Speedworks and a snap… (358K to go):

Frozen - Kingittorsuaq Mountain - Nuuk, Greenland

Frozen – Kingittorsuaq Mountain – Nuuk, Greenland

Speedwork is something I have nearly avoided doing while conditioning my leg, feet and soles to running either completely barefoot or with a barefoot style in ultra minimal shoes.

However being in Copenhagen with no hills and flat trails I needed something to do while running and it all started out one late evening after arriving in Copenhagen.

I had a massive time difference to cope with and at midnight my body felt like anything but sleeping.

Thus I strapped on my running clothes a pair of seeyas and set out into the night and the rain.

I had nothing particular in mind, but as I ran the pace was just going up and up and before I knew of it, I was back at a 4:30 average.

Six kilometres later I arrived home and realised that maybe I was ready to run at sub 5 minute averages again.

The run felt amazing and with a great flow and a running style that seemed to have been compact and solid. Just great ๐Ÿ™‚

A few days later weather was a bit iffy again, but I really needed a run and felt like testing my style at speed again. I decided on a 10K and settled on a 4:30 average pace, pretty close to my old half marathon PR pace. It just turned out to be one of those perfect runs, even though I quickly realised that I was not half marathon ready yet, at least not in that pace. But the 10K went very smoothly. I had to work it all the way not only maintaining acceptable form, but also to maintain a constant pace.

What it made me realise though, was that running barefoot has advantages at speed too and it felt great just to run hard for more than just a single kilometre or two here and there.

A few days later in the Netherlands, I decided to spend a rainy evening running along the canals. In retrospect I probably should have stayed at home though.

Admittedly I skipped the usual warm up exercises and the first two kilometres was amazing. I ran effortless at a very fast pace, heart rate was surprisingly calm and the running style under tight control.

A gentle slope came up and I open up a little more and… SNAP!

A sharp pain shot through my calf as I could feel the muscle being pulled… The 3 K home was a hobble and very sorry looking excuse for running:(

So I relearned an old lesson; do you warm up before running, otherwise you may end up injured. A pulled calf is no fun and it cost me two weeks without running.

Almost there - Kingittorsuaq Mountain - Nuuk, Greenland

Almost there – Kingittorsuaq Mountain – Nuuk, Greenland

The two weeks were not a total loss though, as they did include a gorgeous hike to the peak of Deer Prong Mountain outside Nuuk.

A gorgeous hike that is well worth it for anyone, but also one of the last chances to go there before winter and darkness sets in.

I completed the hike in an old pair of vivo neo trail, that even survived having cramp on mounted, but let it be said that for cramp on work real boots are probably the way to go.

And I will bring big boot for those sections in the future.

It was amazing to be back in the mountains under alpine conditions though, while not suited for minimalism, it will always have a place in my heart.

An 8K test run at a very leisurely pace has been run too and I can now slowly ease into easy runs again so it is not all bad ๐Ÿ™‚

Utrecht, Vacation, running and Kayaking (468,5K to go)

One of the good things about a week worth of vacation is plenty of time to focus on just kicking back and relaxing.

Paddling in Utrecht

Paddling in Utrecht

My kicking back on this vacation has been a good 60K of Kayaking, nothing like paddling ย the slow rivers of the Netherlands especially in settings as absolutely gorgeous as Utrecht. it is a marvel of a town on so many levels.

But being vacation also means enjoying running in settings different from my usual ones and I managed to pack in a good 38,5K while there, but not in go obviously ๐Ÿ™‚

Barefoot in Utrecht city centre

Barefoot in Utrecht city centre

The Barefoot 10K:

Already upon arrival I had the feeling that Utrecht had the potential to be an amazing barefoot city, lots of small old streets all with rugged and uneven cobble stones or with a variety of small flagstones, and generally I had to spotted few ย paved sections of road.

I was so wrong though as I found out on my run, not that the 10K was not amazing in General, but more the fact that Utrecht is nearly covered in broken glass and not harmless security glass shrapnel, no we talk that nasty broken bottle with jagged sharp edges shrapnel.

I have never had to be this careful running before and it is a shame because it really is an absolutely amazingly beautiful place to run for barefooters.

As soon as I got out of central Utrecht it got better and I could stretch my legs a little more. It was just a joy to feel the early autumn warmth and the sensory input from my bare soles as they traced over cobbled streets, flagstones, gravel and paved roads

what 10K does to your bare soles

what 10K does to your bare soles

Pace and cadence was generally relaxed, even the dodging glass moves seemed to be frequent enough to become part of the pattern.

The running style itself still seems very locked down.

A lot of work can still be done on how I tend to increase speed, but I think I have found a good balance between pull and upping the cadence.

The 180 SPM really do seem a bit slow especially barefoot.

My Soles seems rugged and well adapted to running completely barefoot and finding a way to maintain the ruggedness over the coming winter will be a challenge.

A forest highway :)

A forest highway ๐Ÿ™‚

The long run:

Having paddled 25K in a kayak the day before, I decided that wednesday was time for a run along one of the small rivers I discovered had a nicelooking trail and revealed by the map a nice forest area a few kilometres out.

Knowing it would be nearly all trail and being put slightly off by my experiences during my first run, I opted for my seeyas on this run.

the first 2K got me to the beginning of the trail and the following six were anon technical trial, with a silent river flowing either right next to me or just a tree or two away.

the next 7,5K was a gorgeous mix of trails from pretty dicey single trail (perhaps no trail at all) due to the very uneven terrain and the extremely slippery roots. It was extremely fun until I slipped and fell halfway in. A slippery root made me loose my balance, but I managed to land hands and not face first earning me a really nice set of superficial wounds in the palm of my hand.

The 8K home I upped the pace a bit testing my legs and just enjoyed the mental state of bliss from a longer run again, not to mention the gorgeous vies along the river into Utrecht.

Temp_23

Merrell Mix Master Glide and VFF Seeya ๐Ÿ™‚

A wind down 5K:

In spite of the 23,5K the day before and even though my feet were a touch sore in the morning, I could do nothing but ay yes when my Girlfriend wanted to go for a run and a test of her brand new Merrell Mix Master Glide.

We all know how difficult it is to have new gear sitting unused on the shelf, thus in the evening we strapped into the running shoes and went for a short run. being in the evening and given the massive amount of glass everywhere I had no choice but to jump into my seeyas.

It turned out to be a wonderful evening with a 5K circle run around the inner rivers of Utrecht. Utrecht is a stunningly beautiful town.

Two competitive sprints were added and I have to admit that in spite of being a young runner, she has ย a great potential to soon outsprint me.

I am not sure how much her new shoes added to her sudden speed boost, but she really was quite satisfied with both the fit and trade off between cushioning and ground feel.

That is it. The conclusion on the running part of my one week vacation andI will conclude this post with the very obligatory vacation duck, or ducks to be exact,

Vacation Ducks

Vacation Ducks