I won a Shorty!

The Greensboro local paper, The News and Record, has a really nice running scene blog (Running Shorts) authored by local runner Eddie Wooten. He “tips his hat” to the local running community by putting together the Shorty Awards, sort of a best-of 2009. And I got one!

For ugliest blister.

Wait, that’s not right. Actually, I won for Best Decision That Helped You Get Faster. That decision being ditching the shoes, of course.

So that’s cool. I’d like to thank the academy, etc.

Running is easier than walking

I walked the dogs with Iris today. We went to Chinqua Penn, the bucolic 1.7 mile loop trail where I like to do long runs. I even trotted a little bit. I was wearing fleece socks in the aquas. The toe felt and feels fine.

What was challenging, as the title suggests, was the walking. My healing toe added some awkwardness, but actually I’ve always had a hard time walking barefoot; I feel heavy and clumsy. When walking with Iris I can’t keep up. I much prefer running. I walk around the house without shoes, but that doesn’t seem to translate very well to an outside-walking pace. After races it’s easier for me to trot back to the car rather than walking. Am I missing something here? Do I need to learn how to walk barefoot?

It doesn’t hurt me to walk barefoot. Maybe I’m doing it right, and it’s just an awkward sensation. And there’s that Gordon Pirie rule #5: Walking damages running. What does he mean by that? I read the book, and don’t remember him elaborating at all.

Even if our early hominid ancestors were running before they were walking (a theory I think is possible, although I have no idea if it’s been deduced otherwise), the human animal has been walking for a long time. Surely there’s an easier way than how I do it. And Barefoot Ken Bob walks all the time. What if there’s something missing in my running form that can only be learned by walking?

These are the things I think about when I should be doing my laundry.

2009 stats, 2010 goals

I think it’s safe to say I will not have any additional miles to log before the end of the year. The toe feels fine, but still has a lot of mending to do.

So how did my first running season since 2005 end up? Here are the numbers:

Total miles: 1273.3 (started mid-March)

Barefoot miles: 490 (started mid-July)

Starting weight: 156

Lowest weight: 126 (end of November)

Current weight: 136

Races

Marathon: 1

1/2 Marathon: 2

10K: 1

5k: 8

As I look at these numbers, I realize I cannot in good faith blame previous running injuries entirely on shoes. I overdo things. I threw myself back into the running world, training harder than I ever did before. I was not patient with my transition to running barefoot. Heck, I was not patient with building up mileage; I went from couch to a marathon up a mountain in 3.5 months. In retrospect, that’s a lot of bullets to dodge.

With that in mind, I’m going to focus on running and racing smarter for 2010. Not only do I want my feet to look good, I want them to feel good after a race. When I race a 5k my feet feel sensitive afterwards; more sensitive than after a 10 mile tempo run. Obviously I’m pushing off to generate speed in racing conditions, and that needs to stop.

Here are my goals for 2010:

Negative split at Blue Ridge Mountain Marathon, April 24. This should be very doable, as the first half is in the mountains with the elevation climb totaling 3000 ft. The second half is relatively flat. I just need to run the mountains intelligently. This will also be my first barefoot marathon.

Race more half-marathons. At least four. I think all the 5ks I did this year might have given me a false sense of foot durability. I need to know how to maintain form for longer distances.

No injuries. I have to get better at paying attention to how I feel and give myself permission to wimp out more.

No time goals. This one is going to be hard, but I have to focus on preparation and let the performance be. Of course, I’m not-so-secretly hoping this will result in faster times…

Run with others more. This one should be easy, since I started my cult.

That’s all I can think of; I’ve got a few days before the end of the year if I think of anything else.