Friday, April 15, 2011

I M A Barefoot Runner!

Spring is here!

Did you think I had left you all?

No way!

But I have been on a little break from barefoot running.

Didn't run for several weeks after the Run Disney event.   A couple of weeks ago tried going out a couple of times and felt great both times.  Couple more weeks passed and finally today got back out there again.

From the way it went outside there today, it appears as if it will not be necessary to start from scratch, even after all that down time. Soles of feet, muscles, bones, joints, ligaments all felt great.  It can officially be said that I am not longer a complete beginner.

Last season's blog was all about becoming a barefoot runner.  The format was that after I came home from each run I gave reports about the experience.  I ran on the same path over and over again, mostly, and blogged immediately after running while all my thoughts were fresh in my head.  Running along outside, thoughts of all of you barefoot readers were with me and so many posts were composed to you in my head as I ran along.

During this down time I have been thinking about what direction Barefoot Fresca blog should take this year.  Will I continue going round and round my same running path reporting each little stone that got stuck on the bottom of my feet, and each little toe that I stubbed?

No, that doesn't seem to be right any more.

This next season should be about how I got stronger, faster, ran farther, went new places, met more new people, ran bigger races, etc ... right?

But that is not what this season will probably be about.

Some explorers explore by going out further and further.  This type might even end up signing up with NASA and flying to the moon, or studying far away galaxies with a giant telescope in an observatory.  But other explorers stay right at home, take out a microscope and start studying the dirt in their own backyard.  They find their own "galaxies" as they break down the ordinary experiences within the self-imposed limits of their own lives.  This is another valid job of the explorer.

Perhaps I shall run faster and further this year and shall meet more and more barefoot runners, and shall venture to new barefoot places.  But, on the other hand, perhaps I shall not, and I shall study each barefoot step on the same path over and over again, and just get to know the barefoot people I have already met a little better.  Each experience would be something to learn from

My main interest in focus in my barefoot running right now is in the experience of each single barefoot step.  I am interested in the way it feels.  I am interested in the principles that surround the act of managing gravitational forces, body weight, sensory feedback, balance, strength, speed.  I am interested in learning about all the factors that effect the act of flying through the air for a moment and landing on one foot and managing those forces within the intricate coordination of joints, muscles, tendons, bones.  I am interested in the way it feels, and I am interested in getting to what feels right and good as I go along.

For a long time, there has been something in me that has been intensely interested in athletics and I haven't known why, exactly.  I'm not an athlete, exactly, and yet I felt that I was, in some way.  I think I have finally discovered why this is.  I have a deep interest in human movement in general.  Almost a kind of scientific fascination.  I was very excited recently to find that there is a word that puts a name to this interest. It is the word "Kinesiology."

Whatever the activity engaged in over the years, I have always wanted to understand that activity this way -- in a kinesthetic way.  Singing.  Kung Fu. Running.  Dance.  Golf. Or even just everyday Bending and Lifting.  It is not enough for me to just experience the activities themselves.  I must, it seems, understand which muscles are working, how the body is functioning while engaged in the activity, what the most efficient and optimal position is in which to perform the activity -- in a sense, getting to the heart of the nature of the activity, it's essence.  In fact, there has always been a little something in me that couldn't quite grasp and perform the activity -- even while everyone around me found it simple to pick up -- without studying the mechanization and understanding exactly what I was doing.

But now I have found a name for this orientation of mine -- it is an interest in kinesiology, the science of human movement.  I used to call it an interest in "athleticism," which was kind of close, but not exactly right.

So, don't be surprised if you read me musing, reflecting, exploring, studying and learning about the kinesiology of my experience of barefoot running and other physical pursuits in the coming months in this blog.