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The longest I have run is 25k on one of my solo runs. Yet I still feel like it doesn’t qualify me as a long distance runner. Long distance is atleast a full marathon distance, if not more. 

Yesterday was nearly 6k and I ran loops at the racecourse. It was really pretty with dark rain clouds rolling low and a cool breeze. The juxtaposition of green and grey made for a very striking picture. Little birds twittered near the shrubs and the horses were trotting their stuff. There were quite a few walkers and runners out too despite the late morning hour.

I guess the racecourse will have to serve as my running course for the season. Now that the rains have started, the potholes are making their presence felt and there are loose stones that can be tricky to spot. The racecourse is a 2.2k loop with enough variation in surface. Of course, with horses doing their thing, I have to watch for little piles. Running the sandy stretch makes both my legs work as opposed to the usual favouring of one side. On my repeat loops, I saw my footprints in the sand, I was ‘following in my own footsteps‘ 😊. Sometimes we can be our own cheerleaders. The track also has a miniscule gradient which is not visible but it shows up in heavier breathing and a little pressure on the calves. The few times I have run there, there is a head wind around that place which doesn’t make it any easier. 

It struck me then that perhaps I am really a long distance runner at heart. I pushed through and continued till that mental barrier was crossed. I could have gone on for longer than planned but decided against it. The feet and lower limbs have been doing reasonably well with the gradual increase. So, “why fix something that ain’t broke?” I have noticed that my base is fairly strong now. Even if I haven’t run a few days in a row, the lower limbs are fine and the feet are much healthier. There is no post run soreness or pain. After the initial euphoria of the first few barefoot 5ks, it feels like old times where I get into the groove only after the first mile or so. Once that initial inertia is crossed, I could go on… like Forrest Gump. 

One of the things I do to distract myself when I tire is to repeat “left-right” or “1-2” in my head. Yesterday, for some strange reason it was “11-12”. Later, it struck me that the barefoot marathon is on 11th December. The power of the subconscious… Increasingly, I find that the mind is an old enemy and a new friend. 

I read something very beautiful a couple of days ago, “When you walk with naked feet, how can you ever forget the earth?” This quote is attributed to Carl Jung and I came across it in an Ayurveda book.  As a barefoot runner, I identify with the idea below the surface of the words. A deep sense of indebtedness to the planet and all life on it. 

Happy to be barefoot.

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