Mini Distance Widget

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I'm having doubts.

I really want to be a strong runner, to be able to run barefoot or in minimalist footwear whenever and wherever I want; but so far I've injured my feet twice already, and it seems a third time is inevitable.

I really want to run/walk the Nike Women's (half) Marathon in San Francisco in October, but I'm afraid that if I try to do barefoot running and try to train for a half marathon within the same six months, that the patience needed for barefoot running and the mileage needed for half marathon training will conflict and I'll just end up injured.

(I understand that I should probably be posing this question next week when I actually know whether or not I've gotten into the race.)

I'm wondering if maybe I should start training in my Nikes to get back into running again? I would try this time to focus on good form and a midfoot or forefoot landing. I would also try to incorporate small amounts of barefoot activity before or after runs, perhaps like a warmup, in an effort to strengthen my feet and still work towards minimalist or barefoot running in the future.

I know it seems like this is a backwards step - but all I really want to do is run the hell out of this thing for my Dad. I can't do much for him, but this is something I CAN do to support him as well as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

And really, isn't the running the most important thing? Not necessarily how I do it, but that I do it at all? Have I just gotten way too far ahead of myself here?

Any thoughts on this topic would be welcome.

Friday, April 15, 2011

So many textures!

I went for a beautiful walk today around Sonoma for about an hour before sunset. I kept my VFF TrekSports in my hand, and set off around town at a very slow, leisurely pace. The amazing thing about walking around Sonoma barefoot is all the different surfaces I encountered in just one mile. Below are a few pictures I captured on my phone's camera... sorry for the poor quality.

This is one of the roughest sections of the Sonoma Bike Path near my apartment.

Another rough section of the Sonoma Bike Path, but with a completely different feel underfoot. I don't know if you'll be able to see the difference in textures.

The most gorgeous and smooth sidewalk I have ever seen... right next to a winery with a huge fountain in the back.

A random section of Spain Street with no sidewalk... I opted to take the curb on this one.

Smooth and cool brick near the Mission. Felt very good underfoot.

And not much further up, a random patch of completely different texture. A lady walked by and gave me a weird look as I took this picture ;)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Nike Women's Marathon and other drugs

Forget running unencumbered, how about walking unencumbered?

I feel like this week has taken forever, and I haven't had any time to just enjoy anything I want to do. I got home an hour earlier than expected today, and I decided to go for a barefoot walk. Running is out of the question for another week at least, the last run hurt more than it should have.

Mind you, when I say "barefoot walk" I really just mean "barefoot mosey around the block."

In other news, the superintendent of the school district I work in sent out a district-wide challenge to join her in the Nike Women's (half) Marathon in SF in October. I figured if she can make it across the finish line, then so can I, so I signed up for the raffle with the rest of the SVUSD team.

...I then proceeded to peer pressure every other running teacher I know into signing up for the race. More info later on how many succumb to my will ;)

I've always been intrigued by this race, but this year's registration seemed to time itself perfectly, in an odd sense. I recently found out that my dad has leukemia. There really is no elegant way to state that fact. He is currently undergoing a round of chemotherapy and other drugs.

Since the NWM benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I figured it was meant to be, so I signed up for the race to honor and support my dad. This is my way of contributing to an organization whose research (of which my dad is currently a part) has changed the way the medical profession battles cancer.

As it turns out I am not the only one I know participating this year. My friends Sus and Tomiko will be joining in on the fun, as well as a group of ladies I know from University of the Pacific, doing a Team in Training in memory of Christina Parks.

So, here's to crappy news, the love and support of family and friends, and the next six months of training.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Singing to the tune of Frustration

Heading out the door yesterday for a little barefoot jaunt, I felt a little twinge, stretched out my ankle, then thought nothing of it and continued on my way.

Today, I am regretting that decision.

I've been limping around school all day, though admittedly not nearly as bad as I was when I hurt myself in November/December. Also, it's the opposite foot, and not in the same area.

I'm wondering if this is part of the "my foot is weak and needs to man up" portion of learning to run barefoot (yes, that's what I'm calling it), or if it's just me being stupid and not listening to my body, or if perhaps I turned my ankle a little farther than I originally thought in that soccer field.

(By the way, grass, although it feels very nice underfoot, is frequently NOT EVEN. You can't see it until you step into the hole sideways. Lesson learned.)

In any case I found this link and after reading it, I realized that hey, perhaps just going out for walks for about a month would have been a better way to strengthen my feet and soles than doing the 5-minutes one week, 10-minutes the next week running schedule.


Yeah yeah yeah. So I'm going to ice down every evening after school and hope that I'm not on my ass for too long on this one. IMPATIENCE. Can't I just be good at it already? kthxbai.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Four thoughts

For tonight's blog, I have four thoughts.

ONE. I need to find a proper warm up, something that will thoroughly lubricate my joints, warm up my feet and ankles, and help me get ready to start running. Any suggestions would be helpful.

TWO. I need to try running at the beginning of the day whenever possible - although I like to run near sunset, the sidewalks and asphalt have been baking all day. The surfaces do cool down somewhat, but it's still not as nice as cool concrete under my soles. Sonoma's just going to keep getting hotter.

THREE. If I miss a few days of training, I need to back off a notch and take it easy. Pay more attention to what's going on. My feet and ankles were a bit cold/weak/tired today and I probably could have done less. My swimming coaches used to tell me that if you miss one day in the pool, you have to make up for two days' training lost.

FOUR. I don't drink enough water or hydrate myself enough. Headaches during runs just don't help with the enjoyment factor.

That's about all I have for tonight. It felt good just to get out and run, but three five days was too long to go without running. Oops... definitely thought it was only three.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Oh sweet Lord. I wish I had not asked."

"I have a blog about my barefoot running. It is required to have a blog."

This just made me crack up... had to share.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sonoma doesn't believe in street lights

It feels really awesome when the only motivation you need to get out and run is the imminent threat of sunset. 

I stayed at school working until 6:30 today, then hopped over to Sonoma Market to buy some ingredients for dinner. I have a bad habit of shopping hungry and decided to shop before the run for this reason.

I wasted no time when I got home. I changed, ditched the shoes, got my blood pumping a bit with some warm-up exercises in my apartment before heading out the door. I have noticed that I'm slowly getting more comfortable on rougher surfaces. Mind you, I'm not running on gravel or even trails but I did choose a route with slightly more beat-up cement, and felt pretty comfortable.

I am slightly surprised that I haven't gotten more weird looks. I see people noticing that I'm barefoot, but there are no double-takes or questions. Perhaps they are too polite, or just not as shocked as I would expect them to be. Or, I just sneak up on them too quickly. I have to admit, I do feel like a ninja sometimes!

Foot check: no tenderness or soreness anywhere on the feet, except a slight feeling of fatigue for a few hours after the run. I did find one tiny puncture in the bottom of my foot, probably from a loose piece of gravel. In any case it doesn't hurt (unless I poke it real hard like an idiot), and I cleaned it and patched it with Skin Shield liquid bandage for good measure. But HOLY WOW my calves feel it! That's probably an exaggeration, but I am definitely sore in the calves and loving every minute of it... I even caught myself with a stupid happy grin on my face once or twice ;)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It burnsss ussss!

ALERT: whining may be involved in this blog.

OOOOOOMMMMGGGGG ice water so cold so cold it hurts usssss... I am writing this blog with my feet in a bucket of ice water. I've heard from several sources that icing your feet after a run is beneficial, and helps to reduce the chance of injury, especially in the case of barefoot running. So, since I upped my running time today, and it's getting much warmer, I decided to submit to some ice lovin'. (pshh.... NOT loving it)

Went for a run today in sunny Stockton. It's getting hot! I went outside to test the sidewalk before I ran and decided that it was still cool enough to run on. I planned my route, about one mile, decided to go for ten minutes today, and then started! Somehow, I missed a turn and got off route, which sent me farther than I was planning to go. So, I stuck to the original 10 minute plan, then paused to put my VFFs on. By that point, the sidewalk was also getting pretty toasty, and my soles were glad for the break. Side note: Vibrams are much harder to put on when your feet are already hot!

Since I was still a ways from home, and my feet still felt good, I decided to try adding five minutes in my Treksports. The interesting thing about the transition from barefoot to shoes this time is that I still kept the forefoot strike that I was using while I was barefoot, as opposed to switching from a traditional running shoe to the minimalist shoe, which changed the way I was running, but not enough to protect me from injury.

The VFFs felt very cushy under my feet, which was an odd sensation! I can understand the comments about the lack of ground feel now. The rest of the run felt light and smooth. My calves certainly feel stronger, and I can feel soreness in between runs in my legs. The places on my feet that were tender on my last run are no longer tender; however I do have some sensitivity the outside of both feet, just below the pinky toe. I think that's from the sole/upper seam in the VFFs.

Note: If you want to keep your Five Fingers from smelling like death, swipe a stick of deodorant along the soles of your feet before wearing them. The only problem is it's kind of strange to carry around a stick of deodorant on your run, in case you want to put your shoes on!

Now that my feet are sufficiently numbed, the ice water isn't so bad... =P

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fair weather in Salinas

California winter is finally ending. With the first flash of heat, many people will go outside, don their bathing suits (yikes! Not ready!) or just enjoy the weather in any way that they can. While I enjoy the weather, I am not used to it! I wilted like lettuce onto the couch and stayed there (mmm.... naps). As a result I have not been as regular with this brand new running schedule as I would like.

I am at my parents' house in Salinas, CA for a couple days, visiting, getting my old car fixed, and happily nodding my head when my mom says "do you want to go shopping?" Yesterday I spent a lot of time on my feet, and they were TIRED by the end of the day. I don't think my VFF Treksports are as ventilated as I thought they were. My feet end up being very cold on cool days, or very hot as they were yesterday. I'll keep testing that theory as we get further into the warmer months.

Today my mom and I walked to the grocery store to get some ingredients for dinner - we're making quiche per my dad's request - and she offered to carry the groceries back if I wanted to run back home from the grocery store. I didn't want to run the whole way, so we walked to a nearby elementary school and I ran home from there instead. I don't know if it was the fact that we had been walking for a while, or that I was still tired from yesterday, but I had to really concentrate on form. It's amazing how easy it is to slip back into old muscle-memory habits like heel striking, even when you're barefoot! Every time I felt myself slapping my foot on the pavement I gave myself a little mental slap across the face (In my imagination, I deal a pretty hefty slap). I ran on lawns wherever I could, and stretched a little bit on my own lawn while waiting for my mom to catch up.

Foot health seems good: no blisters or raw spots, but there is some tenderness on the ball of my foot and the side of my big toe. Not sure if that's just from the run.

Two minutes left on the quiche! OM NOM NOM