Friday, July 23, 2010

Still going!

My brother, aunt, and I got up and out by 6am while we were at our week long beach trip in NC. I was thrilled to get this shot!

Well yikes, I've really fallen down on the blogging job. But as far as running? Still going! 3 times a week seems to be about the norm. Am thinking I might do shorter distances so I can run more often. Which with my kids is a good thing. Jeez. I have a whiny 3 year old boy and a I'll-steamroll-right-over-you-if-you-don't-watch-out 5 year old girl---I NEED to run about 5 times a day. My body refuses to shed more than the 18 lbs it's already lost but at least things are being rearranged: tighter butt, smaller legs, in general-muscles! YAY!

Also, my whole little family got really really sick several weeks before we left for our 6 weeks in NC. Took the kids 3 weeks to get over an on again off again fever and horrid cough. Brad? 2 full months before he fully got his voice back and stopped coughing. A friend's kid got it and ended up with walking pneumonia! I can't tell you how many times I got coughed, sneezed, and snotted on and OH MY GOD didn't catch it! I realized it early on (after Brad caught it) that I still hadn't and the only thing I could say I was doing differently was running. So, I ran more often for a few weeks and was well through it all. That has NEVER happened. If the kids catch it so do I. A miracle! My 3 year old has gotten several more little colds since then and I haven't caught any of them (and he's the worst in-your-face-sneezer of the family). I am beyond thrilled. :-)

Monday, June 7, 2010

I'm in NC for 6 weeks

We drove 3 days, stopped in Ohio to visit family for 2 days, drove another day and arrived in NC last Wednesday. I've run 3 times since then. Once without shoes--OUCH! The roads in my parent's neighborhood are horrible and my feet just aren't up to it yet. It's hilly here (flat as a pancake in my Colorado neighborhood) so I'm getting a different workout which is nice. My Dad races around the neighborhood loop on his bike while I run. It's good.

Things I've noticed this week: my butt muscles are turning into rocks...which kind of ROCKS!, there are new muscles in my feet I've never seen before-particularly around my ankles, and again I'm reminded that running barefoot (even when the footing is painful) is SO MUCH MORE FUN! I've got to find a place I can do that around here...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

40 minutes run/walk, all barefoot

This makes me feel sane. I feel so calm that I just don't have anything else to say. My mind is quiet so I'm going to go enjoy that. :-)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hike-2 miles-ish

I've done this easy hike with my friend Laura every so often for the past few years. It always makes me gasp for breath--today, no problem. Could have gone around again. Yay! That was a great feeling. I couldn't remember the footing so I wore my cheapy Target Converse tennies. (I've always worn hiking boots before.) I'm not sure about wearing my Soft Stars on that footing for fear that my feet slip around too much inside them. Something more along the lines of foot fitting pool shoes would be better for that kind of footing I think (gravelly, a little slippery, hilly). Maybe someday barefoot but my foot pads aren't up for that yet. But for now just walking it will be a new workout for my foot and leg muscles. It was fun--we brought Onya my Border Collie and her 3 adult Border Collies--always great to see the dogs running full out chasing prairie dogs and just enjoying life.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

45 minutes

Some running but probably 2/3 walking. Didn't feel up to much. I was able to talk myself out of all the 'shoulds'--why 'should' I do anything? This is just for me. I'm glad I realized it :-) The skin on my feet is still a little tender so tomorrow I'm just walking and no barefooting.

Monday, May 17, 2010

25 min walk/run

I went out for a walk with Onya thinking if I felt like running I would. Barefoot of course. My footpads are coming along nicely. Felt great and spent the whole time walk/running. Not sure if I should be doing it two days in a row but I felt fine and still feel fine. Supposed to rain tomorrow evening anyway so I'll rest then.

Forgot to mention--last night while Onya and I were out we saw a coyote! It was about the same size as Onya (about 35 lbs) but had longer legs. It was about 20 feet away. I saw it first and had Onya lie down. As soon as I did that the coyote tucked it's tail and ran by us. Onya saw it and took about 3 running steps toward it before I could get another, "LIE DOWN!" out of my mouth. She did and the coyote kept on running. It passed with about 10 feet between us--so cool. One of the great things about living here!

Whoa. Thought I was going to have to call 911

The kids are napping and I'm rearranging my office. The windows are open and I hear this gasping noise. WTH? I look outside and across the street is a semi-overweight jogger. He staggers into view, leaning so far forward that he's almost falling into each step--I'm wondering how he can stay upright. He stops in front of my house and continues gasping. Then he bends over at the waist and gasps some more, ripping his headphones from his ears in a panicked motion. He's swaying a little and I'm thinking, "OMG he's going down, where's the phone!?" Incredibly he stays on his feet, puts the headphones back in and continues staggering jogging down the street!

OMG dude, slow the hell down! Walk! Walking is good, walking is your friend! He's the epitome of, "No Pain, No Gain." A heart attack waiting to happen. Scary. I hope he's okay.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Run 21--free at last! (1.8 miles)

I've been feeling...uninterested. Considering the fact that I've now been running for 3 months (as of the 15th) and am only on Week 5--I guess that isn't too surprising. I'll be out running and feeling great and The Voice on my iPhone tells me it's time to stop before I'm ready. It tells me to run and I do but then occasionally I can't finish the amount of time it wants. It tells me to run 20 minutes solid at the end of Week 5---are you kidding me??? All in all, The Voice and I are out of sync. MY Inner Voice said, "Duh. Time to let that all go and do what I say!"

Tonight I left the iPhone at home, brought my handweights (my Soft Star running shoes), Onya's frisbee, and Onya off leash. No music, no Voice other than my own. Lovely.

I ran the whole thing barefoot. I stopped when I was ready and ran when I was ready. Still doing walk/run. My pace was steady. My body felt great. My feet felt great. My mind felt great. I wasn't frustrated with Onya being off leash because I was paying attention rather than to The Voice. She was relaxed and easy going because of it. We were happy campers with each other. I left at 8:15 and it was still light.

I know I ran more than I ever have before. I did measure the run on Google Maps and came up with 1.8 miles. I did it in 35 minutes. Slow but happy for me. My final run was a 1/2 mile. A 1/2 MILE!!! It was AWESOME!!! I've never been able to do that before--yay for me! :-)

Run 20--Week 5, Run 1 (again)

Well, this was just blah. I don't even remember which day I did it on--sometime this past week. What happened after was more interesting (to me anyway).

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Run 19-- Week 5, Run 1

Marvy. I felt good, did it all. Was curious how many minutes I could go on the last 5 min run but only made it to 7 before pain in my calf. I guess I'm still gaining strength.

Soft Star running shoes were shipped today!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Run 18--Week 4, Run 3

Happiness!! I felt wonderful! I did the first half in my Soft Star Shoes (hoping for my RunAMocs by Saturday) and the last half barefoot which was why the run was so great. Anytime I take off my shoes I have a great run. The last run was 5 min and i felt like I could go forever. What could be better?

My friend Jim asked how many shoes I've tried now, he's teasing me--let's see...
1. I started off in regular old sneakers
2. Pool shoes
3. Vincere Sand Socks (I've not given them a true test run though. I'll have to wait until I'm only running and not walking as they aren't so great while walking.)
4. Invisibleshoes huaraches--still haven't made them! I have the kit, just need some time!
5. Soft Star Shoes-Grippy Roos
6. Upcoming Soft Star RunAMocs
7. And then of course my favorites: my bare feet!

I've never cared so much about shoes before lol

Run 17--Week 4, Run 2 & RunAMocs!

Tuesday night
It happens every week it seems--the middle of the week run is icky. I didn't get out for a week and a half because of being sick, Brad not being home for a week, etc.

I did try running in my Elf shoes--the Soft Star Shoes that I've been wearing for a week. They're great to walk in but I didn't love wearing them for running in. For one reason only though--the sheepskin/fur footbed. It was just weird. It made my feet start to feel numb, forefoot first. Too much texture on the bottom of my foot--I could just about feel each individual hair. The rest of it though was great, good ground feel and comfortable. More than great really. All I really wanted was a leather footbed. And so yesterday I ordered their new RunAmoc in red!

The legs gave out before my lungs did darn it. Out of the two 3 min runs and the two 5 min runs I was able to do a 3, 3, 5, and half of the last 5. We'll see how the next one goes, maybe I need to repeat this week. I'm still enjoying it though.

I am having some rice crispy sounds (no pain) in my right knee when I climb stairs since running. No pain, no sounds when running or walking. After doing some web wandering I came up with a possible reason: the quad muscle on the inside of the leg isn't developed enough. That muscle is the one that keeps the kneecap tracking correctly. So now I'm doing exercises to develop that muscle. Hope that's the issue. Maybe I'll add some glucosamine to my day too.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Soft Star Grippy Roo Shoes, Invisible Shoe Huaraches, Vincere Grip Socks

After this post last week I decided to order these three brands of minimalist shoes and give them a try:

Vincere Grip Socks:

Invisible Shoe's Huaraches:

Soft Star Grippy Roo Shoes:

All three have arrived! I'm getting over yet another cold (having a kid in preschool is AWESOME-the variety of crud she brings home is stunning) this is the 3rd cold in 2 months. I'm sick of it! Plus hubby is out of town so I'm single parenting for a week which doesn't leave me with a lot of time or the ability to go running once they're in bed for the night. Phooey.

Today I took the Vincere Grip Socks out for a walk with the kids. It was 45 degrees, breezy and chilly but my feet weren't cold at all. My current thoughts on the socks, great ground feel--amazing ground feel actually but the sole of the sock kept slipping forward. I suspect this won't happen while running as I'm landing on my forefoot as opposed to heel/midfoot while walking. I took a few running steps and it seemed to stay in place better. It was a weird feeling though and I was constantly worried that I was walking on the Lycra (like a thin bathing suit) section of the sock as opposed to the reinforced bottom.
The side you see around the toe section isn't reinforced it's just Lycra.

The socks have a sole shaped to each foot which I liked and it helped them fit well. More on these soon.

The Invisible Shoe Huaraches--I haven't made yet. I bought the kit but it arrived just in time for Brad to go off on his trip so I haven't had time. I can't wait though! Obviously--more on those soon!

Soft Star Grippy Roos! OOOOOOooooo! I LOVE these already! I pulled them out of the box, put them on and my feet smiled :-) Yes, they were $63 but even if I never wore them for running I would wear them both around the house and around town. They fit well, the real sheep fleece insole is so soft and well...I've fallen in love. I'll be interested to see how they hold up for every day use and of course how they feel while running. Here's what their website says about the sole of the shoe:
Grippy Roos feature our T-Rex soling-- a soft black rubberized non-slip surface which maintains good non-slip properties on wood floors.  T-Rex soles also provide a clean look over time, and offer a moisture barrier for those of you who like the indoor/outdoor use of your mocs.  T-Rex is NOT a rubber sole - but instead is a soft, rubberized fabric layer that is bonded over the top of the traditional suede sole. T-Rex can possibly show wear with use - but it will not affect the functionality of the shoe as the suede is bonded underneath. T-Rex material that is also used in apparel by mountain climbers to keep their grip on tough terrain.

Again, more on these as running shoes soon!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Why I run (and why I wish I could run more often, further, and faster)

I just posted this on my other blog but thought I would share here too:

This is all from Eva (5 years old). We've instituted a 'we all take turns talking' policy at the dinner table and apparently I'll have to do the same for the car. This was on our way home from Boulder but it's only a small sampling of the 30 minute drive. When Michael (almost 3 years old)  and I are alone he talks up a storm too but no one can get a word in edge wise with Eva nearby--she's so insistent on having EVERY OUNCE OF MY ATTENTION. Help me.

And this is why I run. And why I wish I could run more often, further, and faster.

Mommy! Look, a school bus!
Mommy! It's a YELLOW school bus!
Mommy! Can I bring the snack to school?
Tomorrow? Okay! Can I bring crackers, juice, and bananas? (Me: Ok.)
Look! A bird!
Mommy! A bird!
That bird is black!
Crackers, juice and bananas kay mom?
Crackers, juice and bananas OKAY? OKAY?
Crackers, juice and bananas
Crackers, juice and bananas
Crackers, juice and bananas
Crackers, juice and bananas
Crackers, juice and bananas
Crackers, juice and bananas
Crackers, juice and bananas
A blue car!
That car is blue!
MOMMY! Did you see that blue car?
Oh! A yellow truck! Hey Mom did you see the yellow truck?
That tree has leaves!
Is it summer?
Are we going to North Carolina now? (Me: Not yet)
You said when the leaves are on the trees we're going to North Carolina!
There were leaves on that tree...
Oooo! Look! There's a bag in that tree!
Why is there a bag in that tree?
And leaves!
There are leaves in that tree too!
Are we going to North Carolina now?
When are we going to North Carolina?
Can I swim with my sister Nichole?
And Josh?
And Grandma?
And Grandpa?
And Katy?
And Chris?
And Uncle Michael?
Does Grandma know how to swim?
Uncle Michael?
Do you?
Can you swim?
How about Daddy?
Can Onya swim?
Can Onya swim?
Can I swim with Onya?
Is Onya going to go with us to North Carolina?
Is she going to the beach with us?
Will I see penguins at the beach?
Penguins live in the ocean!
Polar bears!
Will I see polar bears at the beach?
Can I swim in the ocean with the penguins?
Maybe I can swim with the polar bears!
Can I swim in the ocean with the polar bears? (me: no)
Why noooooot?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Run 16--Week 4 Run 1

Interesting run tonight.

Week 4 looks like this:
  • 5 min warm up walk
  • Run 3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Run 5 minutes
  • Walk 2-1/2 minutes
  • Run 3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Run 5 minutes
  • 5 min cool down walk 
 I started off feeling perky--excited to be out of the house and running. The first 3 min run I was cranking along at a pace that way faster than my norm which meant that I was huffing and puffing during my 90 sec walk and then still not feeling capable by my 5 min run. Phooey. Not the way to start off the week. 3 min into the 5 min run I had to stop and walk. My legs were killing me. I had slowed down to my normal pace but it was too late. Grrr. I picked up the run again and that's when the shin pain started on the right. WTH? I stopped again, it went away. Started again, it came back. All right fine! I stopped during the first 2.5 min walk and took off my pool shoes and socks. Ran the 3 min with no pain, walked 90 seconds and ran 5 minutes--no pain and no problems. YAY!

Barefoot was when I realized that my foot strike was slightly off with the shoes. It went back to normal when I was barefoot. Fascinating. Also cool: I ran 2/3 of my run barefoot without the bottoms of my feet feeling sore! Another YAY!

Christopher McDougall talking about Born to Run

 Great talk with Christopher McDougall talking about his book over at Google!

Check it out here!

I tried to embed the video but it clipped the side of it weird--so you can't always see Christopher.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Still looking for the right "shoe" & Vincere Grip Socks

I've been driving myself nuts trying to find SOMETHING to run in that is close to barefoot but still a little protection. It's warming up here but everyone in my neighborhood (which is the only place I've run so far since I run at night) is putting out fertilizer which means there are little white balls of it on a lot of sections of sidewalk. Ick. There appear to be two schools of thought on skin absorption and I'm on the side of things soaking in. Mostly because I've used a lot of essential oils over the past 5 years and I know how easily absorbed they are.

In my massive running experience (not) I've found that I like barefoot running best so I need to find something closest to that. My goofy pool shoes are okay but not thin enough (at 6mm) to give me the barefoot feel.

Sadly my Vibram Five Fingers experience is at an end. Boo hoo. When I first tried on these shoes at REI 2 months ago I fell in love. I tried on the Sprints and the Classics and they both felt great. The REI guy said the KSOs might be best because they Keep Stuff Out.
So I ordered them and ended up with a pair that quality control might have let slip by. I have a pair of Classics now that are on the edge of cramping my toes because of the amount of material in between the toes--only on the left foot. Ugh. They're going back too. So, I'm back to square one. I want to be nice and say, "It's probably me." But in reality I really LOVED those pairs I tried on in REI (too bad I didn't just buy one of them then!) so I'm thinking it's a QC problem. Bummer. Because I ran up and down the aisles at REI grinning like a fool and so excited about owning a pair.

 3 days of searching the web. The Terra Plana Evos look great but are $160.
The cheapest shoe in their barefoot line is $100 and looks like a Ked. Hmm...Keds? Might still be a possibility. Looks like JCPenny carries them, I'll have to stop by the store sometime this week.

I used to be a whitewater kayaker so I started wondering if there was something in that arena. I found these Stohlquist socks with kevlar soles for $40.  They look good but I'm not a fan of the high sock look. I don't want the "shoes" to be really noticeable.

Which started me researching socks, beach socks, sand socks, etc. I found Sockwa which I REALLY liked the look of--the low sock look is exactly what I was looking for. Of course the barefoot community is already familiar with these (I wasn't) and have reviewed them several times. Someone has even spoken to the Sockwa people and they are coming out with the Amphiabian Sockwa with a TPU sole at the end of May 2010 for $45.
That's exciting but not going to help me right now. They currently have just the neoprene version for $20 that will wear through in some number of miles. That would have been okay with me since my mileage is so low still but the only place that I could find selling them was the swimoutlet and they have sold out of a lot of the sizes.

And then I found Sand Socks for $20!!!  I contacted the company explaining that I was a barefoot runner (taking a bit of liberty there since I've only been running for 2 months) and that I was interested in their socks and wondered if they ever considered them for other applications (the are most often used for Sand Soccer, Beach Vollyball, and by Beach Olympians). I told them I wanted a sock that would let me feel the road, be minimalist (no heel, no support) and if maybe they had something with kevlar or the like on the bottom or would they consider such a thing? for people who wanted to run on the road.

An hour later customer service responded with:

Our Grip Socks hold up very well while running on concrete.  They have a tougher laminate (not actually Kevlar, but similar) on the bottom of the neoprene sole designed to prevent wear-through when used on harder surfaces. Of course, they will not last as long as hard-rubber-soled shoes but they should work well for you.
Grip Socks weigh ~ 1.6oz ea so with this lightweight they give as close to a feel of bare feet as one can get while having protection.

My response:

Hey! I like your customer service! :-) This is excellent news and I've just ordered a pair. They sound about as close to barefoot as you can get which is what so many of us are looking for. I can't wait to get them and give them a spin. If they work as well as it looks like they will I'll post about them on the minimalist footwear sites I'm part of. Sockwa is coming out with a sock that is similar that is geared toward the barefoot/minimalist running crowd but it's not coming out until the end of May. In the mean time you can't even order many of Sockwa's regular types--most of the sizes are sold out. I'm guessing that's because several people have reviewed them on these sites.
Thanks again for your help!

And finally:

We'd love a review.
Sockwa was inspired when 2 guys with a soccer T-shirt company saw our product at a Sand Soccer tournament in Ft. Myers, but it looks as thought they've made themselves more visible to the barefoot running crowd than we have, so we need to catch up.

Sand Socks and Grip Socks (the kind I ordered) have:
- a more breathable Lycra upper
- softer exposed threads for less abrasion against the foot
- better footprint design of the sole
    (particularly a left and right foot rather than single footprint)
- a different ankle grip (hook-and-loop closure) to adjust to different ankle shapes
- a history of 15 years being used by Beach Olympians to children
- higher quality (wet-suit grade) neoprene
- a better control and understanding of our manufacturing sources and factories for quality, labor fairness, and inventory control

Let us know what you think!  The tougher Grip Socks sole laminate will not stretch as well as the Duratex-coated Sand Socks sole, something we had to compromise for the longevity on the harder surfaces.

Find us on facebook at Vincere Sand Socks to add or read feedback.

Very interesting! I liked hearing about the socks and why they think they're better. I can't wait to try them. As far as looks the only thing I would like better are a lower top--more along the lines of an ankle sock or less. That was one of the things I liked about the Sockwa style. I liked the idea of a left and right foot, the higher quality, and labor fairness. I'll let you know how I like them--they should arrive sometime next week!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Run 15--Week 3 Run 3--"I DID IT! I DID IT!!!"

My rest paid off and I had no weird pains this time--yahoo! Anytime I have any little tweaks or pains, especially if it cuts my run short like last week, my mind goes into overdrive with, "OMG! ACK! I've got a stress fracture! I've overdone it! How can I have overdone it??? I'm barely doing anything! But obviously I have and I'll never be able to run again! And I really like this! DAAAAMMMMMIT!!!" Sounds crazy I know but if you knew me you would know that in the past I did tend to overdo it in my enthusiasm. This time I'm being so so careful though and everything is (gasp) okay.

My step-daughter called today to say she has all the symptoms of a stress fracture. She's only 26! WTH? I hope she actually does go to the doctor to find out for sure. She's already had a bout with bursitis--did I mention that she's only 26?? She was the one who got me started doing the Couch to 5k program and now she might not be able to do the 5k she signed up for darn it. I still haven't signed up for it, I'm waiting to see how this whole thing goes for me. It's June 12 in Raleigh, NC which is where I'll be, visiting my family--thought it would be cool for some of us to run it together. Honestly I have no idea if I'll be up for it. April 15th is my 2 month mark and if I were following the program to a "T" I would be a week from the end of it and running for 30 minutes straight. Instead I'm just now heading into Week 4s workout. Ah well, I may be taking me twice the time but at least I'm heading into Week 4 injury free...

My goal at the end of the final workout of each week is to run the final run as long as the longest run for next week is. So Week 3: I walk 5 min, run 90 sec, walk 90 sec, run 3 min, walk 3 min---times 2, and then walk 5 min. So today was Week 3 Run 3 and the last run was 3 minutes long but I ran for 6 min 30 sec. And now I know--I can do next week okay! My longest run next week will be 5 minutes. It just keeps me motivated for the upcoming week knowing that I have it in me.

When I started this program I remember looking at each week and thinking, "Really? Running for 90 seconds straight? Ha. Really? Running for 3 minutes straight? HA! Really??? Running for 5 MINUTES? HAHAHAHAHHA!!!"

But now look! :-) As my 2 year old likes to yell out, "I DID IT! I DID IT!!!!!"

On to my ongoing saga of my VFFs. I've come to the conclusion that my KSOs have to go back. It feels like the sole of the shoe isn't fully covering the ball of my foot on the left one and a couple of other fit issues all on the left shoe. I didn't have these issues when I tried on the Classics or the Sprints in the store which is why I was so excited. I don't  know if it's a defect or just differences in the fit of each one. I thought I would like the KSOs better since they Keep Stuff Out. After talking to Justin over at I called REI and lo and behold they actually had a pair of Classics in my size. I'm going over tomorrow to try them out again. The classics are much more open across the top of the shoe but how much crap can get inside of my shoes anyway right? At least I hope that's right...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Run 14--Week 3 Run 2--bleh

I was excited to run for the first time during the day today--all my runs are at night after the kids are in bed. Sunny, 65 degrees, slight breeze, 2:30 in the afternoon--what could be better right? Um...not so much.

Lessons learned:

1. Wear a headband of some sort to keep the hair out of your eyes. My hair is an all one length bob to my jaw--it constantly blew across my face and then stuck in the hair on the other side. Nice. (I wear one at night because I don't care what my hair is going to look like when I'm done.)

2. Bring a smidge of water--3 sips would have been plenty. Just SOMETHING to wet my tongue which felt like a small dead rodent in my mouth. The sun and lack of humidity made it seem warmer than 65 degrees.

3. Sunglasses! Gawd. That probably would have solved the majority of my hair problem too.

4. Possibly don't take the dog. :-(  She was quite bitchy today. I have a front attachment harness for her (the leash clips at her chest instead of her back) which keeps her from pulling. She was very annoyed with that (which she usually is) so I switched her to her collar. She completely refused to run like that! WTH? She's a Border Collie--it's alway GOGOGO with her. I switched the leash back to her harness but still had to encourage her the whole way. Annooooooying. Also, she does have a problem with heat, she was panting but not too much--night running must just feel better to her. Imagine running with a black fur coat on! And to top it off she got a goat head in one of her paws so I had to stop and pull that out too. There was just no flow--phooey.

I didn't finish 3 of the 4 runs--had to stop early because of dog issues and worse, left calf pain. It mostly worked itself out by the end but all in all it was just a no fun run. I guess it's bound to happen once in a while. I did manage to get my shoes off half way through and was able to go the last 15 minutes barefoot. A bright spot in the effort. When I got home my feet, calves, knees, and halfway up my thighs had this interesting tingling feeling. A happy, light feeling :-) So, another bright spot.

Maybe today wasn't so bad after all! LOL

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Run 13--Week 3 Run 1

Before I took off I realized that my pool shoes had a thin foam insert in them so I took that out. I'm trying to toughen up my feet for my VFFs. I went to pick them up on Tuesday and found that I can't wear them yet because the bottom of my feet aren't tough enough yet. I bought some of the Injinji toe socks but will be taking them back--just too much material between my toes--doesn't feel good at all. So I'll be barefoot in my VFFs. I've been wearing them around the house and yard and find that they rub a little right at the middle of my forefoot. Is that normal? The left foot feels worse than the right. Neither hurt--they just rub and it gets annoying after awhile. Will I be forever wearing pool shoes?!?

The run:
The first 3 min run was HARD but after that it was all happiness. So good in fact that towards the end I took off my shoes and socks and went barefoot. Right at that point the C25K iPhone app told me to "cool down" and I just didn't want to so I ran another 3 min barefoot. I can't figure this out but as much fun as minimalist shoe running is---barefoot is a thousand times better! Why is that? I felt like I could go on forever :-)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Run 12--Week 2 Run 3--Treadmill

Easy. Love coming from altitude down to sea level--I almost never gasp while running! ;-)
Ran on the treadmill at my parent's house because the pollen is horrible today. First time on a treadmill--I can imagine getting one for next winter for sure. Feel good!

Since this is week 2 run 3 and next week I'm supposed to be running 3 minutes at a time I ran my last run for 2.5 min instead of 90 sec--no problem--yay! And to top off the good news: for the first time in a month and a half (since starting) I was able to do all three workouts in one week-whooohoooo!!!!

Mom is having her knee replacement surgery tomorrow morning so we're up at 4am to get to the hospital to get her checked in--gotta get in bed. Think happy thoughts for her!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

3 out of 4 runners in my family are injured!

I had a funny thing happen last night. A lot of my family got together for an early Easter dinner at my aunt's house. 4 adults out of the 8 were in training for a 5k in June. All of us were previous non-runners. 3 of the 4 were doing the Couch to 5k.

Our ages: Nichole 26, Kate 29, Michael 35, and me 40. Out of the 4 of us 3 were injured. Nichole has just recovered from bursitis in her knee, Kate had either a stress fracture or shin splints-she wasn't sure yet, and Michael had thought for sure his foot was broken but after a few days of recovery realized it wasn't. All 3 are traditional runners. After watching Kate hobble into the party I realized, "Wait a minute. I'm the oldest one here and I'm the only one not injured! Holy cow! AND I'm the only one who isn't running traditionally (or rather I'm the only one running traditionally--however you want to look at it). I brought this up (both laughing and in shock) and Kate said she was interested and eventually Michael did too. We'll see--maybe they'll switch to the barefoot way/minimalist shoe way ;-)


Friday, April 2, 2010

Run 11

I'm in NC visiting family. Went for a run tonight--Week 2 Run 2 of my C25K program and I feel great! I picked up the pace because I felt like I could--and went 2 miles no problem. I suppose it could have something to do with the fact that I live a mile up and here I'm nearly at sea level! There are also small hills around my parent's neighborhood but they weren't an issue. I recently read a little about running hills and put that info to use. I was able to talk to my Dad, who was bike riding next to me and keeping me company, through the whole 30 minutes. Even the pollen didn't get to me (knock on wood).

To sum it up--no pain, no gasping, I feel good.

I got an email yesterday from REI, my two sizes of VFFs are in! Can't wait to get home to see if one of them fits :-) The pool shoes make me feel like a goofball.

Monday, March 29, 2010

All is well :-)

I just never know how the day after a run will treat me but lo and behold:


Oh my God! Maybe I can actually do the 3 runs a week that the Couch to 5K calls for? That would be amazing!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Run 10--I did it!!!

Yes, I finally hit Week 2 in the Couch to 5K program. It must be the new capri running tights! ;-)

It was 57 degrees this evening so I didn't have to bundle up and that felt so good. I bought myself a new set of earbuds with a little hookiedo that goes around the ear--the only thing holding my old ones in was my cold weather earband. So, off I go. Week 2 is a 5 min warm up walk, 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking for 20 min, and then a 5 min cool down walk. The first 90 seconds I was suuuuuucking wind and I thought to myself, "Self, you may not be ready for this." Self answered, "Bullshit. This is run #10, of course I'm ready!" She was right. The runs got easier as I went along and by the second half of the workout I was feeling fab. When my iPhone said, "Cool down." I stopped, took off my pool shoes and socks and ran another 90 seconds or so barefoot--it felt so good--strangely better than the entire run! Huh. Who knew.

I felt little twinges in my calves, knees, arches throughout the runs. Each time I felt something weird I adjusted my stride in various ways: shortening my stride, landing slightly more forefoot, keeping my ankles loose, etc and each time the twinge would go away. Whew. I'm hanging in there!

It's been nearly a week since Run 9 (the one on grass, asphalt, and concrete)--the reason? It took me forever FOREVER! to stop aching after that one. That grass was horrible on my body! I'm going to have to go super slow adding that to runs--like literally several steps at a time.

In other good news--the running tights I bought were...are you ready...OMG...I was SO excited...


Do you know how long it's been since I've worn anything with an "M" on it? I think it was when I was a teenager! I also bought 2 new jammie bottoms and a skirt that had that magic "M" on them! Holy cow. Interestingly I've not lost any new weight (I started this whole thing after losing 15 lbs) but my body is changing shape and that's pretty cool.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The itty bitty pool shoes

Because everyone needs a good laugh now and then--here are my current "running shoes" as I wait for my VFFs to come in:

I know, I know--not very itty bitty--what can I say? I have size 10 flipper feet!

Run 9-grass, concrete, asphalt

A few days ago I read an article about repetitive injury and how maybe you shouldn't run only on the sidewalk. It talked about how all the little muscles in your feet, legs, etc got a workout if you ran on other surfaces. I know this to be true because of hiking--no matter how much I've been walking, hiking is always a different workout--I can really feel it in my feet, legs, back, butt, etc.

I did run a little on the asphalt last time but of course that doesn't do much except add the tiniest bit of cushion to your body. So today I ran on grass, concrete sidewalk, and asphalt. Oh my. I ache from the waist down! The grass really kicked my butt. The first time it was GREAT--it felt so good to my feet and my body. I felt like I was springy! But as the run wore on (keep in mind I'm STILL doing Week 1 in the Couch to 5K program) I could really feel it from the waist down. By the end I was back to slogging along slowly in my run. It probably didn't help that I didn't give myself one extra day before going out again. My mind said, "GO! It's going to snow tomorrow!" I wasn't completely recovered from Saturday's run.

Overall I feel sore but not like I've messed anything up (knock on wood).

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Run 8--whoohoo felt great!

Total runs--8
Total runs in my little bitty pool shoes--4

I had hopes that I would run the last little bit of this run barefoot because it's been so warm here but it snowed all day yesterday and it was 37 degrees when I went running this evening so--no way. However, the run was fabulous! I didn't do any stretching beforehand and after my 5 minute warm up walk and my first 60 second run the muscle on the left side of my rear was starting to hurt. I stopped and did some quick butt stretches during the next two walk segments and it went away. Other than that it was uneventful--except for the constant grin on my face! This was my first minimalist shoe run where I could do the entire thing with no problem. I'm going to give myself one more of these before moving to the week 2 workout. I'm excited to be feeling so good.

Poor Onya the Border Collie overdid her frisbee catching in the snow today (we were out for about 2 hours in the morning with the kids sledding and then another 1.5 hours this afternoon just walking and letting the kids ride their bikes since the sun cleared up much of the snow). Onya is 7.5 and like a lot of high drive Border Collies, hard on her body. She was walking up the stairs this afternoon one step at a time, slowly. So I decided to leave her at home for my run. Her little face broke my heart :-( I gave her some Arnica and hopefully she'll be feeling better by tomorrow morning. I've got to keep a good eye on her from now on and not let her overdo it. I need to remember to carry a leash with me so I can get her to take a break when there are other people around. She sneaks her frisbee to anyone who will throw it and before I know it, instead of taking a break, she's flying after her frisbee again! She's not listening to her body! Hmmm...she's a reminder to me isn't she? I never thought about that before!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The painful truth about trainers: Are running shoes a waste of money?

I loved the book Born to Run--here's an article written just before the book came out. I'm looking forward to my VFFs for sure, but I'm REALLY looking forward to summer running where I can use my bare feet! :-)

The most interesting thing in this article (in case you don't want to read the entire thing!):

In a paper for the British Journal Of Sports Medicine last year, Dr Craig Richards, a researcher at the University of Newcastle in Australia, revealed there are no evidence-based studies that demonstrate running shoes make you less prone to injury. Not one.
It was an astonishing revelation that had been hidden for over 35 years. Dr Richards was so stunned that a $20 billion industry seemed to be based on nothing but empty promises and wishful thinking that he issued the following challenge: 'Is any running-shoe company prepared to claim that wearing their distance running shoes will decrease your risk of suffering musculoskeletal running injuries? Is any shoe manufacturer prepared to claim that wearing their running shoes will improve your distance running performance? If you are prepared to make these claims, where is your peer-reviewed data to back it up?'
Dr Richards waited and even tried contacting the major shoe companies for their data. In response, he got silence.


Thrust enhancers, roll bars, microchips...the $20 billion running - shoe industry wants us to believe that the latest technologies will cushion every stride. Yet in this extract from his controversial new book, Christopher McDougall claims that injury rates for runners are actually on the rise, that everything we've been told about running shoes is wrong - and that it might even be better to go barefoot...


Every year, anywhere from 65 to 80 per cent of all runners suffer an injury. No matter who you are, no matter how much you run, your odds of getting hurt are the same
At Stanford University, California, two sales representatives from Nike were watching the athletics team practise. Part of their job was to gather feedback from the company's sponsored runners about which shoes they preferred.
Unfortunately, it was proving difficult that day as the runners all seemed to prefer... nothing.
'Didn't we send you enough shoes?' they asked head coach Vin Lananna. They had, he was just refusing to use them.
'I can't prove this,' the well-respected coach told them.
'But I believe that when my runners train barefoot they run faster and suffer fewer injuries.'
Nike sponsored the Stanford team as they were the best of the very best. Needless to say, the reps were a little disturbed to hear that Lananna felt the best shoes they had to offer them were not as good as no shoes at all.
When I was told this anecdote it came as no surprise. I'd spent years struggling with a variety of running-related injuries, each time trading up to more expensive shoes, which seemed to make no difference. I'd lost count of the amount of money I'd handed over at shops and sports-injury clinics - eventually ending with advice from my doctor to give it up and 'buy a bike'.
And I wasn't on my own. Every year, anywhere from 65 to 80 per cent of all runners suffer an injury. No matter who you are, no matter how much you run, your odds of getting hurt are the same. It doesn't matter if you're male or female, fast or slow, pudgy or taut as a racehorse, your feet are still in the danger zone.
But why? How come Roger Bannister could charge out of his Oxford lab every day, pound around a hard cinder track in thin leather slippers, not only getting faster but never getting hurt, and set a record before lunch?
Tarahumara runner Arnulfo Quimare runs alongside ultra-runner Scott Jurek in Mexico's Copper Canyons
Tarahumara runner Arnulfo Quimare runs alongside ultra-runner Scott Jurek in Mexico's Copper Canyons
Then there's the secretive Tarahumara tribe, the best long-distance runners in the world. These are a people who live in basic conditions in Mexico, often in caves without running water, and run with only strips of old tyre or leather thongs strapped to the bottom of their feet. They are virtually barefoot.
Come race day, the Tarahumara don't train. They don't stretch or warm up. They just stroll to the starting line, laughing and bantering, and then go for it, ultra-running for two full days, sometimes covering over 300 miles, non-stop. For the fun of it. One of them recently came first in a prestigious 100-mile race wearing nothing but a toga and sandals. He was 57 years old.
When it comes to preparation, the Tarahumara prefer more of a Mardi Gras approach. In terms of diet, lifestyle and training technique, they're a track coach's nightmare. They drink like New Year's Eve is a weekly event, tossing back enough corn-based beer and homemade tequila brewed from rattlesnake corpses to floor an army.
Unlike their Western counterparts, the Tarahumara don't replenish their bodies with electrolyte-rich sports drinks. They don't rebuild between workouts with protein bars; in fact, they barely eat any protein at all, living on little more than ground corn spiced up by their favourite delicacy, barbecued mouse.
How come they're not crippled?
I've watched them climb sheer cliffs with no visible support on nothing more than an hour's sleep and a stomach full of pinto beans. It's as if a clerical error entered the stats in the wrong columns. Shouldn't we, the ones with state-of-the-art running shoes and custom-made orthotics, have the zero casualty rate, and the Tarahumara, who run far more, on far rockier terrain, in shoes that barely qualify as shoes, be constantly hospitalised?
The answer, I discovered, will make for unpalatable reading for the $20 billion trainer-manufacturing industry. It could also change runners' lives forever.
Dr Daniel Lieberman, professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University, has been studying the growing injury crisis in the developed world for some time and has come to a startling conclusion: 'A lot of foot and knee injuries currently plaguing us are caused by people running with shoes that actually make our feet weak, cause us to over-pronate (ankle rotation) and give us knee problems.
'Until 1972, when the modern athletic shoe was invented, people ran in very thin-soled shoes, had strong feet and had a much lower incidence of knee injuries.'
Lieberman also believes that if modern trainers never existed more people would be running. And if more people ran, fewer would be suffering from heart disease, hypertension, blocked arteries, diabetes, and most other deadly ailments of the Western world.
'Humans need aerobic exercise in order to stay healthy,' says Lieberman. 'If there's any magic bullet to make human beings healthy, it's to run.'
The modern running shoe was essentially invented by Nike. The company was founded in the Seventies by Phil Knight, a University of Oregon runner, and Bill Bowerman, the University of Oregon coach.
Before these two men got together, the modern running shoe as we know it didn't exist. Runners from Jesse Owens through to Roger Bannister all ran with backs straight, knees bent, feet scratching back under their hips. They had no choice: their only shock absorption came from the compression of their legs and their thick pad of midfoot fat. Thumping down on their heels was not an option.

Despite all their marketing suggestions to the contrary, no manufacturer has ever invented a shoe that is any help at all in injury prevention

Bowerman didn't actually do much running. He only started to jog a little at the age of 50, after spending time in New Zealand with Arthur Lydiard, the father of fitness running and the most influential distance-running coach of all time. Bowerman came home a convert, and in 1966 wrote a best-selling book whose title introduced a new word and obsession to the fitness-aware public: Jogging.
In between writing and coaching, Bowerman came up with the idea of sticking a hunk of rubber under the heel of his pumps. It was, he said, to stop the feet tiring and give them an edge. With the heel raised, he reasoned, gravity would push them forward ahead of the next man. Bowerman called Nike's first shoe the Cortez - after the conquistador who plundered the New World for gold and unleashed a horrific smallpox epidemic.
It is an irony not wasted on his detractors. In essence, he had created a market for a product and then created the product itself.
'It's genius, the kind of stuff they study in business schools,' one commentator said.
Bowerman's partner, Knight, set up a manufacturing deal in Japan and was soon selling shoes faster than they could come off the assembly line.
'With the Cortez's cushioning, we were in a monopoly position probably into the Olympic year, 1972,' Knight said.
The rest is history.
The company's annual turnover is now in excess of $17 billion and it has a major market share in over 160 countries.
Since then, running-shoe companies have had more than 30 years to perfect their designs so, logically, the injury rate must be in freefall by now.
After all, Adidas has come up with a $250 shoe with a microprocessor in the sole that instantly adjusts cushioning for every stride. Asics spent $3 million and eight years (three more years than it took to create the first atomic bomb) to invent the Kinsei, a shoe that boasts 'multi-angled forefoot gel pods', and a 'midfoot thrust enhancer'. Each season brings an expensive new purchase for the average runner.
But at least you know you'll never limp again. Or so the leading companies would have you believe. Despite all their marketing suggestions to the contrary, no manufacturer has ever invented a shoe that is any help at all in injury prevention.
If anything, the injury rates have actually ebbed up since the Seventies - Achilles tendon blowouts have seen a ten per cent increase. (It's not only shoes that can create the problem: research in Hawaii found runners who stretched before exercise were 33 per cent more likely to get hurt.)
Roger Bannister
OXFORD, 1954: Roger Bannister crosses the finish line, running a mile in 3:59.4, in thin leather slippers
In a paper for the British Journal Of Sports Medicine last year, Dr Craig Richards, a researcher at the University of Newcastle in Australia, revealed there are no evidence-based studies that demonstrate running shoes make you less prone to injury. Not one.
It was an astonishing revelation that had been hidden for over 35 years. Dr Richards was so stunned that a $20 billion industry seemed to be based on nothing but empty promises and wishful thinking that he issued the following challenge: 'Is any running-shoe company prepared to claim that wearing their distance running shoes will decrease your risk of suffering musculoskeletal running injuries? Is any shoe manufacturer prepared to claim that wearing their running shoes will improve your distance running performance? If you are prepared to make these claims, where is your peer-reviewed data to back it up?'
Dr Richards waited and even tried contacting the major shoe companies for their data. In response, he got silence.
So, if running shoes don't make you go faster and don't stop you from getting hurt, then what, exactly, are you paying for? What are the benefits of all those microchips, thrust enhancers, air cushions, torsion devices and roll bars?
The answer is still a mystery. And for Bowerman's old mentor, Arthur Lydiard, it all makes sense.
'We used to run in canvas shoes,' he said.
'We didn't get plantar fasciitis (pain under the heel); we didn't pronate or supinate (land on the edge of the foot); we might have lost a bit of skin from the rough canvas when we were running marathons, but generally we didn't have foot problems.
'Paying several hundred dollars for the latest in hi-tech running shoes is no guarantee you'll avoid any of these injuries and can even guarantee that you will suffer from them in one form or another. Shoes that let your foot function like you're barefoot - they're the shoes for me.'
Soon after those two Nike sales reps reported back from Stanford, the marketing team set to work to see if it could make money from the lessons it had learned. Jeff Pisciotta, the senior researcher at Nike Sports Research Lab, assembled 20 runners on a grassy field and filmed them running barefoot.
When he zoomed in, he was startled by what he found. Instead of each foot clomping down as it would in a shoe, it behaved like an animal with a mind of its own - stretching, grasping, seeking the ground with splayed toes, gliding in for a landing like a lake-bound swan.
'It's beautiful to watch,' Pisciotta later told me. 'That made us start thinking that when you put a shoe on, it starts to take over some of the control.'
Pisciotta immediately deployed his team to gather film of every existing barefoot culture they could find.
'We found pockets of people all over the globe who are still running barefoot, and what you find is that, during propulsion and landing, they have far more range of motion in the foot and engage more of the toe. Their feet flex, spread, splay and grip the surface, meaning you have less pronation and more distribution of pressure.'
Nike's response was to find a way to make money off a naked foot. It took two years of work before Pisciotta was ready to unveil his masterpiece. It was presented in TV ads that showed Kenyan runners padding
along a dirt trail, swimmers curling their toes around a starting block, gymnasts, Brazilian capoeira dancers, rock climbers, wrestlers, karate masters and beach soccer players.
And then comes the grand finale: we cut back to the Kenyans, whose bare feet are now sporting some kind of thin shoe. It's the new Nike Free, a shoe thinner than the old Cortez dreamt up by Bowerman in the Seventies. And its slogan?
'Run Barefoot.'
Edited extract from 'Born To Run' by Christopher McDougall

Run 7

Last night I went for run #7. This time it actually felt more like a 'run' and less like a 'slog'. I picked up my pace a bit in the run portions and felt better for it. My knee was still bugging me a bit when I first left the house and I was thinking I was going to have to turn around but then it worked itself out and was fine. For the first time since switching to barefoot I did the entire workout minus one 60 sec run portion. I'm still working on week 1 of the Couch to 5k program, waiting for my body to get used to the barefoot thing before I move on to week 2. I'm thinking a few more runs and I can switch over to week 2 and then continue the program normally.

I started this a month ago on Feb 15th.

So far my favorite things are: my stress eczema went away, I feel fabulous, I haven't hurt myself, I'm doing pretty good listening to my body, and running this way makes me feel like a kid again.

Last night's favorite thing: I love the way it feels when I take off running and my body automatically just lifts up and moves--I feel like I'm flying--the weight lifts off my ribcage and the waistband of my new, smaller yoga pants slide right down my belly :-)

This is very very good.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Conventional mags

This weekend I was at a bookstore paging through a running magazine for women. There was an article about typical injuries for women runners. I've had occasional knee pain while doing the walking part of my couch to 5K program but as soon as I change my strike to midfoot it goes away. I had forgotten the latter part of the previous sentence and was just reading about what exercises to do to strengthen the knee. One of them was to squeeze a ball between your knees. Sounded simple enough. I tried it yesterday. In typical fashion I did 50 of them because they were so easy. And as usual I overdid it. Sigh.
What is wrong with me???

I had planned a run for last night but my knees were sore so I scratched it. Oh well. I woke up this morning and they felt fine. My back is back to normal too after my bike ride.

At least I'm recovering fairly quickly now!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Well damn

I tried on my VFFs at REI this afternoon--women's KSO 42s. And they were huge! My pinky toes kept slipping out of the toe pockets. The 42s in another style fit fine. I only found out after I ordered that the style sizes were different. I tried on the only other size they had, a 39 and it was much too tight.

I feel like Goldilocks.

So I returned the 42s and ordered a 40 and a 41. It's just another week or so right? Well no! All you other VFF freaks out there are buying up a storm and now they are back ordered! Arrrrrgggggghhhhh!
I ordered them anyway but who knows when they'll get in.


My shoes are in town!

I just got an email from REI saying my VFFs have arrived at the store! YAY!!! Now, when in the world will I have time to get them today? I'm feeling good again so I can run tonight and I would love to try them...maybe when Eva gets home from school...


Sunday, March 14, 2010

10 min on my roadbike and I'm tight?

REALLY??? That's a sad statement. I was feeling so cocky too! LOL

My back has been so much better ever since bringing my son home. Nothing like carrying a baby to get your upper back evenly worked out. I've not had all the crazy back problems I used to have (all when I was a whitewater kayaker and after) so I thought that getting on my bike would be a breeze. Ha.

That's okay, it just reminds me to go slow in ALL things physical.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Working on the tightness that a beginner feels

Oooo...I feel GOOD today! Not tight, not achy, no pain--YES! If I were "allowed" I would run out and do another run but the Couch to 5k program says nonono. It's like it was made for me ;-) I'm SO prone to overdoing it at the first sign of fitness! Sigh.


I'm taking my road bike into the basement where the trainer is and riding that instead! Hahahahaha! Take that c25k! Ok, really, I promise to not go overboard, maybe just 20-30 minutes.

On another note I think that I may feel so good because on the days I'm not running I'm walking with the kids outside, usually twice a day. We go SO slow because they are 2.5 and 5 so EVERYTHING is interesting to them, "LOOK Mommy! A LEAF!!!" But, while we're walking, I'm practicing walking midfoot which immediately takes away any weird pain that pounding on my heels always gives me. I'm working out any tightness my fore/mid foot strike run has given me during the last run. I've noticed the tightness going away faster now.

So, if you're new to this like me and you're waiting for the tightness to go away from your last barefoot run go for a walk with the kids, it's sweet and it helps you too :-)

UPDATE: Snort. As IF I could last 20-30 minutes on that bike! Ha! I've not been on it since 2007! Puh-lease. My butt bones were screaming at me after 10 minutes so (really trying to listen to my body here) I actually got off the bike. Whoa. Big step.

Feeties in my house

After reading this article:  I started looking at feet in my house.

Here's mine. I think that I was lucky to spend 11 years in California as a kid where I ran barefoot 90% of the time. I've also not spent a lot of time in heels in my 40 years--thank God. My feet are more sneaker shaped ;-)

Here's my oldest child, Onya's feet. Hmmm...maybe they don't have anything to do with this...

Here's my oldest human child, she's 5 and newly home from Ethiopia where, from the looks of it she didn't spend a lot of time in shoes.

This morning I looked down for the first time and noticed her feet. She must have had her weight shifted more to the balls of her feet because her toes were spread slightly and I immediately flashed to the article and this pic in my mind--an adult who hadn't ever worn shoes.

Here's my baby, he's a few months shy of 3 and has been home from Ethiopia for 2 years. We adopted him at 7 months. He spent his early months in socks, then Robeez and only just recently has he been in sneakers. I've switched them both over to Target Converse One Star which is about as flat and no support as you can get and still be able to go in stores. I wonder about Crocs? I'll have to look more closely at theirs, do they have a heel? They're so great for the summer.

It's been nice here in Colorado and for the first time this year we've taken off our shoes and run around. I enjoyed the sun on our front steps as I watched them run up and down the sidewalk barefoot. No heel strikes in these kids while barefoot! However in my daughter's recently "lost" ("I don't know where they went sweetie!") typical heeled sneakers she was heel striking up a storm. Interesting. I have my own little science experiment going on over here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Still excited, still knocking on wood

Today was my 6th wog (walk/jog) and my 2nd wog in minimalist shoes (pool shoes with Smartwool socks). Last time (Monday) I only got 15 minutes in total. Today I was able to wog for 25 minutes! The couch to 5k program that I'm doing only has me wogging for 30 so I was pretty darn excited to be able to do it with no pain (other than normal muscle stuff) for 25 minutes. At the very end I felt a very minor dull pain in the bottom of my right heel and that's why I stopped and came home. I tried varying my pace during the jog portions and found that I actually felt less like I was slogging through mud if I sped up a little. Interesting. I must say though that my normal jog pace is so slow that, honestly, I could just walk and end up doing the same distance and same time. I'm really trying to give my 40 year old body a break though so I can keep doing this with no injuries--so far so good--knock on wood. The goal is a 5k in the Raleigh, NC area in June--that's where I'll be for a month this summer with the kids--hanging out with my family.

I got an email from REI this week saying that my VFFs should be here on the 16th--HATE waiting!

I'm thinking, if all goes well, that this summer I'll be able to run some completely barefoot. Looking forward to that. It's cold here at night though and I'm just not that hard core to be out starting barefoot running and freeze my feet.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A good explanation of foot strikes

I found this on the web and was so excited to see a good explanation of mid/forefoot striking vs heel striking! It's Daniel Lieberman talking about his research. Interestingly he has a pair of Vibram Five Fingers on the table in front of him (towards the end) but doesn't talk about them darn it! Curious what he thinks.

Check out the video here.


Daniel Lieberman's Running Barefoot site.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Barefoot beginnings

A few months ago I read Born to Run and loved it. I started doing research on barefoot running and thought if I could ever get two seconds to myself I would give it a try. Recently hubby came down with shingles (massive stress in our house after adopting our 5 year old daughter from Ethiopia) and we realized that we HAD to learn to de-stress ourselves.

On Monday, Feb 15th I started the Couch to 5K program along with my step-daughter Nichole back in NC. The first week consists of 30 minutes: 5 min warm up walk, 20 min of alternating 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking and then a 5 min cool down walk. Through all this I'm concentrating on a mid-foot strike instead of a heel strike. I'm wearing very old sneakers with nearly all the tread worn off because I live in Colorado and it's too cold to try running barefoot in the winter.

Unlike any other time I've taken up an exercise program, this time I'm listening to my body--which is 40 years old and deserves to be listened to! It took me Tue (I felt pretty good), Wed (achy), Thurs (I needed Advil for my lower back) and Friday during the day to recover from that first run! Or wog (walk/jog) as Nichole likes to call it. Friday night I went again and felt pretty good. Several days later, when the muscle pain went away, I went again and nearly doubled my distance! I felt like a million bucks! :-)

The mid-foot strike is, of course, different than anything I've ever tried and I find that the only pain I have after a run is muscle pain. Excellent. I haven't (knock on wood) hurt myself. I find that amazing. I roll out my IT Bands almost every day and gently stretch before and after runs and occasionally on the days between runs.

So after my third run I catch a cold. I think back on all the times I've started something like this and how I ALWAYS catch a cold soon after starting. Instead of powering through I give myself a break. This is a shocking thing in my life--I don't give myself a break! I end up with a week and a half break between the cold and a short vacation back to NC to visit family.

On Friday March 5th I go running again but instead of moving to week 2 which is 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking I stay with the week 1 workout. My breath was fine my muscles were so sore!

On Saturday Brad, the kids, and I are wandering around REI in Boulder and I walk by a display of Vibram Five Fingers.

I talk to the guy trying them on and the guy selling them. I try some on. I run up and down the aisles. Wow. Nifty. As the sales guys says, "You don't have to think about running right, you just do." He's right. I'm not concentrating on running midfoot. In fact, I'm running on the balls of my feet automatically! I order the VFF KSOs for women online through the store because they didn't have my size in store. They should be here next week. In talking with the sales guy he tells me about how some people are running in pool shoes. I had forgotten about that--I'm on several minimalist running lists and several people mentioned that. So I went off to Target and bought some pool shoes. Last night was the first time out in them. It was interesting. I wore socks for both comfort and warmth and had a similar experience as the VFFs except my toes were more constrained in the pool shoes. I like the way they were able to spread out in the VFFs. I think they are a good option while I wait for my VFFs. Luckily I read a lot about how to start barefoot running so last night's run was only 15 minutes long. I walked/jogged (again in week 1 mode) until I felt pain and then went home. Interestingly the pain was only when I walked. I find it easier to run with a forefoot strike than to walk that way. Are we supposed to walk that way too? Not sure. I tried midfoot strike too, that was slightly easier but still weird and stressed my hips and knees a bit. Will be researching the whole walking thing today. Either way the run was fun! I enjoyed the feel of 'bare' feet a lot.

I've always spent all my time in the house barefoot and a lot of time outside in the summer barefoot so my feet don't have to start completely from scratch.

What this all comes down to is: I feel like a kid again when I run and that's pretty cool.