Tag Archives: Christopher McDougall

Running in Five Fingers is “Foolish?”

Good morning, mammals! I just got in from my trail run. I did two miles on the lakeside trial at IC King park. I know most of my fit friends out there will not be very impressed with such a feat, but for me, it is quite a milestone. It is the longest that I have run non-stop off road, and that isn’t even what has me excited. The amazing thing is how damn easy it was. If it wasn’t for a little pain in my feet (which are still bruised from hitting a patch of rocks a couple of days ago), I would almost call this run… effortless.

I remember back when I was in my twenties and going through a running phase. I was actually lighter back then, at around 200 pounds even. I took up running on a rubber coated track at a local high school. I was also using conventional padding “running shoes.” It was absolute torture. I could barely crank out one mile, and that nearly put me on the ground. Needless to say, the phase didn’t last long. It was too painful.

Up until a few months ago, I had been suffering from foot pain, mostly in my left heel. It had been that way for years, mostly I thought, from having a job where I stand on my feet for eight to ten hours a day. I was getting worse, so like most people, I take my concerns to a doctor, a podiatrist to be exact. She gave my feet a quick look, and then basically told me that my feet were defective. “Supination,” they roll to the outside. She told me that I would have to have custom-made orthotics to correct the problem. I had just discovered the world of barefoot and minimalist running literally a few days before, so I asked her if doing these activities would help my condition. The look on her face instantly changed to one of, “Oh boy, here we go. I’m going to have to set this poor uneducated fellow straight.” I specifically told her that I would like to try walking and running in Vibram Five Fingers. She said that doing so would not help my condition, but only make it worse, and possibly cause a severe injury. “Face it, kid, you’re broken. You weren’t born to run, you were born fucked up.” (my paraphrase)

I was pretty downcast after the doctors visit. I followed her advice and got fitted for some high-tech orthotics to straighten my birth defected feet out. I worked a few weeks in them. There was some reduction in pain, but it didn’t really “fix” me. Little did she know that I still had plans to experiment on the dark side.

20170726_080939Not long after that fateful day with the podiatrist, I got my first pair of Vibram Five Fingers. I had to order them off Amazon since none of the stores around here carried them anymore. I was quite surprised by this. A few years ago they were all the rage, now they were nowhere to be found. I asked why and was told that there had been a lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit was apparently due to Vibram claiming that the Five Fingers would help strengthen your feet and decrease injuries from running. I don’t know all the details of the suit, but the outcome was not favorable for Vibram. This caused a lot of stores to pull the Five Fingers. This worried me a little, but I was still determined to find out for myself if they could or could not help me.

The shoes finally arrived, but they didn’t fit. I gave it my best guess but was off. They were too big. No problem. I returned the shoes and reordered the next size down. A few days later I had my KSO’s. They fit like a foot glove. By this time I had seen every video of Christopher McDougall and Barefoot Ted that was available on Youtube, and I had just started reading Born to Run. I was very happy to get my Vibrams, but I had already advanced a little in my thinking. Doc had told me that running in Five Fingers would be foolish, but now I was ready to go one better. I was ready to try walking and running in nothing but my bare, broken, feet. Total madness!

I am now a few weeks into it. I have been running almost every morning, barefoot, and now running on the trails with my Vibrams. I haven’t been stupid though. My feet and legs are not conditioned to do this yet, so I am taking it slow, listening to my body. The first mile I did barefoot, left both feet bruised and hurting, so I took a day off. The next time I ran I took it very slow. After today’s run, my feet are sore again, so I am taking tomorrow off to let them rest.

At work, I have noticed that, besides the bruises, I have no more heel pain. I think my feet are changing, getting stronger. I am very impressed with the results of my barefoot experiment so far, but I need to cautiously continue, to see it through, and then make a conclusion.

Monday morning I am going to add a little more distance to my morning run. I am going to slowly, maybe very slowly, add distance. My weight is dropping, and I hope that as it goes down and my feet stronger, I will eventually be able to handle long distances without the need to recover after every run. We’ll see.

 

 

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Back in the Saddle

Hello, friends! I know, I know… it’s been a while. Sorry for the hiatus. I hope all has been going well for you monkeys. I hate that I go through these cycles of interest and disinterest in writing. It is a regularly occurring pattern, and I can’t promise it won’t happen again in the future. For now, though, I think I’m ready to get down to some blogging.

Let’s begin with a few updates. I haven’t had much progress in the weight loss department. for the past couple of months, I have been stalled in the upper two-fifties. Last week was a pretty good week. I was solid with the intermittent fasting, and not so bad with the food choices either. I was keeping my caloric intake down to under a thousand calories a day, and it paid off. I am down nine pounds from last Saturday. I’m confident that I will do well next week also, and I expect to be in the two-forties by next Saturday. However, Denice and I are going to be on vacation the following week. Historically, being on vacation is a deathblow to my eating plan. When I’m at work all day I don’t even think about food, and there is no social pressure to eat at certain times. That all goes out the window when I’m on vacation. My plan is to get as much progress as I can before the vacation, and then do the best I can to minimize the damage during it. It is a vacation, so I am going to have fun, and that will involve social eating with family and friends. I think if I put my mind to it I can keep the food choices a little on the healthier side, and possibly reduce the eating frequency here and there. We’ll see.

For our upcoming vacation, we are going camping in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Denice’s mom, dad, and some other family members are renting RV’s, and taking them up to Gunnison for a few days. Camping and outdoor stuff is my thing, so I think we are going to have a great time. I’ll post some photos when we get back.

One new thing that I have taken an interest in is barefoot walking and running. I discovered a person out there in the Internet Realm by the name of Christopher McDougall, who is the author of a book called, Born to Run. The book proposes that running long distances, without the aid of cushioned running shoes, is one of our species greatest’s, but mostly forgotten powers. The general idea is that most injuries people experience while running is the result of running in shoes or at least shoes that drastically change and inhibit the way our feet and legs are evolved to work. There’s a lot of information to explain so I would recommend watching his TED Talk on Youtube if you are interested. I have started experimenting with this idea. For the past few weeks, I have been walking the dogs around the neighborhood with no shoes and doing some very lite treadmill running with no shoes. My feet have definitely changed. The soles are a little tougher, and my feet feel a little stronger overall. Not counting the one time that I stepped in dog poo, it’s been a very rewarding experience.

20170710_170154I have also purchased a pair of Vibram Fivefingers, which are shoes that are designed to give the closest approximation to going barefoot while wearing shoes. I’ll probably write up a review of these once I’ve more time to play around with them. They are way too clean. I’m going to have to fix that.

Denice and I are also at the beginning of a very big, life changing big, new chapter in our lives. I really want to share it with you all, but the timing is not right. I did want to mention it only because I am very excited about it. Let’s just say it is something that we have waited a long time for, and now it looks like we are finally ready to move forward on.

That’s all for now. More to come.