Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hot week

Distance 44.4km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 2123.9km] Week 4
Monday, 23-Jan. 10km
The summer heat is here now, a week of above 30C temperatures. I went for a run later in the evening when it had cooled of to around 30C. This was a road training run, the ground was warm but not blisteringly hot although by the end I found I had produced some more blisters on my big toe and one on my forefoot pad. It is the calluses that are causing the problem, they are painful to put weight on so I avoid landing in that spot and so put pressure on another area. It all still stems from the ankle tendon injury and how I have been favoring the other leg. The run started off well but got more painful on the way back as my form started to suffer.

Thursday, 26-Jan. 15km
Ah a perfect morning, it cooled off overnight to around 20C or below. I woke up at 7am, that was the time for the start of the Australia day run from Brighton to Hallet Cove that I ran last year. My subconscious mind must have decided I was not up for it this year. So instead of getting up really early and running 16km, up and down steps I did a much flatter 15km along the beach. Being Australia Day the beach was a popular destination and many families were out walking and swimming by the time I got for my run at 8.30am. I had in the back of my mind that I might run up to 18km if the blister on my foot didn't give me any indication it would get worse. I had the wind at my back on the way out so felt like I was sweating far more than running against the wind. The feet held up well on the way out, it was only at the 15km mark I was feeling a little tired and the blister complained a bit. I ended my run there. I bought a scrubber the other day to file away the callus buildup on the outer edge of the small toe on the left foot and also on the big toe on the right foot. I used it last night and took away a lot of the skin that had built up during my ankle injury, it felt much better. I need to do it again to get back to pre-injury level. My time for the run was 1hr 36m 15s (that included a bit of walking too) I need to bring it back to around 1hr 20m for the distance.
I've done no speed training since my injury so I think even the short Beach Bash will not see me beat last years time.
Saturday, 28-Jan. 13.4km
Not much of a cool down over night, it was 29C when I got to the beach this morning. I didn't feel all that energetic after a late night, a few beers and an Indian meal. The tide was just off hits high mark and there was a thin band of wet squidgy sand to run on which was occupied by all the beach walkers and numerous dogs. I ran north but felt tired and hot. I find running in hot weather in the evening easier than first thing in the morning, I'll put this down to the body clock. After watching a TV programs on the body's 24 hour cycle apparently exercising in the early morning is not the best time, in fact it can be more dangerous for the health, the optimum time is the late afternoon which is when I do a majority of my running. I had intended to run up to Semaphore but got halfway and thought 'this is too hard' so decided to head back and try to extend the run in the other direction depending on how I felt by the time I hit my start point. It was a better idea. I had a good burst of speed on the back end of the run. I came off the beach at Henley and ran back along the pavement  for the last 1.5km.
I put in another 3.4km just before dusk when a brief shower cooled off the pavement, I ran 4 pavement laps on the street that surrounds the sports field where I live, 0.85km per lap
Sunday, 29-Jan. 6km
The humidity caused me a sleepless night, the temperature didn't drop much and the fan didn't really cool me of.
I had a early breakfast and headed off to West Lakes to do a lap of the lake before heading to the gym. This was a no pressure run, just taking it nice and easy with running form taking precedent over speed. I was quite pleased with the run, I felt more balanced, I wasn't running on the edge of my foot and irritating the callus and the old blister was not getting any extra pressure.
I did some leg exercises at the gym, mainly weighted lunges and some Leg pushes and calf work. My right calf seems more defined than the left which is odd as the right leg was that one with the ankle problem.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Short Week

Distance 13km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 2079.5km] Week 3

Monday, 16-Jan, 13km.
A warm one today. 30C when I got to the beach, how long could I run in this temperature with no water. The tide was on its way out so I had some firm sand to run on. There were plenty of people out on the beach, you kind of forget this when you spend all day at work. I ran north up to Semaphore then turned around, if I had enough energy I figured I'd run past my start point and on to Henley jetty then turn around again and go to the start. As it turned out I was feeling pretty tired in the warm weather, by the time I stopped for a breather, under Grange jetty I'd run around 12.5km with no water and my calves were starting to feel a bit stiff. I was also mindful of the amount of time I have been out in the full sun, it's almost midday and even though I have sunscreen on I've been out for over an hour. I jogged back to my start point and called it a day, another 3.5km might finish me off. My time for the 13km was 1hr 15m. I managed to keep my heart rate between the training zones and recorded almost exactly the same times for the out and back directions. My average heart rate was faster coming back, the heat must have been having an effect.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sciatic nerve calf problem

Distance 23km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 2079.5km] Week 2

Wednesday, 11-Jan. 10km.
A very windy late afternoon as I drove to the beach. The sand was soft and the wind whipping the sand around wouldn't make the best running experience so I stuck to the pavements. The sun had been out for most of the day and it was still clear, if the wind had not been blowing the running surface would have been a lot hotter than it was. As it was there were only a few spots where I started to worry about burning my feet. I ran from Grange to West Beach caravan park, a quick 10km round trip. My feet started to get very tender on the return journey, I'm wondering if I am running with too wide a stride. Even though I'm landing on my forefoot I was aware of friction in the front of my feet and even managed to rub a blister up on my right big toe. I think it is also due to still not having enough ankle strength in the injured area and not lifting the toe from the ground before the weight gets taken on the foot. Barefoot running id forever a learning experience, refinement and testing.

Saturday, 14-Jan. 13km.
I am re-assessing what the left leg calf tightness was caused by.... Not an electrolyte deficiency but more like a back problem and my old friend the sciatic nerve. I have probably jarred it while lifting weights in the gym and while not giving direct pain in the back it is giving a stiffness in the calf. It is in the same leg where the sciatic problems have appeared in the past. What alerted me was while doing warm-up leg swings, I couldn't swing the left leg as freely. I had a good run today, the morning weather was cool and clear, I ran 13km and felt good at the end. Nice short stride and I recorded a better time than last week. I may have to rest for a week until my back calms down.


Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year

Distance 24.8km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 2056.5km] Week 1

Tuesday, 3-Jan. 8km
After a few days of 35C days the cooler relief was on it's way. I checked a tidal website to see when low tide would be at the local beach then timed my run to coincide, running on the pavement would be too hot today, blistered feet would be guaranteed. I got to the beach at 3.30pm, the tide was out as predicted so I had some flat sand to run on. It was still warm, 30C so decided to take it nice and easy. I played a little game of tortoise and the hare with a runner who tore past me as I made my way down the beach. I just kept a steady efficient pace, monitoring my form all the while. The hare ran out of puff and stopped, I was closing the distance. As I got around 5m from him he took off again, I knew he wouldn't last long, sure enough after 150m he stopped to walk again. I caught up and passed him, this spurred him on once more and he ran past me and again after 100m he stopped to walk, I passed again, I was wearing him out. He made one last attempt in our 2km run and was running level with me. I just concentrated on the pace and form and kept going, when I got a further 1.5km to have a rest there was no sign of him. I knew that a combination of a good efficient cadence and not having clunky running shoes on must pay off over the longer distance.
I bought an powdered electrolyte drink so I can replenish any lost salts and minerals in the hot weather, hopefully it will ward off any muscle cramps similar to the one I had a month ago that is only now starting to get back to full strength.

Wednesday, 4-Jan. 7.8km
This should be the coolest day of the week so it would be the day I tackle Mount Lofty, the high point in the Adelaide hills. The climb would be 432m over 3.5km. I arrived at Waterfall Gully, the start point of the trail at 10.30am, it was around 22C, perfect temperature. The run takes you to the top of the waterfall then into the forest for the steep climb with a few flat relief points. They have changed the surface from the last time I walked up here. On the steep sections that were formerly gravel they have changed it to a fixed surface, obviously made for people wearing boots, when barefoot it's whole different story. The surface is a series of concrete slabs embedded with prominent sharp stones to give grip to boots, my feet tackled it but only just, they were feeling a bit tender by the time I reached the top. There was no way they would be able to take the decent where it is harder to control your landing. I decided to take a less well used side trail that would add a bit of distance but hopefully would be easier on my feet. It was only marginally easier, this trail was spread with small sharp stones and was quite hot from baking in the full sun, I made very slow time and started to get thirsty as I brought no water with me. I was only around 2.5km from the trail end so I wasn't worried about that, more worrying was the surface temperature which had increased substantially since I started on my run. My feet felt like they were scorching underneath and I was so glad to get off the rough trail and onto some smooth stone at the end. This would be memorable for being one of the toughest barefoot runs I've done, next time it will be in Vibrams, no point being a hero. I shall now pamper my feet and let them relax tomorrow, maybe take them out on Saturday for a run. Another point of interest is my calf felt fine, could this be due to the extra potassium from the electrolyte drink?

Halfway up Waterfall Gully trail
Feet Make it to the top of Mount Lofty
Still in one piece, just

Lizard on a side trail
Saturday, 7-Jan. 9k
The weather forecast was for early rain so I stirred myself up early, had some breakfast and got ready for a longer beach run. I had planned a 12.5km run but I ran out of energy at 9k and walked the remaining distance back. The factors that sapped my energy was the warm start to the day, 28C and the blowing northerly wind that just sucked the moisture from my lungs and throat. In the end it didn't rain, except for 1 or 2 spots. On the way back I got to around 9km and just felt tired, I've not build the distance up in my legs yet and after the Wednesday climb and foot tenderness there was no point pushing it. I walked the remaining 3.5km back to the start.
I noticed that I had a lump of hard skin on my left foot near my small toe, it looks like a bunion but it can't be can it? I think it may have been caused either by the run on Wednesday or else my landing style due to my ankle problems over the past few months. I have probably been landing heavier on that foot and towards the edge of the foot rather than the ball of the foot.

Just about see the lump on outer edge of foot

You will have to excuse the dirty underside of the foot shot but that is what you get when you walk around barefoot most of the day.

More noticeable is the small toe pointing inwards

Sunday, January 1, 2012

1250km for the year

Distance 29.5km [total: minimalist 256.3km: Barefoot 2031.7km] Week 52 last week

Tuesday, 27-Dec. 12.5km
Hey, it looks like I have more weeks in my year than I should have, not to worry, I'll re-zero it again in January, this time it should work out more cleanly as the 1st of Jan is on a Monday which it the beginning of my week.
The winds of yesterday have dissipated, they sky is full of dark clouds but it's not cold, good running weather.
My legs are starting to feel better, I am still wary about loading up my calf and kept well within my training zone. The ankle is much stronger now, still some pain when running but nothing after so that means I am not causing problems with the running.
Now that I've got the Christmas race behind me

Wednesday, 28th-Dec. 7km
How quickly one forgets about how hot surfaces get with a bit of sun on them. I got a timely reminder today. Most of my running takes place in the early evening or early morning so I don't have chance to run on hot surfaces. As I am on holiday I can now do silly things like run in the middle of the day when it is warm. I set off on a run at around 11.30am, it was already about 27C. The ground was runnable, warm but not hot. I'd already covered around 3km when I had to cross the bitumen road, that was hot so I raced across it. The brick paving under my feet was beginning to feel hotter but then it was back to some cooler concrete. About 500m from my turnaround point the concrete ended and I was back onto brick, I ran about 20 metres and thought shit, that's hot I stopped to consider my options, standing still was not an option, I started walking looking for a way down onto the beach, next exit around 50m away. I wasn't going to last walking, my feet would be blistered by the time I made it to the steps. I had to run, wow did it feel hot. I got to my turn around point and knew there was no way I could run back on the brick and concrete so I headed down to the beach. The water was a relief to my sore feet. I ran around 2km back before the sore feet stopped me and I walked the remaining 3km.
The temperature is going to get hotter during the week leading up to a 41C day on Sunday.

Saturday, 31-Dec. 10km
Beat the heat, breakfast early and at the beach before 8am, still feels warm, 28C apparently, by the time I was finished at 9am it was 31C phew. I had to run on the road today as the tide was in and the sand soft, not very good. I had planned a long run to Semaphore but instead ran to West Beach. This time I didn't burn my feet, the ground was a good temperature, give it a few hours and that would all change. I've still got some small blood blisters on my pads that I must have got a week or so ago and they hurt to run on. I've managed to run 1250km this year, a big increase on last year. I would like to break the 1000 mile per year to get my certificate from the BRS. I probably could have done it this year except for the injuries in the latter half.
I am hoping 2012 brings more maturity to my barefoot running and I can get through the year with less injuries.
Sunday - New Years Day. No running today it's a hot day, already over 40C outside and it will be hotter by the late afternoon. A good day to rest.