Saturday, July 30, 2011
Found my first Run :)/Smiley tag...
Importantbutnotall from Lake Superior. We found ya!
Run Smiley Challenge #2: Chalk Smiley
A Matter of Perspective
So to get to know each other I thought my first post would be the following article. This was something I wrote over at BarefootRoot as my first shot at an "Introducing myself to the Smileys" article back on July 16th, where I took an extremely passive attempt at getting the Smileys' attention through gratuitous use of blog tags. I'm here, so it must have paid off! ... or maybe it was that I had constantly pestered Kate until she finally just let me in to get me off her back! ;)
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it! -Troy "BarefootRoot"
It's a weird thing for me to identify with a lot of other runners, not only because I am in a distinct minority (being barefoot) but because since I am a mid to back of the pack runner I tend to hover near people who are running for a specific reason: to get in shape. Well, that's the reason I think most of them run. And to be honest, that was why I started running.
This is no longer the case for me though. Once I read Born to Run, as many runners (shod and barefoot) have, I realized something: running isn't something I should be suffering through. It isn't something I should be dreading, or feel I have to do to lose a couple pounds (although I admit it does help with the tonnage). It's something we were made to do, that I did a lot as a kid, and for some reason I forgot about it.
It probably goes back to gym class, if I had to guess. I have no idea if they still do this, but when I was a kid they had the Presidential Fitness program, and we had to go through this gauntlet of torture devices to prove we weren't a generation of couch potatoes. Oddly enough my generation has been (probably) a big part of the fattening of the USA, so I get the impression these tests didn't achieve the goals it was designed for. Anyway, we had this series of grueling trials like pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups and of course, running laps around the gym. I found these things to be fairly difficult (I was more intellectually-inclined) and the fact we had no choice on participation made me actually hate/fear strenuous physical activity, and exercises in particular.
Sure, I could perform physical tasks and sometimes enjoy it, but when it came to hunkering down for a "workout" I just had no patience and little tolerance so in the end I simply avoided the whole hornet's nest.
Fast forward to high school and for some reason I decided to join the wresting team. I still have no idea what possessed me to do it, and ultimately it introduced me to something that would sour me on running in particular for a long time: stair laps.
Yeah, you did hear the ominous "dun dun duuuunnnnn" music when you read that. Or if you like to laugh at the misfortune of others maybe you heard the sad trombone or Nelson Muntz's "Haw Haw!"
Stair laps were these awful things that we had to do at the beginning (and sometimes the end) of every practice. They involved running down the hall to the gym (we practiced in the cafeteria), then up two flights of stairs, the length of the gym, down two flights of stairs, the width of the gym, wash, rinse, repeat. For something like 20 minutes. The dudes who were actually in shape, and most of them were either football players or cross country runners, handled it real well. Coming from the world of Band and Architecture Classes I fared somewhat less well. The laps were actually something that could have been extremely good for me (I realize now), but they were so torturous I decided to loathe them and running in general... for the next 18 years.
So then fast forward back to the beginning of this story where I mentioned reading Born to Run and it opened up an attitude that had been lost for decades: an actual desire to go out and run. I slowed down and worked on making my running form less painful while taking the time to observe the world around me and suddenly running was actually no longer a workout (which is something I tell everybody: if it feels like work you're working too hard)!
Since then I find myself running races cheering for the crowds who are supposed to be there cheering for us, trying to help people who look like they are struggling (usually by distracting them with endless -and mindless- chatter), cheering for volunteers (and actually volunteering for things) and generally being a more positive force for good in the world as opposed to the cynical bastard I used to be. Instead of running because I have to, I run because I want to and because I want to run in the coolest places I can get to. If I meet piles of great people along the way, all the better. :)
Quote of the Day
"There may be something to this whole "run for fun" thing..."
Truer words have not been spoken.
Friday, July 29, 2011
I have been running most of my life, well, except that large gap in the middle of life called midlife, you know, that part where you drink too much and do crazy stuff to your body. As a young child, in Jr. High and in High School I ran on track teams. I was never the top guy I just liked to run
After High School I pretty much gave up on running because I found it a major pain, literally, running was a pain. It was a love hate relationship. I would suffer all year from shin splints and was totally relieved that I could finally stop running at the end of the season, heal and get on with exciting sports like skiing and drinking beer. As much as I loved running, rarely did I enjoy it. But there were moments, and many of those moments were mountain runs. For some reason running in the mountains on gnarly trails was never a pain, it was pure delight.
Well, move the clock forward to 2003, almost 25 years later, and I decide it is time to drag my unhealthy fat butt out the door and start hitting the road again. Immediately I begin to enjoy a run and feel like I missed something for a lot of my life. Just when it was getting good and visions of marathons pranced in my head, I needed some shoes and some “teenage mutant expert” in the local running store talked me into buying a pair of corrective, support, stability, padded for a fat guy running shoes. Within two weeks the shin splints of youth are back. But being a very determined, I hang in there for another 4 long years putting in a couple 3 mile runs a week. This all changed around 2008 when I started to move towards Barefoot and minimalist running and injuries started to drop away.
However I still have a few issues here and there and I attribute them to bad form. After all, I can’t blame shoes if I don’t wear them, right? As I get comfortable with my form, I start getting lazy, isn’t that always the case? Running Minimalist/barefoot was a god send for my running and now I need to take another step forward.
The other day I was running in my Vibram Five Finger KSO’s and I realized once again I was over striding. I worked hard to bring in the stride, land under my center of mass, increase cadence, be light and easy, Easy, light, float like a butterfly, yada yada yada and it was all intellectual, logical, not a “feeling” like it was working. Then it hit me, what if I close my eyes, what if I run blind and let my feet be my eyes? It seemed crazy enough that it might just work.
I was on a long, flat, straight and safe stretch of blacktop pathway where I could experiment so I closed my eyes. Fear of glass and doggy doo hit me with each step I made in an endeavor to feel the road. I felt for each foot pick up off the road and sense the landing as close under me as possible. Each step I wanted to feel as much as I possibly could feel and become one with the road. Blind runner Zen or Nirvana, and then I went off onto the grass and almost wiped out. That is when I realized I would need to peek every now and then until I mastered running blind. Later I learned I had to peak now and then even after I mastered running blind. It is called common sense. Otherwise, I was going to run into a tree and that just wouldn’t be cool for the spectators or whoever might witness the wipeout!
Next I closed my eyes again and extended my mind to my feet and after a few seconds realized they were landing out in front of me again and then pulling me forward sort of like land, skid a little, brake, pull, kick off and push. Heck, no wonder I had blood blisters from last week’s race, all this chicken scratching that was going on below. I quickly made a correction and was landing under me again and then hit the grass edge. Crap, I opened my eyes and I realized I was veering to the right. I realigned with the path and closed my eyes, focused on the feet again and immediately I was over striding and reaching again but this time I noticed almost immediately and corrected. Then I started to feel the camber of the path, it was slight but I could feel it and then I hit the grass again. With my eyes closed I was compensating for the camber that sloped away to the left and I veered right almost as if running away from the slope uphill. I corrected and closed my eyes again.
This process went on for over 2 miles. As time went on, I found different issues with my stride like pushing off, pulling, over striding, and compensating for my sore ankle (another story), compensating for landing on objects (a good thing especially if it is dog poo). I started feeling cracks in the path as I landed; I felt my foot pronate as it landed and rolled to the ball and realized I was pushing off not lifting.
I found that in the beginning I was able to run 8-10 steps before needing to peek. Then it was 15 and then 20. I hope that someday I can pick a straight path and follow it for a minute blind using feet and ears as my guide.
So give it a try, Have fun running blind! If nothing more you will amuse other runners as they see you coming at them with eyes closed. Peak a little and when they are close say hello am I still on the sidewalk/road/trail or whatever works and then keep going.
You can read this and other original postings at StandingOnTop
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Beast and Ball
I resumed my standard form of a 30 something mom, wife, runner and headed out of the park to run a bit further, walk a bit further, and run a little further again. One thing was constant in whatever form I was in, I smiled.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
In a Runner's Head
A three-way conversation in my head during a run early this week:
Me: This should be fun. It's not as hot as last week.
through the revolving door and down the steps in lower Manhattan...
Me: Ugh, its still humid.
Smiley Angel: Oh come on, this'll be fun anyway. Just take it easy. Enjoy the morning! You're bound to see something interesting or beautiful.
Me: You're right. I'll make this a SSS. Short, Slow, Sweet.
The "Other Angel": Yeah right. Every time you say that you end up turning it into negative splits at tempo speeds. But nothing wrong with that. Who cares?
Me: No, I have a big meeting later today so I really should take it easy and slow.
reaching to push start on my Garmin...
The "Other Angel": Good job, let's get to it!
Smiley Angel: Now what would your friends in the Collective think? You should have left that thing home today.
Me: I'm not going to look at it during the run. I just want to log the miles. You know, the 10% rule and all.
Smiley Angel: Uh huh.... Well, why don't you make an effort to really sense your surroundings. Try to notice things you've never seen here before. Maybe strike up a conversation with someone.
The "Other Angel": Yeah, I'm sure there are plenty of friendly people out here this morning.... NOT
past the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, entering Battery Park. Around the corner and then headed North along the path. Passing some older men with about a dozen fishing poles in the Hudson River...
Me: I wonder if they know that there was a fire at the sewage treatment plant a couple miles upriver and the water is off limits.
Smiley Angel: Smile and say hi!
Me: "Good morning guys"
Fishermen: (something about no zapatos, not directed at me)
The "Other Angel": I bet they catch a lot of fish today. The fish probably want to get OUT of the water.
settling into an easy pace...
Me: OK, check out the form. Light steps. Midfoot. Think Groucho. Is the cadence fast enough? Probably not. OK, shorter strides. Don't lean forward you dope.
The "Other Angel": Yeah, you dope. You're not breathing correctly either. Where's the 3-2 pattern? No, that's 2-2. Slow it down. Concentrate.
Smiley Angel: Look at all the runners out this morning. Probably because of the cooler weather and it's Monday. The Monday guilt after the weekend festivities. Make sure you say hi. Smile. Be friendly.
The "Other Angel": Friendly? Ha! These are New Yorkers!
a 20-something guy in $250 shoes glides by at about 5:50 pace...
across the plaza next to the World Financial Center... passing a group of middle-aged women runners...
Me: "good morning ladies"
Smiley Angel: Good job!
One lady: "morning"
Other ladies, quietly to each other: "no shoes... crazy... I could never.... in NYC?"
2 mile mark, approaching a decision point.....
turning out onto the pier....
reaching the end of the pier where a few people are doing Tai Chi. Standing at the railing...
headed back at a medium pace... I notice a runner with Vibram Five Fingers running the other way
past the little area where the million dollar yachts are parked, then further South, through the plaza, and then shaded "boardwalk", as a senior lady runner approaches going the other way...
past Fort Clinton and the launching point for the Statue of Liberty tour boats.... then past the war memorial...
rounding the final corner..... waving to the (former marine) guard at the gate to the Coast Guard station...
walking past the Ferry Terminal, dozens of people looking at my feet as I cross the street and reach the entrance to the gym.
through the doorway into the locker room....
The Ballad of the Barefoot Heel Striker/It Feels like the First Time
Last night I went for a run. Pretty cool right? But
wait….there’s more! Though last night’s run may have seemed like an ordinary 3.25 mile jaunt in my neighborhood something was different. Something was a bit more…Primal. I decided that if i really wanted to become a good runner in my Vibram Five Fingers, that i needed to go full gorilla so to speak and run barefoot.If you follow all of my blogginess, you probably know i have been running in Vibrams for about 7 months now. I made the switch right after my first marathon back in January and never looked back. And if you actually enjoy reading my blogginess then you probably know i LOVE these things. Running becomes so much more of a total experience with them on rather than running just to pound the pavement.I find barefoot running very intriguing. Think about it. How long has the modern athletic shoe really been around. Since the 60s…maybe the 50s? So you mean to tell me a foot that has adapted it’s self over a few thousand years should feel right at home in a stifling foot cave wrapped in sacks full or air or gel? And because of these big bulky shoes, us modern runners have adopted foot strikes that would shatter a bare heel over long distances. Such is my plight with my vibrams. Even after 7 months of running in a minimalist shoe, i still heel strike. I wrote about it in one of my last blogs The Ballad of a Barefoot Heel Striker.
The Answer Is Simple…Less Is More.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Barefoot on the Banks of the Deschutes: The Urban Trailrunner Heads West
Run, Bike, Kayak Smiley!
|Didn't win the race, but I got the Blue Ribbon!|
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No watch. No ipod. No phone. No technology whatsoever. I ran, biked and kayaked the Eppies 2011 Triathalon for the pure joy of it. Actually, I intended to bring my phone so I could do a short video or at the very least text my husband at the end, but I lost it right before the start of the race, which was a little stressful, but I had to let that go to find my happy place.
|Mom's Igniting a Love For Fitness (Team MILFF)|
I ditched all the "stuff" (well, everything but the Merrell Pace Gloves) so that I could truly enjoy this race. My intention was to "Run Smiley" the whole way which I did. Sorta. Well, that is until that bitch passed me on the bike leg for the third time. I looked up and she was in front of me. Again! Damn her! Ok. So that part wasn't so "Run Smiley", but a little competition never hurt anyone, right? Except that I really couldn't compete at my potential for this race. Only about four miles into the run I could feel my knee acting up. I was running my fastest race that I've done so far in minimal shoes. I felt strong and steady. Except for my knee. So I backed off to save it. I wasn't sure how this would render itself on the bike. I finished the 5.82 mile run in 55:49:1.
|Wha? Copping a feel?|
Once on the bike, things were good. Transition was relatively fast except for a bit of a balloon entanglement, but I didn't have shoes to worry about. I didn't use clipless pedals. My husband set me up with BMX pedals so that my minimal shoes would grip and it worked like a champ. I started off strong. I felt like I had gotten past my nemesis knee and all was good. That is until about halfway into the ride when I started to push myself. Then it started. Something was crawling up and down my calves. What the hell was that? Then it started to lock up a little. Ow. I'm thinking, "Ok. That would be a cramp." I wondered if people behind me could actually see it running up and down my calf like some sort of alien pressing its face through my skin. That's how I pictured it. So I started talking to it. Really. I was muttering all sorts of shit to myself. Mostly, "You will NOT defeat me you mother fucker!" Yeah. I laugh at myself now. I wondered if that bitch in front of me heard that. Yeah. And her too. She will not defeat me! Except I think she did. So, I settled into a higher cadence so I could keep the cramping under control. This wasn't how I envisioned my "smiley" race to be at all.
Shortly after that I had the realization that I had only three sips of my Nuun during the first half of my run and a couple squirts of my homemade iskiate (the recipe of which my friend Kate Kift gave me. I must tell you now... it was the bomb!). I figured I was low on potassium. I immediately swigged my Nuun hoping that would take care of the cramping issue. It did. Eventually. But by the time everything felt good I was getting close to the kayak transition point. Damn. I had missed yet another opportunity to push myself. I had to remind myself that it was all about the joy of the race, not about my personal best or record. Yeah. I had to remind myself. I was getting frustrated. I completed the 12.5 mile bike portion of the race in 44:32:5.
|Kayak put in. This is just the right side of the bridge.|
I felt much better after finding my kayak and putting in. There's something about the water that grounds me and allows my mind to be present. I was so happy to be in my kayak and on the river. The river was flowing fast, but I had some time before I got to the rapids. I knew my upper body was in good shape to push myself so I dug in. I was much stronger this year since doing all my weight training and it was apparent with the way I felt. I had much more command through the rough spots this year.
I managed to get through the rapids smoothly this year without the traffic jam of tipped kayakers. There were a few who were dumped before I got there, but I was able to get around them without issue this year. Last year I ended up T-boning a guy who had tipped and was "waiting in line" to pull his kayak out. Yeah. There was a line of about four kayakers who were all pulling out of the water at the same time. T-boning was inevitable. I was glad to have avoided that this year.
|Beginning the kayak leg.|
After the rapids I was prepared to paddle my heart out. So that's what I did. I dug in and pushed myself at a pace that would teeter me on the brink of muscle failure. The fact of the matter, though, is that you are only as good as your kayak. Similar to the bike, if you don't have the right equipment, you probably don't stand much of a chance. I'm OK with that. Its not a seriously competitive race anyway. The majority of people on the water are in simple rec kayaks and only a handful have the long, sleek $15,000 versions. I don't have the money to spare for a kayak like that. I'm not sure I'd want to throw that much cash into something that gets as much abuse as my kayak gets throughout the year. I love my kayak. Its put up with a lot of crap from me and it still floats. There's a lot to be said for that. I completed the 6.35 mile kayak portion in 1:01:12.5.
|Into the finish line!|
|TEAM M.I.L.L.F finishes strong!|
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Sunday, July 24, 2011
Happy Trails to ME! Recap of Northern Ohio XTERRA Trail Series 8K Chapin Forest
Sunday I ran in the longest race that I have done in years! I ran in the Northern Ohio XTERRA Trail Series 8K in Chapin Forest.
I have to admit going into the race I had butterflies. I was worried about being able to complete the course. I haven't done much high mileage training. My longest run prior to this was 5.5 miles about a week ago.I was also worried about the hills. I struggled with gentle rolling hills in Rocky River which were nothing compared to what I would be facing at this race.
This was my first time to the Chapin Forest. The park was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! The rolling hills made for amazing views everywhere I turned. The weather was absolutely perfect, low 70's and no-humidity!
Parking was easy. We were able to get a spot that was literally feet from the start/finish line. The registration process was quick and the staff was super friendly. I also liked the people that were at this event. There were a number of fellow Grunt Girls there. It was nice to talk to them as they were a very calming presence for me. I am going to try to get out to more of the group training events.
My family and I also had a nice chat with another runner who was inquiring about my Vibram Five Fingers. He told me that he runs barefoot! I was so excited as there are not too may barefoot runners in this area. It was nice to talk to someone in person that actually gets barefoot/minimalist running.
The race was awesome! The first mile was a bit hilly and muddy. I admit I did speed walk up a couple of the super steep spots. However I was quickly able to regroup and get running again. I laughed when I got to a muddy spot where the trail got very narrow. A guy came up from behind to pass me and said, "those things (referring to my shoes-Vibram Five Fingers) aren't made for the mud."
Friday, July 22, 2011
6 Reasons Why You Should Never Run Smiley
As a blogger, I understand the importance of providing something useful to my readers. I don’t want my contribution to the blogosphere to be merely an exercise in self indulgence. So I’ve always tried to balance the “the-legs-were-tight-today-as-I-ran-my-favorite-5-mile-loop-in-my-tech-shirt-and-ultra-minimalist-shoes” posts with something interesting, or useful, or amusing. Hopefully I succeed in some small way once in a while.
One example of this was a pair of posts (here and here) that I published a while back in which I attempted to warn runners about the dangers of running barefoot. In total I provided 13 convincing reasons why you should NEVER run barefoot. I had a lot of good feedback from these posts which made it all worthwhile.
So it is in the same spirit that I bring you the 6 Reasons Why You Should Never Run Smiley. I have been reading a lot lately about some people that say that they have learned to run and have fun at the same time. I see this as a real danger to the running population and will be doing my part to try to root out this evil before it gets too far. So if you run into (not literally) one of these people and they try to convince you that running smiley is a good thing I hope that you will consider the following carefully before you head out on your next run with anything but a scowl.
Reason One – What will people think?
Think about it. You’re running down the street, or sidewalk, or trail, perhaps even the dreadmill. You have a silly grin on your face. You’re sweating and breathing rapidly. It doesn’t really matter what else you’re wearing. Tech shirt or cotton. ASICS, minimal, or barefoot. Kilt, shorts, or skirt. Compression sleeve and/or RoadID and/or Garmin and/or MP3 Player. That smile is what people will notice. It will be out of place. Oxymoronish. Sesame Street “one of these things just doesn’t belong here” kind of unusual.
Everyone knows that running isn’t fun. It’s painful. It’s hard. It’s boring. Yes, it’s necessary for some. To lose weight. To train for races. To stay in shape. But it’s nothing to smile about. So what will they think? It can’t be good. Silly. Crazy. Out of touch with your feelings. Masochistic. The heat has gotten to you. Who knows?
Can you really risk this? Will your ego be able to handle the pressure of wondering what conclusion they will come to? I highly recommend you think twice.
Reason Two – Don’t You Want a Full Body Workout?
All (or most) runners understand the importance of exercises that strengthen more than just the lower body. The core, and even upper body muscles are important for running efficiently and minimizing the chances for injury. And you barefooters out there understand the importance of engaging all of those muscles in your feet that shoes tend to shunt. So we must all realize that in the same way a full facial workout is just as important.
Everyone knows that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. If your mother didn’t teach you that she should have. Now I understand that some have challenged this old saying. They think that it’s not true. But can you really take the chance? Think of those frown-enabling muscles! Even if there are fewer of them than their smile-inducing friends, can you afford to NOT have them toned and strong? I thought not. So no matter what, you must spend at least a portion of your run with a full scowl. Only in this way will you fully exercise your face and minimize the chance of injury to said mug.
Reason 3 – You Might Give Away Your Secret
As someone observes you running smiley they will wonder if you have some kind of secret reason for that joyful countenance. Now some days you might not have any reason, other than your perceived joy of running and enjoying your surroundings. However, I’ve been reading that many of these smiley runners have after run plans that involve things like big meals, tasty beverages (including the adult kind), etc. Sometimes a lot of these beverages. And food. And friendship.
Now do you really want people watching you run to figure this out? They might follow you. They might crash your after run activities. Drink your adult beverages. I will say no more.
Reason 4 – Someone Might Talk To You
As you run by, or as you pass or are passed by someone else running, they will likely be more apt to say something to you. Ask you a question about your smile. Strike up a conversation. Now while some might think that is a good thing I say it must be avoided at all costs. Socializing while running is a very risky activity.
You might have to slow down or speed up, or even stop to talk to the person. This change in movement might cause you to stumble or slip. You might strain something. It will mess up your heart rate training. Take your attention away from counting your cadence. Think of all the stamina you will lose due to these interruptions. Putting on your best grimace will greatly reduce the probability of these unwanted social encounters.
Reason 5 – You Might Do Something Crazy
There have been some really bad cases of this Running Smiley stuff that should be pointed out as a deterrent to any considering this incredibly risky activity.
Some have described having a desire to run through mud. Some have actually been so happy they have stripped naked and run through Amish Country. Some have run barefoot through cemeteries. These are bad enough, but there is one case that deserves special discussion. We will call this patient JR, so as to be careful about the HIPAA laws.
JR actually enjoys his running so much that he and his wife (we’ll call her SR) have decided to quit their jobs, sell almost all their possessions, buy an RV, and head out on the road with their whole family. They have very little idea where they are going, how long they’ll do this, or whether they really will like doing it. Can you imagine? All this because they love to run.
JR not only smiles when he runs a few miles but he recently ran 100 miles and he seemed to be smiling in every photo I’ve seen from the event.
Now I know JR is an extreme case. But have you ever heard of a slippery slope? If you crack a little smile on your next run it could be the start of something you might regret for the rest of your life. Maybe you won’t go on the road in an RV or streak through a graveyard, but who knows, you might start your own running blog. You guys might end up buying a kilt. You might start reading poetry about running, and barefooting. You might develop an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that involves watching “ Chariots of Fire” and reading “Born to Run” over and over and over again. I beg you. Don’t let these things happen to you.
Reason 6 – They Might Try It
Finally, and perhaps the most important reason why you must NEVER run smiley, is simply because someone might see you and try it themselves. Do you really want to carry that guilt on your shoulders for the rest of your days? Do you really want to be the one that spawns the next “JR”? Could you stand the shame? Could you?
OK. Good. I didn’t think so. So wipe that stupid grin off your face and get out there and grind out a few agonizing miles. And say a little prayer for JR and his family.
I need idea's people!
Also, I am currently going under the moniker "The Run Smiley Collective Administrator". Frankly typing that first thing in the morning before coffee, OR late at night after wine is a pain in the *cough*.. well, you know. So what cool title could I go under? Any funny job titles would be appreciated. Please keep it clean (ish) and something to reflect my general awesomeness. Okay, yeah, fine! Point taken - just keep it clean... ;)
Joyfully, Not a Joiner
"You are also special. You are a tougher breed of barefooter*."
In my head, what follows next is a Tarzan yell and chest beating.
I haven't switched to minimalist shoes and barefoot beach runs to prove what a bad ass I am. I gave birth.
I am already a bad ass.
I run because I enjoy it. I enjoy running barefoot on the beach. But I enjoy running the lake trails without having to worry about cuts or infections or breaking my gritted teeth while struggling over stretches of sharp gravel.
Pete Larson has written a great plea for moderation in regard to the barefoot/minimalist debate. What puzzles me is how often the question of speed comes up in the shoe/no shoe debate. I could certainly jump higher with spring-loaded shoes. It doesn't mean my body wasn't designed to jump at all. We are designed to jump and run - and to do a million other physical activities. None to the exclusion of others, so compromise is part of the evolutionary equation. We aren't gazelle.
I have always thought it was amusing that some swimmers shave the hair off their bodies to glide through the water better. It helps them win races, I suppose. It makes them better swimmers. They move faster. But it doesn't make them better at swimming.
I am not a competitive runner. I think there is a difference between being a better runner and running better.
When I am looking for inspiration I need to hit the restart button. Why did I start running again in the first place?
Also from Larson's Runblogger, where he shows how his son joyfully runs with the technique he strives for:
The less I think about it, the more I enjoy it. Mindful running isn't about my technique.
How the marathon fits into this?
... Well... the less I think about it, the more I enjoy it.
(*update: I was walking around the lake today after my swim, and thinking about the horrible swans - how they are the only thing I have to fear here in Norway. No venomous spiders or snakes. No polar bears or alligators. The only thing barefoot runners in Norway need to watch out for is stinging nettle and rutting elk. Talk about a lot of bravado for nothing.)
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Some Good Dirt
The dirt road around the perimeter was turned into a child's play ground. Hopping through puddles, slugging through thick mud, or sometimes just feeling cool dirt beneath my feet. Nothing compares to this.
When I got home my feet were full of nice brown earth and I proceeded to tell my teenage daughter how much fun it was. She just looked at me with a strange face. We have been so stuffed with put on your shoe syndrome that something as therapeutic as mud on our feet seems strange. What has happened?
I remember loving being barefoot at a kid with the grass beneath me. Now it's rare to see a child without a highly supportive shoe on and even more rare for an adult. That run was nothing but pure joy!
Keep spreading the word.. Tell everyone to RUN SMILEY!
Another View About Town
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Running Smiley when you can't run
Sally sent us this blog-post -her first- to share. How being injured has allowed her to Run Smiley without actually running.
Her blog post can be found at http://sally-runningsmilelywhenyoucantrun.blogspot.com/ ]
This summer marks 30 years of consistent running for me!! I have been celebrating this by embracing barefoot running wholeheartedly. So much so in fact that I made a crucial mistake of over training recently which of course resulted in an injury :((
After 2 weeks of mental struggling...I have realized that there is a deeper well to running smiley than I had noticed before. Whether barefoot or shod, running smiley is always about the smile buried deeply under all of the daily struggles of life. On a good day, running smiley is obvious. On a good day, we strive to achieve our pre -conceived goals. We smile when we accomplish them.
Even though I have run for 30 years, missing daily run is always an interior panic attack. Through years of minor injuries, setbacks, scheduling conflicts,raising kids, owning a business, I was always a RUNNER. If you aren't one -you just don't get it.
Barefoot running has set me free. Not in the ways you might expect though.
Yes, there are the obvious ones. But deep deep inside....it has set me free of myself. It has set me free to ENJOY running at it's core. It has taught to release my grip on expectations. To inhale and enjoy every breath,every step.
As I age, injuries are more threatening. When you are young, you know you will heal.When you are in your 50's, you are not so sure any more. The first thought is always -will I really be able to run again?
This week my goal is to take the WHOLE week off of running to heal. That is very hard to do. I can run through pain, walk in pain all day and still get out the next day and do it again. But this week my goal is to
run smiley without running .
Running smiley without running....dig deep into the smiley well and reach for the essence of running :)))