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.