I'm stuck in mid-winter doldrums and I'm only doing short runs of one or two miles, even though the weather has been temperate. Right now, early in the morning before sunup, it's above 60 degrees. I still run five times each week though, that is my discipline. I'm not in any kind of shape though and my conditioning has fallen through the floor.
I was into my first quarter mile on the W&OD Trail yesterday when, on a foot plant, I felt a nail dig into the bottom of my foot even though I was wearing running shoes and the blacktop path was clear of obstacles. I immediately stopped, removed my shoe and felt the inside of it to see if there was a burr or a nail in there. There was nothing in there, nor in my sock, so I inspected the bottom of the shoe. What I found was shocking, something that hadn't happened to me before in almost two decades of running.
Upon close inspection, it looked like there were two nails driven into the bottom of the shoe, one where I had felt the prick and one further back towards the heel. My other shoe had no seeming nails driven into its bottom. I couldn't go on with a nail poking through the bottom of my shoe so I worked at removing the nail by pulling it back through the bottom of the shoe using my fingernails. I got the two offending projectiles out after some effort and was stunned.
What had pierced my shoes were two hard-as-rocks, pointy-tipped, half-inch thorns, driven straight into the sole of the shoe from the bottom up as though a cobbler had hammered them home. The back one hadn't pierced the sole of my foot yet but it was waiting to do so at any foot strike; the forward thorn had worked through the bottom of the shoe and its sharp point had stung the sole of my foot, thankfully I stopped immediately. I was bewildered as to how these offending missiles had gotten into my shoe but later I realized I had cut through my neighbor's back yard to get to the trail on the path's right of way (he has no fence), walking through the vegetative stubble there and I must have walked on a long dead thorny branch lying under the surface of the weeds or tall grass that had imparted its lethal tendrils into my shoe at perfect right angles. My neighbor would be glad to know I won't cut across the back fringe of his yard along the untended trail's ROW anymore, I'll be using the sidewalk out front to get to the W&OD from now on, but now I'm paranoid and inspect the bottoms of my running shoes every time I put them on. (These spearlike thorns hurt!)