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.