Sunday, September 21, 2008

5:52 Mile run smashing shod PR for the first time.

I ran the Fifth Avenue mile race today in surprisingly fast 5:52min...after a 18.5mi long run yesterday!

As I had mentioned before, I had decided to remain a sceptic of barefoot running till either I break a shod PR running barefoot or get injured enough to keep me out of running for a week. Since the mile run of 6:02mpm last year in shoes was my best "percentile" perfomance at 61% (percentile adjusts was age and distance to make all race perfomances roughly equivalent), it was the one I had been eyeing to beat. I really didn't think I could run that fast this year barefoot. But here it is. I had been ultra conservative this season given the possibility that I may get injured before breaking a PR. Now I can finally say I am a convert and start taking bit more chances. How exciting!

Funny thing is the schedule for the race was messed up with the race on Sunday this year instead of Saturday last year. So I had to do a long run of 18.75mi (later about this run) on Long run was a slow but difficult run and I could barely walk in the evening. I had to force myself to walk couple of block around midnight to get some circulation going to have any hope of running the miler race in the morning. But amazingly I was fine by morning and ran a progressive run of 2mi before the race warming up the tight muscles. I really don't think I would have run much faster with fresher legs but who knows. Perhaps I could run fast using "fast twitching" muscles which were not even used in the long run. Or perhaps the very stressful week and lack of sleep all of last week somehow pumped up the legs to run fast.

About the long run again, the Sunday race meant I had to do a longish run on Saturday before the race to keep up with my marathon training. With weekday runs limited to one 6mi run, I had to get something solid in. So I decided to do a very easy pace 13mi run. After reading a lot about trail running lately, I really wanted to try a trail run as well which was safe enough to be done barefoot. I dug up a trail just north of Manhattan starting in Van Cortland park going all the way up to Tarrytown along an old railroad track which is now converted into bike path.

Unfortunately, the trail is not continuous and does not end exactly at train stations on either end and I had to add 1mi to start and 3mi to end making the whole run 18.75mi. Also portions of the trail are not maintained with about a mile long portion probably not really a trail making it VERY challenging to walk (never mind run) barefoot. Also trail running is harder on tiny muscles in feet during long run and I was hurting in last few miles. The fact that the paved portion of the trail was very coarse also made it tough. So my average pace ended up being 13:48mpm (!). Intersting how my fastest race ever was preceeded by one of the slowest runs. Also I carried the hydration pack on this run which was really a non-issue but perhaps slowed me down a bit.

On barefoot front, I got chance to run on few lawns which are never been touch by anyone except lawnmowers which was a lot of fun. The last three miles to train station in Tarrytown was on a street without sidewalk which was a bit scary. I also I got couple of scratches, one due to a stub sticking out which brushed against soft side skin and other was stepping on a rose plantbranch with thrones. Both were non-issue as I jumped as soon as sensed them pentrating and managed not to have actual puncture. But I am now thinking its good that I had the hydration pack with water, medicine and twizer just in case.

One thing I realized is that it is hard to run in cold weather on trail or coarse surface. I could run 22.5mi fine last weekend in central park but was hurting with cold feet. Running through grass gives a nice break but only make the feet colder. I dont know what is the solution but I am sure I will get plenty of opportunities to explore this challenge in less than a month.

Last week was a crazy week with total mileage of just 28.5mi but I came out of it with breaking a PR and no injuries. Perhaps three more weeks of training before tapering and couple of half marathons in between so it should be fun.

BF in NY for 567mi

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good point, though sometimes it's hard to arrive to definite conclusions