I pulled or slightly tore my left hamstring at the end of January. Of course, I was doing something stupid, doing speed work early on a very cold morning in shorts. By now, you would think that I would learn. I think that I have said that before. I have been seeing Dr. Strecker, who has helped me out with ultrasound and stretching. He also has given me some exercises to strenghten the muscles that complement the hamstrings.
I read the book Born to Run and have been running without insoles inside my shoes. I believe that it has helped me with my running form and keeps me healthy (minus the hamstring). While on vacation in Las Vegas, I found a kiosk that was selling Vibram Five-Finger running "shoes" and bought 2 pairs - one for the roads and a heavy duty pair for running on the trails. I started running again (with the doc's blessing) while on vacation. I took my first run in San Diego along side the Pacific Ocean (wow, were the waves huge!) and felt good. I ran every other day as I want to take it easy getting back to normal. I found the kiosk the day after Carol and I drove from San Diego to Las Vegas and Carol told me to buy two pair (now is she not a fantastic person, in addition to being gorgous). I started running in them the next day. The soles of the shoes are thin with toes. Basically they are barefoot runners. The idea is that they make runners run the way that the human body is supposed to run; on the balls of the feet and shortened strides. As far as I was concerned, they felt good. Of course the bottoms of my feet are very tender from all that time encased in do-it-all for you shoes. I feel any little stones that I run over. The other thing about them is they make my calfs very sore. At least the pair that I bought to run on the roads.
This past Saturday, I ran with the Saturday Slugs in Stonington. It rained the whole time, although I only ran 5 miles. The big thing was that later in the afternoon, I discovered a blood blister on the big toe of my right foot. That was the first for me and I am guessing that it was because of the rain wearing the shoes.
On Sunday, I went for my first trail run at Bluff Point, wearing the trail version of the shoes. It was very wet with just a bit of rain. The trail version fit well, but I ended up with a blister on my blister. But the shoes were good. I did not feel most of the stuff that I stepped on. They worked very well on the wet rocks and just like normal running shoes, they were slippery in the mud. The big thing was that my calfs were not sore from the trail running, at least not like they were when I ran on the roads.
A friend suggested that I do not run in the Vibram's twice in a row, worried that I would blow out a calf muscle. I may take his advice. I do know that I want to accelerate my use of these shoes. They make my knees feel better. Hopefully they do the same thing for my back. Once it gets warm enough, I will be walking around barefoot as much as possible. Gotta toughen up my feet.