So Tough Mudder event completed on Saturday. 18 km and 25 obstacles. Loads of mud, loads of ice, electric shocks, sheer vertical walls, long dark tunnels, more mud, trail running, hills, volcanic rock passes, monkey bars and heaps and heaps of fun. Participated as part of a team, mostly to ensure I did not go all out whilst still on recovery phase from the marathon. Only obstacle I did not complete was the monkey bar swings…something to target for next year.
Entered wearing my New Balance Vibrams, which faired very well. I certainly got the “barefoot experience” with all the mud and stones trapped in my shoes. Which being a size bigger to accommodate my wide feet and plenty of toe space, allowed plenty of mud to hang in there.
However at 13km mark I gave up and pulled the shoes off, tucked them into the back of my capri’s and carried on the remaining 4km through mud, trail gravel and volcanic rock patches. All good, although later that night had to get my son to remove some pesky paper thorns on the side of my feet.
So on another topic, I have been asked to do a profile for another website asking some key questions. One of these questions I have heard raised a few times before and seen discussed on other blogs. That is the “sensation” the “connection” the “fine tuning” of running barefoot and the effect on your running form.
Yesterday doing my 12 km (7.5 miles) run (yes, remember I am training for the 6 Inch Ultra in December) I thought I would “tune in to my run”.
- You see, I actually do not think when I run.
- I am not an individual who sorts out all my problems on the road or comes up with genius ideas or anything.
- I pretty much run blank.
- Or if there is a thought process it is about the pace I am running or the terrain or the hill (mostly the hills occupy my mind).
In mind with my post today I have tried to retain what thought process runs through my mind when I run, if that thought process is in tune with my bare feet, my running form, or just my mental ‘me’. I was surprised.
My predominant thought focus was on the terrain I was traversing at the time, secondly the preceding and upcoming hill elements, the pace I needed to maintain, the weather, then my actual run. I noted that over the 12 km I ran over the following list of varying terrains through an ocean side suburbia.
The run started off on older very rough gravely and cracked tarmac, to a point I reached smooth red modern cycle track, then traversed onto a bigger main road with more worn in tarmac, and the next leg taking me on actual concrete side walk, predominant for the first half. Then I found myself on wet grassland (uphill) for some time, and when my feet were nicely wet and soft my route took me onto moulded rough burnt brick surface (not the smooth pavement brick), from there onto the old timber promenade, then down through the sand dunes onto the beach, soft beach sand run for about a km, then hard sea sand with incoming waves (nice and wet and salty) for another km, back up onto old tarmac and return to the start point. I am not sure I would have noticed all the varying terrains had I been shod. I also would not have had the freedom to run through sand, and or wet grass and or ocean waves had I been shod.
To answer the question -was I in tune with nature?
Well I think I was, but take it so for granted I was not aware of it! I am constantly scanning the ground in front of me for debris, stones, glass, gum nuts, dog poop, bird poop and the like, so my mind is pretty busy processing the varying terrains and scanning ahead of me, which is probably why I am not a deep thinker kind of runner.
Additionally – I realised the freedom I take for granted when barefoot – I can run where ever I choose and be as impromptu as I like. If I was wearing shoes I would have to avoid the sand dunes and the sea, would think twice about the long wet grass and so on.
Now I do know that a shod person may think otherwise, but my feet are surprisingly tough and can take me places!