Recommended Read – the Barefoot Sisters Southbound

I am a huge fan of books.  I read almost everyday, not because it’s something I schedule but because I enjoy it. It’s a glimpse into another world. sometimes one you’d like to really visit, sometimes one you are glad was created out of someone’s imagination!

I just finished reading Wuthering Heights after it was mentioned on a summer reading list  on another blog, Parkesdale. Believe it or not I’d never read it and I couldn’t believe how much I liked it. I decided that with all of the reading I do I should be recommending some of the ones  I really like!

The Barefoot Sisters Southbound is one of a very few books I’ve read that when I was done I realized – hey, I’d love to do that!

the Barefoot Sisters Southbound

This is one of my favorite non-fiction books I’ve read over the past few years.  It’s written by two (wait for it….) sisters who decided to travel the Appalachian trail barefoot. The barefoot part makes it a little more interesting since they candidly talk about it’s ups and downs, but that’s not really what the book is about.

It’s about the journey.  The book reads like you are reading their journals. Like a good work of fiction you can get lost in the book and suddenly realize you’ve been reading for much longer than you intended to . But this is a true story,  reading it made me feel like I knew a little bit of what it’s like to hike the Appalachian Trail. As they attempt to thru-hike the entire 2,175 miles of the Appalachian Trail you travel with them through excitement, triumph, doubt and fear. You get to meet and know various people they meet on the trail.

The Barefoot Sisters don’t seem to sugar coat the trip, plenty of their trip didn’t go according to plan.  But nonetheless I wasn’t halfway through the book before I decided that this is something that I’d really like to do.  I couldn’t hike the entire trail before my kids are done growing up, but I may have to do a weekend or week hike sometime much, much before that.

If you’ve read this book I’d love to hear what you thought about it, if you haven’t go read it!

Have you ever thought about taking a large portion of time out of your regular life to do something like hike the Appalachian Trail?

The Boulevard Trail

The Boulevard Trail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Won’t Running Barefoot Make Your Feet Gross?

When I started running barefoot I read some books about it and joined a Facebook group and all of that. After all, I was making the change because I heard that it might help the injuries I had and I wanted to be sure I was giving it a fair chance by at least trying to do it right.

All the questions that could be asked and one of the first I asked the Facebook group was um, are my feet going to get all gross and dirty and calloused? I’m not exactly fashion conscious or anything (kind of an area I slack in) but I’ve seen people with skin that looked as if it had been grown with dirt as a natural part of it, and sorry but it’s kind of gross.

Now that I have a whole 9 months experience I can answer my own question, at least for me.  I run 3 nights a week and I don’t run further than a 5k ever, and rarely that far. So I don’t know if there is a difference if you run barefoot marathons or ultras (ya, there are some really, really bad-ass people who do that).

The answer is no.  My feet didn’t get permanently dirty and they didn’t get calloused.  As a matter of fact the skin is softer and smoother now than it used to be. I think it’s for two reasons.

One, I mostly run in the neighborhood and I think the asphalt acts kind of like a pumice stone, smoothing out the skin. I had almost expected my skin to get thinner as a result, but again I was wrong.  My skin actually seems to be a little thicker. The bottoms of my feet also seem to have a bit of padding or muscle on them that wasn’t there before.  Kind of a plus actually.

I think the other reason is because running on asphalt actually is a bit gross. When I get home my feet are black as tar and I washing them with soap doesn’t do much. I have to actually use a pumice stone after every street run.  I don’t scrub them hard or anything, but I do use it. Maybe that’s why the little cracks that I used to have on my heals are gone now.

So question and answer. Won’t running barefoot make your feet gross? Nope, it’ll leave them better than they were before!