Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Life of a Bikila: Part 1

Not this Bikila

Not the life of A. Bikila, the runner who won the olympic marathon in London barefoot, but the life of  "a Bikila," the shoe that was named after him.

When I first started running, I ran in the shoes I had, which were some old, beat up, New Balance cross training shoes. Once I decided this running thing was something I was going to continue with, I followed the advice of, well, everybody and went to get fitted for some "properly fitted running shoes".

When I ran around the store in these shoes, they felt cushy and smooth compared to the cross trainers, I didn't feel the impact of the ground like I did in the old shoes, that part was kind of nice, but my feet felt constricted. It was as though my feet had seen too much and someone decided to tie them up and gag them.

This one
It turned out, there was this barefoot running craze kicking into high gear at the time. I was unaware of this, but I did know this one guy that did kettlebells in Vibram Five Fingers Classics. So I asked about the VFFs I saw on the shelf. I tried on some blue and white VFF Bikilas. In those shoes, I felt free, I felt smooth, I felt like a Ninja!

I didn't have the words for it at the time, but what was different, as I look back, was that my feet immediately took over the job of shock absorption. I stopped heel striking (not everybody does that automatically) I ran light on my feet. In short, it felt good to run in those shoes.

So, I thanked the salesperson, put the shoes back on the shelf (I told her at first, I never buy on day one), I went home and did some research on VFF shoes and running in them.

A week later, after lots of research I went back and bought the shoes. I've been running in them since, I transitioned slowly and took good care of my feet. In July of 2011 I ran a race in them for the first time, and they are now, a year later, wearing very thin in places. So I will race in them one more time on July 14th, then they will become shoes for gardening and such.

 Later, in part 2 I will give a review of a year in these shoes.