Tuesday, June 1, 2010

missed the race and what I step on.....or not.

"If you can see it you can avoid it."

I almost missed the race. Ok I didn't almost miss it but close.  I realized yesterday that my race this weekend,the Dam to Dam 20k, is actually on Saturday and not Sunday. I suppose I can say that it would have been funny to have missed it since I did actually realize in time.  Now I have one less day to worry about it!  I did figure out my Soleus watch and practiced with it. I also got all the pace times programmed in for my race. That race that I am not going to miss!

  After my post earlier and the mention of the mostly dead scorpion,  it occurred to me that one of  the first thing people ask when they find out I run barefoot is "what about glass" and that I should tell you about some of the things I have or have not stepped on.
Keep in mind that I have been running barefoot for a year now.
  Despite what you may think the roads are actually pretty clean. I have spoken to many other barefoot runners around the country and they all concur that even in bigger cities, it is possible to avoid dangers and run barefoot safely.  One of the keys to barefoot running is to watch where you are going. You scan ahead and look down with your eyes and not your whole head or it will throw off your form. To say "I watch where I am going" may sound condescending but think about running in shoes, you can go the whole run without much thought to where you are stepping.  (I am not much of a trail runner yet so I don't really know how this relates to trails.)

It is amazing how your feet and eyes work together after some practice. Feet and eye coordination!  Its like getting really good at driving a stick shift. Your eyes and feet work together and react without thinking much of it.  You see some poo and you hop over it or go way around.
So to address the glass. It's shiny and most often you see it and are able to navigate to keep from stepping on any. Just because glass is on the ground in front of you, doesn't mean that you will step on any or cut yourself. Like I said before, you learn to navigate around and over dangers. 
Speaking of dangers, I have stepped on far more sharp and painful things over the last year in my own home than I have outside.  I stepped on a staple a few months ago that was on my basement stairs (glad it was me and not one of the spawn).   I had the Steuwie Griffin "do I take it out or leave in" moment. I did pull it right out. It was a large staple and it went all the way into my heel and it hurt like hell! 
 The dreaded toy Stegosaurus and his buddy Ankylosaurus waiting to ambush my bare feet in the middle of the night on my way to the loo. 
Since I do love a list I will jot down some of the things I have or have not stepped on.

Stepped on outside

  • snake in the grass . I do not run in the grass anymore.....at all. If you can't see it, you can't avoid it. Grass can hide all kinds of dangers.
  • I have had 2 slivers of glass that were super annoying however came out easily with some tweezers.
  • pebbles and small rocks.  I think its Birch seeds that are puffy with a hard seed in the middle. I will have to look it up for sure, but the puffy wears and washes off and what is left is a hard little pea sized seed.
  • In the fall acorn or walnut shells are no fun but manageable.

Things I have NOT stepped on

  • poo, dukey, turds, or excrement of any kind from any source.
  • vomit 
  • large chunks of glass
  • beer bottle tops
  • hypodermic needles
  • insert crazy thing I couldn't think of here.

  When you first start being barefoot walking or running  you will notice the sensations of every surface and object to be quite intense and this includes the pleasant sensations as well. I have found that over time the intensity has lessened and my mind does not perceive the discomfort as profoundly as when I first started.  You get used to the little rocks and pebbles or seeds.  Its not ever a peachy feeling but it does wake your mind up to your form again and remind you to run light and smooth and in a relaxed way.

Alright friends I must end this here. Please do ask any questions of me you like and I will do my best to share with you what I have learned.  I am one tired girl after doing my first nuun sampling tonight at the Hy-Vee in Ankeny Iowa.  Its a little burb north of Des Moines. It was a prep event for the Hy-Vee Triathalon coming up next week.  So now I am finishing up my favorite snack of all,  a mug of frozen berries!  I have to limit myself and not eat several bags a day!
  Happy running all and thanks to the noobies for stopping by or joining up!
Ah yes before I forget I am going to post a Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil giveaway tomorrow so come back and sign up to win a quart jar of it!


Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

I don't run barefoot (yet, who knows if I'll cross that bridge) but running trails I do tend to scan my route and spend a lot more time watching my foot placement than I do on the road.

Living in a rural area I probably watch my foot placement a lot due to running in the soft soulder so often. I am glad I wan't barefoot the day I stopped to move a big snail off the road only to turn and step on one of it's smaller buddies.

kat said...

Hi Angie,

thanks for posting that it is really interesting, I have just started running in Vibrams, I love the idea of barefoot, but am one of those runners fearful of stepping on something. I did run the last mile of a 15 mile training run in bare feet,the soles of my feet were aching so much I whipped off my trainers and ran the rest of the way home like that, I can't lie I loved it.

At present I am running no more than 3 miles in Vibrams building up slowly, I am thinking of running say two miles in the Vibrams and then the last mile bare foot, if I feel comfortable with the terrain, I live in an inner city area an dog mess and other crap is rife!

Second question I see that you are gluten free, how do you fuel your running, especially longer runs, or races.

Look forward to your answers, really trying to find out what works best for me with the running, really want to stay injury free which is why I am interested in barefoot/minimalist running.

Thanks for your time, look forward to hearing from you.

saundra said...

You stepped on a snake! I would have come completely undone had I seen a snake- stepping on one would have probably cause cardiac arrest!!!! :-)
Very good post!

AshleyR said...

As a trail runner scanning the ground is second nature. So when I do my short barefoot runs it's automatic to look for potential obstacles on the ground. I'm shocked at how many people think that barefoot running = stepping in poop. I don't even want to step in poop wearing shoes. I think shod road runners just need to learn to look where they are putting their feet, shod or unshod roads/sidewalks/paths can have dangers just like trails.

Anonymous said...

I agree I think the road would be much safer than the grass Angie!! I'm just starting out so I haven't had any real bad experiences, yet!


Anonymous said...

If you see it- you can also run into it: Puddles!!!

misszippy said...

I'm laughing about the hypodermic needles! Do people think they are just randomly laying around on the roads? Glad you haven't stepped on any poo!


Funny post. Hypodermic needles ... too funny.

I was thinking of you as I ran out to my mailbox barefoot yesterday. I was in agony and it was only 50 feet away. I stepped on so many little pebbles. NOT FUN! I am beyond impressed with you!

ShellBell said...

Our house is definitely more dangerous to walk around barefoot too. Those evil little legos are persistent buggers! :)

Marlene said...

Thanks for sharing some of your barefoot experience. I find it so fascinationg... although I admit that I CRINGED noticeably after reading the list of things you have stepped on. Ouch!

Miriam of Filly Runner said...

I ran in the Barefoot 5k Trail race at Pineland Farms in Maine this last weekend. I finished the race with a thorn in my foot. It took a while to get it out, but I think I just need to toughen up my feet a bit more to prevent that from happening again.

Molly said...

I'm such a klutz that I end up looking at the ground all the time when I'm running, and I wear shoes!

I haven't done the barefoot running thing yet, but I have been walking more and more in my bare feet. Wondering if that might help strengthen my feet at bit before I take the big plunge into barefoot running.

Jill said...

Sounds like you've avoided all the potential nasties while barefooting it - yay! I'd be so freaked; I go barefoot all the time in my house and backyard, but as I kid I always stepped on bees and now I'm just paranoid! I have a client/friend doing the Dam to Dam and I thought it was on Sunday, too. Eeks. Better get ahold of him. Good luck in the race, will look forward to hearing your race report!!! :)

Unknown said...

I haven't ever tried running barefoot, I'd feel more tempted to after this but I'm still scared of stepping on stuff, there is just a lot of stuff on the floor on my routes!

Rad Runner said...

OMG Angie! Hooray for all the things you have NOT stepped on :)!

MCM Mama said...

I've stepped on many a plastic dinosaur myself, not to mention a lot of legos. I never wear shoes in the house and I'd bet I've stepped on worse things inside than I would outside and I live in a pretty urban area.

Your first nuun tasting sounds like it was fun!

Patrick Mahoney said...

I've been experimenting with V5F's once a week for the last month or so. I was glad to see you get used to the sensations, I've loved 90% of it (especially how I feel after I am done, nice tingle) except the little pebbles or similar I hit really throw me off.

The Boring Runner said...

You know, I'm not going to lie - I've always thought about this too w/ the barefoot runners.

I was running the Olathe, KS marathon w/ Barefoot rick for a while and he all of a sudden pulled over and pulled out a HUGE piece of glass out of his foot (at mile 6 or so). Obvs he could have used some of your advice.

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