Barefoot Monologues

A Journey of the Sole

Suck it up.

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I hope this blog post doesn’t jinx the run I am planning for this afternoon, but I think I might be finally getting into the groove of the whole distance running thing. I’m starting to understand a little more about what my body can handle, what to do to keep it from hurting, and most importantly, I’m getting much better at figuring out what discomfort I’m supposed to stop for and what discomfort I’m supposed to suck up and stop whining about.

It has been quite a transition from shoes to barefoot/minimalist, as it has been quite a transition from “whatever” mileage to “holy crap I just did that” mileage. My legs hated it at first. They got sore, they made it hard for me to walk, and they even tried to feign just about every major running injury in the book, in turn, for at least several days. Since last July, on any given week I have been unwaveringly convinced that I was afflicted with:

  • TOFP (“top of foot pain,” can be anything from tendon damage to stress fracture)
  • achilles tendonitis
  • sprained ankle (I actually did have a sprained ankle)
  • permanently torn calf muscles
  • exercise-induced asthma (I actually do have that)
  • plantar fasciitis
  • peroneal tendonitis
  • stress fracture on my pinky toe metatarsal
  • pes cavis (abnormally high arch)
  • IT Band Syndrome
  • plantar fat pad atrophy
  • hamstring strain
  • infected blisters

Now I believe, or I hope rather, that for the most part my body has finished freaking out. Partly because my nervous system has run out of involved body parts to inflict, but also because I think the growing pains have helped me bang out most of the kinks in my running form and training methods. I know what it feels like when I’m overstriding; I can tell when I’m hunching over or when my cadence is too low. I know that I can’t run more than about 7 miles without bringing some form of fuel and water with me. I know that if I don’t stretch, massage and ice certain parts of my legs after long runs, I will pay for it later in the week. And I know that I can run 13.1 miles, even though the last 6 will be pretty uncomfortable.

And that’s where the sucking-it-up part comes in.

I can’t wait for the Great Bay Half Marathon on April 3rd. Whether I cross the finish line running, crawling or in an ambulance, it’s going to be a great time and a great accomplishment for me. And I do hope that I will have my dear friends there with me.

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