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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Wise words of Buddha

buddha-1Mind precedes all phenomena,
mind matters most, everything is mind-made.
If with an impure mind
one performs any action of speech or body,
then suffering will follow that person
as the cartwheel follows the foot of the draught animal.

Mind precedes all phenomena,
mind matters most, everything is mind-made.
If with a pure mind
one performs any action of speech or body,
then happiness will follow that person
as a shadow that never departs.

Dhammapada 1.1, 1.2

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Barefoot Ted, Luna Sandals

I love this article.  http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/interview/interview-barefoot-ted/9813.html

A great snippet from the article-

What are the fundamental principles of barefoot running?

The fundamental principles have to do with being able to reconnect with the basic information of the body that is available to us. The ability to be able to reconnect literally to the feeling of the foot, the impact of landing, what one quickly figures out from this experience is how to change the form to reduce the impact, making those adjustments one ends up creating what I like to refer to as an energetic wheel. Learning how to make smooth and beautiful energetic wheels you are rewarded with endocannabinoids [runner’s high], the research on this is that long distance runners produce it, non long distance animals don’t.

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(Weird, that is exactly what I thought yesterday after around 8 k and a Yoga session).  Only long-runs or long-exertion gives me that feeling.  That ‘Rocky Balbao’ feeling, like I can conquer the world and everything is amazing.  I get a satisfaction from short or easier exercise, undeniable benefits, but not that great feeling of accomplishment I get when I go til I can go no more; or endocannabinoids

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Unkindness/ Hurt

I have been struggling recently with trying to understand the unkindness and desire to cause hurt, that lies in humans.  Unkindness towards ourselves, those close to us, and complete strangers alike.

Meditation (and/or the right kind of Yoga) helps, with understanding or rather accepting, this sensibility.  Insight practices help to tap into the reality that there is something deeper and important at play than our egos and delusions.

However, with a busy lifestyle, daily stresses and limited reflection time, it can be all too easy to get wrapped up in this nonsense, and thus our false sense of  a separate self, can be hurt by it.

Meditation certainly helps, but this quote really helped me to put some greater perspective on it.  So I thought I would share it here.

I hope that it helps someone else also make sense of a difficult situation, somehow.

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