Sunday, 31 October 2010

Michelles first cross-trail competion

Hi everybody, Michelle here: So I bit the bullet today, yessiree, I did. Me and my big mouth led me to eating mud, sticks and all sorts of debris. I mean let's face it... 8 weeks of training is cutting it quite short. Although, not all to short for a 5k trim competition in our backyard and so I thought I'd give it a try.

We have been training religiously over the past 2 months. Getting up at the crack of dawn, pitch black and cold with a miner's lamp on our skulls, doing it flintstone-style, 4 times a week. You can imagine that with each week that passes by, our confidence in our barefoot-style running grows and the distances become longer. Referring to Chris McDougall's book, Born to run, it's only a matter of time, before you pick up speed. 

I had battled with my footwear up until now. My first pair being the Vibram 5 fingers caused a major discomfort in my left foot because the distance of the shoe between my ankle and the inner part of my 4th and 5th toes was like a millimeter too short. I switched over to another style, the Terra Nova's and have done most of my training wearing this pair. Here and there I took out the 5 fingers and reajusted laces, cut into the space between the fifth and eventually the fourth toes. This did it and I am now able to run without any pinching, sharp pain or discomfort in my left foot.
Now since the Barefoot-style has yet to take off in the dutch market, my friend Paul and I decided to run the course in our Vibram's. (We had no doubt brought along our fan-club, namely Esther and Ans for support and pic's). Of course we were the only one's trampling about in the mud with these freaky shoes on. I use this word, because of the collective skewered faces we were greeted with when other runner's noticed our footwear. I love this part! Those faces, you know which one's... Those where your just walking by (before the race), and a couple walk by, taking a non-interested look, return back to the direction they're walking and then... the pause (where you can just see the cogs working... "Did I see that right?" Followed by an involuntary flick of the neck back to look again... yes... Yes... those are odd looking shoes, followed by, a glance at your face... where they must be wondering... what does this person look like, who wears these kind of err, uugh, shoes ? Hihi. 

Anyway, back to the race. I was quite relaxed until the start, as the gunshot startled me!

 Three... two... one... PANG! ...and we're off!

It was at this moment where I must have woken up, because all of a sudden, there I was, in the middle of a race, amongst runners of all sorts, and I'm thinking... what on earth am I doing here? I tried rubbing my eye's to wake up and took another look... no, this is real. I tried clicking my ankles together like Dorothy in the wizard of Oz, but I wasn't sure if my Vibram's had the special power her little red shoe's had to get me the hell out of here. It's official, I am in the middle of a race. I took one look at my Garmin, and noticed that my heartrate was spiking at 177bpm... and we haven't been running for longer than 5 minutes! I had no other option, but to surrender and let myself go with the flow.

There's Michelle after a very fast first round. Looking good!

Although I am smiling in the photo above, I'm thinking... that I shouldn't have had that bowl of muesli that I did this morning, followed by coffee just before the race. Attention, attention! To all of you aspiring first time race-runners, never, and I mean, NEVER, run with a full stomach and be sure to leave the coffee until after the race!  I have never felt so ill my entire life as I had this very moment. I'm praying to a higher-power to please help me, as we have 1 lap down and 3 more to go.

 Paul on the other hand, a seasoned marathon runner, is having the time of his life! See pic below.

And there's Paul... picking his nose. To easy for you Paul?

Feeling the way I did, I managed to complete 5.66km in 35.53 minutes and had recorded my best time until now for this distance. I would have loved to have done the 7.77km but that's for next time.

Michelle is finishing and... still smiling. (MK, Smiling because it's finally over!!!)

 Here we are after the race having a giggle and coming back to our senses. You can see the look in my face here explains everything... Hmmmz, I sure learnt a thing or two today!  

Cooling down...

The next few pic's are the 'after-shots' of Paul's Vibrams. You can see that it had been raining until just before the race! Ghehehe, nice and muddy!
The all too muddy VFF's

Esther has just whispered in my ear that she will be joining in the next race. Another trail and bush course 30 km's from here. We will be braving a 10km race together (The Beekse Bosloop / Run for Fun, to our dutch readers, who would love to join), in our Vibram's and wearing a big smile. 

It goes without saying that we'll keep you abrieved!



  1. Gaaf hoor!
    Michiel en ik zijn hier bezig met de laatste voorbereidingen van de barefoot-style running clinics, en toen kwamen we dit tegen… we krijgen er zin van om ook te gaan rennen!
    Hopelijk zijn jullie er zondag bij, maar anders komen we elkaar vast wel ergens tegen de komende tijd.

    Groeten Michiel en Marc (van Frunning)

  2. Sounds like your first race was a lot of fun! Congratulations! Too bad I don't live in Holland, otherwise I would join you! Have fun in your 10k!

  3. Michelle responds: Holland may be tiny, but it sure is muddy and cold! A brilliant challenge for the real die-hards! I still can't get used to it and I'm a die jard in training! ;)

  4. Hello there in the Netherlands. I found your blog and since I love barefooting, cows (your blog background), the Netherlands and running I will follow.
    Seems you had tons of fun. My VFF's here in the States (CA) are getting fewer and fewer comments but two years ago they were shocking. Now barefoot running or hiking is still a head turner but I see more people doing it too. But then again, this is California and people here like the novelty.
    I am into paleo diet also though giving up cheese is not happening for me, at least not yet.

  5. * Ewa; We're sure having a lot of fun! And about the cheese... we Dutch people LOVE our cheese so that also very difficult for us to resist. Thanks for following us! I've added your blog to our favourites (with your permission?). Keep following us and keep posting your reactions.

    * Marc; We zijn er zeker bij zondag! Leuk elkaar nu eens te ontmoeten. Tot dan!