Barely 24 hours after publishing my review on Born to Run and remarking on the theory that the more expensive your running shoe, the more likely you are to incur an injury – a theory I think is right on the money no less – I ran out and spent $80 on running “shoes”. Vibram Five Finger Sprints!
Hypocrisy thy name is Alison.
But CHECK THEM OUT!
And I Love. Them.
You see, it’s all Born to Run’s fault. Reading about these amazing 50, 100 mile and beyond ultra-marathon runners who eat a measly 26.2 miles for breakfast has me pumped to run far and long. I want to eat a marathon for breakfast myself here at the end of the summer! Thanks to Born to Run I have come to see and believe that the form modification that is coming from barefoot running is going to be my ticket to running long with ease. It might not happen overnight, but I think I’m on my way.
Of course though, it’s not exactly that simple.
Because I’ve been modifying my form based on the things that Barefoot Ken Bob preached and all that I’ve been reading… I’m basically in running purgatory. This in-between-place where I’m not yet really good at my new form and the old way doesn’t feel good anymore either. I had been wondering if I was just imagining this awkward in-between phase when Born to Run confirmed exactly what I was thinking. It’s like I’m learning to run all over again.
WELL WHY DON’T I JUST SCREW UP RUNNING FOR MYSELF!
So now, while running in purgatory, my normal runs are fine but long runs are another story. My toes have been KILLING ME during my long runs, making me miserable come about mile 6 or 8 until the bitter end.
So what to do, what to do! I don’t know if it’s my shoes or if it’s my change in form or what. Whatever the case, something’s got to give.
Christopher McDougall writes that even OLD beaten down sneakers are better than newer ones, since less cushioning is better. So in my quest to help me and my toes get along again, I brought an old pair of sneaks out of lawn mowing retirement last week and had them accompany me and my toes on a 15 mile run.
The toes were appreciative and said “thanks for the thought”, but they still weren’t exactly thrilled with this proposed solution and wanted to know what else I could come up with. They really like being barefoot, so why don’t we just do that?
Well, Toes – it’s a bit more complicated than that! You aren’t the only ones who have a say in all this after all! The skin on the soles of my feet have some opinions and sentiments too, especially when it comes to long runs sans leather and foam.
Back to the drawing board, yesterday I sat down with my feet and we went tête-à-
têtepied to figure out what to do. Eventually, we agreed that Vibram Five Fingers just made the most sense. Barefoot freedom with some sole protection. I do believe we could be on our way to running heaven.
So I bought them! And I love them! And after wearing them all day yesterday, me and the Vibrams and my toes and soles all danced around together, holding hands in a sunny field filled with wild flowers, hair blowing in the wind, wearing long flowy skirts and Peace, Love and No Shoes temporary tattoos.
This morning I had a date with my new “shoes” and planned to take them on their first outing. We went an easy two miles around the hood to give them a quickie tour, but not too long either because I wanted to save my legs for the long run planned for first thing tomorrow morning. (In the Out of Retirement sneaks… shhhhh, I haven’t told the toes just yet.)
After we got back from our little jaunt, we enjoyed a couple pieces of Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel toast with almond butter and sliced bananas for breakfast together.
This is where you click play for the soundtrack that goes along this post.
Not wanting our time together to be over just yet, I gave them their second tour of the day after breakfast – out to the garden we go!
We started with the pumpkin plants.
And then moved on to the raspberry bushes in the back.
We said a little hello to our new strawberry plants.
We nuzzled up with a cucumber.
I introduced them to the cat.
We had a little scare among the tomato plants, almost getting lost!
After a little nervous laughter out relief, we realized that was actually sort of fun getting lost and went to get lost in the squash plants in the bed next door.
Feeling silly at this point, we climbed the lattice with the morning glories.
Then took some time to stop and smell the sunflowers.
And finally, just kicked back to relax in the grass for a bit.
We had a good chuckle when we realized they matched my camera case perfectly!
But then laughter and grass time turned a little flirty…
and well… you know.
Barefoot inappropriateness aside, the Vibrams and I plan to ease into running longer distances together as it’s important to transition slowly into barefoot running in general. Just because my soles are now protected doesn’t mean I get to go balls to wall here. Therefore I’ll be using the old retirement trainers for long runs for the time being and still plan to go completely au natural some of the time too.
Running heaven? Or running hell? Happy together? Time will tell!