For posterity sake I though I would write down my story since as I get older I tend to forget what happened in the past. It has been an interesting journey so sit back and enjoy the story.
I grew up on the south shore of Lake Superior in a small town full of interesting people and more interesting adventures. We lived on the edge of town atop a big hill. Our driveway was about ¼ mile long and made of crushed limestone. As a kid I had one speed and it wasn’t walking. My sister and I ran everywhere which included barefoot races down the gravel driveway to get the mail. Barefoot wasn’t “in” it was all we had.
As I got older I started running in races and did quite well. I realized at about 8 yrs old that I was more athletic than all of my friends. I started winning every race I entered. By 15 I was undefeated for several years racing every week of our short summer. Running for me was such an effortless joy. I felt like I could hold a 5 min mile forever (7 was the most I ever did). I never got tired running, I felt free from my legs, like I was just riding someone else’s legs. When this happened I realized how hard I was hitting the ground because I could feel my cheeks bouncing (in my face). I learned to become smooth and got even faster.
Then it happened. While waterskiing, I crashed, …….bad. I spent months in physical therapy recovering. At the same time I grew 6” and later discovered that everything was different. I was weak and tired. It was mono. After 6 months recovering from that I was a whole new person. I could barely run 3 miles without passing out. I couldn’t get under an 8 min mile pace and running now sucked and I quit.
I channeled my athleticism and passion for the outdoors into biking. I biked slowly at first, then faster and further. As I got stronger I started liking biking more and more. I started racing and did ok. Running was gone, an inefficient waste of time, I was now a mountain biking maniac. I would bike 15 miles on the road to get to the best trails then bike 20 miles on trails and then ride home. I did this routine everyday for many years. I kept up over 300 miles per week all through undergrad and into my first years working. I would bike 26 miles roundtrip to work and then hit the trails after work.
Then I got married. [Insert screeching sound here]
Biking was not something that my wife did then. She liked hiking and walking so that’s pretty much what we did.
Fast forward about a dozen years and I’m in an office job feeling weak and pathetic. My wife and I are walking the dogs every day but I’m feeling like the guy on Wall-E. Just a blob on a chair. As the kids have gotten older we have started biking much more which was a plus but it was slow and casual. One day my wife says, “Wanna go for a run?”. I wasn’t sure what to say. I hate running, but running has to be better than doing nothing so sure. First run: ½ mile. I’m pretty sure I lost a lung on the run. The next three days were agony. I could hardly walk. I was so out of shape it was repulsive.
Now to the interesting stuff. My wife has had flat feet her whole life. She got orthotics 15 yrs ago and has worn them religiously. After only 3 weeks of running she said that she just isn’t a runner. Her legs, hips and feet hurt her so bad she was crying from pain. Enter VFF’s. I convinced her to give them a try and she hesitantly started running in them. Like so many other people, her pains went away. Even more amazing, the girl that had board flat feet her whole life now had a regular arch. For the first time in over a decade, she could wear sandals. Running for her became fun and ………easy (gasp).
I followed a somewhat similar path. I had been wearing semi minimalist shoes for comfort and started running in them. Something amazing happened the first time I did. I remembered running. I could feel the muscle memory from my fast days. I was anything but fast but I could feel it. I was smooth and well…..slow. But it was fun again. My wife and I have been running in minimalist shoes since and have enjoyed every minute of it. I have been running to the store rather than driving. We have been running and playing with the kids. I feel strong and connected again after 10+ years of atrophy. I never imagined running would be so fun and freeing again.
That is my story of running, not running and then running again. I now realize that anyone can run and as was stated in Born to Run we are all meant to run.