Also by now with all the various questions etc I get about running barefoot, the outright disapproval from my friends and family (none of whom have ever run barefoot I might add) the inquisitive responses from other runners, I am thinking more about what I do and why. I have surfed the internet for information on what happens –
- Is my son’s adamant outrage at my barefoot running warranted?
- My family’s statement to “put some bladdy shoes on!”
- My friends saying it is an “attention seeking” move?
- What actually happens to your feet?
- How do you manage it?
- What do the soles of your feet look like – can I see?
Okay – there are my soles! (at the 22km mark of the below mentioned 32km run).
So what did I do for preparation on the 32km run?
- Earlier in the week I did a few early morning runs in varying wet/rough conditions but over short distances that helped acclimatise my feet. (again)
- I rubbed a good deal of zinc ointment onto my feet each night for the week prior.
- I spent hours on the internet looking for advise of the actual run – and failed to find a clear answer or guide line for the run on the day – other than the months of pre preparation.
- I then used a trick from when I was a teenager. I wrapped my feet in three layers of zinc plaster. BEST EVER.
- Additionally, my running partner – a youthful 10 years plus younger than me and a foot or two taller, is SUPPORTIVE. Cara is keen to progress to barefoot running (her choice and decision before meeting me) but currently runs in New Balance Vibram minimalist shoes.
- The run commenced and I was full of confidence and much more acclimatised – both factors I believe were key to the success of my/our run.
The above photo was taken at the 22km mark – this shows the wear on the foot and how much “exfoliation” takes place on these kinds of run. The zinc plaster has been worn through all three layers. Therefore it explains why I have such smooth feet and no calluses!
The photo also highlights an injury I am beginning to struggle with and have referred to in earlier posts, about my left foot, which I believe may be planter faciatis. You can see my inside arch is inflamed and there are a few bumps (not blisters) forming by my heel. I am no doctor or podiatrist or any form of trained physician, and I must point out that since my foot has been hurting I have not yet got to a podiatrist (mainly because the earliest appointment I can get is in 3 weeks time)or physiotherapist, or doctor, and should you suffer any such pain or injury you MUST get attended to urgently. At the time of the photo I was not aware of any pain in my foot, just the displacement of my hip and the fatigue in my left leg muscles.
As the run commenced in wet conditions the plaster did get wet quickly and did not last much past the above photo, if from memory by the 24km mark I had removed all the plaster. However the soles of my feet coped well, and we ran an amazing pace for us.
As far as my actual feet were concerned it was an excellent run. As far as my overall body was concerned as regards the marathon training – blah.. I hit a brick wall at 31km, but my running partner, Cara, helped me through this, and we finished our 32km well ahead of our planned time. At the end, my husband and son met us for a coffee, where I consumed much needed doses of coffee aka caffeine, and soothed my aching back, and for good measure rolled my feet out (in the cafe) on my miniature rolling pin I keep in my car.
My plan for next weeks 42km marathon barefoot run, is to wrap my feet in zinc plaster again for at least the first 20km (6am start) so that I can guarantee a reasonable finish and can support my running partner, with whom I am running the marathon.