Vibram Five Fingers

In the middle of October, I decided to take the plunge and buy a pair of Vibram Five Finger shoes.  I’d seen a few people wearing them in the gym and had heard about them before, but had never actually tried them on even.  I decided that the idea of barefoot running was intriguing enough to justify the cost of purchasing the shoes.  Naturally, because I’ll try to get a discount if possible, I signed up for an account on RockCreek.com first which gave me a 15% off coupon for my first purchase.  My first purchase being the Vibram KSO (Keep Stuff Out).  I had purchased a size 42 at first which turned out to be slightly too tight which required that I had to send it back and re-order the correct size.  RockCreek’s customer service team were great in getting this resolved for me as well.

After I received the correctly-sized shoe (size 43), I went for my first run in them – which was to go two laps around our ponds which is a total of three miles.  This turned out to be a mistake.  I wasn’t expecting the massively different way in which you run without the cushion of a normal shoe.  I ended up making my calves hurt so bad that I could barely walk for almost a week.  This proved to be especially bad as my first half-marathon was just one week away.  I reverted back to normal shoes and forced myself to run what I could so that I wasn’t completely worthless during that race.

After my half-marathon, I went back to the Vibrams.  I started off by just wearing them around the house and after a short while started wearing them to work.  It was weird as you could feel everything since they are pretty thin.  I also started running an occasional 1.5 mile run to try to force myself to adjust my running pattern to account for the different stride required.  After enough time of that I finally started running on the road.  My road runs are generally longer – about 4-7 miles.  You wouldn’t think that running on the road is that much different from running on a pavement around a pond, but it’s a subtle difference.

During Black Friday this year, RockCreek was giving 20% off of your order for the entire weekend.  I took the opportunity to buy a new pair of Vibrams.  This pair however, was the Vibram Five Finger Flow.  I chose this style as it was better suited to cold/wet conditions and the mesh of the KSO was making my feet quite cold as the weather was starting to get colder and colder.

I’ve now been running exclusively in the Flow since I received them and wearing them to work as well on occasion.  They are quite nice and seem to give a bit more protection under my feet although the neoprene on the top has really helped to keep my feet a lot warmer.  They are also tighter fit around the ankles which helps to “seal” the feet so they stay warmer and dryer as well.

Another item which has helped is that I had finally ordered some socks.  I had ordered some cheap toe-socks from Meritline.com which are OK.  They work, but the pair that I received for Christmas from my parents are significantly better.  They are the Injinji Performance mini-crew sock. Quite comfortable and very warm.  Would highly recommend them to anyone wanting to buy a pair to go with your Vibrams.

Are they weird?  Yes.  Do people look at me differently?  Sure they do.  I’ve gotten asked about them while shopping at WalMart and also while buying gas.  My co-workers have affectionally started calling them my “monkey shoes.”  However, they are pretty comfortable and I can’t really see myself going back to running in “normal” shoes again.

Run To Keep Warm

Before I left for work today, I decided that I wanted to run after work as the weather was looking better and the roads should be clearer.  However, just after I left the house I (of course) realized that I had forgotten my running gear.  It wasn’t really worth going back for since I was already running late so I decided to just run a shorter run once I got home.

After I arrived home after work, I took Sparky out after getting into my gear.  While getting dressed I checked for new updates on my iPhone and lookie there – a new Nike+ GPS update!  The latest update (3.0.1) added in Nike+ Tag.  This allows you to play “tag” with someone else – either on distance-based or time-based runs.  Whoever runs the shortest or least-time is “it.”  As my only running friend on Nike+ is Jake, I started a game of tag with him then started my run with a goal of running only three miles.

Once I got going it was clear that this run wasn’t going to be as easy as I’d thought.  The roads were better than yesterday, but as two sections of road that I run on don’t have City Buses running on them, they really weren’t that great either.  As I didn’t have too much ice during the run though, it could have been worse.  When I had run about 3/4 of a mile, I was about ready to just run only two miles instead as my breath was coming right back at me (this can make it harder to breathe as you are exhaling a lot more air at a time than if you were walking which would mean that I’m not getting enough fresh air in on each breath).  However, once I did finally reach the first mile I decided that I wasn’t going to give up that easily and forged on.

During my runs, the Nike+ GPS app informs me of my distance every half-mile and every ten minutes.  Once I got to two miles, I turned around and made my way back.  I completed my run a short two miles later.  I didn’t beat my earlier run’s average pace, but I am pretty happy with the pace I was able to get – 8’09″/mi.  I’ve been slowly lowering that number over time and hope to have it around 7’/mi by the time I run the Purdue Challenge in April.

Overall, I have now ran 151.3 miles with the Nike+ GPS app and a total of 891.22 miles!

Isotretinoin – Week 1

I have dealt with acne for a long time now.  I know that my acne isn’t as severe as my brother’s, but it’s still been with me for a time and hasn’t gotten any better.  It’s finally to the point however where something different has to happen to try to get rid of it as everything that I’ve before tried has yielded no real results.

After carefully discussing it with my doctor and Justin, we all decided that Isotretinoin (previously marketed under the brand-name Accutane) was something that would help.  As such, today during dinner I’ll be having my first dosage of Isotretinoin.  I should be on it for about five months, which is the standard treatment time.  After which, I should have a considerably different skin condition – one which is much clearer.  I am not expecting it to completely clear up the acne, but instead to make a considerable improvement of it.

Throughout the treatment course, I’ll be taking pictures of the progress for documentation and tracking and posting updates on any changes that I see.

500th Mile

I just finished my 500th mile running with Nike+. I haven’t advanced to the next “color” on the website (the colors are indications of how far you have run with the milestone to reach the next progressively further), however my progress so far is impressive to myself.

Had I looked into my future even one year ago, I never would have imagined myself actually being so healthy and active!Once I completed today’s run I received the following note:

“Hey it’s Lance again. You’ve covered 250 more miles. Way to go!” – Lance Armstrong

Another Day, Another Run

Well, I just finished another run around the subdivision. This one was seven miles long. I was able to keep my average pace for the entire run under eight minutes but didn’t beat my best mile yet. Tough to get below 6:55!

Looking back at today there have been some other pretty cool running-related items that have happened.

A coworker looked at the results of the 5K and found that another person from my department had run in the race. I contacted him to confirm and he had seen me but then lost me in the swarm of people. He finished the race in 29th place, easily beating my time.  He is a great guy in the department, always nice and easy to talk to.  He’s also going to run a full-marathon in about two weeks, which I hope he does great at.  He gave me some information on a few other races which brings me to my next point.

I’m going to sign up for a race in October which will be here in Lafayette.  It will be a half-marathon (13.1 miles).  It’ll be exciting because it’ll be a nice long race yet will be pretty close to home and I won’t have to go drive a long distance to get to it.

Also, about a month before that half-marathon, I’m going to sign up for another that will be in Indianapolis!  This will be my first half-marathon done professionally and even though I’ve yet to sign up for it, I’m already pumped and can’t wait.