Monday, February 14, 2011

A Day of (No) Rest and Going Bare

We had a busy weekend - babysat for our friends on Friday, Saturday morning yoga, a trip to Lufkin, dinner with friends - but Sunday? Sunday was about as busy at they get - and in a good way!

Sunday started with Nathan and I sleeping until almost 8:30am! I read in bed until 10 and now I'm almost done with I Am Charlotte Simmons. (At 688 pages I consider this quite an accomplishment. I also have THOUGHTS about this book, which you will soon hear all about.)

After breakfast, we finally took the dogs on a long walk down to the trails and the field where we let them run around off leash and roll in the grass until they're so tired we have to drag them home. The most exciting part of this particular walk was not that it was a sunny 63 degrees (though that was pretty great) but that I wore my Vibram FiveFingers for the very first time. Oh, yes. I'm beginning the transition to barefoot running. 

Like 95% of the running community, I read the book Born to Run and fell in love with the idea of barefoot running. While research is split and the topic is hotly contested, I think there's enough evidence backing the benefits of going barefoot that it's worth a try. From what I've read, the transition can be painful (Vibrams make you use muscles in different ways which can cause soreness, especially in the calves) so I'm starting out by walking the dogs in them. On Sunday, I probably walked about two miles and did some light running in the grass with the dogs. Today my legs feel a little tight but nothing out of the ordinary, so I guess I'm doing it right! 

A question for my Vibram wearing friends: How tight should Vibrams be? Mine feel very snug and I'm wondering if I need a size up, or if they will stretch out a bit the more I wear them. How tight is too tight?

In addition to walking in Vibrams, I also ran 3.4 miles and then spent two hours at the rec center, bouldering on the rock wall. Bouldering is when you climb lower, without a harness, above a crash pad (you fall a lot while bouldering. If you're me, anyway.). Bouldering is a great way to build strength and practice technique, both of which I need desperately. It was fun and I found some new problems to work on. Our goal of climbing twice a week is going well!

Mothership Wit

All that exercise called for a massive stir fry with quinoa and tofu, as well as a quality six pack. We went with Mothership Wit from the New Belgium Brewing Company. It's their organic wheat beer - very light and pleasant. Nathan didn't like it but I think it would be great on a hot summer day. As is, it was pretty good on a warm winter night.

Gratuitous photo of Seamus.

Gratuitous photo of Calvin
As for the dogs, by the end of the weekend they, too, were totally exhausted. I think a pair of tired pups is one of the best indicators of a weekend well spent. 

And just in case you thought I forgot that today is Valentine's Day, I have not! I'm even wearing a seasonally appropriate shirt to prove it.

Happy Valentine's Day!
I know that Valentine's Day was created by the greeting card companies and that chocolate and roses are trite, cliche, etc. But that's not how I do V-Day. Today, I celebrate all kinds of love, including but not limited to the love I feel for Nathan, my family, my dogs, my friends, my co-workers, 70 degree days in Texas in February, plans to drink wine in the park after work, and warm vegan brownies topped with vanilla coconut milk ice-cream. There are a lot of reasons to love. What are yours?


  1. Goodness! Busy day. I really didn't like the Charlotte Simmons book--I just couldn't get into it. Look forward to your thoughts!

  2. Congrats on the Vibrams! I don't know everything about them, but they do look a little snug, like more snug then shoes made to fit around your toes should be.

    I love Mothership Whit, but Neil doesn't like it either. Most people seem to have a love or completely hate reaction to it.

    I don't think we're doing anything all that big. Probably just dinner and some cuddling with the pets?

  3. Congrats on the Vibrams! Mine were way too tight and they ended up giving me problems. Had to go up a size. If you think they are too tight, I feel like they probably are. But, they should be tight. It's a hard call. lol. My reason to love without being in a relationship is to have beautiful blogs like this to come to. I love the dogs and I love your love for life and Nathan :) Thank you and happy Valentine's Day!!

  4. That all sounds just wonderful. I really enjoyed I Am Charlotte Simmons, so it will be interesting to hear your thoughts. Also, I'm LOVING your Valentine's Day apparel!

  5. Vibrams look so cool, but I'd be so worried about stepping on rocks and other sharp things (I hate to even walk barefoot on a beach or even in grass). I think I'd be so scared :(

  6. I have some Vibrams. They should fit snug...especially if you have the ones that don't have velcro. Mine are the Sprints. They have a velcro strap around the upper part of the foot. But if you have ones without the velcro, they'll need to be snug to hang on.

    Missed you at yoga tonight. I heard that you're not a fan of partner yoga. Neither is Christy. She didn't go to yoga today at 4 because she had her Valentine's party with the kids in her classroom. But when I told her that Amy did partner yoga, she was really happy to have missed it. :)

  7. Yay for Vibrams! After taking time off from running in mine, I'm about to get back to breaking them in again.

    Important things though: yes, you want them snug--I had to squeeze my feet into them at first. They'll stretch a little, but you do want them to be tight. Not tight enough to cut off blood flow, but tighter than you'd normally think of wearing shoes.

    Also, be **really** careful about running long distances in them at first. Sounds like you did a lot of running & walking & climbing in them. You'll wack out your legs and feet that way. I literally crippled myself last year by not breaking them in properly. While it's a pain in the arse, starting with 1/10 or 2/10 of a mile running in them the first week, followed by 1/10 more the next week and so on for the first two months is the best way to break them in and not break your body. I'd recommend even just walking around the house in them before you start running. It's a really different muscle set than your used to, it takes a while!

    But yay for Vibrams, I <3 them so much!

  8. Love that photo of Calvin. He looks so serious. I often wonder wonder what my dog is thinking, and most of the time I know (He thinks "food, I want food!"). Here, Calvin looks like he's contemplating the origin of the universe! :)

  9. I am about 50 pages from the end and sadly, it has taken a big turn for the worse. I'll be sure to post my thoughts when I'm done.

  10. I usually prefer dark beers, so it's nice to find a light one I like.
    Hope you had a good Valentine's day with your pets! :)

  11. Happy Valentine's Day to you too, and thanks for the super sweetness. You're such a good friend/blog reader!

  12. I haven't had a problem with walking on sharp things yet, but I'm definitely more careful in them than I am in regular shoes!

  13. Partner yoga is not my favorite. I like to do my own thing in yoga and I always feel awkward! But I would have gone anyway, except Nathan and I had a date for Valentine's day. It did not involve partner yoga, but it did involve a lot of wine! I think I'll be a on a Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday yoga schedule for a while, so hopefully we'll run into each other at the studio soon!

  14. Thanks so much for this info, Jes! I was not very clear in the post - I only wore the Vibrams for the dog walk. The run and climbing were done in other foot-gear. I think I would not be able to walk right now if I'd done all of that! I'm looking forward to actually running in them but in the interest of not killing my legs, I will take it slowly. Great advice!

  15. Ha! Calvin is the least serious dog I've ever met. But he does look very wise in this photo! I love dogs. :)

  16. Keep us posted on those shoes. I have been curious about them myself. I hate walking barefoot. I have extremely flat feet. My ankles seem to cave in to the arches and I still want to try them. I'm just a little scared.

  17. I have seen those shoes (foot mittens?) before and I have to admit I was a little confused by them. At first I thought they were for some kind swimming activity or surfing. :) Thank you for the clarification.

    I'm just curious about how well they breathe/keep your feet dry.

    Have a good weekend and thanks for an awesome post.

  18. They actually started out as water shoes and were adopted by barefoot running devotees. I'm glad I could set the record straight for you! :)

    So far, they breathe pretty well. They're very lightweight, especially on top (the bottom material is a little more durable). I haven't worn them during a Texas summer though. That will be the real test!