Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ouch! TMTS

This isn't easy to write. It's been even harder to deal with. On Wednesday, during my 4-mile run in my VFF's with a half-mile to go, my left foot started hurting. It came on quickly, even though there wasn't an accident or anything sudden to pinpoint. I stopped to massage my foot and stretch for a minute and tried running again. No way! It hurt too much. I walked back the rest of the way, visibly limping, and trying every now and then to run a little and convince myself that it wasn't so bad.

Even though I thought I was adjusting to the VFF's very well, it's a case of TMTS (too much too soon). I did more hills on this particular run than I had done in the VFF's so far, and I ran the downhills instead of walking/running easily down them. Of course, this is where the most pounding occurs. And one of the downhills was a concrete sidewalk. Blast! So now I know I'm not ready for running downhill on concrete yet. It's been too many years of wearing cushioned shoes and letting my feet become weak to then expect them to handle such a pounding. It's given me more respect for my feet and all the connected, working parts of my body.

I researched online and found that I'm right on track for the most typical barefoot running injuries. I guess that gives me some kind of twisted comfort. Most people, who are experienced runners and start running barefoot or in minimalist shoes, first experience tight, sore calves from suddenly using non-elevated heels (check). Then the tightness in the calves leads to top-of-the-foot pain because of how the calves are lengthening and pulling on the feet (check!). My foot still hurts, but at least now I know I'm not the only over-eager barefooter newbie in pain who had to learn the hard way.

This isn't going to derail my experiment (sorry Dan). First things first, I've got to see if my foot starts to get better soon to know how serious this is. Hopefully this injury will heal in a week or two, and I can start running again. My new plan will be to only run in my VFF's once a week while running in regular running shoes the other three days. I'll shoot for doing the Portland Half in my VFF's in October instead of the June RnR.

That's the new plan if my foot heals pretty quickly. I don't even want to consider the other possibilities yet. It's depressing enough not running for the past three days. This morning I went to my usual running trail and walked very slowly, and with a limp, for maybe a mile. I had the foresight to bring my camera with me so I could distract myself and stop often for photo opportunities. It's amazing what you see when you're moving at a snail's pace. There's a beautiful paper bark tree right off the trail that I'd never noticed, and the birds were singing as if it was spring instead of 48 degrees.

Lo and behold, what else did I see on the trail? A barefoot runner! Damn him anyway, looking all happy as he moved along quickly and silently. And he was totally barefoot, unshod, skin-on-the-ground, not even VFF's. I wanted to ask him if he'd ever had the top-of-the-foot pain, but he was in his groove, so I just watched him glide past as I turned to limp back to the car.

I WILL continue my pursuit of running barefoot, but much much slower from now on, and with more care for my tender feet. Now please just heal and let me get back to running. Amen Hallelujah PraiseGod LovetoBuddha Namaste BlessyouMotherNature Prettyplease.


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