A weekend with no running and a Monday where I had a work meeting in the afternoon that crushed any run plans, meant that I was hungry for a long run on Tuesday. I decided on the long lunchtime run down to the High Junk Peak trail and back. I'd worn the Cascadias on my previous outing on Friday, and have a strict policy of rotating shoes to prolong life, so I decided to run the route in the Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves.
Immediately setting out my calves were sore. Again. Now, last week, when I set sail on my 10km in the minimalist shoes and pulled up later with very sore calves, I didn't want to blame the trail gloves outright, since my calves were sore at the start of that run too... But I think I've got enough data points here to say that, while no single run in the minimalist shoes has caused my calf pain, I have probably been wearing them a little too often for someone just starting in minimalist shoes. So, yes, I am blaming the Merrel Trail Gloves for my current hobble, or perhaps, better put: I'm blaming myself for not transitioning into minimalist shoes at a slow enough pace.
Where was I?
Oh, right. Sore calves... and a misty mountain trail:
Heading out along the road to the mid-point on-ramp for the High Junk Peak Trail
When I hit the trail, there's a list mist of rain falling and things are wet!
Still heading up the hill towards the High Junk Peak Trail. The "on-ramp" I speak of is about a 1.2km trail that climbs about 130 vertical metres
Finally up on the trail real, I've got my head the clouds and my (bare)feet on the ground
The trail can be seen twisting away here on the lefthand-side
Things getting a bit wetter as I move into the second half of the trail
Beautiful, wet, overcast conditions as I slide down the bike trail (the "hiking" trail is a series of steps... boring!)
And I literally mean slide. The thin sole of the Trail Gloves, obviously not designed to cope with really muddy conditions
The other hoof
As I descend the final set of stairs, there's an old (50+) lady carrying these bricks up the hill! Impressive
I cruise the roads back to HKUST, arriving with sore calves and about 10mins behind my normal time. I think I'm losing the most time on the downhill sections where I would be landing on my heels in a normal pair of shoes. Uphills feel very normal, and flats have an increased cadence.
While the Trail Gloves aren't the best *in* the muddy conditions, they do shed the mud pretty quick, and on returning to HKUST, their sole was clean!
In retrospect this run probably wasn't a good idea. I certainly was pining for the trails a bit, and once up on the High Junk Peak Trail, I was right in my element, loving it. But running the 14-15km route in the minimal shoes set me up for another week of sore calves and completely blasted my post-work swimming plans out of the water (I barely got 1.2km before cramping calves wouldn't let me continue).
I think I'm going to have to scale back the distance I put in the Trail Gloves. At least until my calves recover and strengthen a bit.
See you all out on the trails!