Saturday, February 5, 2011

Early Morning Trail Run In Huaraches

My buddy Dan and I packed up our car at 0520 this morning and drove 3 miles to Garin/Dry Creek regional park in Hayward, California.  He took one look at my 5 Finger Vibram's that were on the floor next to his feete and gave me a funny look.  He said there is not much there to run in.

You should have seen his face when I turned on the light and showed him my feet shod in hand made huaraches that I received in the mail last night from Invisible Shoes.

It was really cold when we entered the deep canyons of this remote park.  My bare feet were freezing cold!  The gravel on the fire road made things even worse.  I felt like I was running on a bed of nails.  Fortunately, we found a nice dirt single track trail to run on.  Ten minutes into the run, my cold feet could not take it any longer.  Dan was surprised when I slipped off my huaraches and slipped on the Vibram 5 Fingers.  Lightweight shoes have their advantages!

I was not really prepared for the cold.  I had on enough warm clothes on top-a t-shirt, long sleeve thermal, and a light weight wind breaker.  Everything below my waist was summer wear including my cold bare feet.

It was a good thing to take it easy in my huaraches and not run too far.  As excited as I am about them, I need to be careful so I will not get blisters by the small ropes attached to my feet.  I was well prepared for any blisters as I added mole skin in the area wear the rope goes between my toes. 

The experience running in huaraches with exception to the cold weather was nothing short of total freedom.  I customized my Invisible Shoes to feet like socks on  the bottom of my feet.  They contoured perfectly to my arches.  I am not sure if this is by design or by luck.  Whatever.  It worked for me!  It was just like running barefoot in the play ground.  I felt everything.  Yes, I felt the sharp gravel rocks, sticks, twigs.  I managed to dodge  all the cow pies without any splats.

The big question is will my feet get tough enough to run on the Bay Area gravel fire roads?  I sure hope so.  Three weeks ago, I was thinking the same thing about running in the Vibram's.  I felt every rock and pebble.  Now it just seems natural and I don't give the trails a second thought.

Garin Regional park is an awesome place for trail runs.  There are dozens of miles of trails through various terrain.  It's a good place for a quick trail run mid-week after work or for a short Saturday morning workout.

We climbed up very quickly and had a great view of the sun rise over the Bay Area.  This place is loaded with wild life.  We heard coyote yelping and turkeys gobbling in the deep canyons.  Dan had visions of mountain lions jumping us.  I told him that we had a better chance seeing mountain lion around Mission Peak.  This park is loaded with deer.  When I drive by early in the morning or towards sunset, I often see as many  as 20 grazing lazily in the open meadows.

Even thought this park is extremely close, I rarely run there because for trail runs, I like to venture out for 5-6 hours in Mission Peak or Ohlone Wilderness Area.  This is a "micro" park for ultra runners.  It's more like a play ground.  Don't let that stop you from visiting this place.  You could run 2-3 hour here and not cover the same trail twice.  We had no maps of the area and had to guide our selves by the sun, the bay, and some good old fashioned common sense.

1 comment:

Steven said...

Just a quick FYI... you shouldn't get blisters anywhere with huaraches.

Blisters are always a friction issue, and friction is always either a form issue or a tying tightness issue.

That is, you'll only create friction if your shoes aren't tied tight enough and you slip around on them, or if your form (usually overstriding in some fashion) causes you to put undue force on your feet.

In other words, blisters and pain are a sign that you're doing something that can be corrected rather than covered over.

Do with that what you will and enjoy being able to Feel The World.

Oh, and I forgot to mention: over time your feet learn how to handle the cold. I've worn nothing other than my Invisible Shoes (and sprinting spikes when I'm on the track) and have been amazed at how my feet have adapted to deal with the cold.