Sunday, 24 April 2011

You've come a long way, baby

It was supposed to be an easy recovery run. I packed my VFF in my backpack and ran towards the forest. It is becoming a routine: run there in Kayanos, then run barefoot, then put on the Fingers for the rest of the way home.

If I had been even a little bit apprehensive about running barefoot, today was to be a challenge. More people than usual were out and about, jogging, walking their dogs or simply power walking. Some were content with sideways glances, others were not as discrete. A couple with a dog stared at my bare feet, as I was bracing myself for a steep incline and the small stones covering all of aforementioned incline. The man asked: ”How is it going?” ”Very well”, I answered truthfully. It was going well. My feet were tense, which I paid for by stepping on a couple of stones heavily, but no real harm was done. It was fun, in a child-like way.

I met the same couple when I was almost back at the beginning of the loop. The man asked: ”Is it still going well?” ”Yes”, I answered, a bit less truthfully this time, as I had run further than last time and was getting mentally tired of having to watch my step. I assume it gets better with time. Then the woman quipped, seeing me carry my VFF: ”But you have shoes!” She must have thought I was poor and couldn't afford shoes the first time she saw me.

I stopped to put my VFF on. Another runner was there, using the outdoor gym. We chatted for a short while, and he told me that he'd also bought VFF and thought they were great. I then started running, and something wonderful happened. I got in the flow. You know, THE flow. My legs were moving powerfully, yet effortlessly. I was running fast, yet my breathing was relaxed. My feet hardly touched the ground. My technique was probably better than it had ever been. I managed a sub 5 min/km kilometre (fast by my standards), followed by a slightly slower one, where I alternated between fartlek and easy jog.

Running had never felt so easy. Especially not the day after a mammoth run. My theory is that, having run over 2 km completely barefoot and having to watch my step intensely, I suddenly felt liberated when I finally put on my VFF. It reminds me of one exercise that Markus Stålbom showed us during his running technique course, to help us relax our feet: The runner bends the foot upwards, so the toes point to the sky, while a friend pushes down the foot toward the ground. After 8 repetitions, the runner starts running, and it really feels like the feet have suddenly sprouted wings. My feet had sprouted wings.

No comments:

Post a Comment