Last night was looking to be a pretty busy night, and to be honest – if I had been physically up to running the distances I SHOULD be running, I wouldn’t have even tried to work it in. I was going to a Binghamton Mets baseball game that was sponsored by my wife’s workplace (we were handing out free bags.) I knew I wasn’t up to 5 miles or so, but I decided I had plenty of time for a quick mile. I had really enjoyed the mile I ran barefoot with my son the previous day, so I thought another barefoot mile would be perfect! (as a side note – this also had the added bonus of my VFF Bikila’s not being all sweaty and gross, letting me wear those to the game.)
I left work on time (my planned schedule only worked if I managed to get out on time) and headed right home. After quickly changing and removing my socks and shoes I headed out the door. My son and I had maintained a rather enjoyable (But slow) 15 minute mile pace, but I thought I would go a bit faster due to timing (And pride) issues. I wasn’t worried about the faster speed hurting my calf – as it was only a mile.new It felt GREAT!! Somehow I missed a lot of the little pointy rocks and pebbles that I had stepped on in thee previous day’s run, and I felt as free as a bird! As I turned the corner that heads back to my house (probably 1/3 of a mile to go), my toes felt a little warm, and could feel some abrasion on my feet. I wasn’t to worried about it as it was only .33 of a mile or so, and after all – I had places to be.
Stupid mistake. 1/3 of a mile might not make much of a difference in shoes, but when we are talking about skin hitting the ground – that 1/3 of a mile is important. I continued it slightly slower (not really by choice) but kept up a brisk pace compared to the day before. When I walked in the house, I took a look at my feet and knew that I had made a wee-bit of a mistake.
After standing for an hour handing out shopping bags at the game, my feet were very unhappy. I think I did everything I could to keep my weight on my heels! (Which showed no damage – so apparently I have “cured” my heel-strike running illness.) I got home and coated my toes in bacitracin, and whined to my wife.
I did some more reading on barefoot running last night. Apparently 1/4 mile is a suggested starting point. (oops!) Though, it was also acknowledged you could go further, if you cut your speed way back-explaining why the first night was so succesful.
I don’t think I would consider it a “failed” experiment – but it was a great learning opportunity. Plus it further points out that I am horrible at figuring out the definition of “taking it easy” when it applies to running.
editted to add: An interesting thing I just realized, all of the places circled on the picture of my feet – are the same places that my VFFs are showing wear.