Since returning from Korea, I’ve gone through quite the ups and downs in terms of training. I was in decent 10-miler shape when I landed in San Francisco, and having those massive hills to scale certainly helped improve my fitness. I kept up running in my Vibram Fivefingers and Sir Isaac Newtons for a solid three months, enjoying the route along the Embarcadero under the Bay Bridge, and close to my neighborhood around Candlestick Park.
San Francisco is a city big on running culture. Although they don’t quite have the same level of central authority like Austin has with RunTex coordinating events like the Distance Challenge, Fleet Feet in the Marina still does a pretty good job of bringing runners together from every district (though, to be fair, most runners in the Marina are extremely well off and not lacking leisure time). Bay to Breakers, the 12K across the SF peninsula, certainly struck me as well organized and a fun and unique race.
Just before I left, I had the chance to participate in Divis Up or Shut Up, a monthly challenge to runners enthusiastic enough about hills to risk dying on these slopes. I kid, but between Pacific Heights and the Marina is one steep change in elevation. Five streets run directly up this slope: Steiner, Fillmore, Pierce, Scott, and Divisadero. Hence “Divis up”. Runners who donate $5 and have a healthy sense of masochism can compete by going up and down Divisadero in as many time as they can in thirty minutes. I did four loops, and that was a stretch; my legs were so sore for three days after that run.
It wasn’t the first time I had pushed myself too hard: I broke my wrist in Japan, which prevented me from competing in the 2008 Tokyo Marathon; I had a major stress fracture in February 2010 while running in Santa Monica… training in the Vibrams left me particularly vulnerable to do TMTS; I think I had a minor injury around January of this year – nothing like a stress fracture, but it kept me from decent interval and distance workouts. Most recently, I thought I developed turf toe when I jumped out of my hostel bunk bed of all things and landed on my foot funny. Luckily, it just turned out to be a minor sprain. Back to myself in a week.
So what am I doing now? I’ve been feeling particularly lazy as I’m lacking physical work at the moment and no longer have access to my gym in San Francisco. But it’s necessary, as I work to completely rid myself of the Newton shoes and get back into barefoot running, as nature intended. I’m slowly building up my feet to handle the Vibrams again, so I’ve only been going between 2-3 km daily. That’s one thing I would definitely stress to new BF runners: just because you’ve been going 10+ miles in shoes, doesn’t mean you’re ready to handle an immediate shift to Vibrams. You will get a stress fracture or worse if you don’t start from scratch and work your way up. In fact, it’s better to start just walking for a few weeks in the Fivefingers before even trying to run.
I’m Turner, and I’m here to tell you how I run across the world. Enjoy.