Sunday, May 16, 2010

Rick's Barefoot Running Clinic

Yesterday was Barefoot Ricks first barefoot running clinic here in Kansas City. I was so excited when I heard he was doing this. I mean what perfect timing for me since I have just taken the leap to barefootedness.

I arrived at the park where the clinic was taking place and as I drove around I started to look around at all the people and check out their feet. I would pass by groups of people and think; no they have shoes not where I want to be. Then I spotted a few people with sandals and VFF’s and I knew this was the group so I parked and got out of the car. Rick had not arrived yet and more people kept showing up (I guess they all knew us from our now bare feet). We all started to chat and discuss barefoot running. There were a couple of people there that have been barefoot runners for some time now and so us newbie’s started to bombard them with all our questions.

When Rick arrived we moved to a sheltered picnic area to try and stay a little dry. Rick first had us go around and introduce ourselves and give a little running background. In this group there were runners who have been running there entire lives and then runners who have been running for only about a year. Running is the kind of sport where no matter how long you have been doing it; you are part of the running family as soon as you start. As we were talking and telling our stories more people were still showing up. One of the people that showed up was Barefoot Josh. Josh is not only a barefoot runner but a tail nerd also (this is the local trail running group I am always popping in on for their beginner runs and then totally get left in the dust, hey I am slow and even slower on the trails). Josh has been running barefoot on the trails, something I thought was not possible. Josh said he was planning on run two trail races this year barefoot but that he was not going to race them. Trying to race on the trails barefoot would surly leave you with a broken toe or worse. This is why they need a barefoot running division in races now.

After all the introductions Rick and a couple more experienced barefoot runners and they showed us proper form during a short run. I will attempt to describe the proper form here for you. Start by standing with your feet flat on the group underneath your body, and then bend your knees slightly. Now slowly let your body fall forward while moving your feet forward. You want to push your legs using your buttocks. When landing on your feet you want to have a center foot strike. (I thought it should be a ball strike but I was wrong). This helps to absorb the impact when your foot hits the ground.

Now if you are doing it correctly there are a few things that should happen. First you will notice that you are not bouncing up and down like you do when running in shoes. You will also notice that you really feel it in your calves. And you should notice that you are not making much noise.

Once we all learned proper form we had more questions then we went on a group barefoot run. We stared with a half mile loop then we went off into the woods on a muddy trail. I have to say that running in the mud was my favorite. It was so cool to feel it squish in between my toes. Also since I am still new to this my feet start to hurt after a while running and the mud soothed them and made them feel fresh, until I got back on the pavement that is. I ended up running about 2.5 miles before I had to stop. My feet are just not ready for a longer distance yet. I had such a great time and met some awesome people I truly cannot wait to do this again. Rick said that he was going to try and do this once a month till the bad winter weather arrives and I can’t wait till the next one.

Now the bad news, it looks like my stress fracture has not healed. I guess I should have taken more time off from running. After my last run I started to feel that pain in my right shin again. I decided not run for a few days and see how it felt at this barefoot clinic. During the run I did start to hurt again, I know I should have stopped running but I also knew that it meant this was going to be my last run for awhile so I just ignored it and enjoyed my run (bad yes but totally worth it). I will go to the doctor this week and find out how bad it is and how long I have to not run this time. I am really sad about this, I hate not running and now that I have found barefoot running I really just want to keep going. I guess if it is as bad as I think it is I can still continue with some barefoot walking in the hopes of breaking my feet in so that when I finally can run again my feet will be ready.

Note:  All the pictures above were taken by Barefoot Rick, I forgot my camera so I hope it was okay to use these.


jill said...

what a cool morning...and running without shoes in the mud, oh, that sounds like fun!

Barefoot AngieB said...

So glad you went to the group!! Wish we had one around here :)
Heres to quick healing of your injury.

Paula (Adventure Junkie Mom) said...

So jealous Tracey, but so excited for you on your barefoot adventure. I cannot wait to start running barefoot again. I have never been on a trail, just sand, but the way you described the mud in your toes, just sounds wonderful.
I am hoping your stress fracture is not bad, and heals quickly so you can get back out there soon.
I see a lot of people running barefoot here in CdA, and hope I can find a group like you have.

Marny said...

I'm so bummed that I missed it! We rolled into Leavenworth around 6AM and I drove all night so I just wasn't up for it. :( Sounds like it was super informative though. Glad you had a good time and I hope that shin heals up soon!

On The Road... said...

Hope your stress fracture heals quickly. I'm so intrigued by this barefoot running stuff.

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