One year ago today, I ran barefoot for the first time (as an adult, anyway – I’m sure I ran barefoot as a child). The run was a short one, only 0.4K. I ran around the block on streets still wet from the previous night’s rains. It was a magical experience, and I’ve not been the same since.
A lot has happened in this past year of running. I ran barefoot until the weather got cold, transitioned to my VFF KSOs for a while, then ran barefoot on my treadmill all through the winter. As winter waned, I got back on the roads in my VFFs, and then moved back to barefooting as soon as I could. Even my VFFs feel restrictive now. I want to run barefoot all the time.
The longest I’ve run barefoot is 35K, at the recent Niagara 50K Ultra. Before that, my longest barefoot runs were about 25K. My normal runs presently are either 5k or 15K. I’ve found that running in as minimalist style as possible works best for me – just singlet and shorts, no shoes, no watch, only a hand-held water bottle for longer runs. Less is very definitely more for me.
With all that’s going on in my life right now (including my father’s recent death and the fact that my prostate cancer is recurring), I’m just running to run now. Not really training for anything or having any goals except to run.
I will soon, though, move to a light training program to prepare for the Toronto Underwear Affair 10K, which takes place on August 28. It’s a fundraiser for “cancers below the waist” (i.e., prostate, colon, cervical, and ovarian), so there are lots of good reasons for me to do it.
I’ve come a long way in the past year. I know a lot more about myself than before, both physically and psychologically, and I think I’ve become a more balanced and grounded person. Naturally, that’s not all due to barefoot running (I wouldn’t be where I am without the love and support of my wife), but barefoot running is a big part of it all.