Thursday, October 08, 2009

Celebration and "Barefoot" Running...

A great time at the anniversary party last night. A few beers. A few buddies. And even some beer buddies. A special thanks to Pat who brought me this hat, oozing with star-spangled goodness.

Starting to get a wee bit cold. My last commute, I wore my winter gloves. This morning went for a ride that was positively chilly. I am back in sauna mode. It sure helps to really warm me up after a very cold bike ride.

I always try to work in a run or two on my days off. Late summer, I started doing the "barefoot" running stuff. I’m not an early adopter. But I am a person who tries to encourage others to early adopt, so they can take the plunge instead of me. I’m not saying this is a good thing. But I recognize this character flaw.

Accordingly, this spring I sent Jake the link to the Vibram five finger running feetsie gloves. He bought them. Then he told me that he really liked them. So I prepared myself to take the hundred-dollar-holy-shit commitment. When I found them on the website, the REI website, they were listed with aqua sox and other cheap-ass aquatic footwear. It dawned on me that I had a pair of these aqua sox just sitting in the back of my closet. They had been there about three years, and had the cobwebs and dust to prove it too.

I really liked running with them. Very, very thin sole. No arch. No cushioning. And I saved 100 bucks. Thank you Jake.

Also, I believe Hank was doing some barefoot running this summer too. So, thank you Hank!

I started out with very short distances, usually followed by true barefoot laps around the park. Was amazing to feel how much acorns and tiny pebbles hurt less and less each run. My feet felt bruised at first, but the whole experience has been very enjoyable. Of course, there are new muscles getting used in new ways, and I was sore for a while. One thing I noticed is that my hip/lower back pain is pretty much gone. This lumbago has plagued me, on and off, for about 10 years.

In fact, Sarah and I both have been trying to wear footwear that has little or no arch support or cushioning as much as possible - aqua sox, moccasins, and just plain bare feet. At work, I put on my boots right before I get on the engine, and take them off as soon as I get back from a call. As it gets colder, this soleless lifestyle is going to be harder to do. You can really feel the cold ground when there is no thick sole and padding. Brrrrrrrrr.

I just ordered a pair of Feelmax shoes. The soles on these shoes are extremely thin. They make boots too. So, if I like the shoes, I might be ordering boots later. I wonder what they will feel like on the icy bike pedals this winter.

Have yet to barefoot run in the kilt. Maybe when it gets more foggy. “What the hell was that?” She screamed, as the ghostly nonsensical apparition sped back into the shadows. A dachshund mournfully howled in the distance.


Hank said...

Yeah, I'm still getting strange looks from people downtown. I'm so confident running barefoot now that I don't carry my shoes with me anymore. I'm wondering how I'm going to do during the winter. Hopefully, the cold snaps don't last too long. Care to join me in running Bloomsday barefoot?

Congrats on your five years!

David Blaine said...

I just talked with Jake about barefoot running last week. I told the owner of Sporttown that he needs to get ahead of the curve and start stocking the Vibram shoes. Bloomsday sounds like a nice goal.

EvilElf said...

Hank, Bloomsday barefoot! Do you mean real no-shit, no-aqua sox, no-vibram barefoot? I would say yes right now if I had a thin rubber layer between me and the spit/vomit. But really, really barefoot, hmmmm, I will have to ponder that!

David, I wonder if Runners Soul might consider carrying them. I like the aqua sox. They cost anywhere between $5 and $20. The cheaper they are, the thinner they are too.

Barefoot Ted makes some huaraches, or you can buy a kit from him here:

I picked up a copy of Born to Run this summer for Sarah. I haven't read it yet, but apparently the "barefoot" marathoning Mexicans featured in the book wear huaraches.

Hank said...

Well, if barefoot the entire distance seems out of reach, then I'll go with the huarache sandals. I bought a kit from BFT and they were easy to make. It takes some tweaking to get them tied on just right, but it's the next best thing to running barefoot. My kit with 4mm Vibram soles cost $37 so they're not as inexpensive as the aqua sox. How they look is another issue.

But my goal is to run Bloomsday barefoot. The longest distance I've gone so far is 4 miles. I am so close to having the technique down that I'm sure I'll be ready in May. (BTW, the huaraches are so light I could easily carry them as a backup just in case.)

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