Archive for February 2010

“Are you lost?”

February 28, 2010

About 35 degrees and raw today. Early in my two mile barefoot run, I crossed paths with a middle-aged couple walking their dog. She smiled and said Hi. As I was passing, he asked with a slight accent, “Are you luhst?”  Am I lost? “No, I’m not lost,” I assured him.

What the hell? From where might I be lost? Malibu Beach? The Serengeti plain? 4000 years ago? McLean Hospital? Neverland? Given the accent, my wife thought he might have meant to say, “Have you lost your shoes?” It felt to me more like he was so taken aback, that he just misblurted his question. What he probably meant was, “Why are you running barefoot?” It’s a long story, dude, read my blog.

Yesterday I was talking to a contractor (more…)

Prose about toes

February 27, 2010

Barefoot Jason just published a great review of the Vibram Five Fingers KSOs that he’s put 600 miles on. He actually knows whereof he speaks!

Barefoot running teacher…my foot

February 23, 2010

Ken Bob Saxton is the man. According to Wikipedia, Barefoot Ken Bob is the Godfather of barefoot running, and that’s consistent with my experience. I am one of the countless rookie runners BKB has gone out of his way to advise. He’s a busy guy, but he took the time to respond twice to my post on Sunday.

Normally a very patient teacher (ala the Shoalin priests in Kung Fu) he bristled at me a few weeks ago when I too readily concluded that winter barefoot running in New England doesn’t work. “Open your mind,” said KB. I did, and was out running in 15 degrees a week later. The only time BKB really loses it is in response to the cardinal oxymoron: barefoot running shoes. Barefoot means barefoot.

His madness is not without method. His most consistent (more…)

Why won’t my Achilles’ heal?

February 21, 2010

No, I’m not really whining, but I am coming to respect the biggest challenges I am facing: Stretching my tendons and keeping my mileage reined in.

My expectation going into this thing was that work was going to be toughening my soles. That turns out to be pretty much a non-issue. It was a beautiful 45 degrees yesterday, and I got out for a two mile run on bare soles and followed with another two miles of barefoot walking. No prob. But I hobbled out of bed this morning.

OK, I know I’ve been going farther faster than anyone recommends, so shame on me. But what runner wants to cut back their mileage? I initially tried mixing (more…)

The shoe must go on

February 18, 2010

I’ve written a few time about Vibrams, but as I mentioned in The Great Oxymoron there are a number of other minimalist shoes positioned as the thing to wear when you are not able to go barefoot. I’m still trying to figure out what the whole barefoot thing means to me, but at this point, my focus is purely on running barefoot. The VFFs are in support of that end and they seem to be doing the job.

I’m not out out trying other shoes, but I am interested in a number of the shoe options that are more for people who want to maintain the feeling of the ground under their feet while walking around town. Birthday Shoes, a site that I thought was pretty dedicated to VFFs, just published a nice review of the Terra Plana Vivo Barefoot Aqua. I gotta admit they look and sound pretty cool and although they are pricy, Barefoot Shoes offers a promo code that knocks 30% off the price. That almost brings them into the range of my cheapskate standards. But given my running focus, I still think the next shoes I buy will be the VFF Bikilas when they are available in April.

Achilles tendons are my Achilles’ heel

February 15, 2010

Don’t do too much too fast. That’s the advice one hears most consistently from experienced barefoot runners. In my post Bad legs?…not by a long stretch, I suggested that extensive stretching had enabled me to ramp more quickly and had kept me from the calf and tendon problems that many others experience. I still believe in the efficacy of stretching, but having run 10 miles last week in my VFF Flows, I’m experiencing some soreness in my tendons.

Late last Spring, I tried to run through some Achilles tendonitis. I don’t recommend that approach; learned my lesson. So, I’ve taken a few days off (if you don’t count skiing and walking and, importantly, stretching). My sense is that raised heel shoes shorten the tendons and over time they shrink. Upon consideration, therefore, it doesn’t surprise me that it takes a while to (more…)

Five fingers at 10 miles…an interim report

February 14, 2010

There’s been lots of interest in how the VFF Flows are working. A week into it and after ten miles of running I remain impressed. I’ve also worn them around town a bit and have some observations about that. Finally, having run “barefoot” as much in the last week as in the prior three weeks, I’m also evolving my understanding of what’s involved with cutting over from conventional running.

First, they do go on easier than they did initially. It’s still a bit of a trick to get my little toes in, but I attribute that to my toes. My little toe tends to tuck into the next one; could be a consequence of lots of years in shoes.

The running conditions have been fairly consistent: Temps 25-25, little new snow, dry (more…)