Monday, December 6, 2010

I am a wuss

I am learning all sorts of things about myself while trying to become a barefoot runner.
First, I am self conscious. I hope when I am out running in my bare feet or socks that no one notices. I know this is bad. I know that I shouldn't care and really I don't or I wouldn't be even doing it. But when people DO notice, I'm not sure how to respond to their questions without getting into an hour long conversation. Then there's the city worker that sees me running barefoot and looks at me like I'm stupid and asks, "Aren't your feet cold?!" What I want to say is, "more than you know buddy! It's 32 degrees out here and my toes are going numb and any second now I'm going to stop and put my socks on for a minute to warm back up." But no. I don't want to appear stupid or anything so I simply say, "they're not too bad. They really warm up after a while. As long as I keep moving." Lies.
So now, number two: I've turned into a liar as well. Like when people ask me if it hurts. I want to say, "YES! My feet sometimes feel like they are raw. And when I stepped on that rock that I didn't see, oh man. That was pain! And the different types of ashpalt... there are more painful kinds than others." But no. Instead I say, "When I build up the mileage slowly it doesn't hurt. You get used to it." And it's mostly true.
Number three: I am a wuss. Since the temperatures were in the teens I didn't even attempt barefoot or sock running. But after reading a few hard core barefooting blogs, I decided to give it a shot. I overdressed so the excess heat would head down to escape out my feet. I checked the weather. 32 degrees. I decided to wear socks. It had been 2 weeks after all since I had been barefoot. I headed out. It was slightly snowing. The ground was wet with puddles. I passed the bus stop where two of my children were waiting. One called me crazy and I wondered what he thought about his friends seeing his mom out in socks in this weather. About 1/2 a mile in I started to question my own sanity. My socks were completely soaked and were sloshing with each step. My feet were feeling raw already. But I continued. At about the mile point I was almost in tears. My feet were very cold. The raw feeling was going away as was all the feeling in my feet. I contemplated calling a friend to come pick me up. I started hoping for someone I knew to pass me and take me home. But even if someone did pass me, they'd never stop and offer me a ride. I stopped for a minute to walk. That did not help and I knew it would only make getting home take longer. So I pressed on. I thought my feet were starting to warm up but I was mistaken. I think they were just getting to a more numb point. The snow started to turn to bits of hail. As it stung my face I thought to myself, "perfect, that completes the experience." I started counting the blocks until home. I dreaded looking at my feet for fear of blisters. And once I finally made it through the door, I let the tears eek out. Not only was I in pain, I was disappointed. I was a wuss. I changed socks, put on my Newtons and headed back out to complete the 2 1/2 mile loop again. My feet had started to sting in the house and I knew that once they fully warmed up it was going to hurt.
After I got home the 2nd time and examined my feet, I was surprised to find 0 blisters. They just felt horrible. The stinging did come and baby, it wasn't pleasant to warm those little toesies up again. In looking at all three of my issues, I think they could be boiled down into one. I have some serious pride. I don't want to look stupid, weird, bad, or call for a ride home even though I'm in major pain. I've got some things to work on personally as well as physically.
So, I think my barefoot days are over again until spring. Maybe if it was dry it would have been better. Maybe if we get a nice warm spell I could try it again. But for now, I'll stick with the Evo's or Newtons. I wonder how water socks would do in the wet and snow. Any advice?
Oh and before I forget... because I already did once.... I found a great way to make a blue slushy. Just take a water bottle, fill it with blue Powerade, go for a nice long run in 12 degree weather, and presto! You have a blue slushy! This really happened last week. CRAZY, huh!

14 comments:

Ewa said...

My experiments with running in the cold have not been very successful either. I ordered huarache kit. Hopefully this will work for me keeping my soles off the cold ground and allowing for some socks to keep my sensitive feet a bit warmer.

Mel said...

Isn't there something you could wear besides socks that would give you the barefoot experience? I'm not talking vibrams either. Carl has two pair of those but doesn't run long in them. The sales guy at Runners North runs in some kind of special sock. You've probably already researched it but if you want I will call and ask him the name. Yes, I think you are crazy... and adventurous, and fun.. and I like that! Running is suppose to be fun and sometimes we need to mix it up a little- I get that:)

katie thompson said...

you are awesome! i can hardly go out to get the mail bare feet. you are hardcore. i am a wuss.

Jen said...

Mel, I do have a pair of barefoot shoes. But my feet are going to have to go through the whole toughening up thing again in the spring. Oh well. But I would love it if you would ask that guy what he wears. I don't know if I'm totally happy with the shoes I got yet or not. Thanks.

Michael said...

Up here in Canada many barefooters transition into ankle length mocassins as winter approaches. Oiling the leather makes them waterproof. You can also spray them with Kiwi "Wet Pruf" or equivalent. That, and a light sock, will keep your tootsies warm and dry in the coldest and wettest of weather. As for your self consciousness. "run like no one is watching" is my new motto! Way to go Jen. Looking forward to your running adventures. Mike

The Hungry Runner Girl said...

You are so not a wuss....I have never done barefoot in the cold!! I am the same way...I get so embarrassed when people see me running barefoot or in my vibrams. I lie all the time too, my feet are completely callused and blistered when I am running barefoot!

I would LOVE your bread recipe!!

chris mcpeake said...

No barefoot running in the winter for me = wuss
No barefoot running in the summer for me = double wuss?

Jen said...

Thanks Mike for the suggestion. I'm still trying to decide what to do for the remainder of the winter.
Chris, you are the furthest thing from a wuss that I can think of. You're in another totally awesome crazy league!

Mel said...

Jen- he said they are surfing socks with a rubber sole. Apparently he is a surfer and it just something he had that he started running in. They aren't made for running of course but he does some running in them anyway... nothing over six miles. He also said he doesn't run barefoot in the winter.

Maybe you should try the vibrams. Carl seems to think they are the way to go and there are some knockoffs that you can get for less.

Ramblin' Dan said...

Well, now I do feel like a wuss complaining about the cold here in Philadelphia after reading the exploits of you hardy folks. I am running in huaraches with socks, and finding that me feet start to go numb when the temperatures hit the low 30s. I've been checking out a number of blogs and cold weather running is the hot topic right now. The take away for me is that there is not one solution or strategy, but several to keep in mind depending on circumstances. It does help to read what others are going through and knowing I am not alone.

zapmamak said...

Oh girl! I know about the tears. I also know about the pride thing as well. Right now I'm sucking it all up and just trying to get through. I think things will get easier for us the more we do it.

I've heard other BFRs finding indoor tracks on college campuses where they can run barefoot in the winter. Maybe they have something like that in your town? At any rate... maybe try carrying your minimal shoes with you on a run. You could also start out in the minimal shoes and then take them off once your feet have warmed up. I've heard of people wearing the wool socks with water shoes in the winter.

I always carry my VFFs with me just in case I need them. And lately I have needed them. Bloody, raw feet are no fun to run on. Duh.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

ahh now you have found the true reason not to barefoot run, cold! Seriously I am pretty sure i can get over pebbles and other things, but the cold and I just are not friends my feet are blue when I wear shoes.

and I think we are all self conscious about random things, running is our time and it bugs me to be oggled by the men driving by, leave me alone I'm running :)

Wendy said...

I think I'd be waiting until spring too.

The Hungry Runner Girl said...

What is Havarti cheese girl??? I am interested!