Skip to content

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.

IMG_6805

IMG_6848

Old Saddleback keeps watch over Orange County .

 

IMG_6828

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

IMG_6837

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

IMG_6839

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.

IMG_6806

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

IMG_6827

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!

 

 

 

Advertisements
9 Comments leave one →
  1. Caveman Hiking permalink
    July 4, 2017 7:42 am

    I’ve only recently discovered your blog, so I’m very late to the party, but I feel we’re kindred spirits. I started barefoot running about the time you did… 2011… Were we both inspired by Born to Run?

    My motivation was a long battle with shin splints that evaporated after a friend suggested barefoot running (or more accurately minimalist running). I did some true barefoot running, but mostly it was Vibram 5 fingers. Over time I discovered Luna sandals which have been my go-to for years now for running, hiking and backpacking.

    This year I decided to do an experiment… I’m calling it an “Experience Project”… to hike barefoot for 6 months. I figure humans have walked this planet barefoot for 100K+ years, so I wanted to see how I would adapt.

    So far it has been glorious. My feet have toughened up, and the feeling of all the textures makes me feel sorry for everyone wearing shoes / boots. Did I mention mud? My inner child goes nuts when there’s mud. From reading your blog I know you understand about mud.

    I love your writing and your story. I can relate to every episode. See you down the (hopefully muddy) trail!

    • July 4, 2017 2:37 pm

      Thanks for the feedback! It’s not a party until people show up, so you’re not late 🙂

      I’m glad you’re enjoying barefooting; I actually didn’t read Born to Run until about a year in, but I did begin my barefoot journey for a similar reason: a long-term injury (knee for me).

      That’s a great word to describe going shoeless outside: glorious! And mud! Yep 🙂

      I’ve made a couple of fun videos to document how much I LIKE MUD (that’s the title; there’s part one AND a sequel): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_dp9swIrzU

      Thanks again for your shared enthusiasm for mud, barefooting, and letting that inner child out to play 🙂

      • Caveman Hiking permalink
        July 4, 2017 3:27 pm

        Love the mud videos… Thanks for pointing me to them!

      • July 6, 2017 1:10 pm

        You’re welcome! Glad you liked them . . . not everyone appreciates this sort of stuff. (And then there’s the slightly odd folks who seem to appreciate it too much 🙂 )

      • Caveman Hiking permalink
        July 9, 2017 8:51 am

        I guess I fall in the slightly odd category 🙂

  2. Gina permalink
    January 26, 2016 10:01 am

    Woot! Congrats!

  3. 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 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: