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Back in to action today

March 10, 2009

barefoot-running-marymoore-003The Pins and Needles Trail

I’m not quite sure if all the outdoor activity with the freezing feet on Saturday caught up with me or my sub-conscience let in some  new random bug of death  just to slow me down for a rest. Whatever it was I was laid out flat! The only exercise I had until today was my right finger on the channel changer and getting up and heading to the water closet. Not what I would call adventurous living, but it does have it’s challenging moments physically and mentally always followed by a dose of humility.

One thing I have learned the hard way is when you are sick you should act as if you are sick. I like to ignore the bodies signals to my one track mind that I need some down time to recover from whatever it is that has me down. I just figure that I am in great shape and I will burn this crud right out of me with a few extra hard workouts and some protein shakes and vitamins. I can say this works sometimes and sometimes it makes matters much worse and what would have been a three day lay off turns into a week sometimes more. Sunday was the day this all started, Monday was defiantly the ass kicker, and today I was feeling much better.Special thanks to my personal Doc. Patti who nursed me to health. Patti is really quite incredible, she too was not feeling at all well and still made it off to med. school and took time to tend to me. Thanks honey, you are the greatest.

Since I felt much better today I thought I would treat myself to a short run  at Marymoore Park on the Pins and Needles path. I call this path the Pins and Needles because the asphalt is covered with sharp rocks and debris. This would be one of my favorite places to run if it were clear of debris , but for now it is one of my “hard” training grounds that has many colorful moments throughout the run. The good news is the surface has become more tolerable and it  taught me how to move better and to handle unpredictable terrain.  The moments that used to be F@#$, S@!#, F%&#ing rock are now quite civil with no need for censorship. Progress in action!

The run today was average and my right ankle started off feeling tight and loosened throughout the run. The problem with short runs is it takes a little bit for me to get into a groove with flowing form and just when I’m dialed in then it’s over. I told myself that there would be no overdoing it today and I held to that. The weather was about 42 degrees and the asphalt had warmed in the sun. My feet felt good and the right ankle is getting stronger and the form is getting better with the improved strength. I would rate the ankle strength at about 75% right now and the foot conditioning is better than ever with no new blisters or sensitivity increase after the run. Really a positive day for the barefoot run and I am looking forward to the quickly approaching half marathon. My only concern at this point is my lack of mileage going into the race. More will be revealed as the day approaches.

The words of the day are listen to your body. If you listen to your ego the journey will be painful, listen to your body and your journey will be fun.

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Giving back today

March 7, 2009

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Group members on Mt St. Helens summit ready to ski down.

No barefoot running today and the skis are in the garage. I headed out early to help teach navigation and ascending and rappelling to a group of students. I help with this mountaineering group that taught me how to climb mountains. I have found a great usefulness in teaching what I love.

The weather was 32 degrees and wet and windy. I put on my five finger flows and headed out. These things are not much for insulation or water repellent treatment. My toes were cold all day. The weather forecast is cold and wet for a few more days so I will be taking a couple of days off from running. I really don’t want to with the Mercer Island half marathon coming in two weeks. I will give it my best when it comes and leave it at that.

Plenty of comments on the footwear today and lots of questions about going barefoot. Most folks think it is extreme and they want to know if I am going to climb Mt. Rainier barefoot. I would have to say no at this point just because most of the journey would be in temperatures bellow freezing. I will try to go up as far as I can then I will have to boot up.

The comment for the day is have fun. That’s all, have fun and give back to your fellows there is no better gift for your soul.

The day after the storm

March 6, 2009

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Dragging the knuckles

The storm that rolled through on Thursday dumped some serious powder on the Cascades. Friday was to be clear and sunny and I knew the best skiing would be in the back country. What is a guy to do….call some buddies and put together a tour that only happens a few times a year.

As I said yesterday,” I reserve the term epic for truly epic times.” People seem to overuse the term “epic” as if they are some kind of lucky schmuck that just can’t miss. Today was indeed a great bluebird powder day, but I have had better snow in the back country.

I did not run today I just wandered barefoot and the comments from my friends are good. They think I’m crazy!

The final comment of the day is going barefoot effects everybody in your life to some degree.

There is snow in them hills!

March 5, 2009

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Had to skip the barefoot run today and head for the hills to harvest some fresh powder. There was 18 inches of fresh powder dumped in less than 24 hours and what a day it was. I would love to throw the word epic in the description, but that is reserved for blue sky 18 inch powder days. The storm never let up and the pass was littered with less fortunate drivers. Spin out after spin out and even some roof sledding by some stunt man. The drive was epic and the pass closed down just as we left for home. Apental closed the top chair at 12 due to avalanche danger. It was a great leg workout and I hope to get a longer barefoot run in tomorrow.

The comment of the day was at the Bellevue Public Library when a guy said,”Nice shoes.” I just smiled and said,” Thank you my parents gave them to me.”  Thanks Mom and Dad for for the great feet!

Cross training day!

March 4, 2009

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Summit of Tiger Mountain with the fog passing through

Whoa what a day! My cross train days have been proving to be butt kickers. I started the morning with my P90X chest and back workout followed by Ab Ripper X for a total of an hour and fifteen minutes of great muscle pumping exercise. Came back home for a recovery drink and changed into my cycling gear for a 24 mile sprint around Lake Sammamish. I went minimally clothed and my core temp was down a bit when I got back to the garage. The ride was right around the hour mark so my pace was pretty good for this early in my season.

Time to get the core temp up so some nice hot tea and another recovery drink. Next was a quick light lunch and out the door to Tiger Mountain to climb to summit 3. The elevation gain is about 2,000 vertical feet and today was to be much different than any of the other times I cruised to the summit. The power line trail gains about a thousand feet per mile and is quite rocky and today I decided to go barefoot. I was not sure how I would do on the terrain I just knew I would do my best and go as far as my body would allow. I threw in a pair of my Five Finger Flows for my back up. It felt great learning to move through all the obstacles and I did make it all the way to the summit barefoot. The last 800 vertical feet the temperature had dipped quite low and the soles got numb. I am not a big fan of numb feet on the type of terrain I was encountering. The key was to relax more , watch my step and treat pressure as pain since the feeling in my feet was gone. When we arrived on the summit I had to wash the mud off my feet with some cold water and I brought a small towel to dry my paws the best I could. If you ever get the chance  to put on some Five Finger Flows with damp numb feet you are in for a real treat. I can’t really explain it with words, well, maybe it’s like putting your wet jeans on with a pair of boots already on your feet. Priceless, but well worth the effort for the journey down would have been a little much for this barefoot rookie. Ahhhh yes, my feet began to warm back up too. Great fun going down and my quads felt the burn until we hit the trail head.

The comments today were great and inspirational too. One lady came up behind me and said,” You’re the one! I have been following your footprints.”  She said it was impressive and I had to stop and think. Is it really that impressive? I am not sure it is,but, I can see how when we have tender feet from confinement it seems impressive. I passed another guy that looked a lot like Barefoot Ken with the nice big beard and he wanted to talk a bit. The words that came from him hit home and I will close with his wisdom today.” I bet you have to take it slow or you will have to start all over again.”  Well said my brother!

Barefoot running around Greenlake

March 3, 2009

Another great day for barefoot running in Seattle. The sun was shinning and what could be better? My ankle was feeling better this morning I could tell as I headed down the stairs for breakfast. I headed out to Greenlake for a planned 3 mile run with no pushing just to go easy. The run started well and just continued to get better. I felt relaxed and my ankle was seeming to be stronger and my form showed it. Nice steps and a gliding feeling at times. The form is coming together and it feels so nice after such a long battle with injury and sore feet. There were many times I wanted to quit and go back to shoes and today was the day that every lesson I have gone through paid off.  I really struggle to put into words the way it feels to run the way I ran today. I will have to settle for a word like fantastic coupled with perseverance and accomplishment. No blisters, no pains, and relaxed calf muscles.

Medea runs with me all the time and today she just followed allong as usual.  I think she goes along with me running just to get out of the house. I often wonder if she really has as much fun as I do. For her reward for following me around on all of my runs is her own freedom. The off leash dog park at Marymoore Park in Redmond. acres upon acres of pasture and other rowdy four legged friends to romp with. She had a great time and I had just as much fun watching her.

I used the time at the Park to walk on some gravel and other ruff stuff. A strange thing happend today and that was no comments on the bare feet. My final words for the day are don’t ever give up! Ybarefoot-running-greenlake-008barefoot-running-greenlake-0021ou can think about , but, don’t do it.

Rest day out for a walk with some light running.

March 2, 2009

Weather was good today and I had planned a rest day. The ankle felt quite strong today and the short runs during my walk felt okay. I feel like I am about 60 percent on the ankle rehab and taking it slow is a little tough. I am starting to add some new elements on my off days. I have started walking on the gravel trail by my apartment.

Now for starters the trail is crushed rock and it is not too friendly. It is a hard teacher, but, it is always fair. The main thing is to stay relaxed as you walk on this surface. When I feel my muscles tense in my body the bottom of my foot pays the price. When I stay relaxed it is more of  a flowing motion with much less discomfort to the paws. This will be some great practice with some great results in teaching my body how to tread lightly and move fluidly. It does not really hurt in a pain way it is more of a intense stimulation of all the nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments in my feet. One thing is for sure after leaving the gravel trail any other surface seem like butter. The gravel is quite the sensation and my feet are feeling a bit tired tonight. No new damage to the souls another bonus!

The comments for the day. I will start with the group of runners that got on the gravel trail behind me. I could hear them coming like a heard of Clydesdale’s pulling the Bud wagon. One of them looked over at me and said,”How do those rocks feel?” The first thing that came to mind was,” they feel good.” For the record rocks feel like rocks and I am not too sure if the rocks can feel or not. I would have to say if you asked  the rocks I was walking on how they felt? The answer would have been  much better than the ones that were being jumped on by the pack of Clydesdale’s that went by. The last guy that I passed was on his bike and the look on his face was priceless. “Shoes? No shoes?”  That is right sir, no shoes, no illusion, just a guy and his dog walking down the road of life barefoot feeling each step of the way.