This morning I had a great run. I decided to go with the flow and just wanted to do an easy 30k. Since I had no specific pace I was trying to do, and also since I had no set plans for the day, for the first time in a while I took some impromptu trails and explored new territory.
I did a common route of mine down Plenty River and onto the Yarra towards the city. Once I got to Heidelberg I took as many mountain bike trails as possible. Lots of new ones that I had never done before. The trails in Ivanhoe are great and very quiet. I only came across one mountain biker and we exchanged surprised “hello”s as neither of us were expecting to actually see anyone on these trails. Most of these single trails make you feel really alone in the wilderness with overgrown trees and branches, tree roots to navigate and uneven ground. At one point I had a sense of deja vu and she with impeccable sense of direction had just run in a complete circle without realising! This circle was in between Eaglemont and Ivanhoe and was actually a really nice track with lots of other tracks branching off it. I wish I had a credit card sized camera to take on these runs. Maybe I will ask Santa. But since I don’t, I have included a MapMyRun thingy. Check out km 10-14. I recommend exploring around here.
Last week I got my new Five Fingers. They are a size up from my old ones but they still feel like the most luxurious and comfortable slippers in the world! As my achillies is still healing, I can’t run in them all the time but I did take them for a test run last week. I did an easy 10k and they actually felt more cushioned than my Nike Frees. Why is that? I think because the Frees are a normal shoe, my feet seem to expect some cushioning so perhaps they are not running correctly and I really notice a hard landing in them. In the FFs, I think my legs and feet instantly know to run softly and I don’t feel like I am landing on a hard surface with them even though most of my running is on concrete. The legs just know that you have to be soft and supple otherwise you will do some damage.
Unfortunately I was a bit enthusiastic and headed straight for the monster hills of Lower Plenty Road followed by the Greensborough Hwy hill which I love to hate. Although I put a small heal lift in the FFs, I could feel my achillies strain from the first hill onwards. It was great to feel the incredible lightness of being with the Five Fingers. There was no effort. Everything felt free.
An interesting thing I experienced today while running trails in the Frees is that the further your feet are from the ground, the less stable you are. There were a few times today when I had to watch my balance on the uneven ground. If my ankles were weak, I could have easily rolled or sprained and ankle. I know that if I was running in the Five Fingers on those trails, I would have been much more stable. The feet need the direct contact with the ground. Think about it. When was the last time you rolled an ankle when you weren’t wearing shoes?