My first attempt at blogging. Why am I barefooted!

Blog entry posted by dmcchesney, Apr 2, 2011.

Why am I barefoot?


Freshmen year of high school- 2005-6

Senior year- 2009-10

1st School term- Summer 2010

1st Work term- Fall 2010

2nd School term- Winter 2011

2nd Work term- Spring 2011

First off I know wrestling shoes are very minimal, but I was heel striking like crazy in them!

Back in high school I joined the wrestling team to take up some time in the winter. If anyone knows wrestling, the real sport not WWE, it involves an incredible amount of running for cardio. We would run stairs and laps over and over before, during, and after practice. Back then I HATED running! I did it for one reason and one reason only, to last the whole 6 minutes of a match. I was slow really slow; most kids would lap me more then 5 times. I was the slowest on the team it was embarrassing. That was freshmen year; sophomore through junior year was the same.

During the end of my junior year I decided that I needed to run faster no matter what. I would sprint a lot more but would be forced to stop or be in pain due to ankle and calf cramps. From my knees down they would lock up and not be able to move or flex. At the end of the season I figured out I had a broken wrist and needed surgery! After my surgery in the beginning of the summer I knew I would get fat if I just sat around and ate, so I started biking then running, in my Nike Shox. After that summer I liked running and biking because it kept me in shape and not overweight. In the beginning of senior year conditioning I figured out about Beta Alanine, a supplement to reduce the lactic acid build up in muscles. This helps out tremendously! My cardio went through the roof because I could actually run without cramping up, artificially of course. This is when I liked to run. One day we ran outside and I didn't want to ruin the bottom of my wrestling shoes so I ran in my casual styled Shox, I had a blister on the inside of both arches the size of a half dollar! I bought a new pair of shoes after that. As the season carried on my shoulder injury and wrist would act up so I would take practice off and run inside the school for 2 hours without a problem. After wrestling ended I still ran and biked on the weekends to stay in shape and did a little bit of other stuff to stay fit and strong.

After the season ended I got a job at Adidas Outlet store in Birch Run. I bought a pair of Responses, with almost 2 inches of padding under the heel, and thought they were the best thing sense sliced bread! They were so cushioned and my feet felt amazing in them. I couldn't feel the ground at all and I recommended them to every customer that walked through the door. Now I want to shoot myself for it, but it's the past. I loved running in those because it felt so fluid to go heel to toe with such long strides. I had to quit that job because of college, but the shoe companies brainwashing had already done its toll on me.

Summer came and I started college two weeks after high school got out, got to love Kettering University! I started biking more and more because my uncle let me use his Cannondale Super V1000, so I felt cool riding such an awesome bike. I would ride for a couple of hours and then one day I realized that my college would pay my entry for the 10 mile CRIM race in Flint. It is a huge race with almost 10,000 people run the 10-mile. I said eh why not I have nothing to loose. Boom I was hooked! I started “training” for it by running 2-5 miles around Flint in between classes. I ran for about 3 weeks then I heard about these crazy toe things called Five Fingers. WTF I thought and I figured yeah humans are born barefoot and it is more natural so I read all I could about them and realized I could not build up enough endurance to run the 10 miles in just a month. I bought a pair of KSOs 1 month before the race. I heard every comment about them including some not so nice ones! I walked around in them during the day and ran in my Responses. After a week in my VFF I took 5 minutes off my 5-mile time, go figure! I continued with the calf and ankle problems even with my Beta Alanine supplement. I even bought an endurance booster from GNC because I thought that would help me get over my 5-mile hump. Thank God I had no injuries during my whole training.

My first race ever! I was so nervous and had no idea what to think. We had about a 1.5-mile walk to the start/finish line and then I packed in the crowd and started to stretch a little bit. After 20 or so minutes the gun went off. It took another 15 to just cross the line and I was 1/3 the way back. I didn't know to warm up or keep a slow pace out of the start, so I pretty much made every rookie mistake there is. I started off with a 6:30 and 6:45 pace for the first 2 miles. Uhh-ohh. I was tired so I took it easy and then settled into my pace after 3 or 4 miles. At mile 6 I tweaked my hip somehow…form/shoes?? I don't know but it hurt! I couldn't keep my form and it made my breathing all weird so I walked the last 4 miles. After the race I was so disappointed in myself because I couldn't run the whole race.

After the race I looked more and more into VFF and minimalist running. I started running in those and did TMTS and had horrible form. I would heel strike or over stride and point my toes down which would cause my calves to lock up the next 2 days. No matter the pain I went through I never wanted to run in shoes again.

When the school term ended one month after the race I started my job. I was allowed to wear jeans and collared shirt their so I figured I would wear my VFF to work as well. My boss said it was a “safety hazard” I looked at him and said how are my shoes different then your “running” shoes? He said umm I don't know but they are don't wear those again. Not wanting to be fired I wore my Responses from their on out. I experienced leg and back pain for a month until I got used to a raised heel again. I really didn't run that much but when I did I ran in my VFF with still crapy form.

After those 3 months of work it was the end of 2010, which means middle of winter. I bought 4 pairs of Injinji socks and got a pair for Christmas, of the 4 I bought one of them were the compression socks to help my calf problem. I wore the VFF Injinji combo throughout winter and the compression ones on runs. Once my 2nd school term started I wore my VFF everyday and my roommate at my fraternity (Lambda Chi Alpha if anyone cares) has ran a marathon and ran cross-country in high school. His job was to study the human body for biomechanical engineering stuff. He was against my minimalist running 100% So I searched on Google real quick, “VFF Forum” and Birthday Shoes website came up so I clicked on it, signed up, and posted a topic that would change my life forever. I asked does long distance VFF running hurt you in any way? This random guy in a kilt named Last Place Jason said “I've ran 100 miles in VFF KSOs before without any problems.” I was like you ran 100 miles!?!?! And he said yeah it's not that hard. I thought this guy was crazy and he either plugged his blog or it was in his signature, so I took a look at it. I then realized he was a BF Ultra runner. I read his blog from the first post to the last. It took me about a week to do it with his 6 paged race reports! I couldn't believe this guy was real. I started opening my eyes to this whole new BF running and correct form and all that good stuff. I read other posting online and read other people blogs and reviews of running products.

Finally on February 28th 2011, I took my shoes off and ran a mile! It was a chilly 30-35*F outside and me and a friend ran to school and ran back. I loved every single step! I didn't quite know everything I should have known like TMTS or pushing off gives you blisters but it all worked out. I sign up for a 4-mile race in Flushing and decided
to run it BF. My longest run BF before the race was 2 miles so I carried my VFF with me just incase. I ended up running it in a decent time and about 2.5 miles of it BF, due to rough roads! It was such an awesome feeling to be completely BF. A week after the race, it hit 60*F so I went out and ran a 5-mile run all BF and skipped class all day that day haha ;) but ever sense then I have ran on and off and I plan on starting to train for a 50k at the end of this year! I just got a pair of Invisible Shoes, but I am still messing with them to get the fit to feel right. Now I am back to my 2nd work term and hopefully I can keep my runs up! Oh I forgot to mention I bought a pair of New Balance Minmus for work so I can still be minimal without breaking the rules!

That's my story so far. I am sure that it will get longer and longer as time goes on!