Sunday 7 April 2013

Apr 7/13 - Back on Track, Naked Feet and Jordan 5km Results!

   Making a serious effort to compete in a totally different sport than skateboarding has been very rewarding so far, but a true eye opener as well. I assumed it would be an easy, injury-free jaunt into running and triathlon. I truly couldn't have been more wrong. Not even if I was the last person in the world still convinced that the world was flat. Just plain old wrong. I've been repeatedly guilty of the classic "too much, too soon". I've suffered repeated calf strains and recently a still persisting knee injury from running. Shoulder issues from poor swimming technique that has since been corrected and now that the nice weather is here we'll see what cycling has in store for me.  All that aside I had a pretty good training week. I feel like I'm getting back on track and beginning to recover fully from ATB. It was back to short distance speed racing this week with the Jordan 5km and it's finally warm enough to be running in my Vibram Five Finger shoes.

   Strangely running and more specifically minimalist running has helped to change my life profoundly over that last few months. I have always had an inner minimalist in me. A little voice telling me that all this "stuff" I have accumulated is what's causing all my stress. Switching to minimalist shoes began the thought process of maybe less of everything is better or at least being more conservative with possessions. I recently wrote a blog post on living a minimalist life called "Less is More?". The response was amazing. I have an idea, a concept for something very big that has been brewing in the back of my mind for some time now. It has moved to the front and is ready to begin taking shape in reality. I will post something soon as this idea begins to unfold, but for now all I will say is I hope it will inspire others to think about the way we have all been conditioned here in North America to see life.

On to the week in training, race recap and a surprise on Sunday.

   Monday came and I was ready to try running again. My knee was finally starting to feel as though it may pull through for me. I started work a little late so I went for a 3km tempo run. I wanted to push it a little to see what my knee was capable of, but not too far. it was also the first run of the season in my new Vibram Five Finger "See Ya".  I ran just under a 4:30km/min pace and finished in 13:21. Not too bad for a guy with a blown knee. Oh and the Vibrams were amazing to run in. Immediately you can feel any flaws in your form. Well, off to work.

   Tuesday morning it was back in the gym. I was still feeling a little worn out from ATB last week so I took it easy. Just some core and a couple rounds with the weights. Nothing too serious, but enough to maintain muscle mass.

   Wednesday evening after work and it was time to push my knee a little further. I wanted to try
How much is too much?
the Five Finger trail runners I also bought. Uhm wait did I mention I bought 6 pairs of Vibram's this week? One of the local running stores "New World" was selling off their inventory for half price. What can I say? I'm a bargain shopper with a shoe obsession. Remember I'm also a skateboarder and nothing is more important to us than a board and shoes. So logically what could be more important to a runner than the right shoe for the right job! It's really our only equipment. Back to my run. The trail runners felt great, but I didn't. Sore and stiff right from the first step. I ran to the local gravel trail which is all up hill, both ways. I wanted approximately an 8km fartlek style run with lots of hills to really stress my cardiovascular system before the race on Saturday. I got just what I wanted, but more than I bargained for. I made it to the 4km mark with my heart rate in the upper 160's. Very high for me. Then my body started falling apart like a 1980's Ford Tempo. First my dreaded right calf strain began to whisper its arrival, then the mystery "side of my left knee" pain. Within only a few hundred meters I was walking. Here we go again. Run, walk, limp, repeat all the way home. I'm sure it was all over my face as I staggered through the door to Christine. I actually said to her for the first time, "maybe I should just quit running for a while". Thankfully she simply said " No, you'll be fine, just going to have to slow down for a bit". 

   Thursday I finally made it back in the pool with my friend Steph. She is being coached by a friend and is doing amazing. I gotta get my game together. Worked on a lot of flutter board kicks to try and rehab my knees and legs. Squeaked out 1900m in 51 minutes. Not the best, but I'll take what I can get for 3 weeks off.

  Friday was my usual night off to chill with Chris. We spent the night watching documentaries on how the monetary system and natural resources are coming apart at the seams. Not the happiest of topics, but there's a lot of ugly truth out there right now and I'd rather be informed than ignorant. This also has a lot to do with the project that I eluded to in an earlier paragraph. Soon enough it will be concrete enough for me to share with everyone.

I can't let a kid beat me lol!
 Finally it was Saturday and race day. I was a little apprehensive of my knee, but beyond ready to race again. Chris and I got to Jordan an hour before the start to pick up my bib. The atmosphere was great and a lot less serious then the 30km two weeks ago. There was even a 1km race for the little kids! It was awesome to see these mini runners bolt off down the road. It's inspiring to know not every little kid is catatonically plunked in front of a TV playing video games. I warmed up with a jog followed by a few sprint. Ok let's f'ing do this. I lined up, the horn blew and everyone took off like their pants were on fire. I checked my watch in the first 250m just to make sure I wasn't going too bat shit crazy. A 3:50km/min pace. A little too fast to hold, so I backed off just a bit, pulled my sleeve over my watch and went by feel. I knew they were giving out medals for sub-twenty minute finishers, but today was just about making the distance with my knee still attached to both parts of my leg. I wasn't going to let myself get caught up in that, besides I have never run a sub-twenty, ever. It turned out to be one of the best runs in months. I felt amazing and no pain anywhere. I kid passed me at kilometre 4 and by the way he was checking his watch he meant business so I stayed just behind him. with 250m left I overtook him and another runner with a sprint to the finish. 6th in my age group, 54th overall in 20:49! The best part is this was a real and true personal record for me. I have spoken before of the two 5km races I dabbled in years ago. When I was 28 I raced Run For The Grapes in my hometown of St. Catharines with my best time to date of 20:50. Yep it's only one second better, but I'm 10 years older and I take it with pride.

   Saturday after the race Chris took me for a 35km pace ride on our rode bikes which by the end had stripped me of everything I was made of. I need a lot of work on the bike. 1:30:00 exactly to travel that distance. There are a lot more hills out there in the real world than in my living room on the trainer. Now that the "nicer" weather is here - they call it spring, but I haven't seen anything spring like yet - I'll be diligently putting my time in on the bike.
Chris and I on a mid-ride break

   Sunday morning we watch the legendary Paris  Roubaix road race live via the world wide web. It's a grueling 160km ride through the cobblestone laden, relic villages of the French countryside. a truly unique and amazing cycling race. Inspired by the drama of the race and the sunshine peeking through the blinds we suited up and headed out for a long, but chill ride. 50km and a lot of weather changes later we were back home to relax...


Only one thing. I had something on my mind for a while
Just finished my first barefoot run!
now and with a 17C day I had to give it a try. Actual barefoot running. I planned to just go up the street, but as soon as my feet hit the cool pavement the amazing sensations had me begging for more. I stated before that the five finger shoes are so thin they will force you to improve your running technique immediately. That being said, run barefoot and it's another world. You feel every single small movement, every muscle and tendon operating and the function of the foot as it was meant to be. I ended up running 2.5km. My feet certainly need to toughen up as I had the beginnings of a few blisters, but already I sensed the potential for improvement in technique. I wish I could share the benefits of minimalist and barefoot running with everyone who runs. It would change their whole perspective. I'm glad it's possible to find another way to love something I already love so much. Just ask Christine. I find a new way to love her every single day.

1 comment:

  1. That race was amazing. You told me when you expected to finish so I wasn't prepared to see you so soon! When I saw that green hoody come around the corner I could barely contain myself to get pictures of you. Best shit ever!
    so good.