Sunday, October 11, 2009

the beginning

I was not a runner when I was younger, and didn't really run in high school or college. After I graduated with my Bachelor's degree I decided to go for a run. It went really well and I loved it. The next day I could barely walk; it was a shock to my body. After I took a few days off to heal I started running a three mile loop around my house seven days per week. I did all of this in an old pair of Nikes that were laying around the house. I ran fairly consistently for about a year until I stumbled on Barefoot Ken Bob's website and thought the idea of barefoot running was great. I decided to give it a try and implemented it during the last mile or so of my run every couple of days.

I really liked running barefoot but living in eastern Nebraska out in the country made this difficult. I tried running barefoot out on the highway but at the time it was summer, the asphalt was incredibly hot, and I ended up with some impressive blisters. Additionally, the winters are snowy/icy and there are not any good clean sidewalks where I live. I wanted an alternative...

I then found the Vibram Five Fingers website: This was exactly what I was looking for - a thin rubber sole that protected against hot asphalt, rocks and other road hazards but also allowed for the same foot movement as running barefoot. I immediately bought a pair.

When my blue Vibram Five Fingers Classics arrived I slipped them on, admired them in the mirror and went for a run. Three miles later I cam home, having thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The next morning, however, my calves were on FIRE! It took about three days for them to heal and I could try them out again. I started using them gradually after that, using them for the last mile or two of every run. Eventually I was using them for almost every run.

I had the chance to use them during a race but backed out at the last second and wore running shoes. A few weeks later I was doing my 20 mile run in preparation of my first marathon and my running shoes caused me to have some severe pain in my Achilles tendon. That is the last time I wore traditional running shoes. I rested my Achilles for a couple of days and then switched completely to the Five Fingers and barefoot running (if I am on the treadmill, or if it is very mild weather out I'll run barefoot but otherwise I am in the Five Fingers). I ran the Omaha Marathon in them a few weeks later, as well as the Market to Market Relay two weeks after that.

As for a review - the Classics are great. The drawstring in the back has bugged my heel here and there but I've formed a small callus that has prevented any blisters or anything. I wore them for about 400-500 miles and then switched to the Sprints, which are very similar but instead of a drawstring they have two sets of velcro straps:

I have had these for about 400 miles and they are still going strong- I'm kind of curious to see how many miles I can get out of them.

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