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Talk about working different muscles…

April 25, 2011, 8:16 PM

As I mentioned about three entries ago, I am now walking home from the Metro whenever practical. It saves me a dollar by skipping the evening 51 bus, plus it’s good exercise, helping to make the pounds melt away like magic.

I also walked the southbound side of Georgia Avenue this time around to see how sidewalk conditions compared to the northbound side. I think I might have to start doing half northbound and half southbound. By my estimation, conditions on the northbound side of Georgia Avenue are better from Glenmont Metro as far as Hathaway Drive – about a third of the way from Glenmont to my house. Then from Hathaway Drive to my street, it looks like conditions are best on the southbound side. Why the need to switch? Southbound has a lot of broken glass between Glenmont and Hathaway, while northbound is for the most part clear on the same stretch. But from Rippling Brook Drive to my street, northbound side has a lot of gravel on the sidewalk, while on southbound, the gravel is still present, but less of a nuisance than on the northbound side. I’d prefer to make the switch a little further north than Hathaway Drive (like around Rippling Brook Drive/May Street or Kayson Street), but Hathaway is where the traffic light is, and let’s admit it – Georgia Avenue is not exactly a pedestrian’s paradise even in the best of conditions.

Then I also shaved a considerable amount of time off the walk this time around. Last time, I did the whole course from Glenmont station to my front door in 40 minutes. Last time, you see, I wasn’t wearing good shoes and the gravel on the northbound side really slowed me down. This time, I did the course in 30 minutes. Now I can really start improving my performance on this.

And I’m sporting a new pair of shoes for this. Behold:

Wearing the Skeletoes shoes for the first time for the walk home

These are Fila Skeletoes shoes, which are basically the same idea as the popular Vibram FiveFingers shoes. The difference is twofold: first, the Skeletoes shoes have only four toes, as the two smallest toes go in one section together. And secondly, these fit. I tried my best to fit into a pair of Vibrams, and try as I did, my feet were just too wide. I couldn’t even get my feet into the KSOs. I couldn’t get the strap to close on the Sprint without crushing my foot. And then the Classics went on, but they were stretched out a little more than I was comfortable with – enough to where the sides were too low, and I was seriously concerned about very easily picking up a rock while walking, or the shoe popping off mid-stride. The Skeletoes, on the other hand, went right on and fit correctly. I wanted shoes with toes, and I got what I wanted.

And here was the big surprise – they really gave my legs a workout. Because they’re designed to be like walking barefoot, it worked my leg muscles in different ways than I’m accustomed to. My legs are sore, but I think it’s worth it.

Meanwhile, I think I need to start looking at proper stretching. I’ve never been one to go and exercise for its own sake. It’s something that my mind can’t seem to get over. Running on a treadmill or riding on a stationary bike to me feels unproductive, because I didn’t get anywhere. On the other hand, if I’m actually, you know, going somewhere, then it’s better. There’s a goal. Thus why I’m building it into my commute. At the end of the exercise session, I’m home!

So there you go, I suppose. And it has three main areas where it’s beneficial. First of all, as mentioned, this saves a buck on bus fare in the evening (my evening bus ride has a transfer discount). Then it’s good exercise. Plus, since I’m walking and not using any sort of vehicle, it’s greener transportation. Save money + good exercise + green transportation = SOLID!

Web site: Someone else talks about sore calves after doing a jog in toe shoes.

Song: The journey of a Space Shuttle solid rocket booster during the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis for STS-125. Pretty cool to watch.

Quote: Meanwhile, show of hands: who thinks that with those shoes on, it looks like I have gorilla feet? I think so, and I find it amusing. I actually got one person looking at my feet as I walked briskly by like he'd never seen such a thing...

Categories: Recreation/Exercise