Hello from Belgium!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Pawmaline, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. Pawmaline

    Pawmaline
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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    My name is Hans and I'm 36 now. I've been very sick for two decades after some traumatic surgeries, but the last three years I've managed to begin healing myself. After finally freeing myself of the fentanyl and other medications, I turned to natural methods and luckily those worked!

    Being barefoot is something recent for me, a few weeks, but walking barefoot and especially learning to run this way has given me a new passion for life, and has had a majorly positive impact on my health. I've been gradually increasing the distance and improving my technique, taking it slow but it is so much fun, can't describe it in words.

    The two main things for me so far in terms of running, was the huge importance of cadence, I'm trying to run at about 175 BPM, having the fast cadence made a big difference. Also something I recently learned is how much it matters, at least in my case, to focus on letting all the power and pressure go along the structures of my big toes. Basically I found that when I focus on pressing down my big toe and the toe next to it, letting my weight be carried by the big toe and its metatarsal bone and tendons, my ankles stabilize and don't hurt anymore and I get tired much less quickly.
     
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    #1 Pawmaline, Oct 23, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
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  2. Noodles

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    Welcome Hans :)
    As a beginner too, concentrating on cadence also made a huge difference to me. I aim for 180, and still marvel at the (for me) counter-intuitive effect of increasing the cadence when I'm tired.
    Interesting idea for the big toe, I'll have to try that. In skiing and snowboarding, a lot of the control comes from the big toe (and the hips), so it makes sense that the same holds in running too.
     
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  3. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    Nice! How long have you been running? Can you tell me some about how you got into it and how it went for you until now?

    I just went out and learned something new again by the way! Using my big toes as a focus helped to relieve aches in my ankles, but earlier after about a mile I felt them again, though less intensely. I tried to relax my ankles and achilles to relieve the pain, but then my toes threatened to drag against the ground. I vaguely remembered something I had heard on a YouTube video, about the hamstrings "pulling the feet".

    So once I did that: relaxed my ankles and achilles completely right after the step, then pulled my feet up from under me with my hamstrings, it just felt so natural suddenly and all the remaining pain vanished instantly! I felt the strain transfer away from my ankles and feet and toward my glutes, which also let me know that my ass is really weak and that I need to strengthen it. No wonder I guess after sitting and lying no it for 20 years, wasting away.

    This run today made me so happy haha!
     
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  4. Noodles

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    A potted history is here... I'll add more later - who doesn't love talking about themselves ? ;)

    Hello from France...
     
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  5. Barefoot TJ

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    Welcome, Paw! Please feel free to join the Belgium Chapter(s). :barefoot:
     
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  6. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    Thanks! Already joined. :)
     
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  7. petit-pied

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    welcome Pawmaline.
     
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  8. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    Just read the thread, thanks for the link. Looking forward to reading more from you. :)
     
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  9. trevize1138

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    Welcome! You're certainly doing a lot right getting into running without shoes. I think of my bare feet as canaries in the coal mine warning me very early on of anything I'm doing wrong. In shoes I always struggled to learn how to run more efficiently and without injury because my feet just weren't getting the instant feedback needed and bad habits just festered until the inevitable injury.

    A 175 cadence is a great place to be. I'm less than an inch shy of 6' myself and 175 is where I tend to average on my long, slow distance runs. For a 5K or faster run my cadence can be up more around 185-190. Do yourself a favor: start experimenting with an even faster cadence. Develop the skill of learning how to be comfortable running at anywhere from 175-200 while still at your slow, easy pace.

    In my experience the absolute worst-case scenario of running with a little too quick a cadence is ... nothing bad will happen. Maybe there's a bit of an efficiency hit there if you're stepping too quick so it's not perfectly optimal. But you will be very, very far from injury with feet moving that quick and light. You'll find it very difficult to engage in wasteful, damaging habits like over-striding and pushing off too late moving your feet quick.

    175 might be optimal for you but maybe you're better at 185. The only way to be sure is try out 200 for a while, get used to that, see how it goes and if after a week you discover it's not exactly working for you go down to 190 or 185 and see how that goes. If you do all that and end up back at 175 the experience you'll have gained by shifting through all your "gears" will just make you a better runner.

    And keep smiling! The greatest runners in history ran with smiles on their faces. Good running doesn't come from "digging deep" or "pushing hard." It comes from keeping your running joyful and fun and it sounds like you're already there so don't lose sight of that.
     
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  10. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    Thanks so much for the advice! I did notice that when I get a bit tired and then increase my cadence, stamina returns almost right away and the tiredness is gone again. My glutes are stiff now but with a faster cadence that soreness doesn't seem to cause me to get tired. I don't have a metronome or smartphone, so with the cadence I just have to go on feeling, but I found some good songs on Spotify that are designed with a certain amount of beats per minute, maybe I can practice running in place with those and get a feel for cadence.

    I always welcome any more advice you have! I have so much to learn, and a passion to do so.

    The anatomy of the lower leg and natural running is so fascinating! I ran 5km shod every two days for almost three years, but kept having to watch out for pain in my knee, and the experience was never as amazing, grounding and educational as now. I am learning so much about my body, and it is inspiring me with this all-new overwhelming desire to discover and connect with Mother Earth, with nature and all things related.

    Sadly it is getting colder now in Belgium, "Winter is coming!" and my feet just aren't ready yet for the bite of the White Walkers. I got myself some minimalist running sandals (expensive stuff yikes) that I can wear socks in, and luckily that seems to work for now. Next spring I will go fully barefoot again through the whole day, and hopefully the winter after that my feet will have gotten strong and hot enough to never need the sandals again.

    I'm reading Lee Saxby's 30 page book about Proprioception, next I plan to buy Barefoot Running Step By Step and also Born To Run. If anyone has any other reading suggestions I will definitely welcome them.
     
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  11. trevize1138

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    That sounds about right! There's a bit of a psychological battle going on there, too, because you're used to equating quick feet with going faster and more effort. So, part of the "tired" you feel with your cadence may be your mind screwing with you and trying to convince you you're more tired than you really are. The proof is right there with how your stamina returns right away.

    On the physiological end the quicker you move your feet the more aerobic you're going so you may feel the urge to breathe heavier which is also good. The more pure aerobic work you do the better your overall efficiency will be. As your mind gets used to the idea that quick feet don't always mean getting tired your body will adjust to using more fat stores and oxygen intake to provide more energy rather than just burning through limited glycogen stores.

    I run all winter in MN in my huarache sandals with a pair of Luna Tabu split-toe booties. They're windproof and I lace them up with 72" leather laces which coil around the ankle. I can therefore wrap up the bottoms of my insulated pants creating a nice seal. It keeps my feet toasty down to 0 degrees F (around -18C, I think?) I'm just too used to sandals and barefoot to go back to shoes even in winter. If we get another set of -28F days due to Polar Vortex I'm staying indoors, though!

    Of the books you're talking about I've only read Born to Run. It's certainly not at all a how-to book on running form but it's just a great read. So many wonderful stories. And there's also some solid advice in there that can sound like flighty, Buddha under the lotus tree wisdom. Anything Caballo Blanco says about running is like gospel to me now: "If you have a choice of one step or two between rocks take three." "You start with easy because if that's all you get then that ain't so bad."
     
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  12. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    Very astute points you've made, I agree with you on the significance of the mind in this. In these past three years or so after my withdrawal from anti-depressants, sleep medication and fentanyl, I've come to learn that the mind is really the key to everything. In my experience everything starts there and it massively influences every aspect of our being, be it physical, emotional or spiritual.

    I wouldn't have lived another year as the dosages were so high that my organs were shutting down from toxicity, but the doctors didn't know what else to do about the chronic nerve pain. I was given up on by doctors and family, friends were long gone. Only my mother still had hope and faith, and I wanted to live, if anything stayed alive with me in my near-dead body, it was my zest for life.

    I decided to change and control my thoughts, to drag myself out of that pit of self-pity and victim mentality, to face the pain and sleep deprivation no matter what, and learned that willpower and self-discipline is just like a muscle - even if it starts out being weak, the more you use it the stronger it will get.

    The past years were a gruelling recovery, mostly I've just had to push and push and push. But now since I've discovered the wonders of being barefoot, I am experiencing an immense joy and pleasure, passion and purpose for a change. My whole life was plagued by surgeries and illness (I was born with a bad case of cleft palate, with many additional health complications and problems).This year is the first time in my adult life that I feel truly alive, that I feel true joy.

    This barefooting I've found, is my thing more than I can describe in words. Not just for running but also for walking, hiking, grounding and connection to nature, to my body, to Mother Earth and even the invisible realities. I've had some quite interesting and probably uncommon experiences on that level. I would describe it all as a connection and attunement to "the bones of life", I think.

    Back to running, do you have any recommendations for Huarache-style running sandals? I've found this DIY kit with a Vibram sole on Amazon, would you say that works? A picture here: https://i.postimg.cc/Yq27S715/Vibram.png
     
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    #12 Pawmaline, Oct 26, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
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  13. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    My new books have been delivered. :bookworm: upload_2019-10-28_14-37-29.png
     
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  14. BareFootHeath

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    Hi Hans,

    Experimenting with bpm can be interesting. When I’m doing the 170ish range I feel relaxed, almost flowing, when up in the 180 range it’s definitely more powerful and my senses feel more heightened. I never experienced that shod.

    There’s something to be said for putting focus on how the foot contacts the ground. It’s a great feeling to be in the zone where you’re aware of everything coming together and it takes on a sense effortlessness...I value those moments.
     
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  15. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    So true, running shod was fun and my body and mind really needed it for my health and recovering from so much toxicity and illness. But running barefoot has put the experience on a whole other level.. it gave me a renewed passion and joy for life and has become the best thing in my life. :happy:
     
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  16. trevize1138

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    Wow. I don't even know what to say. Barefoot running has done way more for you than it did for me. I got a new lease on an enjoyable sport but you got a new lease on life. Amazing!

    That DIY kit looks like it'll work just fine. I've also made a couple pairs of my own sandals out of bullhide and leather cord. It can become a new addiction/hobby building your own running sandals. Just the idea that I can lace up my own footwear is strangely empowering.
     
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  17. Tedlet

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    Welcome Pawmaline.
    Looks like you've certainly been through it!
    Good to have you on board...
    Enjoy! (that's the main goal..:)).
     
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  18. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    Thanks! That gave me confidence to try it out, I will give it a go as well.
     
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  19. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    Thank you! And yeah definitely, finding joy is my whole intention with it. :joyful:
     
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  20. BareFootHeath

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    I did a little bit of an experiment with this today and found the results kind of interesting.

    For the first five miles I was wearing my Fivefingers and discovered that there was indeed a more enhanced sense of stability and feeling of traction (couple of inches of fresh snow last night). I noticed that my feet touching the ground had a more definitive feeling of mid foot connection as well. Kind of neat. There was a bit of ‘tension’ (if that’s the right way to describe it) in my lowercalf/Achilles area...it wasn’t painful, just that sense of tension.

    Kind of got cocky and decided to run the last 2.5 unshod. I was able to retain that focus the first couple of miles but the last half mile or so involved some numbness (it’s -7C today with a bit of a breeze) so I can’t say with all certainty that I retained that technique for the end.

    Curious to see if I experience any unusual sensations in that lower calf/Achilles area.
     
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