Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why Do I Want To Be A Barefoot Runner?

   A fellow blogger, Pepe Le Pew asked why I wanted to run bare foot. It made me start thinking about my running, why I run, and I why I train for these insane events.

Eric was very sick, and if you've followed along you know that I lost my son when he was 15 months old. During the time we were obtaining medical treatment for him, we got sent out to the GI and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit of Children's Hospital in Cincinnati. We lived in a small hotel room; me, my husband, and my other son, for a total of 10 months. We celebrated a Thanksgiving and a Christmas in a hospital room and had our holiday feasts in a hotel room. Dave and I worked very hard to maintain some form of normalcy for my other son, Wes who was 2 years old at the time, while we went through all of this. Dave was fortunate enough to be allowed to work remotely and we found a decent daycare close to the hotel for Wes to attend during the day. I would do the daytime rotation at the hospital while Dave worked and Wes went to school. We would meet up for dinner, then Dave would do a night rotation at the hospital while I cared for Wes. Needless to say the winter months were rough. I picked up a jogging stroller and started jogging as a release for myself as well as a way to get Wes out of the hotel room for a while. I fell back in love with running and decided to take an item off my bucket list....a triathlon.

When we came home after Eric's death I honestly didn't know what to do with myself. My job had dissolved the dept. I had worked for so I had no job and no longer had the routine of spending my days in a hospital. So....I started working out. I found a job. Then I got a flyer for TEAM In Training, I decided to go to a meeting. That meeting changed my life. From that day on, I began training to run a marathon in memory of Eric. No, Eric did not have cancer but he did go through Chemo and had a bone marrow transplant so I could relate to what other people were going through who were helped by TEAM In Training. That was key...I could relate. I didn't need a shoulder to cry on...I did enough crying on my own. What I needed was someone to grab my hand and say.."let's go" and that's what TEAM In Training did for me.  They also gave me the final push I needed to do a triathlon! I completed my first triathlon in July 2010.

I trained for and completed a marathon October 2010, with October marking the first anniversary of our loss. I did it while wearing Eric's name on my race bib.

While training I ended up getting plantar fasciitis in my right foot. It sucks! After lots of research and talking to other runners I learned about the barefoot revolution taking over the running world. When you read about it, it all makes sense. In order to get over my foot injuries I need to strengthen my feet and calves and realign my running form. Ultimately we have turned ourselves into wuss' by having structured, cushioned running shoes. As people, we have weak feet and ankles now because our shoes take over and provide the support our bodies used to naturally give us. So I am starting to do a little barefoot training. I want to be naturally strong, I want to tune into my run, I want to be in sync with the rhythm of my run. I am looking forward to getting stronger and more in tune with myself and my environment. I am looking forward to doing all of this while continuing to proudly wear Eric's name across my chest. 

If you are interested, here is a good resource for bare foot running.  A good source for beginning training.

Even better....check out this link.... find a chapter near you!


Pepe Le Pew said...

You answered my question and a whole lot more. All I can say is God Bless You.

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

Moving post Nikki. I remember when my friend was treating Eric in Cinci.

You are a truly amazing, strong woman!!

Anonymous said...

I've been running barefoot for 8 months, it has saved me!! I am now transitioning into Nike frees and I am doing wonderfully!!

Chris said...

And I need to say I am so so proud of you for dealing with this all in such a positive way. The endorphins I get from exercise sure help with the stressors of life.

Michelle said...

Wow. What a moving and truly inspiring story.
And completing all 26.2 miles of a marathon is on my bucket list....