Posted by on Feb 21, 2012

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OK, so a lot of time has passed and I haven’t been chronicling every footfall. Let’s catch up. Last blog I was bemoaning the fact that practicing barefoot was limiting my choices and my speed. I was getting slower and more painstaking, and enjoying it less and less. Finally, I did as I usually do when I have swallowed someone’s dogma hook, line and sinker: after a period of total immersion, I spit out the parts that don’t work for me, and absorb the rest.

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What that meant here was that I became less fanatical about literal Barefootism, easy to do as the mercury plummeted. I longed for a good ole trail run, so finally I pulled on the Vibrams, grabbed Waldo, and headed out onto my friends Debbie and Willy’s ranch after our training session one day. I actually had a few twinges of guilt for choosing the foot-gloves over my naked feet, but those dissipated as soon as the wind ruffled my hair and I settled into an steady stride. Watching Waldo’s delight as we crossed the creek (or, in his case, plunged through it), climbed the hills and flushed a few startled doves out of the brush, I knew I was back where I belonged. In fact, the forefoot-first running was a natural outcome of wearing the Vibram soles, so I had not compromised in my mission to return to the running for which we were designed. Believe me, I still felt every shift in terrain, rock and twig, and could sense the myriad muscular co-contractions as my feet and brain worked together to make rapid adjustments to changing conditions. The best of both worlds!

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My enthusiasm propelled my to run about 4 miles that day. This was about double anything I had been doing for the few weeks prior with no footwear at all. Not a totally fluid effort, I was still in the early learning phase. As happy as I was to be on the trail, I still overthought each step, too conscious of form and adherence to protocol. I was petrified of landing on something sharp, too. And because I was really activating a lot of sleeping muscles in my feet, I woke the next day to find that I had a good case of something that Jason Robillard discusses in The Barefoot Running Book, that is; TOFP, Top of the Foot Pain or metatarsalgia. This is what he calls a TOO MUCH TOO SOON injury. For about week, when I tried to run, jump rope or do step-ups, it felt like Wile E. Coyote from the Roadrunner cartoons had dropped an Acme anvil on my right foot. Aah, still a newbie…