BF Insult and Inspiration

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by BrunoRuns, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. BrunoRuns

    BrunoRuns Barefooters
    1. Maryland

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    Most of the time, running barefoot around my area (Maryland/DC), other parts of the country, or races elicits a wide range of remarks, comments, questions etc. I've heard many typical phrases and questions and read plenty more on the boards over the last 20 month. This week though I had 2 completely unique and opposite reactions in as many days.

    First the insult: I was coming home from a 6 miler today and a duo of woman in an SUV pulled up the dead end court I was running around and stopped at the top of it, maybe .25 miles away. As I approached the driver rolled down here window and told me angrily, "You won't be able to walk when your 40!" I was so taken aback I just responded that no, I was doing just fine and that if anything, running without shoes will prolong my running life into the late years of my life. She protested and challenged me that my feet were going to burn (90 degrees today) and I was in imminent danger. She said and I quote, "I don't know who to call, your mother or the Police."

    Wow, both would have been amazing seeing how this woman of course did NOT know my parents nor would the police waste there time with me. I wonder what she thought, that I would run my feet down to the bones and then only have stumps? Also, for a tip in, by the lady's stature, dress, car she was driving, and attitude I could tell she her longest run to date was to the front of the buffet line. Grrrrrrrrr

    Now the inspiration: 2 days ago as I was running back into my same development I heard a voice from the building adjacent to me yelling "Hey You! runner guy." Since the condo buildings and balconies are quite close to the street I stopped and looked up a girl about my age looking down at me in running gear. I have seen her out on her balcony before as I have to run through this one street to get out to my runs in rock creek park and down into DC.

    She said, "I just wanted to thank you for inspiring me to pick up running. I've watched you run by here for months now and I finally wanted to get off my ass and do something." As our conversation went on, I found out that she had been a smoker, worked in a restaurant and was in a very dead end routine. She had seen me run barefoot all through the winter and said she remembered seeing me run past, and then come back almost 3 hours later and she couldn't believe I ran that whole time. She's been running a little over a month in VFF's (saw me in them once or twice and did some research online) and she said she's in the best shape of her life, had quite smoking and was loving it.

    Hey now! Your boy Bruno just inspired his first person to get more active! So those are my tails of triumph and tragedy. I haven't heard anything that interesting almost ever as a BF runner and I had them both in 2 back to back days.

    Just thought I would share. Happy 4th of July everyone. Get those runs in early!
     

  2. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    My mouth went from a quirk to

    My mouth went from a quirk to a huge smile. That's great, Bruno.
     
  3. stomper

    stomper Guest

    Nice job, Bruno.  I think we

    Nice job, Bruno. I think we ARE inspiring people out there. People see us doing something that seems impossible to them; they get to reconsider their feeling of fragility and all those messages that tell them they are not good enough, not strong enough, they have to look like Jillian Michaels or they're a total loser, etc.

    And the thing is, you did this without saying a word.

    As for the insulting lady, it feels bad to be attacked like that. It's happened to me a few times. But you know that when you have troubled someone so much that they say all that stuff to you, that you have really rocked their world.

    In both cases you've caused a tiny shift in these people's perception of reality. You made them notice something new. That is so hard to do, dude. Congrats.
     
  4. pbarker

    pbarker Barefooters
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    BrunoIt is usually people

    Bruno

    It is usually people who are not part of the running community that can be the most difficult. I can remember not so long ago thinking that people who ran were crazy. Throw bfr into the mix and calling the police may seem reasonable to some.

    Hold onto the one you inspired and let the other caged animal go.
     
  5. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Beautifully said, Stomper!

    Beautifully said, Stomper!
     
  6. joohneschuh

    joohneschuh Barefooters
    1. Germany &...

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    I received similar weird

    I received similar weird stuff today from one couple.

    I came back from a trail run: totally wet, freezing, my legs and feet covered with mud. It´s ridiculously cold right now here in Germany.

    A few meters before I got back to my bike a guy pointed at me and said both to his girlfriend and me: "Look at him, THIS makes you hard! Right?" I answered jokingly: "Yeah, for sure! You can´t imagine how hard this makes..."

    She looked at me, quite irritated, and then asked: "But certainly NOT if you´re already ill, right?" I said, this time puzzled and just honestly: "I don´t know. I´m not ill." Ill? What? Who´s ill? I really didn´t understand what she was talking about.

    And then she switched to a nasty patronizing voice, as if I was a little kid doing something very stupid: "Next time you´ll put on some more clothes, will you?"

    She was definitely younger than me. She treated my as a kid. Because I was barefoot. That´s strange, isn´t it?

    "I´ll tell your mother!", that seems so be a similar and even more inadequate reaction to a grown-up.

    At least the guy still smiled at me when I passed them again a minute later. I smiled, too, on my way back home.
     

  7. Barefoot Gentile

    Barefoot Gentile Barefooters
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    I have been called an

    I have been called an a$$hole, look at that fu$king idiot running barefoot, you faggot, etc where i live. Water off the back now.
     
  8. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Man, you guys!  This sucks. 

    Man, you guys! This sucks. I hate that people are saying such stupids things. I don't think women get harrassed as much as men do. I've never had a blatant, ugly comment before. Please don't let it bother you.

    We need to come up with some good comebacks to ugly comments. We've had threads about what to say to the usual comments and silly comments, but not what to say to ugly remarks. Anyone want to go first?
     
  9. Barefoot Gentile

    Barefoot Gentile Barefooters
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    Straight from the beginning

    Straight from the beginning the comments never phazed me in the least. I always was a bit different from the norm, so barefoot running was a natural transition. I come from barefoot family, born and raised. There have been times where I waved and smiled at the comments, then to the extreme of giving the finger and really waiting for a car full load of people to pull over so we can scrape in the street. I don't give damn when i run, running is my outlet and at times I run angry, but happy at the same time, it's a great combination!
     
  10. gisanders23

    gisanders23 Barefooters
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    Good stuff. Haven't gotten

    Good stuff. Haven't gotten any comments yet but plenty of "looks".

    PLENTY of comments however from friends/family who just don't understand it though. To be expected
     
  11. paintboy

    paintboy Barefooters
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    I guess instead of embracing

    I guess instead of embracing a different way of doing things, the only other response is hostility. It must challenge thier view of reality so much a violent reaction is the only way to go.



    Much kudos on inspiring the young lady to get out and run.
     
  12. JosephTree

    JosephTree Barefooters
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    Today was a good day for

    Today was a good day for comments for me. A guy on a bike, pumping up a grade at speed had breath for just one word as he passed me...."Awesome!" At least I think it was aimed at me and my feet. There wasn't anyone else around.

    I think the critical sorts just don't know what to make of BFR. It triggers their latent tendency to prudish rudeness which isn't that far from the surface with many folks.
     
  13. Smelph

    Smelph Barefooters
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    good story bruno!

    good story bruno!
     
  14. Skyalmian

    Skyalmian Barefooters
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    Only one to date, while

    Only one to date, while running at a park: "You're crazy, man!" by a guy who flew by on roller skates. The tone was not negative. :)
     
  15. dunetraveller

    dunetraveller Barefooters
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    The astonished, unbelieving

    The astonished, unbelieving comments come from friends or acquaintances who find out by chance conversation that a) I do run and b) I run barefoot. Since there are crossfitters among the group who do paleo, it's not unheard of and the conversation just turns to running and rehab like the barefoot part didn't matter.
    The other comments come from islanders who transplanted to the desert and never see bare feet anymore and think going barefoot is the greatest thing ever. I'm still waiting for an insult.

    John T.
     

  16. Eyvindur

    Eyvindur Barefooters

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    I don't get that many

    I don't get that many comments, but then, it's fairly rare that people talk to strangers on the street where I live (we're closed off islanders, I guess). I do sometimes get thumbs up from passers by or joggers - no negative reactions yet, but a lot of questions. My friend asked me: What's gonna happen this winter? I replied: I'll be cold.
     
  17. Jonny00GT

    Jonny00GT Chapter Presidents
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    I've heard is said that

    I've heard is said that people can become figurative overloaded dump trucks, piled upon by problems, health, lack of sleep, something mean someone said, death of a loved one, a dead end job, etc. that they are toating with them everywhere they go and they are just looking for someone to dump their load on. Imagine how you could become if you didn't work out or run as your release!

    I think, they see you running by, acting contrary to current mainstream practices(barefoot in public), NOT misserable like they are and they get the sudden urge to...share. ;o) They are looking to dump on you, and they do...does not mean you have to get dirty by engaging them in trash slinging and picking up their load to lug around also. "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." - Charles R. Swindoll

    My reaction to most people who think it's dangerous and must be painful is usually, "That's a common misconception. My research led me to this way of running, I tried it and it's life changing! My running pain is gone, I don't pay for shoes and get I get a free concrete pedicure every other day!" Then I direct them here, to our library! ;o)

    Now, the smart-ass in me, I'll freely admit, usually wins out and I probably would have ended up crossing my eyes before telling the lady threatening to call Mom or the Cops that she was a nice man, that I love fruit cups and I can count to Potato before drooling on myself and taking off in a serpentine motion singing the "Mission Impossible" theme song as loud as possible. Yes, my humor does bite me in the ass from time to time, but it's worth it!! Haha!! It's better to be a smart-ass than a dumb-ass, I always say!

    -Jonny
     
  18. stomper

    stomper Guest

    This thread is causing me to

    This thread is causing me to mull over these kind of insults and unhelpful "advice." Excuse me if I get too thoughtful here.

    It's an easy, comfy, satisfying position for us to say to ourselves, "Such people are obnoxious and ignorant." And maybe that is true for the jerk that yells "faggot!" out of his car window (because first, it's clearly obnoxious, and second, what does my running have to do with a bundle of sticks and/or my sexuality? I mean really, I'd like to see the research paper or bible verse about that one.)

    But when somebody says, haughtily, gleefully "You're going to hell for that" or "I should call your mother" or "You're clearly sick" or (insert favorite insult here) it's more complicated. On one hand they are building themselves up by declaring how right they are. It's not classy. But on the other hand they are, in some fashion, trying to help. On some level they are trying to inform you about your error. Really!

    When I look at it that way I can think of a few times I've been obnoxious to strangers, and certainly many more times that my internal thoughts have been just as nasty. Insert the behavior/activity/cultural practice that makes you intolerant here: ____ .

    We all have a limit to the amount of departure from the social ideal we can accept. Which is probably a good thing, because there are some things that are undoubtedly utterly wrong, and maybe we need (for our physical or moral survival) to be able to detect those instantly. But it's so hard to imagine why BF running is one of those!

    ( You may now return to your regularly scheduled discussion of the ZEM girl. For the record, I like her, even if she's not quite curvy enough for my taste. I can be open minded about that.. ;) )
     
  19. Matt

    Matt Barefooters
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    Expanding upon what Stomper

    Expanding upon what Stomper said just a bit. I think that barefoot running can be dangerous for some people to think about. It's one of those incongruencies that can expose the other things in their lives that are actually wrong. If everything they've heard about shoes and running is wrong, what else could that be true about? I tend to think that running is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many things in our culture that are similar to over engineered running shoes. Things we take for granted to be true, but in actuality are doing us a lot more harm than good. For most of us, it might be best to not go down the rabbit hole.
     
  20. twinkletoes

    twinkletoes Barefooters
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    Funny Jonny, I always refer

    Funny Jonny, I always refer to my runs as "Reno Road Pedicures".....

    Who are these mean people? I've never had anyone be downright rude, mostly just snarky & ignorant stating the obvious that I'm not wearing any shoes. Really, that's all you got? I get a kick out of the snark. Some of it is pure smugness since at 41 I'm in better shape than most people I know.

    Another angle: many people simply can't stomach the idea of even walking around barefoot and they just cringe when they see me or as we're talking about it. I get that, since I have a similar reaction to chairlifts, elevators and other people's open wounds.
     

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