The Naked Tour, part 2

"Me and Scott Jurek"So after getting lost in the woods for a bit,  (see part 1). I was not particularly in a good mood to say the least. Me and hubby got changed into some fresh clothes and started walking over to Lipinski Hall, where the talk about “Born to Run” was going to take place.

Chris Mcdougall’s speech was a basic synopsis of the book with a few jokes thrown in. Then his running coach from the book stood up to speak, he had an interesting take on how to raise a child to enjoy barefoot running. I was especially touched when he got teary eyed talking about his daughter

By far the best speaker of the night was Scott Jurek. For those of you who do not know, Scott Jurek, is an Ultra running champion.  He showed us slides on all of the beautiful places he has raced.  He had raced an ultra in the Alps, spanning 3 countries in one run. The most challenging race had been a  race in France, where he ran the same 1 mile loop of road for 24 hours straight and won! His last speaking point of the night really touched my heart, because I believe it not only speaks about racing but life as well. Mr. Jurek has had some tough spots he has had to get himself through during races, like during the Badwater ultra marathon in Death Valley, where temperatures can reach over 130 degrees, and the race is 135 miles long! He told us his “secrets” to getting out of tough situations:

1. If something goes wrong, let yourself have the negative emotion. example: you run out of water on a run, let yourself get angry. Be cathartic about it and release the negative emotion.

2. Only allow yourself a few minutes in the emotion, and then start planning a way through your problem. example: you ran out of water, maybe you can refill your bottle in a stream a mile up ahead.

3. If the problems seems to big, break it down into smaller pieces that are easier to deal with. example: you have 20 miles to run for race training, break it up in your head into 4, 5 mile chunks, and only imagine yourself getting through that one chunk, aka take things one day at a time.

4. If you feel you must stop, run for a bit more,,, then reassess the situation, if your gut is still telling you to stop,,, STOP!

I have been using these principles in my own life over the past week or so, after I found out my husband might have a serious illness, while going to school full-time and working full-time, and dealing with my own recovery from skin cancer. I let myself have the emotions a need to have, but just for a minute. I plan out the day ahead and how I will maneuver the obstacles in my life. Remember to take things one day at a time, don’t think too far ahead. Most important, take time to just stop everything, if i need to.

Thank you Scott, for your inspiration and motivation, it touched me more than you’ll ever know!

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The Naked Tour, Part 1

I have some mixed emotions concerning what happened this weekend in Asheville.  Listening to Chris Mcdougall and Scott Jurek speak was wonderful, but what happened on the trail run made me extremely disappointed.

I was super amped to see Chris Mcdougall speak this weekend, but the thing I was really looking forward to was the barefoot trail run. According to videos on the website, we would be instructed by Chris Mcdougall and Scott Jurek. When we got there I noticed that the author of “Chi Running” was at the event. It turns out he was the one running the barefoot seminar, not Chris Mcdougall, BIG let down, since im NOT a huge fan of his book, but that’s for another episode. The instructions he gave were very vague: go slow, run on your forefoot and lean into your stride.  That was it!  Chris Mcdougall then, got up and instructed us to follow him and the other ultra marathoners on a trail run, half-joking about if we get lost to follow the sunset to find out way home. The trail wasn’t marked and since me and hubby were new to the barefoot trail running experience we easily got lost and had to use his Iphone to find our way back to campus. When we finally got there, no one seemed to be concerned that we had just been lost on a 10 mile trail in the middle of the woods in Asheville. With no trail markers, and several forks in the road, we would have been lost for quite a while with out hubby’s GPS. NOT a good way to start our vacation.

Hi my name is Elissa and I’m addicted to VFF’s

Happy news! my 2nd pair of vibram five fingers came in last week. I knew I would be running like crazy in my bikilas, and i love the way they look, but i wanted a more casual shoe for everyday use. After searching the birthdayshoes.com website and doing my research, i opted for the sprints; and the sprints did NOT disappoint!

The soles of the sprints are actually thinner than my regular bikilias so you get more of a barefoot feel. The sprints were actually one of the first VFF shoes produced, so they have the standard Vibram knife cut bottom. They have an open top, which is cooler for the summer, and ends up making them look more like a sandal. I got my sprints in blue/aqua, and they tend to be a little less “noticeable” than my hot pink and orange bikilas. The toe pods felt a little tighter on these than in my bikila, but after a 5 days break in period they feel pretty comfortable. The straps also took some playing with to get the right level of comfort while keeping the shoes firmly on my foot.

I have felt comfortable enough in them to wear them to school, on my walks, and even to the doctor’s office in the past week. I think they are going to be my “go to, everyday” shoe. Did I mention they look super cute with capris!!?!

Next shoes on my shopping agenda: either the komodo sports or KSO treks for my race Warrior Dash in august.

hmm.. something smells

The past few weeks have put a major dent in my plan to train to run barefoot and in my Vff’s due to my skin cancer surgery. I’m not allowed to do much but sit around and watch TV. After day 4 of watching TV and reading books, I had cabin fever and had to get outside. I went for a walk on the nature trail behind my house. As a side note I was amazed at how great my bikilas felt on a rocky, sandy trail. A few bits of grit had gotten in my bikilas so when I got home I naturally took them off and shook them out and set them on the floor. I didn’t have my VFFs off for 2 seconds when I caught whiff of a horrible smell. My Vibrams were RANK!!! I had never washed my five fingers before, so I immediately went to the net for answers, here is what I found:

According to the official website, vibramfivefingers.com “Vibram FiveFingers® footwear is machine washable. Use gentle, warm water cycle with liquid or powdered detergent. Hang to air dry. Make sure to keep the KSO Trek, Performa and MOC away from direct sunlight or heat source while drying as leather can shrink.” Machine washing is great and convenient, but make sure you wash you five fingers with other pieces of clothing to prevent them from bouncing around the washer too much and getting damaged. You also want to make sure that your VFF velcro closures are fastened, to prevent you from having to untangle them from your laundry.

The most comprehensive article about cleaning your VFFs is on birthdayshoes.com. The cover everything from using denture tablets to clean your stinky five fingers, to presoaking them to presoaking them in oxyclean. Luckily my Vffs are fairly new and havent gotten that bad yet, but if yours have check out the site at : http://birthdayshoes.com/the-definitive-guide-to-cleaning-vibram-five-fingers-a-k-a-how-to-get-the-smell-out-of-your-vibrams

Luckily for us, most of the new Vibram models have an antimicrobial guard called Aegis, which helps keep bad-smelling bacteria and other microbes off your shoes to keep them smelling nice longer!

Chris Mcdougall’s Born to Run, the Naked Tour!

Sorry to disappoint you nudist out there, but only our feet will be bare. Chris Mcdougall and crew are touring the country to promote his book “Born to Run” and barefoot running. Check out his website to see if they are coming to a city near you: http://www.chrismcdougall.com/blog/naked-tour/ .

It just so happens….. they are coming to Asheville, NC, which is 3 hours away from me and….. wait for it…. for my anniversary my hubby got us tickets!! I am so excited!  There will be a barefoot running session where he teaches us proper form,Scott Jurek, a long distance runner from the book will be there. After the barefoot run there will be a book signing and seminar special. I will definitely keep ya’ll updated as to how it goes. For those of you in NC the book tour stops in Asheville, NC on April 29th. Hope to see you there!!

The moment…

I had to wait.. patiently for the sale I knew was coming to Raleigh Running Outfitters… at the Cary location. So not only did I have to wait a month but had to drive a good bit out of my way to get them, Cary is almost an hour away. It was well worth the wait.. by that I mean the time it took to get to the store, and the time it took to get them on, which brings me to my next topic… new things all newbie VFF wearer should know:

1. They are difficult to get on…. at first. For about the first week I would be cursing by the time I got my VFFs on, but after figuring out that you have to get the toe pods just right and then slip the back of the shoe on, I was golden.

2. get used to having your feet looked at ALOT! you have not just bought a pair of running shoes, you have now become an ambassador for the brand. Many people will come up to you and ask you about your shoes, why you’re wearing them, and at times tell you how ugly they are. It takes some getting used to, but I have met quite a few interesting people because of my shoes.

3. You cannot take VFFs out of the box and go running 10 miles in them,,, without seriously hurting yourself. If you are planning on running almost barefoot, it will take time. Many websites such are birthdayshoes.com suggests that you start out running completely barefoot and “let your skin be your guide”, when the soles of your feet become sore, that’s how far you can go at this time. Other site suggest starting  at 1/4 mile – 1/2 mile and slowly build your mileage by only 10% everyone other week. I used a combination of these 2 strategies the first week.

Getting a new pair of Vibrams is exciting. Rest assured once you have one pair, you WILL want more and more.

Finding the right VFF shoe

My search began on the internet, there are many good websites out there to help research your first VFF and find the one that’s right for you! I  first tried Vibrams main site at http://www.vibramfivefingers.com. They give great descriptions of each shoe and what activities correspond with each shoe. I’m a runner, so I was looking for a shoe that was built for what I love to do most, RUN!

My next search lead me to the website http://www.birthdayshoes.com. It’s a wonderful site for connecting to all that is Vibram Five Fingers.  They have reviews on each model of shoe, info on how to transition to barefoot running, different forums to connect to other barefoot and VFF runners and wearers, all the info you could need about this product on one site.

After surveying all the info, I decided on the Bikila model, named for the famous barefoot marathoner Abebe Bikila, the two-time olympic marathon champion who finished marathons barefoot.  A fitting name for this shoe, I think.

Since the shoes were a little pricey, 100 dollars pricey, I decided to try them on first to make sure this was what I wanted. The people at The Great Outdoors let me have a go at them. Let me say that I was sweating and out of breath by the time I got them on. The sales person said that him and his colleagues get a kick out of watching first timers try to get the shoes on. After walking around in them, and some jogging around the store, I was hooked! They were super comfy, light, airy. It was like I was a kid again running barefoot around my mom’s house. But I had to wait on my precious shoes it wasnt the right time…. so I walked away.