Archive for the ‘Shoes’ Category

So pretty. So shiny

Well the plan had been to run 8 miles as my “short” long run in the new SeeYas.

That didn’t quite happen.

As soon as I got a steady pace going, I noticed that there was a lot of rubbing around my Achilles on my left foot. Of course, I did what every distance runner does when they feel a twinge in the first mile – I ignored it. Obviously, my body was just trying to trick me into stopping and that wasn’t going to happen. Buckle up, boys. It’s Long Run Day.

But by the time I got over the bridge that bit of irritation was growing into a sharp point of awareness. Sure enough, when I stopped for water at the bait shop on the other side of the bridge (an aside to the MTC volunteer that puts the water cooler out there every weekend – you’re amazing), there was a nice red sore spot where the heel cup was rubbing. There’s so little structure in the upper that it was allowing a lot of travel in the heel cup, nothing like the Bikila. I could tell if I let it be it was going to be raw by the time I ran back. The honeymoon was already over.

So three miles out and a killer blister on my left foot, I decide the most logical thing to do is to pop the shoes off and finish up my run totally barefoot.

It’s almost a shame, what’s gonna happen to you

The difference was astounding. That first mile was the fastest of the entire run and it felt fast. It’s been so long since I’ve done any work without my shoes, I’d forgotten how different my feet react. The toes splay and grab as I strike. The various surfaces – sidewalk, pavement, terrazzo, grass, sand – all provide distinctly different feedback (beyond slick, not slick, slick, not slick). It was an invigorating “accident” and served to remind me that I need to work to incorporate regular barefoot runs into my training.

I’m still not ready to ditch the shoes – the sore spot on the pad of my right foot is a good reminder that feet and pavement don’t like each other all that much; but I’ll make sure I’m prepared on my next run with some Bodyglide and a few Band-Aids (just in case).

The inaugural run of the SeeYas will just have to wait.

Logging what was to be my last run with the Bikilas on Runkeeper, I clicked over to take a look at my history. Turns out I was only 6 miles away from reaching 800 miles!

How could I retire my shoes when I had such a perfect round number within my grasp?

My OCD got the best of me and I strapped on the old reliables one more time.

Remember these babies?

Well they look considerably worse for wear now!

You can smell them from here, can’t you?

One great thing about running in minimalist shoes has been how quickly my stride patterns show on the sole. I was able, early on, to see where I was striking hardest and and gauge whether or not I needed to adjust how I ran. Interestingly, I always thought I came down harder on my left leg; but if I’m to base judgements off of where the first hole showed up, I seem to favor my right leg. I’ll have to see how the SeeYas wear.

It’s all about sole.

Looking back on my nearly two years of running; I’m really pleased with how far I’ve come. The first few runs in June 2010 I was struggling to maintain sub-14 minute miles and any mileage over 3 was a challenge. Now I’m contemplating my first full marathon and am pushing myself harder to drive that average pace consistently under 10 minutes per mile. Not bad for someone who loudly proclaimed running to be the stupidest way to ruin a perfectly good walk.

Can’t wait for the next 800!

The End of An Era

Posted: April 25, 2012 in Shoes
Tags: , , ,

772 miles later (give or take a handful of beach runs), my original pair of Vibram Bikilas have finally given up the ghost (as much of a gear geek as I am, I chose the least effective running style for quickly cycling through shoes). The soles had been wearing down considerably quicker as I increased my weekly mileage leading up to the Sarasota Half last month; but I thought I could make it through the summer (and till the pre-season shoe sales!).

But it was not to be and now the quandry before me is, do I stay with what I know, with what’s worked, and get a new pair of Bikilas; or do I grab the new hotness and snag some SeeYas?

…I think we all know how this will end up.

Well this morning’s run turned out to be an interesting one. I got the Bikilas in the mail yesterday and I’m already a fan. You put them on and, standing still, you feel fast. Once you get going, you forget the shoe is there at all…until you run through terrain that has twigs or rocks or other sharp bits; then it just feels like you’ve got a nice protective layer on the sole of your foot. There’s still a substantial amount of feedback – if there’s something jagged or something that’s not going to easily yield under your foot, you feel it; not enough to hurt, but enough to know that you need to react.

Aren't they pretty and shiny? We'll take care of that.

So this morning, I threw on my new Bikilas and was ready to see what kind of difference they made in a regular run. Like I said, they performed exactly how I hoped – they didn’t get in the way and kept my feet protected at the same time. There was a bit of rub on the Achilles from the loop pull, but that will work itself out after a couple of runs (or with a bit of hacking of my own). Nothing else chafed or rubbed. Think armored toe socks and you’re not too far off.

The surprise 5K came into play when I was nearing the back half of my run. There’s a gravel road near the front of our neighborhood that I’ve driven by for years, always wondering where it went. Well this morning, looking for a little bit of surface variety, I figured “It runs parallel to the main road, I’ll just see where it comes out…” About 5 minutes later I was in the back end of neighborhood I didn’t even know existed! By the time I got myself to a road that looked familiar, I’d already chewed through another mile and was right back where I started…which was a mile from the house! Considering the longest run this week was two miles, I was slightly dismayed. So my pace took a hit and by the end, my feet were dragging (another benefit of the Bikilas, when my foot inevitably drags, it’s the sole of the shoe taking the hit, not my foot; but it’s still enough of a jolt that I correct right away and start picking my feet up again). 15 minutes later and I was finally back at the house looking at my first (incredibly puny) 5K time (give or take .1 miles)!

Not so shiny now, are ya? Ya damn smug shoes!

So I really got to put the shoes through their paces (har) and learned that one should possibly consult a map when when one has a freaking GPS in their phone. But overall, it was a positive experience – looking forward to getting out again (next week, though – I need to give my legs a rest!).

A Conundrum

Posted: June 18, 2010 in Shoes
Tags: , ,

If the Fates smile on me, my Bikias will be waiting for me when I get home today!!! WOO!

Alas, I’m also giving blood in about 45 minutes…guessing that running as fast as I can for 2 miles in my shiny new shoes is one of those “strenuous activities” that they want you to avoid.

Sigh. Guess I’m “giving my muscles a rest” today, then.

Apparently, I chose the hottest running shoe on the planet to start running with, as there are no Size 40 Bikilas in stock within 100 miles of Sarasota. (Assuming that’s my size, which I can’t confirm, because no one has them in stock, knows when they’ll be getting them, and are only taking first born for access to the call list)

So, Plan B. If I’m serious about this, the shoe shouldn’t matter. Heck, the shoe is actually the antithesis of the entire barefoot running trend. If I’m going to break through the plateau I’m on (Can you break through plateaus? Seems that you’d just drive off them), then I should stop reading about it, grab my iPhone, queue up Runkeeper, and just run.

Do or do not, right? I’ll be back in in a bit.

Riding Dirty? No – Running Geeky!

Posted: June 14, 2010 in Gear, Shoes

Let’s get this out of the way.

I don’t run.

Anyone who runs more than 100 yards, and isn’t being chased by an angry bear, is insane.

That being said, my wife took up the sanity-challenged sport a couple of years ago and I have been deeply jealous of her gear ever since she started.  I’ve even taken to the treadmill a few times in the hopes that some latent spark of running love would be ignited.

Even with the full-series box set of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and a swank pair of bluetooth headphones waiting for me at the treadmill, I didn’t last more than a few days.

However, while accompanying her on her semi-annual gearing up for new shoes (amazing how fast 500 miles goes when you’re training), I came across a pair of Vibram FiveFingers Bikilas.  It was then that I started the Great Rationalizing Process.  

Me: Oooooh! Want!
Also Me: You don’t run.
Me: It’s not that I don’t like to run.  It’s that I don’t have the right gear to run the way I want to run!  
Also Me: You’re an idiot.

Since then, I’ve convinced myself that, yes, despite the fact that I loathe cardio and running, I will become a barefoot runner!

I plan on failing spectacularly.