Monday, March 22, 2010

Starting Over

Alex is home from CU for spring break. I thought I would wait for him to wake up before running; maybe he'd go with. I should have realized that a college student's first night sleep of spring break might run until almost 2PM. I didn't even have to invite him though; he said he'd run with me. I'd enjoyed the hills behind the White Rock Preserve last weekend and that wouldn't be too much longer than what Alex would be willing to do so we head over there in the truck.

We went a nice easy pace on the flat first mile and kept the pace as we started up what I would estimate to be a 15% grade. I enjoyed the climb mostly because there have been times when I have found myself having to walk in places there. Also, I wasn't feeling any of the runner's knees symptoms that I had experienced a couple of days earlier. Alex was right behind me; all I heard was his breathing, and then I didn't. I turned to look back and he was about 80 feet behind. I continued on to the top of the first climb and waited. When he caught up I asked him if he was trying to make me feel good and he said no, that he was finding out he wasn't in very good running shape.

Alex has added the "freshman fifteen" pounds, a lot of it as muscle though in his shoulders, arms, and chest. He's been lifting weights, but not getting to run as much and he had a nasty cold that persisted for about three weeks. We plodded on and he gave me permission to go on ahead, which I did. About eight inches of snow had fall a couple of days earlier; it had melted between yesterday's sunshine and today's sunshine and 60 degree temperature, but left a very slick muddy trail as we went higher. We ended up walking some and picking our way along the side of the trail. Alex closed the gap and we pushed through the final stretch to the summit together. The ascent took five and a half minutes longer than last weekend. Alex seemed to have recovered and we stuck together on the descent.

When we returned to the house Valerie said that Ruth was out for a walk with Elliott. I've been wanting to start over at the beginning with the barefoot running so I decided to go out and see if I could find Ruth and Elliott. I decided to go out truly barefoot. I thought I would walk first to accustom my feet to the surface. Oh what torture! The streets in our neighborhood are of a rather coarse asphalt that is breaking up in many places and there has not been enough traffic to work all the sand to the sides of the streets that was put down by the county for winter traction. The sand would stick to my tender feet and be there pressed in to the flesh ready to be pressed in again with the next step. I endured for about half a mile, thinking I would get used to it soon. Finally, it occurred to me to run; running was less painful. Walking had been like trying to remove a band-aid slowly that had been put on over hair.

I only went about a mile and a quarter on the barefoot outing and when I got back to the house Ruth and Elliott had already arrived. Upon inspecting my feet, they already seemed more calloused; I had one tiny spot of blood and another spot where it felt like something microscopic had found its way in. Today they don't feel so calloused, but just thicker in general. I think I will continue to run whatever distance is right for the day with traditional footwear and just add the barefoot running on each day. I'm going to take the advice of the barefoot gurus and go without any protection until my miles are up because the VFFs and the Nike Frees afford too much sole protection and I do damage because I haven't built up as I should. As my soles can handle more so should everything else.

1 comment:

  1. That's a cool way of forcing yourself to build up! No short cuts there.