Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Barefoot Trail Running

  Living History Farms Race is a week and a half away and I decided that I really should practice running off road. If the weather stays nice for the race I want to run it barefoot.  I am willing to scrap my time and just have as much fun as possible if I get to run it barefoot. I hope to meet up with friends there this year so it will be a different experience all together.

  Today my friend Forey and I ran barefoot along the Center Trails here in Des Moines.  I met Forey last year at the Des Moines Marathon and we have met up again at Dam to Dam and then stay in contact on Facebook.  Forey is a veteran barefoot runner and is known as the Loincloth guy at races.  That or the kilt guy!  Forey is a trend setter.  He said that he used to get snickered at but now he is cutting edge.
We asked a random construction worker to take our picture at the trail head.  
I considered carrying  my favorite minimal shoes with me and then decided against it.  I have not ran on trails barefoot since I was a kid and it was high time I got back to it.
The trail was such a lovely texture to run on. Memories of running on horse trails through the hills on our property in Kansas when I was growing up came rushing back at me and brought with it a smile that stuck for the whole run. My body remembers. 

We had to make our own way and cross a stream to get to this nice trail.  We followed it for 20 minutes or so as Forey told me of his barefoot adventures and offered advice as to how to stay warm while running in a loincloth in late fall at a race with 8 water crossings!
Hot water before hand, Niacin, hot oatmeal and Bagbalm all over. Takes notes my friends!
This time of year is my favorite season by far. The impending winter and the summers last hurrah like its hanging on for just a little bit longer.   It was a warm 65 degrees with no wind and cloud cover that  protected us from the sun.
Totally a dimple worthy tree!
We climbed down and made our first water crossing.   I din't think of leeches or ticks once or even cutting up my feet for that matter.  I was having too much fun.  The sensory experience is calming and invigorating simultaneously.
 After having ran barefoot for a year and a half I am able to appreciate the larger rocks for their ability to massage my feet as I transverse them.  I was thankful however that it was a short bit to cross. It is a whole body workout to balance and be light and graceful over rougher terrain.
I hope the river stays low for a while so I can go back and explore again.  
Textures.  There are 100,000 nerve endings in each foot. 
Forey is 60 years young, wears a kilt and runs barefoot.  How frakkin cool is that.  See what I mean about trend setter. Again, take notes friends. 
Signs of life. We are not the only ones here. Just the ones with the biggest feet.
Squishy mud between my toes.  Reminds me of mud pies. I remember once my mom actually hosed me down in the yard I was so muddy. I had been playing after a rain in the apple orchards when we lived in northern California. I remember the mud smelled like apples and earth.
Soft yet packed earth and  wet earth at the same time.
  Just find a stream or river and the mud washes off easy enough. Notice the sweet walkabout stick.
There are no rules.  You can use a stick if you want.
Uber cold water is heaven for a sore ankle.  
I could spend ages looking for rocks and catching minnows in the shallows.
The stick makes for a good mud and water depth tester. This channel leads into the larger river below.  Its rather low these days as its been dry here for the last month. Rain is in the forecast for Friday so it was perfect timing to be out.
How is it that I didn't now this was here.  Maybe the flooding early in the year made much of this unavailable. I have had it in my head that its too dangerous to run barefoot off road and maybe it is dangerous in the beginning.  My awareness has been practiced for long enough to venture out and test my skills at listening to my body and that which it interacts with.  
Blazing some new trails to check out a cool tree and move in generally the direction of our cars. I remember running past this general area of Waterworks and Greenwood trails during the marathon.  There are paved bike trails running through some of these areas although we kept mostly to the off roads.
  The air was clean and the colors amazing.  All senses are alive in the woods and running barefoot guides you. You naturally pay attention to your body as well as how it interacts with the world around.

Forey had to head off to work and I to pick up my oldest spawn. I stopped at Starbucks and walked through the library downtown before collecting him.  Then off to the State Fair grounds with my dear one to run 9 more miles to make a half marathon total for the day.

Life is good.  Run happy friends.


Anonymous said...

Ohh I would LOVE to run there! Looks so beautiful!!!

One Crazy Penguin said...

Looks like an awesome run with some amazing pictures! I love any chance I get to go barefoot outside. I'm working my way to running, but for now I smile when I get to walk barefoot. Sometimes my friends look at me like I'm crazy, but shoes are so cumbersome!

coach dion said...

Hi there
I am impressed with your barefoot trail run, I don't run barefoot, but I have a pair of fivefinger, and have run in then on the trails in Cape Town. I find the road and 'smooth' trails easy, but on the really rocky stuff I feel I'm a bit slow, and have brused the ball of my foot (both feet, on different days) so i use them as a training tool and I believe they work. I also try and get a few of my athletes who have injury problems to start their come backs on the track barefoot. So go girl lead the way.

Amanda@runninghood said...

This is a beautiful post Angie! Maybe it is the wine I'm drinking and the country music playing in the background as I read this but I feel so alive and full of life after reading your words. I felt as if I was on this journeyful (it's a word now) run with you! I especially love this part:
The trail was such a lovely texture to run on. Memories of running on horse trails through the hills on our property in Kansas when I was growing up came rushing back at me and brought with it a smile that stuck for the whole run. My body remembers.

My body remembers. Yes. Lovely. Thank you.

Amanda@runninghood said...

oh, and not really a country music fan (disclaimer). Tonight it replaces my favorite mindless show: Modern Family. It is nice for a change though. However, I notice you have my two favorite music artists on your play list...Cat Stevens and Jack Johnson. :)

Zaneta @ Runner's Luck said...

oh my... that is absolutely a beautiful place to run!! :D

ShellBell said...

What beautiful colors! It looks like fun....and I love your running outfit. You look so great!

Anne said...

You are one cool lady!

Laura said...

awesome awesome awesome photos. Looks like you guys had a great run!

Pam @ said...

Beautiful pictures, beautiful post.

Laura said...

This post just made me happy. :)

ShutUpandRun said...

Thank goodness for contruction workers! Did he also whistle and hoot and holler at you?

OK, I've been wondering this for awhile and I'm sure you've addressed it the heck do you feet not freeze, especially when the temps have been dropping? Do you have to go completely inside on the treadmill for the winter? I am prone to poor circulation and freezing feet even with shoes on. I'm really curious how you do it...

Molly said...

I can see why all those textures would feel good on your feet!

Marlene said...

Sounds like a perfect day. Love the squishy muddy toes pics. :) Makes me feel like a kid just LOOKING at them. I see why you love this.

Melinda said...

I always thought barefoot running was better suited for young 'uns, but you have proven me wrong!

I am amazed that running over rocks is like a massage. I wondered about that.

Happy trails! There's nothing better than running in the hills or woods.

B. Kramer said...

Looks like a great run. I did a tiny amount of barefooting on trails this year. It is quite the workout. I hope to get better at it next year. Cheers!

Runners Fuel said...

Looks like a great run. But, I don't know how your feet don't get completly beat up in the process.

Quinton J said...

awesome awesome post. My feet tickle just looking at the pics.

Jen said...

What a beautiful place to run! I love how barefoot running makes you smile and feel like a kid again! Thanks for the trail trip in pictures! I felt like I was there!

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

You post makes me want to go outside barefoot now! Where I work we are hidden away in acres of wooded ground mostly encircled by a creek. It's so nice.

I love your photos. You look fabulous! Your friend is great!! I love people who are not afraid to be themselves!

Thanks for sharing your run with me.

Janice said...

Awesome pictures. I love the feeling of my bare feet running over various terrains.

Unknown said...

Beth at Shut up and Run asked if my feet get cold.
Yes they do! Last year I ran only a few times in the cold barefoot. The rest of the times I wore Teva Proton water shoes with wool socks.
This year I hope to try running in the cold as long as possible.
Here is a post about using Niacin as a winter tool.
Maybe you are low on B vitamins Beth?? I know I am and am going to start taking them again. This year I will have my socks and minimal shoes and I do have a treadmill which I don't mind running on for the most part. I have different goals this year though so we shall see!

Unknown said...

I read this two days ago and am finally getting around to commenting now. The run looks awesome; I can't believe you did that barefoot! I can imagine, though, how refreshing that cool water would have felt!

Black Knight said...

Your "highlander" friend looks like Chuck Norris, doesn't he? I don't understand how the feet can run on such ground but you do it! Great pictures and great place to run.
And as the song'll never walk alone (the animal's footstep).

JessiePants said...

Thanks for this! You have the most lovely feet and are an inspiration to try barefoot trail running, which is our forte here in the high country. PS. Your fallish photos are so wonderful on this very snowy day in the Butte : )

Julie said...

Hi Angie,
Wow, it sounds like you had a great fall running day! Great look fabulous as always! Take care!

Julie said...

Hi Angie,
Wow, it sounds like you had a great fall running day! Great look fabulous as always! Take care!

Kimmy Stark said...

Wow, after the reading blog and looking at your photos, I must say you must have a very thick sole. If I were in your position, I wouldn't survive by just running with my own feet. I must be wearing shoes, like a barefoot shoes. In fact, I've been using Vibram Five Fingers for quite some time now and so far so good; I love them. I know you've already endured enough with just running barefooted, but I will still recommend wearing barefoot shoes. There are quite a few; you can check it out here.

Have a pleasant day to you!

Unknown said...

Kimmy, I get the feeling that you have never tried barefoot running and are missing the point. There is no such thing as a barefoot shoe. Barefoot means bare feet as in nothing on your feet....there are minimal shoes but not barefoot shoes. Even the most minimal shoe still does not give the same feedback and ground feel that I prefer. I wear those when I am on super rugged terrain, when the weather is too cold, or I have been running doubles and my soles need a break. Shoes are a tool that I use when needed. Just like a coat or gloves. I only wear them when called for.

I don't run barefoot to prove anything like how bad ass I am. I find joy in running barefoot and a connection to my surroundings. I have found a running form that keeps me relatively injury free and happy. I don't just endure, I like what I do. If its not fun, why do it.

misszippy said...

So much good stuff going on here! I love the little raccoon prints by your feet. Love that you and Jaymon can run together and enjoy it so much. Love the idea of running through a cool river barefoot.

BTW--I am finally, finally able to walk around my house b.f. pretty much the whole day now. First time in more than 2 years! Baby steps...

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