Friday, 29 June 2012

Scottish interlude

Sorry it's been so quiet on the running blog recently. I've been away for a couple of weeks to Harris in the Outer Hebrides and it has become one of my favourite places in the whole world - not that I've been to all of them. Mrs HF and I recently spent a marvellous fortnight there. It was during all the Jubilee hullabaloo. We watched the soggy pageant on TV and had to laugh - we'd had a gorgeous day of unbroken sunshine and blue sky! Anyone who knows us knows that we very rarely get good weather on holiday; even in the Caribbean some years ago we had 'unseasonal, never-heard-of-before' torrential rain. This time though we had fabulous weather for pretty much the whole 2 weeks.

The beaches on the west side of Harris are magnificent. One day, Mrs HF and I had the whole 2 mile stretch of white sand that is Luskentyre beach to ourselves. It was so fabulous I even tried a bit of barefoot running, just to see how differently I ran. It quite surprised me to realise that it made not the blindest bit of difference! Biomechanically it seems that my usual shuffley plod is pretty much the same whether or not I wear shoes. The tracks in the sand were near identical whether in shoes (Innov8 Terrocs) or barefoot.  I wonder if it is because I usually run off-road anyway, in fairly flat shoes and so have unconsciously altered my style.

Apart from this experiment I ran a few times on holiday and have identified out a great route for next time. This is along the Harris Walkway a 20 mile long trail which, at the part I want to do, hugs the coast and dips in and out of gorgeous rocky bays. I would have done it at the time but, alas, my dodgy calf muscle started playing up again. This is an old injury and is basically due to an inadequately mobile sacro-iliac joint. So it's back to the stretching exercises and gym for me to build up the flexibility and core strength.