I got my aqua lites today. I was so stoked. Unfortunately, they came while I was on my way out the door. When I got back in the late afternoon, I tried them on. My first impression was that they were too big, but honestly, I've never worn minimalist shoes that fit, so I really had no idea what they were supposed to feel like. I fiddled with the laces until I could tie them tighter without choking my ankle. I figured I only needed them to be tight enough that my feet wouldn't shift around.
They felt weird at first. It's like I have a thin piece of cardboard beneath my feet. They're so thin. The proprioception is way better in these than the Merrell True Gloves. Plus, they have a really wide toe box, the widest I've ever seen in a shoe. They look a little funny, but not too bad. I won't wear them around every day, in other words. Plus, since the soles are so thin and stiff, they probably won't last terribly long if I use them too much.
The walk to the indoor track was interesting. I'm still not entirely used to walking barefoot, and this was about the same, except with a little less prioproception. I imagine it will feel normal before too long, but it felt funny today.
The run was good, which means I ran all ten laps. However, I grew tired pretty early on. My legs were hot and tight, and my feet felt funny at the beginning. Fortunately, the foot discomfort didn't grow into pain like I feared. My feet gradually began to feel better as they usually do when I run. I had to really focus on my form because of my fatigue. Whenever I passed the windows, I would look at my reflection and correct my posture. Also, I've found that I am struggling with the fast cadence. It tires my legs to move them that fast. I found my cadence slowing down towards the end and I had to consciously speed it back up. If only I had an ipod and I could listen to a song with 180 bpm.
I've begun to discover something about endurance, however. While I start without too much energy and I start to feel the fatigue around lap three, somehow I push through seven more laps. I'm learning to slow and deepen my breathing and relax. I surely haven't mastered it, but I'm definitely more conscious of it, and I think that's what allows me to get through the rest of the run.
Jason Robillard, speaking of foot sensitivity, said that rather than toughening our feet, we actually only interpret the pain as sensory information rather than pain. I think this applies to what I'm talking about. Previously, I thought that an experienced runner goes a long time without feeling tired. However, I'm starting to think that maybe I'm not so tired after all. Maybe in thinking I'm tired, I panic a little and start to lose my form and my breath gets shorter, resulting in real fatigue. I think I'm interpreting my heavier breathing and my not-quite-warmed-up legs as fatigue. I just need to get used to how it feels to run and not interpret that feeling as fatigue. Obviously I can run seven whole laps feeling that way the entire time. If I really was that tired, I probably couldn't do that.
However, I did feel more tired than I usually do. I think I was dehydrated. I need to drink alot more water. I don't think I've yet run fully hydrated. I need to get on the ball.
On thanksgiving, I'm going running in Washington with my brother. We're running to the coast and back, about three miles round-trip. Unfortunately, next week's run is two miles, so I'm not quite conditioned for that. However, I like to think that we'll have some time to rest once we get there. I can handle a mile and a half. I'm looking forward to it. I'll just have to make sure I'm well-hydrated. I don't want to kill myself.
On a positive note, running a mile isn't intimidating at all anymore. It used to be. Heck, a few months ago, I tried to run from my house to the nearest stop sign, almost a half-mile away. I think I ran half the distance, walked the rest, turned and walked a little bit, then ran the final two-thirds back and almost threw up. Today I ran almost two miles and felt...tired. At this rate, two miles will soon sound small, then three miles, four, etc.
Also, I think the neo trails will help alot. Lee Saxby, Jason Robillard, and most other barefoot runners say you should learn to walk barefoot before running. Unfortunately, I don't get too many opportunities to walk barefoot anymore. It's freezing cold outside here in Idaho, so I'm forced to wear shoes, and my shoes aren't close to minimalist. When my neo trails come, I'll wear those every day. Walking in minimalist shoes all day every day will definitely change the way I walk. Soon, walking in padded shoes will be weird. I'm looking forward to getting used to walking and running the way nature intended.
I think eventually my posture will correct itself, I'll become lighter on my feet, my feet will grow stronger, I'll be more balanced, my feet and legs will feel better, etc. I'm stoked. I never want to go back to padded shoes. I just hope that minimalist shoes start to get cheaper. Living a minimalist lifestyle is supposed to be cheaper.