Yesterday I ran my first couple miles in my new “barefoot” running shoes. (Yes, combining the words “barefoot” and “shoes” together is a little oxymoronic.) The quick results: I felt fast and free, but my calves are sore.
I drove to More Mesa because I wanted at least a mile of open dirt trail. I’m very glad I opted for dirt; I can’t imagine how sore I’d be if I tried this on pavement! Starting out with a lot of energy, it’s easy to stay on your toes – or midfoot/ball of foot – on each step. It’s definitely a different stride never letting your foot get out ahead of you where you’re forced to land on your heel. It’s a good change because striking your heel is essentially putting the brakes on with every step. Running on the front part of your foot forces speed – you basically struggle to keep yourself from falling forward. In the first mile, I felt fast, natural, and free.
Along the cliff, the dirt gets pretty soft and is quite sandy in some spots. It was weird to feel the sand between the toes of the shoes. Because the shoes don’t cover much, I was worried about dirt getting in from the top. Turns out this wasn’t much of a problem. A couple times I kicked dirt into my heel, but the shoes kept most debris out.
Now the negative: About a mile from my car, I thought I had a burr in the shoe. I stopped to remove it to find that it was the shoe itself rubbing away at my foot! The seam along the side of the big toe joint was slowly wearing a hole in my skin! Being a mile away from the car, I decided walking was not going to make it go away, so I toughed it out for the run back. I was wincing (and running quite funny) by the time I got back to my car. I left a nice red spot in the shoe. 🙁
The run itself felt great. Aside from the one spot rubbing a hole in my foot, it’s easy to forget you’re wearing anything on your feet. They’re basically just there for protection from small debris. You will still feel a sharp rock, and it will hurt. My feet did take a little beating on the trail, but not too bad.
Later in the day, I walked quite a bit around downtown with no issues. (I bandaged the hole.) I wish I would have soaked my feet in ice water because they were feeling a little swollen.
The following morning, as soon as I stepped out of bed, I noticed my calves. They definitely got a workout they aren’t used to! No terrible pain, just tight soreness. I’m sure it’s part of the transition to a more natural running style. Also, my heels are slightly tender; it’s pretty hard to avoid striking the heel at all.
All-in-all, I loved the feeling. I need a solution to the seam that rubs and then I’ll go out for round #2.