I finally made it out for a run this afternoon for the first time in at least two months, and it was just FANTASTIC! A series of health issues, stress, schoolwork, and moving apartments had me falling back into bad habits for a while there but I finally seem to have things back together now, and I am so thankful to be healthy enough to get out and enjoy nature once more.
It's funny to think how far I've come since I started Sparking. When I first started running, a couple months after I joined this site, it was me doing C25K mostly running down the main road in the town I lived in. I didn't necessarily enjoy running while I was doing it but I loved the way I felt after, so I stuck with it.
Then my big clunky extra-supportive anti-pronation running shoes led to plantar fasciitis and I fizzled in running a bit, until I discovered Vibram Five Fingers and the minimal running movement. I relocated a bit further from the center of town, found a lovely wooded bike path to run on, changed my stride, healed my feet, and really started to enjoy the act of running, not just the after-effects. The trees, the scenery, the light, the camaraderie with other joggers - it all started to grow on me and running started to seem rejuvenating.
But even then I was still running on blacktop and it was always a bit of an effort to keep my feet from being sore. I do miss the wooded, pond-lined route that I travelled on those runs, and I have many fond memories of really becoming a runner while I lived in Massachusetts, but I think today I finally really LOVED the act of running while in the moment for the very first time!
It was a cool but sunny January afternoon. I strapped on my Vibrams and went for a run around my favorite park here in Pennsylvania. This was the first time I had run in my Vibrams since I moved to PA and there was just something about the sunshine, the crisp air, and the gravel, grass, and snow I was running over that came together in an absolutely sublime way. I scared up a couple of bluejays and looped around the horse pasture and enjoyed the view of the mountains and something just flipped in my mind. It didn't matter that I was gasping for air, horridly out of practice, and (for one brief moment) concerned about frostbitten toes - I was just totally in the zone, embracing the moment and finding joy in the simple act of moving.
After today I can't wait to go out and do it again! Aside from dancing and juggling I've never had so much fun with exercise before. Yes, I think there will be many more "barefoot" runs away from pavement in my future. I am so, so happy to have gotten my groove back!