About loosing count and the 1000K update that disappeared

Day break, during Singapore approach

Day break, during Singapore approach

It has been ages since my last update, so long in fact that most have probably come to the point where you have been wondering whether there would ever be another update.

The truth is that real life, winter, traveling like never before, running and a whole host of other things trapped me made me loose count and really think hard about my blogging in general.

Powder heaven @ Isola 2000, France

Powder heaven @ Isola 2000, France

But such a massive amount of travel also have meant a massive amount of opportunities to connect to new countries and cultures with my bare soles.

Not long after my return to Copenhagen from the USA, I found myself doing first a quick day trip to the Swedish Capital Stockholm, then a quick morning run in Copenhagen, before I had to pack up the big bags and head for France and first a couple of days of work around Nice, including a couple of rather brisk morning barefoot sessions, before initiating what turned out to be a very long and very slippery drive from Nice to Isola 2000 and 3 days of amazing powder heaven on my snowboard. Not quite the high arctic powder we get in Greenland, but the sheer amount of snow easily made up for it. It was great to have 3 full days of solitude, just me and the board.

Christianshavn, Denmark

Christianshavn, Denmark

Following France was a short lay over in Copenhagen and a gorgeous run through the cobbled streets of Christianshavn, cobble stones really do make for a very unique barefoot experience or minimalistic experience even.

I have come to really enjoy running all kinds of surfaces over the last year, it really is quite amazing how much shod runners miss out on, I think. they in turn probably think i have missed that boat called shoes, making everything alright ๐Ÿ™‚

Coming home to Greenland and to running the familiar trials and heavily snow and ice covered roads were pure bliss. I took up running again while living here and there is just such a deep connection between running and Greenland for me. i enjoy running all over the world, but Greenland is where running feels natural and amazing.

I did not have long though before the next journey would come up, I would be exchanging my wonderful desolate arctic winter home with something completely different.

Singapore skyline

Singapore skyline

The difference upon arrival in Singapore was mind bogglingย  12 hours time difference and -15C was exchanged with 31C and the air went from crisp and dry arctic winter to humid tropical spring.

Some would likely have found the drastic change unbearable, but I really do have a big heart for both and the nearly daily morning barefoot runs around the Marina by the bay area before sunrise was absolutely amazing, not long runs, only 5-6K, but the hot climate made it a true pleasure to go from full winter clothes to bare feet, shorts and a light tech tee. These morning runs will be with me for a long time ๐Ÿ™‚

Singapore also meant a hello to massive food courts, top flight Asian food and that excellent service south east Asia is famous for. Sure enough we did put in long work hours, but the half an hour before sunrise spend running, the excellent food and the genuinely amazing service made for a wonderful stay.

Hotel Lichtburg, Berlin

Hotel Lichtburg, Berlin

From Singapore we pretty much continued straight on to the German Capital Berlin.

And what a drastic change, the morning runs in perfect conditions, were trade for something a touch on the dull side of 10C and misty, semi rainy weather. and the that letter perfect accommodation turned into what can barely have been a 2 star hotel, with sloppy cleaning and poor location.

Berlin though was still a gorgeous experience and it remain an amazing city in my book, but from a running point of view, Singapore remain the clear favourite of the two though:)

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Barefoot sled dogs – Ilulissat, Greenland

From Berlin I traveled more or less straight to Ilulissat and in addition to some very chilly morning runs with temperatures just below -20C. I had the great pleasure to be back dog-sledding again too.

Nothing short of amazing it was to work with these, loyal, tough and hardworking animals and their drivers.

Ilulissat is another one of those destinations in Greenland that are able to turn arctic winter into an absolute paradise.My Copenhagen back yard

My Copenhagen back yard

A happy finisher :)

A happy finisher ๐Ÿ™‚

From Greenland my journey took me to my favourite Danish back yard, making the final preparations for the IAAF Half marathon World championships in Copenhagen. my first official half Marathon distance completely barefooted and as part of the biggest run ever organised in Copenhagen.

Preparations were great and my last run showed good progress in terms of running intensity. I have not been doing race preparations for this one and since it is still very early in the season, my feet are still a little winter soft, so it would in many ways be a bit of a challenge.

Weather on the race day was perfect and I arrived a bit early and just enjoyed tumbling around the start area, relaxing and topping up my hydration, while enjoying the varied and different pre race routines at display.

Finisher feet :)

Finisher feet ๐Ÿ™‚

To my surprise I saw no other barefooters in the lineup, managed to spot a few minimalists, but I was really surprised to find myself and a Norwegian barefooter from BRS being the two only barefooters attending.

I followed my normal training game plan for the run, which means a very steady 5:25ish for the first 18K and then open up to 4:40-4:30 the last stretch home.

I was a bit worried how my feet would handle the home stretch, but it turned out to be a perfect running day in all aspects, my own performance too.

I crossed the line in 1:54, far from my shod PR, but it was definitely a new BR for 2013/2014 so far, Simply a perfect running day and the joy of sharing it with 30.000 other people from all over the world definitely added a lot to the BR experience.

Save for some really black feet and somewhat tender soles the next day there has been absolutely no problems, not even the tiniest indication of a blister.

I am now back in my own amazing backyard – my Greenlandic running paradise and first run was a gorgeous 10K run taking in the pristine spring snow conditions Greenland is so famous for in Spring.

Do stay tuned for that elusive 1000K running form update ๐Ÿ™‚

Spring in Nuuk, Greenland

Spring in Nuuk, Greenland

Christmas, New Years and loads of travel (150K to go):

It has been a good while since my last post, more than a month in fact and not surprisingly Christmas and New Years, coupled with a load of travel bear the majority of the responsibility.

First "mini" session

First “mini” session

Add in a season that alongside running have to make room for my other favourite winter activity… Snowboarding, then it all makes sense.

Christmas was spend with my family in Copenhagen, followed by a quick trip to Greenland to celebrate new years and get the first 4 snowboard sessions of the year. Our slopes are somewhat short, and we only got two, but they both feature an ocean view and some pretty awesome sunsets.

Got in some good winter running too, plenty of my favourite runs along the nordic skiing trails.ย Which in t urn means that I have been running the spyridon quite frequently.

The EL-X has been and still is my favourite winter boot though. I wear it day and day out during winter. Only exception is when running or when snowboarding, aside from work of course:)

Been hiking a fair Bit too.

downhill sledding

downhill sledding

Done two hikes too, both to the nearest peak and we have been sledding all the way down too on both accounts, there is just something over putting your self on a tiny kid sled with on a plastic seat and one handle and then speedsled down a newly groomed alpine skiing slope, it is both quite fast and super fun ๐Ÿ™‚

On both accounts I dug out an old pair of vivobarefoot neo trail as I wanted a closed toebox for the downhill sledding.

Miami Beach

Miami Beach

The last two weeks have been spend primarily in Naples, FL with overnight stays in Miami and Key West. It has been two absolutely amazing family weeks. The first time in a year with both my sister and my brother at the same time.

It has also, been an absolutely wonderful experience to get a two week completely barefoot break in January, I wore shoes only when going to restaurants in the evening and most locals seemed rather relaxed about me not wearing shoes anywhere. well it kind of makes sense on the beaches, but elsewhere too and you gotta love the clean streets.

The one piece of broken glass I saw was on the beach.

Evening walk at Vanderbilt Beach

Evening walk at Vanderbilt Beach

Lots of barefoot running too, and mostly with company from family (wearing shoes), such a please to run on so many different textures, there were quite a few patches of some rather nasty chipseal, but also wonderful beaches with sand and seashells, smooth concrete and anything in between.

Speaking of seashells, it was a seashell that gave me my first cut, a 1,5cm very clean under the arch of my right foot. It hurt for a day, but as it did not bleed a lot, it never stopped me from being barefoot ๐Ÿ™‚

I can easily see why people love Southern Florida, the climate is absolutely gorgeous for barefooters in winter.

The travels continues though, next stop is France (Nice and a few days at Isola 2000), before heading back to Greenland for most of February.

Arctic winter running – on shoes (219K to go)

Winter running in Nuuk, Greenland

Winter running in Nuuk, Greenland

Now before I get to the actual shoes that I prefer and a few alternatives I highly recommend, then I want to add a few words about how I approach my choice of shoes. reading my previous post may shed some additional light on the subject.

Winter where I live dictates snow, ice and very little actual pavement available, it also dictates very cold temeperatures. Even been running up a steep icy hill, run it without spikes and it will teach you a lot about efficient running form. ever run through 20cm during your entire run, well you quads will come home burning in a very different way.

What I try to say is that I do not run winter like summer, but see it a bit like a different sport.

My favourite trio - seeya, spyridon and el-x

My favourite trio – seeya, spyridon and el-x

The sharp reader will notice it is exactly the same shoes I run during summer and therein lies the truth for me. Winter running does not require a special kind of footwear in general.

The el-x is my go to winter boot for casual wear, I wear it down to -25C without socks, when I go shopping, to from work, when going for a walk, had it not been for the tight upper and the slightly narrow sole profile I would be running them too. The sole itself is near perfect, very grippy on all surfaces and still soft, flexible and light.

The seeya is an excellent running shoe for anything from road to light trail work, true for summer and winter alike. it is not the most grippy, but since I am running for the experience and use the slightly poorer traction to optimise my technique it is a great shoe even in slippery conditions.

The Spyridon is the shoe for when the going gets tough. hard technical trails in summer, nordic skiing trails and snowmobile trails during winter. it is a shoe that will take anything you throw at it smiling. it has the advantage that it is roomy enough to take a thin smartwool toesock, thus making it good for as cold as you would want to run. add a inov8 debris gaiter and it will be good well into knee deep snow.

Now I do not say that the approach some take with big sturdy, spiked, thermo lined, goretex protected shoes is wrong. I used to like it a few years ago, as it essentially would make me plough through winter as if it did not exist. truth is that I have just come to value feeling my environment while running and that comes at the price of speed during winter.

“But are you not freezing wearing so thin shoes during winter?” is a very common question and the reply is simple one. I have found that by nearly not wearing shoes the feet start heating from within. barefoot is probably on the frostbite risky side of things, but if it was not for the crushed rock the spray all over the place to buy people some traction on ice and snow I would likely be experimenting more with this barefoot thing during winter too ๐Ÿ™‚

If I were to run a closed toebox shoe during winter, then I would likely look towards vivobarefoot evo lite, or breatho trail, perhaps even the merrell trailglove 2 as it has a wonderful fit, it is however not exactly a durable shoe and Merrell so far has decided not to respond to my emails on the subject.

If you are in the need of a little foam or more of a real shoe minimalist thing, then the Sketchers gobionic trail is an excellent shoe, with a very very nice sole design and good traction on all surfaces. I own a pair and I really like both the fit and the feel of them, even if they are too padded for my taste.

So that concludes the shoe side of things, now get out there and run ๐Ÿ™‚

Arctic Winter Running โ€“ a magic experience (259K to go):

sunset over Ilulissat Icefiord, Greenland

Sunset run along the Ilulissat Icefiord, Greenland

Words sometimes fail to describe just home magic winter running in Greenland can be.

The last weeks has been a brutal and very beautiful reminder of winter having arrived in full and with that the time to do a write up on what winter running means when living in the arctic. Where many turn their focus to the indoor arena with treadmills and the like, othersย dress up and embrace the wonderful experience winter running can be (an experience we share in silence with the Nordic skiers).

99K have passed since my last update and 75K has been real winter running, with temperatures ranging from -6C to -22,5C, with chill factors down well below -30C.

Conditions have been a mix of paved roads covered in hard packed snow or ice, to off trail run on raw rock sections, with a varying ice cover and a snow from hard packed to soft and powdery, the latter can be a very tricky if combined with ice ๐Ÿ™‚

My normal winter running will include hard packed snow, soft snow, ice, Nordic skiing trails and in the early season rock sections and the occasional path of paved road.

Gorgeous and amazing if you are prepared โ€“ tough, cold and unforgiving if you are not.

The approach to running during winter is important, especially if you live in regions where you get cold weather.

The perhaps most important thing to remember when running in arctic winter conditions is to ease into them, run through summer and autumn into winter. It makes the transition a lot more pleasant. Jumping head first into winter running in -20C with a 10K race pace run is a recipe for disaster.

Run duration generally varies from 30 minutes to 3 hours or so, starting out with shorter runs and then working my way into the long ones as my body readjust to the conditions

As temperatures get very low you need to start considering to minimise speed work and focus on a more relaxed pace. Especially as temperatures dip into the -20C range, I do not have the links to the studies at hand, but as temperature goes below -16C or so, the risk of doing permanent โ€œfrostbiteโ€ damage to your lungs increase, thus it makes sense to not tax your body too hard, it already working overtime heating up the cold air you breathe

I tend to do a mix good mix of distances during winter, both shorter and longer runs, but with a focus on shorter runs early in the season and then build up mileage as my body readjust to the changed conditions.

I like to mix in a variety of surfaces too, Nordic ski trails are great to break up the monotony of the hard packed snow or ice on the streets and venturing off trail will put in a healthy dose of quad killing in the soft and deeper snow.

Make your winter about fun and exploration and less about speed and a whole new chapter of running will be before you.

The next two posts will be on footwear and clothing respectively, so stay tuned ๐Ÿ™‚

A 12K – and with other people (905K to go):

Back in Copenhagen again, which is a hello to warmer temperatures (around 0C) and everything else that comes with an urban environment. Paved roads, park trails with lots of slush and wet snow, pedestrians, heaps of bikes, cars, traffic lights, dogs, strollers, etc. All thins I am not super keen on when running. I prefer the near solitude of Greenland to be honest.

The warmer temperatures was an upside though, but thanks to the massive amount of road salt used in Copenhagen, stripping off the fiverfingers totally was not an option, but I could strap into my minimalistic seeyas (perhaps my favourite five fingers), so not as bad as it could have been. The seeyas are as close to barefoot as I can think of it, not as being barefoot in terms of ground feel, but surprisingly close and the upper is soft enough that you basically forget about them after a few minutes of running.

More or less spontaneously I decided to join a 12K training run arranged by the Danish facebook running club and at 5:30PM I met up with 3 other people for a 12K, 6 minute average training run.

Running with other people and talking was good fun in General, but it did impact my technique in a bad way. I caught myself with sloppy technique several times. It seems I am not quite strong enough technically to run with other people. Mostly I fell back into a rhythm with too long strides, sloppy legwork and to low cadence. something my Achilles tendons and calves have been paying for, judging by the soreness I feel right now.The strain under the arch of my foot even returned occasionally, but overall I came through all right given the distraction of talking and all. Even got to discuss minimalist running with another runner, who seems to be further down the path than I am.

The route was a great mix of paved roads, annoying traffic lights and slippery park trails with plenty of wet slushy snow. Here the barefoot technique came in handy. the two of us running barefoot style did not have any issues with the slippery trials, but the regular runners had a bit of a hard time staying on their feet especially when having to round a bend or corner.

Pace was a very leisurely 6ish minute average which meant a heart rate on the relaxed side of things, cadence was a barely acceptable 181SPM. I added 10K of biking getting to and from our starting point, so overall a very nice run, save for my sloppy technique.

Only 5 K from the first 100K of full time barefoot style running now ๐Ÿ™‚

Another 6K and a bad run (917K to go):

Weather today was actually not that bad. sunny and -12C, rather windy though and a chill factor of -24,7.

Maybe not the obvious running weather, but normally I really like to run in weather and temperatures like this.

I took a slight detour from my normal run and right from getting out I could feel that something was not quite right.

My five fingers did not feel quite right on my feet, my feet felt sore and my calves were stiff and for the first time ever I had a really hard time finding my pace and my rhythm.

Kind of hard not to guess that I had an off day coming. I decided to push on and see how things would pan out.

The first two K I could tell from my running and feet that I was out of style and doing all the wrong things.

I was forcing my body too far forward and dropping my head, making for a slight bend in the hips and a disturbed rhythm and foot placement.

ANd these bad news just keep on, after 3K I paced down and finally got my running style somewhat under control.

Cadence was OK end to end ย on this race, but pace was not up to my usual standards.

As I reached the end, my right calf was (and still is) rock hard and my feet felt sore.

Bad runs are a reality for everyone, but this was my first real off day since going full time barefoot style. I chose to push through and run to the end, but in retrospect, I should not have been running today.

Ohh well, next run will be back to normal ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Gorgeous snowy and icy 6K (623K to go)

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Already when walking to the gym this morning I knew that should time permit just after work, then I would have a run home with some amazing light and with a little luck even a section of low tide ice flake jumping pitched in ๐Ÿ™‚

Luckily time did permit and after the now usual comments from my boss (a very successful triathlete) about my fivefingers being just a fad, plain silly and stupid looking. Comments I take as friendly banter, I zoomed out the door, past the 1.5K of ice/snow/pebbled pavement and and towards the nordic skiing trail to make my way home,

The Snow on the skiing trail have become very densely packed by now and i had several sections where I barely had snow covering my toes, but luckily also a few amazing sections of deepish soft powdery snow.

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I did make a slight detour as it was low tide and with the wind was coming in from the North, a massive amount of ice flakes will likely be lying stacked along the rocky shore, making for a whole heap of fun ice flake jumping for a few hundred meters.

Well “how much fun can 2-300 meters be?”ย you might ask. Well when you are jumping, sliding balancing on slippery snow covered ice flakes ranging from the size of a football to the size of a large dining table, all resting either in shallow water or on the rocks revealed by the tide, it can be “HEAPS OF FUN!” ๐Ÿ™‚ Especially because some of them are quite unstable.

I have been weary of doing it in the past, but wearing my KSO I had enough ground feel with the ice to make it challenging and exhausting but also heaps of fun for a while.

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The way back up and home was steep, but I was so energized from the fun section that the trip home felt light on feet and amazing. My running style got a tiny bit sloppy at a point, but the upside to nearly not wearing shoes is you notice real quick.

Upon arrival home, time said 30 minutes and 20 seconds. Distance read 6,01K.

Cadence averaged out to 192 SPM, which is in the ok range for me. and heart rate felt OK save for a few spikes while running two of the uphill sections.

Last week was from a barefoot point of view of a little high mileage, especially as I had two snowboarding session over the weekend too. Something my calves and thighs definitely can feel. Thus i am quite certain that tomorrow will be a rehab day for me running wise.

I thin my running style or form as everybody seems to call it is improving by the day, now I just have to be patient enough to let my legs get back to their usual self after a very tough weekend.

Ohh and I am really getting VERY fond of the KSO as a winter running shoe, amazing ground feel and stability.

But why not conclude this post with an image of the shoreline section where i had so much fun ๐Ÿ™‚

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