Saturday, April 21, 2012

120 days of Running: Lessons learned so far

Way back in Feb 2012, some crazy people on Facebook started talking about running every day for a month as a fitness goal. Of course, the absurdity levels can never be predicted when it comes to my friends on Facebook. 30 days was quickly raised to 120 days. I got tagged in a message about it. I'm way too easy and buckle under the slightest peer pressure so of course I joined.


I wasn't sure what would happen but I told myself that I'd try it until it became not fun. Well here I am in Mid- April at Day 75 and I've learned quite a few things about myself.


  • Running every day is a mental and not a physical challenge: First let me say I'm lucky to be still healthy this far into the challenge. There are a ton of folks that got injured that had much higher fitness base than I at the start. I'm really taking the time to listen to my body and I'll stop if needed. The hardest thing about this challenge is knocking out the mile for the day when you just want to go to bed.
  • You don't have to be a superhero to do this: I've run 2 half marathons in my life and logged a high mileage run of 18.5. I don't have super powers. Or at least I didn't before the challenge.
  • Running every day is awesome for speed and endurance even if you are not training for either: I never would have imagined I could PR a 15K on Saturday and run 9 "recovery" miles the next day. As of today, I've run 13 straight days without taking a "rest day" of one mile. This was not intentional. It just felt right. When I started, I would need to rest every third day.
  • Running every day is transformative on many different levels: first off, I've lost 20 lbs during this challenge. I have never been in better shape in my entire life. My diet has changed though not really consciously. I've been eating a ton of fresh veggies and healthy food because that it what tastes good to me at the moment. I think my body is craving the healthy food in order to fuel the machine.
  • I'm 100% certifiably nuts about running: call it runners high, insanity, whatever. I can honestly say that I have not had a bad run in the last 75 days. There have been tough runs but they were still fun in their own way.
  • Good Form Running and minimal shoes have allowed me to do this: I'm convinced that changing my running style from heal striking to light and easy midfoot has enabled my habit. Physically, my body is not taking the pounding that it used to take and my feet are crazy strong. Mentally, running is fun in a way that I cannot even explain. Let's put it this way, if you gave me a choice between 2 beers and running 5 miles, I think I'd pick the running. I don't quite get it myself.
Lots more little lessons to think about but I have a beer and campfire to enjoy at the moment.

I look forward to learning a lot more about myself and having a ton of fun in this next 45 days.




Friday, April 20, 2012

We're not in Kenya so put some shoes on!

I run barefoot quite often when the conditions allow.  I'm not a barefoot zealot and quite frankly, I enjoy that little bit of protection that I get from my Road Gloves or huaraches.  That said, I love the feeling of running without shoes too, obviously.  

Barefoot running creates many different responses from folks as you run by with a smile on your face.  I've encountered 3 types of responses as of today.

Accepting or Awed:
I work in an industrial park and there are a few active people year round.  They all know me and have long since stopped whispering under their breath.  These people will generally smile and answer my always happy greeting. I'm sure they still think I'm nuts but they have written me off as that wacky shoeless dude.

Flippant or Snide Comments:
Typically these are the heal stompers at races or the construction worker along the road.  "Where's your shoes?"  "Watch out for the glass!"  "That guys is nuts."  "Why are you shorts so damn short?"  Many of you know this drill.

or Outright hostile:
For the first time today, I was "confronted" by hostility.  Don't get me wrong, this guy was not all up in my grill.  I had run by a landscaping crew and was about 100yds away when one of them unleashed this diatribe to his coworkers that was deliberately loud enough so I could clearly hear it:
Roughly quoted by fat dude who I'm assuming did not put on running shoes when he got done holding the mulch hose:  "They do that shit over there in India and Kenya.  They got dirt paths and desert that allows you to go without shoes.  We can't do that shit around here cause we got roads.  Put some shoes on!"

I was in way too much of a good mood to confront this guy it so I just glanced over my shoulder and waved.

The world is full of tools who think they know what's good for you. Screw em!