This site is just about one year old now, and this marks its 50th post. I thought this could be a fitting place to start something new: additional writers. Or guest writers, we could call them at the moment.
You see, Barefoot Monologues is a plural title, and thus it seems to speak of many voices. And since I happen to know of a few talented voices who also happen to be runners, I thought it would be fitting to publish their “journeys of the sole” on here along with mine. It makes me happy when other people talk about how much they love running, distance and minimalist running in particular. I look forward to seeing how far this will go.
My first Barefoot Monologue-er happens to be the one and only Lynsey Bray. Some of you may know her by her interwebz moniker, CatChowder. She and I have never met in person, but our friendship has grown over the past year and a half through Runner’s World forums, Facebook and thousands of text messages about things like rolling pin massagers and runner’s trots. I admire Lynsey’s ability to run for hours on a treadmill and lift heavy things (and put them down). I hope everyone enjoys her introduction post as much as I did. Thanks Lynsey!
Hello my name is Lynsey and I’m a broken runner. Not broken enough for bed rest or crutches; just enough to whine a lot and go stir-crazy. I can do things like the elliptical, but it’s just not the same. Trisha may or may not have said something along the lines of “Ya know, since some of us can run, how bouts you try something productive like writing in my blog?” By the way, I think stir-crazy is contagious because my husband has started showing symptoms since I’ve been home more often.And so, here I am. Productive, and staying out of my husband’s hair.I wasn’t much of a runner until about two to three years ago. Okay, so that might be stretching the truth just a bit. I started life as a weight-lifter, the heavier the better. If I could lift 20 lb. for 5 reps I wanted to do 30 lb. for 8 reps the next; I was ecstatic when the scale showed growth. I loathed running, though I don’t recall the reason. I’m not even sure what led me to incorporate walking into my lifting routine but a funny thing happened after awhile — walking morphed into running. As walking became less challenging I sprinkled in some jogging segments. At first I measured my distance in blocks, though I’m pleased to say I now measure it in miles. Correction: I measured my distance in miles before
I hurt myself. Anyway.
Two things quickly became apparent – 1. Running was the only time my mind was completely clear, and 2. shoes distracted me from accomplishing the former. I didn’t think about deadlines while I ran, or goals, or bills; but I did think about my left lace feeling tighter than the right, and the fact that the tongue on my right was more lateral than the left, and both my socks were scrunched…frankly shoes drove me nuts. Foregoing shoes for running shouldn’t have been a surprise anyway considering I rarely wear them any other time.
Much to the chagrin of my husband I’d make a point to pass by the house to toss them in the front yard before continuing on my way. His reservations really are understandable; I have the uncanny ability of receiving weird random foot injuries. Once I managed to open the bottom of three toes by stepping on a scythe, another time I dropped a 40lb curl bar on my foot, I’ve stepped on more nails than I can count, and I even sprained my ankle within the first hour of my first camping trip…walking from the porta-potty. Some barefoot runners wonder if I’m blind or simply unobservant; my husband and I consider it my superpower, a gift so to speak. We reached a compromise when I found Vibram Classics. They won’t save me from any nails protruding from pieces of wood hidden in the grass, but they have saved a few toenails; more importantly, I don’t spend more time fiddling with my shoes than I do actual running.
Lynsey Before and After her Vibrams. Doesn't she look so much happier sans sneakers?
Some people run to prepare for a race, lose weight, or attain some other benefit; for them it’s a means to a goal. For me, running isthe goal. I don’t “train;” training stresses me out because I easily become consumed with reaching that usually arbitrary benchmark. Training implies work, work implies not having fun, therefore, I do not train. Running is my meditation; stepping out my door and repeatedly putting one foot in front of the other is freedom from all the constraints of my mind. I just don’t have some ultimate goal way off in the future that I am working towards.That’s not to say I don’t race. I will participate in a race simply if it offers a unique finisher’s medal or interesting route. Running miles is awesome – running miles through some place new is even more awesome. My favorite race combines mine and my husband’s hopefully mutually exclusive interests – hunting and running. It’s a trail race that covers terrain that is accessible to hunters at other times of the year – “other times of the year” meaning the week after the race, but I digress. His buddies and I enjoy pre-race bantering. They remind me not to wear fake antlers and to please wear orange; I ask them why they wear boots when I easily survive in my slippers, as they call my Classics. Each of us thinks the other is off their respective rocker. I don’t understand why anyone would want to traipse all day through the brush in heavy boots and maybe come back with something to eat; they don’t understand why anyone would want to battle sharp pawn frones while barely clothed just for a piece of non-edible ribbon. We both wake up before daylight to enjoy the same terrain, to do something we enjoy, that most outsiders don’t understand.
Lynsey, her husband and stepson, after her first 13.1 race.
I guess you’re wondering what kind of broken I am and how I managed it. I’m pretty sure I strained a muscle in my hip; I scrapped a long run because something just didn’t feel right and instead of calling The Husband to get me I decided to walk back to my starting point. Gradually it is feeling better which is why I haven’t visited a doctor; I’ve regained full range of motion and mornings aren’t nearly as painful as they were two weeks ago. In the meantime I was thinking of taking up a new sport, maybe wheelchair hockey…or arm wrestling.
Lynsey is the creator of FuzzyFeet, a play on the retro fuzzy dice rear-view mirror decorations. Handmade, completely customizable and adorable gifts for the barefoot runner in your life. Find them on Facebook.