Tag Archives: Barefoot running

When Did I Start Smoking?

My oldest is a Boy Scout who needs to make Tenderfoot rank to attend camp this summer. When I asked him what needed to be done, he informed me that he just needed to time himself running 1/4 mile.

Kid, get in the car. He did, minus his shoes. He makes his mama so proud.

The OK (Oldest Kid) lined up at the arrow and took off running in his barefeet. The high school track was laid down just a few years ago so it has plenty of cushion but it can be abrasive to barefeet if your not accustomed to it. Add on gusting 20 mph winds to his situation. OK did pretty well with a time of 2 minutes and 29 seconds.

I high fived him and stepped on the track for my own race. I’m not sure what my problem has been the past year or so. I have a self-diagnosis of Morton’s Nuroma which seems to have sucked the run out of me in this past year. Hint: This is a preface of the next 2 minutes and 17 seconds.

Oh, and I’ve had several uncharacteristic colds this year… Yeah, like in the chest…

I’m standing on the rubbery surface in a 40-something’s starting race stance. I leapt forward at the word Go! The course rubbery texture actually feels good on my feet which is way more than I can say for my lungs. I haven’t even rounded the second corner when it feels like my lungs have decided to hold their breath in protest until I stop running. Not that I can stop running, mind you, because OK is watching and timing me.

I crossed the line at a respectable 2 minutes and 17 seconds.

I had OK run a second time, more so because I was hacking and coughing like a 20 year smoker. It was a struggle to stay standing during OK’s second lap. Even 30 minutes later, I was still trying to dislodge phlegm that had congregated at the base of my throat. I’ve got to get back into running because I don’t recall being a 20 year smoker.

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Halloween Workout: Fighting For My Life

As I went about the preparations for my Halloween workout, I was startled by a squeak resembling the sound of a hinge on a door being opened slowly. I whipped around expecting one of the boys to be standing in the entrance rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, but the entrance was vacant. A cool breeze blew across my neck even though the door was closed just as I had left it.

Turning back to turn on the treadmill, I heard a bang on the outside wall. I peered out the window to investigate. All I could see was a frightening reflection cast from the glare of the CF lights on the glass. It was the scariest reflection of all, my own.

I know the noises were only a coincidence but my heart rate was elevated before I even started my warm up. I transitioned into dynamic stretches that loosened my joints and muscles. I checked that all my parts were working and that nothing had been possessed a la Evil Dead 2. I appreciated being limber and ready just in case the squeaking and banging were actually coming from otherworldly demons forcing their way inside.

The treadmill made enough noise on its own to cancel out invading aliens. I hope it holds out for another winter because I really need to build up my endurance if I expect to outrun a two-headed man from somewhere in Betelgeuse who encourages the consumption of Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters. In preparation, I cranked that treadmill up to a whopping 5.5 mph.

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Just in case I get cornered by Frankenstein’s monster while running along side a decrepit castle, I also polished up my fighting skills. I sized up the heavy bag imagining it was the monster. Of course, it was smaller than Frankenstein’s monster but I’d rather practice a few quick jabs there than break my hand on a tree. I’d be a sure goner fighting with a broken hand against a man with hands the size of a Yugo.

It was a tenacious Halloween workout that I approached as though I was fighting for my life which in reality I actually am.

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Filed under Barefoot, exercise, Weight loss

Stop Before You Get Started

When the boys were very young, a friend shared sage advice about having them ride snowmobiles.

“You need to make them get off the snowmobile before they want to so that they are really excited to ride the next time.”
– R. Grivins

I haven’t been running much this year. It started out with trying to resolve some aches and pains but spiraled into doubt and depression. I wasn’t sure I’d run again but worse, I didn’t really care that I hadn’t run.

The other night when all was quite except for a mouse and me, I went to the treadmill. I knew that I would never get up in the morning to exercise, the best use on my time right then would be a 1 hour walk on the treadmill.

Most people dislike the treadmill because it’s boring to run in the same place. Mostly, I agree. Yet, on this particular time, I loved my treadmill. Because I become bored on the TM, I started running short intervals. I can’t even recall the last time I went running before this. I’d lost my running mojo, yet, here I was running, again. Every time a short interval ended, I wanted to run more. The short intervals were just too short, and I couldn’t wait for the walking intervals to end so that I could run more.

R. Grivins was right. I had to stop running before I wanted to. As a result, for a first in long time, I am excited about going running again. Even if it has to be on a treadmill.

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For The Health Or Fun Of It.

Last Sunday was the Run For The Health of It race in Kalamazoo. I wanted to run it but I couldn’t because of conflicts with the kids.

So, I ran at home. I ran as far as I could. Well, almost, I ran as far as I could till I decided that I could run farther but shouldn’t. I haven’t run vary many miles in 2012 because of the stress reaction. I certainly didn’t think I should go run the half marathon as much as I wanted to do it.

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I ran five miles… barefoot. (Disclaimer- I put on my shoes for a half mile in the middle then decided my shoes were too heavy) Not one of those miles was a junk mile. (even the mile with shoes was good)

Do you know how I felt about that run?

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I felt smiley! I pledge not to run any junk miles in 2012.

Happy running, folks!

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Filed under Barefoot, injury, minimalist shoes, running

Recovery Run

I spent all night trying to remind myself that this was just an opportunity to test my feet. I have placed in one of the top three spots in this race since I began running the Papercon Runability 5K four years ago. (let me clarify that there is usually only about 10 women running this race so you usually end up in first or last without much difference in effort) But, knowing that the New Orleans title would go to another runner was a hard pill to swallow. I had to be smart, right?

I size up the competition at every race. It’s silly, of course, because I am far from the stereo-typical runner’s physique so I know you can’t judge a runner by the technical shirt she’s wearing. I do it anyway. I justify my actions by thinking they are doing the same thing to me and dismissing me because I look the way I do. I’m 40 lbs over weight. I wear black cotton Bermuda-yoga shorts, and an XL T-shirt with Kalamazoo printed across the front. I run barefoot but they don’t know that yet because I am wearing my Merrells until I know what the course is like.

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The starting point at 6 am

While I am lined up at the starting line, I make a truthful, smart-aleck comment that since this course is flat and fast I’ll be blazing a 30 minute time. Inside, I’m lecturing myself that I can not try to race today. A 30 minute time is probably a bit much to be asking for. I need to keep an easy pace. After all, I can’t remember the last time I ran 3 consecutive miles. Actually, I can’t even remember when I ran more than 1 mile. I know it’s been at least 4 weeks. I could be in some real hurting if I am not careful.

I’d be lying to you if I didn’t admit that after the gun went off I spent the first mile trying to pace with The Stomper and kept Turquiose Shirt in my sites as my third mile passing target. I said it’d be hard for me to not try to defend the title. At that point, the three of us were running at about 3,4,5 places. See, as hard as I was at trying not to make this competitive, I knew what place I was in the whole race. If I could just hang on to them, I could pull ahead at the end to place.

I started losing my competitive edge at the end of mile 1 when I closed my eyes and realized not a thing on my body hurt. My foot, fine. Hips, fine. Achilles tendon (thanks, new dress shoes), fine. I was out running without any problems. A smile lit my face and the Turquoise Shirt started to pull away. I was happy and didn’t really care. You’d expect that I would have pushed myself to go faster when I acknowledged that I was pain-free. Secretly, I’d been afraid I wasn’t even able to run anymore.

With one mile to go, I had fallen back to about 9th place. I couldn’t see the Turquiose Shirt nor The Stomper any longer. I let new targets pass me and drop me. Since I knew that I wasn’t going to win or even place, it was time to pull over and pull off the Merrells. I didn’t expect to finish the rest of it barefoot but I did. My first official barefoot race. Only one of the officials noticed my barefoot state and commented on it. Not that it really mattered. I was there running. Running barefoot. I hadn’t even been curious if an ambulance would be at the finish line.

Can you believe it? 29:40 thanks to the lady who tried to pass me at the last half mile. 10th place but not last.

Right now, I’m icing my feet (as a precaution) in the hotel bathtub. I’m contemplating the race and rejoicing that I’ve recovered my ability to run.

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Darkness vs. Lightness

I’m the social sort. I’m always chatting with scouting families or commiserating with the soccer parents. I habitually check Facebook, email, Twitter, and Tumbler at five minute intervals. Yet, I’ve always been one to run solo.

Except that running alone in the dark scares the crap out of me.

Fortunately, a friend of mine, R, expressed a desire to walk early in the morning but also confessed to being fearful of going alone before the sun rise. Resolutely, we allied ourselves against the unending darkness.

My problem isn’t just fearing lightlessness. I don’t know about you, but I find it incredibly difficult to peel myself away from the bed covers at 5 am … unless I know that R is braving the nocturnal hours to meet me. I would collapse under intense guilt if I knew she was solitarily wandering in the shadows because I had been slothful. I admit the conversation is as alluring as the protection from the darkness. Yes, this arrangement suits me. I haven’t been this consistent with exercise at 5 am in…ever.

This morning, I bolted out of bed at 5:09 am to a snoozed alarm. Stumbling rapidly through the kitchen, I hit every light along my way. I searched for my phone to text R to let her know I was awake late and almost awake, I mean, almost ready. But, R had texted me 15 minutes earlier.

I’m going to have to cancel. My daughter was up all night. I’m too tired

After a brief moment of relief that the Boogy monster wasn’t going to get R, I decided that I would proceed with the scheduled morning walk. Albeit, not until daylight began to press back the darkness. This would require some time as the sunlight was trapped behind a contiguous cloud coverage. While I waited, I occupied myself by going back to sleep. Don’t you remember that sleep is my super power?

Anxious for action, I arose the second time (actually, the third because I used the snooze button at 5 am causing the rushed awakening at 5:09 am. ) before the alarm wailed again. Seated on the edge of the couch, I primed my muscles for prevention of Planter Fasciitis and healing in my psoas, tensor fasciae and piriformis (a.k.a hips). I followed the warm up with a steady 10 minute walk in my Merrell Pacers…

What? No shoe!?

Yea! No medical shoe.

After two continuous weeks wearing THE SHOE, and an even longer ban on running, my foot shows little to no improvement. I will not resort to immobilizing my foot again until I establish if my chronic hip issues generated my foot pain.

Confused? Check out The Maple Grove Barefoot Guy for his take on causes of foot pain.

After all, the hip bone is connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone is connected to the knee bone, the knee… My apologies, the dogs in the neighborhood just started howling so I’d better stop singing and conclude my story.

Where was I?… Oh, yes, after walking for a bit, I slipped off my Merrells to jog a spell. The road was cool and damp. The sidewalks were dry but stone covered. My steps were easy and pain-free (minus stepping on the stones). I didn’t travel barefoot as far as I had hoped but, at least, I did not use R’s sleep deprivation to justify lackadaisical behavior. I put the darkness to good use and felt as light as ever running barefoot.

Here I am going south than north about 30 feet from the railroad tracks.

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An Apple For My Foot?

I must start eating apples again. After all, what is the old saying? An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

The podiatrist called me yesterday to discuss my MRI. I have to give her credit for taking the initiative to call me instead of waiting for me to make an appointment.

The diagnosis: NOT a stress fracture. Instead, it is a stress reaction which is (insert Charlie Brown’s teacher talking noises). Internet running board forums say its like a bone bruise. Some state that it is a condition you have right before getting a stress fracture.

It’s interesting how adaptable we become to the chronic aches and pains of our body especially as we grow older. Looking back on last year, I can remember trying to sit with pretzel legs on the living room floor while watching American Idol with the kids. I wasn’t able to sit in that position because the weight of my leg squeezed my metatarsal bones together triggering pain in the stressed area. Recently, I realized that for many months, when I sleep on my side, I intertwine my feet so that I don’t put any pressure on the side of my foot.

Yes, I’ve had this pain for a long time and I’ve adapted several coping mechanisms. Yet, despite how much it irks me, I am going to follow the doctor’s advice and WEAR THE BOOT (mine is more like a shoe) for two weeks. Why give in? Because, when I was in to see with the podiatrist originally, the nurse indicated that bending your foot slows down the healing process. I guess I’ll find out.

While there are many poised to point their fingers at my barefoot running, I am not quite so certain of that cause. A friend of my sister’s once told me a story about her knee pain and all the things she did to try to solve it. As it turned out, the pain was being caused by her using one foot to kick off the shoe on the other foot. Who’d have thought? My point is that I recently read a post by The Maple Grove Barefoot Guy about how weak hips and rear can cause barefoot injuries.

BLING!!. (that’s the light bulb going off)

I have had chronic hip issues since about 2007 or 2006 which if anyone is counting was long before I started the barefoot run. So, in addition to resting the soft tissues of my foot, I will also be working on some deep tissue issues and massive strengthening of my buns.

I have a 5 k race in 3 weeks. What do you think my chances are? By the way, hand me an apple, I want to run, not see a podiatrist again.

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