Saturday, November 19, 2005

Reporting Some Barefoot Achievements

I am very happy to report two new achievements for me this week:

First: I ran (barefoot) on a particular course from my home that was very difficult for me when I first tried running it. It has a lot of little gravel rocks strewn over much of the sidewalks and pavement for the first mile. That was followed by a new asphalt bike path that went on for quite some distance. By the time I made it to the nice asphalt, my feet used to get so beat up by the rocks I was not able to enjoy the good part of the run. Then I'd have to return via the same rocky section for a double dose of ouch.

A few days ago I ran the same route and was not even slowed down by the gravel. I just kept true to my form and ran right through/over it. When I got to the asphalt bike path, it felt much smoother than it used to, so I added an extra mile to the course to make it a 5 mile total run.

Second: Today I ran in downtown Portland, Oregon. It has this extremely smooth sidewalk that goes along the Williamette river. Parts of it are fully a 10-rated surface - unbelievably smooth!. Other parts have rougher sidewalks that rate a 7 or 8.

So I ran a 3 mile loop at the fastest pace I've run yet while barefoot, just under 7:00 minute miles. Than I headed up through town across some very rough sidewalks and roads that rate from 3 to 5 in places, for an additional 2 1/2 miles. I focused on form and found that the rougher sections were not only tolerable, they actually felt good! Not too long ago I could barely even walk over them.

At one point I passed a city cop and he yelled, "How far are you running, barefoot!?" I yelled back, "About 6 miles." He said, "You're more of a man than I am!" to which I smiled and waved.

Coming back down out of the city blocks I was going at an accelerated pace, again sailing over some pretty rough sections with ease. Its hard to tell how fast I was averaging because I had to stop and wait for traffic a number of times.

Back down on the waterfront I ran the final 2 mile leg on the smooth stuff, again at a pretty fair clip. My total time running was 65 minutes, which is very encouraging to me, considering all the time I wasted waiting for lights and taking a couple of walking breaks along the way.

I am really excited at the progress I am seeing in my running! I am getting back into condition, my form is coming together, my feet are feeling great, my speed is coming back, and I'm thoroughly enjoying running again. I actually have hope of being able to increase my distances and prepare to run my first in my life marathon. Salt Lake City has a new marathon that's held in late April that is quite a flat course. I'm going to see if I can be ready to try that. If I keep progressing like I am, I might head up north and join the Seattle bunch for Seafair! Vancouver Washington has a 10K in January I might do if I'm in town. It would be my first ever barefoot race.

Hope it doesn't sound like I'm bragging - I'm just so excited that this barefoot stuff is actually working out. I had my doubts at first, but its all becoming seeable for me. Gotta love it!

"Vancouver Barefoot"

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