Hi guys, so this school year I've been enjoying running barefoot quite a bit. On October 27th I ran my second half marathon in minimalist footwear. This time I was on home turf on the back roads of St. Johnsbury and Lyndonville Vermont. While in my first half I ran in my Xero Shoes (formerly Invisible Shoes), this time I was sporting my Vivobarefoot Evo IIs. I had recently purchased them in preparation for cooler weather. Last winter I had the Softstar Original Runamocs, but after a trip to New Zealand they took a little bit of a beating. Because the shoe broke down in less than a year, I decided to go with a different one. I had heard a lot about Vivobarefoot, a minimalist shoe company out of London, and how they had produced consistently solid minimalist footwear since their founding in 2003. After comparing all of their running shoes online, looking at weight, sole thickness, and upper material, I decided on the Vivobarefoot Neo. What's that? The Neo? I thought you ran in the Evo II? Well you'd be right. I bought my shoes through Leftlane Sports, which is a great discount site/app that sells name brand sports gear (if your interested in signing up let me know. If I invite you we each get ten dollars), and they only had the Evo II in my size. The Evo is a close second to the Neo, the Evo only weighs a little more. Since buying the shoe, I really love it. They fit well, there's no adjusting like my Xero Shoes, they fit right everytime, and they still keep my foot close to the ground, just 3mm away! The shoe is very flexible, you can roll it into a ball, and it's very light. So far they have fared very well for me.
The shoes were great for the half, although I could've worn my Xero Shoes. The morning of the race I described as "not warm but not cold". I ran in my tshirt and shorts but wore a long sleeve shirt up until GO. I got a personal best, 1:53:51. This is a great race for anyone who lives in the area. We had people from all over Vermont, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Quebec. I would describe the course as difficult but fun. As they told us before the race, "So there's rumors we took out the hills....we didn't. Actually we added one but we're not gonna tell you where it is." There was over 4,000 feet of elevation change, so you can imagine there were some big hills. So while it was substantially more hilly than my essentially flat half in New Zealand, I still had a lot of fun and enjoyed the familiar scenery, and some back roads I'd never been on. The last four miles of the course was where I had track practice in high school. As I was cruisn to the nine mile mark I told myself "Just another day of track practice." The toughest hill was about a mile long and was just before the seven mile mark. After reaching that highest elevation sign, I knew it would be smooth sailing from there. After the race my feet felt great, I felt great, and it was great to see many familiar faces I hadn't seen since high school. Many of my teachers were there, including Mr. Fink, a physics teacher who left after my Junior year to go work at a fiber optics company in Brattleboro. He has just recently planned to move back up North and so I had the pleasure of seeing him again. Many other teachers, friends, and fellow Vermonters were there, whom I had not seen in over four years. I also had the pleasure of cheering on my mentor teacher Jared Bailey from Williston Central School in Williston, Vermont. He and Joy Peterson, another teacher from our team, ran a great race, especially after the long drive across the state. Overall I had a great time and encourage all of you to do the Kingdom Challenge!
This was a big victory for me because after my last half marathon my feet were hurting a bit. This time my feet felt great, which really gave me confidence that my barefoot form has improved. When I'm training, I use the "posture reset" from Merrell Barefoot and Chis McDougall's 100 ups to correct my posture and form. I strongly recommend both of these for new or current minimalist runners. Now I'm back to casual running and looking ahead to a marathon in Hyannis, MA. Maybe I'll see you guys there in February! Until then kick off your socks and shoes and Go Barefoot!
P.S. I'm also running a Santa 5k on December 2nd in Burlington, VT! You get a full Santa suit and you get to keep the Santa suit!!! Can't wait!
The Kingdom Challenge Website:
The Evo II: