Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Running Update

Okay so I had to give a little bit of an update to our story.

You recall I mentioned this book Born to Run that Andrew read? How it theorizes that running is something any human being is genetically trained to do and that returning to the natural ways of running is the way to avoid injuries caused by modern inventions such as that fountain of all evil: the shoe?

Well you can just nod your head and pretend like you read that post and remember everything I said. It's what my kids do.

I had to write just a little bit to tell you what I've been doing. Andrew has always loved to run but me? I think one comment from the previous post pretty much sums it up (and I quote): "I would only run if someone were chasing me with a knife."

But the book got me thinking. While I hate to run I've always wished I was a runner, that I could actually fit nicely into a pair of jogging shorts and that it didn't hurt so darn bad to put foot to pavement. Andrew's injuries have kept him from running for awhile so now that he is training this new way (i.e. barefoot) I figured that maybe even a tub o' goo like me could possibly keep up with him. At least on a circular course where he couldn't get away from me too far.

So I decided a couple weeks ago to join him in his barefoot quest for running nirvana, just to see if there could possibly be anything to this crazy idea and you know what? I'm actually having fun!

We go up to the high school track but instead of running barefoot on the track we keep on the grassy turf on the inside. When I first took off my shoes I thought it would be cold or prickly or unpleasant but instead it was kind of a liberating thing. I know that sounds cheesy but it was as if running barefoot in the grass brought out my inner hippy.

I only ran a mile and a half but even though I'm completely out of shape it felt as if I could have done more if it weren't for my calves which were really letting me know that I was going to get reacquainted with them darn fast. My feet felt great but I could tell my calves were getting a workout they hadn't had in years and that I'd be feeling it in the morning.

By the next day there was so much lactic acid in my poor calves I could hardly hobble up the stairs but after a day or two to recover I was back at the track trying it again and it's been great ever since. I even tried running when it was raining and I almost forgot I was *ahem* 34 years old. Yea. Thirty-four.

One of my beefs with running (one of many) is that I feel completely ungraceful when I run, like I'm clomping along trying to chip chunks out of the pavement with my heels every time I pound to the ground but when you run barefoot you naturally run like kids do--on the balls and midsection of your feet, hardly touching your heels to the ground at all. You might think you'd step on sharp things or hurt yourself but you kind of naturally adjust your weight and tread to avoid the nasties. Plus, I find I'm watching the ground to be careful not to step on any rocks which keeps me from thinking about being tired or the way my thighs are going "ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk," up and down, with each graceful, gazelle-like step.

Anyway, I won't bore you any more with the details. Next thing you know I'll be running barefoot in tie-dye running shorts, singing "Age of Aquarius" in true hippy fashion.

Oh! And another benefit? Being able to completely embarrass your kids. One of our neighbors knew we were running barefoot and asked Spencer about it to which he rolled his eyes and said something along the lines of: "I KNOW! They're up there running barefoot! It's SOOO embarrassing!"


If you want to check out a site Andrew recommends try Barefoot Ted's Adventures (sounds tempting doesn't it?)

And as a final note, I'm curious how long I'll keep this up. I'm notorious about finding new exercise programs that are fun at first then quickly kill all the light from my eyes after a month or two. If nothing else I'm curious about what will happen when the snow comes. I didn't realize it when I posted about how I could never be induced to put on a pair of these hideous Five Finger Shoes but I hadn't realized they're for protecting your feet while trying to maintain that barefoot advantage.

Sigh. Still . . . I can only think of Hobbits when I see these abominations. Could they get any uglier?

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Peruby said...

Hey, they should make them in natural skin tones so that it looks like you are still barefoot.

Yes - they are VERY ugly.

Good luck with the running.

Sage said...

I've always been one for barefeet, all of my life even in Malaya I used to walk round in barefeet on the hot tarmac and later when it hardened would spend happy hours picking it off again... doesn't it just feel so nice to get the air between your toes and the dirt under your soul...

Amanda said...

What a great idea - I too am a fan of finding something fun then leaving it behind once I become tied to it - part of my personality unfortunately!! But might just give the running barefoot a go...mind you here in Australia have to watch out for more than spiky grass!! Good luck with the running - I love your blog !

Jennifer said...

I'm not so sure about the barefoot thing for where I live, but it does make sense to me. There is too much dog, um, stuff, in our nearby grassy areas.

I too am interested to see what happens with this when the temperature drops.

Suburban Correspondent said...

I think you'll have to move south.

Flea said...

I don't think they could be any uglier. And we have foot issues in the family, so barefoot is bad. But it sounds like so much fun! Well, except for the running part ...

Janelle said...

I could never wear those shoes. I can't wear toe socks. I have two toes on my right foot that are slightly webbed, so the toe dividers are really uncomfortable and they wouldn't fit right. *sigh* I guess I'll never be able to take advantage of foot protection combined with the barefoot thing. But I'm with you on the running while being chased by a knife thing, anyway.

Amy said...

Oh yeah! I totally forgot you had written about those shoes when I commented about them. Ha!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Yeah, those shoes are too off-putting. Smeagol.

But hooray for you, running in the grass next to your husband. You still have many day to enjoy your hippy freedom.

Chele said...

I'm not too sure about those shoes either!

Good for you, for exercising... I can't get myself to do it. Thank goodness, my kids give me exercise just taking care of them!! :)

Jennifer said...

Ok, I have to ask: What are you going to do when winter comes??

Heart2Heart said...


I have to agree with you that the barefoot running shoes go one step further than ugly, try hideous!

I am so glad that not only are you out there trying to love running but you and Andrew are doing something together! That alone is great!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Heart2Heart said...


I have to agree with you that the barefoot running shoes go one step further than ugly, try hideous!

I am so glad that not only are you out there trying to love running but you and Andrew are doing something together! That alone is great!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Beverlydru said...

Verrrry interesting. Never heard of running barefoot as a planned thing. Anything to make exercise fun. And P.S.... 34 is young. Trust me.

Mike said...

Running barefoot seems like a great idea

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Melissa said...

I have never been able to run because of shin splints. I have been thinking of trying the barefoot thing in my new quest to exercise more. I have to be careful where I try it though, because in Texas the ground is pretty hot in the summer! I have been exercising barefoot in my home though, with the Wii, and I LOVE it!

Carina said...

...and I will laugh, and laugh and laugh if you ever buy a pair. Don't think I won't!!

All innovation is considered hideous by some. I continue to think they're cool and beneficial, so there. =P

Jenna Consolo said...

A mile and a half? Good grief! That's not out of shape at all! I'd have to train for weeks to run that far! I'm a great walker though, but like you, I hate running and yet always wished I was a runner. Go figure.

Serena said...

Oooh, I'm so glad you're having fun! I discovered Barefoot Ted's Adventures after your last post. Interesting stuff. And I AM going to start running barefoot soon!

CountessLaurie said...

Good for you!! I find it interesting that running barefoot embarrasses your children. I mean, you must be pretty dang normal if that's all it takes.

"when the moooon is in the seventh house and jupiter aligns with marrrrsss..."

Amateur Steph said...

Hooray for you and running! Those shoes are ugly, but they look functional. If you buy some, please review them. I am completely curious as to how they feel.

Janet said...

OK, first of all . . ..

"only a mile and a half"

"only" does not belong in that phrase. I couldn't even manage to run the half.

Although I can hike for several miles with a heavy pack on my back. I have no idea why that is.

Second of all, I don't remember WHEN I was 34. 34 is quite young from my perspective now. :)

Third of all, the shoes? Why not just stick your feet in melted tires?

Hwood said...

Hey there - It is so funny you have this book on here. Kathryn and I loved reading this. I cant wait to tell her you guys are running barefoot. Tell Andrew hello.

Stephanie said...

First of all, you said: "I ONLY ran a mile and a half..." I say: that's pretty amazing for just picking up running out of nowhere.

Secondly, I find this whole "running barefoot" thing fascinating. I may have to give it a try. Do you ever run on pavement like that...or just on turf?

Finally, congrats! It sounds like you're committed to your health and I think that is awesome (even if it does embarrass your kids).


Alice Wills Gold said...

Enjoy it while it lasts. It's the age of Aquarius. the age of aquarias...aquarias...aquarias... does that song even have any other lyrics.

planetnomad said...

I already left a comment but I think it got lost. It was about how I thought of your old post about running barefoot during a recent trip in which I walked MILES and MILES on hard pavement in flip flops with NO support and got terrible leg cramps as a result.

Dave Thurston said...

Winter is here in Ohio as well. I'm curious to know if/how the barefoot running is progressing. I recently caused a stress fracture in my foot and have been listening to Born to Run while healing and am getting all fired up about returning with a new gait. Did you go forward with the Five Finger Shoes?

JB said...

Running is something that is a consistent issue for me. I am constantly trying to mix my routines up so that I don't get bored. Great insight - thank you!