Sunday, December 17, 2017

『陸王』への道:21.15㌔裸足走 (The Path to Become the King of Road: 21.15 K Barefoot Run)

Up until today the longest distance that I had ever run without wearing shoes was 10 K. But I have always dreamed of someday running a full marathon completely barefooted like Abebe Bikila did back in 1960 at the Rome Olympics. You cannot leap from 10 K to 42.195 overnight, so my short-term goal is running beyond 10 K, and gradually increasing distance. Today was the day to give it a try.

I left home barefooted around 2:00 p.m., aiming to run my favorite 6 K shuttle course twice. My goal was to cover 12 K, 2 K longer than my present best. The course is rich in undulation. It's good to prepare for two races that are scheduled next year: the Tateyama Wakashio Marathon and theOhme 30 K Road Race.

The wind was chilly, but the sun was strong. I cruised along the course comfortably.  I carefully ran on the white paint along the side of the road to minimize the damage on the sole. Near the end of the first lap, I stopped at the water tap in the park to hydrate myself. I finished the first lap at 31:03.08. I left for another lap.

The first half of the second lap was as enjoyable as the first one. There was no pain in the sole yet. The sun was still strong, and the winter cold was more pleasant to my heated body than demotivating. However, in the second half as I went up the longest uphill I wondered if I should go for another lap, or finish at 12 K. There was always this inner talk in a tough phase of each training about whether I should settle for the distance I initially aimed at, or I should go beyond that. I decided to go with the flow. If I felt strong enough when the second lap was over, I'd go. If not, I'd stop.

Though going for the third lap felt too hard to do when I was climbing the hill, once the hill climb was over, and the course started to descend, each step felt lighter, and that lifted my spirit. I got some water again when I reached the park, and at that moment I felt sure that I could go for another round!

The first half of the third lap was run at the most brisk pace. My cadence was high, and I felt strong. The last uphill was tough, but the subsequent downhill made me feel I was rewarded. As I pressed on, I found myself having yet another inner talk, this time about whether or not to make it half-marathon distance by adding a few extra Ks. Again I decided to make that decision when I finished the third lap. 

In order to make it half-marathon distance I had to run the 2.5 K loop plus 650 M quarter-pie-shaped course around the park. That's extra 3.15 K. 18 + 3.15 makes 21.15. That's pretty much the same as a half-marathon. 

When I finally came back home to cover total 18 K, I still had just a little bit left in my tank, so without hesitation I left off for those extra miles.  The first half of the quarter-pie-shaped course has a very rough surface. It damaged my sole more than expected. Plus, I had to run that part twice in order to finally enter the 2.5 K loop. Although I didn't feel it while running, by the time I finally got home to complete the mission, I had one large bloody blister in the ball of my right sole, and a couple of sore spots on my left sole. Both hurt when I took a warm bath. I put some taping on them after the bath, but they still make it very hard for me to walk properly. I know from experience that the pain will have gone away by tomorrow, but it doesn't feel comfortable. That's far from what I wanted. I should have settled for a shorter distance, and gone for a longer distance some other time. I guess I'm not disciplined enough. Mentally, I mean. Progress should be slow and steady. I thought I knew it. But then I couldn't control my urge to boost my ego fast. I wanted to say to myself that I became strong enough to run half marathon distance barefooted. I listened to the weak side of my mind. And the result is my body taught me through pain that that's not the right thing to do. It was a great learning experience. 

I haven't decided what to do next for my running training. I will give my soles a few days for recovery. Then I want to do something that makes me feel proud of myself but that is not painful.   

Today's result:
1st 6 K: 31:03.08
2nd 6 K: 31:15.18
3rd 6 K: 31:16.59
3.15 K: 17:14.04
Total 21.15 K: 1:50:48

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