I’m not a minimalist runner. I wish I were. Then I could prance wistfully over pine needles and float up mountains in my 6-ounce magic shoes. I would take two sips of water on a 5-hour run and maybe stop to lick maple syrup from a tree trunk for energy. My shorts would be a bandana tied around me like a diaper and I could pack for a race in an empty Kleenex box…that would be the life.
But no, I am a maximalist! I pack like an heiress heading to Beverly Hills for a long stay in a rehab clinic. I’m needy and carry a lot of crap. I like to run my long days with a hydration pack bursting with 70 oz. of fluid, Clif bars, emergency potty supplies, an iPod and a knife.
Shod in my KISS boot-like Hoka’s I thunder out the door bounding from one Serta-Sleeper stride to another. Not only am I taller, I am now a pillowy force to be reckoned with! The bigger the cushion the sweeter the pushin’. They are as soft as Homer Simpson’s back fat and my legs are enjoying the ride.
On a recent run I came to the trailhead from the East as a runner wearing 5-finger…um…foot gloves (well, they use fingers in the name and fingers wear gloves) approached from the West. Upon sizing me up the look of disgust on his face was palatable. It was if I had double dipped in his Vaseline on race day or parked my Camaro too close to his Prius.
Last week I took in some extended vertical tanning (also known as ultra running) at the Desert R.A.T.S. 50-miler. Taking a quick inventory amongst the eager pack I noticed a pretty solid showing of condom thin slippers on the feet of those tempting the 50-mile voyage. How dare you? I thought. You need to respect the ground-not mate with it! You do know it’s going to be like 8+ hours of running right? We’re not picking daisies out here kids…this is war!
All this talk of “feeling” the trail…it’s dirt, sometimes hard, mostly soft and over 8-hours it will start to hurt your tootsies. Can you “feel” me? You probably think your 0-drop shoe makes you a better runner than me. In most cases, Doc Marten’s would probably make you a better runner than me. If feeling every pebble gets you excited then more power to you I guess. I get pissed when a rock gets in my Birkenstocks.
I tried a 0-drop super-light minimalist trail shoe recently for a couple weeks. Yes, they were nice and light and for the first couple miles they felt pretty good. I just don’t have the patience or time to work my way down to a low profile shoe. In the last 8-months I squeezed in 4-50-mile races and numerous 24-26 mile days. When am I supposed to go run in the grass barefoot? I wore flip flops to Target today…. does that count?
So prance away on feather feet and enjoy your journey. For me, I’ll be slugging it out on my Lazy-Boy recliner shoes and not “feeling” the trail as much as you and that’s OK. I will be enjoying each step as you do and we can agree to disagree. And if you still want to disagree remember: I am like 4-inches taller than you now! Booyah!