My best barefoot training week since I shed my shoes...

Blog entry posted by Julia Chi, Oct 8, 2017.

A week of training in the life of a barefoot runner training to run across Spain…!


Sunday October 1st
I woke as dawn streaked across Lanzarote island; my plan was to run 24 kilometres and meet Anadi for breakfast on Famara beach… I had checked the tide tables and saw that I would have time for most of the kilometres on the beach before heading for the road. My feet have done many road miles recently and I am very aware to keep building them up, and not breaking them down…
The beach was completely deserted for the first stretch up to the end, except for a lone surfer in the waves… On the way back I met a few people walking together, but essentially the wild windy expanse was all mine.
After 14 kilometres of running, the tide was rising fast, and the sand becoming squishy soft, so I made for the road and ran out and back for another 10k…
The running felt easy on my body, a little sore on my feet on the road, but nothing that they couldn’t take. I was aware of the need to keep strengthening them as they have a long journey ahead come March!
Anadi was waiting for me in Famara, and we sat enjoying tostadas and cafe con leche in what was now a bright sunny Sunday…
Monday October 2nd
My feet were remarkably recovered this morning, but I still decided to stick to running on grass… I enjoyed looping around and about on the inside of the track at Club La Santa. I covered an easy 6.6 kilometres watching people enjoying their activities, as I ran… A kettle bell class on the grass, runners circling the track, a father and son kicking a football about – and a group playing tennis beside the track…
In the afternoon I returned with the intention to run another grass session, to find that half of it has been sectioned off in order to repair the surface… I chose instead to circle the track 16 times… I lapped 4 circles one way, then 4 the other and varied the pace by striding the straights and jogging the bends, finishing the session with an easy run about on the grass that was still free to use…
A total for the day of 13.6 kilometres… And then I met Anadi and together we went to the gym to stretch
Tuesday October 3rd
The days have broken grey and moody each day… The people of Lanzarote happy for a rest from the sun. The temperature very clement for running and the sun peeks through occasionally, burning hot when it does!
I rose and drove to Famara beach again… The low tide reaching its farthest point later each day, making it easier for morning running on the beach… I haven’t been joined by Anadi for a week and a half now for three reasons… 1) he caught his bare foot on the pavement the Sunday before last in Eastbourne, making walking let alone running painful for a few days… 2) lots of work! 3) he has a bit of a throat cough thing, which was for a while lingering on his lungs…
So I have been a lone runner, which I enjoy and can happily run every mile alone if required… I do love his company though and the tapestry of a run with another is another experience entirely… Run philosophique as apposed to silent solo ‘meditation on the move…’
I ran just once today… 9.8k along the beach and back… At the turn I enjoyed racing the tide to make my turn point a ‘randomly appointed rock’ – and appreciated the freedom of no shoes, as a man who was following me had to race up the stones to avoid his shoes getting soaked!
Wed October 4th
The tide times at Famara are working their way nicely in favour of morning runs on the sand… Low tide at 7am today meant that I could leave La Santa at a quite civilised 8.20am, in order to run the 10k on the road to the beach…
I wore my Skinner’s socks, to give my feet a little longer to recover and develop an even tougher sole!
And to be honest the first 5k to Soo are pretty ouchie – uneven jagged road – even with a pair of socks on…
As I padded through the village a man sitting on a bench murmured ‘Descalza’ (Barefoot) … So however much I now feel that I am quite shod in a pair of socks, it seems that my feet still have the appearance of being quite ‘bare’…
The day was grey and overcast again, but for me Lanzarote always has a magical feel to it and the air was warm. As I approached the Famara beach, the clouds were parting to reveal silky blue skies which cast a drape of translucent beauty over the landscape. My feet were joyous to be released again to feel the sand and the sea.
I called Anadi when I reached the time to turn back, to alert him to drive to meet me for breakfast. As I reached the finale of my run, I stopped to photograph the scenery, the surfers and the sunny skies and I saw him walking towards me over the rocks…
18 more kilometres run with breakfast beckoning…
Thursday October 5th
Vast expanses of sand under a clear azul sky; blue as blue. I but a dot on the land below.
The space leant itself to my spirit soaring and my body desiring the feeling of running free and fast, so after I had jogged and clambered over the wet slippy rocks at the start of the beach – I ran for 3 minutes and walked for 1, repeating this all the way to the end and back again…The changing rhythm allowing me to enjoy the sense of flying on land, and then to feel the hard wet sand under my soles – to have a sense of being the whole beach…
At the end of the shore I circled a big rock – it felt like I was adhering to some sort of ancient ritual – and then ran back to the slippy rocks again and crossed the road back to the car having covered 9 kilometres of playtime fun and freedom in the barefoot step…
Later:
At 6pm I went down to the track, the sun was setting, the heat of the day leaving…I circled slowly on the outside lane enjoying watching some other runners doing the same thing, a teenager and her mother… a younger girl and a boy; and me.
Round and round the track we went, while planet earth continued making its circles too around the sun… I covered 6k and then wandered through the peaceful ambience of another evening starting at club La Santa, to meet Anadi for stretch in the gym…
Friday October 6th
Famara beach greeted me – the expanse of sand even more vast than yesterday, endless serenity to run along before breakfast….
My day had started live on FaceBook connecting and sharing with others… What a wonderful way to begin a Friday morning… I then drove to the sea and ran for 8 kilometres along the shore.
My body loves to run on my bare feet, my running feels like play all the time now… By the end of today’s training stretch, when I put the k’s into my spread sheet which magically adds them up, I discovered that have already covered 88 kilometres this week… One day to go, so my weekly total will be the highest for many many months…
I am feeling invincible and yet I know this is the very time to back off again – and that when I travel next week, and head to the mountains it will be wise to bring the volume down… Both so that my body receives the full benefit of the increase in kilometres over the last month – as well as to adjust to being at altitude; where historically I notice the reduced oxygen in all my runs!
Saturday October 7th
A birthday run for my husband Anadi…!
It was his first run for awhile, as he has been in the wars a bit… Two weeks ago he stubbed his foot and gouged out a great lump under the forefoot near the big toe, and just as it was healing he got a chesty cold thing…
But today his birthday dawned shiny sparkly sea bright and he felt well again… We drove to Famara where Saturday fun was building on the beach… Surfers, runners walkers and those enjoying lying in the hot sun on the sand…
Anadia and I ran side by side right to the end where the sea was splashing with enthusiastic frothy energy over the rocks, we stopped to paddle for a little while and then circled the big rock and ran back for breakfast with 9k completed.
Later…
I raced a 5k in my Skinners Socks… The Club La Santa Saturday afternoon event… I loved the race so much. I felt flowing and fast and the socks in terms of movement are the same as being barefoot, but it’s easier to run on burning hot uneven pavement and rocky lava road!
I ran 21.52 and surprised myself with my pace and form…
I also ran 104.5 kilometres for the week… My highest mileage in 6 years ! That translates to 65 miles
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Julia Chi

About the Author

I have worked for forty years as a mentor, coach, teacher and healer. I am now sharing myself and my insights as I blog, SolesJourney.com, and vlog, SolesJourneyTV.com, about my adventures on my barefoot nomadic journey. I have been running all of my life. From the early days as a young teenager when I raced around a grass track in my bare feet, to running at top level, my first international race a 5k X country competition in Spain, to posting a marathon best time of 2.36.31 in the 1986 London marathon.