I've always been one of those people who will only run for one of two reasons: either I'm chasing something or something is chasing me. Running for its own sake or for the sake of fitness never made sense to me. Until now.
Before I made the migration from Virginia to Maine this year, I bought a pair of Vibram Five-Finger TrekSport shoes. Those are the funny ones that look like gloves for your feet- I had both a coupon and a gift card to use, so why not give them a shot?
My completely unbiased opinion is that I adore running in these shoes. My feet naturally react to rocks and obstacles (instead of feeling like I'm wearing a plank on each foot). I'm a lot less worried I'll catch a toe on a stray root, and even my stride has changed. I just feel light in them- they really do feel close to barefoot while still protecting for the soles of my feet. (I've stepped on some pretty sharp rocks in them without a problem.) In short, running in these shoes makes me feel like a kid again, and it's a lot of fun.
The first time I finished a run around Island Pond (although there was just as much walking as running because of all the water on the trail), I immediately wanted to turn 180 degrees and run back around the other way just for the sheer joy of it. I can tell you truthfully- that's never happened before. I've now run the Island Pond trail several times, the trail to Upper, the old road up to the cluster of Black Ponds, and the trail to the Deboullie rock slide. Who knows, maybe I'll even try a run on the mountain before the summer is over.