Running seems to cause conversations with the body. Do you have these? I swear I don't have multiple personalities or anything. But I do feel conflicted a lot of the time. It goes something like this:
legs: "We hurt. Please stop. Stop now. The burning is intolerable. We're going to collapse."
me: "I know. Hang on just a little bit longer. How about just to the next stop sign?"
legs: "Not another hill! We just did 4 of them!"
me: "One more won't be so bad. Come on, legs, keep it together! You're strong, remember?"
me: "Shoulders, relax. Quit hunching up. Just relax."
shoulders: "I can't relax until you stop! Hunching up is a defense mechanism to this long stinking run. How bout you stop and then we'll talk about relaxing!"
me: "Boobs, will you please start growing again? I know it's been 20 years or so, but just give it another try. The first go around wasn't very successful."
boobs: no response.
My body is a bit of a drama queen. I try to talk sense into it, and most times I can push through whatever is going on. But I'm sad to admit how many times I let the body win. It reminds me of my teenage daughter who wears me down by her constant, unrelenting nagging. Sometimes she wins too.
However, I have been having a different conversation with my body as of late. It's been a much happier conversation. There's not such a battle of wills going on. And it's all because I'm talking through my feet.
I think I'm starting to understand all the craze behind the barefoot running. It is simple, really. It's not in the benefits of finally running properly. It's not in the injury prevention that lured me in originally. It's not even about getting closer to nature. It's about the joy. There is something about running without shoes that is simply joyful. You smile and enjoy yourself. You feel light and free. It can't really be explained. You just have to try it. And I can pretty much guarantee that once you do, you will know exactly what I'm talking about. And you won't want to quit. I can see why exuberance for it can cause you to do too much too soon.
Saturday I had planned to run 12 miles. I thought I'd do 8 and then head home and take off the shoes and finish out 4 in my socks. But in the middle of my run, I realized I was at the high school track. I turned in and took off my shoes and socks and took off. I ran 3 miles until I just couldn't take the pain anymore. The track is not soft and plush. It was worse than asphalt. The little chips were painful. I tried to run as lightly as I could but 3 miles on tender feet takes its toll. But honestly, I had a smile on my face and my feet felt free. They were light and nimble and I was bummed that I had to quit a little earlier than I had wanted to. My footsies just aren't used to the abuse. I think since I've changed my style of running that the muscles are adapting faster than the actual skin. My calves are hardly sore anymore, now it's just some thickening of the skin that I need to work on. The worse part was putting my shoes and socks back on. Seriously it felt like they were suffocating. And it felt like my legs were carrying lead feet all the way back home. After I got home and ripped those suckers off, I inspected my feet to find that the outsides took the worst of it. They were even a little torn up. Good thing they healed quickly and I was walking normal in socks that afternoon.
The next Tuesday I ran 5 miles outside in my socks again. The furthest to date. And I didn't want to stop. My legs felt fresh and good and my feet didn't feel torn up or raw. They felt good. It was fun. It was Joyful. It was freeing. It almost feels like being a kid again. If it wasn't for getting the kids to school on time I think I would have gone farther. Since that run it has been killing me to run with shoes. I know I can't overdo it. I know that it's going to get really cold and I'm going to need some sort of protection from frostbite, but it's just so freeing and fun that my run on Wednesday with shoes was pretty much torture. O.k., so not quite torture. Maybe I have a bit of drama queen in me as well. There were no bamboo shoots under my fingernails or anything. But my feet were crying to release them. Now I really am looking forward to any barefoot runs that I can do. And while I'll continue to take it slow... my feet can't wait until they can be fee all the time.
Wednesday: 7 mile run
Thursday: 2 mile run in Newtons, full body weights
Friday: cycling class
Saturday: 11.5 mile run (3 miles barefoot-outside)
Monday: 5 mile run (2 miles barefoot-treadmill)
Tuesday: 5 mile run barefoot-outside
Wednesday: 5.5 mile run
Thursday: 4 mile run in Newtons, cycling class
Saturday: 11 mile run (5.5 barefoot-outside)