In the middle of my training for a barefoot half marathon, I discovered that the old path was lost. Though I did NOT awaken in a dark wood, new thoughts splashed through the volatile chemical cocktail of my mind. The sexy electronic voice of the RunKeeper lady announced, “Time: blah blah minutes, blah blah Seconds. Distance: blah blah miles.” When she finished speaking, the adolescent voice of a blue haired, nose ringed teenage boy filled the void.
“Hey, where are your shoes guy?”
If you have read this blog at all, you will know those words bring out the Hulk in me. I created a podcast and wrote some posts about some of my kick-ass comebacks to that annoying question. (On New Years, I came close to punching a jerk who kept harassing me during my morning run.) But I ignored teenager this time. As he stood there blinking, his mouth slightly agape, I took a deep sip of the crisp Oregon air and realized that barefoot running has taught me three crucial lessons about my world.
The same terrain isn’t always the same.
The ever changing textures and temperature that the same patch of ground offers amazes me. The same route offers many varied delights that change according to the time of day, the weather, and the stride. Shod runners completely miss the world of sensations beneath their feet.
Crossing Comfort Zones Can Make Some People Cross.
When most adults see barefoot runners, they tend to assume that there is something wrong with the barefoot runner, not with their world view. Because they can’t run without shoes or or because they know nothing about barefoot running, they assume that what is true for them should be true for everyone else. That said, I have had interesting conversations with people who were genuinely interested in barefoot running. Breaking out of the comfort zone is good for your sole (Yes, I totally abuse that homophone). Every success I’ve enjoyed forced me to step outside the cozy prison of comfort.
I’m much stronger than I think. When my gaze hits the rough concrete before it gently lands on my feet, I marvel that my body can withstand the impacts of the unforgiving concrete. But it does. My feet, in fact, thrive on the hard pavement. I find it’s easier to run on asphalt than it is to run on the graveled part of the Tickle Creek Trail. Of course, the asphalt is not as soft as mud or grass, but it’s relatively comfortable, when your soles are up for it.
If you’ve never tried running without shoes, give it a try. Here are some resources to get started safely:
Fauja Singh didn’t start running marathons until he was 89. At age 100, he came in dead last for ScotiabankToronto Waterfront Marathon (October 2011), but he won first place in the Guinness book of World Records for being the oldest human to run a marathon. Losing and wining at the same time; that’s so very Zen, isn’t it?
Singh credits his longevity with his healthy lifestyle: he not only walks or runs 10 miles each day, but he also eats a vegetarian diet, and refrains from drinking or smoking.
The moral? If father time is going to chase you, Make Him run Marathons.
Have you always wanted to run a half marathon? Most people can achieve the feat. Unfortunately, many programs don’t give barefoot runners enough time to recuperate. This regime gives a person one day of rest between runs. The rest periods allow for recovery, thickening of the foot pads, and time to write blog posts. This program is also good for a person who is transitioning into minimalist/ “barefoot” shoes.
Maybe you ran a full marathon in 2011 and just want t take it easy this summer. Maybe you’re wondering which barefoot running shoes work best. You might ask yourself questions such as, “Are there running shoes for mid to long distances?”
Sandals are my personal choice for all distances. BUT I did buy a pair of Merrel Road Gloves for work and I love how comfortable they are. Vibrams five fingers suck!!!! They look stupid, they stink, and they give satanic blisters. They are the pandora’s box of running shoes. Next to sandals, Merrell’s are dang good. Enough five fingers, sports shoes, barefeet, running without shoes keyword stuffing. Onto the program: