Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Ballad of Barefoot Dave - part two

Ow. Why am I doing this?

I am tempted to leave this post at that. I believe it covers most of the bases.

My strategy for simultaneously approaching Barefoot Dave’s Great North Run and the Loch Ness Marathon seemed logical: my midweek miles would be relatively short and barefoot, leaving my weekend runs to be long and in shoes. This way I could build up just about enough experience to make it through the barefoot adventure whilst maintaining my distance discipline in preparation for Loch Ness. Genius.

As usual, not genius. Just as happened after I ran 1:34 in Alloa, the sheer effort of running a big PB in San Francisco has taken a lot out of me. Things just don’t seem to click when I go out running at the moment. Except my ankles, which click a lot. It’s hard to tell whether the enormous pain in my calves is due to the barefoot training or a full-body marathon hangover from SF. Or indeed due to an ordinary hangover, as I am allowing myself occasional drinks again. I went for a 5-miler in the Vibrams last week and I stepped in a huge puddle hidden from view – four steps later they began to rub excruciatingly, grating away the skin on the top of a right foot-knuckle (probably not the correct term but you get the idea). Obviously, this happened when I was furthest from home and I had several more painful miles to cover before gaining any relief. My chest is still weird, my stomach’s still weird and do I really have to go back to work every day!? I’m all over the place and rapidly running out of time. I’m starting to wonder if this challenge is a run too far.

Just yesterday, however, I realised that I’ve been seeking answers without understanding the question. I’ve been approaching this from a running perspective, which is of course trivial and egotistical. Walking home from work, in a moment of absolute clarity, I finally stumbled across the perspective that a lot of charity runners are able to gain. How stupid and callous of me to be worrying about a clicking ankle or a little ache in my muscles. How petty to be complaining that I’m finding it difficult to run nine miles at 8 minutes/mile. How insensitive to call these problems.

Dementia is a problem. An incurable, degenerative, life-altering problem. This isn’t a run too far, it’s just a tiny step in the right direction. You can help make things better for sufferers, right now.

Thanks folks, you’re the best.


2011 to date - miles: 845.28, parkruns: 6, races: 4, miles biked: 78.47, metres swum: 1225 (dangerously on track to record my first zero-mile week since January 2010! Busy busy busy!)

P.S. If you missed part one, it's here.

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