Friday, December 16, 2011

Running Towards a Holiday Mood


It’s been quite a year, and looking back there are accomplishments and disappointments, but never in my life have I been so eager to race towards the future (no pun intended!)  In 2011 I went from couch to marathon, took over 2 minutes off my 5K time, and I’m running 3-6 road miles barefoot every week – in December (Holy Crap!). 

What I Want for Christmas
OK, so aside from some nighttime running reflective gear, there’s probably not much I need, except for some really cold weather (sub 10-degrees) running gear.  I went out last weekend in 18F and found that what I have fails to keep me warm enough – hmm, must be all that bodyfat I shed this year.   It’s also 12 year old technology – I’m sure there’s better coldgear that’s lighter and warmer (and more fashionable?) than my old Sauconys. 

Also, up until last week I guess I wanted new running shoes, but now I ask, what’s the point?  They just make my feet hurt anyway, and when it’s really cold I guess I’ll throw on some Injini socks and wear my VFFs.  Shoes are quickly becoming my biggest waste of money -- they’re all hit or miss; I don’t know if they’re comfortable until I've got 40 cumulative miles on them and a 12 mile run, and by then returning them is impossible (unless you use Roadrunner Sports – but they don’t sell shoes that I’d consider wearing). 

I also wouldn’t mind if Santa brought some VFFs for my kids so they can finally ditch their Fila Skeletoes – there’s a whole lot of support in the bottom of those things and their Achilles always gets rubbed raw by the back of the shoe (nice job Fila).  But Santa may need to wait on those since the kiddies don’t want to run when it’s cold outside, and they need coldgear anyway.

In the New Year
So I’ll be running a winter series of 5K’s commencing on New Year’s day, but only the New Years Day run is a USATF Points Race.  At $10 each I can’t argue the race fees – and these will just become my speed workouts as I ramp up to the May 6 marathon.  One of my goals is to get all of my USATF points races in 2012  – last year I remained wholly focused on the marathon and let the points races slip by. 

I’m also looking to solve my Top of Foot Pain (TOFP).  I don’t know how I will do that, I’m thinking the pain is mostly the tendons and ligaments trying to adjust to barefoot/minimalist shoes.  Hopefully I can dispense with the shoes at some point.  As I run barefoot I’m learning where my foot strikes are – between the Great Toe and Index Toe balls, and the fleshy part under the Cuboid bone.  However I have no idea if those are the optimal places.

So in 2012 I’m looking at 2 marathons and all my USATF points races.  I’ll throw in a couple of Halfs and look towards a new set of PR’s.  I suspect I’ll be able to PR for a while before my age catches up to me, but as a beginner it’s probably easier to make dramatic improvements relatively quickly, even at age 44.  (Although , Dr. George Sheehan began running at 40 and didn’t PR his marathon until 61!!)

My company is now advocating Team In Training, which I am exceedingly happy about.  It’s a great organization that raises money through athlete sponsorships for blood diseases research, including Leukemia.  I’m always quite moved to see those purple jerseys on the courses, because I know there is a personal story to go with each one.  So next year I’ll be doing my marathons in purple (I presume!) and hopefully make a small difference down the line in someone’s life.  I have this gift of mobility and ability, and hope to give some of it back to the less fortunate. 

I suppose I’ll be putting together a year in review post, as this is the light edition.   I’ll wish everyone Happy Holidays now, but somehow I think I’ll be posting again before the year is out. 



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