It started with a bee sting and a swollen heel, a heel that did not like shoes. The moment it touched a shoe, it itched and tingled in protest.
For every day life, this wasn’t too bad for me. I could manage without going out. But what about running? Maybe I could bear the itching and tingling for running. Well, I could start small and try walking.
After two laps of walking, it was clear this wasn’t going to work. My foot refused to behave, even for half an hour, even for walking. It seemed that I’d have to give up my beloved running until it healed.
I moped around sadly until Mum hit upon a bright idea. “Why don’t you run barefoot?” she suggested.
Barefoot? The idea had never occurred to me before. On thinking about it, I wasn’t sure I liked it. I could get something in my foot. The grass would be cold and wet. Besides, no one else in the family ran barefoot.
But then, if I didn’t run barefoot, I couldn’t run at all. And that would be too much to consider. No, I’d have to run barefoot, even if the grass was cold and wet, even if there were sticks. I’d rather run barefoot than miss running altogether.
On the way down to the field, my dreaded thongs flopping on my feet, I still wasn’t sure about this barefoot running thing. I might find it much harder than normal. But I’ll give it a go, just once.
Dropping my thongs off with the water bottles, I started my first lap. The wet grass bounced beneath my feet. I hardly felt the little sticks. I even avoided the snail, crawling slowly across my path.
I finished one lap, then another, and another. My feet didn’t care that they didn’t have any shoes to protect them. They just wanted to run and run. So run they did, lap after lap after lap. Bare feet weren’t a handicap, not when I ran as many laps as ever.
On the way home, thongs slapping against my cold, wet feet, I had to admit, running barefoot was something special. Just to feel the grass as you run, just to know that it’s only your feet hitting the ground, pushing you is amazing. Yes, I like running barefoot.
What will I do when my heel is better? Well, I think I'll go back to wearing shoes again. Nice as running with no shoes is, it's still cold and wet and dirty. But it can be done.