Monday, 4 June 2012

04.06.12 Running barefoot...literally!l!

Lachlan has had a terrible sleep during the night and I am shattered so when the alarm goes off this morning, there is no way I am getting up to go for a run.  I have a little sleep in and see that Wellington has turned on a cracker of a day.  The sun is shining and there is no wind, it is a sensational day.  I get up and do some work around the house and play with Lachlan and decide to take him with me to get a couple of things from the shops.  I park the car and decide that I will walk to the other two shops, one of which is around 800m down the road.  I put Lachlan in the pram and we walk to the first shop get what we need and head to the second shop.  There was a sale on at the pet shop and I go a little crazy so head back to the car to drop off our purchases before making our way to the hardware shop.  As mentioned it is around 800m away and Lachlan is in the pram so decide that I will run to the shop.  I am very conscious of my ankle though and what happened yesterday.  I must point out that when I first got my Vibram shoes, before you even put them on, Vibram being responsible shoe producers adivse you to do warm up exercises to prepare your feet for their shoes.  Vibram suggests that you do these exercises prior to each run also.  I am a person who is impatient so that is just not going to happen.  I will however especially after yesterday now make sure that I am careful launching into my runs and give my feet a chance to warm up.  I start running with Lachlan and it feels good.  It is nice to be on the flat and it is relatively comfortable to run with the pram.  I make it to the hardware store, buy what we need to buy and then start the run back to the car.  As I am putting away the pram, I decide that when I get home it is time to go for a run, I have just done my warm up.

We get home and the lack of sleep has caught up with me and I am shattered.  I make the mistake of sitting on the bed to check my emails and quickly change my mind about the run, it is nap time.  NO!!  It is run time, so I chuck on my clothes and again devise a route that will this time take me around to around 7-8km.  This is a bit of a step up from my 4km runs I was doing last week but I am feeling good from yesterday and do not want to waste the afternoon.  I put on the Vibram's and start the run.  I am planning to run to the base of the Mt Kaukau run that I so desperately want to do.  There is a street that loops beneath the start of the run, runs parallel to the mountain and then back into town.  The loop back into town is the way I normally come when running home from Mt Kaukau and consists of some nice flat sections followed by a steep hill with a long downhill before the famous hill back home.  I end up going the wrong way and start running on part of a dirt track that leads to another entrance of the Mt Kaukau run and get my first real feeling of what it is like to run on the dirt rocky tracks that I used to feels good!  I finally get back on track and begin my run to the first hill as mentioned above.  I am climbing up the hill and just feel amazing.  These are the runs that I have been doing for years and this is the first time that I am getting a feel of what it is like to run them in a pair of Vibram's.  You need to understand that when I was doing this section of the run in the past, I had been running for 2 hours or more and am wearing a full pack that weighs around 10kg so anything is going to feel better.  Regardless of the above, I definitely feel light on my feet.  I reach the top of the hill before the long decline and have hit 5.3km.  I think to myself I have around 2km to go to get home and do something that I never thought I would do.  At the top of the hill, I take off my Vibrams.  Not because they are hurting, just because I feel like it.  I am going to run at least 1km in bare feet!!!  This should take me to the bottom of the hill and then I will put the shoes on again and run the last 1km home.  I begin the run down the hill and it feels weird.  It is not hurting as my technique has definitely changed since wearing the Vibram's.  I am not striking me heel anymore and am not concerned about this as I run.  I am landing perfectly on the front and middle of my foot and it feels very comfortable.

As I am running  down the hill, I pass another runner who is running up the hill.  What a sight I must have been running full pace down the hill with no shoes on and my Vibram's being carried in each hand.  She gives me a weird look as she draws closer to me, as she passes I don't turn around to see if she is having a second look at the weirdo running barefoot with Freaky shoes on his feet!!  I hit the bottom of the hill and think to myself it is time to put the shoes back on, but this thought crosses my mind only for a second.  I decide to continue running with no shoes.  I hit a crossing and cars give way to me, I put up my hand to say thanks for stopping as I normally would do, forgetting I still have shoes on my hands and nothing on my feet...

I begin the run to the bottom of the hill and decide that I will put the shoes before I start the climb.  I reach the bottom of the hill and still feel good so keep running.  I hit a problem though.  I have a thing in my head that once I start this hill near home, I cannot stop until I reach the top.  The reason for this is that I know if I ever stop going up this hill, that when I am feeling really bad in the future, I will walk up it as I have stopped for some reason in the past.  Due to this 'rule',   I am now committed to running up this hill and home barefoot.  It is at least a 1km home and I have already completed 1km to this point.  My feet are feeling really good.  They are not hurting as such but are now becoming quite sensitive especially under both of my big toes.  I am beginning to think that I might be getting a cut or a blister under both big toes but know that I cannot stop to have a look.  It is starting to become reasonably uncomfortable and I can feel my technique change as I am cautious about my feet hurting, maybe this was not a good idea.  I am nearing the top and a guy is waking towards me and heads into his driveway.  He looks at me and my bare feet and yells "Awesome". "Get those knees up".  I think to myself, who is the freak giving coaching advice and then quickly realise that I am the one running up a hill in barefeet with a pair of Vibrams on my hands like gloves.  I immediately start lifting my knees higher.  I am thinking to myself as I pass him, who comments on another runner these days?  Someone who is impressed with barefoot running, that is who.  I hit the slight incline as I head home.  My toes are sore but I keep going, running on grass where possible to give myself a softer landing.  I make it home and have completed 7.4km, the last 2km have been done in bare feet.  As soon as I stop I lift up my feet and see a tiny cut on my right hand big toe but the other toe is fine.

I tell my wife about my barefoot experience who looks at me as that first runner did when I had just taken off my shoes.  She is impressed though I think and states that I now resemble her as she used to run with no shoes on...on grass that is.  I have to go to the supermarket to pick up a couple of things for dinner and decide that as I am not wearing shoes, I might as well keep it going.  I get out of the car at the supermarket and walk into the supermarket.  My toes are starting to hurt a little now as I walk in the entrance.  Not much I can do about it though, I have no shoes with me.  I am walking around the supermarket and feel totally feral!  I learn very quickly that you should not wear shoes whilst going to the chiller section of the supermarket, especially the freezer section.  I pay for the shopping and head home for a much deserved shower.  As I type this my feet are fine except for my big toes that almost feel bruised.  There is a little cut on one but hopefully in the morning they will feel fine.  I have enjoyed the barefoot experience today apart from feeling like a homeless person at the supermarket and the sore toes, however I am sure both of these feelings will pass especially when I decide to go feral more often in the future...

Below is today's run with the vertical dotted line 3/4 along the graph just before the large down hill, the point that I took my shoes off and ran barefoot for the first time.  Also

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