To Push or Not to Push…

Keeping on track, ran my mile yesterday. Good thing since it’s crazy windy outside tonight.  I may be on the treadmill tomorrow though because we’re expecting rain and I’m not ready to run in the dark and the rain barefoot! 

I know there are two sides to everything but when it comes to running it seems like the two sides are SO far apart that one or the other should be right and the other should just be obviously wrong.  But of course it’s never that easy.

On one hand I read a lot about how it’s important to progress slowly to be certain that you do not injure yourself. Don’t run yourself into the ground, don’t run your fastest, don’t run till you are ready to drop or you’ll regret it the next day.  This happens to be true, there is a fine line between I had a great run yesterday and I can’t feel my legs.  Or I wish I couldn’t.  But taking this path means that improvement is slow.  In my case really, really slow.

I’ve been running mostly off but plenty of on for about 2 years and after finally getting up to a 5K I had to start over and at this point I’m just back to a mile. It’s an easy mile, and I don’t get tired of running at all, but I’m trying to follow people’s advise to start and progress slow to avoid injury.  That’s all well and good but it’s amazing how hard it is, sometimes I feel like I should run as fast as I can and as far as I can just to see what I can do. But I think taking it slow is good advise for me right now because at this point the muscles in my feet kind of ache the day after running sometimes.  Not like I hurt them, more like your muscles feel after a workout that was hard enough to feel but not brutal enough to make you wonder how exercise could possibly be healthy. Running barefoot is certainly pointing out muscles I didn’t know I had!

On the other hand there are people who say if you aren’t pushing your limits all the time you aren’t doing it right. Whatever it may be. These are the people who run a marathon after running for 9 months and people who are running ultras.  Sad truth?  How I wish I was one of them!  I’d love to be one of those people who do amazing things and who know their limits because they’ve pushed themselves to them and maybe even past them. I’m amazed by every one of them, and I don’t understand how they do what they do without injuring themselves on a daily basis. Is it because they are physically stronger?  Just because they want what they want so badly that there is no choice but to keep pushing?

I always wonder if people who push that hard are always in pain and just ignoring it or seriously just that good.

I’d like to blame genetics, whatever it is I”m not real likely to ever run an ultra or even a marathon.  I’d really, really like to be able to say I’d done one but it would take me like 40 years to get to that mileage at my current rate and then I’d be in my 80s and what are the chances? I’d also love to rough it in Alaska, but um, it’s kind of cold there.  Heck, I’m already worried about trail running barefoot in the summer because of ticks and Lyme disease. 

How do people do it?  I think it’s mind over matter.  Some people’s minds are strong enough to bring them past any pain and past any obstacles and right to their goal, whatever it is.  My mind tells me relax, don’t worry about it.  Be happy with where you are and don’t compare yourself with other people.  And that’s all good, some people even strive for it.  But while those people who push themselves to the limit already know what they are capable of I’ll always wonder, what if?

At least I have a glass of Sauvignon Blanc to keep me company while I ponder.

A Whole Mile Barefoot!

I had a pretty great weekend, and I’m finally feeling like I may be able to start running again. Taking it easy and not setting goals so I don’t over do things is a great idea, but it’s also a lot harder than it sounds. I want a goal!  But at the moment I’m still trying to keep with taking it easy since I do still have a minimal amount of pain in my hip after a run.  But it’s minimal!

Saturday I went for a hike on the trails around the lake near my house, it was almost an hour of barefoot hiking and it was pretty fun.  I went with a bunch of family.  I’m pretty sure they were just spiting me when they announced they had lost the trail and just cut through the woods.  Evil? I think so.

Sunday I went for my first mile run in the neighborhood.  It felt great to finally do a run that was actually measurable.  Granted it was only a mile, but it works for me.  So for this week my goal is to run a mile every other night.  I’ve heard so much about how people over do barefoot running and get stress fractures that I’m a little paranoid to add much distance at a time, and really a mile is a huge jump in itself.

I used to run with my iPod, setting a distance goal and agonizing over how slow I run.  I actually lost said iPod, so I am being forced to ignore all of that and it’s actually pretty fun!  So far I don’t miss the music but I probably will get something to replace it. I’d especially like to try the music apps to help with cadence.

I’d really like a GPS so I can go running or hiking on the trails without worrying about getting lost that also tracks pace and plays music.  Oh, and I also want it to be cheep. So far I haven’t even seen a GPS that plays music but who knows maybe I’ll find the perfect gadget if I keep looking…

Any suggestions?

Another go at Barefoot Running

I decided to try running barefoot again, but since running on pavement isn’t really working for me lately I went over to the park across the street and ran on the dirt road there. My 11 year old son went with me; he seems to be developing a love for running that I am both surprised and super happy about.

When Alex runs with me in his sneakers he sounds like a herd of elephants rampaging up the street, he slams his feet on the ground so hard it hurts ME to run with him, so I didn’t know how well he’d take to running barefoot. Turns out he loves it; he says it’s easier to run without shoes. Even on a road full of shells!

The path we chose looks nice and smooth at a glance, but if you look closer it’s covered in tiny shells and pebbles. Strangely we felt them more when we were just walking then when we were running. There’s a narrow sandy path leading to the road we wanted to run on, so we wore our shoes in and then tossed them in a bag and left it on the side of the road. We didn’t want to go in barefoot because a lot of people ride horses on the trail and shoes or not there are some things I do not want to step on.

We passed a couple teenagers when we were walking in and then again after we ditched our shoes, I have to admit I felt a bit silly running down the path with no shoes on when I had just had them on a few minutes ago. I muttered something about doing an experiment to them as we passed. That got a laugh out of all of us, though probably for different reasons. I’m going to have to work on ignoring the are –you-bat-shit-crazy looks. Shouldn’t be too hard, not like I haven’t got them before.

Oh, and just to make things a little more interesting we noticed these signs on the way out. Oops.