Back to Work

I haven’t updated the blog in a week in a half, which I think might be my longest break between posts yet.  Of course, I’m getting ready for the impending school year, so any free time I’ve had at a computer has been used lesson planning and brainstorming for school, not writing about running.  My running has been even more sporadic as well (Irene didn’t help last weekend), though on a positive I have a new bike to commute on, and have been reminding myself how small Brooklyn is when you’ve got two wheels to get around on.

So without any real running to write about, I figure I’ll just toss out some fragments to clear out the last few weeks:

1. With most of my running connections coming through the Run Smiley Collective, and with most of the blogs I read being firmly in the barefoot or minimalist camp, its easy to think minimalist runners makes up a sizable minority of runners.  But to date I have never passed someone running barefoot or in hauraches here in New York City, and can count the number of Vibrams I’ve seen on one hand.

2. Rather than think they’re silly, everyone thinks haurahces are awesome when they see you in them.  But no one thinks they can wear them themselves, since they “need” more support in a shoe.

3. Vibrams are fantastic for low-rope courses, climbing walls, and other obstacle-course style obstacles.

4. I like hauraches because my feet get dirty and are covered in dirt and dust by the end of the day.  I suppose that’s a drawback for most people, but it makes me happy.

5. Nothing is better than a long, hot run in the sun followed by an ice-cold shower.

6. I really need to remember to down-shift before stopping at an intersection on my bike.  Starting from a dead stop in a high gear sucks.

7. Speaking of bikes, I love how fast my bike commute is, but I’d sort of forgotten how NOT relaxing it is to bike on New York streets.  Running is low key and meditative; biking demands constant attention and vigilance.

8. I haven’t had a real long run (more than 10 or 11 miles) since May.  I’m looking forward to cooler weather and more chances to run on the weekends.  I’ve also only run 55 miles during the last two months, so I’m really looking to running to and from work in order to get more miles in again.

9. On the other hand, I ran all 100 of those 110 miles in minimalist shoes, and all of my miles in August were in Vibrams, Hauraches, or Instincts.  Haven’t put on my Brooks since July 16th.

10. Since I’ve been wearing nothing but Vibrams and hauraches since summer started, my knees hurt anytime I put on a shoe with a heel on it.  I ordered the Softstar RunAmocs to wear for teaching next year, since they can sort of “pass” as an actual show.  They might be the most comfortable thing I’ve ever put on my foot.  I think I’ve also won’t need to buy any shoes for a long time now — I figure the combined millage on the shoes I have should be somewhere over 1,000 miles.

11. Vibrams are awesome to bike in.

12. Today I ran 7.25 miles: the first 3 in hauraches, the last 4.25 in Vibrams.  I think that’s the longest I’ve gone in “barefoot” shoes to date.

* * *

Okay, that might be a long, boring list of items, but its a post.  Nat’s just about finished watching “The Land Before Time XI” (Who knew they made TEN sequels? Sweet baby jesus), and I should walk the dog, then do laundry, then get back to lesson planning.  Hopefully once I settle into the school year, I’ll be running — and writing — regularly.


About Chris Van Dyke

I am a 33 year-old high school English teacher and long-distance runner. I live in Brooklyn with my partner, our 3 year-old son and 1 year-old daughter and a growing collection of muppets and trains. Besides running and teaching I like to draw, read, write, cook, and play the harmonica. While I didn't get to run my first ultra-marathon on my birthday, I've got a few more I've set my sights on. You can follow my (seldom updated) twitter feed @aboutrunning. I also blog as part of the Run Smiley Collective.
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