I almost couldn’t stand the wait any longer. After not running for two weeks following the marathon, call it an off season, it was time to lace up my new no lace shoes and get out there. Or rather, slip on my no laced toe shoes. Or toe thingies. They call them the Vibram Five Fingers KSO.
The First Run: Don’t Be A Dumbass….like me.
I started running in the KSO’s. At first it was weird because it was the first time in who knows how long that I was landing on my forefoot, the 2 balls of the feet. Having walked in these bad boys for the previous couple of weeks, I had no problems with how they felt on. But running is a whole other ballgame. It felt light but there was something else… something fun. It was fun! It was so fun that I wondered if it was fun before. Weeks later I would wonder how in the HELL I found running fun before this period. Well, I did, but, like a good day at the casino, there is always better. Everything felt so neat; a new experience. My feet were so sensitive at first it was unbelievable. Like I had opened up a new sense. Oh there was a small rock. Oh there was a crack in pavement. Oh there was something squishy and brown. Ok fine my feet couldn’t see, but they might as well have! They were actually so sensitive when I started that I was concerned with how I would run on anything not flat and smooth. Basic society logic concerns I’d think, and I was in such a place that was flat and smooth so no worries for now!
I was free, or close. It was like something out of my childhood, something pure, but I wasn’t quite able to put my finger on it. I didn’t need to put anything on it; thinking only gets in the way so I decided to speed it up. I was going so much faster at one point then I usually would run that the still air was hitting me like wind. Bad move.
My right calf muscle, the middle part or somewhere felt like I had a huge cramp out of nowhere, completely stopping me from running any further and instead forcing me to limp home and for the rest of the day. At first I thought I ripped something but that was dumb paranoia. Then I thought it was a cramp, like I mentioned above. I didn’t know what it was but it hurt. And it didn’t go away. The pain did, but not the process. The following day I awoke and that little spot that hurt was near gone. I would massage it by shoving my finger knuckles down in between my relaxed calf, and it wouldn’t stretch with normal calf exercises. I wondered if I had simply gone too fast, or if it was my form, or both. My form was not wrinkled out yet. One thing I realized later that didn’t help this pain was the fact that my feet were landing too far in front of my body, instead of under my hips, which I would end up doing soon after, naturally. But even then, as well as going much slower, I would still get that same pain feeling in BOTH of my legs, depending on the day. And each time, I would stop running. I would repeat this for months.
The Rehabilitation or “Rehab”
Over time I was slowly going further based on when I’d feel this pain try and resurrect. If I stopped right when I sensed it coming, it wouldn’t come and I wouldn’t be sore the rest of the day. I don’t think this was entirely wise giving what I know now. Going minimal required stretching my calves a good inch at least from the big heeled shoes days and rehabilitating my entire legs and feet. I was never able to go past 3 miles for 3 months and at the end of that third month the outside calf of each leg had tripled in size. I called this time my rehab. I’d get up in the morning before work and run for up to an hour. I even would run barefoot for about a mile at the end sometimes.
Yes barefoot. The first time I did this I was a bit scared but figured it couldn’t hurt. I ran about 2-3 miles and decided I’d run another mile bare. It was even MORE sensitive, as anyone would expect, but it wasn’t bad at all. I found it funny to be honest, the freeing feeling of losing the shoes entirely was nice, but I wasn’t about to risk getting hurt again. I wanted to be able to run 10 miles a day again. That was all I was concerned about. Not 3. Not 5. 10. THEN I would start getting barefoot completely. On retrospect, I would suggest people going straight barefoot to start out and wearing something like the VFF when needed. This was my initial error besides over doing it. If I would do it again, that would be my path. That way, my feet would have been ready to go the long distance when I was, instead of quite the opposite. Ready in terms of wear and tear, nerves, skin toughness, and form. Going completely bare will force you to have good form. I doubt I’d have over done it at first if I had simply gone bare to begin with. But then I wouldn’t have been able to write as much for this rehab story now would I?
From Never Running To An Ultramarathon In A Year
Part 1: It All Started…
Part 2: Injuries!
Part 3: The Wall.
Part 4: The Marathon
Part 5: Putting On My New Feet
Part 6: The Alligator That Smiled At Me
Part 7: The Book That Plants
Part 8: First Barefoot Race
Part 9: Running Forever in the Park
Part 10: The Short Race Report
Part 11: Kansas City, Gonna Get My Baby Back Home
Part 12: The Return of the Long Lost Runs (no toilet humor please)
Part 13: Dorothy, We Are In Kansas Anymore
Part 14: Worn
Part 15: Valet = Achilles Tendinitis = No more running this year, well…
Part 16: Marathon Decisions: Screw It
Part 17: 9.5 Months After Losing Da Shoes: The Kansas City Marathon
Part 18: ULTRANESSSAUCISM: