I was quite pleased to see a box waiting for me when I came back from vacation yesterday. A week before I found the red and grey M42 at travelcountry and jumped on it.
I have been transitioning to a barefoot style of running with Nike Frees and Newtons over the past 8 months or so. I've owned a pair of sprints for about 6 months, but honestly I had never been able to run any distance in them due to the calf pain. As much as I tried to build up calf strength, the going never seemed to get easier. I was running up to 12 miles in Nike Frees but couldn't run 1 mile in the sprints.
After reading these forums, I was struck by how many suggestions there were to let the heel "kiss" the ground. So I leashed my dogs and went out for a short run in the sprints. I went slowly, as one of the dogs has just exited puppyhood and hasn't learned to run on a lease yet, making sure I had slight heel contact. I could tell right away that something was different. For one thing, it seemed that I was making contact with the road less out in front of me. I returned after about 2 miles without any calf pain.
While on vacation, I took the sprints on the beach and ran on varied terrain (beach grass, rocks, shallow water) for perhaps 4 miles. Nice, but sand is more forgiving than asphalt.
On the morning following my return, I put on the bikilas for a morning run. The shoes went on much like my sprints. I put the front in first and then slid the heel up -- piece of cake.
I wasn't sure how far I would end up going this morning, so I decided to let my feet be my guide. To me, the shoe felt more like a running shoe, but less that what I was expecting. I tried to get back into the rhythm I had found on my first run. I found it helpful to use the padding on the bikilas to guide my footstrike, but to make sure that I followed through with the heel kiss, which seemed to be necessary both for avoiding calf pain and benefiting from the elastic recoil in the arch. A mile into the run I felt better than at the beginning. I chose to continue with my 6 mile loop, which I could shorten if needed. That turned out to be unnecessary, and I finished the run in 85 degree weather just fine. I only have some slight lower leg soreness, nothing like I had earlier with worse form for a 1 mile run. I can't wait to build on this base.
I'm training for the Chicago marathon this fall with a goal of breaking four hours. It would be wonderful to cross that finish line in bikilas.