Wednesday, August 22, 2007

barefoot bliss on the beach for vr5

Time: 1:45pm (I know I'm late again. Sorry.)
Place: Newport Peninsula
Distance: 4.25 miles

The summer heat has really steamed up around here with temps in the 90s and humidity reaching 60%. To abate the heat I headed out to the beach again for our virtual training run #5. This time, I drove down to Newport Peninsula, bracing myself for its notorious tourist crowds.

It seems as though a lot of kids are back in school this week. Newport wasn't so crowded, and I easily found a parking spot on the beach side, no less. With my car just steps from the sand, I took my shirt and my shoes off and left them in the car. Don't you get any funny ideas there–I still kept my shorts on though. Black's Beach, this is not.

Running barefoot
somewhat interests me. Proponents claim that because the feet don't have the cushioning that running shoes provide, the runner becomes more aware of each stride and the way their feet land on the ground. The result is that one runs naturally, and it is associated with lower prevalence of acute and chronic injuries of the ankle and lower leg.

I started out on the strand by 28th street heading towards Newport Harbor Pier about a quarter mile down. The wet packed sand tickled my soles. Ahh, what a sensation. My feet and toes felt free from the confines of my socks and shoes. With every step, my little piggies stretched out digging themselves into the sand. Immediately I noticed that I was landing on my heel, so I adjusted that and concentrated on landing either mid or forefoot. This part of the beach is the most crowded because of its proximity to the parking lot and the numerous concessionaires. I had to go around kids oblivious to the world around them as they screamed in delight at the crashing waves. I crossed under the pier and set my eyes on the next landmark, the Balboa Pier about a mile and a quarter down the beach. The crowd thins out, and there was less dodging and weaving around kids and their parents. I stayed close to the water, sometimes running through it as the surf rushed up to the sand. I hardly paid attention to my pace as sunbathers, body surfers, skim boarders, sand castle builders, and flirtatious lovers kept me distracted. Before I knew it, I had arrived at the next pier. Crossing underneath it, I turned around and headed back the direction from where I came.

I've done this run before a while back, but it seems so much easier this time. Perhaps I'm in better shape now. Or maybe because I had shoes on previously, so had to stay in the drier but deeper sand. It didn't take me long, and I was back where I started. I thought about jumping in the water, but since this is a work day, decided that maybe I should go back and do some work.

Now I don't think I'll convert to barefoot running like this guy I saw at the Mt. D race, but I can definitely see its merits. While running, I became more conscious of where I stepped and how my feet landed. The soft sand underneath provided a therapeutic effect akin to someone massaging my feet with every step. The stretch that my toes received throughout the run was not something that I can get with my shoes on even with toe socks. I imagine that running without the comfort of the insoles underneath would somehow build up the skin on my soles and help prevent blisters.

So, I wonder how the rest of my VR buddies did today. At last count, we have participants in three continents now. I look forward to reading your recaps as you post them.

Reports from other Virtual Running Buddies:


stephruns said...

We both had some experience with sand today - just the way you did sounds much better:-)

I saw that barefoot guy at Mt.D., too - how does he do it? Over rocks and roots??? Ouch!

I want to do a long run along the beach sometime, just to make those legs work hard. Let me know if you're interested joining me!

hitme64 said...

my recap's posted and vr5 is done for eric...congratulations to everyone! wow, 3 continents, 4 to go hahaha! this is getting too be exciting...wish i could run in the beach someday, maybe when i retire i'll buy some beach front and run wantonly for all i care :D

bEnMChAn said...

I envy you again.... i wish i could do that here. But then again, unless i want to injure my feet cause of all the trash in our beaches here. :D

Nice run and recap e-rod! :)

rick said...

Couldn't do it either, always have a phobia about injuring my feet with something unseen under the sand. I feel the same way about grass. Probably an irrational fear. I work at home, it's hard wood floors and I don't wear shoes so that helps a little with the whole stretching the foot and little piggies thing.

jun said...

although i didn't sign up for the VR i feel that i was with you guys in spirit. i was kind of doing my walk-jog-skip-hop thinggy while delivering mail. around the time you took off i was on my 4th swing only. by the time you finished i wasn't even half-way. i walk a total of 7-8 miles everyday anyway, but for today i added some knee benders and some lounges if only to honor the VR participants from around the planet. it's the thought that counts, eh? one of these days when my schedule allows i will gladly, physically join the fun.

but hey, eric, when is your next long run? if you're buying burittos i will run the longs with you. cold ones or two, perhaps, to go with that? on me.

Addy said...

someday I'll have to try to join you guys :) Sounds like a lovely run! All this talk of barefoot running lately has made me curious. I vaguely entertained the thought looking down on the beaches as I ran above them. Maybe I'll experiment at some point :)

caloyb said...

that sounds like a real nice running experience - barefoot on the sand. speaking of running barefoot, there is this guy i know in davao who runs barefoot on pavement! he trains and runs distances from 10k to the full marathon that way! tough, huh?

norabarnacle said...

Convinced the husband to come out with me, recap posted! Very cool. Glad you had a good beach run!

e-rod said...

steph...just let me know when and where, and i'll join you. sundays are probably best for me right now.

hitme...take a vacation and head to bora and you'll have your beach run. no need to wait till you retire. you might be too old to appreciate it by then. :)

ben...fortunately the beach is semi-clean of debris, but it's still risky though.

rick...i hear you. i was concerned about stepping on broken glass or something, especially with a race coming up. i don't think it's irrational either.

jun...hey, dude, we felt your jig, walk, skip, and hop at that hour. i like how you added a little bootcamp action to your vr workout. i'm doing bulldog 25k this sat, then a 3-4 hour run on sun. not sure of the time yet, depends on how my sat. nite goes. you're welcome to join me any time on my runs. just remember that i'm sloooow.

addy...yeah, when are we going to see a santa cruz contingent coming out to play? you can be my barefoot beach buddy too.

caloy...that's pretty tough. i bet he saves a lot of money from not having to buy those expensive running shoes.! just read your recap. what a great hubby--and everyone from cali, to the philippines know it now too.

banggigay said...

the beach comber in me turned green again. i mean, why haven't i thought about running on sand? it's sure more difficult but definitely fun! isn't it? eric be thankful how blessed with nature beauty is out there and you live right at the center of it. i'd trade place with you anytime of the day! haha!

Jaymie said...

E-rod, could you take a video of your next beach run? That way, all of us v-runners who run on scary, polluted or not-as-scenic routes can vividly picture ourselves on your side of the earth instead :)

jun said...

i'm slow too so, birds of the same feather...are birds! but no can-do on sunday coz it's central-recovery with my little dragon. at 0430hrs saturday i'm on my first mile for my long run. next week wednesday the 29th i'm off.
have fun on the 25K. you're gonna breeze through that thing. be safe though, as in literally "watch" your steps.

Running Freeman said...

Nice to try that one out, but unfortunately the beach are quite far from the city. btw have done w/ my recap. :)