Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Two more runs under my belt with the Vibram Five Fingers or as my wife calls them, my "FingerToe" shoes.
But this blog is more about run #2.
I had over 500 miles of travel on last Friday with a 2 hour meeting squeezed in down in Houston. So I knew I would be up for a break and a run somewhere along the way.
The incessant rain made me wonder about my plans but not give them up.
I took my running gear with me and planned a stop in College Station, TX. The home of Texas A&M University.
I knew the George Bush (Sr.) Library was there and I knew there was lots of grassland around it.
What I didn't know was that the sports complex was so close and they were apparently getting ready for an upcoming X-C race on campus.
Because I stumbled upon the most beautifully manicured and marked trail that wound around the tennis, baseball, amd soccer fields.
The course was trimmed of any overhanging branches from the nearby trees and had been recently mowed. I could have easily run the 1.5+ mile course barefoot.
I did a few laps all well under 8:00/mi pace.
Even though things were wet, the shoes did well. But not exceptional. They can be slick on mud. And long grass is a hassle between the toes. I also think that too much water just makes your feet soaked and wet feet tend to be more susceptible to blisters, etc. But the course was so immaculate, there was no real concern.
I took this picture just around the corner where you could see Kyle Field in the background.
I also ran today at the nearby hospital. They have a 1 mile walking track. It is all concrete but I could step off to the side for about 1/2 of it to run on the grass. Again, mud and grass between the toes is a pain but not a deal breaker.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'm not crazy, just adventurous.
I saved my nickels and dimes to purchase these Vibram Five Fingers KSO's. Size 42.
If my talking about shoes, toes and running doesn't interest you, skip down to the pictures below of our cabin for a moment, then go about your day like nothing happened.
If such talk of little piggies is interesting, read on.
I first saw a pair of these at the Mystic Mountain Trail race in South Dakota. I didn't know what they were at the time. But I figured if the guy could run the same 8+ mile trail that I just did in these things, they must be ok.
I tried on a pair of 41's last week and that was enough to convince me I wanted a pair.
I waited until a pair of 42's was available to try before I committed. I liked them better. My foot measures about 10-3/8". (That will mean something to others who are considering a pair-...or to you ladies out there...)

I went for my first run yesterday. 3.2 miles (sub 8:00 pace) on very rough gravel road. Maybe not a great choice for run #1, but I needed to know if stone bruising is going to be an issue. I think it will be an issue, but I hope it goes down with time and/or my choice of trails.
After finally getting to the point where I can run 20 miles in regular shoes without blisters and without duct tape (an well used trick used by runners that works better than band-aids), I was hesitant to change up my footwear so drastically.
But these VFF's present a unique opportunity to run more naturally. Hard to argue with that. My running style lends itself perfectly to these already so my transition should be shorter than others who will try them.
I am a very upright runner with a short gait (quick turnover). My heels never touch the ground as I land on the balls of my feet. Also known as forefoot or midfoot running.

I did feel like I was developing some blisters in a new spot if I had run much farther. On the bottom of both big toes. That's a new one. I'll have to work these in gradual, I guess.

Otherwise, I can say that I love the extreme light weight. I should spend some more time just wearing them around but I don't think the steel company I work for this time of year is ready for them and I'm usually barefoot at home so I'll have to pick my spots.

Stay tuned. If I get some feedback and know that people are reading this, I'll continue.