After suffering from knee pain and IT Band syndrome in February, Dan switched to Vibram Five Fingers and completed the Boston Marathon this last weekend. Dan describes his experience:
Sometime in early February I began developing some nasty knee pain with a new pair of running shoes. By the end of February, I had developed a nasty case of IT Band in both my legs. Fixated on running Boston, I needed to find a solution (and quick). I had heard much about barefoot running and the VFFs, so I decided to give them a shot. With time ticking on my training, I went cold turkey to the KSOs (yeah yeah...I know this is highly discouraged by all the experts). While there was some foot pain and calf pain involved, the transition went pretty smooth. My IT Band slowly started to heal through March. By the first week of April, I was running 50+ miles/week in the KSOs and had completed a 24 mile trail run. The weekend before Boston, I did a 14 mile run on bare pavement (longest I had gone in VFFs on roads). Everything went OK on the pavement, so I decided to follow in the footsteps of Barefoot Ted
and attempt to run Boston with scantly clad feet (despite being a bit concerned about going the whole 26.2 on pavement).
Dan comparing his KSOs with the Bikila at the Expo
Dan visited the vibram booth and discussed his Webbed Foot Modded KSO Vibram Five Fingers:
The whole experience was fantastic! One of my first stops at the Expo was to go talk with the Vibram Reps. Had a good talk with them about my KSOs and they were pretty interested in my "webbed toes" mod (they had never seen it in person before). On race day I got lot's of questions from the start line through the whole run. From mile 1 through 26, I just kept getting the same question - "how are your feet feeling?" I confidently answered that everything felt great. One of the best parts was just talking to other runners about my experience in VFFs, and spreading the good word about their capabilities. I saw a few others out there in VFFs (including Corrado Giambalvo, who Vibram had "sponsored" to run in the new Bikilas), and saw one runner going totally barefoot.
Dan crossing the finish Line. Way to go! A 7:25 pace at the end. That is really burning it up barefoot.
Dan maintained a blistering pace considering his recent injuries and that is was his first marathon in Vibram Five Fingers. He comments on his pace and strategy:
The race went great in the KSOs, I ran a 1:39 first half, was strong through the Newton Hills, and felt so good after mile 21 that I started to increase my pace. During all my training in the winter, my recovering IT Band and my transition to the Vibrams prevented me from doing ANY runs at a pace faster than 8:00/mile. I ended up finishing the marathon in 3:25:15, which is a 7:50 pace. I felt so great; my split between the 40K and the finish was 10 minutes, close to a 7:25 pace! I felt like I could have just kept running a few more miles after the finish and had never felt so strong at the end of a marathon (which I attribute to the efficiency of running in VFFs). I ran the last five miles with a huge smile on my face. I had forgotten how fun it was to run naturally and pain free! Two days later, my legs feel great, and my IT Band has not acted up at all. While this race was far from a personal best, it was the most fun I have EVER had running.
Just an incredible story. Thanks Dan!