My legs were feeling a little tired this morning, so I decided today would be a rest day. I was going to go for a short walk to keep things moving, but running would wait for tomorrow. Then Laura texted me.
She had taken her brother out to lunch for his birthday but forgot her purse. Being the kind and awesome husband I am, I offered to bring it to her. I mean, how could I let someone pay for their own birthday lunch? I threw on my flip-flops, grabbed her purse, and was about to head out the door when I looked outside. A storm had rolled through overnight and it was still overcast. The temperature was a perfect 65 degrees and I knew there was a trail system very close to where they were having lunch. I called an audible.
I upgraded to a technical shirt, threw on my last clean pair of running shorts, and swapped out my flip-flops for my road shoes. One water bottle and a banana later and I was hurtling through traffic to drop off Laura’s purse and try out some uncharted running territory.
I wasn’t sure how far I was going to run, or even how long the path system went. I was simply going to listen to my body and play it by foot. The first path I chose led me into a gorgeous park that I never knew existed. It had fountains, playgrounds, ponds, and a very large, open, grassy area. I made a mental note as I cruised by. After looping around the end of the park, I came back to that grassy area and disrobed my feet. Let’s see what this barefoot running stuff is all about.
I ran to the end of the field and hung a left, hugging the berm that marked its boundary. I continued around the border of the field for a quarter mile when I returned to my starting place. My feet felt great, and I was keeping a good pace, so I added five more laps. I definitely felt the benefit from running sans-rubber. Especially after putting my shoes back on and continuing my run on the concrete path. Me feet felt caged and restrained. This barefoot running is something that needs to happen more often.
I continued back up the path the way I’d first come when I arrived at the crosswalk that would take me back to my car. I didn’t even pause. Let’s see what’s down the other end of the path.
Twice I came to a juncture, looked around, saw another path, and decided to keep going. My legs barely felt used. I was improving my form, getting faster, and lowering my average heart rate, all at the same time. Why stop?
The sun had cleared the clouds some time ago, and the temperature was rising, adding the the humidity from the previous night’s rainfall. My water was starting to get low, and I still had some things to take care of at home. As much as I wanted to continue on, I finally turned around and came back to the car, six miles after starting.