Thursday, 27 December 2012

A Christmas Trail

I have to admit missing my last long training hurt both physically and mentally!

It's the second time the heel has flaired up and both times it's been within a couple of miles of the start on a long run.

It was time to get some help. As said before, I think I started to believe the hype on barefoot and had refused to accept that I could get injured with minimal running and I must be doing something wrong? Even advice on the various barefoot forums was pointing to the fact that I dared to even look at a pair of normal trainers now, let alone still wear them occasionally.

Who is right? All I know is that I'm injured and what I was doing wasn't helping. I started with some sports massage which really helped and took a few days off running to let the pain calm down. I then started to take some anti-inflammatory pills (which I never really do) and set about getting the foam roller from behind the sofa and actually use it!

I sat down and analysed the training and anything I'd changed. Well the only things I'd changed were I'd started actual barefoot training and I'd increased the mileage with 20 mile plus weekly long runs. Well I think I'd answered my own question right there.

I either need to cut back the distances or the attempt to convert to full barefoot. Well I've got an ultra in Jan so cutting the miles was going to be tricky, I'd decided to ease back on the latter for now, while starting a daily routine of extra stretching and massage. Who would think rolling pins would be so useful in running training.

Well it was the Sunday before Christmas and the few days I'd taken off were starting to hurt as I had itchy feet (not literally). I'd decided to squeeze in a cheeky trail race with Katie near Maldon. It was a short 3.5 mile muddy and wet route around a nature reserve and the best thing about it was the fact it was fancy dress with a festive theme and chocolate at the checkpoints!

I dressed in the only costume I had to hand which was Michael Jackson from Thriller, Katie dressed as a Christmas Elf. It was great running round the woods laughing at giant snowmen running past each other in circles.

Back to the important stuff... I'd decided to christen the NB MT110's and Sealskin socks I'd picked up. I still had a little heel pain but specifically ran on the forefoot and it felt ok. The 110's held up well in the thick mud as the sole design was more aggressive than the Trailgloves with defined lugs and the waterproof socks proved awesome as I actually ran through every patch of water that was at times deeper than the tops of the socks and the feet were dry as I ran fast trying not to stand in it too long.

The day was topped off as we both won a fancy dress prize and actually finished reasonabley high up in the results for the short route.

Over the next couple of days I jogged slowly in my Lunas with our new puppy up to about 3 miles. You need to be slow and take it easy with young dogs so I made sure that she only ever walked and didn't full run and this would only be a couple of times.

The heel was getting better and the massage was starting to work. I just wish the rain would stop for 5 minutes lol. Well Christams day came and went and on Boxing Day I couldn't hold out anymore and drove down to the Witham Boxing Day 5.

I entered on the day and decided to wear the Luna Leadville's. I'd not raced that short distance for a while especially on road but taking the chance to probably be the only person running in sandals was too good to pass up.

The only comments at the start were from my own running club members who asked the same old question "are you really running in those?" I was worried about my foot as there was still a little pain but I'd finish even if I had to walk it. After the start I felt ok. Again I purposely ran on the front of the foot and I could feel it rubbing but it actually felt good!

I knew at the start I wouldn't be fast but I was running with a smile on my face. I looked at the watch and I was sub-8 min miles which I was happy with as I'd only be a few minutes off my usual finishing times. I ran with a couple of people of similar pace when after awhile one guy asked if I'd read Born to Run... Classic! He said I was the first person he'd seen wearing sandals to race in! It's great to be a relative trendsetter.

In fact the only issue I had was the large patches of water what I had to run through. My Leadville's  don't have the MGT (Monkey Grip Technologhy) and as a result the sandals would slip and move and the toes would take the strain. Ill try and get another pair soon to test. I know Tracy at Barefoot Britain was looking to get them in.

I really enjoyed the run out and it was a great day with a great crowd, I even saw Mr Potter on the route cheering us on! The only issue was a tiny blister on the front pad of the foot and a slightly sore calf from the change in running style. Not bad at all and a day later I was fine.

Next run could be Sundays 25 mile Stansted Stagger.

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