Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ran a hell of a race this weekend. It was the fifth Circle of Life IU Mini Marathon. As I had mentioned in my previous post, I had serious doubts about whether I would be able to run the 13.1 miles. 13.1 miles can be a very long distance if you have injured calves.

Early this year, I decided to switch to running barefoot. But it was the peak of a very chilly winter. Running barefoot on ice was impossible (or at least was 'not yet possible') for me. So I bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers. The idea was that the super-thin rubber soles of these shoes would give a little protection from cold while still providing an almost barefoot experience. And I loved running on the Vibrams. They sure felt like running barefoot. It didn't give me a lot of protection from cold, but it was surely hundred times better than running completely barefoot. I knew I had to gradually increase the mileage while going barefoot, but I was so exhilarated on my short runs (2-3 miles) that I felt I could go for a longer run. And that was a mistake! In the very first week that I started running on Vibrams, I went on a longer run of 8 miles with my friends. Around the fifth mile, I started getting cramps on my calves. I knew I had to stop running when I got a cramp, but it was so damn cold that day that walking back home in my minimalist running attire didn't seem like a good option. So, after walking and stretching for a bit, I started running again. Call me crazy, but as I neared home I did a sprinting finish and literally killed my calves. I guess I must have thought that the pain would go away with a few days of rest, but it did not. Each time I would attempt to run again, I would start getting acute calf pain after just about a mile. I gave myself longer periods of rest, but the pain would each time recur I started running. I spoke about my injury to some more experienced runners. One of them advised me that i should take a longer rest; he informed me that he had had a similar injury six months ago for which the doctor prescribed six weeks of rest. How could I give myself six weeks of rest, when I had five weeks left for the IU Mini? But what other option did I have? Reluctantly, I refrained completely from running for two weeks. After that I started hiking on trails, but still no running. Gradually, I interspersed my hiking with running for very short stretches. These

Yet, the weekend before I went running with my running buddies, I again got the
However, in my over-enthusiasm I ran too many miles too soon on barefoot. Well, I didn't exactly go full barefoot, but almost.

Acute pain always started after about a mile of easy running. Finally,

The story of the injured calves is actually pretty interesting. Late January, I decided to switch to running barefoot. I wanted to run

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