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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.



Old Saddleback keeps watch over Orange County .



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


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


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.


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


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!




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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