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Cruise-ing

You know that scene? The one where Tom Cruise does the famous slide and dances in his socks.

What? In his underwear? No. No. No. He’s dancing in his socks. Don’t you remember?

Ok, we all remember it as the underwear scene but it wouldn’t be the same if it hadn’t been coupled with that fantastic entrance, courtesy of his socks.

In the last couple of years, I was bitten by two bugs. First, I was bitten by barefoot running then I was bitten by crazy knee high socks. It’s a love triangle, I guess, because you don’t wear socks when you run barefoot and wearing socks means you’re not barefoot. My two separate loves are able have their place in my life thanks to the winter season.

This past summer and fall, I went barefoot more often than the previous year. I even switched to wearing minimalist shoes at work instead of dress flats. Considering that my minimalist shoes look like lizard feet (VFF) or trail trainers (Pace Glove) this is a rather big statement as to my preference for foot wear in all occasions. I’m anxiously awaiting delivery of Merrell’s Life Gloves that will be perfect for the office.

Back to my point, I embraced my barefoot nature as much as I could. Even at home with the No Heat Challenge I went barefoot all the time letting my feet adjust to the environment of chilled tile or cool imitation wood. (cool as in cold not as in sick which is as in cool not as in barf all over)

I looked forward to I wearing socks with wild colors and holiday themes again once the frost started to set in and frost bite was just a couple of miles away. It’s true, socks claimed their place in my love triangle.

Much to my chagrin, however, I have realized that bare-footing has put a wedge between my socks and me. I grew so accustomed to the language that my bare feet speak that my body no longer knows how to interpret my socked feet signals. Literally, I am slipping, sliding, and unable to navigate across the floor in a comfortable manner because I’ve lost my grip!

It has been a bit heart breaking and confounding, because, how did I ever walk accross the floor in socks before?

Now, when I am wearing socks, you’ll find me more often sliding across the floor like Tom Cruise in whitey tighties because I just can’t get a the hang of walking without grip. Oh, well, I might as well take those old records off the shelf. Spring is just around the corner.

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Filed under Barefoot, minimalist shoes

Another Shoe

It’s hard for me to compare one shoe to another as I am in a different place and made adjustments as I moved along this path.  I am unable to determine if the difference is in the shoe or in me.  Perhaps that is why Dr. Craig Richard’s proposal to study running shoes makes sense after all.  

Neither here nor there, I am going to tell you about my new shoes.  For the most part, I like to go barefoot.  There are places like work, the store, Monster Truck Jam when I feel (or am required) that wearing shoes is necessary.  I find it most interesting how self-conscious we are about shoes or no shoes.   No matter how crazy, or different, or daring we are, even us barefooters, are programmed to feel self-conscious about going without shoes.   I have yet been reprogrammed.  Thus, I bought another pair of shoes. 

When I went barefoot, I kept my Adidas shoes for casual wear, turning the compost pile, or other emergencies.  This past winter I resigned to the fact that I had no tolerance for sub-freezing temps and slushy, icy roads when wearing my VFFs.  I sunk to wearing my Adidas for winter runs.  Bah.  I am fairly certain wearing those Adidas lead to the flare up of tendonitis that I have yet to resolve.   Even wearing the Adidas for casual wear began to make my feet hurt more and more.  As a result, I began my hunt for a minimalist shoe that I could wear for winter runs.  Now that it is summer, I need a shoe for casual wear. 

My latest purchase…. Merrell pace glove.

I do not intend to wear these shoes for the purpose in which they were designed, at least, not very often.  I purchased these shoes for casual wear in the summer.  See all the nice mesh upper?  I have not had a stinky foot since purchasing them! This is very important because I tend to take my shoes off all the time, like, in the car.  The 5 hour Memorial Day car ride was a bit unpleasant until I covered up my stinky feet. 

I also tried on the Merrell Pure Glove.  I was mad for the red ones. I have wide feet so I was very pleased with the fit of both shoes.  However, I have to note that I fit into a 9 for the Pace but an 8.5 for the Pure based on width alone.  It is not often that I have to go down a size due to width.  Although, I went to the store for the Pure, I chose the Pace just because it seemed to feel better. 

I was going to wait until I actually took them for a run before writing about them but the best you are going to get is a half hour of playing tag at the park with the Cub Scouts.  I did a lot of short sprints and twists and turns.  The shoes did well.  They have a little bit of tread in them as you can see below.  You can also see the dirt on the front of one shoe.   

I’m already tired of writing this review as you are reading it.  I’ll cut to the chase.

Things I like: 

  1. The sole follows the curve of your foot.  I feel like it hugs the ball of my foot. 
  2. The width is fantastic
  3. They seem easier to walk in than VFFs.  Not sure if this is a real benefit or if I have just learned how to adapt a barefoot stride to shoes.  I do remember feeling awkward trying to walk in VFFs last summer.  I have no problem waking barefoot but I seem to have a brain-shoe connection with my stride.  This seems reduced when wearing my Paces. 
  4. Love the look.  They just look good plus they draw less attention to my minimalist style. 
  5. The back hugs up around your heel.  It is a fabric covered piece of elastic.  Because I am going casual in these shoes, I leave them tied.  The elastic heel allows me to just slip them on.  I had a bit of irritation from rubbing on the heel but I think that would be reduced if I was tieing them as I’m supposed to be. 
  6. When riding my bike, the grated edges of the pedals are less noticeable in the Paces than in the VFFs.  I won’t wear the VFFs when riding my bike.  The Paces are perfect.
  7. The sole is completely flexible unlike a lot of other shoes I have looked at. 

Thinks I don’t like:

  1. They might be considered barefoot, but they are a shoe. period.   They are not the same as going barefoot.    
  2. I agree that it seems a bit silly to spend so much money on a shoe that is supposed to feel like it’s not a shoe but I’ve tried going with cheap shoes.  I wore a pair of Payless ballet type tennis shoe last summer.   I don’t know why but if you are going to wear a shoe, maximus or minimalist, you do get what you pay for. 

In all, the Merrell Pace Glove is almost exactly what I was looking for in a casual minimalist shoe.   I’ll keep my Miminus Lifers for cooler weather when my feet won’t stink so much.  I’ll keep my VFFs for running on extreme surfaces.  I’ll try to go barefoot as much as possible and stop spending so much money on shoes!

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Filed under Barefoot, cycling, Vibram Five Fingers

Head Spins

I just read the blog post and response from Asics on Zerodrop.

I have to say, “Wow!”  I didn’t realize how passionate people could be about shoes.  Oh, wait, I forgot about Imelda Marcos and her 2700 pairs of shoes.   Or Vogue Editor Anna Dello Russo with 4000 pairs.

Anna Dello Russo

Why is Anna wearing granny pants with this outfit?? 

I don’t have evidence.  I’ve never been interviewed.   If I ever go back to running in shoes, I will buy Asics.  I hate my Adidas shoes that were recommended to me by a running store so much that I’d rather go barefoot.  (pun intended, as it always is) I wear VFFs at times but I prefer barefoot. 

I have tendonitis in my heel and foot.  It is neither getting better or worse from running barefoot.  

Just like with my ‘religious’ beliefs, I am not going to go out and convince anyone which way they should run nor do I want them to shove their beliefs down my throat. 

I have a mind.  I’ve already considered things.  This is what I believe.  This is how I run. 

Yes, I still wear 3 inch heals when given the opportunity. (I really am a podiatry doctor’s nightmare)

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Filed under Barefoot, personality flaws, running, Vibram Five Fingers

Stubborn Rhymns

I moved those bare feet a little further on down the road.  My last bare run was 0.4 miles. Today, I went 0.85 miles.  I wasted time donning the VFFs at the bridge limiting how far I could go in my 30 minute run.  Tally of 2.74 miles. 

Wait, didn’t I just promise the other day to start making my runs more fun and less concerned about distance?  Ahem…

Seriously, running in the VFFs was a lot of fun. 

Light on my feet

Running through the street

Listen’ to the beat

Oh, man, light on my feet

 

..which brings me back to the barefooting…strangely,  I felt labored and leaded during the bare portion.  Once I had my VFFs on I was all foot loose and fancy free.  (Pun totally intended)

This reflection upon my bare run brings me to a decision.  If I intend to spend my summer trying to have more fun with running, am I able to … do I want to struggle to go bare? 

How many times does stubbornness rule your day?  I’m beginning to realize that I am much more stubborn than I give myself credit for. 

I really want to get back to, no, I’ll be honest; I really want to brag about going barefoot. 

How to do that?

In a conversation at work, someone asked another co-worker how far he runs every day.  It was like 6 or 10 miles.  They asked what he does to warm up for those runs.  I looked at the co-worker, he looked at me.  We said simultaneously, “Run a mile or two”.   I, myself, have experienced when the later miles were better than the former miles.  I was training for my first half marathon.  I recall miles 1-5 had sucked but the next 2-3 miles were fantastic.

Perhaps it wasn’t the barefooting that caused me to drag in the beginning of my run.  Perhaps it was just the general warming up part.  So, I’ve decided to rearrange my running plans.  I will run bare through the last mile instead of the first mile. 

Yeah, I’m stubborn as a mule

I take carbs and protein as my fuel

I fight my brain in a duel

Using my feet as the tool

Conquer the mental game so I can rule.

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Filed under Barefoot, running, Vibram Five Fingers

Trying to keep up Run Smiley Viral

I’m putting in a link to a great blog on running for fun.  My one reader can check it out and keep a good thing viral.  (My stats say I have about 5 readers but I’ve been here long enough to know not to trust stats.)

The Best Accessory

Changes in Attitudes, Changes in Latitudes (I can’t say change in attitude without singing the song)

Thanks to Barefoot Angie Bee for keeping it viral

I used F.U.N. as a running accessory last year.  I got to say, Kate is right.  My summer runs last year were really good runs.   How did I get there?  I think it did happened for me when I went minimalist/bare too.  Because my goals were no longer the hard and fast distance, speed, and miles.  They were soft and fluffy like a cloud or a pillow.  Who doesn’t like pillows?  Anyway, with a goal of transitioning to barefoot, I got really excited about just completing the run.  About doing something a lot of people thought was CRAZ-ZY.  I kept it up and just kept going.   I was feeling good about accomplishing a run rather than obsessing about the data that went with the run.  It was like falling in love all over again.

Thanks for the reminder, Kate.

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Filed under Barefoot, personality flaws, running, Vibram Five Fingers

A Transition Period

Barefooting – I am very pleased with my progress in transitioning back to barefooting.  Last week, I went for a walk during my lunch in the park just up the hill from my work.  It’s about a 20 minute walk.  After reaching the turnaround point, I got brave enough to remove my shoes.   The path is mostly a rough asphalt.  It wasn’t horrible but it was clear that the winter treadmill runs did not toughen up my skin as much as I had hoped.   This morning I ran 0.4 miles in the bare before donning my VFFs.  I felt like I could have pushed my feet further but I am in a phase of my running where I will proceed extraordinarily carefully in my transitions.  Again at lunch, I climbed the hill for a barefoot walk through the park.  This time, I went bare both ways and already I see an improved tolerance for the rough areas. 

Tendonitis – I mentioned before that I purchased the Egoscue method for solving chronic pain.  The book and websites promise almost immediate relief in symptoms.  I certainly experienced reduced stiffness in my calf muscles but I continued to suffer from pain with it becoming nearly crippling during a day after running.  I read a blog on someone else who tried Egoscue and he reported that he did not get immediate relief either and that the expectation should be up to a year.  That is not exactly how the program is presented.  Back to me and my crippling ankles… a funny thing happened after the half marathon, as I mentioned in my report, I was able to ease a significant amount of pain and stiffness by using a couple of the Egoscue (common sense) exercises but I performed them endlessly for nearly an hour.

Since the half, I’ve modified my routine so that I no longer do the exercises exactly as prescribed.  Typically, upon waking, I lower myself to the floor and do the foot circles and flex/point, repeat the foot circles and flex/point then do the calf and hamstring stretch.  Then I go on to do whatever I have planned for a morning exercise.  Note: I have not gone 100% back to running.  I am travelling 2.46 miles with increased intervals of running.  At the end of exercising, I repeat the foot circles and flex/point then spend a great deal of time stretching my leg muscles.  The time I spend stretching is almost as long as I spend running or exercising.

Although things are infinitely better than before the half marathon, I still have constant tendon pain in my ankle and I want to increase my running distance, eventually.  So, I am searching further for advice on healing ankle tendonitis.  I came across a website called Tendonitis Expert.  I like a lot of his theories on the planter fasciitis and tendonitis.  Unfortunately, I’m not willing to spend the $39 for the book.  Well, not yet, anyway.  The Tendonitis Expert offers some free advice on icing.  Again, not exactly rocket science but still some good pointers on how to get some effective icing.  Last night, I took an ice cube to my ankle tendons in a manner similar to the Dixie cup method resulting in some instant relief. 

I plan to add the icing to my favorite Egoscue exercises and see where that takes me.  Maybe back to the tendonitis expert, maybe not.   You may be saying that 20 – 30 minutes is way longer than you have to exercise and stretch.  Well, honestly, I’m hoping that once the tendonitis is healed, I will be able to scale it back to a maintenance stretch time.    

** Note: I contacted the Egoscue website and asked some questions about my particular ankle pain.  I received no response.

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Filed under Barefoot, running, Vibram Five Fingers

Why It’s Hard To Save the World

I enjoy playing the super hero, doing things to save the world… like carpooling. 

But, carpooling puts a little cramp into my style. 

See, my car pooling buddy goes to work earlier than I do(did).  So, I am now leaving the house an hour earlier.  Which means that if I want to run before work, I’m going to have to start getting up before 5 am.  Eeek!

Except this week because my car pooling buddy is on vacation.  I’m back to my foot-fancy gas guzzling ways for one week.  Which means, I totally killed a run this morning!!

Actually, I only went 2.46 miles with plenty of walking breaks because I’m trying to ease back into running after the half marathon so that MAYBE some of my tendonitis issues will actually heal and I won’t have to listen to a bunch of people tell me how my shoes are bad or running is bad or how I’m just asking for it. 

Still, I’m loving the freedom of my gas guzzling ways so that I can run, run, run till my car pooling buddy comes home.

Speaking of shoes…

New Balance Minimus Life

I’ve been wearing these babies for about a month now.  I really like them except 1. really, they are too narrow for my feet and 2. they are hot so they are getting a little stinky.  I’ve been looking for a “winter” /casual pair of minimalist shoes.  These fit the bill pretty well.  I wear them nearly every day.  The sole is thicker than VFFs so there is extra cushion and warmth.  I need a wider shoe but I don’t like the looks of the men’s shoe.  They promote it for walking/casual.  I’ve taking them for a 3 mile and a 2.46 mile run when I didn’t have my VFFs.   Both runs were great.  Disclaimer: I still run in my VFFs except for those two runs.  I plan to build back up to barefooting this summer.

I noticed with all my tendonitis issues that my feet were starting to hurt worse after wearing my Adidas all day in the lab.  I’m pretty confident that the inflexible sole was aggravating my tendons by not working with them.  These minimum life are very flexible and give me just what I need.  I even felt some relief one day when I switched out of the Adidas back into the Minimus life. 

Anyone ready for a shoe burning?  Meaning my Adidas not my VFFs or MLs

When in the New Balance store, I tried on the trail shoe and if the top hadn’t been so tight and narrow I would have gotten it.  I liked the sole better but couldn’t stand how tight they were.  This line of shoes is not for the wide foot.  They didn’t have the men’s shoe in my size.  I did not try on the running shoe because it looked too much like a regular shoe to me.  I also think New Balance needs to train their sales people to be prepared when  barefooter comes in looking for shoes.  My sales person was condescending and clueless on fitting a barefooter.  He’d be good for someone who’d never run in anything but conventional shoes.

Now I’m on the hunt for a minimalist sandal for casual wear.  I saw some at the New Balance store I want to check out. (Can’t find them on the website) Plus, I’m thinking about ordering some Merrel’s.

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Filed under Barefoot, personality flaws, running, Vibram Five Fingers