Barefoot in Greenland (388K to go)

Nuuk, Greenland and barefoot running is maybe not the two things that are most commonly related, while I have been doing it for nearly a year now, then the fact that we have hit autumn and temperatures generally stay between 0°C and 5°C really have made a massive difference in people’s perception of it.

On the first of two 7,5K barefooters I have done this round I had people stopping in cars in surprise, driving along side me taking pictures, htey would later post them on facebook telling they saw this nuts guy running barefooted, attracting comments like “Weirdo” and other stuff. Something a kind friend made me aware of as I did not know the posters personally.

I can understand that it is maybe not super common, but that the reaction all the sudden is this strong was a bit of a surprise, especially as I have done it quite a few times before.

my (admittedly ugly) bare feet :)

my (admittedly ugly) bare feet 🙂

On the first run temperature was just below 5°C and It was great to be able to get full feedback from my feet. Perfect for a session with a lot of focus on up and downhill technique, my bare feet giving excellent feedback on my style and especially on keeping it together as intensity sent my heart rate into the 85-95% zone uphill.

The temperature was not really an issue as 5°C is in a zone where once you are a couple of hundred meters into the run, they warm up enough to keep skin soft and mellow and feedback at optimal levels.

Save for afore mentioned, to me, a little strong reactions a great run.

A few days later we had a gorgeous and sunny day and with the promise of a heavy storm coming in I decided to make good use of the later afternoon rays of sunlight and go for another barefoot run.

While the thermometer said 3°C, then the pavement felt surprisingly cold, 500 meters into the run I got an explanation. Several large puddles on the pavement were frozen solid, in other words I had chosen a cold day to run barefooted.

Aside from cold feet and the fact that I had a longish section of about 1,5K where there was a massive amount of finely crunched rocks strewn all over the pavement. Not necessarily a problem, but these fine pieces of rock were razor sharp and quite the foot massage to run.

1,5K home is more or less one continuous uphill section and I felt like flying home, pace, cadence some of the newly drilled in technique and general running style all came together.

Back home I did a carful inspection of my feet and confirmed what I felt, no serious damage from the section with the razor sharp tiny rocks, save for 10 tine rocks that I easily removed with a small tweezer. They had not penetrated the skin, but were sharp enough to find purchase in the outer layer of skin.

Temperature was in the range where I start to consider wearing shoes, not because you cannot run barefooted in sub 0°C temperatures, but I see no reason for it, the risk of injury due to my feet being slightly sedated by the cold or freeze burns are simply not worth it.

I do however reserve the right to change my mind later this winter 🙂

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