Monday, April 16, 2012

End of the Beginning

Goodbye standard running shoes, Hello minimalist/barefoot running. I am ditching my shoes. I like running and I dislike being sidelined by soreness and injuries.

I began running outside on Labor Day 2010 after buying my first pair of actual running shoes. I had read up on pronation and based on my footprint I thought I was a under-pronator but the lady at Get Fit in Amarillo, TX said she could tell I was an over-pronator from just looking at my feet. She also made fun of my "small flinstone feet." She sold me the only pair of New Balance she had in a wide. They cost $125 but with the coupon my Father-in-law game me I paid $90. I took them back to Ellen's parents house and ran 1.82 miles in approx 18 minutes. I did the same distance the next day.

I ended up doing my first 5k 20 days later but I used the pair of Nike Air Max Light my brother gave me because it was raining and I didn't want to get my new shoes wet. Two weeks later I had soreness in my calf/ankle after my first 4ish mile run. I took off 8 days from running.

I had already signed up for 5k a month after my first one and finished 1:19 faster and got 3rd place in my age group. At this point I was hooked on running and decided I wanted to do a 10k. I found a 6 week 10k training program and started running 4 days a week working up from 3 to 5 miles. After 4 weeks while I was running at the park my foot started to hurt. I had planned on running 3-4 laps but I had to cut it short to 2 laps. I took 9 days off from running and focused on lifting weights and used spin class as my cardio workout. I ran a 5k on the treadmill and it still hurt slightly. I ended up not running again for 7 days due to the holidays. After Christmas I found a 10k that was 3 weeks away and ran 3 days a week to finish out my training. On my last training run 2 days before the race my opposite foot started to hurt in same place and intensity. I blamed it on my shoes and dusted off my trusty old Nike shoes and ran the 10k in pain finishing in 1:02:14. At this point I retired my New Balance shoes.

Over the next 4 weeks I only ran 3 times. A friend facebook messaged me asking if I wanted to run with him. I had been posting maps of my runs on facebook when I was training for the 10k. He said he was training for the FBI fitness test. I took him up on the offer and we started running together once or twice a week. On February 26th Ellen and I walked/jogged the Cowtown 5K together. I kept running with my friend until early May. I ran my 4th 5k on April 16th in 2:01 faster than my previous best and Ellen did it alone 35 second faster than the Cowtown. I got excited again and set my sights on running another 10k race about 7 weeks away. I kept persistent on my training. The race was at night on the first weekend of June and it was 98 degrees. I ended up only doing 5K (the 10K was two 5k loops) due to overheating and poor planning from the race coordinators (no water available before the race). It was my slowest 5k ever. I felt robbed and ended up doing a 10k training run 3 days later 1:02:15 during the middle of the day in the mid 90s. 1 second slower and 50 degrees hotter than my first 10k.

I took a month off for our Wedding and Honeymoon. The week after our honeymoon was probably my laziest week since the summer of 2008.

Right before my month off I had picked out some races to train for so I would not slip back into old habits after the wedding. I found one race a month from July to November and set my sights on running a Half Marathon at the end. I found a 12 week training program and picked a half marathon that was on the first weekend in November. I started running 4 days a week for 4 weeks before my training program to get back in shape. My training started August 7th, my sister's birthday.

The first week of training I bought a new pair of running shoes. I was annoyed that I went to an expensive running store for my last pair and got fitted incorrectly so I decided to do my own research. I found a few pair I really liked and planned to custom order them from the Nike+ online store. I went to a few local stores to try on a few different shoes to pick which model and size fit me the best. Only the Nike Pegasus 28 fit me but the store did not carry them in a wide. I went to another store and was amazed to find them in an very similarl color pattern as the design I made online and they were only $80 instead of $125 for custom online. I also ordered a garmin GPS watch from
I ran 4 days a week for 12 weeks building up my distance from 3 miles to 10 miles. During my training I ran 3 races:
8-14-11 Touchdown 5k 26:42
9-24-11 Rahr Oktoberfest 5k 26:18
10-16-11 FWRC Mercury 10k 54:47

During my training I went to a chiropractor and he told me I have scoliosis and hinted I needed to stop running and fix it. After searching online I found alot of negative information about the organization/program he worked for and that running does is not affected by scoliosis. I did not go back after my adjustment and so far no more back pain.

My half marathon was alot of fun but I ended up with black toenails and my left one fell off. I finished in 2:01:50 beating my goal of 2:15 by over 13 minutes. I took off 2 weeks due to pain in my left knee. I retired my Nike Pegasus and went back to my old Nike Air Max Lights.
The running bug was in full force and I set my sights on a full marathon. I ended up picking the Big D Marathon because it was the last one in the area and I had plenty of time to prepare. I found an 18 week marathon program from the same author as my 12 week program and for 3 weeks to worked back up to 5 miles. I ran a 10 mile trail run in 2:04:09 the weekend before my training started.

My first week of marathon training was the same amount of mileage as week 10 of my half marathon training so it was pretty much a continuation of where I left off. I went to the running store near my office and tried on some running shoes but decided to get second opinion at a store that had a treadmill. At the end of week 2 I went to Luke's Locker in Southlake and expressed all my concerns and ended up with a pair of Asics Cumulus Gel 13, the same pair the previous store recommended. 

Training was fun and I was loving it. At the end of week 5 I ran the same 10K I had ran a year before as my first. I was set on beating my PR and my friend ran it with me. With all my training I had forgot to charge my GPS watch the night before and it died right as we started. I pushed myself but ended up finishing 7 seconds slower than my PR. At the end of week 8 I ran my second half marathon in Galveston while visiting family. I finished the very flat race in 1:58:03 (including a minute long port-o-can break). 

Two week later at the end of week 10 about 12 miles into my 18 miler my right knee started to hurt. I ended up cutting the run 1.5 miles short. Two days later I ran on the treadmill and had to cut my 5 miles short and the next day I could not run at all. That coming weekend was the Cowtown Half Marathon so I took the rest of the week off and swam laps instead. I had signed up to run with my friend and decided to run until it hurt. I made it about halfway before the pain got too intense and started walking at mile 7. I did a mixture of walking and sprinting and finished in 2:15:48

I decided to take off two weeks to recover and started looking for another Marathon race at a later date. During my time off I found out a friend from high school was training for the half marathon the day of the full marathon I had been training for so I decided to put my marathon goal on hold and do another half. The first week after my break I ran 1 mile with no pain then 2 miles the next day and 3 miles the day after that and still no pain. That weekend I met up with my high school  friend and his girlfriend and did 9 miles with barely any pain. During my two weeks off I had picked up a pair of Vibram fivefingers but I decided to wait on running in them until after my training ended.

Last weekend was my 4th half marathon and I did it without any pain but I am done with standard cushioned running shoes. I am hoping for no more foot and knee pain.... 
I will post my slow 6-10 week transition into barefoot/minimalist running.

Hopefully this is the end of running in standard restrictive overly cushioned running shoe. Here are some charts that document what I have done since September 2010.
This is the end of the beginning and the beginning of a new chapter.

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