photo finish composite!
That reaction of the girl on the left, classic!
I’m very proud to say this was my first official race that I ran barefoot and… my feet are great!! My official time was 31:22 (which is very good for me), but the most important result was having blister/pain-free feet, excellent sign.
Just look at my excited self!
Starting off I felt uncomfortable with all the people around me, took me a bit to get into my groove. This is me right after the finish line.
I guess this is my finally-i-did-it face. But this next pic I found hilarious, being checked out by an onlooking staff! (That’s a ‘WTF??’ expression if I ever saw one!)
And here is the obligatory post-race feet pic
Not bad! Caked in dust, but in fine shape.
You can check out my pace throughout the race here if you’re interested.
I feel very lucky and grateful to have received so much support from the online community of barefooters (dailymile, twitter, therunningbarefoot.com, yahoo forum, etc). Without them I would have never been able to do this and never found out I could love it so much.
First off, here’s how I did on my first month back barefoot running! Interesting equivalencies produced by my miCoach and dailymile trackers; I have logged the distance the Chunnel travels between England and France and burned the calorie equivalent of 31 donuts (“Mmmm, donuts”) or 12 burgers.
The following is a summary of the weekly time running and pace composition of all my barefoot running in the past month. The individual workouts you can find on my dailymile page.
My distance are still pretty low, averaging at 12 km per week, but that’s just the way it is starting out especially since I’m running exclusively barefoot. My training is going better than expected, not a blister or soreness of any kind!! Amazing what good form does. Keeping it slow and gradual to allow my feet and legs to adapt. Most runs are on easy, mostly smooth, cement sidewalk, an 8 or a 6 on the Barefoot Ken Bobs Surface Texture Scale (10 being the easiest and 1 being the roughest), or on a 5ish, rough, paved trail. My feet are in perfect shape! I should be great for my upcoming 5k (T minus 3 days!).
I’m liking my new tracking application, which I started using in September when I started running again. I’m still using my smartphone to track runs since I still don’t own a proper runners tracking gadget, but the application I use has changed since Adidas bought BiM Active’s software and turned it into miCoach. Unfortunately, as of yet there is still no easy way to share info from miCoach on the blog (no widgets, no RSS feed, nuthin). But, hey, it’s free. I can, however, show you what an example workout of mine looks like.
I would just like to add that a significant part of the success of my training is due in part to the support I get online via dailymile, twitter and blogs. Check out who I follow, who follows me, dailmile friends and blogroll in sidebar. Thank God for the interwebs.
I love their slogan: “A NEW race… for the OLDEST way to run.” (Check out the details and news!) I’m so excited about what John Durant has organized through Barefoot Runners NYC and Terra Plana’s and Tip Top Shoes’ sponsorship! Attending Barefoot Ken Bob’s workshop in Central Park (John Durant was there!) was such a thrill for me, I soooo wish I could go to New York for this! Big names of barefoot running are going;
I’ll be barefoot running a 5k race (my very first!) on the very same day, so I’ll be there in spirit and sending out good vibes to everyone there.
this post updated on oct 2
Having finished physical therapy for my banged-up knee recently, I started barefoot running again this last week with great results. I’m more motivated than ever after having ran 5k barefoot with no problem (no knee pain, no blisters, just endorphins)! I’m also excited to begin a new training program and am confident it will soon take me to my very first barefoot 10k.
I started cautiously with very short distances (not even 2k!) to make sure I didn’t do any damage to my feet in case my form was bad since it had been so long since I last ran barefoot. But it felt so good that two days later I ran 5k with a friend because I was just enjoying it so much I couldn’t bring myself to stop before the end of the complete route! It was a fortunate confluence of factors that made that experience ideal: first long barefoot run, running buddy with me, super great weather conditions, easy flat terrain, no traffic.
However, the plan is to stick to small distances, even if I don’t feel winded, and only one longer run a week, gradually increasing weekly distance and/or pace. I expect that this way, ceteris paribus, I could run a 10k in less than 3 months. Don’t want to get a case of TMTS (Too-Much-Too-Soon) and get sidelined again. I’ve ran 10ks before, but not barefoot! The idea this time around is to make sure the muscles, skin, tendons and ligaments of the feet are ready for it.
I haven’t quite figured out how to incorporate differing terrain into the mix. I am certain, however, that avoiding tougher surfaces is a mistake. Barefoot Ken Bob points out that they are what keeps you in good form (minimum of 180 steps per minute, relaxed, vertical torso, NO toe push-off, etc). Running on a different type of surface requires its own learning process, so I can’t expect to run the same distance on gravel as I do now on smooth asphalt. The best I think will be to reserve one of the short distance workouts that are scheduled each week for a different terrain.
But that is hardly a real worry for me at the moment, I’m just happy to be running again! The most important thing is to have fun. Let’s keep it simple.
So, excuse me, but I gotta run…
I’m finally going to write what I was dreading to say. I have some injuries that are going to keep me from running for even longer than I thought. Because of (an as yet unexplained) bursitis in my right hip and now more recently an inflamed right knee from a nasty fall I took, I haven’t been able to run at all these past weeks. And it looks like I won’t be running for a while.
(Update Aug 2: bursitis in hip gone as mysteriously as it came, the problem now is quadricep tendonitis from the trauma for which I am now going to physical therapy)
Curiously, though, neither injury is running-related! I suppose that’s a good thing. But its frustrating all the same. In fact, the worst running-related injury I’ve ever had is blisters. Doing other things like hiking, basketball, soccer and just walking around my house I have accumulated the following list of small injuries: sprained ankle, sprained toe, sprained finger, broken finger, broken wrist. I can add the right hip, knee and shin to the list.
The nasty fall I mention was from this Saturday. While on a hiking excursion with friends, we had to cross a river several times which had more water and a stronger current than usual due to all the rainfall the area got from hurricane Alex and Bonnie. Although the water level was never higher than my waist for me, the current and rocky bottom makes for a tricky crossing. Even though I had the help of the guys to get me across, at one point the current made my foot lose its hold and I fell on my right knee and shin onto rocks. I got back up and onto the shore (a mere three feet from where I slipped) to find my right leg had two giant bumps on my shin and a swollen knee with a minor cut. It wasn’t anything serious, just bruising, but still not a pretty sight. And because it wasn’t painful to stand on we went about the rest of the day as planned.
The trip was completely worth it. The El Salto canyon is in the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park near Villa de Santiago, Nuevo León, México and is 500mts deep at its lowest point. The waterfall is 33mts and is spectacular these days because of the enormous amount of water. (The pictures I include in the slideshow come from cell phones, so forgive the bad resolution.)
I made the mistake of wearing my old running shoes to this trip. It didn’t occur to me how useful my Vibrams would have been until I got back and my brother told me he was wearing his to hike. I have never worn my Vibrams to anything other than running on pavement and sidewalk! I think the Vibrams would have allowed for better grip when crossing while providing some protection against stubbing my toes. What do you think? Vibrams better than any shoe? Even hiking shoe? Next time I will definitely try them out on trails.
So I started running in my Vibram FiveFingers again. Unfortunately, I have a non-running (barefoot or otherwise) injury under my right foot which has kept me from going barefoot. The skin is so raw I just can’t take the chance. I very hesitantly ran in my VFFs because I was worried I would find it tempting to go back to minimal shoe running… only to find things were different this time around.
I’ve gone from regular, giant, nike-type shoes to minimal shoes (briefly) to barefoot. Once I went barefoot I concluded I could not run with the same form I had been using in minimal shoes, that it indeed required the feedback from the soles of my feet to tell me I was too much on the balls of my feet and not nearly as bent at the knees as necessary. This time, having gotten comfortable barefoot and now circumstantially running again in minimal shoes, I found that I can be aware of what to look out for and mimic my barefoot form while wearing my VFFs. I can feel when my knees are straightening out and when I’m pushing off from my toes, though not as quickly. But ONLY because I have felt what barefoot running is supposed to feel like. Furthermore, I found that I still miss going barefoot. That’s a good sign to me.
I feel this confirms what I previously believed; I will learn the best running form by going straight to barefoot! I know it looks scary, it’s not. And once I’ve really got the form down I’ll be able to transition into minimal shoes without sacrificing form.
Let me emphasize that I do not feel like I have the barefoot running form down just yet. I’m still looking for my first important milestone; a barefoot 10k race. You can be sure you’ll hear from me when I get there. Can’t wait!
Tuesday Junes 8th I went to the New York barefoot running workshop of Barefoot Ken Bob´s 2010 Summer Tour. It was great to listen to and learn from Barefoot Ken Bob and be able to share experiences with my fellow participants.
Although much of the content of the workshop is not new to me because I am an habitual reader of his site, TheRunningBarefoot.Com, the experience was nonetheless invaluable. A great deal due to the mere fact that I had never met another barefoot runner before (with the notable exception of my brother who is now also experimenting with barefoot running), much less an expert and guru of barefoot running and taken a workshop which he imparted. So it was a great motivator to see and meet so many people with whom I share an enthusiasm for barefoot running. Fortunately for me, we barefoot runners also apparently share an interest in online communication (by necessity, more than anything,) and thanks to that I feel very supported. But meeting people, beginners and veterans alike, was thrilling for me.
Another important part of what made this experience so great, of course, was to able to watch, ask and listen. For me, in particular, the concept of lifting the foot (instead of stepping and pushing-off) as a means of moving forward became clearer. It should be taken much more literally than one initially thinks.
Here you can find comments and pictures of the workshop, but the following are my own photos that I would like to share. And for a great and concise summary of Barefoot Ken Bob’s talk and more pics here at John Durant’s blog. Thanks to everyone who made this workshop possible!