Posts Tagged ‘Vibram’

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).

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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!

Post-run: Soaked and Loving It!

Well apparently a few thunderstorms and a 20 degree dip in temperature are what it takes to get me really going! Missed karate tonight and was determined to do something, so I pulled on the Bikilas and headed out despite the rain. Didn’t have any gear tonight since I didn’t want Noelle’s iPhone or iPod to share the same fate as my poor pool-soaked iPhone. It was actually nice – there wasn’t anyone out because of the weather, it was considerably cooler than normal, and the rumbling in the distance created a nice mellow soundtrack. I took the time to really listen to my stride, since I didn’t have any other distractions. When I’m really getting things right, I barely hear myself hit the ground at all. When the wheels start to come off, that’s when I get the wet slapping of my whole foot hitting. I also tried to change up my technique; lifting my feet with my knees, rather than pushing off with the ball of my foot. I’ve seen it described in a few places and thought I should give it a shot. It helped considerably and I was able to shave ~3 minutes off my pace (the temperature helped a lot too).

I noticed that I didn’t have any of the bone-jarring landings that I’m used to when running. Granted, I’m fairly certain I’ve been doing this all wrong for as long as I’ve run; but running “barefoot” forced me to take notice of it. My heels don’t have the cushion to absorb those kinds of landings, so as soon as the horizon starts thudding and vibrating, I know I’ve got to adjust quickly.

Minimalist...and filthy

So 28 minutes, 2.1 miles later, I came back soaked, dirty, and ready for more. A note on the Bikilas – they performed perfectly in the rain. I was concerned that they would tighten up in the wet, but the material they’re made out of stayed pliable. And they kept great traction – even on wet grass, I didn’t worry about slipping even once. I’m hoping for more rainstorms soon!

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.

After a bit of advice, I thought I’d change things up this time around and stick to the grass more (though not always – there are times where the sidewalk just looks safer). I knew I was in for more of a challenge – this being the second time out and my calves were still recovering from run #1, and I had a karate Fit class last night that killed my glutes, and…um…two pieces of sausage pizza kind of fell into my mouth before my run?

At any rate, I hit the road (grass, whatever) dragging. I did manage to improve slightly on my pace (13.16…woo); but the less regular surface proved to be a lot more work to run on than I was expecting. Easier on my feet, yes, but grass hides a lot of hazards. The benefit of going barefoot was that I could quickly adjust (though the twigs in my neighborhood apparently have it out for my instep!). I can see where doing this on soft surfaces is an improvement, but I still need that layer of protection if I’m going to make barefoot(ish) a regular part of my training. Luckily I tracked down a pair of Vibram Bikilas and they’ll be in the mail to me tomorrow! Woo!

I can tell that my stride needs work as well. I’m still wanting to hit hard with my heel and tonight, when I didn’t have the adrenaline of doing it for the first time, and my muscles were fatigued, I kept on falling back on that. I’ve read some interesting articles about kind of “falling forward” into your stride when you’re going barefoot and I think that, after I take a few days off, I’ll give that a serious go.

I did have one really solid moment towards the end of the run where the Season 2 theme for Buffy the Vampire Slayer kicked in and I decided “When Buffy is on, no matter how tired I am, I run.” That gave me the kick I needed and got me moving when I was fairly convinced that I was done for the night. Now I just need to figure out how to string those moments where everything clicks into a cohesive battle plan!

So a successful run, yes; but it’s definitely going to take some work to keep me going strong! Thanks for the support guys (and the song suggestions – they helped tonight, a lot!).

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.