Settling in for the summer

Blog entry posted by TD Moose, Jun 25, 2013.

Steamy summer weather is here in Minnesota. This is the time I am glad to not need a pair of hot running shoes. The ground is soaked and very easy to run on right now, but still, I stick to pavement most of the time. The path around Lake Harriet, where I run most often, has a dirt trail next to the pavement, but I don't see the appeal of running on that path. I've seen more runners injure themselves, tripping on the rocks and roots that stick out here and there. It's not an official trail, just a path worn from years of "off-roading" by probably thousands of walkers and runners over the years.

Puddles are a fun challenge now. I have to admit I do take great pleasure in plowing straight through a puddle, zipping past the runners who delicately step around the edges in an effort to avoid getting their shoes wet. I'll slow down if someone is too close, so as not to splash anyone, but it is fun to go full bore without losing stride. Of course, this is a path I'm very familiar with. Splashing into a puddle full speed without knowing what lurks below could be dangerous.

I've begun to stop to talk to people if they have expressed an interest. Usually this is when I take a break at the drinking fountain, but once, I stopped when a woman walking in the opposite direction asking me how long I had been running barefoot. Many are surprised to find that I have not read "Born to Run," and perhaps even more so that I express doubt about much of the supposed scientific evidence regarding the benefits of barefoot running. I also tell them, that, for me, barefoot running is like smoking is for others. That is, that I would do it even if I knew it was killing me. To their questions about why I do it, the answer is simple. I love to run, and I hate wearing shoes.

Running barefoot is something I approach with an odd mix of caution and reckless abandon. I do worry about getting hurt. I've learned the pain that small rocks can inflict when I hit them with my heal, or the sharp edges of a broken stick. I'm not convinced that running barefoot helps my knees, and I'm quite certain that I could develop achilles heel problems if I'm not careful. The reckless abandon part? Just let a shod runner try and pass me. There are a few who can, but most learn quickly, if reluctantly, that just because I don't have shoes, doesn't mean I'm slow.
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TD Moose

About the Author

Web Developer, geek, runner from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Pat is most often seen running barefoot around Lake Harriet in South Minneapolis.