Arctic winter running – on shoes (219K to go)

Winter running in Nuuk, Greenland

Winter running in Nuuk, Greenland

Now before I get to the actual shoes that I prefer and a few alternatives I highly recommend, then I want to add a few words about how I approach my choice of shoes. reading my previous post may shed some additional light on the subject.

Winter where I live dictates snow, ice and very little actual pavement available, it also dictates very cold temeperatures. Even been running up a steep icy hill, run it without spikes and it will teach you a lot about efficient running form. ever run through 20cm during your entire run, well you quads will come home burning in a very different way.

What I try to say is that I do not run winter like summer, but see it a bit like a different sport.

My favourite trio - seeya, spyridon and el-x

My favourite trio – seeya, spyridon and el-x

The sharp reader will notice it is exactly the same shoes I run during summer and therein lies the truth for me. Winter running does not require a special kind of footwear in general.

The el-x is my go to winter boot for casual wear, I wear it down to -25C without socks, when I go shopping, to from work, when going for a walk, had it not been for the tight upper and the slightly narrow sole profile I would be running them too. The sole itself is near perfect, very grippy on all surfaces and still soft, flexible and light.

The seeya is an excellent running shoe for anything from road to light trail work, true for summer and winter alike. it is not the most grippy, but since I am running for the experience and use the slightly poorer traction to optimise my technique it is a great shoe even in slippery conditions.

The Spyridon is the shoe for when the going gets tough. hard technical trails in summer, nordic skiing trails and snowmobile trails during winter. it is a shoe that will take anything you throw at it smiling. it has the advantage that it is roomy enough to take a thin smartwool toesock, thus making it good for as cold as you would want to run. add a inov8 debris gaiter and it will be good well into knee deep snow.

Now I do not say that the approach some take with big sturdy, spiked, thermo lined, goretex protected shoes is wrong. I used to like it a few years ago, as it essentially would make me plough through winter as if it did not exist. truth is that I have just come to value feeling my environment while running and that comes at the price of speed during winter.

“But are you not freezing wearing so thin shoes during winter?” is a very common question and the reply is simple one. I have found that by nearly not wearing shoes the feet start heating from within. barefoot is probably on the frostbite risky side of things, but if it was not for the crushed rock the spray all over the place to buy people some traction on ice and snow I would likely be experimenting more with this barefoot thing during winter too 🙂

If I were to run a closed toebox shoe during winter, then I would likely look towards vivobarefoot evo lite, or breatho trail, perhaps even the merrell trailglove 2 as it has a wonderful fit, it is however not exactly a durable shoe and Merrell so far has decided not to respond to my emails on the subject.

If you are in the need of a little foam or more of a real shoe minimalist thing, then the Sketchers gobionic trail is an excellent shoe, with a very very nice sole design and good traction on all surfaces. I own a pair and I really like both the fit and the feel of them, even if they are too padded for my taste.

So that concludes the shoe side of things, now get out there and run 🙂

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Arctic trial run – round 2 (403K to go):

A long journey from previous post and the generous 20°C and sun of the White Mountains were exchanged to 3°C and heavy rain, I was back in Nuuk, the gorgeous snow from mid september washed completely away again, save for the more distant peaks.

Frozen puddles

Frozen puddles

First chance at dry weather I had an appointment with Mr. J and his dog about doing another round on the trails.

Weather was moist and windy, 3°C and clouds just high enough for the lowest and closest peak to be visible. Weather looked like we would easily make it up and back without running into rain or fog low hanging clouds.

The run itself was amazing, wet feet from the very beginning and all the way up and down.

Mr. J and his dog

Mr. J and his dog

A brisk pace on the trip until we hit the first real ascent, sweating like pigs and running steep and technical, but run-able off trial all up,  what an amazing time.

There is just something about running exposed rocks that I love. The need to read an plan the ascent making switchbacks to keep it run-able and constantly reading the terrain ahead while keeping the destination and direction in mind. Challenging and fun running, plus the steep running kicking your heart rate frequently into the +80% zone.

The strong wind and the just below 0°C temperature kept the stopover and photo break at the peak short and soon Mr. J lead us down in a very fast pace, challenging coordination and balance, while pushing the quads into the red zone. Gorgeous 🙂

A view to the cloud covered Sermitsiaq

A view to the cloud covered Sermitsiaq

Up came the relatively flat section of easier and rather wet trail to a slight incline to the place where we went our separate ways.

I did the funny rock and trail route back to central Nuuk, with a couple of steep inclines to squeeze the last bit out of my quads.

Nothing like reaching your doorstep with quads burning and feeling like you have gone all in and made it home still running 🙂

Me at the peak

Me at the peak

I was back in my Fivefinger Syridons this time, softer and thinner than the trail glove 2, but way more durable and with better traction and grip.

I have written very favourable about them before and they really are my favourite trail shoe. However, they do require strong feet when running highly technical and rough terrain.

The reason behind it is to be found in the construction of the shoe. While the soft mesh makes for ample protection from pretty much anything, they are at the same time so soft that it is the muscles and tendons in your feet that carries all of your weight every single step of the way. Once your feet start to wear out, you will be prone to some bumps and bruises on your feet.

I do not have the strength yet to wear them for more than up to say 20K. Longer than that and I the risk of getting hurt is too great for me, but they really are a wonderful tool and as I grow stronger they will be for longer distances as well.

The barefoot shoe writeup and a 12K (577K to go):

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Most of the barefoot shoe collection 🙂

OK how much sense does it make to have all this talk about barefoot running and then a massive amount of shoes.

Going completely barefoot is preferred and nothing beats the sensation of feeling the ground beneath you as you run. However sometimes you cannot get away with going barefooted, thus shoes for me serves two purposes:

a) a social function, when I am in a setting where shoes are the norm and bare feet would be frowned upon, a business meeting or conference is a good example

b)A practical function, when I am running distances or conditions where my bare feet are either not seasoned enough or the environment too harsh. +20K distances, off trail mountain running or the like are good examples.

all of the shoes above (and the ones missing) serves either purpose a or b, occasionally a pair of shoes will serve both, but rarely so. Some will claim I have too much money or a shoe fetish, but that is a story for a different day 🙂

All shoes has been bought and paid for by me, no “review samples” or “loaners”, it does not make me unbiased though. In fact it makes me 100% biased towards what works on my feet.

So lets get to it and start looking at what they are all good for, if anything at all.

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KSO on winter duty

The Vibram Five Finger KSO:

The casual observer will notise they are not in the picture.

My first pair of five fingers, bought in 2008 or so and has been used for a variety of purposes, but primarily as a gym, lightweight hiking or shoe for short technical running exercises.

However it excels at pretty much anything, one of the thinnest and most flexible soles in the five finger lineup , with excellent ground feel thanks to it and a thin lightweight upper with a velcro strap closeure to sefure it, it really has very few faults if any.

The picture kind of tells the story, I have used it for lgiht technical trails, snow, ice, gravel road and stuff in between.

Paired with a thin Injinji sock it is good down to -20C if you do not stop for too long or run multiple hours.

These days it is my gym shoe when in Greenland and not much else.Other shoes have taken over for any other use.

It was however the shoe that dragged me into the five finger shoes and barefoot running thing, thus in some ways a reference shoe for me and I got essentially nothing but praise for it.

If you can only get one pair of Barefoot shoes, these  and a thin pair of injini socks should be on your list.

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Seeyas can get dirty too 🙂

The Vibram Five Finger Seeya:

Without a doubt the most perfect Five finger running shoe at least for my feet.

A soft, thin to the point of almost not being there upper, with a thin velcro strap to lock it down a bit, mine is essentially loose and never adjusted nor really doing anything useful, but it is there if needed. I especially like the super soft heel cup, msot other vibrams have way too much support and shoe in their uppers, this one while probably not to every ones liking, just have enough structure to stay on your heel, but nothing else.

The sole is unusual, a soft EVA(?) at the arch portion (middle foot) and vibram rubber pods on heel and forefoot where you have contact with the ground. The sole while curling nicely into a ball, gets a touhc stiff  in the downwards movement of the toes, but ground feel is some of the closest to being barefoot you can get. it is a very finely tuned running sole and I adore it.

These are my preferred running shoes, I have done several half marathons in them, one of them in a blizzard, on ice and in snow. They do trails much better than most think, at least until the trails get too muddy or technical in nature.

I sincerely do not know what to criticise, could I only have on running shoes it would be a seeya

I know a lot of people like a more structured shoelike (for the lack of a better term) upper and if that is the case, then this is not a shoe for you.

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The Spyridon where it belongs

The Vibram Five Finger Spyridon:

Made specifically for trail running and functional masterpiece from Vibram. The upper is some active material that is quite tear resistant and while not water resistant or water proof in any way then it sheds water reasonably well. add a KSO like velcro strap and a serious upper is in the making.

A lot will talk about waterproof trail shoes, I am not one wanting it. I would rather have a shoe that is light breathe well and dries fast. because if you run deep snow or muddy trails, have to cross streams then you feet will get wet and your shoes will get soaked and a waterproof upper is just not optimal in such conditions.

The real magic is in the sole though. a quite hefty thread that makes for excellent grip in almost all conditions combined with a mesh just underneath the sole that helps distribute impact from sharp stones or ridges. for rough off trail terrain it is perfect. It provides a lot of ground feel, but takes care of all the stuff that would potentially hurt your feet at the same time, all in a really flexible sole. The only thing lacking in this almost perfect off trail sole is a little less grippy on steep smooth rock sections. it is probably a trade off for durability, but I have taken one slide where I would normally stay upright because the rubber did not connect well enough to grip. Now that I know I can adjust for it and it has to be very steep for it to be a problem, but it is a small thing worth mentioning.

Almost sounds too good to be true, but they are that good.

They are my go to, hiking boots and off trail running shoes. Now they can do a few miles of road if you want them to, but they are not made for it and one can feel that when running roads in them.

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The EL-X – on its first and last run

The Vibram Five Fingers EL-X:

Few shoes have had me as excited as the EL-X the promise of perhaps the most flexible and minimal Five finger yet and with a sloe with a by the look promising grip.

The first thing I did when receiving them was walking for a day or two and then give them a workout on a 12K summer run in Copenhagen

However everything that looks so great on paper, does not translate into the finished product.

The upper is made from the same superlight and flexible mesh as the seeya, but with lots of rubberband coatings to secure it. I am not sure who came up with the idea, but what a night mare, it creates a super tight fit but with plenty of pressure points and hotspots as a result.

I can go with the slightly added structure to the heel cup compared to the seeya, but why ruin this super comfy upper with rubber bands squeezing your feet.

The Sole I absolutely love though from a flexibility, grip and ground feel point of view, probably the best Five finger  sole so far. But why they decided to go with the same narrow heel and mid foot design as the trek sole, in stead of the wider design used in the seeya, KSO and spyridon is a complete mystery to me. The end result is another series of pressure points that will create blisters on my wide feet, especially with the massive amount of rubber bands squeezing it into my feet.

I would love to see this material used in a sole design with a width like the KSO and with a seeya upper. Would be such a perfect shoe, but in the current state the EL-X is not really anything but a walkaround shoe for me, I doubt it will see that much use. which is a shame when the potential is huge.

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The Bikila LS in Barcelona

The Vibram Five Finger Bikila LS:

The Bikila LS is marketed as a running shoe, but to be quite frank I find it to be way too much shoe and too cushioned to my liking for running. Thus I do not run much in it, that said it has been a great winter boot for me.

The upper is as said very shoe like and the speed laces works a treat creating a very snug yet soft fit and you can feel the upper support and hug your feet.

The sole is fairly padded for a five finger, which may not be a bad thing, I just prefer a ride closer to the ground.

I have been wearing them as my primary casual shoe throughout the Greenlandic winter, where the very shoe like and padded upper and slightly thicker sole is great to insulate your feet that extra bit.

I have walked countless kilometres and travelled a number of countries in them, and for a casual wear five finger, they are amazing, still super comfy after 12-14 hours of walking.

They are not for warm climates though and I think they perform the best in temperatures below 5C, belwo -15C they can get a little chilly if you stand still for too long.

I am experimenting with the Seeya LS as a replacement, but will keep them at hand for winter.

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Speed after a rare case of winter duty

The Vibram Five Finger Speed:

The first five finger to have the running specific sole also found on the bikila. and the sole share the same pros and cons.

The upper I think is a love/hate thing. I have heard several refer to it as looking like a bear paw and being super ugly. Personally I think it looks nice enough. The upper is a fairly thick mesh with a classical lace closure. IT is quite supportive and there is a lot of shoe to it.

I mainly use it in the gym, where it performs very well, save for being a little warm, but I have been running in it on occasion during winter too and it does well in most common winter situations, it is not good for  icey roads or trails though.

I have yet to encounter temperatures where running in vibrams is not viable up to a couple of hours and the speed is no exception. I would not want to run them on a hot summer day though.

If I were to find a gripe with it, save for the too padded and to shoelike thing, which I think is the intention behind the design, it would be the way they have constructed the upper, some of the seams creates hot spots and blisters if I run them barefoot for more than say an hour.

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The Gobi in action in Rome

The Vivobarefoot Gobi boot:

The Vivobarefoot Gobi is perhaps the most comfy barefoot shoe I ahve ever worn, at least of the closed toebox type.

Vivo has managed to get everything perfectly right with this shoe.

The upper is soft soft suede and really molds to the foot and ankle, the toebox is perhaps the widest I have seen and that without the boot does not look weird or “duck like”.

The sole is soft and offers great ground feel, I have walk more kilometres than I can count in these and they still look great and feel great.

If you need a short casual boot or shoe, the Vivobarefoot Gobi should top your list, barefoot enthusiast or not.

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A well worn pair of Vivobarefoot Ra

The Vivobarefoot Ra:

Well the Ra is essentially a shoe version of the Gobi, thus as you might imagine this is at least to me every bit as amazing.

My Pair is the black leather ones, bought specifically to replace the shoes I normally wear when I need to be dressed up.

I have worn them through countless of long business meetings, conference days, strolled I do not know how many kilometres while travelling, been running through airports, and other +12 hour days in them.

Albeit not being a fashion shoe, they do blend in well in the business environment and has for all, but the really dressy stuff replaced my suit and business shoes.

The best part I think is how well they age and it speaks volumes of the quality of the leather used.

I am due to the many days on the road quite tough on my footwear, but these takes it all in strides. The only thing is that I had to break mine in a bit, as the leather around the keep is a little stiff in the beginning, it quickly softens up though.

The full leather is not quite as comfy as the suede version thus not the comfiest closed toebox shoe ever, but they are without a doubt the most comfy business shoe I have worn and that by quite a margin.

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The Vivobarefoot One in Barcelona

The Vivobarefoot One:

3 years in the heads of the Vivobarefoot team before making it to to production and in my very humble opinion it should probably have stayed there a little longer.

The upper is not bad at all actually super light and super thin mesh, and a regular lacing system to close the shoe, the tip of the toebox and the heel has been reinforced with some more durable fabric and all of that is perfect. But why oh why has the mesh been reinforced with patches of stiff reflective fabric or plastic is a mystery and it totally destroys the soft flexbile upper fo me and I do not have particularly wide feet.

It is also mystery why the company that makes the Ra and Gobi (two of the most comfortable shoes ever) decides to go with such a narrow toebox, I was told that the shoe would mold and widen a bit, but it has not.

The sole is surprisingly stiff than (much more so than the Ra and Gobi) and the insole is surprisingly thick, that said it actually has a pretty good ground feel, but that narrow toebox.

I have walked a fair bit in these and been running a few laps. they are for me intolerable for running, uncomfortable does not even describe the feeling. They are tolerable for walking though and had it not been for the issue below I would have done so, when I’d needed a casual shoe with a close toebox during summer.

Now my biggest gripe is not the fit or anything else, but the fact that now a good month later, the sole and the upper has begun falling apart in several places. we are talking a 150 EUR shoe here and that is just not good enough. I will be returning them to the store next week.

Most disappointing experience.

Final words:

Two Vibram five fingers that I own has not been mentioned above, The Vibram Five Fingers XS and the Vibram Five Finger Classic. I was told long ago that if I had nothing nice to say then I should shut up and I really got nothing nice to say about them.

Add it up and it is a massive amount of shoes, I admit that, but it takes time finding the right shoe for the right application, that said the best thing really is not wearing any shoes at all. It provides the most varier running experience and a unique connection with your surrounds. It will even tell you if you are doing something wrong 🙂

Happy running out there 🙂

Snowy and windy half marathon (728K to go):

 

 

NSP13_WEB_021Well today I was supposed to fly to Copenhagen, but shortly before my flight wind picked up a steady 20 knots and frequent gusts in the 35 knot range, not to mention that the temperature dropped just below zero and bringing snowfall, ranging from light flurries to heavy snow showers. In short, No Flying today.

I was a little moody after that. My girlfriend waiting at the arrival was no fun when being stranded at the departure point without an aircraft. Aside from messing up my Friday meeting schedule and evening plans today, it was also messing up my training plan. Friday was supposed to be gym and long run day, with a short run and bouldering session on Saturday., but as my Friday would now be spend flying I had to be creative.

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Well I dressed up warm and decided on a slow run target in the 12-15K range, I threw a couple of High5 ISO gels a pocket to make sure my stomach stay used to getting gels while running, the great thing about the ISO gels is that while a little larger than the average gel, they contain enough water to be digested without additional water, which is perfect for runs up to around half marathon distance where I usually do not consume water, unless it is very hot.

Weather was every bit as hostile as described, ans snow started to pile up several places, varying from a thin sometimes very icy crusty layer to sections of soft slushy snow varying from ankle depth to halfway to my knee.

Challenging, but also fun running conditions and the choice to strap into the seeyas were easy. with this much wet snow, I would be soaked well up towards my knee anyway for the duration, so might as well go for a shoe that drains fast and gain minimal weight from being wet.

The first kilometre and a half was all down hill, so an easy run, but given the unstable surface and varying traction, ice patches downhill are interesting, from a running point of view and while my feet were being hammered by the uneven surface, it is the perfect place for practising the whole centre of gravity thing 🙂

Uphill for half a kilometre and then I had the wind in my face for the first time and here it would stay for the next 4K. At kilometre 4 I passed a friend that were making her way home from somewhere. she smiled and called me crazy. I smiled waved and said high and continued to push through a section of deep snow uphill. It felt amazing to get my wind in the back for a few kilometres at the 6K mark and my legs were now warm and my feet were totally soaked, but had found a rhythm with the uneven ground, although they were taking a beating from uneven Ice and largish pebbles invisible under the snow. having my wind in the back made it a perfect moment to grab a gel too, which really were a great energy boost.

At kilometre 7 I pass my friend again and were awarded a big grin and a high five (thanks Eva), which meant another boost of mental energy had a great smooth back-wind section, the downhill were rather icy and I really had to stay sharp on my running style not to loose balance and fall over. It went very smooth and felt great and controllable 🙂

From kilometre 10 a Steep and 1K long uphill with the wind gusting a heavy snow shower into my face – hard. I shortened my stride a touch, adjusted my forward lean angle a touch, and upped the cadence a tiny bit and focused on my heel pull. The long steep uphill seemed to just roll under my feet, amazing. Another 3K of mixed shorter up and downhill sections followed and did a great job loosening up my legs a little, especially as I had the wind in my back for half of it 🙂

A 14K I felt no where near ready to stop, thus on the whim, I veered left and did a gorgeous 2,5K uphill section with the wind now blowing and gusting very heavy snow into my face. Now I wore my bad weather running shades (the now discontinued Adidas elevation – I have two pairs and save for the soft lens coating they are a favourite of mine), but the snow was so dense it nearly covered the lenses and I were forced to use the back of my glove to wipe them for every ten steps, but such a great section. From here followed the same section downhill and now with the wind in my back, shades in hand I had a strong and fast downhill section that felt just amazing.

At Kilometre 19 I still felt great and decided that I might as well run the last 2,1 K  and make it a half marathon, so a quick a sprint half a kilometre downhill and then finishing strong on the last 1,6K uphill to home.

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I was quite surprised to see that I came in faster than the last half marathon less then a week ago, only around a minute faster, but I felt more relaxed on this one and the conditions were a lot tougher, so definitely a great run 🙂 I hope to be able to stick to these +20K runs once a week from now on, they are pure meditation for me and they really are able to challenge me on my technique and style. On this particular run my body posture was the big challenge. This due to the challenging running conditions, I needed to really watch my step and that cause a bit to much of a forward tilt from my hip neck, but I think I had it under control most of the time.

The other challenge were my feet, they really took a beating, but the flexibility and ground feedback from the seeyas were the right choice still and they remain my favourite running five fingers. they were soaked for 21,1K and not a single hotspot or blister. On rougher terrain I would still opt for the spyridon, but the seeyas do surprisingly well in a lot of terrain.

Last but not lest the centre of gravity thing got a lot of work here, the often icy  up and downhill sections, with or without a foot worth of slushy snow cover to disguise it as safe ground, really made running as perfectly as possible under my centre gravity mandatory.  pushing a touch with your feet on the way up in stead of lifting you feet off the ground and you are hugging the hill. stepping in front of yourself on the way down and you will slide the rest of it on your butt 🙂

Overall a great workout, now I will hit the sack and get some sleep, boarding  at 5:15 AM  tomorrow, but I am going back to yourope where the weather is warm enough to go completely barefoot 🙂

Travels, a half marathon and a blizzard run (749K to go):

I kind of hope a few of you have noticed that i have been inactive for two weeks 🙂

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The first week was spend mainly flying and then a long weekend of hiking (in my spyridons) in the wonderful Ilulissat region of Greenland, enjoying another passion of mine – Photography, some dogsledding fun of course and then a week worth of running.
I think what many tend to underestimate is how much hiking and day to day walking can help build up foot strength. My Bikila LS is the most padded shoe I wear and I spend every chance I can barefoot. It has meant a tremendous improvement in barefoot strength and my running have seen real benefits from it.
To me, a valuable lesson learned since January. if you want to run barefoot, then spend as much time as possible being barefoot, whether running or not.
The Hiking was amazing and a good continuation ice, rock, snow and other interesting stuff.
The spyridon with a thin toe sock and a debris gaiter (I use the inov8 one) really makes for a very nice and flexible winter boot so far no issues down to -20C.
A more flexible water resistant model built on the sole from the spyridon would be a welcome addition to the range of five fingers.

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Coming back to Nuuk last week, was great though, first thing was a relaxed 5K run with my girlfriend. her first in the steep terrain around Nuuk, but she managed a very nice run in spite of it. Personally it was just a nice relaxing 5K in my seeyas, to the point where little new to tell is available. I feel very settled in my running again, plenty of minor stuff to work on, but overall I feel relax and fluid when running.
Nuuk has fallen back to winter, so plenty of snow and a chilly temperature to it. I really like to run during winter and to feel snow between my toes when running, combined with the tactile sensation of plenty of tiny pebbles strewn everywhere and the sometimes rough ice underneath a thin crusty snow, is just soo nice.
Friday I had planned for a relaxed 6K home from work, but as I took off from work and started running, my feet felt strong and I just flew home in a way too brisk pace. I was great to be able to maintain that fast a pace with steep uphill sections in the run.
So a very positive run overall, my only concern about it was the long run planned for Saturday.

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Saturday, begun early, a trip to the gym for a leg, core and stability workout session, from there I went straight to the climbing gym and enjoyed a few hours of focus on precision hand and footwork. It is a very odd sensation to strap my climbing shoes on these days though and I actually did a good part of my warm up climbs in my KSO.
After the gym I did a light lunch and then started dressing up. blue skies and no wind, perfect for what I estimated to be a very slow 15K when setting out, because my legs were worn from the fast run and the days activities, but as I progressed through the first 5K my legs came back. pace cadence and style seemed good, at 10K everything looked really well an I decided to do the long route home and go for a 21,1K attempt. seemed a perfect way to test my feet, my style and my head above all. at 17K I started to have a bit of a crisis, my calves were beginning to feel exhausted on the downhill runs, but a hard focus on technique and upping the pace downhill solved it.
from 18,5K and home I upped the pace significantly and felt very good al the way home.
We are still far from my old half marathon race pace, but it does not matter much either at this stage. The important part is that I now have the necessary focus to keep my running style relatively tight on this distance and come out with nothing but sore calves from it.

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W003Today I decided that running home from work would make for a nice soft run to start the week, I was wrong though – Mother Nature had decided to play me and throw a fierce 45 knot blizzard, with gusts on the lively side of 60 knots.
The run home went OK, parts of the run were a little exposed and i had to fight to stay on my feet on the ice covered roads. The most dangerous seemed to be the cars though, I met at least two cars where the drivers were struggling to stay on the road and where I was glad to be running and not in their car.
The seeyas were probably not the optimal choice of footwear for the run, the spyridons would have been preferred here, but that the seeya keep impressing me, it is a very versatile shoe.

A long update, but I wanted to fit everything in.

Thanks for reading.

A 10K – and me feet feels stronger than ever (824K to go):

DO you know those days where you have a whole host of stuff planned and running definitely would not fit your schedule, but when you are on your way home and the weather is just perfect, you discard everything and just go for a run?

Longwinded, but today was such a day for me  🙂

No matter how much I need to clean the apartment, pack my travel duffel, write up some work stuff and a whole hsot of other things, then I simply could not resist sneaking into my seeyas and hit the road.

I started out in a fast but not too fast pace and in spite of having done a 14K just two days before, my feet, ankles and legs felt strong. So I decided to stick with the pace and see where it went.

My back was sore from the morning gym session, thus I had to monitor my running style a little more closely today, but it really was my only issue. I started to feel a slight tensioning in my middlefoot, but a slight adjustment to my upper body position, brought me back to a correct running style and the rest of the run was just one long perfect run.

Running data from the run said average pace 4;56 and a cadence of 196 SPM, so in the right range for me.

Heart rate was a little above average, but hardly problematic and my running style really seemed to come together today, best part though was my feet. They felt strong throughout the run and even after comming home they felt good and not really sore or tired as they did earlier.

It seems my approach to it with going barefoot style full time, and simply not wear a normal shoes at all, really has paid off so far and I am one happy runner right now 🙂

14K and still feeling great (834K to go):

Yesterday was not really that perfect a day when it started out.

Had to get up early on the sunday and go to work. the culmination of 2 years of hard work and my biggest professional project  has been rolling out this weekend.

Thus the opportunity to sneak into my seeyas and head out for a run with a friend seemed perfectly timed and I really needed to the mental boost and peace of mind running brings me.

The first kilometre was a pleasant warm up to meet my friend Tina. much to my surprise she was holding a pair of brand new VFF in her hand, but luckily wearing her normal runners.

from here followed 11 wonderful kilometres of hills, paved roads, slushy snow patches, ice, some rock, water puddles and some more paved roads. A perfect relaxed and very pleasant mix of surfaces. Some may claim that running this kind of mixed terrain in seeyas is a little stupid, but I really like them for all round running, mostly because they are such a perfect, soft and quickdrying  almost invisible shoe.

TIna and I had a good chat about life in general and what is going on in our lives while running and I was really impressed by her uphill stamina too. It just felt good not to run alone for a change.

back at her place she quickly slipped into her sprints and we did 1K of running and technical training, it was fun to be around for her first minimalist run and hear her encountering the multiple surfaces we managed to pack in. She got to taste both gravel, paved roads, soft sea weed, pebbled trails and very wet feet. I felt quite privileged to be around for this first experience and glad that it was a good one. arriving back at her place I said a quick goodbye before sprinting the last kilometre home at full speed.

Getting to terms with the facts from the run afterwards was very rewarding. I had managed to keep my running style sharp, even with another runner around, cadence was a bit of a mixed bag and it took a continuous focus on it to stay in my normal 195-200 SPM cadence. when not paying attention it dropped to 180-185 SPM which is still in the OK range for me, albeit a little slow if I were to run totally barefoot.

Pace was relaxed and comfortable, but also necessary as we had to catch up along the way. running style was not perfect, but it is getting more solid for every run. I was particularly pleased to see that I had the ability to keep a decent running style and that talking did not take mental energy away from it.

So all in all a very, very good run and my first 14K in these barefoot thingys, best part is that even though I do have the slightest hint of sore calf muscles, then I came out clean and ready for more 🙂

/T