Friday, August 17, 2007

Aloha Friday! and a Barefoot Running Update

Aloha Friday, koʻu hoaloha!! There's even an Aloha Friday Song (lyrics) that is often heard on Hawaiian radio stations on this glorious day (it's a cute little ditty). For those who work a typical work week, there is just something about Fridays. I always do my little Friday dance when I get to work. No matter how crappy the work week, Friday is welcomed with open arms and much sigh and relief. Unless you have to work the weekend...let's hope you don't have to.

Even if you're not thinking about it, there are little signs around the office to remind you it's Friday. People are more talkative and personal. They have a little spring in their step. The more uptight ones even seem relaxed a bit. Even when crap hits on a Friday, you know that at the end of the day, you will have a reprieve from the drudgery of work at least for a couple of days.

Before I get into my report of yesterday's run, here's just a little history of the Aloha Friday tradition. Around 1947, people in Honolulu were encouraged to wear Aloha shirts (Hawaiian shirts) to work from June through August due to the summer heat. And with the more casual lifestyle of the islands, aloha wear has become widely accepted as everyday wear. In some companies, they even celebrate with “Pau Hana Friday” where on the last Friday of each month, coworkers get together on a social bases and enjoy pupus (appetizers).

For me, I usually wear my Aloha attire during the week and dress (really) down on Fridays, usually in t-shirts. What can I say? I'm a CAB and like to buck the norm.

Speaking of bucking the norm, I tried to do the ball-heel-ball method yesterday at least to start. But I can't seem to be able to accomplish the method described. I'm sure, thinking through the motion of the foot, that I do some form of BHB. But the more I thought about it and tried to do it in a deliberate fashion, the more I felt discomfort in my feet and legs. Although I can't be sure that it's not due to weak muscles being conditioned, I just don't think I should focus so hard on it. The Mister said he doubt the cavemen or Aborigines thought about running techniques when they ran. I was doing fine earlier just running my own style with no pain. I was following the "let the feet tell me how to run" concept (how to run barefoot). So I stopped focusing on BHB and started to focus on relaxing and quietly letting each foot touch down. I focused on what my body was telling me, adjusting to signals such as minor tightness in the calf, a sore spot on the ball of the foot. Once I started to do this, I found myself running more smoothly, more fluid. And I was able to keep up the faster pace a little longer.

I am still very cautious at this stage so as soon as I feel any discomfort that doesn't go away with minor adjustments, I immediately slow down to a walking speed. The last thing I want is to injure myself or become so sore that it derails my progress.

I only needed to slow down 3 times yesterday during the 1.5 mile run. Once to work out a kink in my left foot and the other 2 to loosen up my calf muscles. I wasn't able to log my time because I accidentally hit the wrong button when cooling down, which wiped out my data. (oops) Now I'm sure there's some people out there that would guffaw at the 1.5 miles but let's make it clear that I am not a marathon runner nor aspire to be one. My sole purpose is to excercise at a moderate level to start, build up my stamina, and get to the point where I'm getting in better physical shape. Something to where I can climb Diamond Head to the top without needing to rest. Besides, haven't you heard that too much of a good thing can kill you? (do a Google on overtraining)

The Mister suggested I start keeping a log of not only what I did (time, how far, average speed) but also the day after. That way I can capture any observations of discomfort or pain and get a feel for heavy and light day training. Good idea. The one thing I noticed this morning was that I felt really good, like those day-afters before I tried BHB. The only soreness I have are on the balls of my feet where I'm starting to build up callous. I have a small blister on the ball of the left foot (that dang left foot) and both feet are a bit sensitive in that area. It's most likely due to the friction against the rubber belt on the treadmill. It has little grooves for traction. Hmm, wonder if treadmill companies will start coming out with belts that are smooth for barefoot runners? (there's a marketing idea)

I'm still debating whether or not to try the Five Fingers, thinking maybe it will help with some of the soreness on the balls of the feet. But the Mister says I should just continue to do what I'm doing and that my feet will condition naturally. He's worried that the shoes may cause rubbing in other areas of the feet. The thing I'm concerned about is the heel area. That's my problem area with shoes and some people have reported heel rubbing with the classic Five Fingers. Think I'll reconsider in another month.

Since my running schedule is off by a day due to the tightness in my left quad earlier in the week, I will most likely run a bit tomorrow. If I get a chance, I will post the results. Until then or Monday, go have a wonderful weekend and eat well.

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