Yesterday came with a lot of insight, emotion and my eyes where somewhat opened to the possibilities for me to run barefoot.
Peeking out the kitchen window in the afternoon, the signs of spring where calling me to leave the house. I grabbed my Vibram Fivefingers for backup and stuck a water bottle down my pants.
I did a couple of push-ups outside the house and then I shot away. I felt light and completely free. At first I thought I would run around the neighbourhood and just toughen up my soles a little bit.
But it didn’t take long before my plans grew in size. I wanted to go far. So I ran west and sat my sights on the road to leading to Bjärred.
I was passing farms with horses and fields with scarecrows. Everything felt good. Straight posture. Arms high. High cadence. Bent knees. Little bobbing. No shortness of breath.
After I while my right calf started acting up a bit, feeling like a part of the muscles was tight and not very flexible. I mended this with stretch pauses and walking. The feeling went away shortly.
I reached my turning point (between old Bjärred and Haboljung). I have never liked the idea of turning around, running the same stretch again. So I continued south, towards Lomma.
My mood was high and I pulled my earplugs out every now and then just to say “Hi!” to the people I was passing in the street. After passing Lomma my mood darkened. This was due to an extensive use of pebbles and salt on the cycling path towards Lund. I was now swearing loudly because I couldn’t continue in the way I wanted to. Instead of putting my Fives on I decided to switch to the grass next to the path. I mean, it looked all nice and soft. Might even be nice for a change. Big mistake!
14 kilometres of asphalt went smooth as baby skin. 5 meters of grass and I was bleeding. I had taken a small leap (stupidly) and impaled my foot on a particularly hard piece of grass. Leaving the sole of my foot punctured and bloody.
Well this was inconvenient, I thought. Now it seamed like a good idea to put my Fives on. So I did. Then I ran towards the intersecting road up ahead where a car was waiting to pull out. I knocked on the window of the car and asked the driver if he could take me back to Lund. “Get in!” – he said.
The guy turned out to be a former runner, and was much interested in my footwear. I told him a was going barefoot and our conversation drifted in to the structures of the foot (the guy was a doctor) and what running style was the better for the body.
He dropped me off on the side of the highway in the north-west of Lund and I ran home. Not feeling my injury at all (the pain came later though).
This was one of the best runs I’ve had in a long time (In spite of me injuring myself).
This adventure left me wanting more. Suddenly barefoot running seams more limited by my endurance than the toughness of my soles.
The horizon is the limit.