So I went for a barefoot run…

It was not intentional in the slightest.  It was supposed to be a weekend of relaxation, so I decided to lace up one cool Friday evening to go for a brisk jog around my hood.

Off I went at my usual trotting pace, when just 400 metres later, I felt this shooting pain going down my right leg.  I immediately stopped and nursed my leg with my hands.  What was that??  I waited about a min to pass and I tried to run again.  It came back!  I had not felt this type of pain in a while.  It didn’t feel muscle, tendon, or bone related.  It was just…well…pain!  I repeated this several times and I was in no shape to run.  Then a crazy thought entered my mind.

I remember seeing an interview on TV about this barefoot runner who claimed that all of his aches, pains, and injuries was no longer existent thanks to running without shoes.  In fact, when he ran a full marathon, he passed by this gent who was in obvious pain.  And when the gent saw this, he followed suit and unlaced his shoes for the remainder of the run and managed to finish the marathon without any pain.

On this whim, on this night, I decided to try my hand at imitating insane notion and took my shoes and socks off to brave the bareness of the road and sidewalk that lay ahead of me.  With a shoe in each hand, I started off slow towards my home along Finch.

Slowly, slowly I went, with very soft feet.  What a strange and liberating feeling.  The sidewalk was not that smooth, but it wasn’t hurting either.  I remember reading that when you barefoot run, you have to change your running gait, so in turn, I did.  I ran on the balls of my feet (that sounds so funny), landing gently with every step.  I manged to move without the pain!  Amazing.

I made it back home within a few moments, and it was then I decided to drop my shoes off and try a full run feet bare and all!

It was late and dark at night, so I’d have to be careful about where I stepped.

I had more than a few “OW” moments, where I stepped directly on a large pebble or a twig that hid in the shadows.  Barefoot runners say that the greatest tools that you have are your eyeballs, because they help you steer clear of obstacles in your path.

I started to pick up my speed and although my breathing wasn’t heavy, I was able to run at a decent pace down the side streets in my neighbourhood.  I was barefoot running!  So crazy……..

Ew!  A dead squirrel.  I’d best avoid that even moreso now.

There are these special Vibram 5-finger shoes that many people swear by now.  I spoke to a girl at the Montreal Marathon who says that she strictly wears those shoes to run, and would never go back to runners.  Such conviction…

I was not liking the rough pavement or the pebbles that would make me jump every now and then, but I certainly was able to run.

I wonder what these barefoot runners do in the winter?

I did about 4km in my barefeet.  I headed home and donned my regular running shoes and went for another tempo run to see how I’d be feeling.  The pain in my leg was gone, but now the shoes I wore felt rather restricting.  It felt as though I was stepping in a canoe with the edges of my feet carrying the brunt of my weight.

Will I ever be a convert?  I’ll have to see…

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