nicer to be out in the open air rather than in a sweaty gym with steroid taking blokes grunting over weights.
When I get back to the gym (it's not been a complete break just less times per week) I find that I can hardly lift anything, or rather my weights are 30% below what I was lifting a month ago. It seems that my body has said 'umm, we don't need all this muscle in the arms, chest and shoulders to run so lets remove it and put it into the legs that seem to be being used'. So while my running has been improving my gym work has been going backward, my arms have shrunk back and strength evaporated. When I weighed myself at one point during the week I found my weight had slipped momentarily below 70kg (a year ago my weight was 77kg) wow, just from running.
Isn't that easy, no expensive trainers, diets or any other weird and wonderful things, just putting one foot in front of the other.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Perfect temperature

Distance 41km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1128.4km] Week 11

Monday, 14-Mar. 2km
Monday is a public holiday here in South Australia and its celebrating a horse race, the Adelaide Cup, not that I have much interest in horse racing and betting but it is nice to have a day off.
It was a warm day today, up around 30C. I didn't go on any long runs today just some laps on my local field.
I didn't even take my stopwatch. I ran 5 laps at a pace that left me gasping for breath after each lap. I had a rest of around 3-4 minutes between laps to let my heart rate drop.
After the loops of field I did some Pose drills along with some 80m sprints.
I would guess I would have been out for around an hour in total.
It was tough work in the heat and great to finish at the end.

Wednesday, 16-Mar. 8km
8km run along the road and beach.
I don't know why, but at this time of year it seems that the tide is always high at around the time I am running along the beach, that is about 5.30pm.The sand was soft and I felt a bit tired by the end of the run.

Friday, 18-Mar. 12.5km
For one reason or another, including laziness, I have not run home from work since last year.
I do tend to choose Friday as the day I get my car serviced, book appointments that require I drive into work.
Friday is the only day of the week when I don't have an allocated car park at work and so I have to park on the street and am at the mercy of the very enthusiastic parking inspectors.
Anyway, today I did manage to bring my gear in and ran home.The weather was good, about 23C and cloudy.
My running felt much better than I remember it being the last time I ran home. No stopping at all except to remove the VFF's once out of the city.
It always takes me a while to re-adjust once the VFFs come off and the bare foot hits the bitumen, my feet are sensitive but this is probably a good thing as it makes me more cautious.
The feet made it back in perfect condition.
I got one comment from an older couple when I was running along the linear park, he saw my feet and said you'll get in trouble, I told him I was a professional :-)

Saturday, 19-Mar. 14.5km
A beautiful morning for running 16C, the tide at a low point so lots of flat wet sand to run on.
It's getting darker in the mornings now that we are in Autumn, soon we will come off Summer Time and back to standard, we gain an hour in the morning, 8am becomes 7am. I think we still have a couple of weeks before that happens.
I got to the beach at nearly dead on 8am, parking the car is easier now as not as many people want that early morning coffee by the beach.
The jetty to jetty run is much easier these days, I've run the distance several times now and my stamina must have built up.
Now my challenge is the longer 17.5km run, I may try that on alternate weeks.
There was a big surf life saving carnival on at the Semaphore end of the run, there must have been well over 1000 people on the beach, it was quite a surprise as usually you only see one or two people up here.
I felt quite fresh when I got to the jetty and began my run back, even on the way back I stopped for a couple of minutes only.
I covered the distance in 1:25:52 a good time, probably my best over the distance (barefoot that is).
I wonder what it is going to be like when the winter cold comes back, will I be able to still do the long distances?

Sunday, 20-Mar. 4km
 I did my short faster training, after a warm-up jog of 0.5km I ran south from Grange to Henley and managed a time of 9:56m on the return I managed 10:10m. There was plenty of flat wet sand to run on this morning, only the usual amount of dodging canines that were racing around on the beach.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Longest Yet

Distance 37.5km [total: minimalist 132km: Barefoot 1087.4km] Week 10

Monday, 7-Mar. 7km
Could this be the last of the warm days? it got to 34C today, felt humid and a change is on the way with a bit of rain this evening.
I got to the beach and the tide was coming in and near its high point, the soft sand looked like hard work and the heat would make it worse so I stuck to the roads and pavements for my evening run. They were not too hot, just around the comfortable level.
From where I park my car on the Esplanade it is 3.15km to the turn point. It took me 17:47m to get there, the way back the distance is 4.05km and that took 23:24m.

Thursday, 10-Mar. 8km
The Autumn weather is here now, cooler nights, which is much better for sleeping and daytime temperatures staying in the mid to high 20's Celsius.
The summer seems to have whizzed by very quickly this year I think the odd weather patterns gave this feeling.
Autumn should be a much better time for running as the extreme heat will be at an end so no blistered feet on hot bitumen.
An enjoyable 8km run, half road half beach. The sand was nice and firm this evening and was a pleasure to run on, like a velvet carpet.
As you can see from the photo below I was trialling my new virtual footwear. Yes, these are my Nike Free barefoot runners, didn't cost me a cent and I think I'll get quite a few years wear out of them.
Not a scratch after 8km training run.

The results for the Beach Bash have been published. As I suspected, I slipped back in the placings but I improved my time by around 14% on last year. Part of that would have been the better conditions so to get a better gauge I looked for other people that also ran the race on both occasions.
The second place finished managed an 11% improvement on last year so that means I am catching up.
My finish time was 20:41m for the 4km, the winner recorded 15:41 so I have quite a bit of work to do there.
I placed 30th out of 116 runners.
I would like to knock 60s off for next years race.

Saturday, 12-Mar. 17.5km
My Saturday run has become my long run of the week and so far has stretched out to 14.5km.
I wanted to just see if I could extend this a bit further so I thought I'd take in another jetty.
I have been running from Grange to Semaphore jetty, the next one along is Largs jetty, I wasn't sure how much further past it was, I guessed at another kilometre.
I got to the beach at 8.15am, it was a nice cool start to the day, ideal for running. I set off slowly to warm up the joints, the ankles sometimes feel stiff after a night in bed. I avoided clock watching during the run, distance was more what I was interested in than time.
I ram all the way, no stopping, past Semaphore jetty then onto Largs, there I stopped for a few minutes to rest before setting off back again.
I recorded 55:18m outbound and 55:38m back which is odd as I had a few rest breaks on the way back, all I can assume is that I was running faster on the way back but then tiring myself and needing to rest.
I measured the extra distance on Google Earth and it came out at 1.59km each way, so and extra 3km marking my run 17.5km, that would be my longest single run in about 20+ years.

Sunday, 13-Mar. 5km
I did a short run of 5km today, at higher speed. The humidity was noticeably higher today (69%). As I did some warm ups near the car I noticed a few runner go past bathed in sweat. I timed myself between jetties and they came out at 10:40m & 10:54m but both included some walking time as the humidity got the better of me.
What I have noticed is that I am getting more of what I would call a loping gait, similar to how the Africans run, so its not a short choppy stride but longer, springy and relaxed but quite fast.
This is what I need to have ingrained in my brain as 'my' real running style from now on.

On an historical note!
Who is that wet looking, heel striking (ouch), shoe wearing mystery man.

Yup You guessed it, a photo from 1987 'Tour' race

You can tell it is England for, as usual, it is raining.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Henley Beach Bash 2011

Distance 26.5km [total: minimalist 132km: Barefoot 1049.9km] Week 9

Wednesday, 2-Mar. 8km 
Ran a nice gentle 8km along the beach. Nothing stressful that would slow me down on the Friday

Friday, 4-Mar. 4km
From the weather forecast I had read earlier in the week I was expecting strong southerly winds for the race but it actually turned out idyllic, just a gentle southerly breeze and around 25C.
I turned up at Henley at 6pm and registered then did a few warm ups, trying to make sure I could keep the adrenaline under control until I needed it.
Not many barefoot runners, only one other person I saw without shoes.
There was much more sand on the beach this year, it was high tide but there was still plenty of sand to run on, of course it was soft sand.
There was two metres of wet sand where the tide was retreating so I stuck to that as much as I could.
This was what I would call a lung burning experience, I think almost from the first 5 minutes my heart rate was above my usual training zone and my sports watch was beeping furiously.
My throat was dry as paper by the time I got to the jetty at Grange but I didn't stop for water as it would have only slowed me down, I could choke on for another couple of kilometres.

Almost there

What a relief to get to the end! I believe I managed to knock around 4 minutes off my time from last year, part of that may have been due to better conditions but some to better running technique.
Position wise I don't thing I will have improved on last year, I may have fallen back in the pack even. I shall wait for the results to appear in a few days to see the outcome.

Saturday, 5-Mar. 14.5km
On Saturday morning I did my usual beach run of 14.5km. What I found interesting was that I was just going to run in a slow steady manner and not attempt to better any times for the distance.
I didn't keep glancing down at my watch to see what my time was like at certain points, the only time I did check my watch was when I got to the midway point, and behold I had beat the times when I pressure myself to run faster. It took me 43:58m running one way and 43:22m back, pretty consistent.

Over the weekend I did a bit of hiking in the VFFs, not a huge distance but a lot of steep climbs and descents in the Adelaide Hills.
I'd not worn the VFFs for what seems like ages, must be well over 6 months and so I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable they felt. I had contemplated walking barefoot but the Aussie trails are not barefoot friendly, they are hot and full of jagged rocks, thorny plants. The VFFs give a great feeling of stability.
My calves felt a bit sore next day but that quickly went away.