I’ve been in a holding pattern lately. Half mile run, then 15-20 minutes on the bike. The lack of distance is a bummer, but I made another breakthrough with my stride today. I was experiencing pain right behind my fourth toe on my left foot when I ran. I realized that something was wrong, I considered the wise words of Barefoot Ken Bob, the guru of all things unshod:
“If you wear some kind of minimalist, or “transitional” footwear, before you have had the advantage of LEARNING how to run while actually barefoot, you’re just asking for problems – problems that occur when we try to do too much, too soon – when we protect our sensitive soles from telling us how to run more gently, or when it’s time to stop for the day – problems that occur when we’re still running with bad technique, but without the support provided by those big clunky shoes that allowed us to learn how to run badly.”
I’d always thought I was exempt from that, having already learned to run barefoot. However, in my year-long hiatus from running, I must have forgotten. So, I pulled off the Vibrams and finished my run. Instantly, the problem stopped (more on that in a minute). I was more surprised to discover that I wasn’t bothered at all by running down the street barefoot. This was such a surprise because the streets in my neighborhood are very cheese-grater like, and most other attempts I’ve made at running barefoot have ended in pain after about fifty feet. I guess the soles of my feet have toughened up significantly since last year. That’s ill.
As far as the problem stopping, I actually solved a mystery that’s been plaguing me for years. I’ve always had a sense that my body isn’t totally symmetrical, and I discovered why from my little barefoot run: even in a standing position, I had my left ankle torqued a little to the right, causing all the momentum of my stride to go straight into the fourth metatarsal (oddly enough, the very bone I fractured last year). After torquing it back left to a normal position, it was like everything clicked into place. Well, scratch one thing off the list of things that have been bugging me for years. I totally nailed it, bro.
Hopefully going to increase my mileage soon, and do more running barefoot. I keep feeling less and less tired every day. I think I’m starting to make some progress.