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Fourth time’s the charm

January 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Last week I ran in the gecko shoes for the fourth time. I went a bit over 4 miles (tried out a new accelerometer!), and at mile three, I became aware of how well the shoes were molded to my feet. The feeling I was waiting for! The left shoe was still aggravating the blister on my heel, but the rubber sole felt great. The first time I ran in the shoes, I kinda felt like my feet were flexed throughout the run, keeping the shoes stretched. No longer! The shoes fit!

I just came back from another 4-ish mile run in the shoes. Blister still there, and this time I had to stop in the middle of the run to remove small sharp shards of something, but again, the shoes felt well molded to my feet. During this run I didn’t think about my form at all. My shins felt a bit pounded, but that was all. I feel great now.

I also had three beers in the hours before 6pm (I left to run at 9:17pm). Beer plus running is an interesting combination. I think the main thing alcohol affects is my stamina, but it could also influence my impression of how fast I am going. I hate when I climb the two stories to my apartment after a night of drinking and being temporarily out of breath with my heart racing. Two floors?! And I’ve been in this apartment for a year an a half! I blame the beer!

But I do recommend the gecko shoes. I think I will make the mental shift from “trying these crazy shoes out” to “trying to switch to using the gecko shoes on most of my runs”. Maybe next Philly marathon I will be the runner in the Vibram Five Fingers fielding the questions, convincing others that they too can make the switch to barefoot-like running =)

Happy New Year…

For the holidays, I got sick. I caught a cold from my brother after Christmas, and after New Years Eve got severe chest congestion. I had to use Vick’s Vapor Rub for the first time in my memory. So with all the Holiday bustle and the two colds, I didn’t run much (or do much of anything, actually). I managed to do about 3 miles in the Vibram FiveFingers and an hour outside on a bike between Christmas Eve and yesterday. Fortunately today I felt better! Just in time for Winter League tomorrow night!

I think all the sitting I did in the last ten days stressed out my back. It felt on the verge of going out without me (teehee, I don’t know where I got that line from, probably some mid-life crisis book of Funnies). After sleeping on the floor (sleeping sandwiched between my sleeping bag and my comforter=awesome!) I felt better this morning. Still a bit of a twinge on the trolley ride home, but I was able to run about 5.5 miles with no problem.

Today I ran in regular sneakers. Compared to the most recent gecko-shoe-run, today was wonderfully thoughtless–I didn’t have to think about the weirdness going on with my feet, I just ran. The last time I ran in the gecko shoes, it was better than the first serious run, but I got two small blisters on the side of my heel. For the duration of the run I was thinking about my feet and legs (“Is this painful? Was that? Am I landing correctly? Is that feeling in my knee something being exacerbated by these shoes or the normal knee weirdness? How are these shoes changing my form?”). I will give the gecko shoes another run on Friday or Saturday and post any new thoughts. So far I say the shoes are not clearly better or worse than the other shoes.

My plan to run a marathon on March 21st is under review. I meant to get serious about training last week, but the cold got in the way. The difference between “3 months to train” and “11 weeks to train” is rather large in my mind. I am worried about stressing my body too much by training for a marathon that is too close, and worried that if I give up that goal I may not work hard enough at training in general. The other wrinkle is I can’t afford the entry fee until next month (Grr! Money issues!). The money issues mean that by the time I can pay I will have done significant training and may be able to decide if I should do a mere half marathon that weekend instead. (Though the late payment also increases the chances the two marathons that weekend will sell out).

And how to avoid it: Resolutions. This year (decade even?) I am going to procrastinate less. I have let myself become addicted to Hulu and to watching TV shows (my roommate has about ten seasons of shows I hadn’t seen yet… I’ve gotten through a significant portion of that at this point). At first, I watched TV while doing dishes and other such productive tasks, but recently I watch because I don’t feel like doing anything else and thus avoid doing productive things in the evening. So I am resolving to cut myself off from Hulu and DVDs for the most part (maybe allow myself one TV show a night, with an exception for TV Show overload during particularly stressful times). I am resolving to be more productive. Since my no-Hulu plan went into action yesterday, I have achieved positive results. Yesterday I put away all the clean laundry and some other odds and ends I had left sitting out for a number of days (or weeks in the case of the odds and ends). Today I made social phone calls (HOLY CRAP, making phone calls?? who DOES that anymore!?) and watered my poor plants that have been craving water for days. I made a plan for fixing my ailing laptop and for doing all that was left undone when I got my new desktop two months ago (like installing Adobe… can’t believe I haven’t done that yet). I have a plan for finishing the New Jersey project ASAP when I get the computer situation under control. I hope in the upswing of being productive in life, I will be more likely to achieve any and all fitness goals I have.

What happened was my life became like my favorite Hot Hot Heat quote: “Friday night I’ll raise my glass and say ‘Tomorrow things will change; I can’t afford to wait!’ But by Monday morning my alarm clock knows how this story goes and the end is the same as the start.” But now, with new 2010!!!! plans, things really will change. Because while TV is satisfying, I can’t go on not having Adobe Acrobat on my main computer.

And a final note: Some of you may not know about my plants… there are somewhere between 50 and 115 potted plants in my apartment. Watering them is not a task to take lightly =).

Gecko shoes!

December 8, 2009 1 comment

It’s a fresh week, and I am off to a good start even though today didn’t agree with me. I was eating breakfast peacefully when I glanced at the clock (8:20am) and realized I was supposed to catch a ride to a division meeting five minutes ago downtown. Fortunately the meeting was at the Horticulture Center in West Park, so I biked there. Not a good foot to start the day on. Tonight I hung around after work for about an hour waiting to go to the Art Museum steps for a Fairmount Running Club workout… only to discover at 6:05pm that I didn’t have a sports bra with me. 0 for 2… However maybe these events were blessing in disguise; I had to carry some groceries home, so I took the trolley home and later ran back to work (3 miles) to pick up my bike. The goal of picking up my bike got me out the door, and I wore the Vibram Five Fingers!

I think I looked like a monster from the blue lagoon, though. I wore black leggings and my new black Philadelphia Marathon mock shirt with my grey LDS shorts and orange PADA shirt over for visibility, a CUltimate hat (harking back to college Ultimate) which has a pompom on the top, a waist bag holding extra pants to put on for the bike ride home, gloves, and my gecko shoes. The only bits of skin showing were my face and the tops of my feet. Fortunately I have mastered the ability to  confidently wear ridiculous looking workout clothes which keep me comfortable (although I have not mastered the ability to wear spandex without shorts over them… that might be something best left alone). And I don’t relish running in the cold.

It took 13 minutes for me to warm up. The gecko shoes were weird but not uncomfortable during the run. Do you ever misinterpret where the bottom of your shoes will go and end up scraping the ground? That happened way more than I expected considering the soles are very thin. I think this might happen because my feet were tricked by the tightness of the shoe. My shins and calves felt like they were absorbing extra force. When I got to my office to pick up my bike helmet I changed out of the gecko shoes and the soles of my feet were throbbing slightly. It was a combination of the feeling you get in your extremities when they warm up too fast and the prickling of running on concrete (feels a bit like the gravel in the concrete permanently indented your skin).

Tomorrow I will run in the sneakers. I’ll give the gecko shoes another go on Thursday.