So after this, I promise no more Boston 13.1 posts…well, not this week anyway.
Last Sunday I committed one of the cardinal sins of running – I ran a road race in a brand new pair of shoes; they still had that brand new smell to them as I slipped them on Sunday morning right before the race. Why, you ask? Why did I do something so phenomenally stupid? Well, ever since Sugarloaf, the Green Mountain Relay and my subsequent Plantar Fasciitis, I’ve been transitioning off my Kinvara’s and back to my Vibram Five Finger shoes, specifically the Bikila’s. Every Sunday for the last 10 weeks I have been taking out a small group of Team Up with Autism Speaks runners for a long training run; in my Bikila’s, which were getting smellier, smellier with each passing week.
It didn’t matter that I was washing them after each run – for whatever reason, they were permafunkdified…big time. It got to the point that 2 weeks ago after taking the group out for one last run, I kinda grossed myself out in my car on the way home.
It was time for a new pair. I meant to go on Monday so I would have a chance to break them in at some point. I had found that with the VFF’s, I generally needed one short run to break them in. Monday turned into Tuesday which rolled into Wednesday. Late that afternoon I finally got myself to the store and picked up a brand new pair (on sale no less for $59!).
And then they sat in my closet. This was the second week of the kids back being in school, which, for me, is always the craziest time of the year. Suddenly, it was Sunday morning and I hadn’t broken in my new shoes. I was going to have a car full of people on the way to the race so I left the stinky shoes at home and brought the new pair.
They felt good going on, but I knew from moment one exactly where the blisters were going to form – it was now a question of how long before they became unbearable.
Within a half mile I could feel the hot spots. The blisters were coming and they were coming fast. By mile 3 or 4 there they were…and so I faced a decision: do I continue to run like this, knowing that the blisters were only going to get worse, or do I take off my Bikila’s and go barefoot?
Barefoot running has always had an appeal to me, but to that point, the farthest I had run with naked feet was 5 miles, and those 5 miles really put a beating on my soles.
What to do? What to do?
4 to 5 miles in I couldn’t take the burning sensation anymore and off came the shoes…and to my surprise, the ground felt great! Something I didn’t know before Sunday, the streets along Revere Beach are much smoother than those in my neighborhood.
I proceeded to finish the race barefoot. I would finally put the Bikila’s back on for the final 2 to 3 miles of my 22 miles that day because A.) the finish chute was littered with pebbles and glass (though I did do it barefoot for quite a while) and B.) when Jess texted me that she was fading, I went into race mode and ran as fast as I could to get to her.
What does this all have to do with the title of this post? I guess it’s a long, drawn out way of me saying that we are all stronger, we are all tougher than we think we are.
Before Sunday I had never run more than 5 miles barefoot – on Sunday, I did 16 miles and today (all this week actually) my feet are fine. Before Sunday, Jess had never run/walked 13.1 miles, but when push came to shove, she did it. So many Team Up With Autism Speaks Runners went a distance that they had never gone before.
We all have it in us to push beyond the boundaries we think surround us. Sometimes those walls are very real, but more often than not, what we think is just beyond our reach is just waiting there for us to push ourselves just a little harder, stretch a little bit futher, dig a little bit deeper.
We all have it in us.
Heck, I’m even thinking that a barefoot New York City Marathon isn’t totally out of the question!