This last Saturday was the 29th annual Wisner Fire & EMS Leprechaun run. They had 2.2 mile, 5 kilometer and 5 mile runs as part of the St Patrick's day weekend celebrations. I had never been to Wisner, NE but there were no other good runs that weekend so we made the drive. The weather was questionable - only about 32 degrees and windy at the start. I got in a good warmup and luckily the race did not begin until 12 noon.
I stepped into the little community center to use the bathroom quickly before the start and overheard a few fellow runners speaking about how they need to get shoes with the most cushioning possible, because their feet need it if they run over 10 miles... I figured I should stay out of it and kept to myself, glancing down at my wierd VFF Sprints with Injinji socks underneath. Not much cushioning here but I'm doing fine with 50-70 miles per week.
The race director gave some instructions on where to go- everybody started and finished in the same spots. The first turnaround was for the 2.2 mile race, the second was for the 5k and the last was for the 5 mile race. My wife and I had both chosen to run the 5 mile race. At the start I was feeling very loose and must have actually warmed up properly for once. I got to the front of the pack and started running hard. I chatted with another runner for a minute about the VFFs - he told me that he has a pair but only wears them on the treadmill. I told him he should try wearing them outside!
I got through the first 2 miles in about 11:50 and did not realize that the wind was pushing me until the turnaround, about 2.5 miles in... The return trip was brutal- into the wind for the whole last half of the race. I think I ran about 6:00 pace for the first half and 6:30 for the second half. I was in second place virtually the whole time- the guy ahead of me somehow ran faster after the turnaround and sped ahead of everybody. He finished in 28:53 and I came in second at 31:22, around 6:16 pace. I was happy, especially with all of that wind. I even got my first trophy- with the little plastic running guy on top. Awesome. After I finished the runner that I had talked to came up and was asking me how much I run in my VFFs - I told him that anytime I'm outside I'll run in them, or barefoot. He told me that they give him blisters on his big toes due to the seams - I told him that he needs to get a pair of the Bikilas (if they ever come out) because they are completely seamless!
After the race we got our free $2 steak sandwiches. Yes; you read that right.
Monday, March 15, 2010
So the Wal-Mart Bentonville Half Marathon was this Saturday in Bentonville, Arkansas. I originally signed up for it because I thought it would be a great spring half to do with warm weather- turned out Arkansas weather can be variable in March... At the start of the race it was about 38 degrees and misting rain. I warmed up for 15 minutes before the start, jogging around the the parking lot where our car was. We had to wait for a while at the starting line, though, so I got pretty cold waiting there. The Injinji socks worked well to keep my toes warm while running, but at the start they were definitely starting to get COLD! I was shooting for a time of around 1:24 but forgot my watch at home. I started somewhere in the middle - this was a mistake because it took a while to run through a big pack of runners. I did not know how fast I was running until there was a clock at the 10k point- 42:17. I still was not warming up... I picked up the pace a little from there but knew there was an impressive hill at the end of the race. I finally started feeling warmed up and ready to run hard around 10 miles. When I got to the hill (around the 12 mile mark) I ran up without stopping; it was steep but very fun and challenging - I passed two other runners here. I finished in 1:29:57 feeling like I could have run a bit faster. Results were posted already- I was in 29th place at the 10k point. Ended up 22nd overall out of 888 runners; 4th out of 60 in my age group.
Also - I had an interesting conversation with the race director/ local running shoe store owner Mike Rush (http://rushrunning.com/) about my Vibram Five Fingers Sprints that I was wearing. While wearing a head-mounted video camera he politely informed me that I was pronating while wearing my VFFs. I told him that a fair amount of pronation is normal during running gait and it is just your arch supplying you with energy. He then told me that I would have problems and would get injured soon. I explained that I have been running in them exclusively for over two years now and haven't had problems with the VFFs yet. I have even done two marathons, two half marathons and a handful of 5Ks and 10Ks so far... He seemed to be caught off guard about the fact that I had done two marathons in them and was still healthy- but quickly asked what the times were. I told him 3:24 and 3:06. He told me that he knows biomechanics and that I will get injured- and that he refuses to carry VFFs in his store because he does not believe in them. I told him that I have my MS degree in Exercise Science and my thesis was on barefoot running- I have done a lot of research and I think I'll be okay. It was an interesting conversation, though. Usually I get asked by curious people what it is like to run in them and if they have any arch support, etc. but nothing like this. Thought I would share this.
Next race - Leprechaun 5 Mile Run in Wisner, NE
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Thought I would post a quick update regarding winter running... I live in Nebraska and the winter has been harsh, to put it midly. Not many warm days since November. I have been running on the treadmill mostly, either barefoot or in socks (the treadmill can get very warm running for 1-2 hours). Occasionally I will wear my VFFs on the treadmill too. I have gotten outside probably 6-7 times in my VFFs this winter, every time with my Injinji socks for warmth. I plan on wearing my Sprints (roughly 700 miles on them now) to the Bentonville Half Marathon this weekend and then to the Boston Marathon next month. I've been running outside more and more lately- it was ~44 degrees Saturday so I did the last ten miles of my 20 miler outside in the Sprints and loved it. I am anxiously awaiting the VFF Bikilas!!!