July 7, 2011

I LOVES me some Vibram Five Finger toe shoes!!!!

Photo credit: Dylan

 Last week I inherited a pair of black and very pink Vibram Five Finger (Vffs) shoes from my mom who found them to be too WeirD.  I had resisted the allure of these wacky hobbit-foot lookin' things since first seeing them on the trails about 2 years ago.  Just another b.s., gear-head, gotta have the latest marketing ploy, I figured.  Although I did often sidestep my shyness to ask folks on the trail what they thought of them.  Most of what they had to say was very positive:  VERY comfortable(SO hard to believe by looking at them!), stabilizing, less wear and tear on the feet and knees.  OK....people are really digging them.  But about that high price for such little "shoe"?  What about all those fancy hardcore running shoes made to pad and protect those arches and knees? 

A lot of my questions have been answered through my own research, as well as some of my savvy and satisfied runner clients who wear the VFFs.  The most basic jist is that our bare feet had evolved over time to efficiently handle intense bipedal propulsion...so why the superfluous and expensive need to pamper and coddle our feet in a most un-natural way?  How to protect our arches?  USE YOUR ARCHES!!!  That's what they're there for!  Hmmmmm.....Who's creating the b.s., gear-head, gotta have the latest marketing ploys?!?!?!
If you Google the pros and cons of VFFs, you'll find a lot a great information about the shoes as well as the "barefoot movement".  I found tons of positives about wearing VFFs- from people who just wear them around the house to weight lifters to marathon runners.  Here's an informative and interesting article

My own take?  They're AMAZING!!!  The first day I slipped them on right at the post office.  I was blown away by how comfortable they were!  I felt selfconciously barefoot and duck-like walking through the parking lot-my own perception, I'm sure.  The drive home hearkened back the days of summer driving without shoes as a teen.  Once home I embarked on a 5 mile trail run with my new pink terrestrial locomotors.  I immediately fell in love with the freedom of being near barefoot and feeling the rocks, roots and uneven terrain under my feet.  I was hyper aware of my toes..nice and splayed out...working harder to grip the earth.  By the end of the run, I had no soreness in my feet or that puffed out feeling I get in my knees.  So far, so good.  The next day?  Not so much.  My calves-specifically the soleus and flexors-were SCREAMIN'!  But, apparently this is a GOOD thing.  All those muscles that have been coddled for so long in my running shoes-you know, the ones that nature has evolved so beautifully over millennia- have totally weakened!  On a side note, it wasn't until yesterday that I found the tiny card in the shoe box warning people to slowly break in the shoe.  They recommend wearing them for only a couple hours a day for the first TWO weeks!   OOOPS!!! 

Since then I've run 2 more 5 milers, hiked an 11 miler with the fam, weight lifted, and did the Elliptical.  So far, despite the sore calves, I'm very happy with how well my "trouble spots" are adapting and strengthening in the VFFs.  And again, I just love feeling so free, back-to-the-earth, and relatively unencumbered in these fekkin' things!  The only cons so far are that if you are graceless like ME, you have to be extra careful not to stub your toes or scuff your feet-pulling toes underneath-because you WILL feel that!!!!!  Also, if you don't like attracting attention-especially when you are concentrating on a hard run-you may not want a pair of these!  I've been asked about the shoes on EVERY outing so far-multiple times!  While researching pros and cons of the VFFs, one of the few but BIGGEST cons was unwanted attention!
I'll report back in a few weeks as I continue to adapt to these shoes.  Oh......and I didn't even consider WINTER.  Hmmmmmmm.........


July 5, 2011

Russian River 2011: The Friends!

Pretty much the BEST part of the trip?  Friends.  We were SO happy that so many people were able to show up for this wacky shindy!  Folks from all walks...from 7 years old to retired..from a su chef to a Senator.  Some folks stayed the whole time, others came and went as they needed, always a busy place.  It was fun to have a lot of Dylan's friends around, too.  Some were staying in our next door neighbor's camp and a couple stayed in ours.  It was great to have that teen energy and humor around!  A great bunch of kids!

I relished all the company,  great conversation, and much silliness in such a fantastic environment.  Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.  Sounds like we'll have plenty of people returning next year!  We need to come up with a NAME for this gig.....

The calm before the gonzo cooking starts!
Peggy French and Vicki

"mumfff muh muwflmf"


Look at those wonderful fresh faces!!!  Thank you, guys, for being AWESOME!!!!

Sistah love

Senator Hollis French and Miles waiting for Ray to make FLAMES!

Tia and Willa

July 4, 2011

Russian River 2011: The FOOD!

Dinner prep with ray and Todd
Thanks to the masterful culinary stylings of our friend, Chef Ray, we had the BEST eats on the Russian.  Dude goes ALL OUT for us every year and just blows everyone away.  This year it was a pleasure to have so many hungry bodies ready for FUEL!   Here's our Russian River eating schedule:

BREAKFAST 4/5 am-  One shitty bagel with AWESOME salmon spread with cream cheese.  You just can't get a decent NY bagel in this state.  Period.
Fish for a few hours and eat a crumbled granola bar if you where awake enough to remember to bring one.

LUNCH/1st Dinner 3/4pm-  Monstrously huge hamburgers with sauteed onions OR the previous night's HOT kimchi on top.

2nd DINNER(Secondsies) 11 pm-  SEE BELOW!!!!!

Ribs with blueberry chipotle rub!!!  HOLY man!

Roasted peppers, roasted potatoes, saute for coconut curry seafood soup


Ribs and soup ready for intake


Ray torching up the BRANDY BLUECHEESE sauce!!!!!!  Yeah, I said brandy bluecheese sauce!

Oh, HELL to the YES.

12 oz New York strips and po-ta-toes to go with that sauce

Alaska State Senator Hollis French rocking the PERFECT golden brown marshmallow!

Ray and his daughter, Tia, makin' with the BEST TOAST IN THE FRIGGIN UNIVERSE!!!

And PLENTY of happy libation for all!!!  (over 21 of course)  Believe me....with all that fabulous food, we ate ourselves SOBER!!!!