Barefoot running for six years: feeling grateful!
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.
Here’s hoping and praying for (at least) six more years of barefoot trail fun!