I Might Love My Feet More Than You Love Yours
Last week I did some house cleaning for this long-neglected blog and came across a picture of my foot. Those of you who actually read what I used to write may remember that I have been running for a long time (fifteen years, actually), and just like any relationship, my love for running has had some highs and lows as well as some breezy periods of just running. But for the past almost seven years I have been mostly plodding along.
About two years ago I decided to make a change. I decided to go to minimal footwear, but I did it gradually. I was taking baby steps, which was counterintuitive and not what I would normally do.
Black or white.
All or nothing.
Although I loved the lightness of my new minimal shoes, I didn’t experience any positive changes in my running. In fact, I started having more problems. I developed foot pain. And knee pain.
Then, I read another book about natural running (a concept I started researching about ten years ago but had sort of forgotten about until Chris MacDugall’s book came out). And I realized that just like when we potty trained Hayden a hundred years ago, it had to be all or nothing.
So I ditched my shoes altogether.
Weather and body permitting, I do almost everything barefoot. Walking the dog, yard work, cooking dinner (I am now ALWAYS barefoot in the house).
I walk Hayden to school barefoot.
I do not wear heels.
I run barefoot 50% of the time, wearing either Five Fingers or minimal racing flats the other 50%. My overall milage is very low right now, but I can now run up to 5 miles in the Vibrams and 2 1/2 barefoot.
And my foot is changing. E x p a n d i n g. My foot has actually shrunk a tiny bit in length but widened in the forefoot and deepened in the instep. I now have one of those cartoon footprints with a curvey thing and five little dots for toes. For about 24 hours after a barefoot run my feet look all plump and muscular like arms that just did a bunch of chatturangas. AND… because of the barefooting(or lack of shoe rubbing/sweating) my calluses are going away.
If I was picky about footwear before, well, you can imagine how I am, now.
All toe pinchers have been thrown out.
The pictures do not do this change justice, but these feet are pumped.
I am obsessed with my feet, a body part I used to hate and get annoyed with. Now? I admire them. I flex and spread my toes and massage the tops and finger the tough but smooth pads I am developing on the bottoms.
Oh, I forgot the best part. The foot pain? Gone. The knee pain? Half-way gone. 🙂