I had an interesting morning yesterday. After dropping Miss K to her bus, I went on my usual walk around the place. Along the way, I bumped into an elderly gentleman from my neighbourhood and we walked together. He commented that it was very good that I was walking barefoot. Later as we neared our lane, we met another runner from the area and exchanged pleasantries. He said, “I’ve been inspired to try barefoot running too after watching you.” That was a nice thing to hear in the morning.
Initially, there was a lot of monkey talk in my head about how weird it must look to other people, how would my family react and other such things. All mostly baseless and irrelevant. Some of the thoughts that would cross my mind were-
“She must think I am a nut job walking barefoot.”
“Are they wondering if I am one of those eccentric women?”
“Those kids find it funny. They’re ok. I like kids, it’s easier to talk with them.”
“I bet they’re thinking I’m really stupid but what do they know about the freedom my toes feel. They should try it sometime.”
After a while, these thoughts stopped bothering me and today’s comment opened my eyes to the possibility that perhaps something about my actions could be helpful to another. I really didn’t expect anyone to be ‘inspired’ by me although it feels nice to hear it. I’m not an advocate for barefoot running or anything of that sort. As a solo runner, there is little interaction with other runners so my learnings and preferences are just mine. While I’m happy to share my experiences, it’s ultimately very individual. What works for me need not work for another.
I ended up going for another short barefoot walk to a nearby trail and it felt so much nicer than the roads. Despite the feel good factor, there is still a while to go before running barefoot. As my walking time has begun to increase, the imbalances are showing up so there’s stuff to play with. I worked on my running form when not running and the method is applicable even to walking. The effort is to get both feet and legs to work equally. It’s going to take a while to get that habit ingrained. I may need to revise the walking with a mix of time and technique. There is no guide except my body’s reactions so everything is new.
In the meanwhile, my soles are looking a little padded and my feet feel gloriously free.