Topsy-Turvey, Upside Down and Backwards

What if everything we thought we knew turned out to be topsy-turvey, upside down, and backwards?

Last year, I was determined to do right by my feet. I bought a good pair of Adidas with increased support for those who run more than 500 miles in a year. I even had the gait analysis. It was rather disappointing after a month in those shoes to realize that I was going to have to live with tendinitis in my ankles. Though, it turns out that I didn’t have to live with tendinitis.

I started running bare on the treadmill last October then transitioned to VFFs in March when I went back outside. By transition, I mean, I put on VFFs and ran 4 miles. That was the end of my transition.

During one of my early April runs, I decided to try walking bare during the cool down period. It was rough, aged pavement. I didn’t last more than 10 steps before I was limping like I’d walked over brilliant hot coals.

A month or so ago, I wanted to try going bare again during my cool down walk. I repeated my previous actions. After about ten steps, It was necessary to put the VFFs back on. Disappointed, and fearful of pavement, I accepted that I was just going to have to live with being a VFF runner. Though, it turns out I didn’t have to run on pavement.

I didn’t become a barefoot runner for noble reasons such as decreased aches and pains. I became a barefoot runner because it just seemed like a good (crazy) idea. Lucky for me, I get to benefit from the considerable advantages of going “bare” regardless of my reasons for doing so.

However, running in VFFs began to gnaw at my conscience. I was claiming to be a barefoot runner but I wasn’t bare. I was mimicking bare. Thus, I was determined to toughen up that skin and be bare by the end of the summer if it meant wrapping my feet in gauze just to go to work. I set a goal of 1 mile bare by the end of summer. It seemed a lofty goal after being unable to go more than 10 steps previously.

The plan was to start walking all my cool downs in barefeet until I felt like I had sufficient skin structure for running in the bare. I thank my inner competitiveness for throwing that plan out the window during the first attempt. Instead of walking a mile bare on a sidewalk, I would run until it hurt too much then walk or put the VFFs back on. I made it the whole mile running bare plus it seemed even better than running in VFFs. Sidewalks felt like velvet compared to pavement.

Ecstatic with completing my goal before the official start of summer rather than at the end, I wanted more. I anticipated that this week would be the start of, or rather, the end of my VFF running. Today’s plan was to bare walk for 40 minutes. (I was trying to avoid needing a second shower in less than 12 hours)

15 minutes into my bare walk I began to wonder why the sidewalk seemed irritate my feet more than last week. Then I considered WendyBird’s blog discussing how stepping lightly would prevent glass penetrating the skin . Could it be that running bare resulted in a lighter step than walking bare resulting in less skin abrassion?

When I hit the turning point, I said “sweat be damned” and picked up my pace to a run. The feet burned a little more than my last run. I attribute that to the abrassion from walking 1.5 miles rather than the act of running bare.

It appears my world IS topsy-turvy, upside down, and backwards. Bare running is better than bare walking. Bare anything is better than shoes. Next I’ll be saying that water tastes better than beer and pink is my favorite color…. wait a minute…

Mark another 1.5 miles on the outside bare running chart. Total distance 3 miles.


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Filed under running, Vibram Five Fingers

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