Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A break from your regularly scheduled blog . . .

I've been on an odyssey of sorts for the past couple of weeks ever since my friend/babysitter Christin gave me a book that she said I HAD to read. Its called Born To Run and from the moment I started it I could barely put it down. It really challenged a lot of my preconceived ideas about running for exercise and what the human body is capable of and made for. If you like running or want to like running I can't recommend this book enough BUT I will warn you that after reading it you'll want to go run a 50 mile ultramarathon. Don't worry though because the next time you go for a jog you'll be knocked back down to reality (or at least I was).
Long story short was that the main thing I took away from this book was that my running shoes might be part of my problem when my knees started to act up every now and then. After the thorough explanation in the book about the idea of barefoot running I was intrigued to say the least. For a long time I've laughed at the Vibram Fivefingers as the freakiest looking "shoes" that I've ever seen. My fashion sensible side wanted no part of these. But the part of me that loves a good run (one that is pain free) was dying to give them a try. So, after doing some research including a couple of barefoot runs on my treadmill I was ready to give them a try. Lucky me that the maid of honor from our wedding is the manager at River Jack's so she was able to give me a heads up when a pair in my size came in (these things are SUPER popular). So I picked them up on Saturday and took them out for my first spin on Sunday. My plan is to give you all a rundown of my first few times running in them in case any hobby runners like me out there are considering the switch.
After getting use to the feeling of having something in between each of my toes I took off. My first observation is that these shoes are not designed for running on gravel roads. Maybe fine gravel would be ok but my street has larger rocks and they hurt! So I got off my beaten path and ran along the pinestraw which was much better. When I hit the pavement again it was a bit hard on my feet. So when I crossed the street I hopped onto the grass running alongside the curb. My second observation is that I wouldn't be setting any records in these shoes as I had to be a lot more careful where I was stepping and I found myself running with more awareness of each footfall. My about the turn around point my left foot was aching a bit with each step. When I zoned out I found that it didn't bother me at all but as soon as I tried to pay attention to my stride I felt it again. When I was able to get onto a cushy place of sand or straw I felt no discomfort at all. Running the same length of time as usual I probably covered about a half mile less than what I might usually.
I didn't get any blisters from the fivefingers and it didn't mess up my pedicure. What I noticed soon after my run and even more yesterday was a pleasant soreness in my calf muscles. I like this feeling showing that my legs were working differently in these shoes and I hope that will work to improve my fitness.
Stay tuned for my next installment of day two in the fivefingers.


Jennifer Kirby said...

Interesting ... I see these everywhere but always kind of assume they're a fad. One time I ran barefoot on the treadmill and was mercilessly mocked by a husband who shall remain nameless -- glad I'm not the only one!

Natalie said...

Did you ever read up on POSE running??