Sunday, September 12, 2010

Barefoot Memories, etc.

The recent interest in barefoot running reminded me of when I was growing up. Only the poor people and the TG’s (tau gimba or rural folks who live in the distant mountains) went barefoot because they couldn’t afford to buy proper footwear, not even the ubiquitous thongs or flip flops that everyone seem to own in the Philippines. If I only knew that going barefoot would strengthen my feet and surrounding tendons better, I would have joined my more unfortunate neighbors when we played together. Of course my parents wouldn’t have allowed it, God forbid! So here I am now, a flat footed individual with foot tendon problems who could barely run or jog anymore. Even if I grew up walking and running barefoot, I’m sure I would have outgrown it soon. That brings us to today. I’ve been trying to walk barefoot indoors and around my condo complex the past few weeks and not surprisingly, I have been getting questioning stares from people that see me. Obviously they haven’t read or heard about the book - Born To Run. I don’t expect myself to be running barefoot since the tendon damage in my ankles is unhealable. My purpose is just to improve the proprioception of my feet and the hopefully strengthen the muscles therein too. This brings us to the Vibram Five Fingers footwear which simulates barefoot running. They’re like toe socks with padding on the bottom. As a result of the barefoot running movement, the footwear has also become a fashion statement among celebrities and Silicon Valley techies. Maybe they’re the Birkenstocks of the 2010’s. Apparently there are a lot of fake ones in the market now that are being sold for about 20% less than the real thing.
I’m getting a little antsy about not being able to run due to my recent calf injury, but I know I have to be patient. There is some improvement though, as I was able to walk with my trekking poles for an hour on Thursday morning and an hour and 15 minutes on the treadmill on Friday. There is however a lingering discomfort on the right calf still so I could not walk as briskly as I want to and I still have to go down stairs sideways so as not to overstretch the muscle. After the treadmill walk last Friday, I also used the rowing machine for 20 minutes. I haven’t used this machine in a long time and I don’t remember the last time I did. That information is in one of my exercise logs but I didn’t feel like looking for it.
I wanted to go for a bike ride on Saturday morning, however when I opened the door to pick up the newspaper, it was cloudy, cold, and breezy. So I wimped out and rode the stationary bike instead. Riding outdoors is going to be a problem during the winter unless I find really warm clothes to wear. If you see someone in a blue bike wearing earmuffs and a puffy jacket, it might be me come November.
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