The leg pain has not disappeared, only lessened. It still rears its ugly head when I run but now sometimes when I walk and even while on the elliptical. The worst pain presents itself after a bought of physical activity. I have to limp around for a couple of hours once I’m done. To combat the issue sometimes I am adamant about stretching other times I take the Sock Doc’s advice and don’t stretch and use the foam roller which is torture all by itself. Stretching rather than not stretching has proven to be beneficial. I can not make a clear decision as to whether the foam roller is helping. It still hurts a lot to use it and I wonder if my muscles and tendons are so tight that it won’t be efficient.

Any runs I do, which isn’t many, I do on the treadmill. I do not like running on the treadmill but I do it because I need a flat surface and the belt is a little more forgiving than concrete. I keep my runs to 30 minutes and I still use my regular running shoes. I end up running faster than normal because that pace doesn’t make my leg hurt as much. I do end up taking 30 second walk breaks now and again but I usually can do over 3 miles in that time which is hopeful. I did try running outside to see how I would do. My leg hurt more during and after that run than my treadmill runs. To make matters worse the next day my leg still ached. I prescribed myself to treadmill runs only from then on in.

My Five Fingers and I have become bosom buddies but not in the way I intended. I use them to walk and at the gym while I am on the elliptical and lifting weights. My feet feel great and doing this whole “barefoot” thing is quite comfortable but when I try to run in those things I feel defeated. It HURTS when I run in them. I continue to run and it hurts more. Not only does my leg hurt more than it has, my toes ache, my shins burn, and my arches feel like they are going to rip apart. My stride shortened tremendously and I feel like I’m running as fast as I possibly can but I am running slower than ever. Despite all that, I managed to run 3 miles. What happened to putting on those shoes and running pain free and going further than I’ve ever had in my life? What happen to MY miracle story? Why wasn’t I warned that trying to rediscover my natural stride was going to kick my ass physically and emotionally? I was frustrated and deflated. I had invested so much in these Five Fingers thinking they would be my cure all but they have proven otherwise. Beaten and preparing to give up, I expressed my aggravation to my barefoot running enthusiast neighbor Bobby (who I have mentioned in my previous post) and he said he understood. He had the same discomfort but after being persistent and having infinite fucking patience, he was been able to run up to 9 miles in his Vibram shoes. He may not be fast but he has endurance. Hearing about another runner’s plight and eventual success made me feel a million times better. A couple of days later I got an e-mail from him about a post from Barefoot Running University on the taboo truths of barefoot running. I read it and felt so relieved I could cry. I’m not alone in struggling with this! Now I must work on being patient and keeping the idea alive that these Five Fingers will make running an enjoyable and pain free experience once again.

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