There were more rocks then I remembered, and more tree roots. It was amazing how much the plants had grown since our last visit. My feet were comfortable and protected enjoying the air between my toes. On the way down I had burst of trots down the trail, bending my knees and allowing my feet to navigate the ground.
On our way back we crossed paths with an older couple, and the women asked about my shoes.
"How do you walk in those, they're so flat!"
I just smiled and replied that was the point. To be able to feel the ground beneath and have natural foot movement. My feet felt great at the end (which is more then I can say for after our last hike when snow on the trail forced me to wear shoes, which blistered my heels and made my toenails sore) and I was delighted to see my footprint wearing itself into the sandal - all the wear exactly where it should be, a perfect footprint.
On a different note, yesterday I got a pair of racing flats (fairly minimal, about a 4mm - 5mm heel drop, no inside support) to have as a transitional shoe. Lately in my normal everyday shoes, my heels have been going numb. My body isn't ready to full transition yet, so when my feet start feeling fatigued or sore I make sure to give them the support. I decide to try running in them, to see if I would be able to maintain a forefoot/midfoot foot strike ( I have tried in 'traditional' running shoes to do so, and failed pretty miserably).
In the flats I as able to maintain my forefoot/midfoot strike, and so I ran - a mile - and I timed myself .. for the first time in 10 years, I ran a 7 minute mile - and I wasn't even pushing that hard. As a matter of fact, I probably could have kept going. My biggest obstacle to running hasn't been muscle fatigue or injury in the past. I've still yet to experience any muscle soreness. It's always been my lungs - even after biking across the country I couldn't go far without getting winded- so to be able to feel like I could keep going is a huge achievement for me. Afterward I took my shoes off and walked most of the way home because I want to make sure I don' t over do it - but I sure did feel good.