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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Barefoot running

Last summer, I tried to get back into running after a nearly eighteen months pause due to my pregnancy and the birth of my beautiful daughter. I had planned to run during my pregnancy but I had some early bleeding after only a few weeks and you don't want to tempt fate. My baby was born very healthy and all is well. Thank the Lord.

I got back into my running in the summer 2012 and was doing fine. I was slowly building up again, but finding it a tad tedious. Little did I know that a blog was going to change my life forever about running, yet again.

I was invited as a guest blogger on a conscious parenting website and I decided to explore barefoot living for the little ones and what are the advantages of it. I was sparked by a lovely article in the mother magazine, which I find very inspiring. You know how I like to walk the talk, though, so I decided to start going everywhere barefoot to see how it felt so that I could write about it first hand.

One thing led to another, and the bookworm in me found the time, over the summer holidays, to read both Barefoot running step by step and born to run. I was fascinated. Slowly but surely, I was discarding the myth that feet needed shoes to be protected and that feet weren't strong enough to be left without shoes. I remembered the soles that were put in my shoes to "support" my foot arch as a child and wondered where on earth all this had come from.

Fast forward five weeks and I decided, after having walked barefoot EVERYWHERE successfully, to go for my first barefoot run. It happened to take place on Weston-Super-Mare's beach, the precise location where I went for my first run on 5th September 2009 (at the grand age of 44). I decided to make the most of my run and get on the beach at the edge of the water  for a good splash. I loved the coming and going of the waves and the gentle caress they made on my feet and ankle. I also enjoyed getting wet. I found it added a wonderful dimension to my run that I would have never experienced had I worn my high performance running shoes.

The biggest surprise, however, was how much easier it was to run without shoes. As long as I made sure I didn't make the mistakes that runners who wear shoes make very often (the heel strike) and made sure I was gentle on the foot sole, then it was pure delight.

Encouraged by my success, I continued with the barefoot running well into the autumn. I had to stop around mid October because I cracked my little toe. The way it happened would have happened regardless of whether or not I had worn shoes, I have to say (just in case you were tempted to say "I told you soo").

I happened to go for my last barefoot wander on my birthday. My birthday is on 6th November so it can get pretty cold here in England. However much I loved barefooting then, I can't deal with pain. I am a strong opponent of the no pain no gain philosophy. And on that day, when I tried to walk the Labyrinth in Glasonbury, my feet hurt. I felt immensely sad at the thought of having to wear shoes possibly for months when walking outdoors. But there you go.

More about my barefoot adventures soon.

With love

Ange

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