by Patrick Reed
My first run in my Luna Leadville’s was out of this world
Inspired by Luis Escobar and his tribe of “Mas Loco” followers who convene at the ultra running site Allwedoisrun.com, it was only a matter of time before I picked up a pair of Luna Sandals. After Patrick Sweeney, a sponsored athlete of the innovative company, ran to an impressive 3:49 victory at the Born To Run 50K a month ago (a tale which I chronicled here), destiny was knocking all the more adamantly. One evening, as I perused Lunasandals.com – luxuriating in the mere idea of trying a ‘new way to run’ – I found myself once again punching in the numbers of a weary credit card. And the wait began…
2 weeks later, yesterday morning, I was surprised to find not a box beaming on my front stoop with all of the marketing hoopla of a Nike or Adidas purchase, but a priority mail, flexible bag sitting inside of my closed mailbox. Even as I picked up the package, I was convinced that I would just have to wait yet one more day – or more – for my sandals. Yet impossibly, that little package held my Luna Leadville’s – the most robust of Luna’s running line-up. Weighing in at a scanty 5 ounces per shoe, these sandals were so light that I hardly believed one could run on them. And yet co-founder of the company, ‘Barefoot Ted’, had completed the notorious Leadville 100 in this exact model, which was indeed named for the event.
So there they were. I didn’t have time to more than browse the construction, oohing and aahing with my young daughters at the simplicity and craft of the pair, for I was set to run a 23-mile training run in just minutes. The sandals would have to wait.
My training run was cut to 17 miles for a variety of reasons – including a late start, poor nourishment planning (okay, no planning on that front), etc. – so when my trusty bud Scott swooped by in his BMW coupe to pull me off of my ill-constructed training loop and drop me off at home, we got a chance together to check out the new sandals. Here we were, two road and track-trained distance runners all of the sudden enamoured by this strange new technology. A single strand of fabric running back and through and around a Vibram-constructed tread, with multiple ingenious bits of innovation sewn into the simple mountain runners. Scott was so stoked that he grabbed the pair from me, asked in passing if he could “test-drive” them, tangled them to his bare feet and sprinted down my sidewalk. Only problem: the sandals were not even close to appropriately fitted and tightened to his feet and after 7 steps, one sandal went one way and Scott screeched to a halt.
“These are awesome!” he shrieked. And I agreed. Something about the imagination and inspiration of the shoes had us both fired up. And so this morning I was able to take a test-drive of my own.
“See you all in about 30 minutes… I hope!” I hollered to my wife and kids. “What’s your plan?” my wife replied. “Run 5k in these Luna’s – one way or another,” I said. And out the door I went.
I knew that like Scott’s effort the day before, my run would be a bunch of starts and stops. And so it was. 5 steps, shoe falls off. A little bit of tightening and figuring. 24 steps, shoe falls off. I had watched a video a couple of times which helped in all of my head-scratching and figuring (see below.)
Eventually, I figured out first my right shoe – and then copied what was working there on the left. And then…. I was off — free. Running free!
I hit the off-road right after I got the fit all sorted out, and I was amazed at how well the Leadville’s handled the changing surfaces. I decided to run right up one of my favorite mountain trails – a super-steep winding, rock-strewn hike we affectionately call “Mount Lucy and Mount Anja” after our kids. Once again, the running was a dream. I gave a hollering whoop of delight as I crested into a tall meadow — and I was surprised to see a group of mountain bikers just around the bend who smiled enthusiastically with me. All of their eyes seemed to track down to my shoes — maybe it was just me thinking so…. — and we exchanged hello’s and I couldn’t help thinking that they admiringly watched as I skipped into the distance on such cool shoes.
All this is to say that my first run in the Luna’s was bliss — and an emotional run right up there with my best. A new way to run. A new way to experience the trail. Closer to the heart and purity of the sport. Well worth the effort of learning how to keep them on my feet.
And that’s a wrap!