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Milind Soman is a celebrity in India and also a well known barefoot runner. In fact quite recently, he was in this city to promote a run and there was quite a flutter around him. Since there was hype around him, I just ran in the opposite direction.
In the bustle of my everyday, I don’t end up watching television and it is a rare day when I watch anything at all. It’s been around a month or so since I first ran barefoot and I just saw a video where he spoke about his transition from runner to barefoot runner. This one had me hooked right from the start. I identified with everything he shared and every single thought he expressed was a personal truth for me. I don’t have his running or fitness history but the whole barefoot experience has been similar.
My shoeless running has been completely without any background information. It happened rather spontaneously. I just listened to my body and ran as it felt right. No Google searches, no internet research, just applying the lessons from my mat.
Running ultimately is a very individual discipline. It is for each one to find his/her road and what works for one need not work for the other. In the couple of years since I began running, a lot many things changed. I progressed from wanting to be invisible to being comfortable about my struggles in public, from trying to blend in to accepting that I am noticeable, more so now that I am mostly shoeless. I used to feel awkward about wearing running clothes since I didn’t think I could call myself a runner. Now it doesn’t bother me that I need gloves when the temperatures are cooler but not cold enough. It has been stripping away all the non-essentials and perhaps a time lapse video would look rather dramatic. From long hair and an awkward gait to a close crop and shoeless, the internal transformation has changed my externals too. Running also brought me new friends and an old one back to my life.
All this was possible because of one day when I took that first step out of the door, thanks to Coach.