Friday, March 12, 2010

First barefoot run

Yesterday I went for my first barefoot run.
(*Well, first deliberate barefoot training run, ignoring a few incidental runs on the beach or whatever)

It was a beautiful day, and I desperately wanted to run. But because of injuries, I needed to keep it agonizingly short and slow. So why not? I finally gave in to the constant badgering of Barefoot Josh, that snake oil salesman hawking Charles Soap and barefoot running, and tried it barefoot.

I recall that there were instructions somewhere about how to start, but who reads instructions? I was at lunch and in a hurry, so I just walked out my front door with no shoes on and started running down the sidewalk.
Well, actually... first I stood in the driveway for 12 minutes waiting for my GPS watch to get a signal, then I started running.

It was AMAZING. I felt no pain in my legs at all! Nothing from my battered hip, frayed hamstrings, or missing calf muscle. All pain free! Of course, it could be that those aches and pains were being drowned out by the sensation of 30 thumbtacks being jammed into the bottom of my feet.

The sidewalk was covered with tiny slivers of rock, I guess left over from when they salted the street this winter. To someone watching it probably didn't look like I was running, but maybe hopping across hot coals. I had to stop every 20 feet or so to brush off the rocks, which sunk into my soft virgin soles like nails into cookie dough.

I remember reading that you should start running barefoot on a hard, rocky, and unforgiving surface instead of a track or grass, and I think this qualified. It certainly forced me to take very short, tentative steps, and restricted me to a relative crawl.

I went down the street and back until the watch said I had done a half a mile, at which point I sought the sanctuary of my rock free drive way.

Stats:
Miles: 0.50
Time: 7:39
Pace: 15:18/mi

The best part was when I put this into my running log, there is a column for the shoes I wore. I entered "NONE". My feet are fine today, so I may attempt it again.

I will ease into it very slowly, since I have seen what happens when you don't. A few weeks ago during our snowed-in weekend, Mandy, Bubbles and Shannon all did a barefoot mile on my treadmill, at their normal fast running pace. The result was they all got pretty bad blood blisters. I think I will stick with the thumbtacks.

Hmmmm. How long before I can rename myself? How about AC-barefoot? sounds better than Barefoot AC.

Note to Josh: While I did try barefoot running, I ended up giving away my Charles Soap door prize. Fittingly, I gave it to Bubbles.

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