Friday, July 22, 2011

Joyfully, Not a Joiner

[The Run Smiley Collective Administrators Note:  This post was sent to us from Ren.  Her blog can be found here:]

After hitting the wall this weekend, I have been crawling over the internet for some inspiration. I discovered that the Barefoot Runners Society has a Norwegian chapter whose introduction is in English, no doubt as a means to further serve its apparent purpose:

"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.)

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