I wanted to stay close to home in case the weather got bad again so I figured I’d run a few laps around the neighborhood. I also thought I could keep my shoes dry by, uh, not wearing them. I’ve run a few barefoot miles on the treadmill to hopefully strengthen my feet but never more than two miles at a time and never outside. If it turned out to be too uncomfortable, I would be at most a half mile walk back to get shoes.
After a few tenative steps, I settled into an easy pace. I was actually surprised that my feet weren’t as tender as I expected. Our sidewalks are brushed concrete and pretty smooth but every driveway is washed concrete with the pebbles exposed. Even though I could feel every pebble under my feet, it wasn’t painful. Occasionally, I’d step on a random loose pebble but even that was no big deal.
My Garmin was out of the rain under the jacket sleeve so I had no idea what kind of pace I was running. That alone is a big change since I normally monitor my pace pretty closely. Since this run was kind of an experiment, I didn’t have a target pace anyway.
When I started out, I was thinking I’d endure a lap (almost a mile) and then stop at the house and put shoes on to finish the run. Surprisingly, the first lap felt just fine and it was fun splashing through the puddles barefoot. I figured I could last another lap so I didn’t slow down as I passed the house. The second lap went just as well as the first so I thought, “Why not make it a 5K?” as I passed the house again. The third mile felt just fine. The only time I slowed down was at the end of the run to dig my watch out from under my sleeve to figure out how much farther than three laps I would need to go to complete 5K.
It turns out that I averaged a 9:14 pace for the 5K. That’s a long way from a P.R. but it’s faster than I thought I was running. I was expecting something like 11:00 or 12:00. It really felt that easy.
This was a fun run. I’m happy with the results of the experiment. I doubt I’ll be a regular barefoot runner but in the future, I won’t be so nervous about kicking the shoes off and going for a run.