Thursday, July 28, 2011

Embracing life's roller coaster

Have you ever had an epiphany, but been unable to explain it to anyone else? That is the case with this blog entry, which has been over 2 weeks in the making. About two weeks ago the material for the entry came to me during a morning run. And then last week, during another run, I found the title. But it is not until now that I am able to find the exact words to put here.

Running never ceases to teach me new things. And barefoot running has taught me things I would never have learned with my shoes on. Like the concept that lawns can describe life and death.

Some lawns are green, lush, and almost bouncy – like when you are in love, cared for, and taking time to enjoy sunsets with a glass of wine. Some lawns are dry and hard with spiky blades of grass – like when you feel lost, lack energy, or experience the cut to the heart when you lose a loved one. Some lawns are in between, sprinkled with mediocre grass and just enough moisture to not notice if it's too hard or too soft - like when life is the same old, same old.

Running with my shoes on, all roads, sidewalks, and trails feel reasonably similar. It’s as if my feet are numb to the ever-changing path beneath them. Running barefoot is like life without the bumpers. You FEEL! (Although you don't feel as many rocks as one would expect.) You feel the smooth sections and rough patches more deeply. And isn't this how we're truly meant to live life - embracing the roller coaster of experiences and emotions that flood us? And isn't it also true that we wouldn't trade the green and lush moments with people, even when we grieve their absence during the dry and hard times of sorrow?

I'm thankful... for the lessons I continue to learn about life through running... and for those who teach me how to live fully into all moments of life.

Barefoot progress: I hit an important milestone on Monday - I ran 3 miles barefoot!

In my Old Navy socks after Monday's run!

This is significant for two reasons. First, some online sources say that once you hit 3 miles barefoot, then your muscles are pretty much adapted to the new form. I wouldn't say I'm fully adapted - since my achilles/calf muscles still get a little sore - but I was able to run another 3 miles barefoot this morning. Two 3-mile barefoot runs in a week is pretty sweet. Second, it was also my goal to run 3 miles barefoot before getting minimalist shoes so that my feet would first adapt to themselves, not the shoes.

So what's the next step? For August - October I have a couple goals:

1. Increase the number of days I run barefoot to 2-3 days per week to build strength in my muscles
2. Increase my barefoot distance to 6 miles (ambitious?)
3. Find minimalist shoes that I can wear in the winter (yes, I hate to admit cold weather is around the corner!)

This blog entry is dedicated to Bibiana. A young woman who truly transformed us with her positive, loving energy and taught us how to fully embrace life. We miss you. 7/13/2011

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