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Barefoot running for six years: feeling grateful!

January 25, 2016

It’s been six years since my 50-year-old self began the barefoot hiking and trail running journey. (Here’s a blog post celebrating the one-year anniversary milestone.)

From chronically (and I mean my ENTIRE life, from my first after-school track season in fifth grade, through adulthood) injured runner to feeling-better-all-the-time movement proponent . . . it’s been a rocky (pun intended) journey full of ups and downs (enough puns already).

But . . . here I am at 56 able to run farther, with more enjoyment, than ever before.

No, I’m not completely pain-free and unrestricted in my trotting along the trails; my right hip and lower back still are stiffer and sore-er (is that a word?) than I’d like. But . . . I’ve been out on some steep trails for 2-3 hours several times in the last month, feeling my arms and legs and spine and shoulders and elbows and ears and toes all flowing along in a most delightful fashion.

And I’ve signed up for what will be (Lord willing and the creek don’t rise) my first ultra . . . a 50k race through Monument Valley in a couple of months. (In the past, signing up for a “big” race has been my downfall as I overtrain and become injured in my Type A attempt to thoroughly prepare. This time I’m going to err on the side of “undertraining,” knowing I can walk a lot and still, maybe, make the 11 hour cutoff time. And if I don’t? That’s OK too . . . I’ll be wandering through Monument Valley, a culturally significant place I’ve always wanted to visit.)

Here’s a few photos from my longest run so far, just under three hours, earlier this month on the lovely undulating ridgeline trails of Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

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Old Saddleback keeps watch over Orange County .

 

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Nature’s almost-infinity pool? (A puddle with a view of the shining Pacific Ocean.) 

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One of my favorite chaparral birds: the always-ready-with-a-song California thrasher in its favorite perch, a laurel sumac.

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Why don’t I run these trails more? Only 30 minutes from my inland home (during low traffic hours) are these long views of Laguna Beach and the Dana Point Headlands.

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The sandstone hills erode into trails that are practically rock-less: a barefooter’s paradise!

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Yes, there were many lovely rain-remnants to gallop through; here I am re-enacting for the camera another “pride goeth before the fall” moment when I thought I’d show off my awesome puddle-running skills and ended up slipping and falling on my bum. The puzzled onlooker’s comment when I asked him to take my photo? “There’s nothing like blackmailing yourself, I guess.”

Here’s hoping and praying for (at least) six more years of barefoot trail fun!

 

 

 

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Gina permalink
    January 26, 2016 10:01 am

    Woot! Congrats!

  2. January 26, 2016 7:30 am

    Be safe on that ultra!

    • January 26, 2016 9:18 am

      Thanks, Terry. Are you buried in snow in DC? I’ve seen some awesome photos! You stay safe too 🙂

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