Back in August, there was a great Daily Show piece on author Christopher McDougall whose book, Born to Run, tells the story of a bunch of
crazy runners Tarahumara Indians down in Mexico that ran hundreds of miles (out of necessity/fear) in sandals. Then there’s the endurance runner from Greensboro, NC, Charlie Engle, who ran 4,300 miles (6,920 kilometers for you metric folks) across Northern Africa in 111 days, and chronicled his (and his two running partners) journey in the documentary film Running the Sahara.
The last bit of inspiration comes from a plug for NCBCBS. The guy in the commercial had a heart condition and shares how he lost a bunch of weight by taking up exercise (running). Stories like these inspire. They make me want to get my weight-gaining self off the couch and on the road. That’s what I’ve been doing.
Back in 2005, a friend of mine invited me to go run a 5K race with her. I hadn’t run in about 5 years, but I thought, “Why not.” I strapped on my Gazelles (not made for running), a t-shirt and a pair of Umbros. Twenty-five minutes and tweny-five seconds later, I crossed the finish line. I was hooked. One and a half mile runs turned into three mile runs which turned into 5, 10, 20, and 30 mile runs.
For a solid 3 years, I was crazy about running. Somewhere down the line, I started making excuses and fell out of running. My mileage decreased as did my overall enthusiasm. I willed my(overweight and out-of-shape)self through a marathon about 4 months back. The entire time I kept thinking to myself that my laziness has to stop. Did it? Of course not. It got worse. Then I watched the McDougall piece.
My newfound love of the sport comes with a bit of a self-inspirational twist—no shoes. Currently, I’m only running without shoes once or twice a week. I still have to build my mileage back up to where it was. To keep myself going, I entered a 5K race. My goal was simple, show up and run barefoot. Ah, but that would be too easy. The race was a Christmas-themed run where costumes were encouraged. So what does one dress as for a December race where the temperature is (was) 31°? Why, a present of course.
The race went well enough. It was quite cold, and my feet were numb within seconds of taking off the flip-flops. Mile 1 was pretty much all downhill. Mile 2 rebounded with an incline and some rolling hills. Mile 3 brought pain as a rock entered the big toe on my right foot. Since I had a big box on my torso, I had to slide my foot on the ground to free the rock. With the end in sight, I just relaxed and enjoyed the final tenth of a mile. I will definitely do it again. Just need to determine the distance (and shed the McDonald’s I’ve been carrying around my waist). Stay tuned.
What’s your take on barefoot running? Are you gonna run barefoot? Share it below or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.