Friday, July 17, 2009

Interesting runs this past week

This week was pretty unusual. It started off last Sunday kayaking instead of running, which was a lot of fun. I was kind of itching to run, but I couldn't fit it into the day. The paddling actually was a tough workout, and after three hours of it, I was in no shape to run. We had a great time, though. I'll have to do it again soon and take the support staff with me.

The next day I thought that I would do a few miles on the road and chose a 4.5-mile hilly loop. I was pretty disappointed because I was a lot slower than I had thought I would be. It was more of an effort than I was expecting, and at the end, my calves were so tight that I had to stop and walk at the 4-mile mark because I thought I would snap something if I didn't.

Tuesday was probably the most interesting of my runs this week. I've been reading all about the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico's Copper Canyons and how they can run extensive distances in nothing but leather sandals, as well as about how running shoes are built for heel striking and how that running form leaves runners susceptible to injury, and I decided to give barefoot running a try. I had tried it on my treadmill a few times over the past few years (yes, at one time it helped me feel more Hobbit-ish), but on Tuesday I ventured barefoot onto the road. My first thought was "ouch". The soles of my feet were tender and I flinched when I stepped onto the asphalt of the driveway, which felt much rougher than I expected it to be. The impact was not as painful as I thought it would be, though. I didn't feel as if I was shocking my feet at all. The grit and stones on the road caused all of the discomfort I felt, so a few times I stepped onto the grass, and that felt wonderful. I could feel the unevenness of the ground under the grass, and I knew that if I had been wearing sneakers, I would risk turning an ankle. My bare feet though, felt like they molded to the contours of the ground. I also felt light and very nimble, as if I should be dribbling a soccer ball back and forth or darting lithely with quick, light steps. When I stepped back onto the road, I was struck by the sound. People usually call running "pounding the pavement" but there was no way you could consider this pounding; rather, it was more like padding. Again, I felt light, as if I was tip-toeing , but I was running. It was really an interesting experience. I don't think that I'm going to do much off-treadmill barefoot running, but I am seriously considering buying minimalist shoes for running in at least once a week. Vibram Five Fingers are ridiculous looking, so I'm not rushing to get them, but they may be an option if I can't find anything else.

After running barefoot, I was a little sore in places deep within my calves, but I was still up for a hill workout on Wednesday. I decided to do the workout on a hill in my backyard, which is shorter than the hill on the street on which I usually run repeats. It took about 20 repeats to make it to 5 minutes of uphill running, and was pretty tuckered out, but it was a good workout. It was a very different experience running on grass than on pavement.

The next day I jogged easy for a mile on the road, and then Friday was my long run. I love long runs! I never thought I would, but pushing farther forward every week is so confidence-building that I really look forward to completing each one. Friday's run was a hot and sticky 8 miles. I prepared for the more humid weather by keeping a slower pace and putting ice in my Gatorade and covering the bottle with a foam can sleeve to keep it cool longer. (Because everyone knows that there is nothing less thirst-quenching than warm Gatorade.) I was actually pretty comfortable the whole time and was able to pick up the pace at the very end. I won't be running another long one next week, because I have a 5K on Saturday and I don't want to overdo it. I'm also due for a mileage scale-down this week, but I'm looking forward to the following week's long run. As the for 5K next Saturday, I'm not sure if it's a fun run or if it's timed. If it's not timed, I'll bring my stopwatch and enjoy the run. I'll do my best, but I'm not obsessed with breaking the PR for this one. (I'd like to, of course, but it's not my priority with this race.) The one on August 4th is on a course that I'm familiar with, and which is actually where I set my PR the first time, so I'd like to go for the PR there.

I spent all of yesterday at the beach, so I didn't have a chance to go for a run, but today I was home, and the weather was beautiful -- perfect for being outdoors. Instead of running, though, I took the Trek out to the trail for a bike ride. I took my time and really enjoyed the beautiful day. Here's a little sample of what I saw:

This was on one of the bridges crossing the river. On my way down the trail, I actually had to stop and pull my bike over to the edge of the bridge because a horse was coming by -- pulling a cart behind it with two people! It wasn't an old-fashioned buggy, but the premise was the same. The horse looked like it belonged in Central Park driving tourists around. I wanted a picture of the whole set-up, but the horse was trotting quickly, and before I would have been able to get the camera ready, it was gone. It definitely made for an interesting sight, though!

Total miles for week: 17.5 (I'd like to get it consistently between 20 and 25 - almost there!)

1 comment:

Chic Runner said...

Paddling around kicks my butt too! :) Nice job on the runs and you'll be doing 20 miles a week in no time! :)