Sunday, February 6, 2011

Re-earning my Cankles

As most people have been aware, my running schedule has been intermittent since September. A mixture of life and lack of enthusiasm has meant that sitting drinking coffee in the bookstore, has been more preferable, to well... getting kitted out in lycra. Not to mention the Vancouver winter is enough to sap the excitement out of any outdoor winter regime - that's still on-going by the way; two more weeks of cold rain on the long term forecast. Yuck! I know that it's atmospheric and all 'Twilight', but so is a good horror movie, doesn't mean I want to permanently live in it!

So I finally managed to 'kick my arse' into gear and get the running going again regardless of weather, school commitments and general crapiness of life. It took a lot of personal persuasion, mostly on the lines of, 'if you don't get moving, your son will say it as it is AGAIN and call you lazy and fat'. Remember, he's Autistic, so the whole idea of being offensive is not in his head. In fact, when I pointed out that "You can't call people lazy and fat", his response was, "Well, if they didn't want me to call people lazy and fat, why did they invent the word's, 'lazy' and 'fat'?" That one stumped me too.

My mileage wasn't too bad last week, despite suffering a stomach bug on Thursday which I am still getting over. In fact, on Tuesday I managed 3 runs in day in which I ran a total of 13 miles (21K). My first attempt at what will now be called a 'Kiwi'. I know the term 'Kiwi' makes no sense to anyone - I would like to say it's in reference to a friend who is a Ultra-runner and his shorts, but that probably isn't any more of an explanation. In fact, re-reading that back - it sounded a bit rude.

This increase in mileage after a lull has re-taught me what it is like to be a newbie barefoot/minimalist runner. Those tell-tale aches and pains. The sore calf muscles, the sore abdominals and the 'cankle' pain. Oh yes, this is something that they don't teach you in the plethora of barefoot running books. 'CANKLES'. One of the consequences of barefoot running. Along with 'Hobbit feet', 'Cankles' is one of the more prominent changes your legs/ankles/feet go through when you 'loose the shoes'.

For all those who are staring at the computer and wondering what the hell Cankles are, well.. use "google" for the correct definition, but in this case, they are the large ankle muscles you develop when you run minimal especially over trails. It's an essential part of the change from 'Normal' to 'Hobbit'.

And Oh, how am I earning my minimalist legs at the moment. Wednesday I was walking like they had stuck John Wayne up my arse. I even contemplated walking down the stairs backwards, but with my 6 year old eagerly waiting for such an opportunity to employ the phrase "monkey see, monkey do", I had to suffer and walk down in those little 'hoppity' steps pretending that reaching for the Advil in the cupboard was NOT due to me running a half-marathon the day before.

On Wednesday I decided to rest my legs and go for a 'Deep Aqua-fit' class at the pool. 'Deep Aqua-fit' also known as 'Being completely humiliated by the 55+ crew, as they are calming chatting away and you are producing a face which is a cross between constipation and re-writing Einstein's 'Theory of Relativity''.

Thursday, I spent 'walking like John Wayne up my bum' as I rushed to the bathroom to evacuate whatever food had made the bad move of co-habitating with 'evil stomach bug'.

I spent Friday catching up on everything I should have done Thursday.. well let's just say, I spent most of the week 'resting' my legs. Not intentionally, but it's worked out like that.

As usual, just as I am trying to get my running life back on track, life throws me a 'curve-ball'. Luckily I was lousy at ball-games, so normal mayhem should resume next week. Hopefully the enforced rest will be enough to ensure I can do another 'Kiwi' on Tuesday.

As a note the 'Kiwi' isn't intentional. For some reason, people have the INSANE idea that I am a runner, so I have been asked by friends to be their running partners. I love running with people so before I knew it I am performing a 'rehab run' in the morning, a 'normal run' in the afternoon and bizarrely enough I have been asked to help in the 'Good form' clinic at the local running club in the evening. I have to admit I am not sure how long that gig will last. I don't think they appreciated it when I told them they should 'run like Phoebe in Friends'.

So here I am practising the mantra of new barefoot runner. Take it slow, take rest periods between each run and listen to your body. Just remember though: 'Take it slow doesn't mean, 'do no running, then on one day do 3 runs'; 'Take rest periods' doesn't mean, 'five days of rest in a week'; and 'listen to your body' doesn't mean, 'trying to compose a new song for Brittany Spears, using the gurgling in your stomach'. Just thought I would point that out...


  1. This is a neat post.
    I also learned that I tend to listen to my (lazy) body too much. The body is saying, 'not today, I am tired' and I gladly obey.
    Your little one is very perceptive. There are certain words we should not have invented.
    Have a good and balanced :) week..

  2. I hope you are feeling better :) I am right there with you. I have not ran much at all lately and desperately need to get back to it if I am going to make any kind of progress at MTD. Life does get in the way though.
    D cracks me up!