A 6K sunday barefooter (787K to go):

W011Well today was Sunday and not unlike other Sundays, it means that my girlfriend and I will head out on our joint running session.

Today we did as the image indicate move our running out of Copenhagen and to the scenic “Dyrehaven” (Animal Garden), a large nature reserve North of Copenhagen.

Weather was absolutely fantastic and warm. THe running conditions would be more difficult than ever for my completely bare feet.

Plenty of gravel roads and mixed paths of forest floor with twigs and stones, gravel patches and the occasional smoothly paved sections. Definitely a step up from my running so far and what a challenge.

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The first half a kilometre was real easy, smooth laved path/road all the way, but then we hit gravel and I had to question whether I wanted to carry on or reach for my five fingers, because it was a really painful experience. Luckily the gravel soon smoothed a bit and my feet gradually softened up enough to eat the pebbles and gravel much better and the pain gave way for a very sensory rich run. But also a run where I was fully aware that I might be pushing my feet way too hard, but I really died not feel ready to confine my feet with a pair of seeyas, I enjoyed the sensory feedback too much.

Just before the 4K mark we decided to make a brief sun stop as we reached a suitable stone:)

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it left me time to bruch off my sore feet and to check up on the skinn under my feet, because I was really feeling the, to me, challenging conditions I was running.

As evident my feet were taking a pondering, upside was that hot spots and blisters were not showing at all.

That said I think my foot in the picture on the right kind of says everything there is to say.

I was surprised though, that it did not hurt more in general and especially as I sat down, but it seemed that speed and technique was a pretty good match.

4,5K into the route we came across another surprise.

as we followed a narrow trail next to a larger paved road, we came across a very calm and hungry deer.

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It was grassing just next to us and it seemed very, very calm about us running by, not even me sneaking out the camera seemed to disturb it. Which gave us the chance to capture the moment so to speak.

I am not sure if it is common to see deer this close to people in Dyrehaven. WHile I have a feeling it is, then it is the first time in a while I have seen them this used to or careless about humans.

 

As the run was completed we both agreed that Dyrehaven is going to be high on our list of new running locations, I just need to grow stronger or more resistant feet, along side a cleaner and lighter running style 🙂

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A smooth but windy 7K (793K to go):

Weather today has been not a real mess, but almost Greenlandic in Copenhagen.

Strong wind and a mix of sun, clouds and even a rain shower I believe. Perhaps these almost Greenlandic conditions were why I just had to go running today. my feets needed to be strapped in my seeyas though, the skin under my feet needed a bit of a rest.  As it has become the norm I set out without a fixed route or target in mind, around 5K was the expectation as I had a dinner appointment.

I am generally only following my cadence and then listening to my feet and body while running, thus the pace is not really something I consciously run for these days.

However at 1K I could see that I was doing really well, 2 and 3K said the same. I was running in strong headwind and I saw other runners struggling wiht it, but my running style felt fluid and excellent. micro adjustments to core activation and heel pull here and there, but otherwise it just felt like a nice smooth run.

The way home meant tail wind and naturally it went from smooth and fluid to almost flying home, I even did a detour adding an extra kilometre or so to the route. it was fun in its own way to run this fast on what can best be described as an interactive and constantly changing obstacle course , of shoppers, bikes, tourists, cars and other things. It definitely had me on my toes (if not literally, then figuratively).

As I reached my doorstep again and hit the stop, it said 7K and 30 minutes flat, which means that I am getting back into shape again all of the sudden. It is as if there has been a shift somewhere recently, I have not notised the exact moment, but on the last 3-4 runs something has changed in a good way.

Am I finally getting to the point where I begin to feel barefoot style running not as something new, but as the way it feels natural for me to run?

 

A 13K barefoot and Seeya combi (800K to go):

I am now officially past the first 200K of full time barefoot running or barefoot style running that is.

While I still have a long way to go, then it means that the journey I unknowingly started in September 2011, slowly has come true. I still have a tremendous amount of work to do, especially on my true barefoot running style and being in Copenhagen where the temperatures are better makes that a lot easier.

I embarked on todays run without a fixed distance in mind and of course barefooted, why would you really do anything else, when it is like 15C and the sun is shining.

What is a standard part of my true barefoot running kit is a small drawstring running sack with my seeyas, tweezer, a few sterile alcohol wipes, a needle and a bit of kinesio tape. it is just that tiny bit of gear neaded in case of either a blister or a piece of glass/stone whatever should find its way into my feet.

The shoes are important still as my feet are far from ready to log long runs kompletely barefoot, the skin under my feet is simply not strong enough.

However as I sat out today in my normal long distance pace, my feet felt good. It is remarkable how quickly the skin adapts and the sensory feedback from running a wide variety of surfaces is simply amazing.

Cobblestones are still among my favourites, as is the huge wooden porch in front of the Royal Danish Theatre.But in reality I guess I am just slowly getting addicted to feeling the surface I run. I am rambling though.

Anyway 5K from home I decided to call it quits for the totally barefoot and sneak back into my seeyas, my skin needed a break and I had a friction blister forming on my right foot. Getting back into the seeyas, while still nice was kind of a dull experience and made me aware how much even a very minimal shoe lake the seeya mute the ground feel.

My way home took me on the long stretch along the lakes and here I just happened to arrive just at the same time as a very competent marathoner I have seen before and I chased him for 3 K along the lake and clocked consistent averages in the 3:50 range while doing so.. yay 🙂 so much fun 🙂

I also passed 3 other minimalist runners around the lake. Or I noticed 3 that really stod out with massive ballarina running symptoms. I have not witnessed how dangerous barefoot running style can look before. They were murdering their Achilles tendons and feet. It made me realise how much of a need there is to kill the term “forefoot running”. I’d like to think that “barefoot running style” or “minimalist running” is a better definition of what we do.

Anyway, the GPS rounded 13K practically at my doorstep and that made me accidentally complete the first 200 full time barefoot style kilometres.

Now I just need to find my way back to the point where a 40K week is easy 🙂

5 + 6 = 11K of barefoot fun (813K to go)

W009Saturday – the 5K speed test:

After a little too successful a dinner out Friday (and drink after 🙂 ) I was not really in the mood for running on Saturday, but these days usually turn out the best.

Being back in Copenhagen, meant flat and no hills even, making runs even more dull. But at least Copenhagen, has traffic, people, bikes, cars and a whole host of other stuff to spice up your run.

As it was getting dark when I got out, I strapped into my seeyas, not being able to see the ground clearly makes barefoot running dangerous, even more so, when you know you are going to pass places where a bottle may accidentally  have been dropped either Friday or Saturday night.

Now being on flat grounds I decided to give my feet a first go at how they would handle a more back to normal pace. A 4:30 minute average, which would be my old ½ marathon race pace, seemed a decent test for my feet on a 5K, meaning not really sprint, but a good (for me at least) fast pace.

It turned out to be an excellent plan, I ran the full five K in 22 minutes flat and with plenty of energy left, best part was that my feet and running style were perfectly OK with both pace and distance. In fact I felt almost good enough to be back running my sub 20 minute 5K again and that is definitely way better news than anticipated 🙂

Sunday – a 6K barefooter:

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Sunday it was time for a run with my girlfriend, she has just started out running recently and of course in a pair of shoes that is a good compromise between minimalism and some cushioning for her feet. I may would have wanted her to go all minimal, but her being a woman, mean that a suitable compromise had to be reached and the NB Minimus 10 was the best compromise available.

Normally I have not included our runs in my mileage counts, but as we have gotten to the point where pace and distance is right. I allow them in, as I am running them either barefoot or barefoot style 🙂

The day was perfect for a really nice barefoot run, some spring sun only moderate wind and good company, not much to complain about really.

We ran our usual route along the harbour past the viewpoint to the opera by “Amalie Haven” adn onwards to our turnaround point at “Skuespilhuset” wooden porch.

This route has such an amazing variety of surfaces, from smooth cobblestone, over flagstones of all kinds and paved roads and paths ranging from very smooth to very rough and almost painful to run.

At our turnaround point we did a quick couple of photos before heading back the same route at a faster pace.

I received the usual amount of weird looks and funny comments, but the other runners today generally seemed to really be in a spring mood and at least two other runners gave a wave and a friendly smile when passing, which is so much nicer than the super serious and sometimes downright unfriendly looks runners in Copenhagen all to often greet each other with.

I had my seeyas in my drawstring running sack just in case, I  am quite amazed how great this very simple design rides on my back as long as the load is light, that said it is not a replacement for a decent technical running pack when carrying heavier loads.

It turned out a very problem free run, running style was decent without being perfect, but pave was somewhat on the moderate side, and I have discovered that running above a certain speed makes it easier to maintain good running style, so hardly a surprise.

Just being able to run truly barefoot again was absolutely amazing, thus this run goes into the book as one of the really good ones.

A 10K – and me feet feels stronger than ever (824K to go):

DO you know those days where you have a whole host of stuff planned and running definitely would not fit your schedule, but when you are on your way home and the weather is just perfect, you discard everything and just go for a run?

Longwinded, but today was such a day for me  🙂

No matter how much I need to clean the apartment, pack my travel duffel, write up some work stuff and a whole hsot of other things, then I simply could not resist sneaking into my seeyas and hit the road.

I started out in a fast but not too fast pace and in spite of having done a 14K just two days before, my feet, ankles and legs felt strong. So I decided to stick with the pace and see where it went.

My back was sore from the morning gym session, thus I had to monitor my running style a little more closely today, but it really was my only issue. I started to feel a slight tensioning in my middlefoot, but a slight adjustment to my upper body position, brought me back to a correct running style and the rest of the run was just one long perfect run.

Running data from the run said average pace 4;56 and a cadence of 196 SPM, so in the right range for me.

Heart rate was a little above average, but hardly problematic and my running style really seemed to come together today, best part though was my feet. They felt strong throughout the run and even after comming home they felt good and not really sore or tired as they did earlier.

It seems my approach to it with going barefoot style full time, and simply not wear a normal shoes at all, really has paid off so far and I am one happy runner right now 🙂

14K and still feeling great (834K to go):

Yesterday was not really that perfect a day when it started out.

Had to get up early on the sunday and go to work. the culmination of 2 years of hard work and my biggest professional project  has been rolling out this weekend.

Thus the opportunity to sneak into my seeyas and head out for a run with a friend seemed perfectly timed and I really needed to the mental boost and peace of mind running brings me.

The first kilometre was a pleasant warm up to meet my friend Tina. much to my surprise she was holding a pair of brand new VFF in her hand, but luckily wearing her normal runners.

from here followed 11 wonderful kilometres of hills, paved roads, slushy snow patches, ice, some rock, water puddles and some more paved roads. A perfect relaxed and very pleasant mix of surfaces. Some may claim that running this kind of mixed terrain in seeyas is a little stupid, but I really like them for all round running, mostly because they are such a perfect, soft and quickdrying  almost invisible shoe.

TIna and I had a good chat about life in general and what is going on in our lives while running and I was really impressed by her uphill stamina too. It just felt good not to run alone for a change.

back at her place she quickly slipped into her sprints and we did 1K of running and technical training, it was fun to be around for her first minimalist run and hear her encountering the multiple surfaces we managed to pack in. She got to taste both gravel, paved roads, soft sea weed, pebbled trails and very wet feet. I felt quite privileged to be around for this first experience and glad that it was a good one. arriving back at her place I said a quick goodbye before sprinting the last kilometre home at full speed.

Getting to terms with the facts from the run afterwards was very rewarding. I had managed to keep my running style sharp, even with another runner around, cadence was a bit of a mixed bag and it took a continuous focus on it to stay in my normal 195-200 SPM cadence. when not paying attention it dropped to 180-185 SPM which is still in the OK range for me, albeit a little slow if I were to run totally barefoot.

Pace was relaxed and comfortable, but also necessary as we had to catch up along the way. running style was not perfect, but it is getting more solid for every run. I was particularly pleased to see that I had the ability to keep a decent running style and that talking did not take mental energy away from it.

So all in all a very, very good run and my first 14K in these barefoot thingys, best part is that even though I do have the slightest hint of sore calf muscles, then I came out clean and ready for more 🙂

/T

10 amazing kilometres, after a week in heavy boots (848K to go):

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There is a lot to be said about todays 10K and the events leading up to it.

Easter was spend wearing heavy duty snowboard boots way out in the Greenlandic Mountains, Heliboarding it is called.

Essentially it involves being carried by helicopter to a peak and then snowboarding down steep offpiste terrain 🙂

It has been amazing to be back out there and to be able to enjoy the challenging snowboarding. Snowboarding is another passion of mine and being off piste and carried to peaks and runs otherwise inaccessible is an experience I will carry with me forever. I mean, how often do you find yourself strapping into your board (or skies) with mountains, glaciers and inland ice in one direction and the deep fiords and ocean in the other.

I have not been running while there though. the decision to conserve every bit of energy to recover between runs and during the evenings came easy. My feet and legs were in no shape to do anything but rest after the long days on the board, but to kick off the boots and walk around barefooted in the evening was amazing, just as it became clear to me how much stronger my feet and lower legs have become from the barefoot running style.

Arriving back in Nuuk today was both a bit of a downer, but also a welcome chance to start recovering and slowly comprehend the sensory overload from the trip. first thing I did though was to sneak my bare feet into my seeyas and  go for a nice run in the late afternoon sun.

And I felt fast right from the get go. I felt the urge to just run fast and see what my barefoot skills could handle, the seeyas are amazing for that, just enough sole to make pebbles and others smallish stuff a non issue.

At between 7 and 8K I paid the price though and had to slow down to keep my technique nice and clean, but overall I was easily back under my 5 minute average and with a natural cadence of 198 SPM.

So overall a very very good run and a reminder of how amazing the feel of running nearly barefoot is 🙂