One of the joys of traveling is finding interesting new places to run. While I was away, I took the opportunity to substitute a sterile treadmill run in my local gym with a seafront dash back and forth along the beach in Juquehy, a little waterfront community located just outside of Sao Paulo. For some reason that still remains unknown to me, I decided to run barefoot. I guess I have never run along a beach before – and the thought never occurred to me that it might not be such a good idea. In the early mornings and late evenings there were plenty of people running along this idyllic stretch of sand, and a handful were even going forsaking footwear. However, it was only after completing the 4 miles back-and-forth that I fully understood why running shoes should always be worn.
Running on wet sand is in fact the equivalent to running on sandpaper. Throw in the lateral movements required to avoid the water and the variable grade of the beach thanks to tidal erosion, the feet and ankles take a significant amount of pressure throughout the session. About three miles into the run I felt the blister on the underside of my right big toe. By the time I was done, I had worn through multiple layers of skin under my toe and there was a significant stinging sensation.
I learned the hard way, always protect the feet by wearing socks and runners. I just hope this irritation heals in time for the upcoming run in Central Park.