Guy named Ike
With Daddy Warbuck’s trust fund
Ride a bike
Around a hamburger bun
Sorry about that. I wrote the title, and really had no choice. I’m sure you understand.
I’ve been feeling the need for a running reset since Ridge to Bridge in late October of last year, but never really gave myself adequate time off. Ever since April I’ve been under-running just enough to avoid hurting myself. The pins, particularly the calves, feel like overcooked chicken.
I didn’t make that up, by the way. “Overcooked chicken,” that is. That pleasant bit of imagery comes from massage therapist Joel Tull, whose services I’ve been receiving in direct violation of The Opposite of Good philosophy. I asked him if he could feel a difference in post-race leg muscles compared to regular old leg muscles. He said yes, post-race muscles feel like overcooked chicken. He gives a discount on massages in exchange for race bibs, FYI.
Where was I? Right. Reset. Another barefooty thing I’ve been wanting to do more of but not doing at all was hiking. As a kid, I didn’t run but I loved to walk. I especially loved the woods, where I would pretend I was some ancient mythological hero or another looking for monsters to fight and damsels in apparel appropriate for a Conan the __fill in the blank__er book cover to rescue.
I think I make it pretty clear that it was the fictional damsels, and not I, wearing said apparel. If you were unsure, I hope this addendum sufficiently clarifies the issue. If not, well, think what you want.
The problem with hiking as a runner is that after running, I rarely have time/energy to go for a hike, especially in the very hot summer. If I take a running break in the winter, then it’s too cold for me to hike barefoot. So the timing of this reset works out perfectly: this is the summer of the hike. Here are some pictures from a four mile out-n-back trail behind the local high school:
Interestingly, I tend to kick things (accidentally, not in anger) less when walking the dogs. I think it’s because my mind wanders when hiking solo. Me? A wandering mind? You’re shocked, I’m sure. Anyway, there’s been quite a bit of barefoot trail hiking of late. Maybe if I keep at it, I could one day have the confidence and ability to be competitive in a trail race without shoes.
I might kick a rock or a root from time to time, but I find the hiking to be pretty easy and enjoyable, regardless of the difficulty of the terrain. Sometimes I’ll be slow and deliberate over the technical stuff, other times I’ll just sort of bound over it. There’s lots of arm flailing to my method; I’m sure I’m the picture of grace out there. Nothing really hurts to walk on, though, at least on the trails traveled so far. “I could totally do this for forty or whatever miles,” I’d say to myself right before I’m humbled by another round of Whack-A-Toe.
So that’s what’s been going on, barefoot-wise. While I may not be running, I will be racing next weekend: a canoe race down the Dan River with Iris. We both have canoeing experience in our youth, and even canoed together a few times early in our relationship, but it’s been a while since then so I’m studying youtube videos on paddling technique.
So there you go, hiking and canoeing. I feel so three-dimensional.
In case you’re wondering what that bit at the beginning was about, well, here:
This song makes me think of delivering dog food in Brooklyn.