In a week's time, I will hopefully have finished my very first 100 kilometer run - the 2014 Lejonbragden. I feel both excited and under-prepared but not exactly nervous. I think I am going in as prepared as I can and will ever be, that feeling of being under-prepared is mainly knowledge that more longer runs would have built more experience. My technical preparations are at least finished today, as I picked up all kinds of chafe and blister prevention material as well as a new pair of tights and a cap in the event this year ends up as sunny as last.
Spirits lifted by checking all these things off of my list, I bought a pair of Fivefingers almost by accident.
Behold my KSO Evo. I have missed the feeling of thin toe shoes ever since wearing out my KSOs more than a year ago. The thing holding me back was the fact that I wore the first pair out so quickly. I have no real reason to believe these will hold up better, but I guess the urge just got too strong. The fact that I already alternate between two other pairs should also make all of them last longer. Even if they should give me the same number of kilometers as the last pair, there will be much more time between purchase and discarding. Oh the psychology of purchases.
I naturally had to try them as soon as possible and so set out for a wonderfully sunny mid-day run in Änggårdsbergen. It was not my imagination during the break, there really is a lot more to feel in thinner shoes. All the subtle differences between surfaces, the impression that you can feel every single piece of gravel, the clear distinction between a smooth and soft step and one a little too far back on the foot. My feet and legs feel a little more worn, but not excessively so. I may have had a break from Fivefingers, but I have always felt that I have kept running in the same way (just with less clear feedback), and this feels like confirmation.
I ran, as I like to do especially in toe shoes, without any socks. Running without socks in new shoes a week before a 100 kilometer run did strike me as a somewhat stupid thing to do, but I told myself that I would listen carefully to my feet and cut the run short if anything felt bad. The closest thing to a warning I got was from both my big toes. I feel as if the friction became a bit much and that perhaps they slipped aroud a bit inside the shoes. Whatever the cause, I added some noticeable wear to both. Apart from that my feet felt totally happy being back in touch. I seem to recall noticing wear in several more places using and getting used to my first KSOs, so perhaps Vibram has adjusted the design and it just happens to suit me better.
I think I have decided on which shoes to use for Lejonbragden, but I can not deny that I dream of running it in Fivefingers. I just enjoy having less between me and the ground. But chafing and blisters have sailed up as my main worry for the run (despite the fact that I prepared well and suffered virtually nothing of that sort last year), so perhaps not. Maybe next year …