Have I mentioned I love my dog, Zeke? He is such a great running partner. Oh, and he's been doing much better with the shoe chewing thing. It's ironic because now I'm thinking he can just have them! I'm really becoming a believer in barefoot running. Yesterday I set out on a hike with Zeke, which turned into a run. I am still resting my hamstring but it was nearly 45 degrees and sunny in January, who could blame me for breaking into a run?
After about a mile I took my shoes off. The trail was smooth in that spot, but grew rockier. I just took my time and stepped as softly as possible. I even ran over several sections of packed snow. It wasn't as cold as it sounds. It's definitely cold if you stop on the snow, but running on it felt great since it wasn't as rocky as everywhere else. The parking lot of Red Rocks Open Space was packed so I knew my bare feet wouldn't go unseen. I was sort of prepared for that. I passed by a couple who gave me funny looks, but didn't say anything. Then a family with two small children pulled over to the side of the trail to let me by. "Barefoot, huh?" the dad commented. And I smiled and said "Yup, just trying it out." Then I heard his kids asking him questions about why I was running in snow with no shoes. Sorry, dude, hope I didn't set a bad example.
Next I crossed paths with a woman about my age who was running and she said "That's awesome." Okay, I felt a little better at this point. Less self-conscious. I don't think being barefoot is something to be ashamed of, but I'm not exactly a beautiful gazelle, swiftly-smoothly-gliding through the forest. I'm more like Homer Simpson falling down the stairs "D'oh! Argh! Er! Son-of-a!" Not something to be entirely proud of....yet.
After about three quarters of a mile I stopped caring who I saw on the trail. I was just really proud of myself because I was running over new terrain with no shoes and I felt like I was on my way to becoming a real barefoot runner. I know it will take time. Years, probably. But it will be good for me, Instant Gratification Girl, to practice that kind of patience.
I love running barefoot with my dog. I'm like "Hey Zeke, look at me, no shoes! Just like you!" and he's like "Cool, I'm going to go chase those deer!" Between reaching a new barefoot milestone, and running for the first time in a week, Zeke and I found ourselves totally elated and just couldn't stop running. I felt the ol' Runner's High coming back and I know Zeke was feeling it too.