Hello Readers - the few that may remain. I've been absent for so long I would actually be surprised if anyone continues to read my blog. As I haven't been actively training ... and I have seldom run ... I just haven't had much blog fodder. I can report, though, that as the weather slowly begins to warm (though I did wake to a coating of fresh snow on the ground, third time this week) - I've been running more frequently.
In fact, I have been running barefoot! I've been interested for a long time. I first became consciously aware of barefoot running when I ran my first marathon (Portland '96) and saw another runner doing just that. I was so intrigued I began to read the barefoot forums on Runners World. Then last year as I struggled with Plantars Faciitis, Donald began to post regularly about his own foray into minimalist running.
I love going barefoot. Those who know me can attest to the fact that when I'm comfortable at home or even while camping, I am typically barefoot. I'll walk to the mail box, jog over to the neighbors, and even do yard work all the while my toes are unencumbered. I love freedom. It allows me to feel more connected with the earth, as silly as that may sound.
I started with a 2 mile easy run on the treadmill on March 4th .... barefoot. I went a little too far as the belt on my treadmill is textured for traction and I thereby ended up with blisters on the balls of my feet. I thereby didn't run again until the 11th (4 miles easy), again on the treadmill, more conscious now of my gait and running form. I noted that my calves were still sore from the run the week before - apparently I had used muscles that I haven't used in a long time.
That weekend, we went to the coast to see family and while there, I did an easy 3.75 miles - whereby I stopped and took off my shoes, running the last 1/2 mile barefoot (alternating between asphalt and grass). I felt good.
The next day (Saturday) I happened to read of a local running club run, Run of Two Cities 10K. I thereby decided to give it a go with no expectation other than to run my own race. To finish strong and to enjoy that I was running again. I struggled a little in the middle (very typical of me) but did in fact have a strong finish, crossing the finish line in just under an hour. The last 1/2 mile or so was all downhill and I approached a 5 min mile pace! What an awesome feeling!
I have also started to attend a weekly Yoga session but a las, I haven't run since the 16th. I've come to accept that I am in a different place - a different season. I am going to enjoy running when I can. Training when I can. Incorporating a variety of tools into my arsenal. Minimalist running is just one of my tools. When everything lines up - when the kids are a little older - perhaps I'll be able to run another marathon. Until then, I will do all I can to stay fit - to stay active.
Don't be surprised, however, if I begin to talk more about running with bare toes! :)
For more information about minimalist running - there was an article in our local paper today, The Evolution of Running. Enjoy!