Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fixing Flats & Running Naked

*Fair Warning: This is long because we are covering two eventful workouts in one blog*

Bike Day

time- 36 minutes
distance- 11.45mi

Today I went in a new direction. You see, this was my last ride on Sandra B., the bike Obi Tri Kenobi lent me oh so many months ago. So I headed left when I normally veer right. This takes me through Wahiawa and down Kam highway. I've never gone this way before. Call it an experiment ride to see how far/long it is to the gym. If it seems easy enough then I will consider taking my talents to 24 Hour Fitness on the bike for swim days sometimes. And it seems easy enough. The gym is only five miles from home, if that, and aside from a smallish climb its an easy ride. The only thing preventing me from riding to swim days now is fear of disappearing bike.
I went straight past the gym and down where I would run early in my tri training all the way to where the road ends at a nice little cul de sac community I could never afford to live in. So I turned around came headed home thinking about how slow I felt and how I need to build a bunch of base miles before I start my next training cycle and wondering how I'm going to do that will all the traveling we have coming up.
Next thing I know the front tire is going woosha woosha wobble and I'm realizing that after many month of riding I finally got a flat. And on a day when I need to be home soon so we can head to the beach for my birthday bbq (Happy birthday to Dirtbag in three days!). So I call in the Dirtbag Pit Crew (aka Stitches aka Team Dirtbag Sexy Wife, Nutritionist, Cheer Team, and Team Photographer) to come get me. I fiddle with the tire on the sidewalk for a while but I've never done this before and I've only seen it done once so I'm not trying all that hard. Plus not only is the front flat but so is the back. WTF, road? W.T.F. Soon Sexy Wife picks me up and home we go.
Later, being of the YouTube generation, I use the internets to find some very helpful videos of people changing a tire, study them, rewatch them, take copious notes, and then fake my way through both. I had a little trouble with the first, I don't think it was seated properly, but got it on. So now I know how to change a flat in a blazing fast really slow but I could get it done. I'm glad it didn't happen during either race. That would have ruined my day.

Run Day

time- 30.40 minutes
distance- 3.31mi

This was an experimental run day. I ran naked.
Not completely naked, obviously. Society isn't ready for that. Plus I might trip myself (hahahahha, get it? hahahahahooooo...anyway).
I've been doing quite a but of reading about barefoot running and I've written about it in this space a few times. Well, being between races and training cycles and building base miles right now I decided now was a good time to give it a go. I tucked my VFFs into my shorts, flexed my bare feet, and set off.
Ouch, ouchie, ooo, ow. The road is literally covered in little sharp rocks. Its practically paved with them! And those bastards kind of hurt. So my feet got tender quickly. But I had decided before I left that I would give it an honest effort for ten minutes and then I would put on my shoes. Those ten minutes went fast, and some of the time was very pleasant. Barefoot running on grass or on a smooth piece of concrete is a new and connecting experience. Your body feeds back to you all the information you miss out on in big Nikes or even my barely there VFFs. My form tightened up and my stride became what I ask it to become when I normally run. Its impossible to over-run or over stride barefoot. Your body won't let you. It hurts too much. I spent some time running along the white line on the side of the road to keep off the sharpest of the sharp and developed an eye for planning ahead.
At the ten minute mark (ok, at 11.40, I was trying to get to the end of the road) I stopped and put on my shoes to finish the run. If there's one thing I've learned from going minimalist its everything in small steps. Do little for a while, let the body adjust and strengthen, then do a little more. Rush it and you'll get hurt. So I stuck to a short time bare.
Putting on the VFFs felt great! My form, which I loved barefoot, stayed strong. I got my cadence up to a good aerobic pace and tried to put in a solid 20 minutes, which I think I did. It took me eleven and a half minutes to get to the end of the road and when I'm running normally it takes about nine, and I made that time up over the rest of the run.
If I've learned anything from the Mythbusters beside, "If it doesn't work, add more explosives," its that one result does not equal a sample size. This will not be my last barefoot run. I think I'll do somewhere between five and ten before I make up my mind about it one way or another. Right now I'm working on a nice blister at the tip of one toe and my soles feel tenderized but those should both work themselves out as my feet get used to this new punishment. We shall see where this takes your favorite Dirtbag.


  1. Try running barefoot on the treadmill at the gym, if they will let you. That will help you figure out form, let your feet semi adjust to the stresses without the rocks. Running completely barefoot was something we talked about in that inservice I told you about. He was telling us the different in heel strikers vs mid foot and toe runners, and how running barefoot will not let you heel strike, because your body isn't built for it. He is still a heel strike runner, but has never tried barefooting it.

  2. Bummer on the flats Doug. But you went a long time without one!