I hope everyone is surviving the cold weather out there. It has been a VERY COLD February here in Indiana. I have been struggling just to get a few miles per week (so far only 3 miles this week!) I've been enjoying the downtime however and used the month to more fully recover from the marathon last month in the Canary Islands. I recieved a copy of photos from the local newspaper in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, which were taken in the late stages of the marathon, somewhere around mile 21, I think,...of course, right when I was at my worst! The photographer was on a motorcycle and he took both pictures within two strides of each other but one was sent in Black and White and the other in Color. I thought they came out pretty well considering how bad I felt at the time. I definitely wasn't feeling like posing, so the pictures show a pretty realistic image of the tight (not relaxed) upper body and the concentration and downward gaze toward the pavement. This is what happens late in the race as the form begins to erode. This was why the post race massage had felt so good on my neck and shoulders since they had been tensed up for the past couple of hours! The photo does however show the forward lean of my barefoot stride as opposed to the backward lean of the heel striker running beside me. That is the nice thing about barefoot running...even when you are tired your form can't get TOO bad because you don't EVER want to strike your heel first (because it HURTS!) and therefore the forward lean comes naturally, even when exhausted! The black and white photo at the end of the blog shows the difference in the lean a little more clearly.
OUCH! - Glass from heel (shown on index finger)
After being back home for a week or so, I was able to work a piece of glass out of my heel. I had just finished an 8 mile run after work and was sitting in the hot tub and just kept rubbing and squeezing on my heel until this "little" sliver of glass popped out. It felt much better once it was out and the red spot healed up quickly over the next two days. Now, I have pulled glass out before, but this seemed to be a record breaker...16 days AFTER the fact! The body is pretty amazing in its ability to heal and recover. I think this is also the largest piece of glass I've ever removed and I'm pretty happy to have it out! The heel had been pretty sore so I was fairly sure there was something in there and that is why I squeezed so hard to get it out...the hot water of the hot tub seemed to loosen everything up.
Ahhh! Warming feet after 28 Degree Run
Speaking of the hot tub, I must say it is very convenient, and almost a necessity when it comes to running in cold weather. When I do my sub 30 degree runs which are typically 1.5 miles or less, I run straight to the hot tub on the back porch and flip it open half way. Then I sit on the lid and dangle my feet in the 101 degree water to bring them back up to temp. This is usually enough to help the feet recover as long as I didn't overdo it on the run and there wasn't too much "heat robbing" moisture in the form of snow, ice or water. And yes, I say water, because of the wonderful salt on the roads this time of year which can supercool the moisture down into the low 20s...otherwise it would be frozen ice and not so much of a problem. I usually try to stay with my feet in the hot water for about half of the length of my run, usually about 5 minutes or so...then I go inside and take off the running gear and grab a swimsuit and cup of coffee before coming back for the full body plunge!
"Icing" my feet after a Feb. 7th run!
I also switched my schedule over to running in the evenings after work each day in an attempt to find the warmest time of day. However with the zero and sub-zero weather we have been having I have still taken many days off from running this month. Last week was a business trip up to Livonia MI so I actually got in 6 miles on the treadmill at the hotel over 3 days. I still hate treadmills, especially barefoot, but it was better than logging zeros as the MI temps were sub-zero the majority of the trip.
Once back home the Saturday temp warmed all the way up to 23 degrees, so I got bold and impatient! And went out I did a half mile run in the fresh snow. Big Mistake! I ended up with mild frostbite on 4 toes and they were tender for the next 3 or 4 days. No blisters or lost skin, just tenderness. I must say, I have had this issue before but sort of thought I had gotten a little smarter on the exposure time...not so...wow, only 4 minutes and frostbite...the moisture (snow) made a huge difference. The learning continues!! The other thing with frostbite is you don't feel it for about 12 to 24 hours later. Even after heating up the toes in the hot tub, they usually feel fine that same day but then begin to ache that evening into the next morning.
Late in Gran Canaria Marathon - Do I look tired?
But don't worry, I recovered by Wednesday evening and got in a 3 mile run after work when the temps got back above 30...briefly! But it didn't last long, and now the sub zero temps are back, with another snow predicted for the weekend...Winter! Ugh!
Stay Warm Out There Barefooters!
February Mileage = 49 Miles (six on treadmill)