Not long after the minor victory at Rex Lee 2008, I was accepted to school in Savannah, Georgia, where I currently reside. My running continued only occasionally and with the previously mentioned pain.
It was in this apathetic limbo that my brother Jon told me about a book, Born to Run, and his experiments with barefoot running. Barefoot running was at that point little more than an eccentric subculture of running to me that deserved little attention. I put it somewhere on par with swimming at the North Pole, cool yes, but practical or necessary?
After hearing Jon's enthusiasm, my inherent reservations about barefoot running dissipated and I decided to try it for a few months to see if it would help out my 90 year-old knees. Nothing miraculous happened immediately with regard to pain, but I was floored by how much I liked it. I felt excited to wake up early so I could go out and do it again each morning. That was exactly what had been missing for several years.
So excited was I that I ran as often as possible for longer distances than I had ever trained for previously. I purchased Vibram FiveFingers to keep my feet from turning into hamburger. Feeling frisky, I signed up for The Tybee Island half-marathon. A couple of weeks before that race, I developed shin splints for the first time in my life. I rested my legs, laying off the running altogether until the race. 3 miles into the race, they came back with a vengeance, preventing me from finishing.
The fad seemed to have failed me. All the claims I heard about no more injuries didn't ring true. But there was one issue I couldn't resolve-I completely loved running barefoot and/or with VFFs.
Which is where I am now. I love running this way and even if I can't achieve any racing goals, I'll keep running barefoot/minimalist. My shin splints are resolved for the time being and I am back to regular running. I have new goals and enough experience now to feel more confident that I can work through the inevitable problems that will arise. My knee pain has gradually diminished after months of putting the new style to the test. More manageable pain (aside from the shin splints) has taken its place.
The End. Which is to say, the beginning. While I will post more detail about my shod-to-barefoot change over, individual races, etc., the rest of this blog will be about my path to Boston and beyond. Enjoy.