THE MERRELL BLOG: WHAT'S NOW. WHAT'S NEXT. LET'S GET OUTSIDE.
Notes from a Newbie
Do you remember when you were a child and the first thing you wanted to do when you woke up was to run out the door and explore and play? The woods in your neighborhood became the Island of the Wild Things; a game of kick ball could last all day long; and a willow tree would become a fairyland full of adventures. Your imagination is alive; all else is silent.
That’s what running is to me. It is a pure sense of freedom and exploration. A place I go to think, dream and explore. Alone, with friends, in the sun or weather wild, trails or road, no matter, it makes me stronger each with each stride.
I didn’t start running (other than school sports) until after I had kids. My first daughter was very fussy. My solution – put her in the stroller and go. If she was going to scream, the whole world could hear our pain! We would go miles and miles, breathing in the fresh air. Daughter 2 came and so did the double jogger stroller. I had a habit of visiting local tag sales searching for the best used double jogger I could find.
I like to compete, mostly with myself. My first downfall I will always admit is that I have no idea how to pace myself. I go full force and full of energy in everything that I do. Life’s short, live hard. I remember my Nanna (who broke her arm once roller skating in the house) telling me “no one ever died from being tired, have fun, live life.” And so, I do! My latest challenge (and running revelation) – barefoot/minimalist shoes.
Nine months ago, I started running in Merrell Barefoot. Talk about a way to force yourself to learn pace! As a natural midfoot striker, I knew it wouldn’t be “too” hard to learn form, but I also knew I didn’t want to injure myself. I started a bit too fast and the morning after I was like a granny hobbling down my staircase. I could barely walk or bend over because my calves and back side were so sore. Woah! Could running a short distance in barefoot shoes really change the muscles that were working? Sure felt like it! After three weeks, my new barefoot stride became comfortable and the soreness wore down, but I could feel my calves, glutes and feet getting stronger. Today, my calves are bigger and I have new muscles, and I don’t mind at all. They are a sign of my dedication and love of running.
I’ve been adding distance, stopping when I am too sore or slowing down if my legs start to hurt. I am learning to listen to my body, feel it getting stronger, and with each stride, I feel and connect with the ground underneath my feet. It is like being a child all over again! Every root, pebble or stream is a new adventure, a new story, a new path that I am taking to get stronger and learn about myself. Each day, I open my door, and run out, like I did as a kid! I dance down my driveway and just go. Some days I don’t set a path and run until I feel I can’t go any farther.
Over 1000 miles of running in Merrell barefoot shoes to date and I’m not turning back. I like living and looking through the eyes of a child, it keeps me young! I like living hard, it keeps you strong in mind and body! And I am learning patience and pace…one barefoot step at a time.