I went out for a barefoot run this morning. It was about 42°F outside and wet from drizzle. The ground sapped away heat from my feet fast and it felt colder than dry pavement that was 10 degrees colder. However, I got back from 2 miles in 18 minutes and my soles were 58°F and felt okay — cold, naturally.
Now you may be wondering why I started doing this. I briefly touched on some of the benefits when I first started, but since then have mentioned only that my calves got sore from the workout and that I kept with it. Well, way back when I was running — in shoes — The Corporate Challenge back in 1999 and 2001, during the race and during practice I felt like I was beating myself up. All the joints in my body were sore, especially my knees, but also my back, and I would finish up wheezing like I was going to die right there. I quit running for a long time because of that — and especially because I started getting chronic knee and back problems.
So I happened to start reading about this "barefoot running" on and off. Once I heard that you use the arch of your foot and your calf muscles as shock absorbers, I was intrigued. I mean, running is a great way to lose weight, but if you end up spending more time on a chiropractic bed then doing it, then it's probably not all that great. So I started — slowly at first — and now I feel like I can run a 5K race. Well, maybe with a little practice.
The best thing is that when I get home, I feel great. I'm tired from the exercise, but I am not sore at all. After today's run, for instance, my toes were scolding met that they were really quite cold, and my calf muscles complain when I walk up the stairs, but that's it. My knees feel great. My back feels great. And I certainly don't feel like I just got beat up.
Now if only I can figure out a way to continue without actually getting a debilitating case of frostbite this winter …