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I decided that I was going to try and get in some barefoot miles but I wanted a light backup shoe to put on in the places where the path is very rough. I packed my invisible shoes, and Kyle's KSOs. I was going to hook the shoes into my fuel belt. At the last moment I decided to ditch the KSOs because they were weighing my belt down and I didn't want to be that heavy. I tucked my invisible shoes into my belt and headed off barefoot and feeling very light.
I ran towards Edworthy Park first and encountered lovely smooth pavement for the first while. It was great fun, there were so many people out enjoying the beautiful weather. The paths were quite packed and at times I had to run along the grass you get around large groups. My feet felt great, I am amazed at how much more I love to run without shoes, even minimalist shoes. The downside to beautiful weather this early in the year is that the paths aren't cleared of the tiny painful rocks that the city uses as traction during the winter. I encountered small sections of these tiny rocks (pea gravel I think) again and again. At first I thought about stopping and putting on my invisible shoes but then my pride overruled me and I ran on. I didn't want to have everyone see that I had to use shoes just to get past some silly rocks. The first section was intense. I told myself to relax and let my foot spread out so that I had the most surface area spread out. With each section I felt less pain and I really started to get a hang of the technique of running over the sharp little rocks. I got to the park and had to turn around to head back towards downtown. I ran over the sharp rocks and felt like a stinking rock star.
2 miles barefoot
I continued towards downtown and the path changed. It went from smooth new pavement to old worn down broken up chip seal. I haven't run on this kind of path yet without my shoes. I didn't think that today was the day to do so. I grabbed out my invisible shoes and slipped them on. I had pre-tied them so it was simple and easy to get them on. Automatically I felt the protection for my feet but I also noticed that they felt floppy. It almost felt like I had to scrunch my toes to keep the shoes on. I had them tied on quite tight and the strap was bugging me a bit. Not much at the start of the run but by the time I was done running oh man my feet felt that strap. I ran another 2 miles felling great. I saw lots of different runners and noticed that most looked in pain, like they were training really hard. Now I don't train hard, in my opinion. I run for fun and don't like to be uncomfortable while I do it. I think that is something that drew me to barefoot running. I was smiling from ear to ear just taking in the beautiful day and feeling so grateful to be running. I took my shoes off again as I got closer to downtown and the path changed to smooth new pavement again. I ran across the new peace bridge. It was so crowded that running on the sidewalk was nearly impossible. I had to run in the bike lane. The sidewalk was super smooth and felt amazing to my bare feet and the bike path was rough but not unpleasant. I ran across and just past and then I turned around and headed back to my car. As I ran back a group of teen boys were skateboarding on the path and they high fived me and asked where my shoe were. I pointed to my invisible shoe tucked into my belt and kept running.
2 miles barefoot again.
I put my invisible shoes back on and started running down the beat up path again. Nothing really interesting to tell except that I really wanted to take my shoes off. The toe strap was starting to hurt and the tops of my second and third toes were hurting from scrunching my toes to keep my shoes on. By the end of my run my feet were sore and I wondered what I was thinking. I ended up with some pretty intense blisters right where the toe strap is on the bottom of the shoe. I also ended my run with the bottom of my foot covered in blood. The strap had dug into the space between my toes and cut it open. Ouch!! So now I am on the look out for a very light pair of shoes to pack with me when I run barefoot. I picked up a pair of Vibram Seeyas earlier this week but I haven't run in them yet. They are definitely light enough and they feel good on so I am hopeful that they may work.
Here's a lovely picture of my feet post run. The first foot had no problems, the second is my bloodied foot. Yikes.
So there you have. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this run. I am hopeful that I may be able to run the Harvest Half barefoot. I would love to do it barefoot. I am going to make sure to be careful and not over do it because I really really love running barefoot.
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