Thursday, September 4, 2008

Starting to Run and Feeling Fine!

So, right on schedule, my new shoes arrived (more on that in a moment) and I was able to start my new running program from Cool Running. So far, no soreness, just a little stiffness in my back, but that probably comes as much from the cooler weather as with anything else. I'll have to stretch that out a little bit more today before moving on with my push ups. I think yesterday was more about getting started rather than really pushing. We had a class to go to in the evening and for some reason I thought it went later than it did. So I really rushed to get myself out the door because I didn't think I would have time later on (turned out I was wrong, but I guess that's okay).

The other bit was that it was raining outside. Just a light rain...with 40mph winds...and suddenly a lot colder than the day before. Well, I guess maybe a picture says it better:

Yes, those are the remnants of hurricane Gustav, about an hour and a half before I started my run. I was at the red spot. So, you can imagine how it might have changed after that time (i.e. it just got closer). So, yesterday's jog-then-walk-then-repeat exercise that constitutes the first day's work out of the program was much more about discipline, about getting it in despite what's going on outside or inside. Because all-in-all, I feel really pretty good. No shin splints, aching legs, or ragged throat from panting to death. However, there's one other thing that may have contributed to at least some of that - my new shoes.

The way I introduced these to my mother yesterday (she was watching Sam for us while we were at the class) was by saying, "I don't know how you feel about toes, but these may freak you out a little." I'll give you the same introduction in case you haven't seen these before.

These are Vibram's FiveFinger shoes,made originally for watersports gurus. But there's a whole contingent of runners who've been spouting off for years about the benefits of learning to run barefoot and these shoes finally gave them the best of both worlds - the same ergonomics as running barefoot (better posture, springier step, stronger ankles, etc), but a hard sole to protect from glass, sharp sticks, doggie doo, and the like. And as I was at a point where I was going to start running again, there were two things I was hoping to avoid - bad shin splints and expensive shoes. The shin splints could have been taken care of with some really cushy shoes, because I didn't used to get them when I had my very nice, new running shoes. But I just wasn't willing to spend $130 on a pair that I'd wear out by spring of next year.

So, after a lot of reading up, I went ahead and got the FiveFinger KSO's (or Keep Stuff Out - look at the other versions and you'll see why they're called that). No padding, no cusion, no arch support, no orthotics - on other hand - no laces, no sweaty heat, no socks, no weight. Just a sole and something to help keep it straped to your foot. Figured I could help break in my feet and my body at the same time since these first few runs are very low intensity. Everything I had read about these shoes written by runners was that they force you to run with better posture which helps prevent shin splints. And that you feel like a kid running around barefoot. Wait...what? Yeah, like a kid, right. Sure pal.

It's SO TRUE! Here I am, running around in the rain and wind, stepping in puddles and mud, grass literally getting stuck between my toes, and I didn't even care! Brand new shoes! When's the last time you wore a brand new pair of shoes and didn't care about getting 'em all mucked up the first day out? Probably when you were a kid. I mean, I had cleats I had to kinda scuff up before I really took them to practice so I didn't feel so bad about getting 'em dirty. And let's not even talk about the break-in period just to get the darns things to stop blistering your feet to death. Again. Just like the last pair.

These shoes, on the other hand, required no break-in, at all. The don't fit perfectly, but the fit is so close around the foot and they are so flexible that your feet don't shift in them at all. And that first run totally took me back to the summer rain storms from my kidhood with my sisters and cousins - playing in the ditch, squelching in the mud, and generally getting so drenched that my whole body was pruny afterwards. I've always loved those memories and now here I am, a responsible adult for all intents and purposes, and I'm actually having fun running. I hate running! I mean, if I'm only running for running's sake, I hate it. I only like it when I'm in a race. It was both weird and cool.

Oh, and there's no way I paid $80 for mine either. Found 'em on sale with free shipping for $63. And there's no breakdown that could really happen except the sole pulling free. So unlike running shoes where the padding wears out and you've got perfectly good soles and upper but no way to use them as running shoes anymore, these just keep on going.

Day 1 down. Day 2 on Friday. Yeehaw! I wonder if it'll be raining again. *GRINS*


Andrea said...

oh might have just converted someone to those shoes.
I can't even walk in my running shoes for very long because my ring toe on my right foot gets stepped on by the bully toes on each side and then it's sore after about a half hour walk. when I go on walks I pack my flip flops in the stroller so i can switch out and let my sweaty feet breathe. My right foot also steps funny when i walk with my heel in too far so then my arch gets mad. I have no trouble with flip flops because it's basically like being barefoot. You'll have to let me know how you like them as time goes on. is there any way that your toes feel claustrophobic or do they get blistery at all?

Grant Gardner said...

So far, I haven't run far enough in them to comment on the blistery toes part, but you're toes absolutely do not feel claustrophobic. The toe boxes aren't that tight around the toe and so there is a little room for them to move. Socks actually feel way more claustrophobic than these cause they all get crammed together. is where I found mine - they have the sale going till this Sunday, but they don't have a lot of size or color selections. I'll keep peaking around to see if I can find someone else with a good price on them.

Whatever you do, get to a store and try any of the styles on - that will help you lock in the size because they don't run by normal shoe sizes. Check the store locator on the FiveFinger's website.