2nd Year Barefoot Running Anniversary Manifesto!!!

Blog entry posted by jldeleon, Aug 2, 2013.

It is August! Two years ago this month I ditched my VFFs, and got it right, by starting running barefoot! So it is now time for my 2nd year barefoot running anniversary MANIFESTO!!! Muah-ha-haaa!!!

My ego believed the following…I am a BAREFOOT runner – which means, I am either 100% barefoot, 100% of the time, or…I am NOTHING!

In the last year, I have had a lengthy series of SERIOUS smackdowns, uh, I mean, talks, with my ego. I learned that just because I “could” do something, doesn’t mean I “should” do it.
I have since gone from mostly barefoot running to mostly minimalist running because I had decided that running form was more important than anything, and for me, that meant using various minimalist footwear.

In order to be able to execute my best running form, I needed to be as relaxed as possible –and for me that meant I needed some cover between me and the tiny, sharp gravel -which WILL sink painfully into your feet when the trails are too dry (and if you are not barefoot often enough to toughen up your soles). So, I now wear my Lunas in the hottest months on Wildwood (my favorite running trail).

Many people don’t know this about me, but I LEARNED to trail run in the rainiest season in Oregon on super slick, slippery, muddy trails. It’s totally doable. It strenuous, but it’s a good work out and fun. I decided that I do not WANT my regular runs to be strenuous, because I want to focus on my form –so I now wear my Brancas during the rainiest season, on Wildwood.

The “gravel fairies” (as I “kindly” refer to the park workers) have inordinately attacked Wildwood trail this last year with lots of new patches of gravel -and I am not amused at all by any of this –so during those in between seasons, I now wear Moc3s.

I have had a super-rough last six months, physically, and was knocked out of my regular running routine from October of last year through the end of this April thanks to having contracted mono of all the ridiculous things…the sleeping sickness! Then I went on to have a handful of relapses. Finally, with the help of my acupuncturist and some decent Chinese medicines, and time, I have been fully over it for 4 months! However, it set me WAY back with regard to my physical fitness and I had to start running all over again.

I lost my regular (no, not poop-wise) running buddy, Mike, to distance and busy-ness over the last year (and now he started running faster than me!) The thought of running alone did not appeal to me in the least, initially. But I did it anyway -at first short runs and then longer runs. At first it felt weird – and I looked kinda funny talking to the air…lol! Seriously, what I came to notice was my form. My form sucked. A lot. It has now improved. A lot. And that is because instead of concentrating on talking, I can now concentrate on form.

Then I came to notice my own thoughts –eek! Who wanted to ever be alone with my mind!!!? Not even me!!! I also had one of the most emotionally rough six months, of my life over the past year, as well, and that coincided with this running-alone, business. Best timing ever! I learned that I NEEDED that time alone, to figure out myself and my life and to make a million internal positive changes, which have been resulting in a million external positive changes. I now prefer to run ALONE.

This year I achieved my first double digit trail run. This occurred as in indirect result of trust building exercises that I had been working on with myself. As much as I’d like to say there was some sort physical training plan behind this achievement –there was not. It was solely an emotional side-effect of incredibly groundbreaking personal growth. Once I used my body’s endurance to make this emotional leap - my soul followed suit and I was finally able to consciously admit to myself that I am an ultra-runner at heart –which carried with it a complex parallel of spiritual strengths that I am now able to draw from to transform my life in any way I choose.

What the hell did I just say?

Anyway, I plan to run my first ultra-marathon in 2015, after I graduate from Massage Therapy College. Right now, I plan to run the Point Defiance, 50k, in Tacoma, Washington –picked in large part for the weather, but also for its terrain and amazing beauty!
I am looking forward to Warrior Dash, Race the Reaper, Run Like Hell, and the Holiday Half –my first half, later this fall/winter!

An added note. I came to the realization that my entire life MUST be built around running because it is now in large part how I keep my mental, emotional, and spiritual equilibrium -literally. All the choices I make in my life, regarding work, college, schedules, relationships, time, travel –all must be built AROUND the allotment of time I need to run each week. And if that means changing jobs, schools, relationships, etc., then that’s the way it has to be.