Monday, May 31, 2010

Larabars Fuel 62-mile Ride

In spite of the drizzly weather, we got out for a 62 mile bike ride yesterday, out to Tiger Mountain and back. The uphill on Tiger is not so steep, but steady and fairly long, but quite doable -- and the downhill is totally worth the climb. What a fun descent! I took apricots and nuts, as well as a couple of Larabars on this ride, and was reminded just how much I love LĂ„RABARs. I love that they have 5-6 foods as ingredients and nothing else. I think I'll try making a homemade version, but these are going to be my go-to barin the meantime. This time I tried Cinnamon Roll and Ginger Snap flavors. The latter was a little heavy on the ginger for my taste, but the Cinnamon Roll was great (ingredients: ■Dates ■Walnuts ■Almonds ■Raisins ■Cashews ■Cinnamon). I'm looking forward to working my way through all the flavors.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to give my Bikilas much of a trial, as I've decided to obey the pain in my ankle and lay off for a little while. I did a few barefoot runs and stopped at the very first sign of the ankle pain, which happens at about 1 to 1.5 miles. I can run 4-5 before it really gives me problems, but I figured I'd try backing off on the running for a few weeks and focus on cycling instead, particuarly since I've been eyeing the upcoming June 20 Livestrong Challenge century.

I finally made an appointment to see my podiatrist again. Last time he couldn't/wouldn't diagnose this ankle problem because all he could see was my PF (I think he thought the ankle issue would go away with the PF, but it didn't). So I'd like to (1) see if he can diagnose it -- possibly with the MRI he mentioned, and (2) get a "prescription" to see a PT so I can work with someone to get it fixed (I need the prescription if I want my insurance to cover it). My attempts at strengthenging/barefooting/reducing mileage have helped, but haven't made it go away -- and it happens both on the bike and the running. Time to look for more help!

Look at all those rest days over the past two weeks! Eeks, well, I suppose I meant it when I said I'd try to give the ankle a break.

5/30 (Sun) Cycling 62 mi
5/28-29 --
5/27 (Thu) Weight training, 1 mile running (Bikilas)
5/25-26 --
5/24 (Mon) Cycling 52.5 mi.
5/23 (Sun) Run 2.8 mi. (Bikilas)
5/22 (Sat) Cycling 12 mi.
5/21 --
5/20 (Thu) Weight training,
5/19 Run 1.2 mi. barefoot
5/17-18 --
5/16 Beat the Bridge Run 5 mi. (VFF Flows)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Michael Sandler in Seattle

Michael Sandler is in Seattle on his book tour for "Barefoot Running," and fortunately I had a chance to go hear him talk about his barefoot journey last night. It was great to hear his story, and to get some in-person demos of some of the exercises he suggests. I was also glad to see I'm not the only one obsessed with foot-strengthening exercises! I've flipped through the book, but am looking forward to really digging in and giving it a proper review.
  I was surprised at how diplomatic Michael was (considering we were in a shoe store), about the shoe options folks might use on their way to barefoot running. I suppose I shouldn't have been -- for as many purists who say the only way is to go cold turkey, and switch entirely over to barefoot, there seem to be more who propose gradually making the transition. I wonder if the former might be better in some ways, but you are just aren't going to convince most everyday runners of that -- so I liked that he made barefooting seem more accessible to ordinary shod runners.
  I also enjoyed learning that his running flat of choice (when not barefoot, of course) is the same running flat I bought last year. I don't wear mine these days, as I now prefer my Vibrams, but I somehow feel vindicated in knowing of another barefooter who wears them.
  Inspired by the talk, and anxious to enjoy the sunny part of the day, I got out for a 1.2 mile barefoot run-- I stopped not because my soles hurt, but because my ankle started to hurt. I'm thinking of keeping the mileage low and obeying the ankle pain a little more for the next couple of weeks, maybe focus on riding now that the weather seems to be turning (ever so slowly) toward warmer(ish)ness. After the run, I went for a 1 hour bike ride with some hills....and finished just before the massive downpour began!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bikilas are on their way!

I ordered my new pair of grey and green Vibram Bikilas today! And since a friend of mine just happens to be visiting this week from Boston, he's going to pick them and bring them with him so I don't have to wait for shipping. Can't wait to try them out! Thanks to Justin at for the heads up about their release at City Sports this afternoon!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

40th Birthday Goal Setting

I ended my 40th Birthday Week celebration with the 8k Beat the Bridge this morning. I'd once hoped to celebrate 40 with a spectacular running feat (a Boston qualifying marathon, for example), but I'm doing my best to be grateful that I can run as far as a can right now, in spite of some ankle pain that is holding me back from longer distances. Several months ago, I couldn't run at all without pain, so this is good progress.

Plus, I'm now getting to run with a friend who is new to running, and seeing her enthusiasm for setting and meeting new goals is helping me look forward to setting and meeting my own, as I continue to heal. I decided to forego barefooting for my Vibrams today-- a healing blister on the ball of my foot near my pinky toe was just still too tender for 5 barefoot miles. But the desire to do this run barefoot had me out barefooting more often than I might have been otherwise these past couple weeks, so I'll just have to keep that momentum going.

I set a whole plan for Birthday Week -- and while some of the plans came off beautifully, others not so much. Nonetheless, I like the planning part -- even if having a plan means that sometimes the plan has to get adjusted to the day's realities. My big-picture running "plan" was to try to qualify for Boston this year. Clearly that's on hold until my ankle issue is resolved, but still I think I can set a BQ marathon as a goal. I want to qualify for Boston. Preferably while I'm 40. I'm pretty frustrated right now, with an injury once again impeding forward progress, but I'm saying out loud, I'm not giving up. My goal is Boston. This year, next year, whenever. I've been fighting back from injury for a year now, and I'm a lot better off than where I started -- and at least now I'm running with dramatically better technique. So WHEN this thing finally gets resolved, I have every reason to believe I will be able to run stronger than ever. Until then, I won't give up. I just won't.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Up to 4.5 miles barefoot

I ran a full 4.5 miles barefoot yesterday, along the Burke-Gilman rather than Green Lake, since I've found it to be less pebbly. Not that the pebbly will be so much of a problem here soon, but as I'm just in the process of regaining my summer feet, less pebbly is more appealing than more at the moment. I cut off the run at 4.5 miles because my usual ankle twinge was starting to cause some pain, but it's just as well. The soles of the balls of my feet, though feeling good during the run, were stinging last night. So it'll be a day off before another barefoot outing.

In other news, it's now 3 days till my 40th birthday, and I began Birthday Week with an afternoon visit to Red Mango. I'm tyring to figure out whether I want to do a barefoot run on my birthday, or just a long run, or maybe a long bike ride. that I actually give it some thought, it's going to have to be a long run-- particularly since my goal is to try to run a Boston-qualifying marathon sometime in the foreseeable future. I'd like to say "in my 40th year" but feel like it's hard to be so ambitious with this ankle still posing some issues. But a good goal shouldn't be one that's too easy to meet, now should it?

The Sun Shines Again

At long last, we had a nice SUNNY weekend to play with! I took the opportunity to get a couple of bike rides in, 1.5 hours on Saturday and 2 hours on Sunday (and to get a little bit of much-needed yardwork done). I did a short 1 mile BF run on Sunday morning before meeting a friend for coffee. It was supposed to be 3 miles, but it was Sunday morning, and I wasn't moving as quickly as I would've had to in order to get 3 miles in before meeting my friend.  Besides, the soles were feeling a little sore, so I didn't mind taking another day mostly off. Will go out again tomorrow and see how things go.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Barefoot Prep for Beat the Bridge

After doing an 8 miler on Monday with ankle pain starting in mile 5, I was motivated to get out and start getting some real barefoot miles in this week. I'm hoping that will help give my body some feedback to help improve my form in hopes that it might help with the ankle. I'm doing some more regular calf and ankle stretches to see if that will help too. The last thing the podiatrist told me back in January was that if this ankle pain was still around after the PFF was resolved, that I should come back for an MRI so we can try to get an accurate diagnosis of what's wrong. But I guess I've been hoping that this issue might go away on its own as I continue building up strength through VFF and BF running. There's been progress in that it takes longer to start hurting, but actual resolution would be welcome at some point!

I'm running the Beat the Bridge 8k this coming Sunday and I'd really like to run it barefoot. In recent weeks, I had worked up to 3.5 mi. barefoot, but then tried to do some speedwork barefoot (just to see if I could--and yes, I could) and ended up with blisters that put me back in VFFs for a week. That was clearly a genius move on my part.

5/7 (Fri) 3 mi. BF
5/6 (Thurs) 4 mi. (2 VFF, 2 BF)
5/5 (Wed) 1/2 mi. BF, Cycling 50 min.
5/4 (Tues) 1 mi. BF
5/3 (Mon) 8 mi. VFF
4/28 (Wed) Cycling 1:11
4/27  (Tues) 1/4 mi. intervals at avg. 1:52. BQ training goal is 1:41. Eeks!