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Showing posts with label Barefoot running. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Barefoot running. Show all posts

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Springtime barefoot running

Kudos to the barefoot runners who go shoeless year round! All winter my feet were cozy in my Skora Forms, but two days ago I decided to leave them at the trailhead. Two very cold, muddy and absolutely awesome K on my favourite trail. So happy spring is here - are you?

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Haliburton 50K Race Report

On minimal shoes and minimal training, I finished my first true ultra marathon this afternoon.

(Yes, I know I ran Tread in May, but having ran only 45.5K in 6:15, I didn't hit that magic number of 50K. It bugged me all summer).

On Wednesday I made a last minute distance change up to 50 from 26K. I was perfectly trained for 26. The forecast called for sunny skies and temps in the high teens, perfect for a run through Haliburton Forest Reserve. But it all changed Thursday, with a big temperature drop, heavy rain and winds. But if the Minden 150 taught me anything, it was to HTFU and not stop moving.

I woke up at 3:20am, dressed, made coffee and drove to the race site, arriving at 5:20, lots of time to spare for the 6am start. It was raining, but I gave my rain coat to newly minted Ironman Rick because I didn't want to overheat. With a tee, Running Skirts skirt, Merrell Pace Gloves and Sugoi arm warmers we hit the trails right at 6, sent off with bagpipes.

At the start, in the dark with bag pipes. Along with 200 other crazy people

25K and happy in 3:40. Wheels fell off not too long after this.

The first 34K were amazing. The trails were a shin deep mess of wet roots, rocks and mud and I loved it. I never dawdled at the aid stations, kept a steady pace, stayed on my feet. I ticked off the first 25 in 3:40! But sometime in the next 15, the rain and mud started to catch up with me. By the time I hit the aid station at the 34K mark my ankles were sore and I was starting to get cold. I tried so hard to run, but my IT band and ankles were done. I bargained with my body and ran 10, then 20 seconds at a time. It worked for a kilometer. After that I started walking. If you do the math that's a lot of walking. My body temp continued to drop and I started shivering and couldn't stop. The rain kept coming and the wind picked up. I lost my appetite shortly after but kept drinking.

I got lapped by 100 mile runners, passed by 50k and 50 mile runners. I didn't care. It was no longer a race. It was me and guts and stubbornness and yes, stupidity that kept me moving. There was no way I was quitting. At one point I sat and cleaned my shoes with a stick and washed my  feet just to stop moving. At the final aid station, with 2K to go I was helped by a couple of volunteers, who rubbed pain relief ointment into my aching filthy ankles and fed me chowder and cursed the weather too. It were those small things all day - all of the volunteers that were so selfless to make sure the athletes were safe - that kept me going. Simply amazing.

I texted friends to let them know how I was doing, but it was seriously Rhonda and Rick that got me through today. Rhonda, ultra runner wife to Ironman Rick, let me rant and made me keep moving. At the finish line Rick took a slightly delirious and mildly hypothermic me from the finish line to my car to get dry clothes, gave me money for a hot shower, loaned me a towel and gave me his lunch. I'm not sure what I would have done without him there at the finish. Well, I'd still be cold and hungry.

It took me 9:40 to finish it (that's right, 6 hours for the last 25K). I could have been DFL for all I know and care. But what is important to me is that I finished and I know the mistakes that I made and how I know next time will be better.
One of the flatter, drier sections of trail.

The mud wasn't so deep here.

On a wet and cold day, starting fires is serious business. Propane tank and torches to get everything going.

At the famous Margaritaville aka Aid Station #2. Talking parrots, mustard, salt, potatoes, cookies, music, soup, fires and volunteers that were so kind that I wanted to cry (OK, maybe I did cry).

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Painless transition to minimal running shoes?

About a month ago I bought my first pair of minimal running shoes, Merrell Pace Gloves. I am over the moon in love with them and despite having read more about minimal and barefoot running shoes and form and transitions than likely necessary, I still chose to ignore the advice of seriously cutting back my mileage. On my first run I went 5K, and since then have run distances from 4K all the way up to 12K. A far cry from the 33K I was logging while training for the Tread Epic 6 Hour Trail Race, it's way more than the 2K that I'm supposed to be working towards after weeks of "transition" drills and skills.

What can I say, I'm impatient.

It's not that I don't trust or believe the experts, but it' that these shoes are just so much fun that I get carried away. So when I found myself in the middle of an awesome and muddy trail 6K from home, I only briefly worried that I'd wake up the next morning not able to walk.

(What me and my Merrell's looked like at the 9K mark of a 12K trail run)

But you know what? I felt awesome - just a little bit of tightness in my calves that stretching, water and foam rolling has almost beaten. (Which is good, because my ass and my calves are going to get beaten up this weekend during the Creemore Vertical Challenge).

I credit my success so far to three awesome bloggers:
- Vanessa Runs, all round kick ass barefoot runner and has answered all of my questions
- Jason Robillard of Barefoot Running University, who suggested that maybe my form and lacing should be adjusted when I complained that my feet were sliding a little bit
-  Trisha Reeves and her blog post on how to find your mid foot. With all the talk about mid foot strike I kept thinking that meant the balls of my feet (no, it's not). Finally after reading this post I knew where to try and land.

But I think what I absolutely love the most is that all of these runners are so generous with their expertise. We've never met, in theory, there is no value to them in giving me free advice, but they are also so in love with natural and barefoot running that it is a joy to be able to help out a newbie like me.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I ran barefoot

I've been a little obsessed about barefoot running. I've always wanted to, but with a few big races coming up, I've kept my sensible and stable Saucony Grid Omnis on.

Until tonight. On my favourite trail an on a whim, I took off my socks and shoes and laughed my head off running through the mud. It was thrilling. It was only 1.5K. And it won't be the last time.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The real reason trail runners go barefoot

I've never been afraid to run through puddles and mud when I am trail running. Especially now, with the Tread 6-Hour Trail Run coming up, I make a point of running through all of the mud and water I can find.

Today instead of going around a thigh-high flooded area on the trail, I went through it (and of course, stopped to take pictures - there were freaking water bugs swimming in there!). Anyways, for the remainder 3K of my run, my Saucony Grid Omnis and Smart Wool socks felt like anchors.

Forget the science behind barefoot and minimalist running. Trail and ultra runners ditch their shoes because there is nothing worse that carting around and extra two or three pounds of mud and water on your feet.

Though I know I won't be ready to totally give up my shoes in time for my May 27 ultra, I think I need to start experimenting.

Besides, my husband already thinks I'm nuts. No point in trying to convince him otherwise now!

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