DAY 21 - My Giddy Ritual

Diagram of a beginner barefoot runner
I have this ritual I do after every barefoot run. Something I rarely did when I used to run shod. It doesn't involve sacrificing livestock, or piercing my body with a handful of oversized wooden needles. I don't walk over coals (although sometimes it feels like I have) and I don't don a pair of gloves full of bullet ants that sting. No. That would be all too unpleasant especially after running 5 miles barefoot. 

After logging my run in my Daily Mile account I head upstairs to take a shower. I never look at my feet right after my run. I save this for my pre-shower ceremony while the water is warming up. I don't know why, but I get kind of giddy at the thought of seeing how my feet fared after any given run. OK. I'm not sure giddy is the right word. I don't get all freaky, mad-scientist-like and rub my hands together, but I honestly feel like I'm sort of peeking at an unwrapped present. Will it be an unidentified embedded object? A friction spot? Some peeling skin? A blood blister? I know this sounds kind of gross. Really what I'm hoping for is none of the above. Its exciting for me because honestly I have yet to look at my feet after a long barefoot run and see, well... nothing. Its always something. So the day I finally look at my feet and find nothing but a thick layer of plantar skin that's been buffed and pedicured to a nice smooth and callous-free finish will be a great day indeed. I will have come a long way.

So yesterday I completed the ritual again after my 5.5 mile run. I'm sad to say that I have not arrived, yet. My feet still have a couple blisters. Funny how, for the most part, they feel like they're getting better/tougher, but they sure as hell don't look any better. In fact, I still have "leftovers" from my very first weeks of barefooting. Those stupid little black callouses that wrap around my second and third toes that were once drained blood blisters are of little consequence now. No hurting. No soreness. Not even sensitive. They just look ugly. For some reason they are still black. So I performed a little barefoot makeover and trimmed those suckers back to the new skin. Now they're looking pretty close to normal. Lets hope they stay that way.

Then there's the spot where the unidentified embedded object was. Remember that one? A good soak in the hot-tub and a happy hour later... gone. But the dark spot is still there where I performed painful surgery to dig the damn thing out. Maybe scar tissue? I don't know. Very suspicious.

And lets not forget the WTF?? spot on my second toe in the crease of the fold. Huh? A blister? Not quite. An embedded object? Not likely. So what is it? Fuck if I know.

And the most painful of all spots on my foot. The farthest outside spot right under my pinky toe. This spot is the magnet of all things pointy. I swear, if I'm going to step on something sharp and jabby it will ALWAYS target itself to this spot! And not just once on my run, but two, three or four times just in case I didn't quite feel it the first time. Its always better to step on something stabby in a raw and tender spot, isn't it? I think not.

Now that my runs are getting longer I'm hoping I will have more time to focus on my form. I have a ways to go (the bottoms of my soles will attest to that). My goal? To get to a point where my soles are no longer like road maps of previous barefooting hazards, but rather a smooth, buffed canvas of dirt and road that I can actually wash off in giddy ritual at the end of every run.
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  1. Here's your MGBG foot reading. It's like a palm reading, but cooler. You might be twisting your foot while it's on the ground, either because of pronation or because you're landing pigeon-toed.

    You can do something about being pigeon-toed. I am as well. And I practice running with a straight foot by running along a line on the road and trying to keep my foot even with the line.

    If it's pronation, there's nothing much you can do about it except wait for your feet to strengthen and either correct the pronation or toughen the plantar skin so that it doesn't affect you any more.

    You're doing great! Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks so much MGBG! Love the foot reading! Yes. I'm a MAJOR pronator. Its actually improved quite a bit since I started barefoot running, but my feet still do it. Weird thing is I never got the moon shaped blister until I started running over 5 miles. Slowly, but surely it really is getting better though.

  3. Cool! Your very own foot reading! I do the same thing that you do. I check out my feet for signs of what I'm doing right and wrong. But it's been so cold that my bare feet haven't touched the pavement for a week. Early winter here stinks. I am afraid that I'm going to have to start all over again in the spring. I too look forward to having that plantar skin and no more blisters and such.

  4. Jen - I read your blog yesterday and have to say the winter scenery where you run is G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S! I'm really jealous. Here, everything just looks...well...dead. At least the blanket of snow makes everything look so soft and beautiful.

  5. I just finished reading your blog after seeing your Profile on BRS. I loved the blog and your writing style and sarcasm. Your MILF shirts are awesome that your friend and you wear. I got some VFFs 2 weeks ago, then read Born to Run while on vacation over Thanksgiving and I am hooked. I am like you and many runners, the injuries in shoes always creep up. I did my first run naked (from ankles down) for .5 miles and loved it. Bookmarked your blog for future inspiration. I might even make my own blog to help keep me motivated. Happy Trails!

  6. I love your comments about the post-run ritual. I do the same thing, except after the shower. And I look forward to it like you. It is funny how bare foot running brings out so many similar feelings among the people who do it. Stuff a shod person would never guess.

    I finish up by slathering this "hand salve" stuff all over my feet. Keeps them from cracking, especially in winter (which is cold here).

  7. Gamer and jogo - Thanks so much for reading my blog... Glad you can find some inspiration in it.

    Gamer - BRS is a great resource. I was so glad I found them.

    Jogo - that salve sounds like a good idea. I might need to check it out if things stay as cold as they have been lately.

    Don't be strangers! Come visit again...


  8. I don't know if you remember the 70's TV show Kung Fu with David Carradine?
    To leave the temple he must first walk to the exit along a path of rice paper and not leave a trace to show he has learnt how to tread lightly. I reckon that we are on on that same quest, it took him years so be prepared!
    One day you will look at your feet and they will be perfect.

  9. Neil, I vaguely remember that show. I was probably too busy watching Charlie's Angels and The Bionic Woman so I must have missed most of those episodes. Hahahaha!


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