Sunday, April 29, 2012

Last week of April

Distance 52.6km [total: minimalist 269.6km: Barefoot 2674.9km] Week 17

Wednesday, 25-Apr. 18.5km

ANZAC Day holiday and I can hear the early morning rain, there to greet the people at the dawn services for the war remembrance. Wen eventually I got out of bed I was surprised to find it wasn't as cold as I was expecting as I collected something from the car.
I went out for my run at around 10am, the tide was low so plenty of nice flat beach to run on. I had a tailwind running from Grange to Semaphore and the running felt great. Maybe the extra days rest on the Monday helped. I covered the outbound distance in a time of 41:43. Coming back was much slower as I headed into the wind, I recorded a time of 58:17 but that included an extra 1.5km. For the first time since summer my feet felt cold as I ran, a sure sign that winter is on it's way and I have to put up with 6 months of cold feet.
I measured my leg turnover towards the end of my run (17km) to see if it had dropped significantly to give an indication of fatigue, I was surprised to find it was 88/min (single foot), only around 2 steps slower than the target of 90. I thing my stride length would have shortened, my hip flexors felt sore. Maybe more core training would help.
The SARRC (local running club) published the details of the IBRD in their newsletter, will anyone turn up? I have no idea.

Thursday, 26-Apr. 10km

Back to running close to sunset, well, when there is a sun to set. It was hidden behind clouds out to the west so it seemed quite dim when I started my run. The tide was coming in and fairly high this evening so I stuck to the pavement. The ground was cool, I couldn't detect much warmth from it but it must have been 15C or else my feet would have started to go numb. The last kilometre I ran on the beach, it gave me the opportunity to run fast in the lapping tide. I have to slow down running on the roads at dusk as I can't see the path too well. I'll have to pack in more miles at the weekend rather than after work.

Saturday, 28-Apr. 16.3km

A beautiful Saturday morning, clear blue sky, fresh cool air. If all winter mornings were like this I would be quite happy. I changed my usual Saturday run by running south to Glenelg as I had already done the northbound run midweek. This was mainly a beach run with a couple of km on the pavement. The tide was out so I had a vast expanse of beach to run on. I get so relaxed when I'm running that I feel like I could close my eyes and drift off to sleep at times, I'm sure that wouldn't end well though. At the end I did a short timed run between the jetties to see what time I could manage after running 14km. It wasn't too bad, I recorded 10:43 for the last 2km. I've not had any inquiries about the barefoot running day next week even though the SARRC placed a piece in their newsletter that went out to 500 people, I thought I might have got a few calls. I sent out emails to all the Australian members of the BRS to see who was still active, out of around 30 emails I had a bout 5 replies, most of those were interstate.

Sunday, 29-Apr. 7.8km.

Another sunny morning greeted me, coaxing me out to run along the foot path surrounding the lake. The water was as still as glass as I slowly picked up speed  on my run. I felt very relaxed as I paced along the concrete path, my mind wandered onto a video I came across on youtube with a guy discussing barefoot running, coming across with authority saying that it's ok if you are running on the beach or grassy field but don't run on hard surfaces like pavements or concrete, what an idiot. There is nothing I like more than sprinting along the concrete stretch at the end of my run. I just kept pushing incrementally harder, the strides were longer but importantly the foot was still landing under the body and the cadence was still 180+. It seems the faster you run the lighter you feel until you almost get that floating feeling, that would have never happened to me wearing big clunky shoes fitted with stiff orthotics. There are a lot of people out there claiming to know all kinds of things about barefoot running when in reality they know very little at all.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cooling down

Distance 56.3km [total: minimalist 269.6km: Barefoot 2622.3km] Week 16

Monday, 16-Apr. 12.5km

Sunset is now at around 5.48pm, I got down to the beach at around 5.15pm, later than usual as I had to call into the shops to pick up some food. I thought it would be good to run up the beach as far as I could and turn back when the sun had fully set below the horizon. I put on a fast pace, the sand was good in places and also soft in places but I thought I could make it to the road at Semaphore. As the sun started to touch the horizon I could see the rocky breakwater up ahead, I thought I would make it my the time the last of the sun disappeared but no, it must have been further than I thought. I carried on running until I reached it around 4 minutes later. After a brief rest I set off back in the fading light. By half way along it was getting quite dark and I had to concentrate on the ground in front of me to make sure there were no rocks or holes. My feet also played their part in sensing the ground even though it was hard to see. With a couple of km to go I was on some nice flat sand and felt like I was flying along in the darkness, it is quite a strange experience, running but not being able to see the ground. I made it back to the jetty which was dark against the beach, only a few lights along the top giving it away. I did pass another runner in the dark, a girl, running in the same direction. I waited around to see if she made it to the jetty but she must have turned off as the beach was totally dark now.

Wednesday, 18-Apr. 10km

A 30C day today but the bite has gone by the time I begin my run at 5pm. I ran along the beach footpath from Grange to West Beach, my favourite 10km run. The legs felt great as did the feet. I put in a bit of extra speed when I thought I had some running competition trying to pass me, I eased up a gear, listening all the while for footsteps. The threat I was expecting never eventuated, they must have turned off when they realised I was outpacing them. I managed to push my heart rate up to 144 though so that was good. I always find the brick footpath on the way back, in the last couple of km hard going, mostly the unaligned edges that can dig into my feet if I land on a jutting brick

Thursday, 19-Apr.  11km

This was a lake path run but extended to run the length of Delfin Island, I can't recall running this route at all during the summer. It adds another 3.2km to my Sunday run distance. I ran the last km along the wide concrete path by the road but I was a bit tired by that time to put in much speed and as the light had faded I didn't want to end up landing on a small stone that I didn't see. I need to get to the gym again as all the running has made me drop fat and muscle in the upper body, I need to balance up again.

Saturday, 21-Apr. 15km

Well, the fine weather broke today. Rather than waking to blue sky like I have for most of the last 2 weeks it was an overcast sky, still fairly warm though. I went for my long beach run but I felt pretty flat today. The gym session yesterday had some leg presses and some calf raises in and they were stiff today even after I gave them a roll on my Thera roller before heading to the beach. Going up the beach wasn't too bad, I just didn't have the springiness though. I slowed right down coming back. The gym exercises left me with tired calves and sore backside. They should be ok tomorrow. I evaded the rain even though it rained on the way to the beach and stopped when I got there. The bulk of the rain started after midday and carried on until early evening. The forecast is for it to continue into next week.

Sunday, 22-Apr. 7.8km

A blowy morning but no rain for now. The legs still had some stiffness in from the gym on Friday which is expected as it takes around 3 days for the muscle fibres to recover. I had a bit of spring in my step but not the full amount. The feet were a bit tender too as the landing control is compromised when you have sore leg muscles. Still I managed to get a bit of a sprint in at the last km along the concrete footpath, running into the wind and rain that started up. After the run I headed for the gym where I did some weighted lunges as the only leg exercise, the rest was confined to back and core strength.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Last of the warm weather?

Distance 51.2km [total: minimalist 269.6km: Barefoot 2566km] Week 15

Monday, 9-Apr. 7km

A bit chilly on the beach today on this holiday Monday. There was some nice flat sand to do run on so I could get some speed up. I ran into a headwind on the was down and recorded a time of xxx. I then ran lightly (I'm using the words ran lightly as opposed to jogged in the spirit of Ken Bob and his differentiation of Jogging and Running) to the river and back to the jetty where I started the stopwatch again. Now with a tailwind I recorded 9m 38S

Wednesday, 11-Apr. 8km

A run along the river on this beautiful Autumn evening. My feet were a bit sensitive today and I didn't feel as fluid in my running due to keeping an eye out for the hard seeds dropped by the trees. It was made more difficult due to the low angle of the sun which shone right in my eyes and threw shadows over the ground in front of me so I couldn't see where my feet were going to land. It was a bit better running back along the other side of the river, the sun was now over my left shoulder, at least I could see the ground now, I felt a bit more relaxed

Thursday, 12-Apr. 6km

A short road run after work before sunset. The warmth was just beginning to fade out of the day. I did a light run for the first 1.5km then sped up for the remaining 4.5km in the hope of catching up a friend of mine who was running. The handicap was too great though and there was no way I would catch up, but it did the trick in getting me to run faster.

Friday, 13-Apr. 4km

Umm, this was just not meant to be a running day. I was probably out here on the beach more out of obligation, I was ignoring my body! The tide was in so I was running on soft sand. I gave up the idea of doing some faster interval sessions. I started as usual, lightly running up to one jetty before turning around to run to the other. I got to the other jetty but didn't feel all that good, felt a bit shaky in the legs. I continued on for another km then called it a day and turned around and walked back. Very strange, I may have been suffering a bit of dehydration as I had been out in the sun and in a hot car as well as drinking a beer at lunchtime.

Saturday, 14-Apr. 18.5km

A bit of a slow start today, my feet have been a bit sore over the last few days, filing away a callus on my big toe probably didn't help. It was a beach run with a few kilometres of bitumen/concrete and another few kilometres of grass. I took it nice and easy on the outbound section as I'd only finished my breakfast about 45 minutes earlier and it all felt less that settled. I started to regain my rhythm coming back, and found the concrete by far the best surface to run on. I felt pretty shot by the last km and it takes a bit of will power to keep the legs moving. How could I possibly run a marathon? Maybe I need to see if I can break the 20km barrier as a shorter term goal.

Sunday, 15-Apr. 7.7km

Another perfect morning as I head out to the lake for my morning loop. It felt quite warm already so I took frequent gulps of water while driving to the lake. The legs felt great on the run and I really got a good sprint in on the last km along my now favourite concrete pavement. I pushed harder and harder and it was my lungs that were the limiting factor, the feet were touching the concrete at speed but what felt like hardly any force. I sat on the grass under the shade of a palm tree after getting back, enjoying the buzz of the endorphins. After cooling off I did a brief gym session. The gym was fairly empty at 11am, the early morning rush must have ended. I did some legs, arms and sit ups, nothing too strenuous.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Athelstone 10km

Distance 27.5km [total: minimalist 269.6km: Barefoot 2514.8km] Week 14


Wednesday, 4-Apr. 9.8km.

A great confidence boosting run along the beach footpath. Kept up a good pace all the way. The sun had set by the time I got back to the car but there was still plenty of light to see by, in a couple of months I'll be running back in the dark. It had been a warm day around 30C but it was cooler by the time I started my run.

Friday, 6-Apr. 10km.

Easter Friday and I had breakfast early to be ready to set off for the Easter Bun Fun Run at Athelstone, a run I did last year in pouring rain. This year in contrast the weather is warm from the hot 35C day we had yesterday but a change is due through later in the day.
I got to the start of the race in plenty of time and had a wander around, listening to the conversations of the groups of runners. I tried to stay relaxed at the start of the run but I always find it difficult. A few people asked me questions about running in bare feet, I guess various articles in publications has made people curious. I tried to be as helpful as possible. The first few km are downhill and quite quick, once off the road bitumen its onto some nice smooth concrete of the river path. Once the course crosses the river the run is then more undulating with some steep up and down parts. My throat was pretty dry and my heart rate was above 145. The trees that line the river path drop small hard seed cases that stick under the feet if you stand on them and can be painful. It seemed to take ages before the path crossed back over the river on the 10km run. At 8km I was tiring and my form would have been pretty rotten, my feet were tender and my pace had slowed. It was now mainly an uphill run to the end. I did liven up in the last 500m running along the road which had flattened out, my time was slower than last year though. I forgot to set my stopwatch going until about a minute into the race so I'll add that on to the end race time. My stopwatch recorded 54m 51s so that would be 55m 51s. The actual measured distance on Google Earth is in fact 11km or greater. Shortly after I got back the cool change arrived in the form of a strong westerly breeze, it began to cloud over and looked like the rain would be here shortly.

Sunday, 8-Apr. 7.7km.

My now usual Sunday loop of the lake at West Lakes started a bit slow. I think the run on Friday took a bit out of my legs, I didn't feel like I had the speed today. I kept the heart rate at around 135 but boosted it up to 145 in the last kilometre by running along the wide flat concrete footpath along Sportsmans Drive. I got up a decent speed, it would be good if I could keep it up for an entire 10km distance rather than just a short 1km.
I am still slowly reading my way through Matt Fitzgeralds book Run, he mentions the books on formalised running techniques such as Pose and Chi running but doesn't seem to think they can change your natural running form. I though know my running form has changed from what it was as I don't get the same problems I did 20 years ago. I would like to attain the graceful running form that apparently comes from practicing over years but I'm not sure if it is too late for me.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Last of the light evenings

Distance 61.8km [total: minimalist 269.6km: Barefoot 2487.3km] Week 13

Monday, 26-Mar. 6km

An easy beach run or rather not that easy as the sand was very soft and it was high tide so there was not much beach to run on. Running in the soft sand also made my ankle ache as the surface was unstable. Most runners favour the road in these conditions, maybe I should have as well.

Wednesday, 28-Mar. 5.8km

This was a run in the dark or at least mostly dark. I usually run around 5pm after getting home from work but this time I was a little late getting back and I was so hungry when I got home my stomach demanded attention. I cooked up some fried rice and by the time I'd eaten it the time was 6.45pm. I couldn't run straight away as I would have brought my dinner back up again so I waited until around 7.30pm. By that time the sun had set and there was a small amount of light left in the sky, it was a warm evening, nice for running. I drove to the lake to do a quick loop of the lake. Not long after setting off, while running down the western side, all was quiet until I heard the sound of a runner behind me, the shoes on the ground. I thought it would be good race training so I increased my pace, the footsteps followed, I stayed relaxed and increased again, the footsteps followed but didn't overtake. I came off the lake and across the bridges, the unknown runner was falling back a bit as the footsteps were more distant. Back onto the lake again and running along the dark footpath I thought I'd slow down to see if he wanted to run alongside. He was about 30m behind, an asian looking guy. I don't think he understood what I said of maybe he was worried about the barefoot guy. Not long after he turned off and I was on my own again. The barefoot guy triumphed.

Thursday, 29-Mar. 9.8km.

A bit of a split run here. The first 1/3 at a slower pace with a friend of mine, after 3km they hit their turn around point. I thought it would be interesting to see if I could run a further 2km out, 2km back and then catch them in their 3km run back. I increased my pace to twice that I was doing but that wasn't enough to catch them by the end. I guess if I was better calculating that sort of thing in may head I should have realised that running 7km while another person runs 3km that there was not much chance of catching them. It was a warm evening and my T-shirt was saturated by the time I got back to the car. My friend had been back for 10 minutes.

Friday, 30-Mar. 14.2km

A day off work, always good to see what is happening while I'm stuck behind a PC for 8 hours a day. I just assumed it would be quiet out here on the beach and in the cafes but no..... its a hive of activity. There must have been a school day on the beach as there were hundreds of children playing around in a large group on one section of the beach. There were people running, people cycling and the cafes were as full as they would be on a weekend. I ran from Grange Road down to Glenelg or close to it, I determined I'd keep on running until I got to the 45minute mark then turn around. I'd almost run out of beach at Glenelg as the waves lapped up against the rocks. After a minutes rest I set off back again. It was quite a warm and still day and fatigue started to creep in by the end.

Saturday, 31-Mar. 18.5km

This run was a bit too soon after eating breakfast. I slept in a little as I had a late night, I'm not good at late nights and early mornings, I need my 8 hours one way or another.

Sunday, 1-April. 7.5km

Australian Summer time ended overnight, we gained and extra hour of sleep, or at least we would have done had we moved the clock in the correct direction, why do I always get confused by this. In the end it was my mobile phone that alerted me by having the correct time on it in the morning while all my other watches and clocks were now 2 hours in front. I did actually have the luxury of slowly eating breakfast and reading the paper before heading out into a bright sunny morning to run around the lake. These next few kilometres would see me running further this week than I have in 20 years. I started off very relaxed and my heart rate didn't move above 130, only when I got past the halfway point did I start to step up a gear. The lake was serene with hardly a ripple, no breeze. Once again there was a triathlon being held over the far side of the lake, this time though it was well fenced off so I had tpo come off the lake and run through the shopping centre car park. I then ran up the concreted section of Sportsmans Drive which had been widened last year and was now about 2m wide. It was a fantastic running surface and I felt myself running faster and faster, I think I was having a 'Chariots of Fire" moment. I think I had a bit of an April 1st 'joke' on me half way around when a guy told me to watch out for a broken bottle up ahead, I never came across anything. I'm not sure how he would have gained any amusement from the joke as it didn't really have a punchline.