Ohhh the crazy things we do

I went out for dinner tonight with a great girlfriend of mine, and I think I may have finally figured out the pasta scene in regards to the whole dinner out carb-counting guessing game. I had taggliatelli (sp?) funghi, filled with a whole lot of yummy mushrooms. I also had three glasses of a Tuscany chianti, and because I still haven’t figured out how to count wine, I decided to not count any carbs for it, and correct later if I needed to – but I didn’t! Baby steps 🙂

Lately I’ve been thinking about all the crazy things I’ve done since I started running, and there have been a plenty. But probably the most zaniest, wackiest, craziest thing I’ve ever done for the love of running – even crazier than the evil orange plastic ball – is the Vibram 5 Fingers.
The 5 Fingers, also known as toe shoes, are supposed to emulate barefoot running, the most natural form of running. Think Kenyan runners.

Look at that form

But the thing with the toe shoes (like toe socks, but in a rubber material), anyone who wears them, can best be described as looking like a descendent of the frog family – seriously, it’s like having webbed feet! And for a good month, I was part of that family.

I was pretty desperate at the time, couldn’t find the slipper-feeling shoe for the life of me. They had too much support, not enough support, were too heavy, too flimsy, the laces rubbed painfully against my foot bone, they accentuated my already overindulged pronation – nothing worked.  And so, despite my skepticism with the serious strike against style (what can I say, I’m a fashionably conscious runner), I decided to give them a go.

I wore them to work, out shopping, out for lunch with friends, and most importantly, I wore them running. And I wasn’t the only one. I think about 10 or so in my running club were full-fledged toe shoe wearers also, and across the country the whole barefoot phenomenon was gaining steam. You wouldn’t believe (or maybe you would after seeing the picture above) the loony-bin looks we were getting, but we didn’t care, we were runners after all – craziness comes by us naturally 😛
But for me, like the Nikes, and the Mizunos, and the Brooks, and the Sauconys, they were unfortunately not my saving grace. Mind you, I probably didn’t heed the advice of the experts too well. They all told me to take it easy on my first jaunts out, don’t run too far, they said, just a couple of kilometres to start.
BE PATIENT!
Well, I’ve never been much by way of patience. I only ran five kilometres, that couldn’t possibly be too far, I mean, I was running upwards of 16 kilometres by that time in my training, five kilometres was nothing. Ohhhhhhhh, but it was. Twenty minutes after my first run, I could barely move, my calves had seized up like they had never seized up before. You know how you can usually slosh your calf muscle around when you’re all loose and limber  – mine was so tight it wouldn’t budge. I was hobbling around like an 80-year-old who’d undergone a few too many hip surgeries; it took a good five minutes to get from one end of my condo to the next (it’s not a large condo); and I was even having to walk backwards up the stairs to ease the pain.
Keep in mind, this was all just weeks before my wedding where I had to walk down a rather long flight of stairs; I was freaking out. But after six days, they finally loosened up again, and never being one to learn a lesson the first time around, I gave the toe shoes another go, and another one, and another. And every time, I was back to hobbling around, much to the amusement of everyone around me. I’m not sure if it was the fault of the toe shoes (I know some diehards that live by them) or the fault of my form … I may have been running too far up on my toes, and not enough on the pads of my feet, but regardless, I just couldn’t find that natural-feeling form and was forced to stuff them in my closet with the other shoe rejects.
That being said, though, they weren’t a total loss. For awhile there, after my calves seized up, or I felt other twangs of pain, I’d put them on and walk around in them, and somehow they seemed to magically take my pain away.
So, while they didn’t become my running shoes, they did become my miracle shoes.

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2 responses to “Ohhh the crazy things we do

  1. The things you put yourself through for the love of running. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I admire you for that!

    But I can’t get over these pictures…I’m still not convinced those are running shoes…

  2. I bought some vibram five fingers as well. And yes they are great for short distances, I’ve found I get tired and end up heel striking after a while. So I end up swaping between my asics and the five fingers. Got the link for your site via tudiabetes and think it’s great to see your running blog.

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