The Daisy Age
It had been 5 weeks since the op and I’d decided I can’t wait any longer. I’ve been riding the bike for a week and even though that’s great, I need to move up a level. Today was the day I tried to run.
I’d been thinking about what to do first time out…. 500m on grass? A 2 minute jog around the block? Then there’s what to wear! Road shoes, off-road shoes or even the Vibrams!!!!! I packed my kit for work and decide whatever I do it would have to be short and easy, so I packed the VFF’s and decided to try a mile on a treadmill at work. Come lunch time I had to fight my way into the gym (literally as it was packed). As soon as I pull the VFF’s out the bag people are looking at me. This is something that you need to get used to BTW when you start wearing these. People will at first stare in amazement and shock then finally they will have to ask you what the hell are you wearing and WHY! (get used to it!)
I do a couple of light stretches and climb aboard the treadmill feeling like some kind of “aquaman” freak of nature. I start slow and I can instantly feel an old niggle I had in the injured foot. A burning feeling in the ball of the foot called “Metatarsalgia” (google it). It results from weakened ligaments in the toes etc. which cause pain, mostly in ladies wearing heels (go on say it!) I carry on anyway as this is no worse than I’ve had previously and I guess to be expected. I’m starting to feel good when in the gym mirrors I notice that people are looking again… This time it hits me why. Above all the music and grunts from the power lifters, all that could be heard was “slap, slap, bang, bang” with every step I took. I tried to be as light on my toes and in the end stopped caring.
After a mile and a half, I decided to call it a day. It felt quite good and I didn’t want to push it. What I did notice was my running style. Due to the lack of heel on the VFF’s, mid/front foot striking seemed to happed naturally without thinking. I also tried to stand upright and increase the number of paces taken (whilst making them shorter) as this is supposed to help the transition. Well the first time out went well and I was more than pleased with the VFF’s. I’d give it a few days of rest, then try again.
Well one day rest to be exact! I’d been trying to get my children into running for years and after a few runs out few my son, he soon became more interested in all things computers so I switched focus the my younger 7 year old daughter. Katie was far more eager than Ali to run so I decided that I should introduce her to a trail race. I’d walked 7 miles plus across country with her on several occasions so thought that she could cover the distance even if she ran/walked. So I picked a 6.5 mile trail based in Tiptree Essex for first baptism of fire! We spent a small fortune on pink running gear and she was bursting with excitement, then we were off! 30 mins later, that excitement had some what waned and she was walking most of the time and had also ran out of water (it was a little hot but I later found she had used the water to rehydrate the flowers on the route!). As well as Kate’s first race, there was also a first for me as I chose to wear the VFF’s!
They actually felt nice as we skipped through the cornfields as you could feel the ground under your feet and your toes could actually grip on the ground as you ran feeling like you were moulding around every rock etc. It’s hard to describe how it felt but for some reason it almost felt like running as a child barefoot in the garden (if that makes sense?) What wasn’t so great was the occasional rock which considering you only had 2mm of neoprene between you and the ground felt a little sharp but generally not too bad. After managing to take a couple of wrong turns, 6.5 changed to 7.5 but by the time we took the last turn and saw the finish Katie was smiling.
So overall, the VFF’s were actually quite good. To sum up… They did lack a little grip when it got very muddy and wet but even then in road shoes you would have slipped so not bad at all, also in road shoes you don’t get the added benefit of various plants including daisies getting stuck in-between your toes “hippy style”. Would I wear them again yes (despite the looks).