July 6, 2013 by scratchtype1
I had my first strong dream with a barefoot theme last night. It was a nice break from the recent spate of troubled or nightmarish dreams. In it, I was running, very fast, with hardly any effort on a road strewn with rocks and stones. My feet were having no trouble with gliding over it all.
I’ve been doing a fair bit of self-myofascial release for the feet and muscles of the lower legs lately. A tennis ball and golf ball are my favored implements to work on the fascia, muscles and tendons. It seems to make a difference immediately afterwards with how good-feeling the areas are (although the actual moments of finding tender spots is quite uncomfortable) and I hope that it’s helping with the overall health of the tissues, as it maybe helps to promote further blood flow to those areas. And more blood flow should lead to better recovery, better regeneration, and better, stronger, healthier feet.
One strange thing I’ve noticed is that the calluses under my left foot aren’t as substantial as the right foot. It must mean somehow I’m stimulating faster callus growth on the right sole, but I don’t know how that’s happening.
Came across a show on Discovery Channel last night called Naked and Afraid. The premise is to strand 2 experienced survivalists in a remote area, and all they get is a chosen survival item like a knife, firestarter, etc in a small bag. They have to strip off all their clothes when they get dropped off. I wonder, did any of those who got chosen to taken on the 21-day challenges think to go barefoot before going out on the filming? My guess is probably yes, that at least some of them did that. Of course, something that the show’s editors will love to emphasize is the dangers and possibilities of discomfort from 2 people going from being clothed to being naked and shoeless. The viewing audience is thinking from the perspective of a life of near-perpetual shoe wearing. Feet that go barefoot in environments like seen in the show are like eyes that suddenly have a blindfold removed and exposed to bright light.
I did a hike on the AT yesterday that covered trail from the PA-MD border south to Rt. 491. By GPS, it was about 13.3 miles of distance that I covered going out and back. Pretty hot and humid, I drank a good amount of water and 20 oz bottle of Gatorade, and still by the time I got home, had dropped about 3 lbs of weight. The trail was quite rocky in places, and there was something very close to a rock scramble about 2.5 miles south of the PA-MD border. If there’s something I’ve discovered about very rocky portions of trails and doing them in Xeroes, it’s that sometimes it’s easier and faster going up than down. Especially on the gentler slopes, although there is a way to a rocky gentle slope quickly, but it’s perhaps a bit crazy — you have to trust your eyes and instincts to bounce lightly from foot to foot. Do that and you can fly along. If you slow down and pick your way carefully, it’ll be slow. It’s a bit weird but that seems to be how it is for me.
Lots of people commented about the sandals. I heard one guy say, “I could never do that.” I should have said, “Yes, you could, you just need to adapt your feet to it.”
It’s interesting to see how many people look and think, “That’s impossible.” It’s almost like they how they would look at elite long-distance runners and think, “I could never go that fast.” Now that might well be true, but we’re not talking about speed. We’re talking about the human foot, which was selected and adapted so we could be persistence hunters, a foot which when freed from shoes can become strong, springy, and tough.
Still, every time I go on the AT and hike some part of it, my respect for the Barefoot Sisters grows. The Xeroes, while they are about as minimalist as you can get, still remove a fair amount of sensation and provide a little bit of cushion to make missteps forgiving enough. I thought about that a lot as I picked my way along yesterday, how my feet are tougher and stronger now, but still not at a level which others have done. But I’m pretty sure once they’ve adapted and recovered from yesterday’s effort, they will again be stronger.