Why I Run, Why I Run Barefoot/Minimal, and Why I Race

I’m glad to have the opportunity to blog about running and training for the Hospital Hill Run, a great race with great tradition! Without further ado, a bit about why I do this…
I run for fitness.

(I know, duh). When I was younger, I saw running as something you had to do to get into shape to play soccer. I went out for track in high school, but injuries discouraged me and I didn’t stick with it.
I ran more and less through my 20s and 30s, never with any kind of race or numbers goals. As my metabolism slowed in my early 30s, I turned to running for weight control. However, after moving to Kansas City a combination of injury, devoting more time to our growing family, and flat-out laziness, I added nearly 40 pounds I didn’t need. With my 40th birthday on the horizon, I made some changes. I’m healthier now than I was 20 years ago. I’ve found that running causes you to reevaluate everything – especially how you eat and how you budget your time.
I run barefoot/minimal because it’s fun and it feels good!
I switched to barefoot/forefoot striking a couple of years ago after reading Born to Run. It’s not for everyone, but it made sense for me. I was increasing my mileage in traditional running shoes and it seemed like the more I ran, the more I hurt. The switch reduced my impact and put the fun back into running. I’ve tried a variety of minimal shoes over the last couple of years (see one of my earliest blog posts) but I try to run barefoot when I can. I especially enjoy barefoot speed work around the irrigated soccer field close to my house. It’s like carpet!

I race because I’m competitive and it helps me set goals.
A friend talked me into doing the Kansas City Zoo Run just a few years ago – my first timed race since high school. That did it. We started out running together, and then at some point during this 4 mile run he said, “you want to run faster, don’t you?” I answered honestly. I took off and haven’t looked back.
As my fitness improved, I added the half marathon and eventually the full marathon. I enjoy racing all distances from 5K to the marathon. Every distance has its challenges and unique requirements. I’ve achieved a few of my “numbers” goals now (the toughest being a BQ last fall), and I think that will help me enjoy racing even more. The comraderie and sense of achievement can’t be beat. Everyone who toes the starting line has already accomplished something significant. Racing often starts as a bucket-list line item – but don’t forget to have fun!

One comment on “Why I Run, Why I Run Barefoot/Minimal, and Why I Race

  1. neltow says:

    Here is a quote I love. It is from Beth Salinger, Hospital Hill Coordinator, from one of her emails during the 2011 Half. “Running is what you want to do. Training is what you should do. Racing is what you can do.”

    For my part, I really don’t like racing that much. I love the training. But perhaps, it is more true that I love racing (myself) in my training. In this season, I’m going to be trying more to train and having more fun in the meantime! And then let the race be what it is, a true, one-time test of how good you actually are right now.

    In 2011, the theme of Hospital Hill was “No limits,” which I thought was a little silly, since there are always limits. I changed it to “New limits,” which means to me that when you race faster, you can train faster and reach for a new “limit.”

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