A quick trip to the lake…

I decided to test out the water worthiness of my VFF’s on a quick trip to a local lake here in Raleigh last Sunday with the dogs. Our dog Sophie, a large Pomeranian, LOVES the water. The last few times we had gone to the lake we were unable to let Sophie swim because neither my husband or I, had on proper attire, or more importantly proper shoes. We had heard you could swim in your VFFs and we wanted to test this out to see if it were true. We didn’t exactly swim, more like waded into the water to throw tennis balls to the ever rambunctious Sophie. The VFFs held up fine. Ryan wore his KSO’s and I wore my sprints. I have to say they were a little uncomfortable on the very rocky train that led down to the lake, but once the ground evened out a bit we were fine. My sprints gather quite a bit of dirt, rocks, and silt from the lake, which were a pain to get out later. All around I give it a grade A for swimming. This definitely makes me more excited to try them out at the Warrior Dash in August.

Puppies enjoying day at the lake

something smells part 2

Having had my 3 pairs of VFF’s a few months now, I have come to one conclusion. Machine washing alone does NOT get all of the stink out, especially when it come to my Bikilas.
Following my own advice I hopped up on birthdayshoes.com, my Bible for everything VFF. I tried first one of the suggestions of leaving oxyclean soaking on the shoes for 30 minutes before putting in them in the washer. This worked for a while, at lease with my treksports and sprints, but my Bikilas were still getting really ripe.

I decided to be brave and try one of the most ridiculous sounding suggestions on the site, soaking my VFFs in efferdent, a denture cleaner. I got a big old cat little tub and filled it up most of the way with warm water. I put a tablet inside each shoe and let it soak for about 30 minutes. After soaking (yes they smelled minty fresh by the way) I popped them in the washing machine. To my surprise, when they came out they were stank free!!!!

I highly recommend this method to anyone who has had some ripe smelling Vibrams!

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New shoes, New terrain!

Hubby surprised me with my 3rd pair of VFFs, and effectively cut me off for the rest of the year at the same time. I had wanted a pair of Treksports to run in for my upcoming Warrior Dash, see:http://www.warriordash.com/register2011_carolinas.php . The Treksports are made specifically with trail running and hiking in mind see: http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/products/Five-Fingers-TrekSport-Womens.htm They have a great tread on the bottom that gives you more traction for climbing and navigating rough surfaces. The sole of the shoe is also a bit thicker than your standard sole, which gives you less barefoot feel, but in my opinion a little less of that is needed on the trails.

I have never been much of a trail runner. I always felt clumsy in regular shoes, my sense of balance seemed to be off.  The minute I stepped onto the trails with my new Treksports, that all changed! I thought being able to feel the ground under my feet with all its rocks and roots would be a bad thing, but it actually gave me my sense of balance back. I felt nimble and excuse the corny term, but one with nature. I had a new sense of my surroundings. Yes, I still had to be careful where i stepped, a sharp rock can hurt. Stubbing your toe on a tree root isn’t fun ether. I was able to bounce around my new surroundings like a kid.

My Vffs have given me a new respect for trail running. I try to incorporate a trail run in at least 2 days a week to my running schedule. So, far I have made it up to 2 miles in my Treksports. I have to be at 3.2 miles by august, a goal I know I can meet in my new shoes!

Vibram FiveFingers TrekSport - Women's

My hubby is a VFF convert.

My husband Ryan, had been teasing me extensively anytime I wore my “toe shoes”, saying I was just wearing them for the attention. He had noticed people coming up to me asking about my shoes constantly. I kept trying to explain to him how comfortable the shoes really were, but he just didn’t get it. He was half-way through “Born to Run” and hadn’t gotten to any of the juicy parts about how the shoe industry is duping us all.

Vibram FiveFingers KSO - Men's

On our way to the mountains of Asheville, NC, I needed to stop and pick up a new pair of running shoes, my Kinvaras had worn out since the marathon and hadn’t worked up into decent mileage yet in my bikilas. We went to Omega Sports here in Raleigh. They are fabulous by the way for you barefoot running fans here in NC. Several of the store employees run barefoot and in VFF’s and are experts into getting you into the right minimalist shoe. We had a BOGO coupon, so I had Ryan just try on a pair of VFFs, while I tried on my NB minimus. When he got the Vibrams KSOs on you could see his face just light up. He walked around in them a bit in the store, then tried them out on their treadmill. I could see he was hooked! We got him a pair, right then and there, and he wanted to wear them on the trip right away.

Since finishing the “Born to Run” book, and getting his KSO’s. He finally tells me now that he gets it. He wears them every chance he gets, and has become a master at converting his thick shoed wearing buddies to VFFs. He carried a copy of the “Born to Run” book wear ever he goes, like a preacher with his bible, sharing the “good news” about running barefoot and in Vibram five fingers.

the joys, and slight discomfort, of learning to run barefoot

image from drawntorun.com

The first moment I got my Bikilas, all I wanted to do was head for the door and run. I had read enough books ie “Barefoot Running” and “Chi Running”, and websites ie birthdayshoes.com, to know better. Most people recommend walking around in your VFF’s for the first week or so to become acclimated to no cushioning. I noticed that just walking around in them that first week made my calves hurt.

The 2nd week the run started. I only ran 1/4 mile the first time and got up to 1/2 mile by the end of my first week. The real challenge was not pushing myself too hard or too fast. I’m a marathon runner, so a 1/4 mile run for me is a walk in the park. I did notice some slight cramping in my calves and arches, so I listened to my body and took it easy. I think this is the best advice I could give someone learning to run barefoot, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you sore during the run, stop and take a walk break, if the pain continues, head home. Too many people go out too fast and too soon, and end up with injuries.

The 3rd week and for the rest of the month, I was up to a mile, in my Bikilas. I have continued to progress this past month up to 2 miles. I have also added a pair of Treksports to my collection, which I plan to wear during the Warrior Dash in August. I would ideally like to be up to 4 miles by then. I still have days where I’m too sore to run my allotted time.

You have to think while your running and consciously change your running pattern. If you land on your heel, in VFF’s, you can cause some serious damage. If you feel like you are not running in proper form, the best thing to do is to take off your VFFs and run completely barefoot for a minute or too. Your body will automatically run in proper form barefoot, so this is a way of reminding your body what to do. Once you feel you have it down, you can then put your VFFs back on and run properly.

Anyone interested in barefoot running, this is a great link to try: http://birthdayshoes.com/how-to-transition-to-running-in-vibram-five-fingers

Where not to wear your vibrams!

While I absolutely LOVE my vibrams, and if I had my way would wear them everywhere, they have been some situations ive been happy to have regular shoes for:

1. in the rain: your feet will get super wet and soggy and it takes forever for the vibrams to air dry.

2. Any place that has heavy machinery, would NOT want something dropped on my feet with only vibrams on.

3. unfortunately at my job, im a petnurse, and do not want to have dog and cat urine and feces on them. I think this goes for regular docs and nurses too, same situation, diff fluids.

4. Job interview, unless I  knew VFFs were apart of the work uniform.

5. I probably would not wear them to a funeral, just wouldn’t feel they would be appropriate.

luckily there are quite a few options out there for these situations including:

New Balance 10

new balance minimus , just got these for running while I transition into my VFF’s full time.

Women's Hattori

Saucony Hattori, zero drop shoe, definitely on my list for work shoes and running shoes, will still help me keep my fore foot strike.

A new minimalist shoe is coming to town Fall 2011 from a shoe company built for bare feet - Stem Footwear.

and stem foot wear! birthdayshoes.com, just release this preview of this great shoe.

so many options! looks like many shoe companies are willing to help out the barefooted!

barefoot running haters!!

so with all the information out there on how great barefoot running is so great its was just a matter of time before this site came up : runningbarefootisbad.com.

They have very umm “informative” articles such as: Definitive evidence that barefoot running really does make you blind and Why I have turned my comments off (apparently he gets a lot of hate mail). He accuses the barefoot community of not having any science to back up our thinking, and yet his website does the same thing. Opinions are one thing, but at least try to back it up with some evidence. I understand the right to free speech, so I will agree to disagree with his statements.