This morning I went out for a run barefoot. Being my first time since, perhaps, before I was a teenager, I kept it short. The first thing I realized is that I needed to shorten my stride and run with quick, short steps. The second thing I realized is that the little rocks and grit on the sidewalk and roads hurt my wimpy feet.
Despite running with Fido on trails for an hour at a time without pain, a 30 minute run on pavement last Thursday left me with pain in my knee that lasted a couple days. Steve's advice: run barefoot. In fact, he said, "Save the feet, hurt the knees." I totally buy that, but how long before I build up enough tolerance to actually run barefoot for more than 10 minutes? And, do I really want hobbit feet anyway? Or, should I become one of those people with the silly looking five finger shoes?
On a different running note, Diane Van Deren's advantage as an ultra-runner: the lobectomy surgery she had to cure her epilepsy. To be fair, she was a pro-athlete (in tennis, I think) before the epilepsy appeared, but it's fascinating that by removing part of her brain, she no longer suffers the mental torture of endurance running. She's completely present while running with no thought of how long she's been out or how much longer she'll be out. You can hear her discuss her experience with epilepsy and running on a recent Radiolab podcast: