Monday, September 27, 2010

Vibrams Update

7.18 miles today! Whoo-hoo! And unlike last Sunday's 7 mile race, I didn't get any blisters (working up those calluses)! Gradually my calves are getting stronger- the muscles even feel more solid to me. My dad has always called me "chicken legs" because I have pretty small calves and ankles. Well, no more! When I run in my Vibrams, I land on the balls of my feet, and this uses lotsa calf muscles! I started out the first day in my new Vibrams runnng only a mile and a half on my trail, and my calves were crazy sore! The upper part of my calf, almost behind my knee. I could only run about 10 minutes before I started having to drop down to a full-foot landing (but still not a heel strike like I would in my running shoes). Today I ran uphill a full 45 minutes before I started needing to drop down to a full-foot landing, when I turned around started back down the hill home again. I could feel the muscles in my ankles, Achilles tendon and that muscle right under my calf (what's it called?) being used today. I signed up for a account today so I could click my way through today's run for mileage (no I don't have a fancy GPS Garmin, although I guess I could have run with my iPhone... But that doesn't upload my routes... but there's probably an ap for that :). It shows an elevation gain of 890 feet. I don't know how often I'll use this site since I tend to run on the same trail since it's about 1/3 of a mile from my doorstep. Today is also the third day in a row I've run. I can't remember the last time I haven't needed to take a day or two or even three off to let my knee or lower back heal, and it makes me light-headed with happiness. I bought these shoes daring to hope that my knee (and back) would strengthen up because I'd be running as God intended (barefoot!)- I'm giving myself time to work up to longer distances and really listen to my body and my muscles for signs that I need to back off or for other aches that might crop up (no fair trading one set of injuries for another!). I'm listening to a book called Born to Run by Christopher McDougall that talks about the science of barefoot running, ultra runners, and a tribe in Mexico called the Tarahumaras that have known the secrets of running crazy long distances (50, 100, 300 miles!) for hundreds of years and loving every step of it! This book makes me want to run and run and run and not stop, and revel in the beauty of the nature around me and appreciate a pain-free strength I've worked hard to build. And I'm extremely grateful for all of this- a book full of inspiring stories, shoes that don't make my knee hurt, and most of all for the chance to run~ :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bay to Bliss Tahoe Trail Run

It was an early morning for me as Abbey and I headed up to Tahoe for a race- one that we'd been drooling over since we read Gretchen's blog post of this event last year. Seriously, check out her pictures (I decided not to run with my camera, and she's a WAY better photographer than I am anyway). I ran just over 7 miles in my new Vibrams at the Bay to Bliss Emerald Bay Trail Run- I am determined to keep running and be healthy, and so far these shoes have proven their worth! Yes I developed some gnarly blisters, but my knee and back were in great shape after the race- and that's exactly what I was hoping for with this new "barefoot" technique. I'll take blisters any day over a pain-filled knee! It was a beautiful cool morning for a run (temp. in the 50s), with a steep downhill jog to the start line. Which we soon discovered was the first hill of the race. As the race director was giving us the countdown, the wind whipped up in a flurry of pine needles exactly one minute until go time. It settled back down again with 15 seconds to start, and then the rain picked up instead. A light, but cold drizzle that kept us cool on that climb. Looking out to our right a dazzling sight met our eyes- we could see a double rainbow through the trees, with its end touching the lake. Only 2 minutes in and already I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera! But ultimately I think it was best to leave it behind as I had to watch the trail extra carefully for rocks and roots since there wasn't much between my feet and the dirt. Even though I held back on the speed, I felt super agile with my extra grippy and flexible soles and found myself leaping up onto rocks and bouncing over fallen tree trunks. The first half hour passed in a blink of greenery and sparkling water below me, and then the trail became hilly again with steep stone steps to navigate. But by the hour mark, the pads of my forefoot (feet) were feeling very sensitive and every every pebble was making itself known to me. This might not have been the best idea to double the distance I've run in these shoes all in one go, especially only 2 weeks after I got them, but I knew how much my knee would be hurting if I wore my regular running shoes. I took a deep breath and ignored my feet and enjoyed the twists and turns of the trail, the rocky outcroppings and the ever present turquoise bay to my right. I finished in 1:23, (8th in my age group) and didn't stop at the finish line on the beach but stripped off my shoes (saw the blisters! no wonder I was feeling every pebble!) and headed into the blissfully cool lake. Abbey finished in 1:09 and placed 3rd in her age group and scored a sweet medal- her first for an age group win! We lazed in the sand waiting for awards and the shuttle back to her Jeep, and I felt for the life of me that I was on a tropical island beach soaking up the sun. This is definitely a race I want to add to my list of yearly runs. And hopefully by next year I'll have gotten used to running "barefoot"!

Thank you Abbey for driving, and for the miles and miles of comforting, funny and stress-relieving conversation- I needed that as much as I needed this gorgeous run after an extra long work week!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Vibram TrekSport

Yup! I bought new shoes today, and it being my day off, I even got to try them out! I tried on a couple different pairs of Vibrams, but much preferred the Treksport because of the nice tread on the bottom. Now, I love wearing toe socks, so this shoe didn't feel at all funny to me- if fact, I think they're downright comfy! I popped them on as soon as I left the store, drove home, changed and then took off for Whites Creek Trail to give 'em a whirl! The salesperson said I should stick to a super short run to try them out as they use a different group of muscles in your feet, ankles and calves. I ran about a mile and a half of trail and then a little bit on the street to try my paces, and I found that running both up and down the hills I land on the ball of my feet. In fact, I ran about 90% of the time on the balls of my feet and only landed flat-foot on the street with no incline. Does anyone else own a pair? Are you only supposed to land on the ball of your foot (and rotate back to the heel on the flats), or is okay to land flat as well? I guess what comes comfortably, naturally is best. I'll have to look up some videos on these Vibrams and see what the experts say. My left knee has been plaguing me with aches as has my lower back this year, so I'm eager to see if this is from an imbalance of stride while I run, and if so, if it will heal over time. Now I just gotta watch out for those sharp rocks and build up some calluses on my big toes...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this book! I cannot WAIT for the next book, Linger, (which I ordered for my library a week ago! A WEEK ago!) to get here! For any Twilight lovers out there, this is similar, but substitute wolves for vampires. Not werewolves per se, but wolves. And no vampires.

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