I just completed a New Year’s Resolution.
Back in January, I resolved to run my 2 ½ mile loop barefoot. No Vibrams. Just barefoot. Six months later, I did it.
And you’d think I was running topless. The askance looks and comments I get. Even a toddler loudly asked his mom as I ran past, “Why is that lady running with no shoes?”
A good friend asked me the same question: why are you running in an urban park where there’s glass and dog poop and who knows what else.
The easy answer is that my body doesn’t hurt. My knees feel great. My back doesn’t hurt. But I get that running in my Vibrams. So what is about barefoot?
Part of it is the challenge: it’s hard to run barefoot. It hurts at first. It takes gradual conditioning. I like that.
And it feels good. My feet are part of the run. Rather than being hot and clompy in a pair of running shoes (and god they used to hurt so much), my feet feel cool and relevant. It feels spectacular to run through a puddle. Running in grass feels like the softest, coolest carpet. A smooth asphalt path feels like silk under my feet.
I like how the soles of my feet are slowly changing: smooth and soft and a little bit thicker. Kind of polished.
I like the simplicity. No gear. I’m ready to go.
Running barefoot also requires a lot of concentration. Stepping on a piece of gravel hurts. But what I’m really scared of: clover. I am on a sharp lookout for bees. Makes the run more interesting.
And there’s a spiritual, energy piece to it that I don’t begin to understand. I like the idea of not having anything between me and the ground. We’re electrical beings, maybe it’s good to ground that electricity somewhere. Maybe it’s good to travel closer to the Earth.
My Mid-Year Resolution: run my loop twice around barefoot before the end of the summer. Good for my fitness, good for my feet. And that’s all I’m going to say about this weird barefoot obsession of mine.