Posts Tagged ‘minimalist running’

I think it’s safe to say I won’t die running races.¬† ūüėÜ

Yep.  I did another 10k.  :mrgreen:

This time, I came home with a medal.¬† I got 3rd place in my age group. (Ok, there might have only been the three of us- I don’t really know ūüėÜ but still- a medal!)¬† I’ll be really interested to see where I landed over all.

I took 5 minutes off my time and came in at 64:15 with a 10:21 minute mile.¬† I had to watch out for ice; there was still some snow (particularly on the bridges) and the course was pretty hilly this time.¬† No wind, thank goodness, but there were a few times I was wondering if I was going to have enough traction to make it up the hill.¬† ūüėÜ

I also won a 40 lb (heck, it might have been more than that, since it was literally a struggle to carry the thing) fruit basket for best outfit.¬† I decided not to wear my flashing antler headband, but I had some wreathy ribbon things in my barrettes; I was wearing a neon green jacket, red gloves; I had a holiday bandana (which I didn’t end up using but it was cute); I had some tinsely hair bands on both wrists and ankles, but I am convinced what sealed the deal was my ornament necklace.

We found¬†a tube of plastic mid-size ornaments (with sparkle!!) in the $1 bin at Target.¬† J (dd#2) strung them together with green embroidery floss and I wore them around my neck.¬† Now, I will admit the sound was driving me nuts nearly right away, but I managed to put most of them on my back to cut down on the noise. I’m sure the others on the course were really glad I didn’t wear the Christmasy¬†jingle dog collar that I learned would fit.¬† ūüėÜ The original plan was to wrap silver tinsel around my legs, but once¬†I got there and learned the judging was happening at the end, well, it just seemed more practical to skip it.

The spouse was worried about getting frostbite in minimalist shoes, but shoot.¬† Once you get going (as I’ve tried repeatedly to explain), it feels like it’s at least 20 degrees warmer than it is, and honestly, I was fine.¬† I had debated about wearing my Injini toe socks, but decided against it. As it was, I was wearing double tights, shorts, my long sleeve compression shirt; tech fleece and then my tech outer shell puffy jacket.¬† By mile 2 I was thinking “Dear God, why didn’t I listen and leave the jacket behind?”¬† ūüėܬ† I tied it around my waist.¬† Just after we turned around (somewhere around mile 3.5, I think), the gloves came off and stayed off.¬† It was 35 degrees when we¬†started and¬†not much warmer when it ended.¬† I had my fleece headband around my ears, and while I brought my cap, I certainly did not need it.¬† Next time, I’ll know.

So, there you have it. I can run in the cold and wet and not have disastrous results.¬† In this case, the hardest part of the race was carrying the fruit basket out to my truck- really!¬† ūüėÜ

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When I¬†got near¬†100 miles, I ended up going a bit over.¬† And then I got to thinking, maybe y’all are tired of getting updates every 100 miles, so I thought I would wait until 150 miles.


Total VFF/miles record #6: 153.45

Total yearly miles to date: 706.01

Total VFF miles to date: 397.45

Miles before shoes: 309.56

Lowest mileage (less the race at 6.21 miles)- 3.50: I did this twice- once was the day before the race and then the other when was I was having hip issues.

Normal mileage- 6.75/7 ish.  There were a few times I got a late start and only managed 5; less those two times, everything else was 6.5ish +. (for example, today I did 8.25)

This is around the time when I’d be paying really close attention to my shoes if I hadn’t changed them out already.¬† I don’t see any end in sight for my VFFs. I’m really pleased that I can increase my mileage without issue, which is huge for me.¬† There is nothing like setting goals only to be thwarted by pain and/or injury.

This month, I’ll have fewer miles, due to time away and the holidays.¬† October mileage was 118.5; I’ve only got 84.45 for November.¬† I hope to hit at least 100, and that should not be a problem, barring something unforseen (knock on wood)

So there you have it. My plan is to do a final update at the end of the year, which would put me around the 150 mark for the next record, give or take.

And, lest you think I’m totally insane for keeping track of this all, I have come to learn that I am in no way unusual in that regard in the running world…..¬† ūüėÜ

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In my cruising around the internet, I’ve stumbled across her.¬† (ok, not really stumbled since the story was linked from one of my running site, but hey….)

Apparently, there is a lady out there running in a bikini. And flip-flops, some say (I think they are huraches, which some do actually run in….). She has (obviously)¬†been dubbed¬† “The Bikini Jogger.”

I think she’s just a minimalist runner, and there is nothing wrong with that.¬† ūüėÄ

Apparently, she is setting a trend, although the “Speedo Imitator” isn’t as bold with his foot attire.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of a trend gets going here…….¬† ūüėܬ† (no, sorry, I won’t be climbing on that bandwagon any time soon, lol)

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I am now in my VFF Bikilas full-time. Total daily mileage (for the days I run) is 5 miles, but this week had me contemplating whether or not it’s time to start adding to my distance.¬† I was pushed for time this week, so I opted not to.¬† Next week, though, is another week, and I may accidentally increase my distance.

Total miles since getting VFFs: 202.5 

Total VFF miles: 138

Total days running in VFFs: 41

First day to run all in VFFs:¬† day 34 (I probably could have done this on day 33, but because I had 3/4 miles “left over,” I figured I could add just 1/4 mile that one day to even things out.)

First day running in VFFs: May 31, 2011  

First day running 100% in VFFs: August 26, 2011

FWIW.¬† ūüėÜ

Summary: I will likely never own another kind of running shoe.¬†EVER. My foot pain is not entirely gone; my Achille’s tendon in the one foot stays a wee little bit tight/sore, but as long as I make the point to stretch it frequently, it is not problematic or prohibitive.¬† In fact, the last several days, it has not bothered me at all while running.

Foot pain¬†(plantar fasciitis) has not resolved.¬† It’s significantly better, though, and I think that’s encouraging.

Hip pain– I have days when it flares and is quite painful, or wakes me up when I’m sleeping.¬† Overall, though, this is also significantly better than even a few months ago.


  • Now that I’m in my VFF¬†Bikilas full-time, I only have a few “complaints.” On the inside arch of both feet, it seems the seam of the shoe is mildly irritating.¬† This doesn’t bother me at all¬†when running, but I do some red marks of irritation.
  • I am very glad these are washable. I am planning on working on them this weekend and hoping I can get the sole back to 100% white.¬† I wish the inside of the shoe was another color.
  • Hunny still thinks they are really ugly.¬† I disagree. ūüėČ

I am pretty sure that the next pair I’m going to get are going to be the Bikila LS (for Lace System), but am still researching.¬† Given that I only have 140 miles (give or take) on this pair,it will probably be a really long while.¬† I’d be replacing my other shoes soon. I will still update; but may do that in 100 mile intervals.

For those interested in a bit more detail, the log is below.


Day 32 – ran 4.5 in VFFs, a little more soreness in L Achilles tendon; but not too bad overall; just really hot and tired today.

Day 33-  ran 4.75 in VFFs; things feel pretty good; some initial soreness until I warmed up.

Day 34- ran all 5 in VFFs; best time to date so things are finally feeling pretty good.

Day 35- ran all in VFFs; tired today and could not push through it

Day 36- ran/jogged all in VFFs; some strain in Achilles tendon when warming up; felt ok after 1/2 mile or so; quite tired today; allergies going

Day 37- ran all; Some initial soreness in Achilles, but fine once warmed up.

Day 38- ran all; felt R calf tightness a little; some initial tightness in L Achilles; did not push much today.

Day 39; – ran all; R calf tight; feet have been sore over the weekend; marginal tightness in L Achilles

Day 40; –ran all; got a late start and didn’t stretch a whole lot; wonder how that will go; things felt pretty good, but didn’t eat early enough

Day 41-ran all; legs/feet are pretty good today- all best times are this week, even though tired and not feeling like I can push much

Weekly totals:

VFF miles: 15

Total Miles: 15

Total VFF miles this record: 49.25

Total miles for this record: 50

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Ya, I know, took me long enough!¬† ūüėܬ† Last week, my (human) girls decided to spend the week with grandparents around the corner, and I found myself lacking motivation to push.¬† I did a lot of reading and a lot of napping.¬† I didn’t get done anything I had planned on doing, but that’s the way it goes.

Click to read why I am going down the path of wearing Hobbit Feet, aka Vibram Five Finger Bikilas. 


Total mileage for this record: 52.5

VFF miles: 30

Total mileage since getting VFFs: 102.5

Total days in shoes: 21

Pain summary: Taking it slower due to the extensor tendonitis/top of foot pain.  Have also had arch pain in that foot. Doing more stretching (supta virasana) of feet before run has seemed to help.  Plantar fasciitis pain in R heel moderate over all, but there are times (like this morning, for example) when initial contact with the floor was extremely unpleasant.  I have not had to crawl at all since getting the VFFs, so this is marked improvement overall. The blister I developed on the ball of my one foot from the shoe was not bothersome to begin with, and that area has *zero* discomfort and is totally fine.

Conclusion:¬† Continue to take it slower, adding no more than 1/2 mile in VFFs per week.¬† I’m almost there, but willing to slow pace of increased mileage to avoid pain.

In my log below, I’ve noted when I’ve taken anything that might affect my interpretation of pain.

Feel free to stop here if the details make you fall asleep.¬† ūüėÜ


MondayDay 11- ran all 2 ¬ľmiles;¬†L foot starting to get soreish around mile 1; not too bad, but didn‚Äôt try to push real hard; took some Tylenol sinus for headache, which started yesterday pm.¬†

TuesdayDay 12- ran all 2 ¬Ĺmiles; foot was sore since waking; will stretch and probably ice again later; no knee pain at all today; went a lot slower due to discomfort; some archish¬†type pain in L foot; that one is kind of a¬†mess; Tylenol sinus and ibuprofen since yesterday for headache, so bearing that in mind with pain gauge.¬†

WednesdayDay 13- ran all 2 ¬ĺmiles; foot has been pretty sore today, including area near the arch; did not ice yesterday, but probably will today.¬† Went slower and didn‚Äôt push at all in VFFs; Ibuprofen in pm for sinus headache yesterday, but no headache since waking; don‚Äôt know that I will add anything to the mileage tomorrow, but we‚Äôll see how foot feels. Some R heel pain, but not prohibitive.¬†

ThursdayDay 14- ran 3 in VFFs; foot a bit sore; took ibuprofen this morning for sore foot; didn’t ice yesterday but probably will today if pain persists; better with meds while running; still some arch pain???

MondayDay 15- ran 3 in VFFs; foot relatively sore, ibuprofen overnight for sore outer ankles??? Cracked a single time while running, but need more relief; don’t think I’m going to add any distance this week in VFFs; having pain while stretching in supta¬†virasana; much more L arch pain today; also noticed some soreness on the top of R foot over the weekend while wearing flip flops.¬†¬†

TuesdayDay 16- 1mile in total VFFs; only ran 1/4; did not feel I could push through the intense pain in arch; R heel pretty sore, too; cannot get this foot to crack and so it’s pretty painful; iced a bit yesterday; I haven‚Äôt had this level of pain in quite a while, and I‚Äôm not eager to try to work through it-¬†plan on taking it slower this week.¬† Will try to do a mile tomorrow in VFFs and then walk the rest of the 5, depending on how my feet feel.¬† Feeling *very* disappointed at this juncture.¬† I am *extremely* tired of pain.

Thursday Day 17- ran 3 in VFFs; foot somewhat sore so I went slower, cracked a single time while running, glad I took yesterday off even though I hadn’t planned on it; didn’t go as fast today and didn’t have as much pain.  We’ll see how it stretches out; had to do my supta virasana with warm up. 

Friday Day 18- ran 3 in VFFs; foot not as sore as yesterday, but still uncomfortable; did not crack at all; pain was not bad today, but I was *so* hot even before running that I didn’t feel like I could push it and not have a heat stroke. 

Tuesday Day 19- ran 3 in VFFs; foot not feeling flexible this morning, some mid-level pain; didn’t push real hard; plan to add ¬ľ mile this week if all goes well; upper foot feeling sore at this point.¬†¬†¬†

TuesdayDay 20- ran 3 in VFFs, foot not real sore; did my stretching first; some low-level hip pain, more L than R; R heel/foot sore this morning; only ran one day last week because I was tired and needed to take a break. 

Thursday- Day 21ran 3 1/2 in VFFs; R heel pretty sore this am; R calf still feeling run on Tuesday; feeling the top of L foot a bit. Overall much better.

Share your experience with me, and leave a comment!

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I’ve long been an Asics girl when it came to running shoes.¬† I appreciate shoes that are lightweight and breathable. That being said, I wanted to keep an open mind and see what I could find to help my foot pain issues.

What I found surprised me. After significant research and despite not having a local store to go to and try on a pair, I took the plunge and ordered my next pair of running shoes online.

Vibram Five Fingers Bikila.¬† Hobbit Feet.¬† ūüėÜ

A big selling point was getting back to a natural running strike pattern, which changes the way your feet land when you run.  Why is this a big deal? If you have plantar fasciitis like I have (in both feet, although one is worse than the other) and get tired of literally crawling on your hands and knees at times, getting relief is A Very Big Deal.

Another big selling point is that unlike traditional shoes, you don’t need to replace them after 300 miles.¬† These you can literally wear out.¬† And, you can throw them in the washing machine (air dry), which is another huge perk.

Not running has not been an acceptable solution, nor does it actually do anything for the problem.¬† I’ve taken extended breaks from running; I’ve had RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) up to my ears with no relief.¬† In fact, when the symptoms first appeared, I wasn’t doing any running (this was the onset debilitating illness symptoms) and assumed it was all disease related.¬† And it still may be.

I have moved on to treating symptoms, so finding a good running shoe for heel and foot pain was part of that natural progression. Throwing caution to the wind (it can’t get worse!), and discovering I don’t actually have a ruler in my house to measure my feet (using other methods to determine length),¬†I ordered online, hoping that my feet and toes wouldn’t be too swollen to actually get into the shoes.

One of the things I noticed while researching was a lack of good (detailed) chronicling the transition to these shoes. I wanted to know what to expect, given the disclaimers that calf muscles would need time to adjust, and to take the transition slow.¬† Everyone said so, but there was scant information as to what someone could expect-¬†really expect- when starting. If you’re still reading, feel free to check out here¬†unless you want details.¬† ūüėÄ I’m going to periodically post updates on progress.


Distance Summary: 10 days wearing shoes; 50 total miles. Total daily distance (changing shoes) : 5 miles

VFF miles: 19.25

Heel pain level: low- HUGE improvement

Other pain:¬† might have some extensor tendonitis; likely caused by pressure from the top of the shoe- read log to see when/how this cropped up. If this is extensor tendonitis, it’s not in the traditional place, but this is more likely something caused by where the shoe rests, even though I have not had a tight velcro strap.

Pain Summary: Shoe blister (ball of one foot) has resolved; heel pain minimal (best it’s been in years); watching top of foot pain which is relieved when foot cracks; stretching before, after, and throughout the day¬†is hugely helpful; is marginally tender when pressing on that spot. Still need to do a lot of stretching before supta¬†virasana is not painful; really have to ease into it with the one foot.

Conclusion:¬†Go slow.¬† Really.¬† ūüėÜ ¬†Slower speeds are better when getting used to these. Pay attention to the recommendations.¬† I did significantly more than the recommeded 10%.¬† I also run more than one day in a row, but feel that compensating with slower speeds and shorter distances are adequate, given my propensity for being barefoot much of the time anyhow long in advance of getting these shoes.¬† Honor the way you feel.


Tuesday; Day 1total 1.5 miles;¬†walked ¬ľ to warm-up-¬†felt good overall; could feel the pull in¬†R calf around 1.25; although I‚Äôve had knots in that calf off and on for thelast two weeks.¬† Felt strange changing back to shoes mid-stream.¬†(Tuesday after Memorial Day; hoping for 4 days this week depending on¬†how I feel after using these shoes.¬† Sensation getting on the treadmill was¬†pretty bizarre, but then the weirdest was going back into the other shoes¬†and finishing the workout.

Wednesday; Day 2– total 2 miles; walked ¬ľ and slower on additional ¬Ĺ mile; R calf a bit sore¬†as usual; L calf had the relatively normal shooting pain a little bit towards the end of the¬†run; not prohibitive; both heels were pretty sore last night, but not as bad¬†as they have been in the past; took Tylenol (for headache)¬†but nothing else for pain.

Blister on bottom of right foot after run- think I may have had a sock wedged in there. Legs are getting sore when not moving around. Will probably take something at bedtime just to be safe.

Some archish/top foot pain while doing supta virasana.  

Thursday; Day 3- total 3 miles; walked ¬ľ; speed better today.¬† Could feel blister on the¬†bottom of foot, but not too bad; was MUCH worse in the regular shoe.¬†¬†Dreaded putting regular shoes back on, and the R heel pain was noticeably¬†worse in Asics.¬† REALLY looking forward to not having to change shoe.

When putting VFFs on this morning, outer toes were feeling a bit numb, particular toes 4 and 5 each foot- feet are a bit more swollen today, so that might be partly why.

Monday; Day 4- total 5 miles; walked 1; slower times.  Determined blister on ball of R foot was from the shoes; no issue with it today during run.  Top of L foot; however, is pretty sore; somewhere after mile 3.  Too much too soon? Will have to wait and see how it feels as the day progresses, and tomorrow.  Plan for tomorrow is to change shoes during if there is discomfort. 

From what I have read, the TOFP is a result of either doing too much too  soon OR from a ball strike only and not having contact with the heel.  I’m going to see if I can’t change to a mid strike tomorrow or at least try flat footed and see what happens.  I will say that I have not had this little heel pain in years, so that is encouraging.  Zero calf pain since Friday; some tightness on Thursday.

Afternoon- pain remains.¬† Seems to be a bruised /very sore spot on the top of my foot, more at the base of my leg.¬† I don‚Äôt know that this is a toe thing, since they feel fine.¬† Definitely taking it easy.¬† At this point, walking at all is painful, so I don‚Äôt know if I can do anything tomorrow.¬† Boo. ūüė¶¬†Ice; stretch foot; ankle brace overnight; hurts even to wiggle my toes; extremely painful; have a really hard time walking in afternoon; completely unable to crack foot. Tuesday was better but still pretty painful. Also took Wednesday off due to pain. Foot was starting to crack again on Tuesday; more so on Wed. Stayed on ibuprofen for anti-inflammatory.

Thursday; Day 5-¬†total¬†only ¬Ĺ in VFFs due to top of foot injury L foot; moderate¬†pain throughout; wondering now if it could be where the top of the shoe¬†ends on foot; pain was less intense in regular shoe, but R heel was starting¬†to hurt since I was putting more pressure on R side.¬†

Friday; Day 6- total 1 mile in VFFs; still moderate pain in top of  L foot; taking it slower in the feet; R heel was more painful. I have to think this is some sort of muscle thing in the top of the foot, or where the shoe edge is putting pressure. Have been doing a lot of stretching on the top of foot, and it is sore and painful initially until it stretches. 

Monday; Day 7- total ran 1.5 miles in VFFs; still moderate pain in top of  L foot, although the top of foot was able to crack a few times during run; went slower so as not to delay recovery; still needing to stretch foot quite a bit all throughout the day; continue trying to go barefoot as much as possible.

Tuesday; Day 8 ‚Äď total ran all 1.25 in VFFs very slowly; stopped short because of¬†the pain in foot and transferred to other shoes; ended up with quite a considerable bit of pain and spent¬†a good bit of time in the evening icing; R heel was also quite sore today. Ibuprofen at bedtime to help with the throbbing.

Wednesday; Day 9 ‚Äď total¬†1.5 in VFFs; walked first ¬ľ; had decided yesterday not to¬†use them today, so I started slowly to see how my foot was feeling.¬†LOTS and lots of foot cracking while running; and boy, does that feel¬†good!¬† My foot has not been cracking when getting up in morning and¬†after long periods of time off of it as it usually does, so this always feel sooooo much better¬†when it cracks and settles.¬†

Thursday;¬†Day 10- total¬†2 in VFFs, pushed a wee little bit more today, so we‚Äôll see¬†how I end up feeling- 50 miles total since I got the VFFs; 19.25 miles in¬†them; foot did a bit of cracking during run,¬†which always feels so much better;¬†working on my stride so I can build on time and distance; still doing *a¬†lot* of stretching the top of the L foot; also calf stretches; more hip pain¬†after run yesterday, so back to doing more hip exercises before running;¬†feeling encouraged and can‚Äôt wait to cut loose in VFFs without having¬†pain; having to hold back and concentrate on each strike bites and I am *really* looking forward to just running and not constantly having to¬†think about it the entire time. Both feet felt good enough to get back to a 4 day running week; contemplated a fifth, but don’t want my quads to revolt.

I will give updates every 50 miles or so. Please share your experience with me, and stay tuned!

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