Whenever I go to the gym, the first thing I do is remove all the necessary items from my gym bag to make sure they are present. You will learn to do this after you get completely changed and then realize you only brought one shoe, no shoes, no shorts, no sports-bra, forgot socks, or brought two similar, but entirely different shoes, as I once did, as a result of being very stupid. Today I was disappointed to realize that I’d accidentally brought a really strange outfit: a big baggy t-shirt and tiny little skirt. Oh well, I figured, it’s Friday night, and I figure all the cool people are not at the gym anyway. Besides, I should just be proud and rock my spongebob squarepants’ body shape!
I was right. There were only 2 people in the treadmill room, both getting ready to leave. After jogging for about 5 minutes, I just slipped my silly minimalist shoes off, and ran in my hot pink stocking feet. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! Despite their sleek look, nothing about that pair of New Balances resembles being barefoot in the slightest. I did some sprint intervals and, my goodness, I felt like a newborn animal, just learning how its legs work for the first time. I certainly did not feel a sudden lightness or running ability. I felt like I’d never used my body before, much less trotted along on this strange pair of legs.
I’m going to keep it up and see if it gets easier! I really think I can run in neon socks on the treadmill, even if people are around. We’ll see. I might be turning into that ‘eccentric’ lady, but I’m okay with that. Maybe I’ll also start jogging backwards or doing weird treadmill exercises to freak people out. Um…those look hard. Maybe not!
Warning! If you don’t care about running, you may want to stop reading…now. Okay, confession time: those Merrell shoes below were not the only ones I ordered. Since Zappos has free return shipping, I like to pick out a few pairs, try them on, and then send back the rejects. This is an imperfect system, since it usually results in me keeping more pairs than I intended to. Oh man, I love Zappos! But the Merrell’s were way too wide for my feet, and did not feel “barefoot” to me. I also bought a more sneaker-like pair of New Balances, and went running in them last night on the treadmill, for it was dark, cold, and rainy here.
First of all, they were nothing like being barefoot, and I could still run on my heels very easily. So I opted for 2 minute sprint intervals (the length of one derby jam), trying to run on my forefoot, stand up straight, shorten my stride, and increase foot turn over. Man, I felt like a dork! Anyway, the run wasn’t that bad, but I disliked the shoes. My old cushiony Mizunos fit me perfectly, all narrow in the heel and roomy in the toes. These low-profile New Balance have freakishly high arches and frustratingly loose heels, so my toes were sliding all the way to the front of the shoe. It made me long to actually be barefoot. Do you think I’d get kicked out of the gym for that? I really thought about doing it. And then I thought about how I have no idea where I could actually go barefoot. The path by the river here is gravel, and the roads are just dangerous. Le sigh.
We had another excellent derby practice tonight, though, and plans are shaping up for the weekend, so there should be some exciting blogging coming up. I’ll give you a hint. It involves very large men with fancy hair-dos wearing lion cloths…
I recently finished “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall, and have been looking further into the ‘barefoot’ running phenomenon. Chris claims that nearly all our running injuries are caused by super-cushioned running shoes, and that the closer we are to barefoot, the more our form will improve. Apparently we are meant to land on our forefoot, not our heels, which is precisely what happens when one removes their shoes.
The book also talks about how our evolutionary purpose might be distance running, which is really fascinating to me! Overall, it was a really enjoyable and inspirational read. I almost want to read it again, now.
I’m not really sure about the whole ‘barefoot’ debate, but there are a lot of really terrific runners out there who swear by it. I found lots of vids like this one:
So yesterday I thought I’d take a stab at it, and went on my first run of the year. Despite still wearing my usual shoes, I tried to pretend I was barefoot and only land on my forefoot. It felt really awkward, and I’m pretty sure I looked like a dude making fun of how girls run. It was also not as easy as I expected and my calves can feel it today! I’m going to do yoga today instead of running to let them cool off.
Since I’m too scared to run around without shoes on, and too much of an idiot to simply get a cheap canvas pair, I ordered these bad boys to try out:
They’re cute enough to wear all the time, and apparently can be used for hiking and running. I’m skeptical, but I’ll give it a shot!
Where do you stand on the barefoot running debate?
This guy will make any resolutions you have seem weak and pathetic. Incredible!