nervous breakdown

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August 5, 2013 by scratchtype1

Or this is where I, maybe we if I am so lucky as to have a few readers, get to ponder why is it do we have so many nerves down in the soles of our feet?

Proposal 1 — It’s for the benefit of sadists who can use bastinado or foot-whipping as a means of torture. I know it seems rather base and crude compared to the method of waterboarding that’s popularized by the United States in recent times, but it is effective for inflicting pain and terror.

Proposal 2 — It’s for the benefit of older siblings so they have a good size slab of ticklish flesh upon which to work.

Proposal 3 — Just one of those strange add-ons to the human organism. All those nerves were originally meant to go to the nose and give us the ability to recognize each other by scent like dogs. But evolution got all confused and routed them down to our feet.

Proposal 4 — There’s nothing our feet love more than spending all day caressing the fibers of cotton or wool socks or artificial fiber socks, and through those, feeling the loving caress of the insoles that our benevolent shoe makers have come up with.

Proposal 5 — There was a lengthy period of hominid and human evolution where critical to our survival was the technique of persistence hunting. Our evolutionary ancestors did that in their bare feet and co-evolutionary feature of that time period was the expansion of brain size and ability. We were getting smarter, and we were running, tracking and hunting while doing so. Because we were bipedal and developing running endurance, we needed feet that could feel the ground and feed that information back into our growing brains, growing brains which found protein to be an excellent source of nutrient material during our childhoods and adolescences. Evolution, like it has found the emotion of love to be useful to help promote reproduction and species survival, found that if it could produce cannabinoids when the feet were being stimulated, it could produce a runner’s high that would help to keep someone on the hunt.

Now, see, last Thursday I woke up and it was pissing down rain. So I elected to not run that morning and wait for the afternoon. Still, when I got home, the roads were still a bit wet in places and I felt that it would be good to be prudent and I decided to wear the Xeros just as a way to avoid raising any blisters. Yeah, maybe it would be a good idea to run and see if blisters developed and what that might mean regarding form issues I may be having, but I felt it was a better call to run with the Xeros. It was just a short run, half a mile.

I noticed something. It felt hard to get my cadence up. There was an odd feeling, almost like my foot was sticking to the ground. Maybe it was some, maybe that 4 mm of Xero sole was slowing down the reaction of the nerves in my feet, and I was losing time on getting the sensation to indicate that I should lift my foot. The run just never felt nowhere as good as when I ran Tuesday morning.

Or when I ran Saturday morning. Saturday morning, nice and dry and cool, out I went. Nothing on my feet. There is such a huge difference between how it feels to run with 4 mm of rubber in between me and the pavement, and how it feels with nothing in between. My feet felt light and springy that day, but even better, the nerves in my feet got all happy with it. The half-mile on Thursday had an emptiness to it. The mile and half on Saturday felt full and plentiful, my brain fully felt me running, fully felt the asphalt I ran on, the short stretch of grass that I ran, the annoying pebbly stretch that I tried to float over.

That, at least for me, is the huge difference between running barefoot and running with something on the feet. That doesn’t mean there aren’t times where it’s appropriate to provide protection, depending on just how severe the surfaces are going to be, how well conditioned the feet are, how long of a run it might be and if there’s a chance that the feet might reach a point of over-stimulation, etc. There are some judgment calls that you have to make in all of this.

But I’m beginning to believe that whenever possible, as much as possible, go for the most minimal, go for barefoot. We’ve got a brainware system that’s wired to have us run barefoot. Use it and find out just how human it can make you feel.

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