Some things that I have learned.

Posted: July 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

During my brief time as a #barefoot runner, I’ve learned a few things about myself that I would like to share because I think that they apply to  more than just running, and I believe that they would benefit more than just myself. When I first decided to start barefoot running, I thought that it would just be something that I would try to keep myself interested in running and staying active. I had no idea that it would have the impact on my life that it has had, nor did I believe that I would continue to keep doing it for more than just a few months.

When I first started running, I did the couch to 5k program entirely shod. After the longer runs (relatively speaking of course) I would come home with swollen knees, ankles, and my back would be killing me. This was partially due to my weight at the time, and mostly due to poor form and conditioning. After completing the couch to 5k program, I bought my first pair of Vibram Five Fingers (which I will be reviewing soon), and started on the minimalist running path. However, while on the birthdayshoes.com website, I began reading about folks like Barefoot Kenbob and Barefoot Ted and the idea of losing the shoes entirely was very intriguing to me. So, I kicked off my shoes without really thinking about what I was doing or how I was doing and I have gone through the school of hard knocks during my barefoot transition. So, today I’d like to discuss a few things that I’ve learned that relate less to running and more to life through my trials and errors as a barefoot runner.

 

First, patience is harder to come by than frustration. What I mean is by the time that I started running barefoot I was already able to run 30+ minutes at a time, albeit at a slow pace, and I could not do that barefoot. This was not due to poor aerobic conditioning, but due to lack of foot conditioning. This frustrated me because it felt like I was starting over at square one again…When in reality, that’s exactly what I was doing. However, I was starting at square one and building a much stronger unshod foundation. However, I know that there are things in my life that frustrate me because I can’t do them exceedingly well yet…This includes things from work, other hobbies, speed work etc. Fortunately, barefoot running has taught me that even though patience is harder to come by than frustration, life rewards patience far more than frustration. So, whenever I find myself getting frustrated I simply remind myself that it is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. The journey should be enjoyable and frustration free or it may not really be worth it all in the end.

 

Secondly, I’ve learned that my own personal opinions and those of my wife far outweigh those of others around me. For those of you that run barefoot or in minimalist shoes, you’ve all gotten the ridicule or strange faces and oddball comments about the funny things on your feet or the fact that you are indeed shoeless. It happens to everyone, and I at first believed that a thick skin was required to continue doing what I was doing. Then, one day, I made a decision to stop caring about what everyone else (aside from my wife) and do what I truly thought was best for myself and what brought me the most joy. I no longer care what folks think of my goofy toe shoes, and I take pride in the fact that I can run farther and faster now than I could while wearing shoes like the rest of the crowd. This has applied to other areas of my life as well. I’ve never been a big conformist, but I was never one to intentionally stick out in a crowd. However, I have always been one to shy away from confrontation. That has certainly changed since I started barefooting. I no longer simply agree to things without voicing my opinion, and I no longer care that I don’t have the most glamorous job in the world, or that I’m not using my college degree in my current employment field. These are all things that provide a way for people to classify me, and I no longer care about their classifications, and I think everyone would benefit from caring less about what others think, and I don’t know…actually thinking for themselves for a change.

 

Finally, I’ve learned that nothing is worth doing if you can’t do it well, and that nothing worth having comes easy. Now, the first part is a relative ideology and is different for everyone because well is a relative word. I think running 4 miles at a 12 min/mile is well enough for me…Is it well enough for runners who run to race???? Probably not. However, I relish every slow minute of every mile because it is something that I’ve worked hard to achieve and that makes it all the more gratifying. I feel that this applies to other areas in life. Winning the lottery might make you happy, but to me, I’d be happier if I had earned that money in the first place rather than having it given to me….This applies to government hand outs as well, but that’s for another time and place that I don’t feel like going to right now. Bottom line is that anything worth having is worth fighting to get, and things that you have to fight for are far more important than things that are given to us and taken for granted.

 

I know that those are not earth shattering realizations, but for a 23 year old kid, they are pretty important life lessons that I believe everyone forgets from time to time, and it is always nice to have a reminder of what really matters in this thing we call life.

 

P.S

In the coming days expect a review of Vibram Five Finger Bikilas, and the New Balance Minimus Life. I feel it’s time that I did a review or two, and those are the items that I’ve chosen to review. So, stay tuned.

 

Anyway until next time,

Puff

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