29 November 2009

Born to run

I love running by the river and through the woods. There's almost no one else out there, just me and the water and the trees. So when mom wanted me to run some errands in town, I saw it as a perfect opportunity to run the trail.

From thanksgiving leave 09

I probably wound up doing three or four miles in my FiveFingers, basically rubber toe socks. SInce they have no cushion or arch support, they force you to run how you were born to run - land on the balls/sides of your feet, let your heel just touch the ground, then launch off your toes. It feels natural and smooth after you practice it a bit. And it makes your lower calves sore, since your shoes can cause those muscles to atrophy.

But it felt great, especially when I cut off through the pine and oak forests, running on the dirt and pine needles and leaves and grass. I could feel them all beneath my feet, and feel my feet automatically adjusting to the different levels of cushioning the ground offered. I padded along, smooth and content.

So after I got home with the carrots for mom, I ate a banana or something and decided I felt good enough for another run. I pulled on my FiveFingers again and headed down the road for the Flushing Township Nature Park, one of my favorite places in the world. It's got a couple meadows on the river bluff, and some floodplains down closer to the river. Most of the trails are smooth and grassy, but down by the river there's some boardwalk. Both felt great under my nearly-bare feet.

All told, I think I did about ten miles that day. And when I woke up the next day at sunrise, I decided to head out again. We were down in northern Kentucky at my cousins', staying for Thanksgiving, and I remembered a little park a ways up the road. The hills there were steep and muddy, so I had to walk in some pots, but it was a good run.

From thanksgiving leave 09

I'm gonna keep this up - it just feels so good. Dad always said I could be a runner, but it always bothered my knees. Now my knees are fine, and I want to do a marathon. Part of that inspiration comes from a book called Born to Run, about the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico and their frequent 100+ mile runs through the canyons. The fact is our bodies are designed for endurance running - and if you don't believe that, your shoes may be holding you back.

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