Well, I have a confession.
But I’ll get to that in a second.
I’ll be the first person to admit that when I hear about runners who hit the trails shoe-less, I roll my eyes at the concept. I am a huge skeptic. Especially about how “fantastic” barefoot running is for your legs/knees/feet. How it has some magical way of curing any ailments you have from running. I thought to myself “It’s just a fad. It’s all hype. It’s probably just because I live in Boulder”. Even when my 2 friends started reading Born To Run by Christopher McDougall and they’d tell me all the stuff McDougall wrote about, I continued to brush it off.
Well after all their talk about how great that book is, then hearing other runner friends talk about the book, then finding it on one of my best guy friends’ tables, I decided to find out what this book was all about. So I borrowed the book and I’ve been reading it for the past few weeks.
Confession #1: I’m loving the book. Seriously, I can’t put it down. I look forward to going to bed early every night just so I can read a few chapters before passing out. If you’re a runner, you should really consider checking it out.
Confession #2 (the embarrassing one): I’m actually, maybe, sort of, kiiiiiiiiiiiinda starting to become less of a skeptic and believe some of this barefoot running thing.
Facts to keep in mind: I’ve been struggling with ITB pain since the Boulder Trail marathon in the fall of 2009. I spent 8 months in physical therapy. I received a cortisone shot as a last ditch effort before the Cleveland marathon this past May. I ice, foam roll, stretch, strengthen, pop ibuprofen, and take weeks off from running. I bought a road bike to cross train instead. Nothing seems to help. The cortisone shot saved my Cleveland marathon, but the med wore off after 10 days and I haven’t been able to run pain-free since.
So here’s the real confession: Like it or not and as dorky as this sounds, I’m going to try giving barefoot running a shot. I’ve got nothing to lose, right? If there’s anything, ANYTHING that can give me back my running again, I’ll do it. I’m getting desperate. I miss it so much (ha, like you couldn’t tell).
I ran laps around the middle school soccer field this morning. It feels oddly comfortable running without shoes. Unfortunately, my knee still hurt. But I’m not giving up yet. I’m going to try out this whole barefoot thing for another few weeks (running short distances, 3 times a week) and I’ll let ya know how it goes!
Do any of you have experience barefoot running? Does it help? Any words of advice?