Friday, June 4, 2010

There Will Be Chafing

I wish I could believe this weather dot com forecast for the next few days, projecting, as it does, clear skies and moderate temperatures over the sight where I'll be running a marathon, or trying, or trying to seem to try.

The tell in this forecast, the part that makes me doubt its veracity, is the rainy day - clear day - rainy day pattern of it. We are asked to believe that a relatively clear Saturday is going to spring from the loins of a rainy Friday, only to hatch a rainy Sunday? I wish I could believe it. I wish I could believe a lot of things, starting, for now, with my readiness for this marathon.

As it is, though, I am in that delicate phase of pre-marathon freakout when I mentally inflate every small ache into a compound fracture, muscle tear, or organ failure. I can tell myself that these thoughts always dissolve as soon as I finally get started, but then, I can tell myself a lot of things. These pangs are always ghost pangs right up until the race when they're not.

I may or may not be blogging a lot for the next few days. I predict chafing.


larryniven said...

Good luck, both with the weather and with your hypochondria. Oh - and with the race itself, I guess.

(Is it appropriate to wish marathoners luck? Is there some "break your leg" kind of thing that I have to say instead?)

Reuben said...

Hey Dale, a general question for ya, though I do not anticipate you getting around to answering it very soon. What do you think of barefoot running? And more specifically, do you do it? Have you done it? Do you wish you would? Or perhaps you sport some variety of minimal footwear? Or not?

After several years of unhelpful treatment for a knee injury, I was turned onto the notion after seeing this video (you may already be acquainted):

Anyway, I'm just getting into it, and, quite frankly, love it, despite spraining my foot on my first day. Whether my knee shall benefit or not remains to be seen. So yeah - that is my general question and more. Best of fortune to you.

Dale said...

Thanks, y'all. I made it all the way without dying or even chafing. My time - 3:26 - is no PR and nothing to write home about, but I put in the best effort I had today and that's what the clock said at the finish.

More on all this later, including the bare foot running thingy. For now my butt hurts and I want to rest.

Dale said...

Reuben, regarding the idea of running without shoes -- I just know you'll be pleased as punch to read my reflections on the topic posted last year.

To which I would now add that once the idea was put in my head, I spent some time looking around at my usual running haunts to evaluate whether barefoot would work there. The answer is no: I'd shred my feet on glass, rocks, sticks, wood chips, glass, pebbles, glass, and gawd knows what else. Did I mention glass?

Maybe after a few inches of callous buildup, but I don't see how to get there, and for me, the reasons for doing so are not strong enough.

I realize there are people who swear by it, and maybe they're on to something. I'll be interested to hear how this goes for you.

Reuben said...

Yes, these are concerns excellent enough to cool any unshod fever. All roads leading from my present location are gravel, which is difficult enough to walk on, let alone run. However, I am fortunate enough to have kind neighbors who permit me to use their enormous fields of non-artificial turf, at for a month yet until the machines roll in cut it up. Then I will be reduced to gravel and some kind of footwear.

Which brings me to my other question: what about some variety of minimal footwear, like Vibram 5fingers, Feelmax, or Huarache sandals? Not that I’ve tried any – I am still waiting for a shipment of anything that I can try on before buying (i.e.: not online), but they are ridiculously difficult to come by. Anyway, these would seem to avoid the alleged negatives of average running shoes – promoting muscle atrophy and unnatural heel striking – as well the as barefoot destruction. Or do you already sport minimal footwear?

Dale said...

Reuben, nice neighbors! Mine invites me to use his pool ... which he rarely seems to clean. I think the idea is to get me using it so that he'll have leverage to get me to clean it.

My running footwear is not minimal, unless you count ASICS 2140s alternating with Nike Pegasus 26s over (usually) Smartwool socks as "minimal." I doubt you do.

I'm open to being corrected on it, but I'm just not convinced by the 'shoes atrophy our feet' idea. I suspect it's trivially true -- shoes compensate for this, take from that, enable this, disable that. I think a repetitive activity like running vast distances (over time) on mostly flat, paved surfaces is going to create "winners" and "losers" in muscles/tendons/bones/etc. no matter what you wear on your feet.

I don't *like* the *sound* of "this or that is atrophying as a result of [option X]" but that's not a knock-down argument against [option X].

Again, I could be wrong.