Monday, November 29, 2010

My first "winter" race BF

Well, not the real winter you hardcore guys from Midwest with single digit temperatures run in but the local variation we are blessed with here in the Northwest.

I sign up for 10k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. The race is on a paved trail in a park, the temperature is 32F and there are some icy patches mixed with a little snow on the trail.

I have gathered all the information I could find about running BF in winter on the Barefoot Runners Society forum before so I dress warmly, put vasoline on top of my feet and stay in my flip-flops until the starter gun. I am a little worried about running on the ice but the organizers make a bypass at the very last moment to avoid the largest icy section so we can run on grass instead.

There are a lot of runners so the first two minutes everybody just walks and I start worrying about my cold feet but when I finally manage to get to my tempo my feet warm up and I feel great and pretty confident about the rest of the run. I pass a lot of people and this is the first time I actually notice and wonder about how most of the shod runners loudly slap their feet with low cadence huffing and puffing.

I finish easily in 50 minutes with a big smile at the finish line hearing a guy with a megaphone announcing: "We got a barefoot runner here, it must really hurt to run barefoot especially in this cold weather". I wish he knows how wrong he is.

My feet are just fine, not a single blister, I only feel a bit of soreness on my front pads afterwards but that is gone by evening that day.

More races like this ! 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I did it ! - My first trail run

I have been running BF exclusively on asphalt/concrete for the last 6 months and I really like it but after reading so much about the beauty of the BFR trails I finally decided to give a trail run a shot.

I pick an old forest road, mostly muddy in the current rainy weather witch stretches of sharp gravel and rock.
I put my brand new VFF in backpack just in case. It is cold (35F) and wet so it takes me some time to warm up my feet and then I feel quite comfortable. I constantly scan the road avoiding "the big stuff", not worrying about "the small stuff". I run for 40 minutes (4.4 miles) and turn back. I am trying to relax the feet and the soft landing as much as I can fighting the pain from stepping on the rocks. I am able to run back for 20 more minutes than give up and put VFF on and finish the last 20 minutes.

The total is 8.8 miles in 1 hour 25 minutes and my feet are burning. After checking I find about 4 small bruises from the sharp rocks (all in the soft arch areas) but that's it. I feel great overall.

Now I am really looking forward to my next concrete run because that is going to be such a piece of cake after this adventure.

But trail running is a new challenge for me which I like so I am going to try the same trail after a week hoping to run it more relaxed.

A couple of pictures from the trail:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Aren't you afraid of stepping on glass ? "

A typical question barefoot runners get all the time.

My answer always is "Aren't you afraid of cutting your hand when using a knife ?".

Because the risk of both injuries is about the same and nobody makes a big deal out of a small cut.

The truth is I have never stepped on a big piece of sharp glass that would actually cut my foot. Such obstacles are easily avoidable because you are not running blind and you can seem them very well.

What you do not see are just very small glass slivers you occasionally step on and once in a blue moon they get embedded into your foot.

They do not do any damage and you just dig them out easily after your run. Nothing worse than taking care of a small cut on your finger from slicing an onion.

A little glassy bugger found tonight during inspection of my feet after the run.

Monday, November 1, 2010

So far I have been always running just for fun and have not had any urge to participate in races until yesterday.
I ran my very first race ever - 10k Run Like Hell Portland! It is a costume optional race and I opted to go Hawaiian.

8 AM in the morning, 53 F, raining and windy.
From the very start I feel great, relaxed and quite enjoying having so many people around me running after my 4 months of isolation
I pick up speed right away steadying at my ususal cadence 180 BPM. I start passing people. A lot of people. All in shoes, I only see two or three in Vibrams.
My feet warm up in about 10 minutes and I am running through every single puddle I see. Splashing water everywhere. Jumping. Never felt such a freedom while running before. It si awesome. I wish I can do this forever.
When I sprint to the finish line I do not feel my feet touching the ground. I feel like a bird flying. I pass all five runners before me and hit the line. What a feeling!

My time was 48 minutes (my new PR for 10k) which placed me 7th from 43 in my age division and 81st from 1140 overall.

The best of all, I felt great, my feet feel great, not a single blister and no soreness whatsoever. Just Happy. It must be the adrenaline Or it must be the running in rain. Or both.
I am ready to sing up for another race tomorrow (not that here is anything going on right now ) and I guess I am hooked !