Run for Life
If you think you can’t run, think again.
As you read on my home page, since having kids I’ve had very little (focused) exercise, and have gotten swallowed up in the daily grind of mom-hood.
The “Big Four-Oh” snapped me out of it. Actually, just knowing it was coming got me setting my sights on a new way of life, and some new goals.
Starting to run again at age 39 really, really kicked my ass.
If it hadn’t been for my memories of the “hardcore cop” cross country coach from high school, and our State Championship back in the 80’s, I don’t think I would’ve persevered. I had tasted of what was possible, and was willing to do anything to get back there. (But what I’ve accomplished is possible for anyone! Keep reading…)
Around August of 2009, I began running – first one mile, then two… adding a mile every few runs. This was a BIG mistake.
A few weeks later, up to 4 miles, my knees were protesting. I couldn’t run anymore. I knew I had made a mistake, and I would have to stop. Rest. Then start at square one.
I began again, literally 2 minutes at a time, in October of 2009. By November of 2009, I finally reached one mile. By January, 2010, 2 miles.
I was upping my weekly mileage gradually, staying at 2 miles each run. I was at about 9 miles per week when I started training for my first 5k on March 1st, 2010.
THIS was the the training program that I loosely followed.
My goal was to run a race around my 40th birthday. I turned 40 the end of March, and the 5k race was on April 11 (The Carlsbad 5000). I finished with a time of 26:42. I was surprisingly emotional at the finish. I was hoping for at least 30:00, but secretly wanted 27:00. To see I had broken 27 minutes made me so happy!
To throw a monkey wrench into this whole running thing, I decided to try barefoot running.
I was still prone to knee pain, blisters, and other miscellaneous issues. I had begun reading about the benefits of barefoot running. I think this all began when I accidentally pulled a “chi running” book off the shelf at the library. This was my first exposure to a different way of thinking about running form.
After all I had read, I realized simply running barefoot (using Vibram Five Fingers, of course!) was the quickest way to perfect form, without having to over-think things.
I purchased a (very expensive!) pair of Vibram Five Fingers with some birthday gift money, and haven’t looked back. Little did I know, the struggle would start all over again!
Attempting to transition from the typical huge padded heel & stability of traditional running shoes was not going to be easy.
To make things worse, I’m flatfooted.
Apparently, flat feet and barefoot running don’t mix. (However, blogger and author Timothy Ferriss is also flatfooted, and is using VFFs).
As of early July, 2010, I’m still transitioning to barefoot running. The most I’ve run in the Vibrams is 3 miles on grass. Recently, I ran one mile totally barefoot on grass and dirt. Ouch!
Some may think I’m crazy, but I’m sticking to it.
I have wide feet, and cringe at the thought of constricted toes in a running shoe. The Vibram Five Fingers feel so good on my feet. I know that after years of wearing shoes all day, every day, the muscles in my feet and ankles have never had a chance to develop.
I began walking barefoot all day while at home, and now only wear shoes when I absolutely have to.
After my 2nd post-age-40 race (Xterra 5k trail run, with a time of 28:30), I was beat up pretty badly. I took two weeks off of running, and began to cross train.
I came to the realization that if I love running and want to not only get better, but do it indefinitely, I have to train to run, rather than just run to train.
I have implemented advanced step aerobics (barefoot of course!) to strengthen my feet, ankles, and calves, as well as all the muscles I don’t use running. I also follow the Core Performance Endurance program, which focuses on strengthening your core, to prevent injury, and increase overall endurance.
As of July 2nd, 2010, I’m only up to a max of 2 miles, after having scaled way back. I’m rebuilding, from the core on up, and continuing to transition to barefoot running.
I’ll continue to add updates to this page, as well as links to all my blog posts about running.
Just remember, there’s always a way to accomplish what you set out to do. If you can visualize it, you can achieve it. Never give up!