16 February 2010

They're finally here!

Well, I finally received my Vibram Five Fingers shoes several days ago.  Here's what they look like:

Attractive, huh?  Well, they're not stylish, but they feel great.  I've been wearing them around the house to get my feet used to them, and today I took my first serious run in them.  The day after I got them I ran around the block just to see what they felt like running, but nothing strenuous.  Today the weather was warm enough in the afternoon to give it a try for a longer distance.  I ended up doing a little more than a mile in them.  No aches, no pains, but I was glad I only went that far for now.  By the time I got home, I could start to feel my feet tiring a little. 

It's an exhilirating way to run, though.  You can really feel the ground, but the rubber on the bottom of the shoes is enough to keep your feet free of cuts and scrapes.  They provide good traction on most surfaces.  There is some hard packed snow and ice on our roads, so I did slip a few times, but no falls.  It just makes you pay attention to where you're going.  I was also a little wary of going out and running on snow because of the temperature.  I wasn't sure if my feet would stay warm, but they did.  In fact, they warmed up as I went.  The top cloth on the shoes is not meant to insulate much, but at least it gave some protection from the wind.  I wouldn't go out and run if it was around 0, but anything in the double digits should be managable for moderate distances (< 5 miles).  The only thing I think I'll get is some socks to wear in them because my left big toenail rubs a little on the rubber part that wraps over the end of the toes, even after trimming it closely.  I think it's because that nail sticks up just a little more than the others, so it's not a fit problem.  It's probably nothing that would do any damage, but just a little annoying.  Plus, the socks will add another layer of warmth for these colder months.  All in all, it was a great first run in them.  I found myself smiling uncontrollably through much of it. 

For now, the weather is supposed to hold up with warmer temps through the rest of the week, so hopefully I can get out there again for at least a mile every day.  I'm really trying to hold myself back and take it slow because I've heard some stories of swollen feet, sore achilles tendons, and aching calves from people who have gone out and run several miles in them right away without building up to it.  I've avoided all of that so far, but still don't want to push too far too soon.  In the meantime, the half is a little more than three months away, and we still haven't had our baby yet!

12 February 2010

Less than 100 days!

The countdown has clicked past 100 days, so I guess I need to really start thinking about how I'm going to make it through training for this half marathon.  My Vibram Five Fingers shoes are on order through Scheel's, so I'm patiently waiting for them to arrive.  I went with the style that fully encloses your foot, but not the neoprene kind for cold weather.  You can see what I got here:  Basically, I figured that I'm going to be training indoors at first, and these seemed to be a good compromise between cold and warm weather.  Also, there was some question about the availability of the other more insulated kind, so my mind was sort of made up for me.  I'll post more about them when they arrive. 

Based on advice from various sources, I'm planning on starting slowly with them.  I'll walk around the house with them on for a few hours every day for 5 days, then gradually start trying to run in them, doing a mile the first week, then ramping up from there.  I'm hoping my feet will be in good shape soon enough that I can go through a standard 12 week training cycle for the half.  I think I will be cutting it close! 

The other countdown around our house that has me preoccupied lately is the countdown to the birth of our second child.  The due date is Feb 22, but let's hope he makes an early appearance for my wife's sake!