Years ago, my boyfriend (now husband) convinced me to do the Run for the Cure 5K. I’d never run in my life, and I was not what you would call athletic. He took me out to buy some fancy-looking running shoes, and made sure I had the rest of the necessary gear. It was a beautiful day for a run, and there were so many supportive and happy people around. I hated every second of it. I felt like I was dying. It hurt. I was so happy to be finished, and for awhile afterwards my mantra was “I’m not running unless a bear is chasing me.”
It took a few years for me to try running again. I took it much more slowly and allowed for a lot of walking breaks. Well, it must have helped, because five years later I find myself training for my third marathon in the fall. I’m not a speedy runner, nor am I any kind of expert, but I love running and the feeling it gives me. There’s nothing like it. What I don’t love is the injuries.
Let’s see: illitobial band injured (in both knees, one right before a marathon), plantar fasciitis, shin splints, lost toenails, and a weird stabbing pain on the top of my foot that I have yet to diagnose. I’m doing something wrong. I just wish I knew what it was. I’ve gotten fitted for running shoes by professionals who know what they’re doing. I’ve tried changing the way I run. I’ve tried yoga. Nothing works. Something feels off with the mechanics of my running. I’m noticing it more and more these days. I’m worried.
Over the years, I’ve been hearing whispers of the benefits of barefoot running. It supposedly improves the way your foot hits the ground during a run, thus minimizing injuries. In the beginning, I dismissed it as something that hippies did. That it wasn’t a good idea for someone who runs through Canadian winters. Slowly, it’s become more and more mainstream. Nike came out with a shoe awhile ago that mimics barefoot running. I think Asics has some too. There’s the Vibram FiveFingers shoes that look like toe socks (and, to be honest, look kind of ugly). Anyways, I’ve decided that I’m going to give it a try. What do I have to lose? No, I’m not buying a specialized pair of sneakers. Not yet. I’m also not going to run barefoot on the road as I don’t fancy cutting my feet or having them turn into rough, hard, hobbit-feet. Tomorrow I’m waking up early to run on my local beach. I figure it’s a good place to start. I’m kind of excited at the thought. Although there have been reports of injuries associated with barefoot running I’m still going to give it a shot. At this point, what do I have to lose?