Monthly Archives: June 2010

My Sister Has Really Nice Pavement

I used to be just like everyone else and appreciate a nicely paved road because it was just quieter and less bumpy when you drove on it.  Now, I look at nice smooth pavement and think, “Oooh! I bet that is fun to run on!”

Last Sunday, hanging at my sister’s house in the great state of Michigan, I left the kids behind for a trail run in my VFFs.  I don’t get to stay at my sister’s house very often and it is even rarer when I get to go for a run or hike while I am there.  On top of that, my sister usually leads the way.  My point is, I couldn’t find the entrance to the trail.

Honestly, I wasn’t that disappointed because I had noticed that the pavement is really nice in front of my sister’s house so I was interested to see if I was right.  When I got back to the road, I slipped off the VFFs and carried them for a bit.  Just a head about an 1/8 of a mile was an entrance into a neighborhood with, low and behold, the same pavement!

It was in fact as delightful to run on as I had anticipated.  I would put that pavement above my love for sidewalks.  Because, you don’t realize just how many stones there happens to be on the sidewalks in our town.  Another bonus for this neighborhood was the sunken drains.  I tossed my VFFs down on the grate of the drains and you couldn’t see them until you were right on top of them.  I actually had a moment of panic when I went back to get them because I couldn’t see them and I thought someone had taken my Vital Friends Forever!

I saw one other runner on my 3+ mile run.  I sort of wish I’d have someone stop me to talk about the bare feet but no one has.  I should look on the bright side because that would interfere with getting the run done.

Need to get some sleep so that I can run in the AM.

By the way, check out Barefoot Angie B at http://barefoot-angib.blogspot.com/ with her Nuu-Muu exercise dress give away.  Well, actually, I hope you don’t because I really want to win one and if you do and you win, I’ll be disappointed.

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Hits The Pavement

We will now put crushed limestone at the top of the list of terrains I am not ready to run bare on. I will consider it increadible feet when I do. Yes, the pun is intended.

I hadn’t planned to go bare tonight. I ran three bare miles this morning at home on the sidewalks in town. Things went pretty well but the fourth toe on my left foot was burning pretty hot today. So, I was planning on taking my VFFs for a run tonight when I reached Stevens Point, WI. Quite predictably, I forgot to pack my VFFs.

I located a long 30 mile trail called the Green Circle that, well, circles Stevens Point and surrounding towns. There was an entance point just a few miles away. (Later I discovered an even closer spot to my hotel). I was hoping that the trail might be paved or dirt and figured I could handle a short bare run on either of those surfaces. But, first, I stopped into Target to buy some band-aids to cover the fourth toe.

I parked the car at the access point, locked up and headed out. A couple was just coming off the trail with their sandy haired dog. I noticed that they noticed my bare feet but they didn’t say anything. They were probably thinking, “she won’t last long” and they were right. I hobbled about twenty yards and figured that I might as well be running on the pavement.

So, I revised the trail run for a neighborhood street run. I expected to run past the couple that had just come off the trail. I expected to pick up knowing vibes but I never saw them. Maybe I could go a little farther than twenty yards.

I was plesantly surpised to find the pavement in this neighborhood to have smaller rocks making it less rough than my previous encouters with pavement. This was especially nice when the band-aid came off my toe about a quarter of a mile into the run. You, I know, are not surprised by that event.

However, my pleasure in the smoother pavement was short lived. In another half mile, the pavement morphed into pain inflicting pavent I was accustomed to. I’m lucky to be stubborn or I might not have pressed on. I found the tire grooves, where the rocks had been worn down more, easier to run.

Still, I surprised myself. Just last week I thought it would take me all summer to toughen up enough to run bare for any length. Yet, today, I ran three miles bare not once but twice! My legs felt great and the hot spots were tollerable. At least until I got to mile 1.2, when I entered a neighborhood that doesn’t see much road traffic. ( The things you learn from your feet!).

I finally gave up and turned back at 1.5 miles. The tornado threatening weather didn’t encourage me to run any further either. I made it back to the car without any storms and had only a few walk breaks through some heavily stoned areas.

In the end, I was pleased with my second choice route. I hit the pavement and discovered it was tolerable. I had interesting houses to look at. Sadly, you just don’t get too many neighborhoods like that anymore. The connecting road trail was well marked so I didn’t worry about getting lost. This was a good trail.

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Topsy-Turvey, Upside Down and Backwards

What if everything we thought we knew turned out to be topsy-turvey, upside down, and backwards?

Last year, I was determined to do right by my feet. I bought a good pair of Adidas with increased support for those who run more than 500 miles in a year. I even had the gait analysis. It was rather disappointing after a month in those shoes to realize that I was going to have to live with tendinitis in my ankles. Though, it turns out that I didn’t have to live with tendinitis.

I started running bare on the treadmill last October then transitioned to VFFs in March when I went back outside. By transition, I mean, I put on VFFs and ran 4 miles. That was the end of my transition.

During one of my early April runs, I decided to try walking bare during the cool down period. It was rough, aged pavement. I didn’t last more than 10 steps before I was limping like I’d walked over brilliant hot coals.

A month or so ago, I wanted to try going bare again during my cool down walk. I repeated my previous actions. After about ten steps, It was necessary to put the VFFs back on. Disappointed, and fearful of pavement, I accepted that I was just going to have to live with being a VFF runner. Though, it turns out I didn’t have to run on pavement.

I didn’t become a barefoot runner for noble reasons such as decreased aches and pains. I became a barefoot runner because it just seemed like a good (crazy) idea. Lucky for me, I get to benefit from the considerable advantages of going “bare” regardless of my reasons for doing so.

However, running in VFFs began to gnaw at my conscience. I was claiming to be a barefoot runner but I wasn’t bare. I was mimicking bare. Thus, I was determined to toughen up that skin and be bare by the end of the summer if it meant wrapping my feet in gauze just to go to work. I set a goal of 1 mile bare by the end of summer. It seemed a lofty goal after being unable to go more than 10 steps previously.

The plan was to start walking all my cool downs in barefeet until I felt like I had sufficient skin structure for running in the bare. I thank my inner competitiveness for throwing that plan out the window during the first attempt. Instead of walking a mile bare on a sidewalk, I would run until it hurt too much then walk or put the VFFs back on. I made it the whole mile running bare plus it seemed even better than running in VFFs. Sidewalks felt like velvet compared to pavement.

Ecstatic with completing my goal before the official start of summer rather than at the end, I wanted more. I anticipated that this week would be the start of, or rather, the end of my VFF running. Today’s plan was to bare walk for 40 minutes. (I was trying to avoid needing a second shower in less than 12 hours)

15 minutes into my bare walk I began to wonder why the sidewalk seemed irritate my feet more than last week. Then I considered WendyBird’s blog discussing how stepping lightly would prevent glass penetrating the skin . Could it be that running bare resulted in a lighter step than walking bare resulting in less skin abrassion?

When I hit the turning point, I said “sweat be damned” and picked up my pace to a run. The feet burned a little more than my last run. I attribute that to the abrassion from walking 1.5 miles rather than the act of running bare.

It appears my world IS topsy-turvy, upside down, and backwards. Bare running is better than bare walking. Bare anything is better than shoes. Next I’ll be saying that water tastes better than beer and pink is my favorite color…. wait a minute…

Mark another 1.5 miles on the outside bare running chart. Total distance 3 miles.

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Saturday’s Non-Profit of the Day

My VFFs are making a big hot at the Latvian cultural camp ground. I wore them to the walk-a-thon that we did for the kids camp. It was a four mile walk around the camp. I was glad to show my face to represent the In-laws but I was missing my usual run around the lake. When I run I start from the In-laws so it ends up being a hilly 6 miler. Still, a good dead done.

Yesterday was a shoe day. Actually, it was a sexy, high heeled sandal day. We attended the Christening of a cousin’s daughter. A perfect opportunity to wear the shoes I gave up for extreme special occassions. That darn bunion! Interestingly enough, my foot never started hurting. The bunion was a self diagnosis but now I question my determination of the situation. Had I just been suffering from weak feet? It looks like a job for Super Slueths. Or Scientific Sophie? Stay tuned for an experiment in ladies footware….

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I Accidentally Tri-ed

It started with a library book. When I read a good book, I can’t put it down until it is finished. I stayed up till nearly 1AM Tuesday night reading my library book even though I had 10 more days before it needed to be returned. Staying up till 1 am to read made me very unwilling to wake up at 5 am to run. My easy fix was to run after work when the hubby and kids were far, far away.

Once I got home from work that library book started staring me down. It said in a lilting voice, “It’d be a shame to miss out on all that uninterrupted reading time on the train Friday night.”  It was nagging me.  I had to go to the library.  But how to co-ordinate it with my run?

Should I run with the books? No.

Should I carry them in a pack? No.

Should I return them now and get a new one when I’m done? Sweaty? Eew.

Should I take a long warm up walk? Maybe…?

What about when I leave the library? Walk back home?

I was whining to myself about how long that would take when the answer, had it been a snake, bit me.

Hello?!? Bicycle!

Twenty minutes later, the bike was back in the garage, the new library books were on the counter, and my VFFs and I were off running through the town. It ended up being a mile shorter than I wanted but it was nice having that errand taken care of.  Books can be sooo persistent. 

With just one mile left to go, my plan was to take off my VFFs. I would just run a couple of blocks then walk the rest of the way if my pampered toes could handle it. To my delight, the concrete felt like velvet against my skin. I ran the entire last mile home in my bare feet. I even got whistled at!

I was soaking in sweat when my feet hit the driveway. I needed/wanted a rapid cool down. I popped open the pool gate and climbed into the pool with all my running gear still on. (except the VFFs!) It was sensational.

It struck me funny because I rode my bike, ran, and was now swimming. It was a mini tri-event. Ok, my pool is a circular, above ground pool that makes swimming laps pointless so it was more like frolicking than swimming.

Regardless, thanks to that library book tempting me then nagging me, I completed a tri event! On accident!

Accidental Tri
2 miles on bike
5.3 miles running (1 mile was bare)
Several minutes frolicking

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Best Laid Plans

Usually, when the family is out of town, I take the opportunity to be a mediocre work-aholic. But, it is so difficult when I know my VFFs are waiting for me. I feel obligated to put in a few extra hours for some time I took off to take the kid into the doctor. However, that obligation is being replaced by a deep seeded desire to go for a rediculously long run.

Ok, it won’t be rediculously long because my long runs have only been 5-6 miles. Still, my only time limits will be hunger and a setting sun.

My plan for tonight is to get home. I will eat a simple meal of leftovers. I need pack my clothes for the weekend. Then I can slip into my VFFs.

I claim I am a barefoot runner but I haven’t been barefoot since I got off the treadmill in March. I feel like a poser. Therefore, I will run for many miles (at least 4, maybe 6) then I will cool down with at least a mile of barefoot walking.

Hoping to run a barefoot mile on the pavement before the summer is done.

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I Had A Dream

The raucous tones of the alarm clock shook me from the blissful place where I had been standing. The strain of reality settled onto my chest as I reached to silence the intruder. Without uttering a word, I pleaded for nine more minutes just to see…just to know…to hope for what would happen next. Though I was bound to reality as if it were super powered magnet, I continued searching for that wonderous dream place four more times. At last, when hope had run dry, I relented to the alarm. Once the dream had escaped through the cracks of my consciousness, I was unable to discover the ending.

Depression settled around me that day like a fog near a large body of water in the pre-dawn hours of a cool November morning. It was an ordinary, bright day but my visabilty was limited to a few feet in every direction. Even the sunniest disposition of my dear friend was unable to burn off my gloominess.

It was not a surprising dream. I had wished the wish before. I had dreamed the dream before. Once it had consumed me to the point of evaporating the life around me. Realizing the damage I had done, I accepted my prior decisions and embraced prior commitments.

I thought I had terminated the desire for that dream. I envisioned my acceptance of a life that could be pleasing just the way it was. My depression, at first, stemmed from yearning for an extrodinary life. Then it mutated into depression cultivated by failure to embrace the life I have. It pains me to know that as good as my life has become, I contined to desire something else.

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