Boring Barefoot Marathon Training Day 19

I should have more to say about my long runs. I ran thirteen lucky miles today. Each one was mostly joyous. I sipped some homemade energy drink and ate a PowerAid gel. The gel wasn’t tasty, but it worked. I’m well within in my target pace.

 

Barefoot Boring Marathon Training Day 16

Fitness is a sexy bitch: Shit’s getting real! My right foot has been giving me slight problems. I’m running in the 4mm connect Xero shoes. They offer absolutely zero support and no cushioning whatsoever. They merely prevent the rough Oregon roads from chewing and stripping the skin from my soles. The thin sandals expose my soft toes to the sharp stone spikes cemented with clay into the trail. The angled rocks brutally smash into the tender, bruised point between my toes like a medieval morning star. When they strike, sharp bolts of agonizing pain fire my straight into my cerebral cortex forcing me to shout and curse, but not to limp. Luckily, my marathon training program offers plenty of recovery days, so the pain  isn’t stopping me from achieving my goal.

In other news, I bought a hydration pack for my upcoming long runs. Last week, I ran twelve miles, which is about as far as I can run without taking water and carbohydrate gels. The unwatered twelve miler brought me a little too close to my danger zone. After my run, my arms and legs were caked with salt, I could literally  scrape off the white crystals. They sparkled in the sun’s light. In the kitchen, I felt a little woozy and had to steady myself by clutching the sink.  My stomach was queazy.  Fortunately, it wasn’t anything that an orange, a banana, and a glass of water couldn’t cure. I recovered enough to work a full day afterward.

By the way, I ran six miles today.  Twenty minutes of my run was at 85% to 90% of my max heart rate. I felt great, but I was a little disappointed over the laggardly pace. I’m well within my target marathon pace, but I secretly I want to run much faster. I know I’m training for a sub four hour marathon, which I know I’ll achieve easily, but a part of me believes I’ll run the marathon in under three hours. 

All this marathon talk has me excited for tomorrow’s early ass morning run. See you then.

Barefoot Boring Marathon Training Day 11

Today kicks off Sandy Days–a celebration of all things Sandy Oregon. Moni and I shot photos and videos of the main street parade. I’ll upload the images tomorrow. BTW, I recently bought myself a SonyAction Cam–I’ll use it to shoot footage of the Huckleberry Half  Marathon & the Boring Full Marathon. The camera is great, but not all that easy to use, especially when it comes to time lapse video. Mysteriously, Sony’s video editing software does NOT have a feature that converts the still frames that it produces into a video clip. WTF? It’s so stupid. The camera shoots time lapse videos as single jpg images, which means it’s up to you to convert them to video. It’s absolutely insane that the video editing software that Sony provides does NOT have a feature to convert the jpgs to a time lapse video clip.  I had to download GOPRO’s free video editing software to make a time lapse video with my SONY camera.  Really, WTF? Their engineers can make a kick-ass camera that splash under water, skid across concrete, and compensate for camera shake, but they didn’t couldn’t figure out how to convert still images into a video clip?

At any rate, I ran seven miles today. And I’m proud to report that I stuck to my target heart rate zone the entire time.  On the Tickle Creek Trail, an elderly lady said I was a “Grecian Runner!” I’ve seen her and husband before. They always smile and encourage me when I run by.  I like the Grecian thing, I am, after all, training for a marathon.

See you after the Sandy Carnival.

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.

Strange Birds with Barefeet

I won the lottery: given a fine birth in the USA. Never wanting food or shelter. Happy and content in a nuclear family. Parents still married. College Degree, nice GPA.

And yet, I wasn’t packaged at the factory, not taped neatly along the edges of a fine, uniform recycled paper using cardboard box. Sometimes I wonder what would I be if I were inside the factory box? A Phonograph? A Scientific Calculator? No, when you opened the box, I’d probably dart out as scary night flying bat. The kind that looks like it could suck your blood, but that is really much more interested in eating gnats and insanely thankful that you let out of that damn paper prison.

So I wonder why the teenagers giggle at me when I run by. Then I realize it might be the bare feet plodding the pavement, the tattoos on my legs bobbing up and down, the long hair trailing in the wind, or the ragged shirt and shorts flapping like tattered battle flags as they have for years. I have this sense that cloths should literally fall off you or smell so bad that your wife complains before they should be discarded. Maybe there’s some self loathing in that. I suspect there is an element of self-hate in it.

I like to pretend that the sneer and chuckle of the blue-haired, nose ringed girl doesn’t phase me. That the warm, rough road beneath my feet immunizes me against it. But a small shard of it does pierce me. It’s that tingle in your chest the night of the play, right before you take the stage, but it hurts a little. You know it won’t kill you. But it does nag at you, just a little. You realize that if you really let it, it can infect. It can fester up in your soul and start the Rot. I don’t want a rotten soul, so I let the comment miss. I become like the wind. The insult fades.

I remember that I won the lottery. That I am well, healthy, running without shoes outside in the beautiful Oregon sun. Instead of letting the sharp words cut me, I let them cut open uniform recycled paper using cardboard box. And this time, I don’t fly out as bat, but as an eagle with a Longfeather.