Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting cold feet (feet cold) ahead of the marathon

Yesterday, I ventured a short 4mi run in freezing rain. The ambient temperature was 39 degrees but with windchill at 29  degrees. On top, it was raining with chilly wet sidewalk. Probably not the smartest thing I have done in my training especially just days ahead of the marathon. First few minutes felt good because feet were still warmish. But about half mile into the run, the foot started to get the familiar feeling of incremental pain we get when taking ice-bath. From that point onward, I was highly conscious that every step I take only takes me one step away from home and without money on me, one more step I have to take to get back home. 

Also slowly as the feet got chilly, they lost sensation making them more prone to injury. By the time I reached central park, I thought I was better off running on softish reservoir instead of road to avoid any sharp rocks etc. The feet still felt pretty bad while I was on reservoir, especially since the whole path was full of deep puddles full of ice cold water. I tried my best to avoid getting top of my feet wet but realized that that was a hopeless exercise and started running straight through puddless. Ironically, that helped somehow. The legs slowly recovered and I started getting sensation back in the feet. By the time I finished the reservoir loop, I was speeding up to sub 10mpm speed and faster speed only made the feet warmer. So the run back to home was very pleasant. 

I feel so much better now that I can handle temperatures in 30s. I was concerned about getting feet wet and cold on marathon morning at water stops and somehow freezing them. Since I will be running the race much faster, I am pretty sure I will be fine. I just have the challenge of keeping feet warm till I cross the start line. I am thinking two layers of socks. I had been wondering what I was going to do with the multiple family size sock packs I had bought in pre-barefoot days:-)

Its also comforting to know that if I get my feet warmed up in time, I can run in sub-40 degree temperature, even in wet conditions. This opens up at least two months of each side of winter for barefoot training. Awesome. Also hopefully the legs will develop to cope with low temperatures by building mini-capillaries carrying warm 97 degree blood to the extremities. But that remain to be seen.  In the meantime, I think I will keep my runs short with an exit strategy if I get too cold or get injured somehow. 

On marathon end, I have been biking to work through central park and its amazing to see all the finish line architecture getting built over last couple of days. As a runner I never noticed all the setups around finish line. I will try to bike around to get a feel for the first ave and fifth ave sometime before marathon but my schedule is kindda busy. Visiting the start line will have to wait for Sunday morning. The temperature forecast is sub-40 on Staten Island so it will be freezing to wait up for hours down there.

BF in NY for 719mi

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