Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hill Climbing needs Strong Calves

Distance 44.2km [total: minimalist 285.6km: Barefoot 4427.3km] Week 15

Monday, 8th-April. 7km

With the reversion back to standard time the sun is now setting around 6pm so there is not much time to hang around after my run to relax and watch the other runners on their evening runs. I would guess that quite a few will be hanging their running shoes up for the season and retreating indoors, there are never as many people out once the early evenings come about.
It was a bit of run for me this evening as I had to do some shopping first before heading out. I started my run along the beach at near high tide in the wet sand. It started out feeling like hard work, the sand sucked my feet down and the wind was blowing towards me, this all sapped my energy. I was glad to leave the beach near the river and get back to the firmness of the pavement. I could now pick up my pace as I had a good firm surface and the wind at my back. I felt light on my feet now as I raced along the concrete pavement. A good run tonight.

Thursday, 11-April. 11km

The good weather keeps rolling on. What a fantastic late afternoon as I begin my run. The sun is lower in the sky now but still plenty of warmth. The ground is still warm to run on as they day had got up to 29C today. The main difference is that it is only at that high point for a short space of time. This is the sweet spot time of year to be running. I did an 11km out an back along the pavement, I started early at before 5pm so beat most of the other after work runners that come out at around 5.30pm. I got back just as the sun was sinking into the western horizon. I could feel the drop in temperature during the run, it was much cooler on the way back. I'm making the most of this autumn weather before we head into the cool wetter months.

Friday, 12-April. 5km

I had a holiday from work today, the forecast was for a 31C day today before it starts to cool next week. Today wasn't run, it was a short barefoot hike through Morialta Conservation park just east of the city. These days it takes much longer to drive across the city as the traffic has increased over the 20 years. It took around 45 minutes to get from west to east. It was tranquil and relaxing once I left that main roads and got inside the park, being a weekday the car park had very few cars there. I walked up the steep lookout trail, that climbs 115m in the first 700m. I was sweating by the time I got to the top. You get a view of the city through the valley while up the other way the gorge winds its way through the hills. It's not an easy barefoot walk, the path is gravel and uneven rocks. There are small stretches of sandy trail when you can relax and take your eyes off the ground in front of you but they don't last long. As the time crept past midday and the trail started to loop back, the path was in full sun and was starting to get hot under foot. Luckily I only had a kilometre to walk as it would have got hotter as the afternoon wore on. The descents are always harder than the ascents as you have to control your landing and be careful not to hit that pointy stone. It was a good walk. See if I have any side effects tomorrow.

Saturday, 13-April. 13km

Side effects indeed. Ouch, my poor calves, they feel like they have been beaten up, too much living the life of a flat lander, one small hill and they give up. I had a slow run today as my calves didn't really want to be there, they screamed in protest. I also had to contest with a strong northerly wind blowing towards me. I felt like a bit of a plodder today as I made may way up the beach. Would this get the stiffness out, probably not. I was worried I might get a cramp attack. It was a relief to be on my way back and have the wind behind me. I gave my calves a soaking in the cold seawater for 10 minutes to see if that would flush the stiffness out of them.

Sunday, 14-April. 8.2km

Another beautiful Sunday morning, not too warm and not too cold, around 20C with enough cloud cover to not require covering my face in sunscreen. My calves felt like they were on a hair trigger today. I ran as gently as I could so not to cause the soleus to cramp up. I would feel it most if I stopped running then started up again. It seems that barefoot running stresses the soleus far much more then the gastrocnemius which must be due to the angle at which the foot makes contact with the ground. It was a good run and I feel like I have good form when I relax and feel that springy bend in the knees. In the old days my knee would be straight and rigid and I would always have sore knees. Thankfully I don't think I have damaged my knees from the many years of bad running in shoes.

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