Wednesday, April 30

Takbo Mo Buhay Ko Run - All You have to Do is Start with the Very First Step

Barefoot Running!!!! At long last bucket list checked for me. I did it on a race, a 10km distance, for the very first time.

Inspired by a friend, I have been walking and running barefoot on my own for almost 2 years now. Following few leg exercises to avoid injury in the transition, I walk barefoot and run on the streets of the Central Business District in he country, in the province, inside the office, at the mall, on the rough road, pebbled trail, sandy terrain and seashore. And just recently, a runner friend  shared his secret ingredient on the success of his races, his weekly training routine. To my surprise he included barefoot running or walking as part of his recovery activity after a hard long run. Then most likely this should be working for him as well.

Almost to the finish line. 
Few friends told me running barefoot or on minimalist is a fad, other's said it's not effective. Here is my stand on it, I believe it is a case to case bases, depending on the person's situation and need. I know of a friend running barefoot/minimalist works well for him and so ironic he gets blisters when wearing a regular running shoes with socks. While another friend can only run ultra long distance races  wearing  the elevator shoes or Hoka shoes for he got a knee injury  long time ago due to a rock climbing accident.

My very first barefoot race, podium finish. 
In my case, I want to explore, I want to experiment. Running is a continues learning process for me, especially on how I can improve my speed.  Barefoot running has been effective to me when I am recovering from an ultra race. I observed, my sore legs and feet recover faster when walking barefoot after a day or two. So, I guess, this thing is also working for me.

I have been wanting to try running barefoot on a race, that moment where I do not have a choice but to run on designated route whether it is comfortable or not, that moment where I do not have the option but to finish the race and not use and put on my slippers or shoes or stop and take a ride because I am not comfortable running barefoot anymore but rather I had  to push to the finish line no matter what my condition is.

With Miss Gia and Miss Anna, first and second place on 10km regular female category. 
The Race and Race Route

A charity run, Takbo Mo Buhay Ko (Your Run My Life), for the Yolanda victim in some parts of Iloillo includes a barefoot category of a 10km distance. This will be my great chance to run barefoot and at the same time I know my registration fee will help the people who needs it most. I always patronize charity races, I always wanted to help even on my own little way.

Race starts in one of the vacant parking space of CCP beside the seawall, then goes to Roxas Boulevard towards airport road passing two fly overs (Buendia and EDSA) and turns around at Naia Airport Road, then goes all the way to  Luneta with a turn around a little after KM 0 then goes back to CCP. A very familiar route for me.

Not bad, despite my late start. 
Race Day

Few days before the race has been very hectic and tiring series of activities for me. An event which I need to be awake so late for a couple of nights did not give so much rest and sleep even the very night before the race. I had been contemplating if I will really run the race. I will just play it by ear if I get up early come race day. Which I did but was still really tired. Been thinking if I will really run,  very tempting to just stay longer in my bed, get few more hours of sleep and let go of the run. Until I decided to force myself to leave, put on my running attire and run. But alas, I was really running late for the gun start. As I reach the starting line, 10km runners were already released. Oh well, I'll just follow and catch up with the rest of the runners. Leaving few of my things and my pair of slippers  at the baggage counter and passing by the starting line, I am already running over 5minute late from gun start.

I can hear some of the marshals, especially my running friends cheering and encouraging   me, "Habol, Habol" (catch up, catch up), I just smile back.  I will do my very best to run as fast as  I can especially on this very first adventure on barefoot running. True enough a little over 500 meters approaching  the very first fly over, I already catch up few runners at the very tail end. First water station appears but I did not get any water yet. One thing I noticed, I can sense some uncomfortability at the middle toe on my left foot. I can sense a blister brewing that part. I had been very careful where to land my feet. The stretch of Roxas Boulevard that is part of the race route has been newly asphalted which is to my advantage.

Counting few more water stations, I stop and grab a cup and drink. One thing I noticed though, if I spill water on my feet, it's not comfortable and it becomes slippery. On the half way mark I can feel another uncomfortable feeling on the right foot just below my big toe. I can feel another blister forming.

Thumbs up. 
As I run longer, fast runners are already coming back and that includes runners on barefoot. I can now see more less where I stand. There is no way I can catch up with the first and second lady barefoot runners, they are way way ahead of me.  I still push a little faster, approaching the second turn around point and I was over 7km mark already, I am already sure both feet with uncomfortable feeling earlier is now having a full blown blister. It has become challenging especially on that part that there are hardened pebbles on the asphalted road.

I had to endure. Just a little more push and I know I will get to the finish line. I know what I am feeling at that moment is nothing compared to where the funds raised on this race goes to. As I approach the finish line, I did not think of my race ranking anymore, all I thought is to get over with the pain and finish the race. To my surprise my running time is an hour and 8 minutes and I placed 3rd on female barefoot category.

I finished the race and came home with two big blisters but I was really very happy.  Another bucket list checked for me and at the same time I help people in need at the Northern part of Iloilo. Indeed, I am glad I decided to just do this race despite the fact that I never had so much training on barefoot running lately.

It was such a liberating feeling running so bare on the road. I know it is still along way to go for me on barefoot running or even on improving my speed on running, but I always believe I can always start with the first few steps and hopefully will go a longer distance one day.  I am excited thinking what will be the next one, will it be a barefoot on a longer distance on a road,  a trail? Running barefoot around Taal Volcano Island? No...that is too ambitious for me to even think of doing.  :)

My next adventure? TNF100 100km distance. No not in barefoot but having two big blisters from this race, it worries me if I will ever survive fine on such long distance. It's for me to find out.

I come across this two year research study on barefoot or minimalist running. I was never scientific and never did much research on this matter in the past and I can say nothing more simplier the way it was described than how it was explained on the attached article. I hope this thing in running will help me too someday. Two Year Clinical Study on Minimalist Running

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