I run because I love chaffed nipples

My friend's mother would warn him saying "Still waters run deep". The person in question was me. And obviously she meant I was trouble. At the end of the day it's always the silent keen observer, who makes notes while watching the world, that's dangerous.

Qualifying for SCMM is simple. You exercise diligently, train hard and give a faster runner your bib in one of the qualifying races.
Well, fortunately when I started running there was no qualification criteria. One fine day I saw an advertisement for the Mumbai Marathon, decided to sign up, put on my shoes, went out for a quick fire 5km run and then was bed ridden for the next two weeks.

My initial year of running was solitary. No friends, no groups, just me, my shoes, my music and my motivation. I was then introduced or rather reluctantly inducted into the general running population where in I met all kinds of runners. Soon running became more social with the likes of facebook and mediums prior to it. Finally I found a 'new' stage to observe.

One of the most popular questions in the endurance running circuit is "Why do you run?". The winners would typically run to win. Pretty straight and simple. But what about the others who don't win? (like me).
That's where fun begins, because I believe actions speak louder than words. And while we have the regular answers such as 'to inspire others', 'self competition', 'love'. I have observed that recreational runners do run for other reasons. Here are some observations:
  • The Limca Runner: Well, it's isotonic and so much easier to get as compared to a Beer record. What's even better is that, you can create your own category. For e.g. First male in my neighborhood over 40 to wake up at 5am and run a 5km. And yes, you can also wake up at 4:59 and claim to be better; who cares if it is am or pm. As you guessed, correctly, these are the mediocre record makers, if you can't break one you make one.
  • The Facebook Runner: This runner came out of the woodwork thanks to social media aka Facebook. What motivates them is not the benefits of running but the number of likes their posts generate. You could possibly see them sulking at the end of the day in the corner of a bar with a Guinness (pun intended) just because they didn't cross 200 likes. What's the point of running (and facebook) if no one likes your post.
  • The Selfie Runner: This runner's goal is simple. Get out for a run, midway take a selfie, a quick shot of the feet, a shot of the road ahead, a shot of the GPS watch, maybe a shot of a bruise or cut that occurred when they were trying to take a selfie while running and fell into a ditch and if possible a photograph of some sweat at the end of the run. Oh yeah Baby!, 2kms done and dusted @15mins/km typically feeling blessed.
  • The Hashtag Runner: #ran10k, #badass, #ballstothewall, #cheetahontheprowl, #wtf, #hashtag. This runner is totally clueless about the proper usage of the '#' tag. 
  • The Brand Runner: The only reason they are able to run faster is because of the brand they endorse. To hell with training, just buy this shoe and it will boost your performance. "Hey, I got a PB/PR wearing this shoe". Obviously the time taken to finish the race is conveniently missed out and more often that not, its probably a 1 minute improvement that took them from a 6:46:33hr  to a 6:45:55hr marathon. In case you are wondering, they would typically round down the time to show a minute's improvement.
So the next time you decide to answer this question, smile and be honest to yourself. As for me, I still don't know why I run. Maybe its because I love chaffed nipples.

Nike Lunar Glide 6

Having done most my long distance runs in the ASICs Kayanos.  My initial reaction towards the Nike Lunar Glide 6 was that of skepticism since I found the shoe very light for a stability shoe. I also felt the upper inner lining would be inconvenient. However after the first runs those doubts were put to rest.

The shoe is an excellent stability shoe, with great arch support. The additional flywire loops for the laces holds the foot in place. The fore foot cushioning is a bit soft as compared to other stability shoes. I prefer a stiffer feel.

The toe box is nice and wide compared to other Nike models that I have used in the past. The upper layer is snug and was quite comfortable during my runs.(The trivial complaint here would be considering the rains and dust/gravel in Mumbai its pretty difficult to clean the shoes due to the upper mesh).

Even though I am more of mid foot runner, I tried running a couple of Kms(13kms to be exact) using a heel strike and found the heel cushioning pretty good.

In a nutshell this is a pretty good, light weight stability shoe that would benefit runners that need stability. However the shoe is not recommended for neutral pronation runners or runners who prefer a more natural ride..

Being a triathlete, I have even used them without socks (no blistering and pretty comfortable). I did most of my Half Iron Tri distance training/racing in it without socks.

Also did 4-5 trails runs in it and yes, cleaning it became a problem since dirt gets logged between the mesh and the inner lining.

Some other points to note:
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 10mm (17mm front and 27mm rear)
  • Stack height: 17mm

Transitioning to Barefoot running

This is just some notes I thought of sharing. I might comeback and make this more structured.

I'm not going to talk about what is better, running shod or barefoot?
There is ample information online which talks about this.
Also there is enough scientific evidence that says an optimally cushioned shoe with a zero mm drop is what one should transition to when running. There is a trade off between weight which slows you down and intensity that one can maintain when running barefoot.

Many runners tend to transition to barefoot running too fast and by doing too much. This results in injuries and a sense of disbelief.

A traditional shoe (sports and non sports) typically has a 10-15mm heel toe drop. This means that your heel is raised when running and walking. In certain individuals it also ensures that you naturally heel strike when running(I'm not saying this is bad. Meb Keflezighi is a heel striker) . Prolonged use results in the shortening of your calf and achilles tendon.

When one runs in zero drop/canvas shoes or barefoot there is no artificially induced raising of the heel. The impact of running causes over stretching of the shortened achilles tendon and calf muscles.
Also when running barefoot your brain will automatically cause you to land on your forefoot/mid foot instead of heel. The toe off in barefoot initially will be exaggerated causing additional stress on the calf muscles (One needs to learn to use your hips and glutes when running or to be more precise improve their running form).

If you do not show patience then in certain cases this will lead to calf strain, metatarsal fractures, plantar fasciitis etc since the body hasn't adapted to this as yet.
If you want to run barefoot, then run barefoot (don't use shoes). There are many ways to transition to doing this. 
I would say start of with 1km at a time slowly. Allow your body to adapt to it and your feet to strengthen.
You should gradually build up distance and get up-to 5km over a period of 6-8weeks.
A barefoot progression would be around 6-8mths to do a Half Marathon distance.

The other alternative is to progress towards lower heel toe drops and transition to a zero mm drop by going from the traditional 12-15mm drop to a 7mm, 4mm and finally 0mm.

In either case I cannot stress the importance of patience, strength training and well patience..