Being ill, skin disease and other stuff (667,5K to go):

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Coming from 3 consecutive weeks of being almost back to my normal short weeks of 30-40K a week adn thun run head first into first a skin disease issue, the disease is a know issue, but it atacking my feet happens rarely and made me miss out on the opportunity to run barefoot while in Rome.

Add a case of the flu and high fever and I was out of business with no running and no workout at all for a week and a half. That just plain sucked, especiall as it hit right after having visited my running coach.

A visit that was both inspiring and deeply humiliating (in a good way I might add). It was a most welcome reminder to keep my running form compact and to run lighter. quite a wake up call to see one self on video after a while.

SOmething everybody needs to do regularly I think.

Anyway, Thursday I managed to Squeeze in an afternoon 10K in my wonderful Greenlandic surroundings, I truly love running the hilly sections and the fact that the only flat section is my own porch, my skin disease kept me from going completely barefoot, but just running again after a week and a half of being ill was absolutely amazing.

Pace was deliberately slow, but cadence and form seemed OK, still need to work a lot with posture and heel pull in particular, as that is where a few bugs have been sneaking into my running style.

Zoom forward today.

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I am back in Copenhagen and the weather has been absolutely fabulous for a couple of days. It is time for one of those super cosy partner runs, usually around 5K with my girlfriend. She is new to running, but putting in a massive effort and running together is something that really makes me feel very privileged.

As I came home from the gym, I looked at the soles of my feet, looked outside, looked at my soles, looked outside and though “Ohh, what the f***”, showed my Five fingers in the running drawstring bag and set off with no shoes at all. RUnning totally barefoot is something that one has to experience to believe and I would guess that most people will get truly addicted. At least I have become so in an instant. The tactile sensation of running totally barefoot is nothing short of amazing.

5 gorgeous and wonderful kilometres later we are back home. the still not completely healed skin on my soles had taken quite a beating. No blisters or wounds as such, but as the skin has still not fully recovered from the disease, it is more beaten up than five leisurely paced kilometresd would normally justify.

That said I was and still am high from running barefoot again.

Tomorrow I will continue my travels towards Madrid and Barcelona in Spain for 10 days and hopefully lots of barefoot running πŸ™‚

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

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

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 Β 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 Β 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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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. Β 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 πŸ™‚ so much fun πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ ) 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 accidentallyΒ  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 Β½ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 Β 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 spring 5K and 100K status (900K to go):

W001Copenhagen have had some AMAZING weather today.

Warm and sunny, with only a touch of wind and that just became too much for me. When readying for my friday 5K, I looked outside, looked at my VFF seeyas, looked outside again and decide to go completely barefoot πŸ™‚

There is just something to being able to feel the minute changes in structure from running on different kinds of pavement, whether the flagstones are smooth or rough and the totally smooth surface of the cobbled sections (I just love running barefoot on cobbled streets :)).

The ability to really feel every twig and pebble under your feet. the difference in temperature between shaded and sunny sections.

Ohh not to forget the fact that you really are near silent when running barefoot. Gentle warnings takes away the scare factor when passing people form behind of it though

The weird look on other peoples faces and odd comments from them, takes a little getting used to though. But I guess running barefoot begs for comments like “he must be stupid”, which was one of the more pleasant comments from today πŸ™‚

Okay I could have been without the sensation of running on the occasional patch of road salted pavement (that sh*t hurts to run on), but still… πŸ™‚

5K is about the limit of what I can run completely barefoot without hurting my feet. The ground is cold still and my running style is still very dependant on the sensory feedback from my soles, so running any longer completely barefoot will require more work on my running style.

Pace was a very leisurely and comfy 5:40 average and cadence a perfect 190 SPM average. One of the upsides to running completely barefoot is that any technical deficiencies in my running style is almost auto corrected (the sensory feedback from anything but ideal running style is merciless) and it just feels so amazingly free and effortless to run completely barefoot and as mentioned in my last run report I had gotten a bit sloppy in style. Well today things felt absolutely right again.

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Now getting back in I had a good look at my feet and yes I know they are not pretty in the picture, what really stand out is old blister though.

I knew I had two smallish blisters forming (not visible in the picture) from not sidestepping a pebble, I misjudged the size a bit, but that aside no harm at all. Yes the skin on the ball of my feet feels like it has been hammered and will likely stay sore for a day or two. They did need a good wash and rub down afterwords though πŸ™‚

Running on road salted roads is a dangerous game though. Road salt can really mess up the skin on your feet fast, so be careful if running barefoot during winter in areas where road salt is used.

The 100K evaluation:

With the run today I have passed the first 100K as a full time barefoot style runner, 4Β½ weeks have passed in that period and today’s run was a hard reminder of that running completely barefoot on a regular basis is important for me and for me to continue my development of a good running style.

My five fingers will remain a very valuable training and running tool, especially for my trail and off trail runs, not to mention my running in Greenland for another couple of months. But even something as minimal as the seeya includes an increased risk of not paying enough attention to my running style or falling into the TMTS trap.

My strength in my feet and calves are slowly building, but I really have to be careful not to fall into the TMTS trap. I think I am very prone to that. Because there is quite a long way back to the days where a 40K week is lazy running week.

That said there is no going back to running in the large heavy and unwieldy running shoes for me, this barefoot style running and the true barefoot bit in particular are highly addictive and I am so hooked:)