And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair~
I took my first “official” minimalist shoe run last night!
I received my Vibram Five Finger Bikila Evo shoes, the other day and ran a mile in them on the treadmill. They felt great. It really is amazing.
I’ve been transitioning for months, to the “barefoot/minimalist” method. The first time I ever ran this way though in my regular running shoes, I ran 3 miles, and I could barely walk- let alone run for over a week. When your legs and feet are used to running with a “heel strike” in heavily padded shoes, you can’t just make the switch instantly. So I’ve been running in my less padded shoes, aiming for a forefront strike most of the time.
I think that is why the transition is going so well for me. I’ve been transitioning since last December to running this way, in my padded shoes. But with the Vibrams, I felt like I was flying. I ran on a combination of pavement, grass, and little trail. I was running at almost sunset. I chose a trail with a lot of grass. I ran mainly on the grass. I started to feel the moisture from the grass under my feet. Like I *was* running barefoot- free, and easy, and not a care in the world- like a child. I realized it has been that long, since I’ve felt the grass under my feet, while running.
I couldn’t help but think- that is sad. It’s been at least 3 decades since I’ve ran like this. It felt so good- so natural, and yet, it’s been 30 + years. My kids, don’t run like this anymore, and really who does? But this is how we were meant to be- free, easy, joyful- feeling through our feet, while running through the grass.
I noticed I was smiling- I wasn’t even trying to smile but I was. This is what I had been hoping for- that feeling of just not caring if I was running faster, but just having the fun and the looseness with running. I heard my feet hit the pavement. And it was light-and quick. I’ve improved so much in just a week. I didn’t hear my feet hitting the pavement with heaviness, and I didn’t feel it in me. I felt light- and quick. I saw my feet leaving impressions in the grass. When I was running back, and still saw my footprint impressions in the ground- that’s what running is about. Running past yourself- always improving. We can always become better than we were- even if it was just 10 minutes ago passing yourself in the dewy grass.
I ran two miles and I had absolutely no pain. I am not tracking my pace, but when I downloaded my run, the Garmin still records pace. My fastest pace was 6:50. I did that on a good day in my regular shoes, so while I’m not basing any of this on stats, it felt like it was a little nod that I was on the right track- my first minimalist shoe run, for two miles and it was easy and fun, and I’m still able to hit my “normal” fastest paces.
I absolutely love running this way so far. The day after, I had zero pain- no hip pain, no shin pain, none of the “normal” aches and pains I have after running. I’m planning a longer run- maybe 3 miles on Saturday with the Vibrams. I’m just going to do what I’ve been doing and run and have fun- taking it easy and light.
I had a moment though- I rarely run into anyone running. But a woman passed me on my return run home. She wasn’t running that much faster than me. I had that few seconds where I thought about trying to catch her- not because I wanted to show her up, but because I wanted to see if I could catch a strong runner- she was about 10 years younger than I , and was running well. If I had not been on my first run, in minimalist shoes, I might have really tried to catch her. I think I would have. I would have pushed myself to catch her.
But this night- I let her go. It’s more important to me now to train smart than trying to push myself to the max, to catch a runner. She may be a sprinter and was doing a fast run. I don’t know. I like I still have that- there is a place for pushing yourself and making yourself better- that time is coming- but it wasn’t tonight.
I used to think there is always a runner to catch. But now it’s more important I re-learn running and I know, without a doubt, I’ll be catching runners soon, when it isn’t even my goal. This is a good lesson for me. The only person I have to “compete” with is me, and I’m not competing with myself. I’m improving myself- as a runner and a person. I can let that runner go- where as before, I would think I had to catch her no matter what. What I thought I was achieving- speed- came at a cost with injury and a lot of soreness the next day, and the next day after that.
I am building myself up to take the stress of running when it really matters- and it won’t be to pass someone else on a training run or a race- it will be to show me, I can be better than I thought, in that moment I don’t think I can. It will be for me, running at my best- just for me. And that is running- pushing yourself when you have to- but appreciating that you can. We don’t run to measure ourselves against others- we run- I run- to show myself I can be better than I was- and better than I thought.
That is the beauty of running- passing your own footprints in the dew soaked grass-passing yourself, feeling the “earth delighting in your bare feet”, better than you were, better than you thought- running for yourself, chasing who you are becoming…
(Note: While I was designing Running Free Blog, I was writing blog posts too as I started this process, but had no place to post them. So for a while the blog posts will be a few weeks “retro,” until I run out of content and start writing “live” every week. This post was written August 21st.)