The sideways look

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September 17, 2013 by scratchtype1

Originally, I’d been planning to run in the nearby park after work and if the legs had felt good, to try to crank it up to tempo pace for somewhere up around 25 minutes. But running doesn’t have to be rigid or inflexible, and when a friend that I’ve hiked with some this year asked me if I’d like to meet up for a run at another park, I agreed to that, that we could do a comfortable run where the two of us could talk with one another.

So we met up around 6. I had arrived first and was waiting near the starting area when she came walking up from the parking lot. She smiled when she saw that I was all dressed up to run, except for shoes. She’s known about how I’ve been doing things barefoot, although I hadn’t actually told her that I had begun running barefoot.

“Look at you,” she said and we exchanged greetings, walked up to the marker and began running easy.

Now that I’ve begun running in public areas with pedestrians and other runners, well, running barefoot attracts attention. Most of the passers by can’t help that sideways look where I can see their eyes tracking down to my feet, although you’ll see a few runners who might be running more intensely or distractedly off in their own worlds. I don’t know whether I startled anybody I passed, although that might be possible because if there’s one thing about barefoot running it’s that you can run nearly silently, no sound of shoes clapping against the ground.

Near the end of the second loop of the park, there was an older lady out walking. When I went by, she asked, “Doesn’t that hurt?”

“Nope.” My friend laughed. I then added, in a voice loud to carry to the woman, “If it hurt, I wouldn’t do it!” That’s the basic truth of it. A good barefoot run is pleasurable. I ran that run relaxed, happy and often smiling, talking with a friend about odds and ends and some about barefoot running, about how it can be a lot of pleasurable sensations to the feet. It hadn’t been the tempo run which I had been thinking about earlier in the morning, but that didn’t matter. I ran to feel relaxed, to feel free, to feel light feet, to be alongside a friend.

Too bad more still don’t realize what barefoot running can do, and what it can mean.

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