I am due for a rematch with The Most Beautiful Thing (TMBT) 100km trail on the 16 Sep. Last year, I had grave troubles with my vibrams. Well, for one the Vibram Bikila wasn't suited for trails. They were meant solely for road running and hence had a very soft sole. It was purely my fault really. When the word trail is mentioned, I generally have a notion that it will be soft laden paths filled with brown leaves, grass and dead wood. Furthermore, this was the Kinabalu trails we were talking about.
Nope. Far from what I dreamt of really. A big path of the route were actually laden with stones as the pathway. Why? Generally due to the fact that the route was mapped out running on 'roads' meant for the timber lorries to lug the goods out. I was indeed fooled. And trying to last 100km and many hours on a soft soled Vibram was really asking for trouble.
So after lugging my painful soles for 30km in TMBT, I decided to call it quits. Soles were poked and poked by those nasty big stones. Virtually no escaping them stones, even by trying to walk/run on the edge of the rocky paths. I think it was a wise decision to ensure I don't get injured permanently.
Thing is, I only know how to run in Vibrams. Give me shoes and I will probably fall down trying to walk/run. I've completed 23 out 24 marathons in vibrams, ran all my 4 100km ultras in vibrams and countless shorter events in them too. TMBT will not eat me alive despite the challenges.
In contrast when I was using the Bikila in 2011's TMBT, I got rock bruised over the same spot at my midsole repeatedly. So much so, another poke at the same location made me shed tears in agony. To which you may ask, why not just wear normal trail shoes? That would have taken care of my rock bruising. I could. For one, I still strongly believe in barefoot running and the benefits that it delivers. Secondly, I will not invest in a trail shoe that I would probably use just once for this kind of event. Thirdly, I hate wearing anything heavy on my feet for extended hours specially.
Then I had this little accident that had my right knee injured. Thought I could start banging these Spyridon babies on rocky trails after my PD Triathlon but no such luck. Still in rehabilitation for 2 weeks until the stitches come off. Thereafter, I suppose I need to take my activities lightly to ensure the would completely heals and not the reverse. Having it at the knees doesn't make it any easier or simpler to heal.
So that leaves me the month of Aug and half of September to burn these babies in. I cant think of the Puchong trails that has rocky bits going up and down. And perhaps stretches of Nuang to test the durability on as well. I need a good 10km or more rocky paths to be comfortable and then make the decision. Problem with TMBT is that there's no drop bag facility at the 50km mark. Else I could store an older pair of my trail shoes there for emergency purpose.
HK100 had many rocky paths too and I did face some issues there despite wearing my Vibram Treksport which has a tougher sole and meant for trails. Same issues of rock bruising but still manageable to complete the whole 100km. Spyridon is said to be an improvement of Treksport as well.
So let's see what the verdict will be soon. There's no turning back for TMBT now. Once I start, I will only stop at the finishing line *praying hard*.