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.