The course of true love never did run smooth: Minimalism to Maximalism: pt1

Sorry guys, a new post has been long overdue! I have had a wicked summer so far! Mainly packed with entertaining the little ones.  However, now I sit in France alone in a beautiful huge Chalet, I have three days to catch up on some writing before I head to Chamonix for the UTMB festivities, so here goes.

On to the title of this post; I love running.  I know many don’t, and I felt that way for 19 years.  I would miss a bus rather than run for one, honestly.  Then something clicked after that first half-marathon I hadn’t trained for.  Ali and Hannah, the unlikely athletesI knew I could push beyond discomfort, and actually find pleasure in doing so, and this forever changed me.  The comfort zone is a trap, and true happiness lies beyond this.  This is a valuable lesson which changes the way one lives, a lesson I hope my kids will grow to understand.

 

I never intended to be a minimalist purist in terms of running shoe.  I hadn’t read Born to Run (the book that started the minimalist trend) when I started running in sandals.  

 This is a story about how I ran in sandals for 3 and a bit years, how I found it and where my thoughts lie now.  (I hope this story is useful).

PS- those nike cortez ‘fashion’ trainers stood me well for running for years until someone told me I needed a ‘proper’ running shoe ->

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The course of love never did run smooth: Minimalism to Maximalism: pt2.

I waited patiently in Sportlink in Norwich, whilst a slurry of beat-up bodies sought out new shoes to fix their running woes.  Is running this bad? This addictive? I thought, as a man spoke of his recent back operation, a woman of her chronic knee pain, and veteran athlete Neil Featherby said if he had stopped running when a doctor had told him to… Well, Neil just laughed. Are we really that worse off than the general population, I wondered?  I see many broken down, beaten-up bodies in my Yoga classes, and rarely are these due to sporting injuries. Most often the body is rebelling in later life against a sedentary/ indoor lifestyle.

I don’t run to look better, I don’t run to make my body feel better.  I run, like with Yoga, primarily for my mind.  However, my body needs to be kept in tune to allow me to continue experiencing the benefits. There is no benefit in ignoring niggles that persist beyond a few months.  This is why I was here, hoping a change in footwear may help my back and prevent me further damaging my knee.  Maybe my back problems were exacerbated by running, maybe barefoot running caused my knee injury, maybe it was under-training, maybe barefoot running affected these injuries for the better, or for the worse.  Maybe it was pregnancy that damaged my back and the problem would have arisen anyway (as the back specialists said), maybe running presented the problem earlier than I would have otherwise become aware.  Maybe the accident was a coincidence and the problem was underlying.  This is all speculation, but I knew I needed some changes, regardless of the cause.

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Funny goings on I could not help but notice…

I’m not saying this stuff didn’t exist in my early running days, but when I returned to my life after 4 years of having my head down in Peppa-Pig land and being a place for my children to stick the stickers off their bananas, I re-surfaced and noticed a few weird things about running.

 

  1. Everyone’s wearing compression everything? Calf-sleeves, arm-sleeves, I’ve got some but not even entirely sure I completely know why?

    Seriously under-geared for the 2014 Hellfire half-marathon. I even argued as I didn’t have anywhere to carry my brick of a mobile phone :/
  2. Food? When I trained for New York marathon, I never ate anything.  I took a gel during the event at mile 19 and regretted it immediately. Why am I seeing people taking gels, jelly beans, chocolate-covered-coffee-beans on less than 20k runs?  Should I be doing this too?  Is it necessary, or just a nifty excuse to snack? Also valid ;)
  3. The range of SHOES!  Barefoot, to all different kinda drops, to hokas… Back then I swear it was just, er, trainers?  Even I’m running in sandals mostly, what’s that all about?
  4. Buffs and head-gear stuff.  Now, buffs are awesome.  But they are leaving me with the naggin’ wonder of how I ever lived without them?
  5. Hydration gear!  Back in the early 00’s I was stashing plastic bottles in strategic places and looping back on runs to try and find the correct bush.  I didn’t even know there were other options!
  6. Garmins.  I was very reluctant to buy any gear  (especially after I asked a friend his running plans for the week and he told me he didn’t know, as the Garmin site was down). I wanted to be a low-tech runner, but last week I got me a Garmin, succumbing after the millionth person recommended one to me.  After an embarrassing couple of days where I couldn’t even work out how to plug the thing in to charge, I decided that, charged, the thing is more demanding than a child.  It bleeps at me all hours of the day and night and is constantly asking me questions I don’t know how to answer.  I also have literally no idea how to even get to the stage that the manual starts instructions from.  I am going to wear it tonight anyway, as everyone else has got one :)

    more gear more fear
    More gear more fear

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