Mini Distance Widget

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Break and Sunsets

Having been a student all my life, it is remarkably easy to fall into the same patterns I always have: work really hard, stress a whole bunch, then do absolutely nothing during spring break or during the summer. Being a first year music teacher is no different. I have been trained well on this schedule, and I thrive in it. I have been working really hard, stressing out of my mind, and now I am on spring break and damnit I am doing as little as I can get away with!

With that said, the weather was so inviting today that I just had to get outside. I didn't run today - I wasn't really feeling up to it, but I did walk for a while. By myself I walked about 15 minutes, barefoot, around the block, then waited for my friend Sus to get back home. She told me of her barefoot excursions as a kid and how much she loved it, so I asked "why not kick off your shoes now?" So, she did, and we walked barefoot for about another half hour.

The walk itself was very enjoyable. The sun was just beginning to lower in the sky and the temperature was perfect. Sus is from a family of fast walkers, so even though she ditched her shoes, she was still setting a formidable pace. I warned her, and told her to take smaller steps, but it turns out she gave herself a blister by the end of the walk. Granted, it was her first time walking barefoot with me, so she might have just done too much too fast. In any case it was a great time and I absolutely needed it today.

On another note, I keep expecting some horrible painful transition experience to happen, but then I realize that I love being barefoot and have found ways to walk around barefoot for most of my life. Around my house, on the pool deck, during the summers at the lake and of course during kickboxing class. Perhaps my feet are a little stronger than I gave them credit for. Still, that does not give me an excuse to do too much too soon. It is incredibly frustrating not being able to just jump in and do a few miles, but I know that if I want this to work in my favor I need to give it time.

Now for fajitas with friends. =)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day Two

I tried yesterday to go out for my second barefoot jaunt, but by the time I was ready to go, it had started raining outside, and I decided other things were more pertinent, like doing my very very dirty dishes (I put the "pro" in procrastination).

Today, however, there were no excuses. I dragged my friend Sus along with me, but didn't time exactly how long we went. I have a feeling it was between 5 and 10 minutes, but honestly I couldn't be sure. Feet felt great, weather was beautiful, and Sus was nice company to have.

Although my form feels good, I think the next step is either to have someone watch the way my foot is landing, or videotape myself so that I can slow it down and watch my stride. I want to make sure I'm running correctly this time! No injuries please! I still feel shy about telling people I'm running barefoot. I'm afraid they'll think I'm crazy, or that they'll chastise me... working on the shortest and simplest way to explain my reasoning.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day One: tracks hurt!

It's easy enough to find information about how to make the transition from running in traditional shoes to running barefoot, or running in minimalist footwear, but it is much harder to find information about whether or not it is advisable to start barefoot from square one. I found one blog that suggests starting from square one barefoot may be easier than switching from running with shoes, because you might not have to unlearn so much.

So, today I embarked on my first barefoot adventure. I followed the advice of many barefoot runners, and only did five minutes. I found a post somewhere that said running on a track would be a good way to log miles without tearing up your feet, so I tried it. WRONG. A track, especially in the wet weather, has many tiny pieces of rubber on its surface that enjoy sticking to the soles of your feet like... oh, well the musician in me says like cat hair on your favorite concert dress. In any case it sucks to run on. I stopped because it was uncomfortable, realized what was happening, brushed the excess track off my feet, put on my "hand weights" and jogged on my toes back to my starting point. I then tried a couple other surfaces: the asphalt path that leads to the track, which was better, and the sidewalk in the neighborhood next to the track, which was infinitely preferable to either of the previous surfaces.

My feet feel a little tender, but alive, and I'll know next time to run on the sidewalk where it is most smooth.

My first glimpse of freedom

My entire life, I have been a swimmer. I have never considered myself to be a runner. However, new city, new job, new need for fitness and I decide to turn to the most accessible exercise regimen I could muster: jogging.

I started out on a good foot, with a new pair of Nikes and a gradually building regimen set out for me by, and everything was great. But then I found an incredible love for a pair of Vibram Five Fingers and it felt so amazing to run with such light feet that I didn't feel the damage my incorrect form was slowly causing. I didn't feel the stress fracture sneaking up on me... until I ran out my frustration from a bad day, further and longer than I had ever run before, and completely overdid it.

Thinking it was just another sore day, I gave it a couple days' rest and ran again... and again. It felt great when I was running! ...until I had to hobble to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Until I was limping around at school. Until I was an idiot and gave myself a stress fracture and did not give it enough time to heal before trying to run again.

It has been over two months since my last run. I have confined myself to a boot, I have taken every precaution, and I have been pain-free and playful for several weeks now. It is time to get back into the running game. I realize that last time I went for a pair of Vibrams, I made the switch completely backwards. You see, it doesn't go: running shoes, Vibrams, barefoot, it's the other way around: running shoes, barefoot, Vibrams. I've learned that in order to run in a minimalist fashion, you have to learn to run all over again, and that means starting with instant feedback, the best and cheapest coach you will ever find: your bare soles.

So, I'm starting on a new adventure. I am going to try, very carefully, to start running barefoot. Everything about it seems right to me. I am not looking for speed, or distance, or glory... I am looking to fall in love with running, and get in touch with the part of myself that was made to.

Welcome to my barefoot adventure.