Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Just me and my feet.

  I have come to not need as much as I thought I did at one time in my life.   One of the big epiphanies occurred when I ditched my running shoes (which I did not just intuitively do either).   I thought that I "needed" shoes and that my husband was a loon for suggesting that I didn't.   I thought that "gear" is what would make me a better runner.   Sometimes that is true but only to an extent and only depending on your own expectations of yourself.  If you want to run just open the door and go.  I changed how I saw running and I fell in love with that primal act that my body is made to do.

  I like to drive.  Its very relaxing. There is something about the simple movement through time and space. I find it soothing and lovely.  This is how I feel about running only even more so. To have my own two feet moving me forward and when I find that sweet spot where the discomfort doesn't matter anymore and I feel as if I could run forever. Those moments are what keep me coming back.
The times when the thoughts flow and move as they please. When I feel connected to the earth and the air.  Yeah it sounds like a bunch of hippy shit but all the rest of you runners know what I mean and if you don't, then you are maybe at a point where you might want to reevaluate why you run.

  For some of those who are lost right now and have misplaced your mojo, here is my advice.  Say "frak it" and just go out and run.  Now watch, no expectations, no Garmin.  If its hard to even get out there, make a goal to just get out there. Not to burn calories but just to move your feet. You can turn around and change your mind but you must get out there to at least give it a shot.  Thats all.  There will be more races down the road.  There will be more opportunities to show what you've got but really what else is there besides you and the road.  I like to think that your mojo will return somewhere around the time you stop looking for it.  You know, like lost keys.

  I have these expectations I put on myself and they really are just something I decide on.  I get wrapped up in them and then the competitive nature in me gets fired up reading some super runners blogs and I feel like a slacker. I can go all out for a while and kick some major arse but its hard to keep it up and I want to just go back to my mellow ways.  What always eventually occurs to me is that I like to run and it doesn't matter if I quit blogging and crept into my little bubble again I would still be pretty much the same. I won't quit because it is good for me to get out in the world even if it is mostly virtual but its fun to think about change.

  I want to get better and stronger and faster but all of that takes time and dedication and sometimes other things get in the way of that.  I get to hang out with my family and run and I have loads of time to do fun things. Thats what matters most. Not some race I paid to run.  I have to remind myself of this as work is making marathon training tricky.  I work part time and I am a contractor.  Work is not guaranteed so I take what I can get and I have to stay flexible.  If I have to work for a 3 day weekend, which looks to be the case for several weekends in a row, then I have to do that while I can.  There will be more marathons to come.  Thanks to Jaymon for reminding me of this. I may be able to swing it with doing long runs during the week instead of the weekends but we shall see what unfolds.

I think I am contemplating the contradictions.  I like high intensity and move towards that but as I mature I want to move away from high intensity and the transition is strange sometimes.   Many people think that ,for instance, barefoot running is so hard core.   On the contrary, its a mellow way to run.  You run lightly and gently and most barefoot runners I know have gravitated to a more light and gentle attitude about the rest of their lives as well.   We don't like pain, hence the ditching of the shoes!

  So mentioning shoes makes me think of stuff and gear for runners.  In my little family of six, we don't really have a bunch of stuff and we don't buy things very often.  We get many things second hand and don't spend money on cable tv and going to movies or out to eat.  We want time.  Time together and time to just be mellow.  If I want to do a bunch of activities then I have to pay for it.  I then have to work at a job and spend my valuable time paying for these activities. To some people this is important and it is fun but for us its not worth the time right now.

This will change as Jaymon and I age and our kids move on with their own lives but for now with little ones we try and live more minimally by choice.  I didn't used to be like this by the way. Just like thinking I had to have gear, I also thought I needed to spend money to be happy.  These are lessons that I have learned from my dear one and am thankful that I have always been drawn to him for his differences from me.  I have let them change me and I am happier for it.

  Its kind of strange to get a bunch of free stuff from companies to try out.  Its great for us since we live on a very minimal budget and I have very much enjoyed the stuff I have been sent.  Its a win win for all really.  I get free stuff and the company gets some exposure and you get a chance to try it out for free too.  Bottom line though, its just stuff and I like it but I don't need it.

  I constantly have to remind myself to turn down my emotional volume and mellow out and remember what matters the most to me.  Life can be overwhelming.  We had big plans and all of them changed drastically when we had a son with autism.  We have worked and spent thousands and thousands of dollars on trying to help him.  We moved to a different state and put many of our own desires on hold for a while.  For me, it has made me a better person.  It has made me evaluate what matters most to me.
Most days I appreciate my limitations.as they breed creativity and appreciation for what I have.    I am able to do this in part because I run.  It has been a long hard road to get where I am today and thanks to my lovely family of boys I am able to be safe and free to be who I am.

  I get out there and burn off the pain, laugh, cry, zone out.  I push my kids in a stroller or run with my husband. I want to travel and run all over the country.  Where ever I am I can run.  Every time I have set out and put one foot in front of the other I have changed.  Where I ran became a part of me.

At the end of the day I am a mother to four of the coolest little boy spawn I know and a wife to my best friend.  I run barefoot because I love it.  It started out so I could continue to run to become and stay injury free but now that I know how great it is even if there were shoes that would never cause injuries, I still would run barefoot.


Unknown said...

Oh, thank you so much for posting this, Angie! I have been struggling on getting back to my religious running since my injury. It was depressing to say the least, while I was down with a heel fracture. Now, I cannot get up and GO! THanks for the push!

Andrew Opala said...

Hey, the hippy sh*t has its place.

"Frak it" is good advice, but then Starbuck and Adama jokes start and you screw up your breathing ... sheesh!


such a cool post - your family must be proud of you! Is sounds like you are totally grounded and in the groove!

Please drop by runningmanwannabe.blospot.com and throw in your truth once in a while.

Anonymous said...

Very nice post. Your honesty is palpable and makes me contemplate why I run. It's all good. Thanks!

kat said...

Wonderful post, thanks so much for sharing, a lot of what you said resonated with me.

Anonymous said...

this is a great post.I totally struggle with my competetive side as well.It is a battle to just allow myself to run and not worry about how fast or far i went.I think you are so right about the barefoot running .when I do it,it grounds me,lol.It helps me relax.I keep thinking I 'have" to race.Even though deep down I don't really want to.
liz f

sam said...

Muchas gracias por ser como eres y compartir tus experiencias. Aprendo mucho de ti.


love this post. thanks for sharing and giving me some clarity.

Marlene said...

This is a great reflection on running and life. I love that your running philosophies are represented in your everyday life also. Living simply and mellow... it's a beautiful place to be! What more do we really need than to be with our loved ones?

One Crazy Penguin said...

I needed to hear/read this today more than ever before. Thank you for some sorely needed perspective. Words cannot express my gratitude right now.

Ewa said...

You are so right. I really mean it.
In a pure sense running is just about running, not gear, not races, just movement.
And then comes in our human part (maybe I should be talking only about myself and not the entire human race). We love our Garmins (that would be me), we love our electrolytes (true primal runners did not ingest tablets or gels on their persistence hunts), running skirts (but they are so cute), shoes (OK, I totally lost understanding for why we really need them) and so on and so on. We love those things maybe because we don't have enough in us to just go out and run. Some of my friends have more running outfits than other clothes. I say, if looking cool on the run helps them get out of the door, that is great.
Sure, it would be nice to stay totally pure but I know for myself, that often I need more than just inner motivation to move. So that could be seeing my past Garmin logs or reading gear reviews and drooling over shorts, shirts, skirts and so on.
Thank you for your thoughtful post. It gives me a lot to think about on our upcoming backpacking trip.

KovasP said...

Nice post, Angie. It's great that you can live with minimal stuff. While I try to keep it to a minimum, our family of 6 has enough stuff to maintain a small country. I try to keep it organized and it becomes less obtrusive.

B. Kramer said...

As I've mellowed with careful aging, I've often caught myself thinking similar hippy shit. I always figured there was something in the water from my hometown. Great post.

Don't know if you've ever seen the Autism Hangout (http://www.autismhangout.com/), but a guy I met through a banjo forum put the site together. Cheers!

funderson said...

AMEN! It totally blows my mind when folks talk about not being able to run because their Garmin crapped the bed. Really?? That is just weird.

Anonymous said...

great reminder, thank you! :)

Junk Miler said...

Dang it, I just got back from a run and now you made me want to do it all over again. I guess it's going to have to be laundry day. AGAIN.

"Where I ran became a part of me."

That's a good thought that should be pursued and elaborated on.

Emz said...

Incredible post.
Thank you.

That last paragraph ---- the best. SO true.

Genesis said...

youre so honest and this post is really great and eye opening. truly most of the stuff we think we need is just a want and we can truly get by with out it.

ludo said...

Wonderful post Angie!
The sociological implication of BF (and also minimalist shoe) running is, I think, greater than it looks and your post describes it perfectly.
Finding (again) this primal instinct is something invaluable.
Applying that concept to your life is admirable.
Good for you Angie and thank you so much for the inspiration :-)

ludo, LIC

Katie said...

Great post Angie! I love how you weave all the things in this post together . . . they really all are interconnected.

And, I love your Aha moment video on your sidebar. I too had injury after injury, in what I call my "monster" shoes (motion control with inserts too!) and now, with several months of barefoot or VFF running, I feel GREAT after each run!

Unknown said...

Great post, Angie. You're absolutely right in that we need to take more time to just run for ourselves - no pressure.

It's funny how running is such a minimalist sport. Old school said all you need is a pair of running shoes. Now look at all of the gear a runner "has" to have.

AshleyR said...

Great post! Love that you guys live minimally. we're working on it here, not that we were stuff people before but after 38 yrs of life it turned out I was hanging on to too much. Gosh it's been freeing to slowly weed stuff out of my life. I'd love to be able to sit down (or run) with you and discuss life and the universe with you. I think we'd get along quite well.

ShellBell said...

What a lovely post. You have such a way with words! I was just telling someone if I ran to the point where it wasn't fun then I wouldn't be true to myself. I may be slow but I am really enjoying myself and don't want to ever lose that. I can't wait to run with you some day!

Unknown said...

Angie, I loved this post! I am doing a running moms free online magazine. I think your article would be perfect in the magazine! Email me if you're interested: nanette@thismothercanrun.com


The Boring Runner said...

Love this post!

I'm with you - I LOVE driving. Maybe that is why I like running so much?

Anne said...

What a genuine post...I don't really know you, but I know I like you and I like what you have to say. Thank you so much for sharing.

Lexie said...

Thank you so much for posting such a honest and inspiring post. I just found your blog and love it. I am currently training for my first marathon and have nothing but injuries. I am waiting to find out if I can even run this marathon because of my knee. I am staying positive.

Just a couple weeks ago I listened ( i adore audio books!) to Born to Run and I want to scream out to the world how great that book was. It was so interesting!

But I really like the idea of barefoot running - I haven't got a chance to start trying it because it is too close to the marathon. I feel like I can't change it up now because I heard it takes time to get used to it. Do you have any advice for when I start trying it?

Thanks again!

I provide Bradley Method childbirth education, doula, belly casting, placenta encapsulation, and post partum doula services.
I serve families in Kitsap County, Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo, Bremerton, Silverdale, Kingston, Port Townsend, Bremerton, Port Orchard, and the greater Seattle area. email me atangiebeehotz@gmail.com with any questions you might have
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