If the miles behind me could be put into words before you, you would feel my efforts, my struggles, my desires. Most of all you would see my joy. Watch me from afar run the trails and hills and miles upon miles and you will see ...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Not All Roads are Created Equal

As I've been hitting the streets without shoes the last few months I've come to the realisation of some things:

1) Not all asphalt is created equal - some is smooth and great to run on, and other times it's almost an aggregate with a rougher surface that is not so great to run on

2) Cement is a no-no whether clad in shoes (due to the hardness) or barefoot (due to the

3) The white lines on the shoulder are the best road surface to run on - they're smooth and cool and feel good on the feet

4) People still look at me like I'm nuts

The run a couple days ago was a total of 18 miles with the last :20 done barefoot. I really have to figure out a place to ditch the shoes and continue running, maybe going back later and picking them up. It's easier to concentrate on what I'm running around and over without the extra weight in my hands. I picked it up at the end and did some short sprints. For months I was experiencing calf tightness after around twenty minutes but wrote it off to not doing it enough. Then I started experimenting a little more with different styles throughout the run. I was always concerned with never landing anywhere on my heel and all on the ball of the foot and still had the tightness and my calves were very sore the next day (like post-marathon sore). What seems to work better is relaxing the foot and letting it land more forefoot and feel the heel but not until the end. I'm still not landing on the heel but it's doing more work. That seems to be better without the lingering soreness for a day or two.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sign up begins

This Ultrarunning thing is getting more popular every year so I've hit the Visa hard lately and dropped cash on some events. I had to sign up for the Vancouver Marathon a few days ago to avoid paying even more in a few months time. Also there's the ever-present threat about "signing up early to get a guaranteed shirt size". I figure by doing the marathon my speed should be up and if I can wrangle a spot at Comrades I'll be flying (it's four weeks after Vancouver). The goal at the marathon is to bring my personal best down five minutes to sub-2:40. I'm still thinking of the Historic Half in Ft. Langley in February but am finding it hard to part with $68 for a godd*mn half marathon. I might do something that race but my placing may not be official, if you know what I mean (rhymes with "bandit").
I committed to the Fat Dog 100 mile in July. If that doesn't get me out the door, nothing will. The preliminary schedule looks like this:

Feb - Historic Half (?)
Mar - Dirty Duo 25k
- Chuckanut 50k
Apr - Diez Vista 50k(if I get the entry in on time)
May - Vancouver Marathon
-Comrades Marathon 89k, South Africa (hopefully get an application accepted in early Jan, will post when I know, if I don't get in, see below)
June - Australian 100k Championships (if Comrades falls through)
July - Fat Dog 100 mile, Keremeos to Manning Park
Aug - Stormy 50 mile, Squamish
- Tour de Mont Blanc 166k, France
Sep - Spartathlon (ha! just kidding. Not in 2010 anyways)
Nov - 100k World Championships, Gibralter

Pretty big mix of road and trail but might as well be decent at all distances rather than excel at any one distance.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Barefoot Update

The last couple weeks have been cold, and I don't mean just put on a sweater and stop whining cold. I mean it's toque and gloves and, gasp, shoes weather!! I went without footwear as long as I could but it only took a twenty minute walk with the kids after dinner about ten days ago to make me realize some things are best left covered. The bottoms of my feet were bright red from the cold pavement. Plus now there's salt on the road and all I can envision is the soles getting all dried and cracked and peeling, oh, the horror. So I've been sticking mostly to my $8 WalMart water shoes I got in the summer. They don't breathe all that well, good thing it's too cold for my feet to sweat.
I've been out in the Fivefingers quite a bit, nothing epic but enough to keep the muscle memory of running barefoot. The ground in the trails is so frozen right now it's like running on the road. The grass is actually uncomfortable because the frost heaving has left it like running on gravel. I even managed a ten minute pavement stint today. Won't be doing that too much until it rains again, which it's supposed to do this week.
Stay tuned for the 2010 schedule. A little distance, a lot of distance, a little speed, a little travel.