Sunday, September 7, 2008

Closing in on 500mi (5mi left)

I just finished my forth 40mi week today. Every 40mi week has been tough with some kind of nagging little pain following it. I had to make last week light at 15mi to recover from these mini-injuries. Perhaps the fact that I was on vacation last week may also have something to do with the light week. Its been a while since I blogged, partly due to lack of access to blogging during vacation. But here are new and exciting things on barefooting front over last few weeks (never a dull run since going barefoot!).

Couple of weeks back I did another 20miler which went very well despite heat. Last four miles of the run were about 9min mile pace so I know I could have easily extended the run if I had to despite running on rough central park surface. So I now feel much better about running marathon distance barefoot on road if the weather is dry and even hot. Not so much about cold and/or wet weather.

Also, with a 8mi run on following Sunday, the 28mi was the longest weekend mileage I have run. This second run must have been a mistake, especially the sprint at the end as I pulled an ITB muscle during this sprint. This was on injury which had nothing to do with barefooting as the injury as near hip joint. Anyway, the joint kindda had a minor aches while running during the following week and I thought it was best to cut short these runs to avoid this getting into a full blown injury. Also I canceled running the nike human race, partly due to my vacation plans.

All in all, I registered 15.5mi for the week but to be fair, this includes a 8.5mi hike which was VFF going up and barefoot going down. I know this is not a run but it was definitely more difficult that 8mi run so I added in anyway. Barefoot hiking has definitely expanded my plans for barefoot running. Firstly, now I know that natural hiking trails are barefootable, albeit very very slow. More interestingly, the soles have excellent grip on rocks and other surfaces where I probably wouldnt venture in hiking shoes. In particular, while stepping on surface, the sole flattens ever so slightly and this mechanism is enough to give signal to nerve ending about coefficient of friction allowing me to know if I should step there on not. Its a bit unnerving how I could walk on steep rocks. But to be fair they were bone dry and once when I did step on wetish rock, it was a bit slippery.

I also saw few other "runners" zipping past me while I was huffing and puffing. It was intruiging. I kind of felt like an native american looking at european explorers for the first time. I will be exploring more of this side of running (barefoot or not) after this marathon. Luckily I just discovered that there are so many hiking trails very easily accessible without a car by train or bus. The Bear mountain hike I did, didnt even require a bike for me. I could walk couple of miles from station to the begining on trail. If I choose to run that will be a nice warm up:) I must say that my soles were hurting so much by the time I made it down that I had hard time making it back those 2miles barefoot. I put on my vibrams for last mile but that didnt really help. Perhaps this hiking barefoot business extending limits of barefooting and brand new set of muscles somewhere in foot must have been overused.

This week was another 40mi week but had couple of interesting runs. Firstly I did a 4mi race which I did kind of took seriously but just managed to run at 8:20 pace, no where close to the 7:30PR. It was hot and humid but I am no longer sure if I am at the stage where I can breaks shod PRs barefoot. Then there was the Hurricane Hanna which was really just a storm dumping rain. I HAD to go for run. It was fun running through newly formed streams barefoot splashing water all over. Also once you get wet enough you cant get any wetter so you can run quite freely. I didnt run a whole lot partly due to an open cut I had on leg unrelated to running (coffee table).

Finally, I was hurting a bit with the race and then another run in rain yesterday but decided to attempt a long run anyway and ran 14mi. But the high point was me bumping into Hillary Clinton..yes thats right. She was in central park, probably for Shakesphere in the Park show. Bunch of large black vehicles pull over right in front of me in the middle of the running path (how annoying!). I stopped looking for a way around but there wasnt any. I had to run through the vehicles. As I was passing some people were crossing the street without looking my way and I almost bumped into few people trying to cross.

After a while a cute girl also running in the park told me that it was Hillary. Ah, I wonder if Hillary noticed me running barefoot. Since I was planning to do another loop, I was a bit sceptical how they will greet me next time around. They didnt really bother me. I think a cops car zipped past me only to reverse back a bit next to me. I am curious if they were concerned about me for barefoot running or just following up on anything "unusual" they seen. The girl who mentioned about Hillary also mentioned about her team and I may check that out soon.

I guess, the big picture is that I seem to be peaking at 40mi which is not that bad. Also no real speed works or Hill training so far unless the hike counts. I think I should keep my goal for marathon to finish and not focus too much on time. Also I am a bit tempted to consider the 60KM race in central park following mara

BF in NY for 495mi

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