Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mile 36 and 37 Back in the Town Where I Grew Up -- and a wee bit of gravel

Two days ago, we packed up, got in the car with our dog, and drove the long long car trip to come to the house where I grew up.  I had wanted to get my barefoot run in on that day before we left, but there was too much to do.

But one of those funny things happened.  We stopped at a mall halfway on the trip.  I decided to take our dog for a little walk before putting her back in the car for another couple of hours.

I started walking on this sidewalk on the mall, and that's when IT happened again.  The urge to just run.  To run for fun.  I ran my dog around the perimeter of the mall.  Again -- like the other day in the park -- I didn't need my special running clothes or my special running shoes.  I just ran. Ran in my regular clothes and the Teva sandals I had on.

It was fun.  Running is fun.  I can't believe it took me so long to realize that it is fun. Barefoot running has made me learn this.

Waking up the next morning I made sure that I got out for my new 2-mile Barefoot Run, even though we were planning to play nine holes of golf afterward.  I was a little worried about whether I would manage the 9 holes after running barefooted.  I grew up in a golfing family and I played lots and lots of golf when I was young.  Back then it was nothing for me to zip around 18 - 36 holes in a day without feeling it a bit.

But that was 30 years ago when I was golfing regularly -- daily.  Golf has since left my life.  There is nothing but the remnants of time dedicated and devoted a long time ago.  I play when I come to visit my dad, and we see a nice shot here and there, but my game is gone.  I always make this resolution after I go around in the summer with my dad that I am going to get to a driving range regularly, so that when I come in the summer I can do a little better, but I never get to it.  I guess I am busy enough with my singing, running and Kung Fu that I can't quite fit the golf habit back in.

Anyway, my plan was to run two miles barefoot with my dog in the morning, and that I did.  This was mostly on asphalt because my memory of running in this neighborhood was not one of running on sidewalks ever, but in the road.

With my new lighter step, the asphalt was very manageable and even felt good in some places,

But there were many gravel driveways here.  In fact, I had to step through our own gravel driveway to get to the road.  I do remember as a kid walking across this same driveway without too much problem, but ouch, it hurt today.

But even worse than the actual driveways was the area in the road surrounding the driveway.  It was in these spots that the little isolated pieces of gravel that had been displaced by the car going in and out of the driveway hid themselves in the nooks and crannies of the asphalt, making it hard to see when you were going to hit one of them.

So, this was new.

Also new was something I had forgot about this little town I grew up in.  Sometimes the dogs are loose in the yard.  Daffodil and I passed one of them and it was a little scary as the big white dog came barking and bounding up to us.  But the owner had the dog under control.  I was going to avoid that street on the second loop, but decided to "face" it.  The dog was back inside the second time so it was peaceful then.

The two miles really did not feel difficult at all.  My feet were not sore afterward, and I felt very good.

But then the challenge of going out for nine holes of golf came.  Even though we planned to go around in the carts (we never used carts when I played years ago, and I way prefer walking), I still knew that being on my feet that much after stretching myself to two miles barefoot was going to be taxing.

On top of it all, I had not brought golf shoes, or running shoes or sneakers of any kind.  So, the only thing I had to play in were my Tevas.

Now, I'm truly not trying to copy a new-found barefoot blogging buddy of mine, Neil Z, who wrote about playing a round of golf barefoot a few posts ago. I really did go golfing with my family today and I really found myself in the situation of not having golf shoes and wearing my Tevas.

Many years ago, I had a quirk about my golf game, and of course this quirk is coming back to me as I do all this barefoot contemplation these days.  As a teenager I was incredibly concerned about getting a funny golfer's tan (white feet), so I golfed barefoot all the time.  Thinking back, I can't really believe that I got away with this at the country club where I golfed.  I definitely was not self-conscious about it.  It was my thing.

Now, however, all grown up, I would feel very self-conscious about it -- and about not wearing the right golf look.

But I had not brought proper attire, and it was either go out as is, or not golf at all.   I was not going to miss this opportunity just because I didn't have the "right" clothes.

So, I went out the best I could.  I did not play too shabbily, but I did start feeling a bit fatigued by the 5th or 6th hole.  That, of course, is because I'm not used to it any more.

Here is me, out there golfing in my Tevas:


Julie said...

Love that you are finding joy in running. You reminded me that as a kid, I used to be able to not only walk on gravel, but run on it, and it was fun.

Avocational Singer said...

Thanks for your comment, Julie. I guess I got to the point where I liked running -- and that was a progression from the first years when it seemed painful and I just forced myself to do it because I liked the other benefits -- but, the difference now is that I get that feeling like I just want to start running very similar to the way you just burst into song sometimes. You just feel like singing and it just happens. I never thought that could happen with running too. That running could almost be a kind of expression of a kind of joy -- joy of moving and being alive and rising above the "walk-level" we're always stuck in.