Well folks, I'm back online and trying to get back into the groove again. I technically wasn't completely offline, just lacking the motivation to write or get involved due to recent events on the home front. Sadly, February has been a very tough month for my wife and I: our baby daughter, Lara, unfortunately didn't make it through the open heart surgery she had to undergo in order to rectify two congenital heart defects. I'm not going to go into the details here but if you're interested, I will be posting a series of posts, building up to my daughter's funeral on 12 March, on my main site. Suffice to say we were devastated and completely knocked for six by this, even though we'd known about the heart condition before she was born. The loss of a child is something you really can't prepare yourself for no matter how much forewarning you received.

I've now had several weeks to grieve and I think I'm starting to come to terms with it all and am getting my motivation back. I'm back into the office tomorrow so we'll see how I get on. On the plus side, I have still been running - it's a brilliant tool for coping with stress, anger, sadness and the loss of a loved one - and completely barefoot too. Yes, EVERY ONE of the 41.45 kilometers run this month have been completely barefoot and I've loved it. My feet are toughening up beautifully and I'm sure every run is getting easier and more comfortable. That said I do sometimes doubt it when heading out in the cold and wet: these are still the toughies which tend to result in a blister or two on a few of my toes but they're very quickly outweighed by the ease and comfort of the dry warmer runs. I'm really looking forward to summer when all my runs will be in the warm.

Terra Plana EVOThe last week has also been quite an eventful one in the barefoot running world thanks to Terra Plana. They've just released the first ever barefoot running shoe, the VivoBarefoot EVO (remember all the other minimalist shoes we use weren't originally designed with barefoot running in mind). I gave everyone a sneak peak before and now they're finally available to buy. I've not put in my order yet as I'm still debating with myself as to if I buy another pair of Vibrams (I really like my Classics), get my grubby paws on a pair of these bad boys or skip the shoes completely. Initial reviews of the EVOs (Harry here is giddy with excitement about the EVOs here, here and here) have been very positive and it sounds like Terra Plana may have just hit the nail on the head with the EVOs and at the same time being the first to market in what could potentially be a very lucrative niche.

Terra Plana do however have one potential thorn in their side with the EVOs - the price. Whilst £100 is quite reasonable and competitive in the UK where a pair of Vibram FiveFinger Classics cost about £90; $160 is just extortionate in the US where a pair of Classics cost about $75 (ignoring discounts and voucher codes). That said, it's quite refreshing to see product prices vaguely taking into account the exchange rates. So often we see products sold for $100 in the US and then sold for £100 in the UK. Anyway, time will tell how successful Terra Plana are in coaxing people away from highly cushioned and supportive Nike/Adidas/Asics/Brooks/whatever shoes.

If you've shelled out for the EVOs, I'd be happy to hear how you find them.