This week’s article round-up.

Feb03So I’ve been reading about running again. It didn’t occur to me how weird that was until I was making this list. I’m not currently running so maybe I’m just living in LaLaLand pretending that it will soon be warm enough to run again. Or maybe I’m just trying to get knowledge for when it is warm. In any case, it’s not entirely useful info at the moment, but that’s OK.


Getting Better At Life:


The third time I ran

Source: Mike Spray

My sleep was being affected by my lack of exercise.** Two weeks of no biking or running, I was sleeping 30 minutes to an hour more than before. I was getting home from work, eating, and by the time my head was screwed on straight again the sun was going down.

I determined to run anyways and did my third run with shoes, since it was getting colder out. As soon as I tied them up I was surprised by how heavy they were. I was afraid I was going to hate the experience again.

I was surprised by three things:

  1.  My stride did not go back to the typical heel strike that is often attributed to shoes. I kept running the same as if I had no shoes on, I could tell this because my heel wasn’t hitting first, and because my muscles in my legs felt the same as when I ran barefoot.
  2.  I didn’t hate it.
  3.  It made the bouts of walking I did easier (because it’s HARD to walk without heel-striking and that does not feel nice when you have no shoes on).

So I’m happy to say that I’m OK to run with these shoes I have, but I still would like to get some barefoot running type shoes, either Vibrams or some of the more normal-looking “minimalist” shoes.

**I wrote these three posts a few weeks ago.

The second time I ran (barefoot)

The other day I had “Run” down on my Daily Portfolio as my daily exercise. After work, supper with my husband before he left for class, finally making it back out of the grocery store, barely surviving the mob of hungry people, dusk had already set at 7:30 and the chances of my run were gone.

I was actually disappointed.

So today, as I saw an un-planned opportunity to run, I took it immediately. I grabbed my iPhone and left the house. I noticed a few things as I ran:

  • I felt my calf muscles differently
  • My endurance wasn’t particularly a problem for another short beginner run. Thankfully all that Bixi-ing I’ve done in the last month has strengthened my endurance.
  • I got bored quickly by going back & forth down the sidewalk near my place, but I kept going down it because the sidewalk was smooth and free of debris.
  • I’m not gonna lie (don’t tell my mom!), as I was running I was wondering how updated all my shots were. Good thing to ask the doctor to check when I see her next.
  • The pads of my feet didn’t hurt this time.

All this to say, I’m encouraged. 1.7k is a far, far ways away from 42k that’s for sure. But it’s at least 1/5 of the way to a 5k.

My first barefoot run

I’ve mentioned before about how I really enjoyed the book Born to Run. A big topic of the book is barefoot running. I’ve been very intrigued by the idea ever since. About a month ago I finally worked up the courage to try it, in public, to put my pride (and maybe even foot safety?) on the line.

That first barefoot run was great. It wasn’t exactly what I originally expected it to be but thankfully I had read up on transitioning to barefoot running and that helped me know what to expect.

I had imagined the moment my bare feet hit the pavement that my posture would change, my speed would increase and the Chariots of Fire theme song would start playing. I would find the freedom of running without shoes so liberating it would trigger a cellular response that enabled me to be able to breathe without trouble and bring me back to my pre-puberty days when running was easy and I was fast.

That didn’t happen.

I’ve had these dreams for years where I would be running away from something but not be able to run fast enough unless I got down on my hands and knees. Then I could run like the wind. Lately I’ve been thinking and reading so much about barefoot running that I’m dreaming about it. Last week I dreamed that when I kicked off my shoes I could run effortlessly.

That also didn’t happen.

What did happen: I was surprised at how natural it was for me. Years of walking on gravel in the country and enough running barefoot in the torrential rain because I hate wet shoes somehow prepped my feet to not slam down on my heels. I alternated between walking and running and didn’t push myself, like all the instructions said. After my little run the pads of my feet were tender, which makes the end of the day the tenderness was gone but the muscle pain started. I had been using the muscles in a new way/ actually using them again.

Born to run

In 2010 I kept seeing this book Born to Run popping up all over the place. I was intrigued by the title. It poked at something in me that told me people don’t need to be athletic to be able to run. Or at least that’s what I seem to hear people saying. Then why do people get injured so much doing something that should be so normal and natural?

When I think of this book, I think of devouring it one lazy afternoon in Paris. Even though I was in, well, Paris, I was so taken by the story on that trip that I read it any moment I wasn’t working. The irony of the whole thing was not lost on my boss who poked fun at me for reading about running rather than actually running.

This book, coupled with inspiration from my friend Gloria, was what reawakened the Bucket List goal of running a marathon, for better or for worse.

I really recommend this book if you’re interested in hearing about crazy people doing ultramarathons and the story of a tribe that runs like you wouldn’t believe. It’s challenging to an aspiring athletic but current couch potato like myself.

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