Feet at Play

I apologize for falling off the face of the Earth for the past month.  Work got intense there for a bit and then I took a much needed vacation.  Luckily, despite my fingers not getting their blogging workout, my feet have been rocking the Vibrams in all sorts of fun adventures.  While I’ve continued to run I have cut down to only one day a week for now.  Much to my acupuncturists delight, but my chagrin, I’m no longer having any issues with my left foot so the new schedule appears to be helping that, but I plan to start alternating running twice a week every other week.  Luckily, I’ve had plenty of physical things to do and with the addition of a FREE bowflex to my basement I’ve been working on strength training once again.  This came in very handy on my vacation!

A Wet Dog Is A Happy Dog

There’s Toby, working on his favorite summer activities; swimming and stick retrieval.  I’ve been on several quests this summer and a big one has been checking out local swimming holes.  The above picture shows Toby at Swain Pond in Maine, which unfortunately wasn’t fit for human swimming, but Toby had a blast and I enjoyed canoeing around with him in tow.  Quick funny fact: while Toby enjoys kayaking, he is adamantly against getting into a canoe.  Even after I bribed him with cookies and sat with him in the canoe on land (all the “get your dog to boat with you” techniques), he still freaked out as soon as I tried to start paddling.  Instead, he chose to follow me on land or by swimming next to the canoe.  On some of the lakes this meant he got quite the workout.  Luckily, he had his lifejacket on at all times so if he got tuckered out mid-lake he wouldn’t drown and I was prepared to hold him while paddling if necessary.

Last year, I bought a pair of Keene Venice H20’s, which I really love.  I went swimming with them here in Vermont and in Aruba where I swam in rocky waters.  They were good, but after doing some side-by-side comparisons with the Vibram KSO’s there’s really no competition; the Vibrams win.  I find walking on moss-covered rocks in the Keenes can be quite the challenge, as their hard solid sole is inflexible so the surface area that I could grip the rocks with is slim.  This meant quite a bit of slipping and sliding and at one point I slipped off a rock and ended up with my foot wedged between a couple rocks underwater.  Luckily, I didn’t twist when I fell because I could have easily broken or sprained my ankle.

The Vibrams, on the other hand, still offer enough protection so when I’m walking on rocks or sharp objects it doesn’t feel painful (though I do feel it more than with the Keenes), but since I can contort my foot to the rocks I’m climbing on I find it’s much easier to get a good grip, keep my balance and have more accurate proprioception.  Granted, both the Vibram and the Keene sole are a little slippery, but I feel much more confident in my Vibrams.

The other detail with the Vibram KSOs is the mesh top.  With the Keenes, the toe is covered but anything that gets into the shoes from the top strappy-area just falls into the toes so when I wear the Keenes I find myself regularly slipping them off to shake out the debris that’s collected in them.  With the Vibrams, the only thing that slips through the mesh top is sand and small pieces of dirt which I usually don’t notice while I have the shoes on and once the shoes are dry it’s pretty easy to shake them out.  Overall, I feel more protected in the Vibrams and have been happily swimming with them all summer.

My vacation was all about fishing!  I canoed and fished in Maine and both canoed and shore-fished in Vermont.  I have to say that once again the Vibrams were super-awesome for boating and wading in the water.  I wore my Keenes one day and noticed when going from the water into the canoe they drag a good amount of water with them.  The Vibrams are easier to shake off before stepping into the canoe and since they’re so form-fitting there was no real way for them to add much water to the boat.  There’s also just a huge fun-factor to standing in water with a fishing pole and feeling barefoot, but knowing there’s protection if I were to step on any hazards under the water.

In the past week alone I’ve climbed over piles of rocks, balanced on logs, tip-toed around beaver nests and beat my labrador in a couple water-bound stick chases.  My feet are happy and playful and my body is reaping the benefits of all this outdoor fun!  Just thinking about it makes me want to hop in the car and head back out to Eligo Lake with my fishing pole.  Well, it is Labor Day, I think I’ll just do that!

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