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Mount Timpanogos in VFF KSOs October 11, 2010

Posted by The Barefoot MD in : Hiking, Life, Running, Shoes , 1 comment so far


Photo by Eric Ward of Provo, UT.

I live in the shadow of a very majestic mountain.  It’s called Mount Timpanogos.  It sits at the Western edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Wasatch Range.  At 11,749 feet above sea level, it is both imposing and beautiful.  The elevation of the valley to the West, Utah Valley, comes in around 4,500 feet above sea level.  7,000+ feet above your head is something to behold.  I climbed to the summit once before as a boy scout.  My troop hiked part of the way up the mountain, camped and summited the next day.  It was, as I recall, a very beautiful view.  That was over 20 years ago.

Recently, I’ve been feeling the urge to try out my new feet on something different than my usual run.  As I’ve been barefoot running for the past several months, my feet and legs have become quite different than they once were.  As I’ve described to several people when talking about barefoot running, I feel like a kid again.  As I run barefoot, the fun and enjoyment have returned.  The next time you observe kids running barefoot, take note of how they move and how much fun they seem to be having.  Then, if you have the opportunity to contrast them with an adult running in the same area, notice how much less fluid the adult typically seems when running.  This difference comes from the “spring” that kids and adults running barefoot utilize consisting of the arch, achilles, calf, quads, and glutes.  I wasn’t quite ready to attempt the hike barefoot so I wore my Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs).  My brother-in-law said I was brave for doing so, although I imagine he thinks I was a bit nuts and just being nice.

Last Monday I met up with a classmate of mine from high school to hike Mount Timpanogos.  We started our hike at the Timpooneke trail head in American Fork canyon which is at 7,370 feet above sea level.  The hike was fun and a great workout.  The leaves had passed their fall peak, but there was still plenty of color to appreciate.  The weather for the week preceding our hike was nothing less than perfect.  The day of the hike . . . not so much.  Partly cloudy skies with a forecast of scattered or isolated storms.  We got a bit wet on the way up, but for the most part the hike was dry.


Timpanogos Basin

For me, the most memorable sections of the ascent were coming into Timpanogos basin which is a large plateau at a little over 10,000 feet above sea level, and arriving at the saddle.  The saddle stands at 11,288 feet above sea level.  The view, of course, was fantastic as you can see into Utah Valley as well a great distance in all directions.  When we arrived we debated on continuing to the summit.  There was a large storm coming across Utah lake that would make our time at the summit very miserable and possibly dangerous.  We began to expeditiously trek to the summit when we noticed the speed at which the storm was progressing in our direction.  We turned around and headed down the mountain.


The Storm

This brings me to the highlight of the adventure.  We literally ran down a good portion of the trail.  This was very technical and an exercise in agility as the trail traverses several talus piles.  However, as we continued down the mountain, I noticed how smooth my feet were carrying me.  It was an absolute blast!  It required acute concentration, but it was an extremely satisfying descent.

In the end, I’m glad I went.  I’m glad I wore my KSOs, and I’m glad I have been running barefoot.  I can’t imagine it would have been as enjoyable to wear my KSOs had I not been running barefoot and strengthening my feet and legs over the past several months.

Do You Like Running In Those? October 4, 2010

Posted by The Barefoot MD in : Life, Running, Shoes , add a comment

When people see me wearing my Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs) I invariably get the question, “Do you like running in those shoes?”

The answer to that question is complicated, and since I’ve developed such a passion of barefoot/minimalist running I risk the very real possibility of letting my mouth run like a river.  I’ve caught myself on more than one occasion dominating the conversation when the subject of running emerges.  I could talk about running barefoot most of the evening . . . and I often do.  The short answer to the above question is, no.  I don’t like running in VFFs . . . I prefer barefoot.  I then get an inquisitive/confused look from the questioner.

Questioner:  “Where do you run?”

Me:  “Pretty much anywhere.  Mainly I run on the sidewalk and asphalt.”

Questioner:  “Doesn’t that hurt?”

Me:  “Funny you should ask . . .”

After giving as brief explaination about the benefits of barefoot running and my personal reasons for which I started, I tell them that if I can’t be barefoot I throw on the VFFs.  If I can’t be as casual as VFFs require, I throw on my Sanuks.

So, in short, no I don’t like running in VFFs if I can avoid it, (mind you I haven’t been through a winter running in this manner) and yes, I love my VFFs for when I can’t be barefoot.