I’ll have to say that my best workouts come from running. It’s the only aerobic exercise that makes me feel like I’ve been challenged and I’ve worked hard. I was introduced to running around the time I took part in track and field in junior high school. At the time it was just short sprints that were fortunately over and done with in a matter of minutes. I had always been on sports teams throughout junior high school and high school; playing tennis, soccer, cross-country skiing and running the 400 and 800 meter, and high jump. In my senior year, I started my regular running routine which meant getting up at 6AM to run two or three miles before school. Only then did I discover that euphoria you get during your run. It’s kind of like a drug, but one that’s healthy and makes you feel great.
To compete or not compete
I typically get asked the same question when people get wind of my running schedule. They ask, “So, have you ever run a marathon?” I consider running a part of my life and a regular exercise routine, so I don’t feel the need to compete against anyone but myself. My Mom ran her first marathon at 50, and 4 consecutive marathons after that. She wanted to do it, so, good for her. It’s just not for me.
How to best trod the path
I have had a number of different types of running shoes over the years. For a few decades, of course, I had the typical fully loaded, shock absorbing running shoes from New Balance, Saucony and Nike. For a while I was true to one Nike Pegasus.
A few years ago, I was allured by the idea of barefoot running. I wasn’t ready to run skin to the pavement quite yet, but I was open to almost flat rubber shoes with moveable toes. You know, like the old toe socks? I bought my first pair of Vibram FiveFingers®, founded by Vitale Bramani who is credited with inventing the first rubber lug soles on mountaineering boots that used to have leather soles and steel cleats. I tried to start slowly on these funny new rubber shoes. I ran shorter routes and tried to focus on running from the middle of my foot to the toes instead of the standard heel-to-toe that was always drilled through your head with the old style shoes. After a few weeks of running, I developed a problem with my right heel and always came back with bloody feet from the sides of my feet rubbing against the shoes. I took a forced break from running to let it heal and later resumed with my old running shoes. The Vibrams are now only used for kayaking the city lakes or working in the garden.
Ernesto began investigating new styles of barefoot running shoes on the internet. An avid runner himself, he wanted to truly evolve into the barefoot running experience. I will say that barefoot running isn’t for everyone. If you have any kind of irregularity with your feet such as pronating, I’d stick to the old skool shoes. Ernesto found a new barefoot running shoe that had just a hint of support. The two companies, New Balance® and Vibram FiveFingers®, joined forces to create a new barefoot running shoe that was just as flat with a minor amount of extra support and no separated toes! I found my color, bright orange with white piping, and once I got them in the mail, I resumed my barefoot running routine. This time I was careful. I started out slowly, landing in the middle of my feet and running only on softer surfaces like dirt paths around the lakes, and any patch of grass I came across; no concrete or asphalt if I could help it. To this day, I’m able to continue running in these “barefoot running” shoes.
Measuring my mileage
I’ve tried a few running apps, but the best one so far is Endomondo. It calculates your mileage via GPS, tells you in a computer voice at each mile how long it took you, creates a map and allows your friends to send you “pep talks”. It also gives you the option to post on Facebook, so all your friends and family know how active you are. It only works outside the health club though, so if you want to run around the indoor track, it just gets confused and your map will look like a plate of spaghetti!
I hope to continue running as long as my legs will carry me. I think it’s the best aerobic exercise. It’s always a challenge and I never get home and regret what I just did.