Back in February, after a year of limping around with knee pain, I decided to "start over" and reinvent myself as a runner.
I had a simple 5 part plan:
- Stop - Stop running races and hurting myself.
- Get Healthy - Fully Recover from the beat down I received in Uwharrie, as well as the catalog of lingering aches and pains from last year.
- Learn to Run - All over again, but this time barefoot. (Actual barefoot, not Barefoot®). Toss all of my cushy shoes that I have been hurting my knees with.
- Go Minimal - Once my legs and feet were strong enough, learn to run on trails in my Trail Gloves
- Train - for a trail half marathon
A reasonable amount of time to achieve all of these goals was about 12 months.
But after looking at the calendar, I decided to shorten it up a bit.
I thought, "Meh. 10 weeks should be enough."
Then I signed up to run the Trail Half Marathon in Pinckney, MI at the end of the 10 weeks.
The 10 weeks are up. How did I do?
Well, I gave it my best shot. I ditched the cushy shoes and only ran barefoot on pavement or on single track in the Trail Gloves.
But it turns out the reinvention schedule was just a tad aggressive, and my impatience awarded me just about every type if "-ITIS" one can have from the ankle down. I have become yet another TMTS(Too Much Too Soon) casualty of the minimalist movement.
In case it's not obvious, the "Done!" declaration is a joke. I have a long, long way to go.
Here are some stats:
10 Week Training Stats
|Merrell Trail Glove Miles||120|
|Number of runs 2 miles or less|
|"Long" runs (12 miles)|
|Number of Races I Ran even Though I Shouldn't Have|
|Things that feel better|
|Things that feel worse|
calves, top of feet,
bottom of feet,
side of feet, toes
|Times I stepped on something and said "ow"|
Here are my observations on barefoot and minimalist running, so far:
- Building up strength and coordination in the lower legs and feet takes a long, long time.
- I have an old metatarsal injury (2008) that keeps getting re-aggravated.
- Running on rocky terrain is harder and takes much more energy and concentration.
- I cannot run as fast down rocky descents as I used to with cushioning.
- My running speed on pavement (barefoot) is currently much slower than it used to be.
- On single track, I am generally faster in the Trail Gloves than I was in the cushy shoes. I set a PR for the Umstead Figure8 course.
- Arthritic knees are much better than last year.
- Barefoot feels really good (most of the time). For someone running over 20+ years in shoes, it is a revelation.
Ready Or Not....
So despite a messed up left foot, last weekend I flew up to Michigan to run the Running Fit Trail Half Marathon. It would be my longest run since Uwharrie 3 months ago.
Race report to follow...