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 ?