Monthly Archives: May 2009

Completely Barefoot Attempt #3

Yesterday’s completely barefoot sidewalk excursion went better than the last one…feeling wise anyway.

I started out in my VFF Classics, but after 20 minutes, decided to take them off. I think because I started out in VFFs and switched to barefoot, I realized that I do step differently between the two. I noticed that my step starts with my heel in the VFFs and rolls forward, whereas while completely barefoot, I step more on the middle of my foot with barely any heel involvement at all. I always thought that I walk with a very barefoot gait in the VFFs, apparently not.

Either I didn’t notice little rocks sticking to the bottom of my feet this time, or it didn’t bother me. I only stopped one or twice to wipe the bottom of my feet on my pant legs.

I felt less conspicuous this time than last time, even though I was carrying my VFFs in my hand.

Two things I look forward to with the coming summer with regards to going barefoot:

  1. The end of poplar-sticky season (they are not fun stuck on the bottom of one’s feet).
  2. The end of lawn fertilizer season (I don’t even want to know what chemicals were absorbed through the bottom of my feet from stepping on little fertilizer bits).

I’m definitely going to keep trying going completely barefoot, especially now that I realized my gait really is different between barefoot and barefoot alternative.

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall Book Review

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall is, without a doubt, the best non-fiction book I have ever read. It’s an exciting, educational, humourous, heart-warming tale about the human condition and human evolution.

I enjoyed every minute of reading about the Tarahumara tribe in northern Mexico (the Running People) and the entire cast of characters including Caballo Blanco, Barefoot Ted, Scott Jurek, and especially Christopher McDougall’s story of overcoming injurious adversity to become an ultramarathoner.

The book is the journey and culmination of the author’s quest to answer one question:

How come my foot hurts?

It includes eye-opening revelations about running shoe marketing and the current state of running injuries.

It includes anthropological evidence supporting the Running Man theory of human evolution as well as the story about the origins of the theory itself. As a scientist myself, I found these chapters particularly captivating.

The book is filled with facts and statistics on the past and present history of running and why it is a fundamental necessity for humans to run not only for health but for happiness. Throughout its pages, one can find personal as well as general inspirational quotes including:

Ask nothing from your running…and you’ll get more than you ever imagined. (byJoe Vigil)

If there’s a magic bullet to make human beings healthy, it’s to run. (by Dr. Daniel Lieberman from Harvard University)

You don’t stop running because you get old. You get old because you stop running. (by Jack Kirk, the “Dipsea Demon” who ran the Dipsea Race at the age of 96)

I’ve shared my joy of reading this book with many people already, including runners and non-runners. It is a truly inspirational read and I highly recommend it to anyone. Thank you, Christopher McDougall for compiling an impressive and inspirational array of running facts and stories, and sharing your own story of personal triumph and victory.

Video for BORN TO RUN

I’ve been reading Christopher McDougall’s new book, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, for a little over a week now (I’m a slow reader). It’s absolutely phenomenal! I’ll be posting my favourite quotes from the book soon (only 30 pages to go before I finish the book).

In the meantime, I thought that I’d post this video of Christopher McDougall telling his story. Enjoy.

Christopher McDougall on why he was BORN TO RUN

Completely Barefoot Attempt #2

This weekend it was over 20C again so I thought I’d try going completely barefoot again. This time, on sidewalk, not grass. It went…better.

I stepped out my front door and discovered how cold concrete can be in 20C in the shade. It was cool. I actually felt the coolness of the concrete, which I’ve never felt before.

Then I stepped onto concrete that was in the sun. It was totally different. Warm. It’s amazing the temperature changes of the ground we never feel while wearing shoes.

Off I went down my driveway. I thought I’d have trouble with the hard concrete and asphalt of the road at the end of the driveway but my feet had no problems with the hard surface. It was easy to walk on the flat surfaces.

I didn’t feel like I had as bad of pansy feet, either. It didn’t hurt at all to walk completely barefoot down the road or down the sidewalk. I found that my stride was very similar to when I walk in VFFs. I might have stepped a little lighter on my feet (in unconscious concern of my pansy feet).

I do remember feeling very conspicuous not wearing any shoes. How odd that I feel more conspicuous in public wearing nothing on my feet compared to wearing VFFs.

Another thing I remember is having to stop every few metres to wipe my feet on my pant leg to remove the small pebbles that had lodged themselves in my flesh. It didn’t hurt, it was just annoying. I wonder how you keep that from happening? Tougher feet?

Completely barefoot attempt #2 was far more successful and enjoyable than #1. Now, to solve the rocks-stuck-on-bottom-of-foot problem…

Review – Vibram FiveFingers Classic

I don’t have much to write about the VFF Classic that has not been included in two already posted reviews of these barefoot alternative shoes by Living Barefoot and barefootrunner.com. They are both thorough and enjoyable reviews.

I have two pairs of Classics: the mauve/sand upper, grey bottom and the black on black.

I find them to be my favourite VFFs for walking around town if I want a shoe for warmer weather, like sandals. They are incredibly easy to slip on, have never fallen off my feet, and I love the look of them. I love the look of them so much that I have been known to wear the all black pair while wearing a cocktail dress to a New Year’s Eve party as well as a beach party in the middle of winter (in a heated tent).

These were the shoes that I competed my second sprint triathlon in and found them to be a wonderful transition as well as running shoe (although I recommend Vaseline on your toes if you’re going to run a reasonable distance).

I find the Classics slightly less comfortable than my KSOs for longer durations of wear because the toes are a little tighter, which helps them stay on, but makes them less comfortable at the same time.

I have recently discovered a modification that makes the upper more comfortable for me too: I removed the elastic cord. I found that I didn’t need to tighten it at all for the shoe to stay on my foot, and it could dig on the top of my foot when worn for a long time, so I cut it out. I’ve worm both of my pairs of Classics like this and enjoy them even more than before.

I don’t find that the high back on the achilles tendon is irritating in any way, which is what I thought I’d find when first seeing them.

They are comfortable enough that I have forgotten that I’m wearing them, until someone sees them and stares or asks a question about them, which happens about every second time I wear them in public. Now that it is finally getting warmer here, I’ll be wearing the Classics a lot more often.