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From Shoes to Unshod, and My Love Affair with FiveFingers in Between (Part 1)

by Christine Skelly » on Apr 08, 2011 1

Concrete Shoes (Part 1 of 3)

My rocky relationship with running began back in high school (which was not oh so long ago, considering I am only now finishing college) when I ran track team for two years, never to rise to track star fame, but to reside in the wallows of near last place far too many times. Despite my terrible track record, pardon the pun, track was fun and gave great exercise despite exhausting me. It was the sort of team with the sort of coach that instilled comradery and produced a strong group of people that loved to run even outside of the practices.

Exercise was a practice that I enjoyed and kept up with on my own time through the latter half of high school, but this involved no cardio most of the time, only free weights to produce a pleasant level of tone. So when I tried to run on my own in order to condition for my second year of track, I ran every other morning for two weeks to try and condition myself. If not carefully conducted, my body produced stitches in my side and reduced me to a hunched over mess of sweat, heaving desperate for oxygen, and anytime I began to start running again after a long hiatus, this is what awaited me.

The runs were short: 15 or so minutes was the time I always lingered around as my maximum run time before giving into my body’s desire to recover. Definitely not marathon material, but it was a personal achievement when after two weeks of morning runs I could start to run without being as heavily winded as before.

It was difficult to return to this painful reconditioning process over and over again if I ever missed a day or a week of running. It was too much of an all or nothing sport that I just couldn’t get. Running was the sort of thing I wanted to be good at. One of those things you hack away at, fail, and destroy your body while seeing others pass you making you wonder what you are doing wrong. What was I doing wrong? And then about a year ago I heard about these strange new shoes a year ago that would change my running and help make it easier not only to run, but to love running.

Whenever I have spoken to people about the thrill of being barefoot or about these shoes that simulate the feeling, they often reply with the fact that they loved running barefoot as a child. I was strongly attached to my shoes when I was young. I loved to tie them as tight as I could so they would fit flush against my foot laces suffocating my feet, but simultaneously making them feel lighter and faster. It was a strange combination that fueled my near obsession once I found out about the shoe that had toes, that fit like a glove and had Velcro straps (my younger self never cared for laces), that changed the way you ran, and that was going to revolutionize my running experience.

Tune in for Part 2 where I’ll talk about my first pair of VFFs….


1 Comment

  1. Kai

    April 08th, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Don’t wait too long … I want to see how it goes … curious!

    —Kai

    Reply

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