Running Wars Episode VI: Return of the Shod

Alright….I give up and I may be the only person in the world who has given up running in Vibram Five Fingers, at least that is what my Google searches tell me. I have been running in them for 3 months now at about 10-15 miles per week.  I have not been able to make it past the 3 mile mark for the last month without stabbing pain in my arch.  It would never hurt afterwards, just when I was running.  I understand that I may have done TMTS (too much too soon) but it has come to the point where I needed to make a decision.  With three races coming up in the next three months and all of them being 6 miles or longer I couldn’t see how I would be able to run in my VFF’s.  So the past two runs I have completed have been wearing my beefy stability shoes.  I know all of the barefoot runners and minimalist runners would curse me for becoming fully shod again but I didn’t have the patience to continue in my journey otherwise.  Although this process has been frustrating to me I have learned some good things.  I am a moderate overpronator which helps me understand where my arch pain is coming from.  I was not able to correct this with the VFF’s, I would find myself continuing to land on the outside of my foot towards the heel and land on my big toe putting a lot of stress on the arch.  While I was not completely able to change how my feet landed I was able to change where they have landed.  My stride has shortened allowing my feet to hit closer to my center of gravity and less on my heel extend out in front of me.

So far things have been going well.  I am starting to enjoy running again.  I really did like running in my VFF’s and feeling the road in a totally different way but it just wasn’t working for me.  Maybe I will try again some day when I don’t have a 1/2 marathon approaching in 3 months.

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Wakarusa: Fozzie Bear’s off road race?

One thing that I have found out about myself over the years is that if I don’t have a goal I become like the sloth.  Not like the cute ones you see on Go Diego Go! but the actual ones that barely leave their spot and move incredibly slow.  I never really liked going to the gym so instead I set up small goals a few months out to work towards.  For example I am hoping to run the 10k at the North Face Endurance Challenge.  It seems to be a little out of reach because my transition to the Vibram Five Fingers is going slower than I would wish.  Beyond that I have set a goal that may not be quite so little,  the Wakarusa Off-Road Challenge.  A friend and I will be participating as a two person team.  What possessed us to do this, slight insanity? A liking for pain?  Wanting a challenge? whatever the reason may be we will walk away from something unlike anything I have done so far.

The race is a combination of trail-running, mountain biking, and canoeing.  It starts with a 2.2 mile run then 17.2 mile mountain bike ride followed by a 4 mile canoe trip and finishing with a 4 mile run.  I am going to “officially” start my training for this.  Last year the top five male teams finished in about 3 hours.  I am not sure if that is achievable for us but it sounds like a good goal to work towards.  What is it that all the tough guys say, you know the ones that walk around in tight Ed Hardy shirts?  “Go hard or go home”?  How about “Go hard and finish sometime before the last person without dying along the way.”  I think that is more my style.

On a slightly different note in preparation for this I was able to find a decent used mountain bike.  I took it out to Landahl Park the other day and it rides wonderfully.