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Archive for July, 2012

Bitter Sweet

I just got back from the bookstore. Brooke has been a bit of a mess for the last 48 hours because she had been unable to find one of her favorite books. It got to the point that bedtime last night got a little hairy. This afternoon, while hanging out in the den, she started crying. I asked her why she was crying and she gave me one of her scripted answers. I dug a little deeper and she said she was sad that she could not find her book. I became determined to find it. After 20 minutes of tearing the house apart, Jess made the ingenious suggestion that I take Brooke to the bookstore and buy another copy…the $7 would be money well spent.

And so we went to the bookstore.

And we picked up a copy of her book…that is, after the nice, well meaning info desk lady helped us find it.

“You do know this is a little kids book, right?”

Yeah, believe me honey, I KNOW!!! “Yeah,” I simply sighed.

“I mean REALLY little kids.”

I suppressed my flash of anger, calmly took the book from her and went off to go pay.

Brooke could not have been happier and she began reading her book in the car and asking me questions about it:

Is it so wrong that as happy as I am that she has her book and is reading, that a part of me is bitter too that the book is this:

I know we all go at our own pace…we all do…but sometimes it’s hard to remember that.

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Vigil

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Even as I am having a completely inane conversation with this mom I just met I am watching. She has no idea where her child is or what her child is doing, and the truth is, that is okay. Her child is 9, maybe 10 years old, and despite being a bit of a spoiled brat, can handle herself just fine with all of the other kids here.

Meanwhile, I am watching, half turned away from the droning mom, half listening to what she is saying, fully aware of where Brooke is, what she is doing and gauging the immediate potential pitfalls that surround her.

Brooke starts to move toward another mother and her baby, I take a step away from verbal diarrhea mom before Brooke moves in a different direction. I relax my shoulder and nod at some senseless question the yapper has asked. She says, “right?” with a lilt at the end, unawares I have no idea what she has asked me, but thinking I must be in total agreement.

I finally excuse myself as Brooke starts to wander off to a new location.

“So good to see you, thanks for listening” she says, “I feel much better about that situation.”. I nod again. I have no idea what she is talking about.

***
Katie wants to show me something.

“Look,” she says, “watch me do this.”. She dives under the water to perform some sort of gymnasticky move, but I am only half paying attention. I am watching Brooke as she bounces through the water in a different part of the pool, weaving her way in and out of the crowds of kids.

Each time she bounces particularly close to another child, I can feel my body move slightly toward her, at the ready to help facilitate conversation or diffuse inappropriate behavior.

“Did you see it Daddy?” Katie asks as she pops out of the water.

“Very good,” I say, not sure what she did or how well she actually did it.

“How would you rate it?”

I pick 7 because it gives me an opportunity to ask her to do it again to see if she can do it better, never mind that I didn’t see it the first time. She looks disappointed.

“Do it again,” I say. This time I fight the urge to turn my head toward Brooke the moment she goes under the water and watch as she does a perfect underwater somersault. She pops back up.

“How was it?”

“A 10 baby, definitely a 10.”

She beams with pride and says, “now watch this!”

The moment she goes back under water, I frantically scan the entire pool for Brooke. It takes me less than a second to find her, but it is the longest sub-second of the day. She is working her way to the edge of the pool to go down the slides.

“How was that Daddy?”

“Pretty good Kat! Listen, I’m gonna go over and make sure Brooke stays in the line for the slide, okay?”

“Oh-kay,” she says, making no effort to hide her dissatisfaction.

***
I envy parents of NT kids sometimes. Sure, they have their worries about their children, but honestly, when I’m at the pool or the park or a birthday party or any place with a plethora of children, I see them turn off their Kid-dar (closest thing I could come up with for Kid Radar). They fall into deep conversation because, well, they can. Their children can navigate the social seascape with little or no problem.

Meanwhile, I watch. I always have one eye on Brooke, and if I need to take my eye off for more than a second, I am fighting the urge to turn back. I can’t give my older daughter full-attention for Christ’s sake. Even when Brooke has a playdate with an NT friend, I feel I must be paying attention to every word, every action.

It is so tiring. I’m so tired. Tired of watching, tired of listening, tired of not being able to take part in inane conversation, tired of pretending to be paying attention, frantically trying to piece together bits and pieces of a conversation into something coherent.

***

The only time I don’t is when she has a playdate with either one of two of her friends who are also special needs kids. They get each other, like REALLY get each other. When her friend L comes over, I feel perfectly fine letting the two of them play alone in the play room or in Brooke’s room, because, well they play. The same with her friend D.

***
Last week I spoke with another dad. His child is much older than Brooke and swims at the deeper end of the Autism pool. His child has very few words. Were she neuro-typical or only mildly brushed with autism, she’d be getting her drivers license this year. There is no rest for him or his wife. I could sense his constant vigilance even as his voice conveyed defeat and weariness.

***
A lot can happen in 5, 10, 15 years. Between advances in science and changes in societal views, the world could be a much different place for Brooke when she reaches driving age than for that dad’s daughter, but I know I will still be watching…I will still be weary…I will still only be half listening…

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Sometimes I’m just a shadow of myself…

I wrote this post on Sunday night…hence the weird time references.

***

Some days I feel like a fraud.

Who is this guy?

What the hell is he talking about? 

Does he even know what he is saying?

Today I was overcome with the sense that I’ve been faking it for the last 15 months – ever since, well,  Boston 2011…hell, maybe even before then; that I’ve been nothing but a shadow of something that once was…a shade.  I thought I had rallied hard for 12 weeks at the beginning of this year for Sugarloaf 2012, but looking back I wonder if I really did.  When I came up short at the finish line, instead of being driven to work harder, I simply wanted…

…to stop.

There were commitments though – there was the Green Mountain Relay in June, where I tried to live up to my billing as one of the faster runners on the team and proceeded to puke throughout my first leg and then get passed by a one legged middle aged woman in my second leg.  The overall experience was a lot of fun, but quite honestly, between my puking sessions during my first leg, I was pretty sure this was it for me with running.  I’ve got two more running commitments on the calendar, both related to Autism Speaks – the Boston 13.1 Half-Marathon in September and then the New York City Marathon in November.  After that?  I have no clue?  I must admit I am enjoying the group runs I am leading for the Team Up with Autism Speaks runners on Sundays, but I still haven’t begun my training cycle for New York…time is ticking.

After Sugarloaf, I tricked myself into believing that I just needed to take a week off from running to let my body recover, never mind that I had a 200-mile relay the next month I should have been training for.  The week turned into many weeks.  I’d throw in an occasional run to tell myself I was still running, but the runs became less frequent and much shorter.  They started to feel so insignificant that I stopped logging them.

I just stopped.

Any runner who has religiously logged their miles will tell you just how important that simple act of logging the miles is.  It gives substance to what we have just done.  It gives us a place to go to re-live miles run but also inspires us to add more.

I stopped logging my miles.

I just didn’t care.

I stopped writing regularly too – if you go back through my blog posts, you will see large gaps in time after Sugarloaf…maybe even before then.

***

We all need a break now and then, but this felt different.  This feels different.  Believe me, I still want to make my way back to Boston, to toe the line in Hopkinton.  I still want to run 40 to 60 to 80 miles a week.  I just don’t have the drive anymore.

And because of that, I’ve felt like a fraud as of late.

And it’s creeping into the rest of my life.  I feel like I’ve been mailing it in everywhere, that I’ve given up on whatever dreams I may have had as a younger man or even that man just a few years younger than me.

I want, I want, I want…I just don’t have the drive.  I can’t get out of neutral; even when I do manage to get it into drive, I end up just spinning my wheels goings nowhere.

My weight has come up 10 -15 pounds (depending on the day), my legs have slowed, my hair has suddenly greyed rapidly (though it’s still there), I’m tired and I’m weak.

I know what should be done.

I can see myself from when this blog first started looking at me through time in disbelief, wondering What the Frak is happening to you, man???

***

I should call a frakkin’ Wah-mbulance, believe me, I know.

By most standards, my life is pretty good.  I need to shut the frak up.

***

Yesterday (Saturday) my friend Maddy posted on dailymile that she had run a marathon – not an official one mind you, but wanting to make sure she could still do one, she went out and ran a little over 26.2 miles.  The part that absolutely killed me was that she did it in 3:24.

Right…that’s 1 minutes slower than what I had considered my gutsy run at Sugarloaf – my second fastest marathon ever, and she just cruised around town and did it just to see if she could.  It both depressed and inspired me.  To show you just how much of a badass Maddy is, I will tell you that just a couple of hours ago (Sunday evening) she posted that she had run another 20 miles today (in 2:40). She is a bad. ass!  (I can’t hate her though…she’s a total cutie-pie!)

Maybe this was God sending me a message?

I don’t remember the last truly long run I did.  It may well be that Sugarloaf, way back in May, was my last long run over 13.1 miles (of course if I had been logging my miles I’d be able to tell you!).  Maybe the running gods were trying to remind me through Maddy that the feeling of speed and strength and generally all around badassness comes at a price, that price being miles, dedication, desire, drive.

It all comes back to want and drive.

Right now I’m sitting on a whole crapload of want but I’m staring at an empty roll of desire.

***

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I originally was going to write this post for special needs parents. Then I decided that maybe I should include siblings and grandparents. That led me to cousins, extended family and friends….in the end, this post is for everyone, anyone…any person who is loved.

Are you loved?

I can pretty much guarantee, whoever you may be, you are…there is someone out there who loves you…your parents, your children, you family and friends. Long lost connections…someone who looks back through time…

Somebody loves you.

And because of that, you owe a debt.

***

Yesterday I wrote about how the pandemic of inactivity was killing us, causing 1 in 10 deaths worldwide. Putting that on par with smoking and obesity, that means that at least 30% of all deaths in the world are relatively preventable…that 30% of all deaths are the results of a slow suicide.

But Luau…

I can’t quit smoking.

I’m too big and can’t change my body.

I’m too tired and depressed to be active.

Bullshit!

Would you want your child, or your spouse, or your mom or dad to slowly take their own life? Would you buy those excuses from them?

No, no you wouldn’t.

***

There is a wonderful website called the “Oxygen Mask Project”. It was created by two Special Needs Moms to inspire other Special Needs Moms to help them help themselves, because in their own words, “To care for others, you have to take care of yourself as well.”

As is so often the case, what is good for the Special Needs Community, is just as good for the rest of society.

We owe a debt that can only be repaid by taking care of ourselves to all those who love us, because in the end, isn’t that what life and happiness is all about…Love?

Without it, what’s the point?

Repay your debt daily…30 minutes at a time.

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What would you say if I told you there was a preventable pandemic that was the cause of 1 in 10 deaths around the world.  That’s right, 1 in 10.  10% of all deaths – WORLDWIDE.  That number puts it on par with smoking and obesity.  It causes coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancers.  It’s something that lurks in your den, your office, permeating your life.

It is everywhere, but unlike smoking which has been shown to be as, if not more, addictive than heroin, this killer can be easily dispensed.  In fact, if we were able to reduce its presence by just “even 10% to 20% worldwide…it could save between a half-million and 1.3 million lives each year. This could also raise global life expectancy by almost a year.” -Matt Sloan, CNN.

1 in 10.

That’s a lot of death.

So what is this killer that is everywhere?  According to a series of studies released in British medical journal The Lancet, that killer is inactivity (read the studies here —>HERE<—).  That’s right.  Sitting around on our asses, staring at the boobtube, picking our noses and mindlessly doing nothing is killing us slowly in awful ways – heart disease, diabetes, cancer.

So what can we do to reduce, if not eliminate the effects of inactivity?  The answer is simple really – move.  That’s right, MOVE your body.  I am partial to running, but it really doesn’t matter what you choose to do to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing – run, jog, walk, swim, bike, make love, jump rope, play tag, wrestle, climb a tree, gymnastics, get chased by the police (but don’t get caught), CROSSfit, jumping jacks, dance, play Wii or XBox Kinect, anything…anything for at least 30 minutes a day.

And then invite a friend.

I have gone on and on about the obesity epidemic that this country faces (2/3 of Americans are overweight, 1/3 are clinically obese) and how simply getting healthy could help resolve our health insurance cost issues, but this inactivity pandemic is just that, it is worldwide.  Do your part to help ease the financial burden of preventable diseases – get up, move and drag someone with you.

You’ll thank me afterward.

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Summer is in full swing now and that means one thing to many people – it’s sandal/flip-flop season.  But many of us suffer from dry, cracked, calloused heels  and feet that just look plain fugly.  Personally, I wear flip flops all year round unless there is an excess of 3 inches of snow on the ground, but that doesn’t mean I don’t suffer from the same heel and sole issues as the rest of you.  Men won’t say it, but we suffer from this problem just as much as women do.

So what’s a person to do?  You want to wear flips flops or sandals, but nothing seems to work to get your heels and soles soft & smooth.

Lotions & moisturizers?

They seldom live up to what they say they will do.

A pumice stone?

That’s a lot of hard work, and honestly, I’m not convinced that they actually are rough enough.

That metal shredder egg thing?

Only if you wanna risk shredding your feet.

Some people like to cover their feet in moisturizer, then cover that with vaseline and THEN cover that with a sock.

I can see how that would work, but what a mess!

There’s the whole fish thing…

But that’s just plain weird.

Of course, you could always go to the salon for a pedicure –

But that can get pretty expensive if you need to go every week.

No, none of these things are as effective and as inexpensive (free) as what I recently discovered to be a cure for rough feet.  I can’t believe it took me 42 years to realize that this product was readily available just about every where in the world with free access to just about anyone.  And though we have already paid for it in a sense, there is no extra cost involved in using it in this fashion.

Put simply, it’s our streets and sidewalks.

Three runs and 10 miles of running bare foot later, my soles and heels are as smooth as they have ever been – a little dirtier maybe, but as smooth to the touch as a baby’s bottom.  You can do it too!  For free!  The only cost to you is your time spent running – so really you’re saving even more because you’re killing two birds with one stone…AND you’re saving money on shoes (or not having shoes) at the same time!

So if you have some sole and heel issues, don’t waste your money on products that don’t work or your time in a snooty salon – take off your shoes and get out there and run!

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So the latest uproar I’ve heard today involves this:

Yeah…this is real.

Yup, that’s right, THAT is an automated mashed potatoes & gravy dispenser that can be found in 7-Elevens around the world (for whatever reason they are particularly popular in Singapore).

Here’s what it looks like in action:

As you know, I am a huge proponent of living a healthful lifestyle – I believe in daily exercise, eating right and getting plenty of sleep.  Those three things are the legs of the stool that I believe you can place your goals for a happy life upon.  You would expect that I would find this mashed potato dispenser to be an abomination, a crime against humanity waiting to happen.  Many of the 7-Elevens that offer this product, bundle it with a soda that is bigger than your head, all for the low, low price of about $2.  After your tub of instant mashed potatoes & gravy and your barrel of colored sugar water,  I am sure you will have taken in the recommended intake of sodium and sugar to last you a week.

If this comes to America, the fat will simply get fatter…and fatter…and fatter.

I should be outraged.

I should be angry.

I should be writing to my Congressman.

But you know what?

I say bring ’em. Bring ’em here by the thousands.   Put them in every single 7-Eleven in this country.  Place them in a prominent place in the store so that those who “need” their mashed potatoes and big gulp don’t have to walk as far or burn any more precious calories.  I say decorate them with flashing lights and even give it out for free for the first month to get people hooked on the sodium/sugar delivery package.  Hell, even offer curbside service so that people don’t have to actually exert themselves to get this over-sized package of empty calories.

Why do I want this?

Because I believe in Natural Selection.  Do you?

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It’s all over the radio now.  Whether I’m listening to Sports Radio or Talk Radio or even NPR or the local oldies station, everyone is talking about Jerry Sandusky, his horrific crimes, the mind blowing cover up by Joe Paterno and the Penn State administration and what should happen to Penn State’s football program now that the truth has crept into the light of day.

People are arguing back and forth.  There’s the side that believes the people directly responsible (Sandusky, Joe Paterno and certain administrators) have been removed and with the possibility of criminal charges being brought against the former President of Penn State the story should be over.  The other side believes that Penn State should suffer the NCAA’s “Death Penalty”, essentially taking away the football program for two to five years.  Those who believe that the removal of guilty parties is enough punishment argue that the death penalty would recklessly harm local businesses and unfairly punish the students in the football program.

I would suggest a third, and far more punitive measure – kill ALL sports programs at Penn State for a minimum of the number of years that Jerry Sandusky did the heinous things he did, at which point the NCAA could review what Penn State had done to make sure something like this never happened again…anywhere.  This extreme punishment is not meant to solely punish the school, but to act as a deterrent for other schools considering turning a blind eye to abuse.

Some would argue that the football program should continue and that a large portion of the revenue from those games should then be given to programs that work to help abused children and/or prevent it.  That to me is letting the school take the easy way out.  If you are going to take a cut of revenue from a school as a punishment, it must hurt.  I would argue that whether the football program survives or not is a moot point.  The school should still make a hefty, painful donation to the the families that put their trust in Sandusky and Joe Pa and establish endowments for prevention programs.

The punishment that Penn State faces should make every University and College President think twice and then a third and fourth time when confronted with choosing between doing the right thing and choosing dollar signs.

In all likelihood, Penn State will get off with a slap on the wrist and somewhere out there in the land of the NCAA, there will be Administrators and Coaches breathing a deep sigh of relief…and another child will be abused; another young woman will be raped; another man will learn that money trumps justice.

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About a month ago I went to my 20th year college reunion (yes, I’m that old).  To kick the festivities off, a few fraternity brothers and I decided to take to the links for 18 holes of golf.  I suck at golf.  I mean, really, really suck.  I’m so bad that I tell people that I essentially get to play twice as much golf as your regular hacker for the price of admission.

Yeah, I’m bad.  I’ve got this wicked slice that essentially means I lose at least one ball off the tee on every hole.  It’s so bad that I  play to my weakness on short par-3’s.  While everyone else is pulling out 7- or 9-irons for the short shot to the green, I pull out my driver, place the ball on a tee, line up the shot…and then turn 45° to 60° to the right (I’m left handed).

Last month initially my friends looked at me like I was crazy, but when the ball flew off the tee, began to turn to the left about 50 yards out and then land mere feet from the cup, they were dumbstruck (of course, I ended up 2 putting it missing my opportunity for my first ever birdie, but that’s my golf game).

Short par-3’s – essentially my only opportunity to keep up with anybody.

But then on the last hole we were presented with a situation where we needed to hit the ball off of the tee over a deep ravine to the fairway a good 100+ yards away.  The guys I was playing with could all easily make the distance, but with my awful slice off of the tee, I was pretty convinced I had no shot – the distance was too far for me to play to my weakness.  Even if I line up at a 45° angle, the ball was not going to cover the straight distance.  So I tried to relax.  I loosened my grip and just the club swing itself.  To my (and everybody else’s) surprise, my ball went straight and long, past everyone else’s save one (and it was close).

At that moment I realized that I had played to my weaknesses too long and that if I wanted to improve as a golfer, I would have to simply get back to basics and start all over again.

***

This past week I ran twice for a grand total 6 miles.

6 miles? Isn’t that a little short for you Luau? I mean even for like one run?

Yes, it is, but I feel like these two short runs may have been the most meaningful 6 miles I’ve run in a very long time.  Those two runs were done in my bare feet, on the sidewalks and roads of my neighborhood.  Because of the hard surface and complete nakedness of my feet, I was forced to run very carefully, more specifically, more correctly.  To say that the experience was totally painless would be a blatant lie – pebbles, hot asphalt, twigs; they all hurt when you step on them just so.  But what didn’t hurt were the arches of my feet, the joints in my knees and hips, my back or my neck.  The reason?  Because I was running with proper form – I had no choice.

A few years back when I first started this running thing, I made the early adoption to the Vibram Five Finger trend.  I was so gung-ho about it that my wife got me this as my birthday cake:

Yes, that is a Vibram Five Finger KSO Cake

I would end up running several marathons in some version the VFF product line including Boston 2010.  Eventually however, I moved away from the VFF’s.  I migrated to Saucony’s minimalist shoe, the Kinvara, and immediately took 11 minutes off of my marathon PR and qualified for Boston 2011.  The Saucony, though minimal in spirit and design, still afforded me some decent protection when my form would break down in the later miles.  They allowed me to to extend my stride forward when I was tiring without causing pain to my heel.

I happily ran in them for almost 2 years, even coming close to re-qualifying for Boston under the new standards this past May.

But something has been off.  Something has been wrong.

I love my Kinvara’s but they have allowed me to play back toward my weakness, which is the heel-strike many of us have grown up into with the over-sized bricks we grew up with as children of the 80’s and 90’s.

I recently watched this (courtesy of my good friend Pete over at runblogger.com)

And then I saw this (also courtesy of Pete over at runblogger.com)

One thing became clear to me, it was time to go back to basics.  Much like I was able to improve my golf stroke by going back to basics, I plan on improving my running and running form by going back to basics and starting all over again.  The 6 miles of barefoot running I did last week brought me back to the basics of running.  Stripping away all of the technology (and as much as I love my Kinvara, they are still a thick soled shoe) at least two or three times a weeks and going naked I believe is going to make me a better runner in the long run.

I will not be as fast immediately.  I will still probably do my longer runs in either my Saucony’s or my VFF’s, but this stripping down, this completely natural running I believe is the key to making me better, stronger, and eventually, faster.

I feel like someone who has just discovered running for the very first time…again.

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On Sunday I ran for the first time since the Green Mountain Relay – almost 2 weeks to the hour.  Part of my lack of running has been a purposeful rest; part has been forced on me with the onset of mild plantar fasciitis.  The run was supposed to be the first group run for locals running Boston 13.1 with Team Up with Autism Speaks.  I had been delinquent in getting a schedule out, so this last minute group ended up being a group of one.  I contemplated going home when nobody showed up, but I knew that I needed to get some miles in.

The run was awful – 6.2 miles of tired legs and weak lungs mixed with a serving of  “why am I doing this?”  It didn’t help that at the end my feet were not happy.

How the Hell am I going to lead these group runs over the next ten weeks if I can hardly walk?

I’ve been fighting this PF now for about two, maybe three weeks.  Looking back, there were twinges well before Sugarloaf, but it really kicked in a couple of weeks ago – the intense pain getting out of bed in the morning, the discomfort walking.  I was forced to stop wearing my flip-flops.  That just about killed me – I can’t stand wearing normal shoes when I’m bopping around town; my feet tend to overheat.  About a week ago I took to going barefoot around the house.  When I would take the dogs out for their walks, I wouldn’t bother putting on shoes.  At first it was a little tough on the soles of my feet, but eventually, I got used to it.  Although the pain in the morning and after sitting idle for extended periods of time didn’t go away, moving about became less painful.

Then came Sunday’s run.  I did not have a good time.  There was nothing redeeming about that run except that I ran.  That was it.  I started to think that maybe I would just run on Sundays with the group, painting a grin on my face if I needed to.  That didn’t sound like fun at all.

***

Over the last week, several of my running friends have offered remedies for my plantar fasciitis.  Some suggested tennis balls.  Some suggested frozen water bottles.  Others suggested going to a chiropractor.  Some suggest orthodics, special shoes and socks, even taping up my feet.

I tried the frozen water bottles.  They felt good while I was rolling my feet on them, but I’m not sure how much they really helped.

One suggestion that kept nagging at though came from my buddy JB.  You may remember JB from the Vermont 50, the Super Sunday 5-miler, the Quincy Half and Sugarloaf.  He is a VFF (Vibram Five Finger) runner (he ran the Vermont 50 in Vibrams – Rock STAR!!!).  He suggested that I pull out my old VFF’s and go run until I burned the Plantar Fasciitis from my feet.

Hmmmmm…. I thought, that could be interesting.

I was hearing conflicting suggestions about how to treat PF – more support! less support! more support! less support! more support! less support!

After Sunday’s run (in Kinvara 3’s – which I do like, though not as much as the originals), I was willing to try anything.

BUT, being the kind of person who rarely half does something, I decided that if I were gonna go the less support route, it was going to be all the way.

So I put this old pair of shoes on:

The oldest pair of footwear I own.

My plan was to limit myself to two miles.  Initially, running barefoot or barefoot style can be tough on the lower calves.  I made the mistake of running three or four miles the first time I put on a pair of VFF’s and I couldn’t walk for a week.  I was nervous as to how my soles would hold up.  Would it hurt running on the sidewalk and street?  Would I be able to avoid pebbles and glass?  Would I rip up my feet?

I knew I needed to take it slowly, but amazingly, my first mile was faster than any of the miles I ran on Sunday, coming in at a comfortable 8:09.  Having reached the turnaround point of my run, I did a quick self-check – lungs? good. legs? good. feet? just fine!!!

I decided to could go another half mile before I turned around.  When I reached that half mile, I was tempted to go even further, but I knew I ran the very real risk of overdoing it.  I knew that I may have already overdone it.  So I turned around and headed for home.  As I hit two miles, I looked at my Garmin – 8:04.  Not bad at all!!!

I decided to pick up the pace just a little – to see if I could manage a sub-8:00 mile barefoot.  To my surprise, at one point, I was running close to 7:40 pace.  When I reached home, the final mile came in at 7:55.  3 miles in 24:08 – not bad for my first barefoot run ever.  Afterward, the calves felt a little tight, as did my hips.  Hopefully the stretching I did will help speed recovery so I’m not in too much pain in the morning.

As I sit here and write this, I really want to get back out and try this barefoot thing again.  Yeah, I’ve got a little bit of a hot spot on the ball of my foot, but I’m pretty sure it’s just a matter of building up the soles a little.  I’m going to force myself to take the day off tomorrow but I am determined to give this barefoot thing another go on Thursday.  Who knows, maybe by Sunday I’ll be ready to take the Team Up with Autism Speaks group on their 75 minute run without my shoes.

This could be a whole new chapter in my evolution as a runner…

I’ll keep you posted.

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