I've continued to walk and run barefoot with my improving health. My feet are tough and strong and I really am enjoying the feel of the ground directly under the soles of my feet. The whole thing remains in experimental stage. It's very fun and even feels mildly edgy. But I keep reminding myself that I am just trying something new and am out there with nothing to prove.
I made a firm decision that if my feet begin to resemble the feet of any of the following, I will quit immediately:
-shoeless, deck-swabbing, pirate from any Robert Louis Stevenson novel
I often wonder what my neighbors think as they pass me. Do they think I'm going swimming somewhere? Got locked out of my house without my shoes? Dirty hippy moving into a nice Republican neighborhood? I make a point to wear my expensive running sunglasses when I go out so that I don't look so much like a vagrant.
One of my first days of feeling better I decided to take a real run. Barefoot, of course. (up until this point, I'd been taking walks and running bits and pieces) It was a glorious day and the sun felt wonderful on my face and shoulders. I know I had a huge smile on my face. The wonderful thing about being barefoot was how incredible the sun-warmed dirt road felt under my feet and between my toes. After a good long stretch of running I got to thinking, Man, all of this being sick really has taken a toll on my lung capacity. Feels pretty tight in there. At which point I looked at my watch. Oh, Emily, you dork! You've been running at 8 min/mile pace! (My normal pace is more along the lines of 10 min/mile) I slowed it down and the lungs held-up just fine. That sure was a fun way to start off running again.
One week later....for now I am putting the barefoot experiment on hold. Not because I'm in danger of developing hobbit feet, though. Two road-killed rattlesnake babies between our driveway and the entrance to the development make me wonder just how many of them are out there and crossing the road...then there's the tarantula, and the 3 large communities of enormous ants (what do fire ants look like, I wonder?) on my favorite dirt road. Going to make the official call that it is not worth it. For now.
But I must raise my coffee cup to honor those that settled this mean old chunk of Texas panhandle. Those men and women had a whole lot of pluck. Hats off to you.