JFK 50 Miler

May 23rd, 2010 - Training - Lowell > Tyngsboro - 7.2

Day 143 - With the temps expected to be in the 90's on Tuesday for Good Times #6, I decided to go out for a nice tempo run in the mid-afternoon furnace. The temps were in the low 70's, but the high humidity made it feel like it was in the lower depths of Hades. Call me loco, but the only thing that I love more than hills is my passion for running in heat...the other heat! Overall, it was an absolutely gorgeous day for a run!

I spent most of the morning working a 5K race down in Millis, MA, which turned out to be a great networking experience. I now have a backup runner for my Reach the Beach Ultra team!

I then spent most of the early afternoon going to open houses with Rachel. I'd take running a marathon over looking at houses, any day!

Then it was finally me time...

It was only a matter of time before I gave into the "barefoot" running experience made popular by the Born to Run (fun read) book. It also helps that my brother works for the company (Vibram) that's responsible for making the Five Fingers available to the running masses. These fugly "shoes" (see pic below) were originally developed for the yachting enthusiast (god forbid that Mr. Howell slips and falls on his 80 footer).

(Can you smell me?)

(How about now?)

I skeptically strapped on my pair of Five Fingers and flew out the door...and couldn't stop!

There's only one word to describe the experience of running in these things: FRIGGINAWESOME!

Here's me with a sore achilles and sore calf muscles, two weeks removed from my sub 3 marathon, and a day after running a 12K PR* at Bedford, comfortably doing a 6:57 pace for 7+ miles from Lowell to Tyngsboro in the middle of summer-like heat!

In all seriousness though, the Five Fingers really work as advertised. You truly feel like you are "naturally" running. Each step leads into the next. It's the closest thing to perpetual motion!

By the time I finished my run, the pain in my achilles was completely gone, and the slight hip soreness that I've been experiencing since winter track was no longer existent! I felt free! Free at last!

It wasn't all shits and giggles though. I could feel every pebble on the ground, so it's definitely not recommended for trail running and/or running on really crappy roads. UPDATE: I was contacted by another Five Fingers user and was made aware of this model that was developed specifically so that I would have to eat my last sentence. I could also feel the additional pounding that a runner takes on downhills, so most likely not great for downhill courses, but I did have a friend complete Boston 2010 in these things and he swears by them.

One more con is that I don't think that I could reach my top speed in these things as the the additional pounding, as I pick up my speed, is too much to bear. I might just need more time in them to get use to the pain, and also try them out under race conditions, before I can conclude on that point. Perhaps at Good Times #6 on Tuesday?!

One big plus that I am enthused about is that it made tackling hills a lot more economical and efficient! These Five Fingers might be my weapon of choice when I try to flatten Mt. Washington in June. Will have to try these things out at Mt. Wachusett this weekend.

My brother is actually trying to convince the president of Vibram USA to sponsor a Five Fingers Road Racing Team, and he wants me to lead it!

Who's game?

Run in of the Day: Joe Donnelly on the boulevarde. He was coming at me at about 20 miles per hour. He's fast, but not that fast. He was on his road bike.

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