As SBS and I were writing RLAM, I couldn't wait to get to chapter 26. Not because I wanted to be done--o.k., maybe just a little bit--but because I knew, after reading about five of the 150+ surveys from running moms around the country, exactly how the book should end. The response I was inevitably drawn to read first on every survey was the answer to this fill-in-the-blank statement: When I run, I feel....
The answers in the book, if you (ahem) have not read them, ranged from expanded to complete to powerful and beautiful to better than I did before. As anybody who lives with ankle-biters or runs knows intimately, feelings change frequently. One mile, you feel kick-ass and the next? Slightly kicked in the ass, but proud you powered through. One route makes you calm, another energizes you. One day you're speedy; the next, you're sexy; the next, you're satisfied. Although the result of a run is never a consistent feeling, it is reliably positive. And that, I'm fairly sure, is why most of us lace up day after day. (And that is the sentiment on which we wanted to end RLAM.)
Unless you've been living among the Tarahumara Indians lately, you know that barefoot/natural running is setting the running world all atwitter these days. I've never gone free willlies, but I have run in Five Fingers. And here's how I felt: grounded. Not in the help-I'm-traveling-with-toddlers-and-this-freakin-plane-is-five-hours-late way, but the basic, invaluable way in which I was reminded in simple, helpful terms of how my body was built to run and how it moves through space.
When you sense the ground underneath you, whether you're barefoot, in leather-laced sandals, Five Fingers or racing flats, you land lighter and don't take your joints for granted. Your balance is better, your form tightens up and you remove any clod from your hop.
We can all use a slice of feeling grounded--and nobody's form is ever perfect--so today's giveaway is a pair of Vibram Bikilas, bold and beneficial shoes that take you as close to barefoot as possible while still protecting your soles. A random winner will be able to try these coveted, $100 shoes, about which runners, used to minimal protection, rave regularly. Runners who haven't tried them--or any kind of natural running-- yet will surely benefit from having them on their feet, provided they progress in mileage in the same manner a five-year-old eats three bites of broccoli: excruciatingly slow. (Tips on barefoot running abound; for starters, check out all things natural running from Jason Robillard, author of The Barefoot Running Book, and these tips from the running geeks at Harvard.)
So what's your current running word(s)? Let us know--and your next words just might be barefoot and pink.
p.s. Also, if you haven't become a fan of Run Like A Mother on Facebook, would you mind doing so? Gracias.