A few days ago, I ran a mile barefoot. My feet are definitely getting tougher. At the end, there was a hint of the remainder of my shin splints, but not much. I like to think they're being caused by running too much too soon, and that I'll be able to run a little more each week. Though, I've read that shin splints are almost nonexistent with barefoot running, which is really odd.
Unfortunately, two days later, my ankle swelled up after a short run. It's still swollen today, so I didn't run. Before the run, I felt some minor discomfort in my feet, which got a little worse during the run, but it was never anything really painful. However, I should've listened to my feet and waited until all the discomfort was gone. Fortunately, the swelling doesn't hurt, even when I put pressure on it, so I can go about my day as normal. I like to think that if it were serious, it would hurt.
I bought a couple books. The first is Barefoot Running by Michael Sandler, and the second is The Barefoot Running Book by Jason Robillard. I'm almost halfway through the first. It's interesting to see the similarities and the differences in his approach vs. Danny Dreyer's in Chi Running. I imagine everyone has their own ideas. For example, Danny Dreyer says that the calf should be totally relaxed and that a midfoot stike is best while Michael Sandler says a forefoot strike is best so that the impact can be absorbed in the calves, which is basically what I was doing when I first got my shin splints. The latter seems to fit the barefoot philosophy better. However, Chi Running is not barefoot running.
Michael Sandler says that the calf bones should grow thicker when we run barefoot. I am hoping that the pain I feel is merely the bone realizing that it needs to grow a bit. I'm hoping that because I'm going to run as Michael Sandler suggests instead of Danny Dryer's method. In fact, I didn't fully follow Danny's anyway. I didn't like the midfoot strike. While less than a heel strike, there was still too much thump to it. I think also that my calves were just too weak for my form to be effective. But they're coming along nicely.
Also, I'm doing pushups and planks to build my upper body, especially my core, which is apparently very crucial to good running form. I'm in terrible shape, so I can hardly do any.
I don't whether I mentioned this before or not, but I've never been a very active person. I've always been weak and uncoordinated. I've never been able to keep up with anyone else. I was good at math.
I've always wished I could keep up with everyone else, and recently, I've proven to myself that I can do whatever the heck I want to do. Nothing can stop me. Since I began to realize this, I've chosen a few things here and there to learn. It started with the ukulele. I thought that while I could probably play an instrument if I'd put the time into it, I didn't think I would ever be above average, let alone learn it fast. However, I constantly pushed myself to do better and I learned to play songs that I had heard long ago and thought amazing and impossible to play.
Then I learned bluegrass mandolin. Yes, I can pick fast. It's a blast. Now I'm taking piano lessons. While piano is by no means easy, I've become confident that I can become very good at it if I put in the time and effort. Back to running, I know I can do it even though I've never done it before, and I know I can do it well. I don't know that I can be better than everyone else, but I know that I can run a marathon.
When I started, I ran out of breath fast. I still run out faster than the average person, but not nearly as soon as I did before. However, I think back to swimming lessons when I was a kid. Case in point, I was the slowest swimmer there by a long shot. However, slow as I may have been, I could swim the farthest underwater without coming up for a breath. Imagine how far I could've gone if I had been as fast as everyone else. I've since lost those lungs, but my legs have grown much longer. If If I build my endurance back up and perfect my form, I'll find myself running marathons one day.
Also, I love the idea of minimalism. I've always been this way. I think that's why I was so attracted to the idea of barefoot running. It fit my philosophy of life. I like the idea of shedding off all the excess and live like we were born to live. For example, I find high-heels unattractive because they make women walk funny. I've always liked it when they'd wear thin-soled shoes and carried themselves well with a healthy (not just skinny) body. I don't like it when people augment themselves. But I also don't like it when people get hippy about minimalism. I think you can be a minimalist and still shave and keep your hair nice and trim. I think that too many good things get associated with this crowd and therefore are never adopted by the normal crowd.
Anyway, there's my two cents.