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Today was one of those cool, rainy Fall-like days that make you want to curl up on the couch with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate. Unfortunately, two cords of firewood awaited stacking in my driveway, and a restful day wasn’t in the cards. For me, the annual stacking of firewood is one of the surest signs that the harsh New Hampshire winter is just around the corner, and the dreariness of the day did nothing to push thoughts of mountains of snow from my mind.
While working diligently at what seemed like a never-ending pile of wood, my 5 year-old son decided he would join me in the drizzle and ride his bike up and down the street (sans training-wheels these days!). Before long, he met up with some neighborhood friends, and they were having an absolute blast racing through puddles and getting downright filthy and soaking wet (foreshadowing alert!). My parental instincts told me that getting soaked on a cool day was probably not the best thing for him, but he was having so much fun I didn’t have the heart to make him stop. After about two hours of grueling work, I decided to call it a day and head out for a much needed run. After a very long week in which I’d only been able to knock out one run, I simply couldn’t stomach the idea of another run-less day. With very little motivation, exhausted arms, and rubbery legs, I slid into my Injinji socks and Vibram Fivefingers KSO’s, grabbed the dog, and hit the road.
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By the time I started running, the rain had let up considerably, but the road was wet and full of puddles. This was the first time I’d run in my VFF’s on a wet day, and I didn’t really know what to expect – the possibility of blistering my feet was forefront in my mind. For the first 4 or so miles, Jack (the dog) and I settled into a comfortable 8:00/mile pace, and for the most part I managed to avoid getting wet. However, at the 4-mile mark the rain began to fall more steadily, and before long I was completely soaked. My thoughts suddenly turned to my son having such fun riding through the puddles on his bike, and something clicked inside of me – “If he can do it, why can’t I?”
Image by mars-hill via Flickr
With the giddiness of a 5 year-old, I scanned the road ahead for the biggest puddle I could find, and plowed straight through it at full speed. For the next 3 miles, I aimed dead-on for every puddle that lay in front of me, and splashed through each with a gusto that I’ve rarely ever felt on a run before. I must have looked like a crazed, overgrown child with a wry smile on my face, “monster shoes” on my feet (that’s what my kids call the VFF’s), and muddy water dripping down my legs. But you know what? – I just didn’t care. I was having a blast, and reminding myself with every step why I love to run. So what if I’m a 34 year-old college professor – sometimes you need to act like a kid, and on this dreary day in New Hampshire, that’s exactly what I did.
In case you were wondering, my feet made it through 7 wet miles (@ 7:53min/mile pace) in VFF’s without developing a single blister (the Injinji socks probably helped a lot). If you own a pair of Vibram Fivefingers, I highly recommend taking them for a spin on the next rainy day, and make sure you aim for the puddles – you’ll be glad that you did!