Along wet run…. and more… (682,5K to go):

Been a while since my last update and not surprisingly I have been running ๐Ÿ™‚

It startede out thursday with a 6K completely barefoot run in Copenhagen, a run where I felt fast and everything was good. I just forgot that one important thing…. To listen to your soles.

As I got home I had 3 major blisters on the ball of my feet, not friction blisters as such, no more like blivers from running too fast on a too hot surface. It really was a tough lesson learned for me and something I need to be very aware of as summer arrives.

Sunday I got the silly idea to run to my moms place, around 20K depending on route, weather the day before had been amazing and the forecast was not overly bad.

In fact it was such a nice forecast that my girlfriend decided to bike the trip keeping me company and all.

Just as we were about to leave it started raining and not just a little. opted for a switch to a waterproof jacket on me and the long sleeve in the bag

The first couple of kilometres was mainly about getting wet and into a nice rhythm and to get used to running and having a bike to factor in. At 5 K the rain really started to pick up and we went from wet to drenched in a matter of munites. At 10K the weather turned for the worse and we were in the middle of a real downpour. Luckily the seeyas do not have a lot of shoe, thus there is not a lot to get wet and pick up weight.

At 10K my legs still felt great ย and I really had to focus not to burn of way too much energy off too soon,I kept focusing on technique and on to stay warm and in a good constant pace.

15K passed ย and I started to feel a little burned and wet and cold, but I kept my thoughts on the last stretch home and on a good running style, which at least for me means a fully occupied ๐Ÿ™‚

At 20K I was tired, but at least I was in know territory and that meant that I knew that it would be roughly 2,5K home. I picked up my pace slowly and started running faster. I got to admit that it felt great arriving at Moms place.

22,5K and my longest run to date in barefoot style shoes and I felt great afterwards.

Right now I am waiting for a flight to Rome, so look out for a round of running in Rome soon ๐Ÿ™‚

Barefoot in Budapest (711K to go):

W020Sunday around midday I boarded a flight from Copenhagen to Budapest.

Two and a half day of very interesting conferencing ahead of me, but I had the good fortune to already around my arrival at the hotel to sneak in a run.

Knowing nothing about budapest and much less around where to run, decided to run to The Danube river and follow it for a bit while taking in the view of the “pest” part of Budapest. Call it a quick run around attractions such as the chain bridge and other interesting stuff.

Weather was perfect, a little cloudy, but warm and pleasant. It begged for me to stick to the good old black soles, but I did not know anything about what I would run into in terms of conditions, thus I grabbed my seeyas in the hand on the way out. turned out they were totally unnecessary. While I spotted a fair amount of unpleasant looking glass of the broken beer bottle variety (particularly on the route from the chain bridge to the opera), then it was generally not enough to pose any threat to my feet and was quite easy to navigate.

Plan was for a 5K, but at the natural turning point it said 4K and an average pace of 5:30 Min/K, not bad, given that I really felt good and my feet had no signs of hotspots nor other friction issues.

The surface was generally smooth concrete or paved road, walk/bike lane, but some some fun stuff such as pebbles, cobble stones and even a few obstacles to jump here and there ๐Ÿ™‚

The run home was just as pleasant as the run out, Developed a bit of a hotspot on the inside of my right forefoot (see the picture below it is clearly visible). It puzzles me a bit, but it is a general issue when running completely barefoot. My own guess is that my right foot is not quite strong enough in the muscles supporting the arch of the foot, allowing it to sag a bit towards the end of my run, but it is only a feeling. On that note I am glad I have a meeting with my style coach soon, hopefully he can pinpoint the problem.

W021Fast forward to late afternoon today and the second run in Budapest.

Weather spoke for a pure barefoot experience and having done several evening walks after dinners and in between conference days, I had a pretty good feeling of what to expect. I planned for a slightly different and possibly slightly longer route, thus the seeyas came with me in my hand as I put the good old black soles to work.

One of the things that struck me while running the first half of the route, was that I much like Sunday, got an unusually large amount of startled looks and comments in Magyar, English and even a few Swedish ones. I very much doubt they are used to seeing barefooted runners in Budapest or even barefoot style runners. At least I saw none.

 

Pace, cadence and running style all seemed very good, I have noticed that I need around 2-3K to lock into my running style. Not that it is bad the first couple of kilometres, I just have to focus on the flow until I am in the “zone”

The “pest” side of my run was a fun surprise, a mix of huge cobble stones, and flagstones with a fine layer of pebbles sort of embedded in the surface, lots of construction work going on and, plenty of urban obstacles to run around, avoid or jump, not to mention a massive amount of pedestrians, cars and buses. All in all a load of fun.

As i reached the Hotel the watch said 9K, a 5:31 pace and a cadence of 198 SPM. Ok I am running fairly flat terrain, but I find it quite promising that I am able to run a problem free 5:30 average on completely bare feet, seemingly without compromising my style and that is Improvement to me ๐Ÿ™‚

Overall Budapest comes highly recommended to barefooters I think and I had a ball here ๐Ÿ™‚

Snowy and windy half marathon (728K to go):

 

 

NSP13_WEB_021Well today I was supposed to fly to Copenhagen, but shortly before my flight wind picked up a steady 20 knots and frequent gusts in the 35 knot range, not to mention that the temperature dropped just below zero and bringing snowfall, ranging from light flurries to heavy snow showers. In short, No Flying today.

I was a little moody after that. My girlfriend waiting at the arrival was no fun when being stranded at the departure point without an aircraft. Aside from messing up my Friday meeting schedule and evening plans today, it was also messing up my training plan. Friday was supposed to be gym and long run day, with a short run and bouldering session on Saturday., but as my Friday would now be spend flying I had to be creative.

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Well I dressed up warm and decided on a slow run target in the 12-15K range, I threw a couple of High5 ISO gels a pocket to make sure my stomach stay used to getting gels while running, the great thing about the ISO gels is that while a little larger than the average gel, they contain enough water to be digested without additional water, which is perfect for runs up to around half marathon distance where I usually do not consume water, unless it is very hot.

Weather was every bit as hostile as described, ans snow started to pile up several places, varying from a thin sometimes very icy crusty layer to sections of soft slushy snow varying from ankle depth to halfway to my knee.

Challenging, but also fun running conditions and the choice to strap into the seeyas were easy. with this much wet snow, I would be soaked well up towards my knee anyway for the duration, so might as well go for a shoe that drains fast and gain minimal weight from being wet.

The first kilometre and a half was all down hill, so an easy run, but given the unstable surface and varying traction, ice patches downhill are interesting, from a running point of view and while my feet were being hammered by the uneven surface, it is the perfect place for practising the whole centre of gravity thing ๐Ÿ™‚

Uphill for half a kilometre and then I had the wind in my face for the first time and here it would stay for the next 4K. At kilometre 4 I passed a friend that were making her way home from somewhere. she smiled and called me crazy. I smiled waved and said high and continued to push through a section of deep snow uphill. It felt amazing to get my wind in the back for a few kilometres at the 6K mark and my legs were now warm and my feet were totally soaked, but had found a rhythm with the uneven ground, although they were taking a beating from uneven Ice and largish pebbles invisible under the snow. having my wind in the back made it a perfect moment to grab a gel too, which really were a great energy boost.

At kilometre 7 I pass my friend again and were awarded a big grin and a high five (thanks Eva), which meant another boost of mental energy had a great smooth back-wind section, the downhill were rather icy and I really had to stay sharp on my running style not to loose balance and fall over. It went very smooth and felt great and controllable ๐Ÿ™‚

From kilometre 10 a Steep and 1K long uphill with the wind gusting a heavy snow shower into my face – hard. I shortened my stride a touch, adjusted my forward lean angle a touch, and upped the cadence a tiny bit and focused on my heel pull. The long steep uphill seemed to just roll under my feet, amazing. Another 3K of mixed shorter up and downhill sections followed and did a great job loosening up my legs a little, especially as I had the wind in my back for half of it ๐Ÿ™‚

A 14K I felt no where near ready to stop, thus on the whim, I veered left and did a gorgeous 2,5K uphill section with the wind now blowing and gusting very heavy snow into my face. Now I wore my bad weather running shades (the now discontinued Adidas elevation – I have two pairs and save for the soft lens coating they are a favourite of mine), but the snow was so dense it nearly covered the lenses and I were forced to use the back of my glove to wipe them for every ten steps, but such a great section. From here followed the same section downhill and now with the wind in my back, shades in hand I had a strong and fast downhill section that felt just amazing.

At Kilometre 19 I still felt great and decided that I might as well run the last 2,1 Kย  and make it a half marathon, so a quick a sprint half a kilometre downhill and then finishing strong on the last 1,6K uphill to home.

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I was quite surprised to see that I came in faster than the last half marathon less then a week ago, only around a minute faster, but I felt more relaxed on this one and the conditions were a lot tougher, so definitely a great run ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope to be able to stick to these +20K runs once a week from now on, they are pure meditation for me and they really are able to challenge me on my technique and style. On this particular run my body posture was the big challenge. This due to the challenging running conditions, I needed to really watch my step and that cause a bit to much of a forward tilt from my hip neck, but I think I had it under control most of the time.

The other challenge were my feet, they really took a beating, but the flexibility and ground feedback from the seeyas were the right choice still and they remain my favourite running five fingers. they were soaked for 21,1K and not a single hotspot or blister. On rougher terrain I would still opt for the spyridon, but the seeyas do surprisingly well in a lot of terrain.

Last but not lest the centre of gravity thing got a lot of work here, the often icy ย up and downhill sections, with or without a foot worth of slushy snow cover to disguise it as safe ground, really made running as perfectly as possible under my centre gravity mandatory. ย pushing a touch with your feet on the way up in stead of lifting you feet off the ground and you are hugging the hill. stepping in front of yourself on the way down and you will slide the rest of it on your butt ๐Ÿ™‚

Overall a great workout, now I will hit the sack and get some sleep, boarding ย at 5:15 AMย  tomorrow, but I am going back to yourope where the weather is warm enough to go completely barefoot ๐Ÿ™‚

Travels, a half marathon and a blizzard run (749K to go):

I kind of hope a few of you have noticed that i have been inactive for two weeks ๐Ÿ™‚

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The first week was spend mainly flying and then a long weekend of hiking (in my spyridons) in the wonderful Ilulissat region of Greenland, enjoying another passion of mine – Photography, some dogsledding fun of course and then a week worth of running.
I think what many tend to underestimate is how much hiking and day to day walking can help build up foot strength. My Bikila LS is the most padded shoe I wear and I spend every chance I can barefoot. It has meant a tremendous improvement in barefoot strength and my running have seen real benefits from it.
To me, a valuable lesson learned since January. if you want to run barefoot, then spend as much time as possible being barefoot, whether running or not.
The Hiking was amazing and a good continuation ice, rock, snow and other interesting stuff.
The spyridon with a thin toe sock and a debris gaiter (I use the inov8 one) really makes for a very nice and flexible winter boot so far no issues down to -20C.
A more flexible water resistant model built on the sole from the spyridon would be a welcome addition to the range of five fingers.

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Coming back to Nuuk last week, was great though, first thing was a relaxed 5K run with my girlfriend. her first in the steep terrain around Nuuk, but she managed a very nice run in spite of it. Personally it was just a nice relaxing 5K in my seeyas, to the point where little new to tell is available. I feel very settled in my running again, plenty of minor stuff to work on, but overall I feel relax and fluid when running.
Nuuk has fallen back to winter, so plenty of snow and a chilly temperature to it. I really like to run during winter and to feel snow between my toes when running, combined with the tactile sensation of plenty of tiny pebbles strewn everywhere and the sometimes rough ice underneath a thin crusty snow, is just soo nice.
Friday I had planned for a relaxed 6K home from work, but as I took off from work and started running, my feet felt strong and I just flew home in a way too brisk pace. I was great to be able to maintain that fast a pace with steep uphill sections in the run.
So a very positive run overall, my only concern about it was the long run planned for Saturday.

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Saturday, begun early, a trip to the gym for a leg, core and stability workout session, from there I went straight to the climbing gym and enjoyed a few hours of focus on precision hand and footwork. It is a very odd sensation to strap my climbing shoes on these days though and I actually did a good part of my warm up climbs in my KSO.
After the gym I did a light lunch and then started dressing up. blue skies and no wind, perfect for what I estimated to be a very slow 15K when setting out, because my legs were worn from the fast run and the days activities, but as I progressed through the first 5K my legs came back. pace cadence and style seemed good, at 10K everything looked really well an I decided to do the long route home and go for a 21,1K attempt. seemed a perfect way to test my feet, my style and my head above all. at 17K I started to have a bit of a crisis, my calves were beginning to feel exhausted on the downhill runs, but a hard focus on technique and upping the pace downhill solved it.
from 18,5K and home I upped the pace significantly and felt very good al the way home.
We are still far from my old half marathon race pace, but it does not matter much either at this stage. The important part is that I now have the necessary focus to keep my running style relatively tight on this distance and come out with nothing but sore calves from it.

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W003Today I decided that running home from work would make for a nice soft run to start the week, I was wrong though – Mother Nature had decided to play me and throw a fierce 45 knot blizzard, with gusts on the lively side of 60 knots.
The run home went OK, parts of the run were a little exposed and i had to fight to stay on my feet on the ice covered roads. The most dangerous seemed to be the cars though, I met at least two cars where the drivers were struggling to stay on the road and where I was glad to be running and not in their car.
The seeyas were probably not the optimal choice of footwear for the run, the spyridons would have been preferred here, but that the seeya keep impressing me, it is a very versatile shoe.

A long update, but I wanted to fit everything in.

Thanks for reading.