I’m headed to Michigan this weekend for a wedding and baby shower, and I’m supposed to run 11 miles tomorrow morning. I just checked the forecast and apparently it’s going to be 20 degrees tomorrow morning in Michigan. YIKES!  I’ve been spoiled in DC with weather in the 60’s for the past month or so, so I’m not sure I can handle this. It will be tough to wear all the extra layers, I always feel so bulky wearing a lot when I’m running.

My ankle has also been hurting ever so slightly since last week. blah.

This is my last long run before the half marathon in 2 weeks. I wonder if should just postpone until early next week if it really is too cold.  That would also give my ankle more time to heal. Is it okay to move the last long run into the tapering period?

If anyone reads this I will be surprised, but just in case, I’m sorry for abandoning my blog for so long!  My excuse is that I moved to Washington DC and started a new job.  I was also bummed out by my lingering piriformis injury.  But I’m back, and I’m still barefoot running! I basically took the summer of 2010 off from running and started walking as much as possible instead to stay fit.  Around the holidays I started building in a little bit more running, but it was  just too cold and snowy for my fivefingers on most days.  I decided to invest in some Terra Plana EVO2s and I’ve been using them ever since to build up my barefoot (style) running.  I’m up to 10 miles now in my half marathon training program and so far so good! I haven’t had any serious piriformis pain, for the first time since the injury started after my first marathon in 2007.  My calves are super tight so I’m working on stretching them out as much as possible.  Any tips from other barefooters on the best way to loosen up calves after longer runs?

If anyone is still out there, hello again, and I’m sorry for the long silence!

My friend Sarah at Daily Nibbles kept getting questions about barefoot running, so she asked me to provide some quick answers.  I’m definitely not an expert on the subject, but I did my best to address some of the basics based on my experiences over the past few months.  Check out the interview here.

Barefoot Angie Bee also has a Wooha gear giveaway going at her blog! Check it out at http://barefoot-angieb.blogspot.com/2010/04/whooha-gear-giveaway.html

Otherwise, I’m still taking it easy and using my foam roller in an attempt to heal my piriformis. Swimming tonight, strength training tomorrow, and hopefully more barefoot running soon…

Homeade Huaraches

I don’t need another pair of barefoot running shoes because a) you don’t need shoes to run barefoot, and b) my piriformis injury is still making it difficult to run at all. 

Despite all this, these huaraches just looked so great I couldn’t resist giving them a try (warning: pictures of feet coming up…)!

I’ve been interested in huaraches and other types of traditional footwear for a while now.  It just makes sense – these shoes are tried and tested.  After reading Jason’s review at Barefoot Chronicles, I thought these might be nicer than my fivefingers for summer running (better ventilation).  I got the DIY kit from invisibleshoe.com – I looked into buying the materials separately myself online, but I could only find large pieces of the sole material so it would have cost more this way.  If you’re planning on making several pair, then you cold probably save money by finding the materials yourself.

This (clearly) isn’t the traditional method of lacing huaraches – I don’t quite have that mastered yet. This is an easier slip-on method of lacing I found online at invisibleshoe.com – I improvised tying the extra lace length for now because I want to keep the laces long so I can use the traditional lacing method in the future.

Here’s the side view:

One of the nicest things about these is how they seem to instantly mold to your foot.  I’m still supposed to be taking it easy on the running, but I admit I took them for a quick run (less than a mile) and also walked about 3 miles in them yesterday. They were surprisingly comfortable! I’ll have to wait until I can run in them more to reserve final judgement, but for now these seem like they will be better than my normal flip-flops for general summer wear, and might even work for running longer distances after a little more break-in time.

More on these to come, my next project is to tackle the traditional lacing method.

I’m frustrated today after taking it easy for almost two full weeks without any improvement.  My piriformis pain is about the same, or possibly worse than two weeks ago.  I’ve been walking, stretching, swimming, massaging, and icing, but nothing seems to help.  Maybe even walking is irritating my piriformis? I did walk about 4 miles yesterday between my morning walk and lunch time walks. I have the energy to run many miles today, but will be taking the day completely off in an effort to get some relief from this problem.  I just hope I’m not losing the barefoot conditioning I spent so many months building…

Oh, and adding to my frustration is the fact that I finally ordered a shiny new garmin forerunner a few weeks ago when I was feeling great about my progress, and now I can’t even use it. ugh.

To end on a positive note, I was excited to learn that my dear friend and baker extraordinaire, Sarah, blogged about my potstickers yesterday!

I decided to leave work early on Monday so I could watch the Boston Marathon for the second time! 

Last year I volunteered at the mile 23 water station with the Boston Area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (that’s last year in the photo below), but this time my friend Ray was running so I decided to take the afternoon off and watch for him near the finish line. 

Sarah was also visiting for the weekend and she did a wonderful job of capturing the event on film and describing our afternoon at her blog Daily Nibbles.  At one point, as my eyes were glazing over from concentrating on the many, many, runners, I was delighted to spot a barefoot runner sprinting towards the finish line – totally barefoot and looking great after 26.2 miles! Unfortunately, I was too busy watching him to snap a picture (sorry!). 

Later we visited the Boston Public Gardens and the tulips were gorgeous! Sarah is a much better photographer than me, but I managed to snap this shot…

Ray finished the marathon in 2:52 – speedy! He also happens to be a physical therapist and was kind enough to give me more advice on my piriformis injury.   He watched a video clip of my running and noticed that I don’t really lift my foot/lower leg after each step – which means I’m probably not using my glutes as much as I could be – and thus might be overworking my pirifomis muscle. It sounds like he might be on to something because I know my glutes are pretty weak.  I’ve been working on strengthening them, but probably not enough.  Alas…I’ve been keeping my mileage very low for the past two weeks and cross-training whenever possible.  I also saw a massage therapist for the first time on Friday and she was wonderful – it hurt, but I think that’s a good sign.  I’m still hoping that targeted strengthening, massage, stretching, and easing up on my mileage will help me get back in the game.

And now for some big news.  You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned much about my job here.   That’s because my work plans have been somewhat up in the air lately.  But now the word is out so I can finally fill you in on the details.  After many, many long months of waiting, I just found out that I’ve been offered my dream job in the foreign service with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)!  Contingent upon my passing a security investigation, I should be moving to Washington D.C. in August to start this new adventure. After a few months of training in D.C. I’ll be assigned to an overseas location (yet to be determined) for my first tour in the foreign service.  So,  it’s official, barefootin’ it is going on the road!

After last week’s 5 mile run on Sunday I finally admitted to myself that my piriformis is once again bothering me.  I decided to take it easy during the week, so I played tennis on Tuesday (in my vibram’s, which was great by the way), ran an easy 2 barefoot miles on Wednesday and walked on Thursday.   I went for another easy 2 miles on Friday.  I’ve also been stretching religiously, doing some targeted strength training every other day, and icing whenever I can.  Unfortunately, none of this has really helped and I still feel quick twinges of pain when I get up from sitting, and while I’m walking around.  The strange part is that it never really hurts during the run, only after, which makes it hard to tell if I’m overdoing it.   I finally caved and booked an appointment with a sports massage therapist.  I’ve heard that like IT band issues, piriformis syndrome is really difficult to get rid of, and that deep tissue/sports massage may help in some cases.   After dealing with this for almost 3 years, I know I can still keep running 3 or 4 miles a few times a week and not have have major problems, but whenever I increase my mileage up to about 5-6 miles it definitely starts to hurt more. And I really, really want to increase my mileage.  Every other part of me feels great and wants to keep going. ugh.   From what I understand, barefoot running won’t make this injury any worse than running in shoes because it’s not casused by impact, but by repetitive forward motion.   I was just hoping that my new, improved barefoot running form would change the way I run so much that it would also help with the piriformis syndrome. It seemed to work at first and I was feeling better until I got up to about 4  miles or so.  No long run for me this weekend.  Hoping a little more rest and some massage therapy will help… Has any out there ever actually gotten over piriformis syndrome completely???