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Vindicated! - Livin' the Good Life

Jan. 22nd, 2010

05:41 pm - Vindicated!

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A friend of mine once observed me running and told me to "stop running on your toes!" She told me I needed to strike the ground with my heel first in order to prevent injury. Huh?? I imagined running that way, and it sounded like pure torture! I had been happily running off the balls of my feet my entire life. It's a carefree, fun, playful, and FAST way of running that has always been natural to me. My running is naturally "springy", and that's what makes it so enjoyable. (Remember, I was the kind of kid who never walked when she could run, so running has been very important to me.) But, I dutifully worked on running and walking with a heel-first-strike from then on. I definitely did not enjoy it as much. It felt more like strenuous work than a fun way to get from point A to point B.
Well, today I read that barefoot running with the ball striking first is by far the healthier and more natural way for humans to run. Well, duh!! I could have told you that! When I was told I needed shoe inserts to support my arches, I balked. What? What's wrong with my arches just as they are? And I was told I couldn't go barefooted because I needed to have the arch support provided by my inserts AT ALL TIMES. Wait a minute! I was not born with shoes on. There's nothing wrong with my feet just the way they are, thank you very much! I was barefoot most of the time as a child, blackening the bottoms of my feel every day from playing in the street. My feet were tough. I regularly walked to town barefooted on hot asphalt roads. No problem. If it got too hot I'd just run. Shoes were so confining! I ditched them as soon as I got home from school and rarely wore them in the summer. So I recently chucked the shoes with the dreadful inserts, after a fair trial of wearing them. I'm back to barefeet.
The problem with running barefoot in the desert is that there are often sharp rocks and stickers hidden in the sand. In SPITE of that, I go outside barefoot all the time. Running is another matter. I do not relish accidently stepping on a cholla. Enter FIVE FINGERS http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/ the company that Ben got his new shoes from. The shoes are very much like running barefoot, only your feet are protected from the rocks and cholla. My dad overheard Ben telling me about how happy he was with his new shoes, and Dad said, "Darlene, you should have a pair of those! You're a runner." Before I knew it, my dad had ordered me a pair "for your birthday". Sweet, thoughtful Daddy! I'll report here on how I like them after another fair trial.
This experience gives me the same kind of vindication as when I started seeing scientific reports claiming that sunbathing, in moderation, is GOOD for you! It boosts your immune system because it's the body's best source for obtaining Vit D. Well, duh again! When I first heard that we need to avoid exposing our skin to the sun at all costs, I rebelled. What?? That can't be true. The sun is my friend. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel vibrant and happy. I look better when my skin has a little color. I ignored the fearful claims made by doctors, though I still worried a bit.... unnecessarily, as it turned out.

This is what I get out of all this: I can trust my intuition as to what is best for me. Period. I will let no authority's advice win out over that still small voice (though sometimes it's a screaming voice) inside me.


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Date:January 24th, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC)
I do not WALK with the balls of my feet striking first! That would be impossible! But, I do roll up on to my toes after each strike. It's the running the I use the balls to strike with.
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Date:January 26th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
I think I run the same way you do. I know I do not hit my heels first. My arches are way too high though and I don't know why. I also don't know if they have been that way my entire life.

And the sun....I have come to love the sun. I seek it and when it's out I drop what I can and go out in it for 20 minutes. The days I do that I sleep so much better at night, so I know there is something to it.
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