Warning: Do Not Try This at Home

I’ll admit that I’m quick to point out the missteps of others, including those of family and friends, so in the interest of fairness, I must reveal I’ve recently been victimized by my own lack of judgment. More specifically, the soles of my feet have been victimized…or brutalized. I share this with you as a warning.

Sunday’s paper contained an article about the growing number of runners who have discovered the joys–and benefits–of running barefoot. Although I typically don’t take the time to read articles about any form of strenuous exercise in which I have no intention of ever participating, I read this one just to satisfy myself that the folks involved were, in fact, the nut jobs I imagined them to be. To my shock, they weren’t. They were runners of all shapes, sizes, ages, and experience levels–not just 83-year-old ultra-marathoners who ingest nothing but vegetable smoothies and vitamins every day–so I pointed the article out to Tom, a runner, and asked what he thought. He didn’t have much to say, but instead tossed his January issue of Runner’s World my direction with the comment that it also had an article about running barefoot. I didn’t read the Runner’s World article because…well, because I was already way over my quota of exercise articles for the month. Instead, I made the assumption that RW was also promoting barefoot running and went on reading the rest of the Sunday paper.

Which brings me to yesterday. I’ve been wearing the same ol’ pair of nappy walking shoes for my daily walks on the treadmill now for more than two years. Weeeell, truthfully, I suppose it’s a bald-faced lie to call them “daily” walks, but still I have been walking on a fairly regular basis for about an hour most days of the week. If I’m lucky, I get on the treadmill when the Barefoot Contessa’s show starts at 4 p.m. on the Food Network and walk right through Jeopardy at 4:30. I’m so absorbed in what I’m watching, I’m done before I know it. Encumbered with insipid facts, inspired to cook something yummy for dinner, and feeling pretty cocky for having exercised at all.

Right after Christmas, Tom and I went shopping to find replacements for my beat-up old walking shoes. I couldn’t find any I liked, so yesterday as I got ready to walk…you see where this is going, don’t you…I decided to do my walk barefoot, figuring walking barefoot couldn’t be any worse that walking in those broken-down shoes. Besides, I figured if “research” has shown running barefoot is “safe,” barefoot walking should be too, especially indoors where there aren’t any rocks, glass, or well-hidden tree roots. (Gives you butt squench just to think about it, doesn’t it?) Anyway, I figured wrong. It probably didn’t help that I managed to get on the treadmill in time to catch the Contessa’s opening spiel and walked right through final Jeopardy. By the way, how could anyone not know F.Scott Fitzgerald had flappers in his novels? But I digress.

Just to clarify, my knees, ankles, legs, and hips all felt fine after my hour-long barefoot walk. They still feel fine today. The parts of my body screaming in agony are the soles of my feet. I might as well have walked on a belt sander for an hour. What a dumbass. Seriously. Consider yourself warned.

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7 responses to “Warning: Do Not Try This at Home”

  1. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to read that the footnote to your story was raw soles. As I was reading it, I grew increasingly anxious, waiting for the shoe to drop, that your were going to reveal that you got too distracted by the (other) Barefoot Contessa and forgot to take the next step. I had visions of your feet being rolled through the treadmill and coming out the other end 27 inches long and a quarter of an inch thick. (And I thought I had problems finding suitable shoes!) MM

    • You know, I wrote that whole thing, proofed it multiple times, and still never caught the whole barefoot walk/Barefoot Contessa thing. I repeat, what a dumbass. That was a jackpot just waiting to be mined. Clearly, I’ve crammed my brain with too many useless Jeopardy facts.

  2. While I can’t recommend running barefoot, mainly because I wouldn’t attempt running unless my life depended on it; I DO recommend playing the wii barefoot. I tried playing in my slippers and almost busted my @ss wihile involved in an intense tennis game! Just wondering at what point of the hour on the treadmill barefoot did you think “this kind of hurts, let me stop to put on my shoes?”! Just wondering!

    • Honestly, not until the last 10 minutes or so. Thanks for the tip on the Wii. Brian hooked his up to our TV, but I haven’t played much yet. I’m always in slippers, so I’ll remember to kick them off before I get going the next time. Lord knows, I don’t want “too much junk flying around” when I play. Give the boys a hug and mooch for me.

  3. I too have had a lot of trouble with the soles of my feet. I once tried to walk at the park in my lovely crocs. Why bother to go home and change when you can just stop on your way home from work,hit the track and get it done! I had blisters on the bottom of my feet for weeks. Then I might recommend to you never go in to get a pedicure right at closing time. They just grab the little razor slice slice and the next thing you know your walking out the door and your feet split open bleeding in numerous spots and you can’t walk for 2 weeks.

  4. Mary, remind me to tell you why I know you should not walk all over the OP Arboretum in well-worn walking shoes. My two big toe nails are still growing back out. Hopefully, your soles will heal before a year passes us by.

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