Monday, October 30, 2006

Painful Record Week of Running Barefoot!

Last week was one of accomplishment and pain. Accomplishment because I ran a personal best total mileage for the week. Pain because I kept on going over areas that turned out to be rougher than I expected. Monday I ran 8.5 miles as reported earlier. I rested on Tuesday to let my feet recover.

On Wednesday I plotted out another course that I hoped would be nicer to my feet. On the map, at least, it had sidewalks all along the route. It was pretty good for most of the run, but one area had older sidewalks that were quite weather beaten, so they were very rough and raspy. I changed by route and cut my run a little bit shorter than I planned on and headed back. While I was running this particularly rough section a lady stopped in her car and asked if I was alright. She must have figured only an emergency would make a guy run down the road barefooted!

When I got to within a few miles of finishing, my left foot developed a very sharp pain in it. At first I thought I was getting a stress fracture (again - same place as one previously). But it felt different. So I thought maybe I had gotten a glass puncture or something. I stopped and checked for fresh signs of new glass wounds, found nothing obvious, and so I figured it must be an old piece of glass I got in my foot one time that I couldn't get out, even went to the doctor's for some probing, and he couldn't find it either. I think its lodged in there but sometimes gets worked a little loose and starts poking places that hurt. My foot was painful and kind of swollen at exactly the same spot where that old piece of glass was stuck in my foot.

So I carefully finished my run by the most direct route possible. Still -- I logged in a 9.75 mile run!! Yippee!

I decided to see how I would do if I ran the very next day, so on Thursday I headed out again. This time I planned on running an old, tried and proven course. It was going very well, along predictably smooth surfaces through downtown Vancouver, a very rough but manageable short section that resembles corrugated cardboard, only its sharp cement ridges - as the sidewalk bends to run along the edge of the Columbia River. Then it was quite smooth running from there on.

I ran a couple of miles along the waterfront sidewalk, keeping to the smoother edges as much as possible, then kept on going towards Wintler Park. They had even made some areas better than it was last year. New pavement on some of the cross streets made intersections a lot smoother and nicer. Ahhh! I love new, smooth asphalt!

Once at Wintler Park I ran down to the water's edge to experience the sand and cool water. My feet felt a little tender, but not all too bad. Then I looked off in the distance and saw the I-205 bridge a few miles away. I thought how nice it would be to run all the way to the bridge on the river's sandy bank. So I took off. There were places in the sand where it got kind of rough, lots of pebbles, shells and glass. I was careful as I could be, but I could tell my feet were starting to complain. I went as far as I could before the sand ran out, then returned and started to retrace my steps back to my office. The closer I got back to my work the more my feet were complaining. My left foot was feeling some stabbing pains again and was a little swollen, and the soles of my feet just complained in general. I ran gingerly the last mile to my office, took a shower, and patted myself on the back for another long run. This one was a 10.25 miles run -- nice even if it was painful!

I was also happy to have logged in the most miles I've run in a week barefoot! 28.6 miles!!

Now, I just need to condition myself a little more and hold true to good running form so my feet don't get so upset with me! I know I can do it -- I have run 12 miles before without any problems! It all comes down to keeping the proper form consistently throughout the run. When I get tired I sometimes let my feet start slapping the pavement too much.

So, I rested my feet the rest of the week and that weekend. Well, almost. On Saturday I mowed my lawn barefoot. It was therapeutic. It was soft and gave my feet a gentle stretch and massage that they needed! By Monday my feet felt completely well again. Ain't the body wonderful??


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