Boring Barefoot Marathon Training Day 15

I didn’t want to climb out from under the covers, but I did. I didn’t want to do my morning breath-work, but I did. I didn’t want to lift weights, but I did. In other words, it was yet another (test of) strength day.

Tomorrow I run.

Barefoot Boring Marathon Training Day 12

This morning before ceramics class, I watched carnies run safety checks on rides at the Sandy Days.  Under the scorching summer sun, I recorded a few time-lapse videos and shot some pics with a Yashika 35mm camera.  But I couldn’t get excited about show. Something inside me ached for excitement. So I walked to Joe’s Donuts and ordered a maple bar. Then I wondered down to Meinig Park as people set up their booths for Mountain Days. When I got home, I did Jillain Micheal’s 30 Day Shred. Nothing spectacular. It’s a strength/rest day. I shouldn’t have had that donut, but whatever. I ate healthfully the rest of the day.

Tomorrow is my long day. How far will I run? Check back tomorrow.

Barefoot Boring Marathon Training Day 10

Google Hacked

This is creepy. I’ve been posting  about my heart rate monitor on this blog. What’s so creepy about that? Nothing. Here’s the creepy part: I’ve been receiving calls on my Google voice–my voicemail account is associated with the e-mail address for this blog–from a number that connects to a cardiac/thoracic surgeon. Isn’t that frightening!? Some bot or psycho heart surgeon is harvesting content, figuring out the Google voice number from the e-mail address, and then placing targeted, unwanted, illegal phone calls. What a Brave New World we live in.

While I don’t enjoy receiving spam calls, I don’t fret because I always file a complaint with the FTC whenever I receive them.

As for training, I ran a steeper longer hill for my intervals. This week it’s still: 10 times 90 seconds uphill at 80%-90% effort with  90 seconds of recovery. I think my training plan only has me running intervals twice a month, Thank God!!! Although, I must say that I always feel fantastic when my intervals are done.

What does tomorrow hold? Check back to find out.

 

Boring Barefoot Marathon Training Day 9

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family  is in its own way a latch-key teenager girl with braces standing on the front porch hurling insipid insults at me as I walk by on day 9 of my marathon training. No, I wasn’t cheating by walking on a training day.  And, Yes, the girl was real. Why then was I walking and not running? Today is NOT a run day, it’s strength day. I like to supplement my strength days with three to four mile jaunts around the neighborhood. As I passed a green a  townhouse a shrill adolescent female voice shouted an ugly insult at me from across the street. I won’t repeat the invective. I pretended not to hear her, but I slowly doubled back. I’m glad I did. As soon as I reached her house, her mom pulled into the driveway. I took the golden opportunity to inform the mother about her daughter’s unfortunate comments. It was beautiful timing. I got a well deserved apology. I don’t think the girl was a cruel person, just young and impetuous.

Whatever happens, I stuck to my training. When I arrived home, I lunged, lifted, squatted my way through Jillian Michael’s Thirty Day Shred.

See you tomorrow.

Boring Barefoot Marathon Training Day 8

I didn’t want to get out of bed at five thirty this morning. I was too comfortable. Besides my legs were a little sore and I didn’t sleep well. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion…Once I got my ass out from under the sheets,  I strapped my on running sandals, but  the damned cord snapped. If you don’t own running sandals, then you don’t how much it motherfuckingsucks to retie them. It’s a fine art to get the delicate tension just right, especially when you’re using the “permanent knot” method. After fidgeting, cussing, and igniting the knot with a match*, I realized that had another impediment to overcome: my GPS needed to be reprogrammed. I needed to update my intervals. Thankfully, the update went smoothly.  Even so, I was frustrated because I was on a tight schedule. I need to get my runs before work. If I don’t run before work, the run hangs over my head like a well fed elephant. It also means that I’ll be stuck running in the heat or if it’s too hot, then waiting until eight or nine, which means going to bed at ten or eleven, skipping meditation and reading.

Fortunately, I was able to get out of door at a reasonable time. I had to force myself to break into a jog: It is by will alone I set my mind in motion… Once I cleared a few streets with my freshly tied sandals and my GPS programmed, I had a good run:

After a two mile warm-up, I ran ten sets of intervals: 2 minute fast (80-90% effort) with 1 minute recovery.  All told, I ran over six miles. Some of the intervals were unintentionally uphill. I didn’t plan them that way, it’s just the path of my regular running route. I don’t get much recovery uphill, but it tones the fuck out of my heart without staining my lips–for lip staining, I need the juice of sapho.

It is the day of the Mentat. This post it just to let you know that I’m still training. Check back tomorrow, perhaps there will be some of Paul-Muad’Dib’s wisdom.

 

* Setting fire to the knot shrinks it, thereby saving your foot from excessive agony.

Boring Barefoot Marathon Training Day 5

More than once I’ve asked myself whether I shall turn out to be the Superman or the Lex Luther of my own life. Each of us are given a fist full of earth. Some plant gardens, other throw mud pies, and some let the dirt slip between their fingers. Of course, we weren’t given the earth, we emerged from it. This planet truly is our mother. As the miles slide by, the bullshit of normal life lifts and there is nothing but breath: time dilates and contracts by its own weird logic.  Today, I ran 7.4 blissful miles. What does tomorrow hold? Check back to find out.

Barefoot Boring Marathon Training Day 4

 

Sometimes I have to bury myself to feel alive. That’s what the isolation tank is a like  for me, it’s a private, self-inflicted burial. I close the door and entomb myself in a Stygian crypt. But this post isn’t about the mysteries of isolation tanks. I’ll save that topic for another time.

This post is about a different kind of burial–one above ground under the hot summer sun–and the curious resurrection that accompanies it. This post is about running hill repeats. Today, my barefoot marathon training schedule commanded me to run 90 seconds up hill at 80%-90% max heart  rate with 90 second recovery for 30 minutes. On the first climb, I watched my heart-rate leap from 112 to 157 in a very short time. Breathing was troublesome. Soon I was wheezing hard. By the third repeat my heart-rate reached 175 and that’s when the panic set in. My hissing, gasping, wheezing lungs would not drag in anymore air.  The houses spun around and the street became a rolling wave. I couldn’t catch my breath, it felt like I was breathing through a straw that was getting smaller and smaller.  Am I having a heatstroke. No, what if it’s asthma- or a heart attack-I could die–OMG, I could drop dead right here!!!! This is dangerous. I should stop running. Should ask this lady to call an ambulance? and so on. Slowly as I jogged downhill, my breath returned. I was tempted to stop doing the repeats but quitting my repeats would have been a huge mistake. Instead of giving into the temptation to walk, I just forced myself to slow down whenever my heart-rate reached 152–I found that when I slowed at 152 it still climbed to 157 or 158, but those ranges are in my target zone, so the gasping and wheezing were tolerable. As long as I staid in my target zone of 80%-90% of max, I would be safe. The wheezing didn’t stop completely and the running wasn’t easier, but it all became uncomfortably bearable and I was able to finish my 30 minute repeats. After my run, I felt fantastic! I was reborn. I can’t wait to train tomorrow. Come back  to find out what’s next.

5 Mistakes Barefoot Runners Make

  1. English: Illustration of the pain pathway in R...
    English: Illustration of the pain pathway in René Descartes’ Traite de l’homme (Treatise of Man) 1664. The long fiber running from the foot to the cavity in the head is pulled by the heat and releases a fluid that makes the muscles contract. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Running on the Tips of the Toes
    Tippy Toe running will chew up your calves and achilles; it will also hammer agonizing spikes of torment into your sensitive metatarsals. (As the illustration shows, it may also activate the long fiber running from the foot to the cavity in the head to release a fluid that makes the muscles contract. It may also disrupt one of the four humors, thereby requiring bloodletting to restore balance). So, don’t run on your toes. Your heel should touch the ground, but it shouldn’t be the first part to strike the ground.

  2. Too Much Too Soon (TMTS)
    This doesn’t only apply to those who scamper the streets without shoes. It applies to everyone who races on foot. If pain darts through your lower leg, then you’re rushing your training. This is the most frustrating aspect of barefoot running. It’s taken me a few years to develop enough foot strength to run reasonable distances. Even a mile barefoot walk can give some people issues. It takes time, but your body will adapt. Persistence, not distance is the key. BTW, I cross train with Pilates and I do High Intensity Interval Workouts on my non run days. When I was injured, I still exercised I was even able to adapt some of the cardio HICT moves.
  3. Running Straight Barefoot without Sandals or “Barefoot Shoes”
    There is nothing wrong with wearing sandals or truly minimalist shoes, such as Merrill foot gloves. I do most of my running in sandals, not only because the streets in my neighborhood are brimming with tiny stone spikes (pain pyramids), but also because I enjoy the jaunty style. Let’s face it, even the Tarahumara Indians run in sandals. Most runners do not expose their naked feet to the scraggy pavement. If you live in California or some other place that offers sunshine and smooth streets, you may ignore the previous sentence, but if, like me, you live in Oregon or a place with rough streets,  heed my warning. I do enjoy running completely barefoot now and again, but most of the time, I gallop about in sandals.
  4. Monotonous, Plodding Gait 
    The main benefit from barefoot running is the ability to connect with the planet as it spins around the sun. But that doesn’t mean that you should copy your stride over and over again, every step of the way. It is important to change pace and gait occasionally, especially on longer runs. Sometimes, I run like a gazelle, skipping my body along the dirt trail, other times I run like a cross country skier, gliding myself over the long asphalt road. I often do interval sprints from power line to power line; other times I just jog at slow to go pace. I have even been known to twirl myself like flamenco dancer; now and then, I even begin or end my runs with a flashy cartwheel.
  5. Giving Up Too Soon
    Because it takes some time to develop foot strength, many runners give barefoot running a try for a month or two. Usually, they end up getting top of foot pain, achilles pain, calf injury, or shin splints. That’s when they give up and write articles such as “Dangers of Barefoot Running”. While you should not run through real pain, barefoot running does hurt a little. Progress doesn’t happen in the “comfort zone.” Getting past the initial aches is part of the fun. Think of the discomfort as friendly college hazing from the barefoot running gods. Like all gods, they require sacrifice. The oblation of pain, is a small price for many joyful secrets the gods will share with you.
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Patron Saint for Runners?

St. Sebastian Patron Saint of Sportsman
St. Sebastian

I was baptized as a Catholic, I was partially raised Catholic, I took Catholic Communion, but I am NOT Catholic. Why then, am I tempted to pray to Saint Sebastian?

It all started a few weeks ago. It was a frigid, rainy day in Sandy Oregon. I didn’t at all feel like running 8 long miles barefoot on the rough and icy streets, not only because of cold, but also because the city was doing roadwork, filling the streets with the infamous tiny pebbles I have deemed “pain pyramids”. The stone triangular spikes must have been formed in the very bowels of barefoot-runner hell.

After watching some Youtube videos, sitting in front of the heater, and pretending to myself that I was not procrastinating, I finally convinced myself to put on my running clothes and hit the streets. As soon as I shut the door, the skies did not open and the sun did not peak through revealing a lovely rainbow, instead fierce black clouds swarmed above, an arctic blast surged over me, and the first biting darts of sleet struck my tender feet.

For the first few miles, my hands trembled and I wondered what the hell I was doing outside, then I noticed that according to RunKeepr, my last mile was a two seconds faster than the previous mile. Even though I was miserable, the encouragement from runkeepr boosted my pace–at the very least running faster would get me out from cold dark clouds faster. Around mile 6, the nerves on my feet were telling me they needed more skin. I ignored the pain. At mile 7.5 I stepped on a slice of glass or a metal scrap or a rusty nail. But I didn’t stop because I had only half of a mile left! I would treat the cut later.

When I finished my run, I wasn’t all that shocked to see blood prints behind me. I could see my life juices swishing with the rain and swirling peacefully into the gutter. When I examined my foot, I didn’t discover a shard of glass or even a gash on my foot. Instead I gazed into the tiny hole I had run into it.

Luckily, I was able to bandage the wound and run comfortably with sandals. I even comfortably ran 10 miles three days after the injury. Unfortunately,  the bandage must have altered my gait because I developed a pain deep in my ankle. It felt like a sprain, but worse. My foot swelled so I decided to take it easy until it healed.

As soon as I got back up to 11 miles for my long run, I caught a wicked chest cold. Cough cough cough, no phlegm just a hacking dry cough and not even dreams of sleep for about three days. I rarely get ill, but this virus sneaked past my defenses.  Maybe that’s because I weakened them by running barefoot through a storm.

I am well again. I am once again on my feet. If I were to pray to Saint Sebastian for anything, I think I would ask him to protect me FROM MYSELF.

 

May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you live with ease.

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