Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sole conditioning at 18 months

Sometimes the human body adaptation still amazes me.

I have been running barefoot for 18 months now. Although I started on pavement, last 12 months my runs were primarily on forest trails. I have been experiencing some changes to my feet along the way, mainly spreading of the toes, loosening and flexibility of the toes and a wider, more muscular foot.
I thought it would be interesting to do a sole conditioning photo comparison so I went through some old photos I took early after starting running barefoot. I found one I took at about 1 month and tried to shoot a new one from about the same angle.

This is a sole conditioning comparison of my foot at about 1 months and 18 months of running barefoot. I think it is pretty interesting to see the adaptation capabilities of a human body.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ubertons Resolution Run 2012

Saturday 10 AM, Cook park, Tigard, OR

My first race this year. In addition to the usual pre-race excitement I am also really happy my wife Zdenka and my son Lukas (6) are joining me today. Lukas really wants to run the Kid's race today and Zdenka agreed to work as a support team.
Weather is looking good, around 50F, ground is soaked and wet after the last night's rain and sun is occasionally peeking through the grey cloud cover.
It has been raining solid for the whole past week. Nothing unusual for our west of Cascades region this time a year but rivers are already overflowing.

Barefoot and minimalist runner

This trail race was originally planned in a beautiful Champoeg State Park but because that area is now flooded, Ubertons moved it to this small city park at the very last moment.
I have never been here before and after seeing a nice smooth concrete trail weaving through the trees I am really hoping there is going to be some nice dirt trail section as well. Running on a smooth pavement in not my idea of a trail race.

The rest of our Barefoot Runners Society team is showing up. There is Jennifer, Kevin with his little one in a stroller and Jim.

Our whole group, only Kevin is missing in this shot

The organizers are announcing a "big dangerous slippery mud covered hill" on the course. After seeing the well maintained trail I take that warning with a grain of salt but having "better safe than sorry" in mind I clip my Vibrams on my forearms just in case and head to the start.

There are not that many runners around. About 100 people altogether, half going for 5k and half for 10k. The course is just 5k so the second group is running it twice.
Our barefoot/minimalist team starts last. We have nowhere to rush. Everyone just wants to enjoy the run. I have no plans to beat my 10k PR today. Although I feel really good and strong, my left fibula spot above ankle has been acting up on some recent runs so I will only gun it if it behaves today.

And off we go - Kevin with stroller, Jim, myself and Jen

After a quick warm up I feel like speeding up a little. It takes me the whole 3 miles to completely relax and settle into the right form. Sadly there is no dirt or gravel on the course. The "big dangerous slippery muddy covered hill" is a joke. There is however a good number of nicely sized puddles on the trail and I make sure I do not miss the joy of splashing through all of them. I realize my Vibrams work just as weights on my arms so I throw them out when starting on my second loop.

Throwing shoes out

The next three miles are great. I feel fast and relaxed. Aiming for the puddles second time, having a blast. When sprinting to the Finish line, Lukas is cheering me up in his Five Fingers anxious to run his Kid's race next.
49 minutes gone and feeling good !
Jen and Jim in Vibrams show up soon and Kevin gets a big applause finishing 5k pushing his stroller all the way to the finish at solid 9:42 pace.

At Mile 5

Joining Lukas at his 1k Kid's race

Since there are almost no kids participating in the Kid's 1k, Lukas takes home the gold medal which he is pretty happy with.
The rain starts at the perfect time, right when everyone is heading home. A good lunch with a good company is in order, time to plan some more group runs together.

Jim, Kevin and Jen

Barefoot Runners Society Oregon chapter is getting bigger and stronger !

Race stats:

Length: 10k
Time: 00:49:08
Pace: 07:55 
Placed: 8 overall (of 52), 2 in my AG (of 12)