Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Toasty FiveFingered Feet

Hurricane Sandy has finally blown through but we are having a cold snap at the moment so this evening was an ideal opportunity to try out my new Vibram Bikala FiveFingers.

A short but fun 3.5 mile run and at the end of it my feet were toasty and warm. I still prefer running barefoot, but these shoes mean that I will be able to run barefoot style without suffering from frost bite.

I'm Sexy and I know It .....Not

After a three week break due to work and a vacation I finally got back to running the other day with an early morning 5 mile run. Felt pretty good although I was taking it easy with 9.5 min/mile. Until recently all my barefoot running has been done in warm, hot or blazingly hot weather. This last early morning run temperatures were down in the 40's (Fahrenheit) and the only part of me that was cold were my toes.

This is going to be a problem when the really cold weather kicks in so I finally broke down and purchased some minimalist running shoes to be used in cold weather.

After some research I ended up purchasing a pair of Vibram FiveFingers Bikala.

Friday, September 14, 2012

First 10 Miler

Last Sunday I decided to hit the American Tabacco Trail. Now we had a big rain storm pass through the previous evening and so I decided to wear my huarache sandals. When the ground is damp or wet and you are running barefoot the sharp stones tend to stick to the soles of your feet. So to avoid that discomfort I decided on some minimalist footwear.

The goal of this run was distance, not necessarily speed and concentrating on good form.
10.4 miles later I had got back to the car. My longest run so far in the minimalist style. Now, I have followed this run with two additional runs so far this week for a total of 20 miles this week. I am tempted to try another 10 tomorrow to hit 30 miles for the week. Of course, that depends on my "honey do list".

Saturday, August 11, 2012

New Olympic Barefoot Distance Record

So this morning, at about 4am one of my kids woke me up after having snuck into my bed without me knowing. I got up and carried him back to his bed but then could not get back to sleep as I was thinking about some issues at work.

Getting up at 6am I just decided to get an early start on the day. Arriving at work at 6:50am I decided to go ahead with my run as it was a beautifal morning and relatively cool. 6.7 miles later I had finished my run in a few seconds over one hour, which is my longest barefoot run so far.

What does this have to do with the Olympics I hear you say? Well, the Olympics is currently on ... therefore this is my new Olympic record.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Night Time Running

With four kids who all have activities pretty much all the time I sometimes have trouble fitting in my workouts/runs. Right now we just finished a soccer league, and have started up swim season. The kids practice pretty much every evening with one night for a meet. Whilst they practice I try to get in a few laps.

Unfortunately any running typically occurs after 9pm when the roads are dark and it is not necessarily the best time to be running barefoot. It is times like this that the Luna Huaraches sandals have proved invaluable. Although I will always lean to running completely barefoot, it is sometimes not practical. Having some protection on my feet is comforting and allows me to enjoy the run.

So two runs so far this week, and feeling great.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

OMG Do my feet really look like that !!

On the Sunday after I made my Luna Huaraches I couldn't wait to try them out.

Fortunately, we have state park not too far from where I work which has some great trails, one of which is a 5 mile loop. With hindsight this probably wasn't the smartest thing to do given that I had just built up to 3 miles (5k) barefoot.

Excuse the picture of my feet. I really hope that they don't really look like this, but to be fair I think the camera angle doesn't help. It looks like I have really odd sized feet.

The first quarter of a mile I had to tighten my  sandals twice so I obviously need to work on my lacing skills. Other than that they stayed put throughout the rest of my run providing enough protection from the rocky gravel trails.

Quiet. These sandals, just like running barefoot are really quiet, in fact at one point I came up on a couple walking their dogs and had to ask to pass as they did not hear me. Once I was past them, they noticed the sandals and asked me what they were.

The sandals were really light and there was no rubbing on any part of my feet. It really was close to being barefoot.

I really enjoyed this run and it was a beautiful day however I fell for a trap that I think is common for people starting out with barefoot running and that is I did too much too soon.  Just because I had some protection on my feet I was able to run further, however my feet, tendons and muscles may not have been so ready. This is going to be the topic of my next blog entry.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Luna Sandals DIY Kit

How long would it take to convert the 9x11 Vibram neoprene sole plate and two 72" leather laces into a pair of huaraches.

It was Sunday evening and I figured I had a couple of hours to spare, and I had already viewed the instructions on the Luna Sandals website and had watched the videos on how to tie them.

Right foot template.
Getting started I traced my right foot and then my left on two separate pieces of letter sized paper. Comparing the two, my right foot is slightly bigger than the left and I decide to use the right foot template for both feet.

My next challenge was getting the template positioned on the sole plate so that I could get two sandals out of the one piece of Vibram neoprene. The Luna sandal website states that if both feet fit on a piece of letter size paper then the 9x11 piece of neoprene should be sufficient. Apparently my 11.5 US size feet must be wider than most because I had a great deal of trouble fitting my template on the neoprene. As it turns out using a white crayon to mark around the template worked pretty well and as you can see the markings were fairly clear and easy to follow.

The next step was to cut out the soles. Using a new blade on a cutting board, it was fairly easy to make a clean cut on the inside of the white line, through the 6mm Vibram neoprene.
White crayon lines outline the soles on the neoprene.

The result of my first cut can be seen below. As can be seen it was rather a tight fit and I only just managed to get the two soles.

After 10 minutes or so, I had my two soles cut out. I don't have a lot of free time so I did not clean up the edges with sand paper but my goal was to get these ready so that I could try them out. Using a drill bit I created the toe hole and the holes either side of the heel for the laces that I elongated using the knife.

Finally, I was able to lace up my pair of custom made huaraches.

One of my sons said that they are a "crime against fashion" and sure enough they are not the prettiest of things, however, runners aren't generally renown for their fashion sense.

So this whole process probably took about 1 to 1.5 hours. If I had to do it again, I suspect it would only take about 30 to 40 minutes.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hmmm they don't look like sandals

Ordering the Luna sandals on Wednesday I had resigned myself to the fact that it would probably be Monday or Tuesday of next week before they arrived. I was surprised when the package arrived mid-afternoon today (Saturday).
My new Luna Sandals (hopefully)
Anyway, here is a picture of the contents of the package. I went with the base option which was just the sole with leather laces. The only additional items are an accompanying letter and something that resembles a sticker ...

I have a really busy day tomorrow, but I would love to find time to make these and perhaps give them a try ... well see ....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Luna Sandals

Just ordered a Luna Sandal kit. I decided that whilst I am building up my foot strength I need something that will allow me to continue putting in the miles.

Letting go of the Security Blanket

So today at work we had a 5k race for National Employee Health and Fitness day. My big decision was whether to run barefoot or with my running shoes.
This would have been a no-brainer, but I had run a 5k barefoot just 5 days ago and was still nursing a small blood blister on my left foot. So, the question I was wrestling with was whether my foot (blister) would hold up for another 5k.
I decided to run barefoot and carry my running shoes just in case I should need them. Within the first minute I caught up with another barefoot runner who immediately noted my "security blanket".
As it turns out, I completed the race with no problem other than a small blister on one toe on my right foot.
The race results showed that I finished 33rd out of 110 runners with a time of 24:57. Not my fastest 5k, but this course was hilly and it was hot and humid too so I was quite satisfied.
With my second 5k complete barefoot, there will be no more "security blankets" for me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Blisters and Personal Bests

Yesterday I really felt like running and managed to find a spare 50 minutes in my day when I could get out to a local trail.

This was going to be my first 3 mile run completely barefoot. One thing to note is that the trail I was running is flat, and it's surface is ash/gravel.

I won't lie, and this run was hard on my feet but I was able to find some grass and sandy areas to give my feet some relief.

My lap times for the first two miles were just over 8 minutes each which meant I could beat my 5k personal best of over 24 minutes. Feeling good I tried to pick up the pace for the last mile and felt really good.

The result ? Well I ran 5k in 23 minutes 38 seconds .... barefoot. What was more impressive, for me at least was that I ran the last mile in 7 minutes 11 seconds. Not only was I happy that I had completed the 3.5 miles barefoot, but I had set some personal bests, so going barefoot did not necessarily mean me running slower.

Legs (hamstrings, IT band, knees etc.) felt really good, although I don't normally have any tightness until about mile 5, and my feet felt fine. On getting home I was able to take a closer look at my feet and everything looked fine except for dirt and a single blood blister about the size of a dime on my left foot.

Overall, I am happy with my first "distance" barefoot run ... I have a 5k in 3 days, do I dare do it barefoot ?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Barefoot Running - The beginning

So with my half marathon out of the way, I took a break from running for a couple of weeks. Last Sunday I ran 5.5 miles just to get back into the swing of running. Still having the burning sensation on the right side of my right knee, which I hope I can self treat with some stretching.

So today, I decided to start my introduction in barefoot running. My goal here is to be able to run about 5 miles barefoot (without destroying any body parts). Fortunately at work, I have a 1/4 mile tarmac loop available which is great for increasing my distance slowly. I did four laps today for a total of one mile and felt great afterwards, I didn't even have any issues with the IT band on the right knee.

I will continue to increase the distance over the next week and hope that by the end of next week I may be up to 2 miles. As I mentioned, I am taking this very slowly for now.

First Half Marathon

So a few weeks back I completed my first half marathon. In spite of the hamstring injury during training I made it to the starting line and achieved my goal of running the race in under 2 hours, actually 1 hour 52 minutes 9 seconds.

I was quite surprised how good I felt at the end which kind of makes me wonder how much I could have pushed it during the race.

The hamstrings held up, but instead I ended up with a burning on the right side of my right knee. From what I can determine it is probably an aggravate IT band.

Now, I need to decide what to do next .... onto barefoot running.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Count Down

So I have 3 more days before my first half marathon. This week I only have 3 two mile runs before the big race early Sunday morning. I am pretty certain that my hamstring is 90% recovered, just hoping that 10% is not going to be an issue.

Once this half marathon is over I am going to start training barefoot in earnest with a view to doing a barefoot 5k in a month or two. It will be an interesting experiment to compare how my body feels after a long run barefoot than with shoes.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

One Week To Go...

So, the barefoot running has taken a back seat for the time being. About 3 weeks ago I pulled the hamstring in my left leg and have been having physical therapy and slowly, very slowly getting back to running.

I have one week left before my first half marathon and today did a 9 mile run. The good news is that my hamstring held out, so I am hopeful that I should be able to complete the necessary 13.1 miles next week.

The bad news, is that based on my interval times from today's run I will complete the race next week in 2 hours 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Will I get under 2 hours ? Will my hamstring hold out ?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Falling Apart

Well, last Thursday I felt a sharp pain in my left leg and had to stop 2 miles into a short 4 mile run with a pulled hamstring.

Did some light treadmill work on Sunday and then Tuesday went out for an easy 5 mile run. 4.79 miles into the run with the locker room in sight "twang" re-pulled the same hamstring. Not happy.

I only have 4 weeks until the half marathon and I have to balance recovery with keeping up my conditioning.

Looks like my first challenge of this half marathon is going to be getting to the starting line.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Warm Weather ...

Getting back into my running routine whilst still recovering from lasts weeks bout of a cold. I have been fortunate that the weather here has been really mild recently and I was able to go running at 9pm in shorts and t-shirt at 9pm at night.

Just had to run 4 miles tonight with some aerobic intervals tonight which didn't take long. Finished up with half a mile barefoot. It felt so good running without any shoes that I ended up significantly increasing my speed for the last quarter of a mile just to see how it felt. What continues to surprise me is how light the running feels when running without shoes.

Next run is scheduled for Thursday and so is some rain unfortunately.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Knackered ...

Had a cold this last week, and didn't get to running until yesterday. I managed 5 miles yesterday with half a mile barefoot and today 8 miles and an additional three quarters of a mile barefoot.

Now, the last couple of days have been down into the 30's and very windy so the runs have been hard work. That being said, although I only ran for barefoot around 10 minutes my feet were surprisingly warm.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Naked Feet

I want to run bare foot !! There, I said it !! I don't know if it is good or bad for you and from the research I can find on the internet there is no definitive, or should I say reliable, information out there about the benefits or risks.

This blog is going to record my venture into bare foot running, so it may be short. Even if the information is not useful to anyone else it will be a useful method my progress or perhaps my lack of progress.

Here goes ...