Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 147 - Coming out of the Closet

I need to get something off of my chest.

I haven't mentioned up to now because I didn't want it to be a distraction, but I've written about everything else, and the time feels right...

Ok... here goes...

I am a barefoot runner.

Whooo... that's liberating.

Technically, not totally barefoot. I run in Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs), the shoes with toes. So not totally barefoot, but close enough.

I've been running almost exclusively in KSOs since September '09. On a few really cold occasions, I ran in Flows. And there were two disastrous runs in my trail shoes in snow.

I'm not going to preach here about the pros of barefoot running. It's not for everyone. It's been great for me. Before making this change, if I ran on Monday, I couldn't run again until Saturday. My hips and lower back were a mess.

It took about 3 months to build strength in my feet and calves, and to essentially learn how to run all over again. But now, as we all are painfully aware thanks to my ceaseless self-promotion, I run every day.

I get a lot of funny looks, still, but VFFs are starting to creep into the main stream. Lots of runners have heard about them. Some people are wearing them to workout at health clubs and to yoga classes. And yesterday I saw a guy in my office wearing them. Those are his everyday shoes. I know!

It's like when you discover an Indie band that you love, and it's your thing, and you just keep it, and them, to yourself. But then, they hit it big and teenagers are showing up to their concerts and they do a guest spot on some Disney show. You want to scream "I loved them before it was cool to love them!"

I'm not sure VFFs rate as cool. Probably not in Central Indiana. Certainly not if you're 45. For when people see me out for a run, I want to have a shirt that says "I'm wearing them so I can run every day and for many years to come, not because I'm desperately trying to look hip."

It helps that mine don't look clean and new. They have just under 500 miles on them. They're torn here and there, and the straps are so wore I have reinforced them with duct tape. I am not kidding.

But mostly, they stink. Bad. Chernobyl bad. Ebola bad.

We've talked about this before. I've washed them, soaked them, even tried denture cleaner.

If they get wet, they will clear a room. A large room. Again, I'm not kidding.

After a run, as soon as I get back to my office, I pull them off and slide them into a scented bathroom trash bag. Even that isn't enough.

The only way I've been able to avoid eviction from my office is to then take them outside. And it turns out, the best way to tame the stench, is to dry them in the sun. Something about germ killing power of UV light.

So if you see these in an office park parking lot, I wouldn't recommend stealing them...

Let the mocking begin...

Good running,

Numbers: 4.2 miles on roads. Cook-a-pancake-hot roads.