5 Dangers of Going Barefoot

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5 Dangers of Going Barefoot.

This has got to be one of the most asinine articles that I have seen. The five dangers mentioned aren’t dangers at all if a person watches where he/she steps. But the worst  is stating that plantar fasciitis is a stray virus that can be picked up like the common cold! It seems that it is perfectly acceptable to print anything, and there is absolutely no need to know what one is talking about! The writer and/or sponsor of this article should be ashamed for promoting such false ideas.

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Where Are Your Shoes?!

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ThermometerIt’s a toasty 28° today, and I had some errands to run.  So I bundled up my son, threw on my jacket and huaraches, and headed out the door.  I arrived at my first destination and walked in.  The lady working there took one look at my feet and exclaimed, “Where are your shoes?  It’s cold outside!”  I parried with, “Where are your gloves?  Don’t you know it’s cold?”  She laughed.  What was really amusing was that my hands were colder than my feet.  In fact my hands were turning red.  The rest of me was quite a bit warmer.

I finished my errands with no other confrontations.  I don’t think anyone else noticed or cared.  I know people would growl if I showed up barefoot, but one would think that huaraches qualified as shoes!  At least there was a sole under my foot.  At least it made for a more exciting trip out today.

First Quarter Mile

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Well I did it!  I barefooted my first 1/4 mile.  And it was interesting.  I’ve been roaming around the house for a month now just getting my feet used to it, and twice I ventured to the mailbox.  Today was a mild day in the 50’s, so I decided to give it a try.

I rode to the church with my daughter, and then she went on to work.  After my business was finished, I started my 3 block pilgrimage for home.  All went well the first 1/2 block.  Then I decided to give my feet a little rest from the pavement.  I cut across the street to walk on the long strip of grass that continued for the next block.

First step was good; second and third questionable.  By the fourth step, I had discovered who treats his lawn and who doesn’t!  This lawn was infested with sand burrs.  My poor feet were coated.  There was nothing to do but sit down on the curb and pull the thorns out.  My only concern was that my bottom would then be covered as well.  It wouldn’t look to good to walk down the street picking at my butt!

Luckily the thorns came out easily and none were in my pants :).  I elected to finish that block back on the pavement.  The next block had a sidewalk part way and then more grass.  Yes, you guessed it.  More sand burrs.  At least this time there was only one, and I looked carefully where I put my feet (like I could see them burried in the dead grass!).

People were riding their horses down the main street and I stopped to watch.  I thought looking interested in them would be less obvious than standing there waiting until all the cars had passed for three blocks either direction.  I really didn’t want to run across the road, but I ended up doing it anyway.  Besides, I didn’t think I looked any wierder being barefoot than being on horseback in the middle of town.

The remaining distance was a smooth parking lot.  I breezed over it and into my cool dirt yard.  There were a few sharp pebbles along the way that reminded me how tender I still am, but it wasn’t bad.

Invisible Shoes!

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photoWoo Hoo, I got new shoes!  I wish it was that thrilling.  After spending 30 minutes or more lacing the crazy things, I’m exhausted.  The hardest part was getting the  thick lace through the tiny hole.  But finally success was mine! And then I had to tie them.  I think I watched the video three different times, and then I tied a modified “Pheonix Flower” with the left over lace.  Overall I’m pleased.  I need to adjust a little here and there, but it isn’t bad for the first time.  In the video, Steven Sashen talks about how the knot might be a little strange at first, especially if a person has smaller feet.  For me, it was a little weird, but not obnoxiously so.  I think one of my shoes is a little tight and that makes for more sensory awareness around the knot.  In other words, my toes can’t escape it!  The other foot is fine though.  As I said, I’m pleased and I think the little embellishment on top is cute!

Step One

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Well, after being sick for so long, I decided  to venture out farther than the mailbox this time and walk 3 blocks.  Yes, I said three blocks.  It doesn’t sound like much, but it was enough.  I discovered how terribly weak I am from the sickness and how terribly out of shape I am!  The good news is that after the three blocks, I wasn’t coughing a lung up.  That’s progress!  The down side was that I was trying to implement the barefoot techniques in a pair of Teva, and it was almost impossible to land on the ball of my foot.  I feel a slight strain at the back of my knees (top of calves) and am quite certain that it’s due to tension created from the shoes.  I so badly wanted to just land on my heels!  It would have been easier.  I will probably try a few blocks again today just to keep moving.

On another note, I’ve been reading blogs, websites, and books, and the thing I keep noticing is that barefoot running advice is offered primarily to those who have previous experience running.  That isn’t me!  However, the c25k sight offers some training tips for latent bloomers like myself.  The only part that I ignored was the advice on procurring running shoes.  I am still going to use the barefoot or minimalist method; I really just wanted some guidance on how to start moving.  Barefoot sights talk about muscle atrophy and making the transition from shod to barefoot, but immediately jump from stretching the feet out to running.  Too large of a jump for me.

So for now, I’ll walk my three blocks again.  Rest.  And just put one foot in front of the other, and soon I’ll be walking out the door!

Beginner Steps

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I have to confess.  I, like many others, was drawn to the wild tale of the Tarahumara Indians and Chris McDougall’s book “Born to Run.”  And I sat and devoured every word!  McDougall truly has a talent for story telling.  While I know that it was a non-fiction book, it read very much like fiction which made it even more enjoyable to read.  That said, I am not going to chuck my shoes immediately and go native.  However, there were some convincing points made that I believe to be true and beneficial for me.

To begin with, as a child I ran, and I ran a lot.  I ran barefoot through fields, over gravel roads, sand burrs (stickers), and anything else that was in my path.  I also ran full tilt.  There was no fear of what I might step on; I merely scanned ahead and side stepped what needed to be avoided.  And I loved it!

As I got older, I began competing in Middle School.  I quickly found out that there was a certain form and length of step to be had.  My running became jogging.  Rough, bouncy, tiring.  It wasn’t as much fun anymore either.  Then I basically quit in high school.  I figured there was no way I could compete with those who were more serious about running than I was and who had been practicing form, etc. for several years.

I’ve attempted to “jog” here and there over the years, but I preferred to walk because there was less stress on my joints.  In fact, I came to the conclusion through reading that walking was better anyway due to that very fact.  It seemed like everyone was saying not to run because it would destroy joints and organs with the terrible beating.

My husband loves to run.  He ran cross country in HS and then kept running in the Marine Corp.  We tried to run together once or twice, but our strides were very different, and (quite honestly) it wasn’t very enjoyable.  We never tried again.  Finally in the last few years we started walking together, but his heart is still into running.  I would love to run with him and share some of that time.

Then I ran across the book “Born to Run.” I can’t even remember now how I did, but by reading it and other authors (Barefoot Ken Bob, Barefoot Ted, etc.), it seemed like barefoot runnng was the missing link (pardon the pun).  Again, as a child I loved to run, and then something happened.  I wanted to run, just never could or never really thought I could.

So for several weeks now I’ve been walking around  in the house barefoot.  I made one venture out to the mailbox and back in the snow and decided that is for die-hards!  Everywhere else I’ve gone, I’ve put on my slippers.  They’re hot pink with colored paint splotches all over and animal (muppets) sewn on the toe.  I think they’re cute and so did the kids at church 🙂  My brother was appalled that I wore them to the store.  I told him the store sold them, so why couldn’t I wear them!  He didn’t agree.

I haven’t actually tried much more because (here comes the excuse!) I’ve been sick.  Yes, sadly, for 4 weeks now I’ve been battling acute bronchitis.  If I EVER get over this, I’ll start walking and build up slowly.  But I decided that I first need to heal.

My husband has since purchased some minimal sneakers because no matter how much he  believes in the barefoot ideology, he WILL NOT go barefoot.  I think it’s mental, but don’t tell him that.  Hopefully we can start running around together soon.  I look forward to those days.

Until then, I am taking it s…l…o…w!  By the way, that’s what everyone suggests, so maybe being sick right now is actually a blessing in disquise because I have a tendency to over do.