Friday, May 27, 2011

Nothing Gets Between Me and My Vibrams

Nothing Gets Between Me and My Vibrams
Martin Bodek

I have now run over 150 miles in my Vibrams. I love them. They I and are now as one. This is the during of a beautiful relationship.
I’m asked about them a lot, and have given Cliffs Notes versions of my full response that follows (namely, the headings of each paragraph). So if you’re curious about what I think about them – because apparently my opinion matters to you – please read on:

1) They’re not for everybody – We earthlings are not all built the same. Oh sure, we generally are derived from the same genetic soup, but we’re different in our nuances in many ways. As for those five-toed things we shod in leather and rubber and plastic and fabric, well, we have flat feet, we have wide feet, we have flipper snogger slog feet. Pardon my Seussian tangent, but you get my drift. These things are for some, not all.

2) But they’re worth a try – I mean c’mon, aren’t you curious? I sure was! They’re worth a try just to see if all the anecdotal theories about their injury-preventive properties are based in reality or not. They’re worth it just for the fascinating experience of trying them on. They’re worth it because it’s an entirely different running experience. So give them a whirl – because they’re worth it.

3) You have to break them in slowly – Before purchasing the footware, I researched the experiences of other VFF-shod runners and found much talk of injury, nearly all related to running practical ultramarathons right out of the box. Dial it back people! I refused to make such an error. I purchased them one week after the NYC Marathon, wore them around the house for a week, rested, walked around the block a few times, rested, ran a quarter mile, rested, then a mile, rested, then more, and slightly more and I’ve avoided injury entirely. Follow my example instead of the example of lunatics. Easy does it and you’ll reap the rewards.

4) They’re not for cold weather – Because your toes are encased in separate chambers, they can’t rely on each other for warmth, and you can barely wiggle your toes. This makes for a disastrous situation in seriously cold weather. I tried the Injinji socks, but I find they bite into the webbing between my toes. So I wear Nike Frees (a slightly lower rung on the barefoot running ladder) when it’s terribly cold and wear my VFFs the rest of the time.

5) Your physique will change – I’ve been running for 16 years and have always been pleased with the appearance of my calves. Suddenly though, my calves have exploded. I’ve added a half inch to their size in just a few months. You practically feel them exploding if you run properly on the balls of your feet, which by the way, takes pressure off of every body part from the knees up. Unsightly black toenails are a thing of the past. Also fascinating are the calluses that are forming on the bottom of my feet. I should have taken before and after pictures. During and after won’t do, I’m afraid. I have the feet of a firewalker!

6) People will stare at your feet – You know how people stare at their BlackBerrys while allegedly having a face-to-face conversation with you? That’s what this will be like. I now have a clue what women feel like when people stare at their chests when attempting to have a conversation, which they’re apparently having so they can stare at their chests from close range. You might find yourself having a conversation with a fellow runner about your Vibrams and if asked to identify you in a lineup, will fail miserably.

So there you have it. Six distinct points. One for each toe. Um, I think my math is off a bit, but then again, so am I for loving these things so much. Hey, you might too.
In just 81 days, Martin will be running the JRunners Relay Race - in his Vibrams - to benefit the Ohr Meir foundation. Please assist him with meeting his fundraising obligations:


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