Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Journey to a Barefoot 50-mile Endurance Run - Week 2 of 18

Week 2 has been an interesting week on a number of fronts.  As you all probably are experiencing, the stress and bustle of the Christmas season can get pretty crazy sometimes.  Our family and extended family had a wide range of events that happened all in 4 days - everything from the joy of a baptism to the funeral of a loved one and a college graduation.  Additionally, there were Christmas parties to attend.  Despite all of this rushing around and emotional roller coaster of it all, I managed to get almost all of my mileage in.

I managed to get two of my mid-week runs running barefoot despite high 30s nighttime temperatures.  I have been doing a most of my miles in my Sockwas because of the cold, but this week I decided I would just deal with the cold so I could have the joy of having my feet actually in contact with the ground.  I had no problems running in the cold.  That being said, the concrete of the sidewalk is much colder than the asphalt of the street.  Another interesting thing I noticed with my bare feet was the temperature gradients as I passed various landscaping features.  There were noticeable temperature changes (colder) in the first 5 - 6 inches off the ground as I passed areas of plants.  The grass areas were slightly warmer.  Extended periods of running on the sidewalk made the balls of my feet slightly numb so I would try to switch up running on the sidewalk with periods of running on the street.

My third mid-week run was skipped due to one of the aforementioned events.

This weekend I had to switch my Saturday and Sunday distances.  Saturday morning I headed out to Cosumnes River Preserve for a quick 6-mile on a trail.  The temperatures were a very frosty 32-degrees.  After 5 miles, I tried pulling off one of my Sockwas to see how cold the ground was.  It was very cold and wet too.  So, I decided against running at near freezing temperatures with wet feet. 

A cold, frosty start to the morning - just before sunrise

The leafy path and fog

Sunrise across the Cosumnes River Preserve

The temperature was about 40-degrees as I went out for my 10-miler late last Sunday night.  I started off in the Sockwas and switched to barefoot for the second half of the run.  The run started off rough.  As I always tell people, running is about 99% mental.  At about 3-miles my brain started to complain that I was too tired to finish the run.  I had to debate myself out of stopping or turning around.  By the time I reached 4.5 miles, I had found my groove and was floating down the road.  At about 8 miles, my body started to protest all of the food I had eaten over the past 48 hours - 2 Chinese multi-course meals, various cocktails, and a Christmas lunch from that day.  I managed to make it home without any incidents and just over 90 minutes for the run as a whole.  So, I was fairly satisfied with the run.

The thing I have been learning to do lately is how to run on a relatively full stomach.  I've always been a weak-stomach runner.  Before races I used to only manage a slice of toast with peanut butter.  I had a breakthrough last summer with the Skyline 50K that taught me that I could eat a lot of different stuff without adverse effects.  This week was definitely no different.  Wednesday night, I had eaten a very healthy bakers dozen or more of chicken nuggets about an hour before my run.  If that didn't put a damper on my running, then I don't know what would.

For this coming week, the running plan is 2/2/4 on T/W/TH and 12/8 for Saturday and Sunday.  The challenge will be that this weekend is Christmas.  I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to manage the weekend miles.  I guess you'll find out when I post next Monday!

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