Category Archives: barefoot

Barefoot Benefit 5K

I ran the Barefoot Benefit 5K today. It was my first time running in an actual race. I really enjoyed the experience. The race was at Sequoyah Hills Park in Knoxville Tennessee, my hometown. As the name entails, the race was intended to be run barefoot, although that was not a requirement. I was surprised that out of the hundred or so participants, only a small handful were actually running barefoot. Go figure.

The course was entirely grass, held in an open expanse of the park. The Tennessee River flowed silently next to us. The ground was soft from a recent rain. This made it a little more difficult than running on pavent. The soft earth steals a little of your rebound energy with each step. I came fully prepared to run on pavement and was a little surprised when I found out the race was going to be in the grass. As a regular barefoot runner, I can tell you that I would prefer not to run on grass. Sure, it’s soft and easy on your feet, but it conceals potential dangers. You can’t see what’s lurking under it. The grass can hide all sorts of things; broken glass, dog poo, used condoms, AIDs infected needles… just use your imagination.

Aside from the turf, it was a really fun event. It was a beautiful day, and just cloudy enough to make the temperature comfortable. There was a cool breeze blowing during most of the race.

20171015_133748Denice and Sylar were there to cheer me on. Sylar is in training to become Denice’s service/therapy dog. He did great today. He only lost his shit a couple of times when I was passing by. The race was broken down into three laps, so every time I lapped he got a little excited. It felt really good to have them there.

I don’t remember my exact run time. I saw the clock at the finish line, and it was at forty-two minutes and something. Yeah, I’m slow, but for a fat guy, I suppose I’m doing ok.

I have another race coming up in November. This is a ‘conventional’ 5K, on the streets of downtown Knoxville. I will be running it barefoot. After seeing that a small fraction of racers actually raced barefoot at a barefoot event, I am expecting to probably be the only dude out there running shoeless. Should be interesting.

 

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Down, but not Out

Last week I had a bit of a setback. I was on my usual after work jog around the park. It was nothing out of the ordinary, just a quick couple of barefoot miles. I finished the run and drove home. When I stepped out of the car I noticed a pain in my left foot. I bent down and pressed on the spot that hurt, and that made it really hurt. As you can imagine, my mind was flooded with the worst “Oh Shit” thoughts it could conjure up.

The next morning, it still hurt, and I made the not so smart decision to go to work anyway. Spending eight hours standing and walking around did not help matters. I was considerably worse by the end of the day. I came home almost limping to the door. I was hoping that after a good nights sleep, it may be better. It wasn’t. At that point, I wasn’t taking any more chances. I called into work and told them I wasn’t coming in.

Later that night I am sitting in the exam room of an orthopedic clinic. The Dr. checked my foot out. I almost jumped out of the chair when she found the spot. A few x-rays later, I had a diagnosis. Peroneal Tendonitis.

The good news was nothing was broken or torn. It was just an inflamed tendon. It was very uncomfortable, but would ultimately heal up.

During my barefoot running journey, I have had a number of what I call, growing pains. When I first started the soles of my feet hurt. As they adapted, that went away. Then the outer edges hurt, and that went away. Then for a while, my calves were very sore. That went away. Later on, my knees were hurting. This worried me, but it also went away. There have been times that I hit a big rock and literally had to limp home. After a day or two of rest, I was fine. This injury really had me concerned though. It just felt different than all the others.

For a few days, I was almost depressed. I was afraid that I may have to give up running, at least temporarily. I have found that I love it. I did feel quite a bit better when I learned that it was just a temporary injury, and I would ultimately make a full recovery.

I think one of the drivers behind the injury may be my recent obsession with improving my speed. I had gotten into the habit of always trying to beat my time from the last run. I think this contributed to me losing focus on my form, and overstriding. This is a no, no. I have decided to not worry about speed at all. For the foreseeable future, I am only going to worry about keeping my form correct. After all, I’m not training for a race or seeking to best anyone. I simply like to run, and that is more than enough for me.

I did get out Friday for a lap around the park, which is one mile. I took it slow and gentle. My foot did great. It feels almost 100%. Even still, I’m not going to push it. I will slowly build back the distance.

Screenshot_20170904-112404During this whole ordeal, I found some new friends. I got some really good advice from the great folks at The Barefoot Runners Society. For those of you who have an interest in barefoot running, or running in general, they have a lot of resources on their website. You can find the forums here. Check them out.