Barefoot for a year...

I was walking along Famara beach in Lanzarote with my husband Anadi… I love that beach. It is sandy and expansive, with a backdrop of volcanic cliffs, magical in their colour and stature.

The beach is 5k long when the tide is low, and very popular with surfers and kite surfers…

I was watching the surfers warming up… I loved watching them carrying out all their exercises and then they started to jog along the beach in a pack…

‘I wonder…’ I thought…

‘I wonder’, I said to Anadi ‘whether running barefoot would work for me…’

I started with just over a mile on the beach… Nothing in my body hurt.

It was September 9th and we were staying on Lanzarote Island until the end of September. I kept going back to the beach because when I tried to run on the road in my shoes, my legs still hurt with nerve pain from the injury I had sustained 6 weeks earlier in the Alpujarra mountains …

But barefoot I was free…

On the last day of our time there, I was trying to run around the running track in my shoes; but it hurt… A woman and her child appeared and lapped the blue asphalt track barefoot.

I took my shoes off and ran free…

I left my running shoes in the apartment, and travelled home with only my vivobarefoot shoes that I liked to walk around in…

I recognized that I barefoot was finding me; but I still ordered some Nike frees as I felt I would need them to transition…

The shoes never arrived and so as I was only in the UK for a short time I started to run in the vivobarefoot shoes…

I only ran 10 times in October as my legs were tired after a run in the very light shoes… I went to the gym a lot and my body and feet started to thrive…

Through November and December I got used to running in my barefoot shoes, and my completely bare feet when there was sand to run on…

I then read about beach socks….

So in January I ordered the socks and gave all my vivobarefoot shoes to my friend Jane…

Since then I have had no shoes, and by February I had shed the socks too; made easier by my nomadic lifestyle and often being in sunny climes!

I listened to my feet…

I had let go of any goals in terms of mileage or running races…

Before I was injured in July 2016 a lot of our travels had been to places where I could run a race…

And I was often winning the over 55 age group, and having a lot of fun…

My feet let all this go as they set off to run barefoot again…

I set myself no mileage aims, and I exercised my body with stretching and some strength and conditioning too, and noticed it aligning more and more…

Long term pain and stiffness in my left hip left; long term knee pain faded and is till fading.

My left arch that had dropped started to lift again and is still gaining in strength…

My feet lead me; when the left foot needed to do less we did all did less; when my body and my feet needed to walk we walked…

I started to love my running in a new way – it was like the childhood joy had returned; I went ‘playing’ rather than ‘training’ and once again I felt more like a conduit for the run rather than trying to chase something…

Nine weeks ago I noticed that my feet had run 40 miles in a week…

I was starting to feel fit again and at the same time a friend contacted me to say she was running a race in Valencia in November…

I entered the 10k and committed to ten more weeks on 40 miles to start to build some racing fitness again…

During that time, the idea came to run for charity from the North coast of Spain next spring, planning to arrive on the South coast on my 59th birthday…

The idea came from my feet!!
It certainly wasn’t from me J
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Julia Chi
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