Minimalist Running Update: When Will I Run Free Like a Child?

minimalist_run_freeI started my transition to minimalist running (sans traditional shoes) back in April and wrestled with injuries and setbacks until July. Since July I’ve been able to stay consistent (and injury free!), gradually increasing my mileage from 0.25mi up to where I’m at now: ~4mi with no pain. Well, no pain until I decided to get frisky on Thanksgiving and run 5.5mi, my farthest distance by a lot.

Today my calves ached, I felt sluggish, and was generally pissed off that I had a better time/mi running further, with more hills, last week. Before my knee gave out around this time last year—which forced me to drastic measures (i.e. running in Vibram 5-fingers)—I was pretty much averaging 7’45″/mi over ~4mi. Now I’m back up to the same distance but closer to 8’05″/mi (and today was a disappointing 8’28″/mi). I’m still a little above average, but that’s the problem. I hate being anywhere near average. I’m competitive. I want to crush average. It’s been a long journey to this point and I’m ready to be back to my swift self in these silly shoes.

In truth, I actually want to be that guy whose mantra is “it’s all good” and actually mean it (and not in a sleazy/annoying way). I want to be the guy that goes out running because I like the wind flowing over my crusty Giants hat, reveling in the sunshine on my face, and the fact that I can run at all. I want to run like a free child of God—with a 7’00″/mi or a 10’00″/mi. I know I should be happy that I’ve been able to circumvent that knee problem and switch to running in a more natural way. I should be happy that I can run almost 3min. under the average for men my age, yet…yet…I’m just not happy.

Maybe this #nerdlution thing of writing every day will get me there. I won’t ever be that guy that says average is good enough, but maybe I can get closer to being like a free child, prancing about the streets for 4mi like it’s a gift from the heavens…but still averaging at least 7’55″/mi.