Friday, May 6, 2011

Flashback Friday: Perceived Impressions of Barefoot Witnesses

"Just go. Nobody notices at first," said the Enthusiast, reassuring me that I wouldn't make a scene starting my first barefoot three-miler of the year in front of our apartment manager, neighbor and two prospective tenants.

"Where're your shoes? Woo-hah!" screamed some guy from behind me after I crossed the intersection at Merriman and Memorial, disproving the notion that nobody notices at first.

"Hey, look, honey! It's one of those barefoot guys," I read off the lips of a man driving a passing SUV.

"Get the fuck out of my neighborhood, freak," I read from the mind of a grumpy old lady with wrap-around sunglasses.

People sure do like a spectacle, and for some reason running around without shoes provides ample entertainment -- thankfully, for me too. My first barefoot run of the year went much better than last year (it was also about three weeks later), but it still elicited stares and at least one snarky comment. But my feet felt great afterward.

Most of this year, I have been running in Vibram KSOs, and recently when the weather permits I've taken off my shoes to finish the last half mile or so of run barefooted. Last night finally provided nice enough weather for me to fully test my shoeless skills.

Clearly, all the barefooting last year paid off, as I suffered no soreness or blisters from the run. The difference between running in Vibrams vs. bare feet is significant, but the main thing I noticed was my lack of lung power. I was reminded of the difference between running on dry pavement vs. snowy conditions. Your body has to work harder to go the same distance.

I focused on landing lightly and lifting my feet quickly, but made sure not to push off. In Vibrams, I get hot spots on my big toes from stomping down and propelling myself forward. Without shoes, I probably doubled my foot turnover speed. I took two short walk breaks because I was winded.

This run pushed me over the 100-mile mark for the year and put me in good position to log double-digit mileage for the second consecutive week -- something that hasn't happened yet this year. This morning, I started sketching my training plan for the Akron Marathon. It's time to start building a strong base.

Back Talk
Wherein we ask politely for better weather. 

Miss Zippy expresses concern for the Enthusiast while I practice the part of a morning person and proposes a rule change for Mother Nature: "I hope the enthusiast gets a pass on your morning rancor! Ugh to 30s in May--isn't there a rule against that?"

Answer: It's really bad when she's also cranky in the morning, which is rare, thankfully. As for 30s in May, there's a reason why so many people have left Ohio for warmer climates. Yeah, the job market is bad, but the weather is worse.

Happy Hour is nearly upon us, teammates! Have a finely brewed weekend, and don't forget to wish your mom a happy Mother's Day. Run well and drink well. Cheers!


Al's CL Reviews said...

Cheers! Glad you are finally getting out there!

MCM Mama said...

NIce job on the barefoot run. I go barefoot on the treadmill, but I've only done about a mile outside. We live in a very urban area and the thought of what I might step on kind of freaks me out...

misszippy said...

Very good job at giving folks something to wag their tongues about. I have been pretty surprised, really, at how little of that I have encountered. A few neighbors have made snarky comments, but that's about it.

B. Kramer said...

@MCM Mama: You learn not to step on stuff. I'm not downtown Akron, but my surroundings are certainly more urban than not. That's the whole proprioception thing barefooters talk about. Cheers!

Nitmos said...

It's even wrose than you imagine. For every one person who says something or looks at you funny, you can bet there are 3 more that "pretend" not to notice.

Also, I starting being spontaneously snarky yesterday for no reason. Could notimagine why....this post answers it.

T-Bone said...

I got stares in vibrams, so I can imagine the looks you get when you go barefoot. I always thought that maybe if I ran fast enough, on-lookers would be distracted with my awesome speed, but alas a 10 m/m doesn't wow the crowd like you might think.

Good luck on starting to build mileage for your marathon training!