I ventured out for a 16 miler this morning in the New Balance MT100s. This was my first longer run in them since starting my minimalist transition to a lighter, non-arch supported shoe 4 weeks ago. I had worked up to 11 miles once so far, but have been consistently doing 7-8 miles in the minimalist set-up.
I opted to head out into the high desert in search of dry ground (so I took the studs out of my MT 100s) and went to scout the Bad Ass 50k loop for our upcoming Jan. 2nd fat ass fun run that Meissner and I organize.
The route I chose is a 16 mile lollipop loop that starts in the Badlands and hits the 9 mile Bad Ass 50k loop on it’s backside at the mouth of Smith Canyon (Basically all the elevation gain/loss in the above profile is the 9 mile course loop). It climbs 4 miles up the canyon, then around and over a large Cinder Butte on an ATV trail (the pinnacle part of the profile), before returning back to the opening of the canyon and back into the Badlands. It’s mainly soft, sandy double track and with the recent warm snap of highs in the upper 40s and mainly rain…almost all the snow is gone out there and the double track was soft…I thought it a good route to break in my first longer run without arch supports and in the light MT100s, plus I’ve been really itching to try these shoes out on some more gnarly, technical footing, which the Cinder Butte’s ATV trail has.
I had no issues today. I just concentrated on really relaxing and lifting my feet quickly. I really think my shorter runs in the Vibram Five Fingers are helping this issue and really ramping my foot strength up faster than if I had only transitioned using running shoes. To give an example of how I’ve been using the VFFs, I ran a 7.2 mile fartlek run on Wednesday in the MT100s, then a 2.6 mile cooldown on rough, frost-heave grass in the VFFs at a leisurely 9-10/min pace.
My left ankle is definitely getting stronger, it didn’t bother me today. And another nice thing—my normal left foot, arch tightness (which has morphed into Plantar Fasciitis symptoms at times) is not really bothering me anymore—unless I put on tighter shoes after I run—if I go barefoot after my runs for a while and spread my toes and work them around, they feel good. I also am finding the morton’s neuroma-type soreness I had in my right foot’s metatarsal from time to time has gone away too. The symptoms of tight, built up shoes? Hmm…suspect for sure.
I’m barefoot in my office right now, after my run this morning, picking up and dropping, working my feet on a golf ball. I’m really starting to hate having shoes on. I spent the whole day in my VFFs on Wed around town (plus my workout mentioned). However, yesterday I wore some old minimalist Saucony’s (ya know, the funky old-school stylin’ kind), as I took a day off from running, and my feet couldn’t wait to get out of them last night. They actually were kind of sore and tight feeling. But, after being barefoot last night in the house and stretching them out, today they feel good.
I’m pretty pumped about how well this transition has been going. I have to say I love the lightness of the MT100s on the 16 miler today. Nimble, both climbing and descending on technical trail. I was able to easily get on my midfoot on landings downhill vs. the challenge of getting around and occasionally catching the heel on the raised-heels of normal running shoes. Giddyup!