Bearfoot: days 4-6
My first weekend in Vibram FiveFingers has come and gone. As usual, the weekend was too short, but I did get a fair amount done.
Fridays are one of the days I work from home. One of the advantages of this is that I can sneek out for a quick workout without having to do it super early or late. Since I was feeling quite springy, I decided it was the day to try running in my new shoes. As I mentioned earlier, I am not a runner. Not even close. One of my many goals in starting to run was improving my gawd-awful duck-footted heel-stomp form. Well, FiveFingers to the rescue. Sort of. I still don’t know what truly “proper” running form is, but I’m damn sure that barefooting encourages it. You simply can’t run on your heels while bearfoot or wearing the FiveFingers. Nor can you really under- or over-pronate. As far as I could tell, my running form improved 90% in a simple 20 minute run (keep in mind that 10% still leaves a lot of improvement for me).
Within the first 5 minutes of running I could tell I’d have to keep it short. Because I was running on the balls of my feet for the first time since possilby pre-school, my calves were burning. I pushed through my normal (weak) 2 mile run and could immediately “feel the burn”. One of my Twitter friends–”tweeps”, if you will–described it as being “shot in the calves”. It’s 3 days later, and my calves are still amazingly stiff/sore. I’m stretching 2-3 times a day just to keep my range of motion. Apparently I have a LOT of calf building to do.
Friday evening I headed to the Jemez Mountains of NM for some camping and climbing at Los Conchas. Walking around in nature in the FiveFingers is pretty damn cool. As many people have put it, I felt incredibly “connected with nature” walking around. The only problem was that the meadow where we camped sees some bovine traffic. I managed to dip my toes in a somewhat fresh cow-pie. It was as gross as you’d expect. Fortunately there was a small creek where I could wash my foot and shoe. Because they’re lightweight material, they washed out and dried pretty fast.
Saturday at Los Conchas I stayed bearfoot between climbs, even scrambling around a bit. Before this week, I’d always slapped my Keens on while not in my climbing shoes. In jumping around on rocks, I managed to cut up my feet a bit on some of the sharper shrubs. Oops.
Still getting multiple comments per day on shoes. I really believe there will be a “tipping point” very soon with these, similar to that we’ve seen with Keens, Chacos, and even those ugly Crocs.