Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Barefoot Running on the Pavements of Manila

Last Sunday starting at 7:30, I went on a slow long-distance run along the Macapagal Boulevard, passing the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, the Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard, Rizal Park, around Intramuros, and back to Macapagal boulevard, around the Mall of Asia and back to Baclaran. I did most of it barefoot - but by 10  am, the pavement became so hot that I had to put on my Adizero rocket running shoes until I finished my run at 11 am. While celebrating mass in shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran later in the afternoon, I had to walk slowly especially going up and down the sanctuary since my calves were stiff. I must have overdone it.  It's been a long time since I ran long-distance barefoot. That was last year on the Camino de Santiago - from the French Pyrenees across the North of Spain up to the old city of Santiago de Compostela covering around 800 km which I did in 27 days, most of it barefoot (I sometimes had to wear my sandals when the afternoon heat and the sharp gravel paths became unbearable).

After my Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, I haven't done much barefoot running. When I ran/walked across the Philippines for 57  days covering 2060 km, I wore my running shoes. I figured that it would not be possible for me to run/walk barefoot 40-50 km a day on asphalt and cement highway. I noticed that I got a lot of blisters while wearing running shoes. I didn't get any blisters during my barefoot pilgrimage on the Camino which I find miraculous.

Since I started living and working here in Manila last June, I have done some short barefoot running  for 20-30 minutes twice  a week as part of my training for the Condura marathon next February 2012. I have integrated my marathon training with my daily commute on foot from Baclaran to the CBCP-BEC office in Intramuros in the morning and back to Baclaran in the afternoon. Last week, I ran barefoot the whole way from Intramuros to Baclaran and last Sunday I did it as part of my long run.

There's a big difference between running barefoot on rough terrain and on concrete/ asphalt pavement. I miss the feel of the earth under my feet. I have to get used to running on the hard and hot pavement of Manila.

I've been going through my bucket list - things I want to do before I die. I already checked the following: Bike Around the Philippines, Run/Walk Across Mindanao, Run/Walk Barefoot on the Camino de Santiago, Run/Walk Across the Philippines.

There are still a lot of items which remains unchecked. Among these: Run marathons every year up to my 90th birthday, break 3:33 personal record, join the triathlon, run/walk the Camino again during my next sabbatical when I'm 65. Can I still do these things?

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