I’m not a natural runner. It took me years to build up any kind of endurance and a cold or flu can send me back to the drawing board in a heartbeat. And I’m slow. Eleven to twelve-minute miles were my average. I started running because I thought it would make me thin. It didn’t. But I stuck with it, in search of that Runner’s High that I’d heard about it but never experienced. When I herniated a disk and couldn’t run (or hardly walk) for a year I realized how much I missed it, though. While I was recovering I had “running dreams” – where I was just running and running and it felt great.
Once I was completely recovered I still couldn’t run. Every step sent shooting pains through my lower back. I made a fresh attempt every couple months. Nope.
Then I read Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. It’s a well-written, fascinating book and it introduced me to Vibrams – those crazy shoes that are like gloves for your feet to simulate barefoot running. I ordered a pair. The first time out I ran half a mile and everything hurt except my lower back. I started running a lot. I started entering 5Ks. I got a teeny bit faster. I started running 10Ks, then half-marathons. I discovered that the first three miles always feel brutal but once I get past five I feel like I could run forever as long as I don’t stop. I discovered that it's a great way to deal with stress.
My daughter is a figure skater. She skated most days every week all the way through high school. When she got to college getting to an ice arena wasn’t as convenient and I suggested she start running. She tried it, but suffered from shin splints whenever she ran. She tried running on different surfaces, wearing different shoes, nothing helped.
A week ago I gave her a pair of my Vibrams. She ran a short distance and didn’t have any shin splints but then got busy moving back to college. A few days later I got a text:
And another one the next day:
I'm never going to win any races; probably not even for my Age Group. That's not why I run. I run to re-group, to shake off the stress, to work up a sweat. I know what running has done for me, and I'm so happy that I've found a way to pass that along to my daughter.
Next year I'll have her running the Detroit half-marathon with me.