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Not allowed to go barefoot . . .but I still had fun

May 11, 2016

iPhone Photos 319

jumping down

Thanks to my barefooting friend Gina B., there are pictures from last night’s parkour class at Firestorm Freerunning! Woo hoo!

Unlike a week ago, when we focused on vaulting over giant foam blocks and which took place mostly on the springy gymnastics floor, last night was wall night, with unyielding obstacles of all shapes and sizes (and colors!) to leap up, on, to, from, and down. (I love how parkour is a discipline of prepositions.)

After warm-ups, the coach took me aside and said he recommended shoes for the rest of the class due to the hard wall surfaces. I am a complete beginner, in no position to make waves and/or argue with someone who can do a flip from 10 feet in the air, so I slipped on my minimalist Sockwas (Socks With Attitude).

It was a super-challenging, super-fun hour of practicing precisions jumps, safety ups, wall pops, half-cats, cranes, and other parkour techniques. As aerobically fit as I like to think I am at age 56, I was huffing and puffing toward the end as we ran loop after loop, jumping from wall to platform to obstacle and around again.

Last night: What I learned . . .  about myself:

  1. I am no longer 12 years old and seem to have misplaced  most of my “hops” (fast-twitch muscle fibers that make jumps happen) that allowed me to dream of flying as a middle-school high jump competitor on the Orange County Lutheran elementary school circuit back in the early 1970s.
  2. I need to stop imagining sideways glances–or, worse, stares of horror and pity–from my fellow parkour-ians at the gym. All of the many non-grandmotherly peeps there, including my three classmates, were either engrossed in their own workout or gave me an encouraging smile if I did happen to look up from my leaping-hopping-sweating. But I tried not to look up and just concentrated on my own jumping bizness. Gina B. said it well in her email today that accompanied these photos: “Had a good time at open gym last night. People are sure great there. I got a lot of free pointers…and a scrape on my elbow. Blood, sweat and tears!”
  1. I still really really really like jumping. Liked it as a kid (see previous comment about high jumping on my school track team), like it as a middle-age barefoot-running grandma who can’t wait to do some jump conditioning at home to try to revive a few of the remaining fast-twitch muscles left in my varicose-veiny legs–getting old is not always pretty–so I can stick a few more precision jump landings at the next parkour class.

Just now: What I learned . . .  about why folks don’t think barefoot parkour is a good idea: (from the website

“Why people don’t go training barefoot.

“One of the reasons is that people think training barefoot is inappropriate and irresponsible. There is a belief that the world is an inherently dangerous place that’s out to get them.

“It is pretty much the same thing you face when you’re out training and someone yells at you to ‘get off that rail before you hurt yourself’. People tend to overestimate risk. In this particular case, shoe-wearing persons tend to think that the world is composed almost entirely of dog crap, used syringes and broken glass, and walking barefoot is an almost-suicidal undertaking.

“There are risks involved in walking barefoot, and there are places where I  wouldn’t do it.

“But the risks are small, the consequences reversible and they are outweighed by the benefits. Broken glass is not really a problem. Pieces large enough to be a real threat will be visible instantly. Smaller shards will get into your feet, I’m not denying that, but they pop out as easily as they go in and rarely get infected.

“Furthermore, feet toughen up fast. Bare-feet can seem scary at first, just like Parkour training, but sticking with it will give you a much better idea of what actually poses a risk, and what you can take in your stride.”

I love this quote:  “shoe-wearing persons tend to think that the world is composed almost entirely of dog crap, used syringes and broken glass, and walking barefoot is an almost-suicidal undertaking.” It brought to mind Barefoot KenBob’s hilarious YouTube video “The Deadly Broken Glass Dilemma.”

Here’s to a world that is more full of obstacles to play on than littered with “dog crap, used syringes, and broken glass.”

iPhone Photos 314

Literally the biggest challenge of the evening. Let’s just say I’m glad the coach was there to spot on this big ol’ wall. #notquitereadyforAmericanNinjaWarrior


Gina! Thanks again for taking the photos!

Happy (hopping, leaping, jumping, barefoot) trails . . . I can’t wait to put some of these new skills to use outdoors.

(And next time I’m going to ask if I can do the circuit once barefoot, just to compare . . .)

6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2016 10:02 pm

    Your blog is an inspiration! I was thinking of it while backpacking (barefoot) on the Washington Coast with a friend, especially while navigating the logs piled like huge matchsticks against the bottoms of some of the bluffs. I could use some parkour training!
    I just have been introduced to the writing of two authors you might like, if you don’t already know about them: Roger Deakin “Wildwood” and “Waterlog” and Robert Macfarlane “The Wild Places” and “The Old Ways: A Journey On Foot”.
    Thanks again for the inspiring blog!

    • May 19, 2016 6:43 am

      Hi Scott! Good to hear from you; thanks for the kind words. And: wow! Sounds like a wonderful place to hike barefoot! (I am imagining lush coastal forests, so unlike our dry beauty in So Cal.) Your comparison of logs like matchsticks piled against the bluffs really put a vivid picture in my mind. I bet your instincts took over and you scrambled just fine . . . no training needed 🙂 I always appreciate book suggestions, so thanks for those; I’ll be looking them up (and hoping our library system has them). Happy barefoot summer trails! Thea

  2. Gina Barnes permalink
    May 11, 2016 5:06 pm

    That video is HILARIOUS!

    Gina Barnes Web Marketing Jesus Film Project (949) 425-7546

    On Wed, May 11, 2016 at 4:54 PM, Barefoot Wandering and Writing wrote:

    > theagavin posted: ” Thanks to my barefooting friend Gina B., there are > pictures from last night’s parkour class at Firestorm Freerunning! Woo hoo! > Unlike last week’s class, which focused on vaulting over giant foam blocks > and took place mostly on the springy gymnastics f” >

    • May 11, 2016 9:01 pm

      Barefoot KenBob is a funny guy 🙂
      Thanks again and again for your photo work yesterday! (And yikes am I sore today . . . what a workout!)

  3. Kelly Anderson permalink
    May 11, 2016 5:06 pm

    It makes me happy that you’re returning to the hopping and jumping and climbing of your youth. It gives this middle aged lady hope for the future.

    • May 11, 2016 9:00 pm

      Hi Kelly! Nice to hear from you . . . may we all hop (however tiny those hops might be) hopefully into whatever the future holds. Any “local nature writing” to share? I remain a fan 🙂

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