One benefit of running barefoot is that rain is less of a deterrent than heat. There is a little discomfort while transitioning from dry to damp, but since I'm a pretty heavy sweater* I'm used to working out in wet clothes. Still, I didn't see any of the usual evening runners/joggers. Maybe they didn't want to mess up their shoes? For the unshod, a little water is no obstacle.
So, I was happily running through the rain, coming up on the end of my first half-mile loop, when I saw a guy gardening out in his front yard. Ordinarily I'd think this guy was crazy for doing yard work in the rain, but I suppose if you put our 2 activities in a line-up you'd get just as many people calling me crazy. On the other hand, I looked like I was having fun, and this dude looked like he may have been escaping something worse.
As I got closer to him, he looked up from his spot on the grass and stared for about 10 seconds before finally yelling out "doesn't that hurt!?"
I was at the end of my first half-mile, maybe 20 feet from the spot where I usually stop to verify the quality of my form by examining my feet (sole-searching as I like to call it**). Since I was going to stop anyway, I decided to have a quick conversation with the guy. I explained how it helps your form. I explained the concept of removing the cushioning of shoes to force you to run smoothly. I brought up the fact that thick-heeled, modern running shoes have only been around since the 60's.
The guy didn't seem convinced, as there was still a hint of "you must just have a high pain threshold" in all of his responses. After about a minute of neither of us convincing the other, he told me to "keep it up." I said "thanks," and for my closing argument I yelled back over my sholder "it's more fun than running in shoes." I then proceeded to stomp my way through a 3-inch deep puddle. I may have played it up a little to make sure he knew that, at that moment, I didn't have a care in the world.
I passed the guy 2 more times for a total of 1.5 miles***. A ray of sunshine in an otherwise dreary day.
* By pretty heavy sweater, I mean that I perspire a lot. Despite what you might have heard, I am not a fashionable, winter-time, article of clothing.
** I don't actually call it that. I'm so sorry.
*** A new personal best for barefoot running.