|Barefoot running is sooo last year. Lucha Libre is the new fad.|
While barefoot running has proven to be a balm for my "runner's knee", it has also opened the door to a veritable cornucopia of new ways to hurt myself.
For today's pain, I chose a thorough foot tenderization, accented with a worrisome bruised heel.
And from this I learned an important lesson, one that is best represented with an analogy:
Running Barefoot Fast
Walking on an icy patch
Playing pro hockey
In other words, running barefoot fast requires a great amount of skill and years of training (which I don't have). Just jumping into it can result in a metaphorical puck in your teeth.
Joke is on Me
It started Wednesday with the annual beatdown at the Carolina Godiva track workout.
I have been running with Godiva for 3 years, but I just realized that these track "meets" are really an elaborate joke they play on new members. (Der Scott is yet another victim)
|George Jr. running track|
Normally a track "workout" is a series of repeats at some moderate pace. Instead Godiva has 5 timed events of different lengths all in 2 hours. Ostensibly these are "races" with results and winners.
But you are not supposed to actually race all the events as hard as you can. That would just be stupid.
Well, I wish some one would have told me because I'm not too smart. I didn't even make it through the last event. And this morning, 3 days later, my legs were still wrecked and my feet were raw.
So as we lined up at the start this morning, I worried about hurting myself further.
My barefoot mileage has been paltry:
Total for year: 94
Highest mileage week: 11
Longest run: 5
Certainly not enough to be racing. This would be a long run for me, but with moderation, I should be able to finish it without serious damage.
So I put myself in with what looked like the 7:30 pace group.
Shannon totally dissed me and moved way up in the pack. "Huh. I see how it is..."
Shannon has always been a rival on mine since the first time I talked to her on the phone in 2003.
I had just run my first marathon, in time of 4:08 and thought I would impress her. No luck.
"Oh, just finishing a marathon is huge accomplishment", she said with her 3:30 time.
Lately I have been faster than her. But she has completely blown away anything I have done by winning Uwharrie in 2011 and then running a 100 miler.
So I feel no sense of shame touting my win-loss record over her.
|Total Races vs||105|
|Record vs (W-L)||102-3|
|Greatest Victory||2009 Frosty 50K (-0:00:01)|
|Worst Defeat||2011 Bayshore (+1:12:55)|
|Next Race||The Scream|
I started out relaxing, running by feel, focusing on my form, lifting my feet, small steps... you know, all that crap. The crowd seemed to moving at a decent pace, and I was chatting with the Lucha Libre guy.
But then I looked at my watch: 8:00 min/mile. Shannon would be much faster than that.
"Crap. I gotta try to catch my wife"
So I stretched the legs out and started weaving through the pack.
|"Holy-crap-steep-downhill! LIFT LIFT LIFT!" |
(photo from Greg)
"Hey buddy! What is your problem?", I telepathically scolded him, "Can't you see I'm running barefoot here?"
While trying to overtake Shannon, I ran my fastest ever barefoot road mile: 6:33.
My feet felt fine, but I was breathing pretty hard and my quads were pretty sore from track. I don't think I would have been much faster with shoes on.
With ninja like stealth, I snuck up on Shannon and pinch her butt, and ran by feeling quite smug and superior.
|"Eat my dust, Ultra-Woman"|
(photo by Ultra Woman)
Shortly after I was struck by instant Karma.
The smooth asphalt suddenly turned into a giant cheese grater. I think it was the notorious "Chipseal" I have heard barefooters talk about.
I went from running to just hopping "ow! ow! ow! ow!". I danced around, jumping up to the sidewalk where I could. Even the gutter, with all the broken glass, hypodermic needles and dog poop, was preferable to evil pointy blacktop. Shannon nearly caught back up to me there.
|Lululemon cheerleaders. Pushing overpriced yoga pants to soccer moms|
Fortunately the smoothness returned before she caught me.
Van Halen was playing on a boom box around here.
"Jump! Jump!", shouted the Lululemon cheerleaders. I jumped.
The road was under construction with strips of gravel I had to leap over.
I stomped down another steep hill into the old Durham Bulls ballpark. Here I was greeted with another new running surface to experience: The cinder "warning track"
|Cinder. Wonderful for exfoliating the |
dead skin cells... and the live ones too
It felt like broken glass, but there was no escaping it. I hopped gingerly around the field, desperately holding in a torrent of profanity while a stream people ran past. "Those shoes are bad for you, you know!", I shouted internally.
I didn't know it, but Shannon was closing fast and nearly caught me at the finish line, just 3 seconds behind. Still, a win is a win. Chalk up #103, my curly haired friend.
Seconds later, we were joined by the 2011 Godiva female runner of the year, Cathy Wides. She is a world class athlete, recently scoring a 90% age graded ranking in the USA Masters 8k Championships.
|Four Godivans finish within seconds of each other:|
me, Shannon, 62 year old super woman Cathy Wides, and Dorothy
Other than that there were the usual "hot spots" on the toes and lateral edge that I get when I run too far and/or too fast. I can walk on them... sort of.
Afterwards we re-hydrated with several refills of Gatorade Cream Ale from Fullsteam, and hung with the 30 or 40 other Godivans in attendance.
|Steve enjoys a post race breakfast ale|
Shannon's dad, who is visiting from Milwaukee, celebrated a 2 minute 8K PR!
The rest of Shannon's photos are here.
Thanks Bull City! Another great race!