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Ugly duckling finds her swan family

May 2, 2012

Good news. Bad news.

And the bad news first. I hesitate to even tell people this—especially you shod-loving, barefoot skeptics—but I’ve injured my foot. No, I did not step on a hypodermic needle or gash my foot on a broken beer bottle. I don’t know what kind neighborhood y’all think I live in, but I have yet to see a needle on the ground anywhere I’ve been barefoot—not even when I was running down Bourbon Street last fall. I haven’t been to the doctor but I’m pretty sure this is just a regular, old, overuse injury. The top of my left foot has been a little tender, particularly after a run. Hopefully, with some ice and rest, I’ll be good to go next month when I participate in my first triathlon.

The last time I nursed a foot injury it was also on my left foot. I really didn’t make that connection though, until listening to an interview with Steven Sashen, founder of the minimalist shoe company formally known as Invisible Shoes. Sashen talked about a blister that formed on his left foot after his first barefoot run. His right foot was blister free. So it got him thinking not just, “What am I doing wrong with my left foot,” but also, “What am I doing right with my right foot?” And that is exactly what I need to figure out. What am I doing wrong with ol’ lefty? Is my left foot just weaker and not as ready for the impact I am feeding it? Or do I need to make adjustments to my posture or gait when I run?

ImageIn any case, the interview with Steven Sashen was a great listen and you’ll find more podcasts like it on And that leads me to my good news: There is a website dedicated to female barefoot runners! You don’t need a penis to run sans shoes… But I was starting to think I was the only barefoot runner out there without one. Then I clicked on and felt like the ugly duckling finding her family of swans. Oh, and it gets better. I sent site owner Caity McCardell a link to this blog and she wants to interview me. We talk tomorrow night, but she was already pimpin’ our interview at the end of the Sashen podcast. Woo-hoo! I like her already.


From → Running

  1. Jackie permalink

    So, I am going to totally dork out, but it sounds like you are possibly having arch troubles with your left foot if it is the top hurting. Usually, for us weaker shoe wearers, you get shoes with arch support, but as that will not fly, I would suggest making sure you are pressing down with the outside of your heel when you run and making sure you are fully engaging your outer calves, quads and outer glutes (think of turning the whole leg at a more outward angle basically) so that you are engaging the muscles instead of leaving it all to be supported by non-muscle structures. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but I find most of my injury comes from being lazy with my support and leaving it to the joints. – Jackie

  2. Timetraveler permalink

    You said:
    “I have yet to see a needle on the ground anywhere I’ve been barefoot—”

    And next time someone says dumb paranoid things about needles being everywhere, remind them that needles do not violate the laws of physics and stand straight up. Even if there were needles, they would be lying flat in paved areas. Then tell them the place they could possibly be a problem is the one place left these days that people do go barefoot – on a beach. After all, one could be just an eighth of an inch under the sand vertically, right? And broken glass and other hazards can be right under the sand too. So tell them that it’s safer to walk and run on streets and sidewalks than on the beach, since hazards are more visible….

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