Round two with the Vibram Fivefingers. The ankles and calves felt good enough to use the goofy un-shoes for my morning run in to work. This time I wore the Injinji toe socks, and had no hint of blister. Once my calves and ankles had warmed up the run felt fantastic. So, that first acceleration where my pace shoots up to nearly 3:20/km (in the raw data) is inaccurate. I had attached the pouch for my Nikeplus foot pod around the closed velcro strap of the shoe instead of around the top part of the strap so it gets secured between the velcro. This allowed it to slide down to the side in a vertical position. I glanced at the iPod a couple of times and noticed the higher than expected pace & eventually noticed the sensor being out of position. The interesting thing here is that it seems like it may have corrected. The sensor slipped where you see the steep increase in pace in the raw data, but I didn't notice until just before the green pause line. I wonder if the software somehow adjusts for anomalies as you go? Anyhow, the data looks correct after the pause, including the nice acceleration to the 4:00/km pace range.
About that acceleration... One thing I noticed on the run was that when my pace had slacked off, I could fairly easy bring it back up. I'm not sure if it is just perception or real, but there was this feeling that I could increase cadence with less effort than before. It could be that the KSOs are lighter, or that I'm taking shorter steps. Or it could just be in my head. The sidewalk felt hard today. Not bad, but it felt great when I could run in the grass next to the sidewalk. My muscles felt great, and not a hint of blisters.
When I got to the office there was a crowd of people in the break room getting breakfast, coffee, etc. when I got a glass of water. Everyone wanted to know about the shoes. Some knew what they were and had been wanting to try them. One person seemed shocked that I had ran in them. "How much cushioning do they have?" Umm. None. That's the point. Interestingly, another coworker who isn't a runner launched into a a brief explanation of all the studies showing that cushioning actually sends more shock up your legs and spine.
Here is an interesting talk by Barefoot Ted, a minimalist running enthusiast who runs ultra-marathons in the Vibram KSOs and one of the subjects of the book Born to Run (which I have not yet read). It starts a little slow, but it is worth sticking it out.