This Story Starts With My Grandma.
Ever since I was a wee lad (pre-cell phone era), running has been my lifeline.
My fondest childhood memories were with my grandma. Who would fire up her red Ford Escort. Tailing me as I ran laps around my hometown block. Sometimes well past dark.
When my Grandma would kindly insist that it was time to turn in… I’d begged “Just 10 more minutes!”
Kindly she’d agree. Turning on her headlights. When I’d pick up the pace, she would match my enthusiasm by turning up the radio. We’d laugh like banshees when reached the driveway. She’d give me a big hug and tell me that she loved me.
It was in those formable years, that my Grandma gave me the greatest gift of all…
The gift of running free.
From Pip Squeak to Athletic Scholarship
I continued to hone my running skills through high school. Where I joined my school’s track & field team. Finding my niche in the 800 meters. It led me the state championships and other accolades
My success wasn’t instantaneous. Thankfully, I was blessed with remarkable coaches and teammates. My “second family” who taught me the fundamentals of training and discipline.
Under their tutelage, I earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Cincinnati. A 4 hour drive down 71 South. My new home for the next 5 years.
How Time Flies when you’re Having Fun
My track and field career at the University of Cincinnati transported me to a bigger stage. It was here that I shared the starting line with some of the biggest schools in the nation.
But it wasn’t all about racing…
The most fun I had where spent forming bonds with my team. Here’s one of my fondest memories:
They say “all good things come to an end” and sadly this was true. Because after graduation, I caught a case of post-grad blues.
With no team to grow with…no races…to look forward too…I experienced a loss of identity.
Conjuring the will to run was more of a chore than a joyful pursuit.
I remember like it was yesterday…
Trotting along on a trail. Wearing a new pair of Nike LunarGlides. I took a curve to fast and rolled my ankle. I stumbled to my back. Cursed to high heaven that I finished with running for good.
The Big Man upstair must have heard my call. Because the next day I found a book that changed my life.
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
I ripped through Christopher McDougal’s book in a single seating. Engrossed in his big idea that humans where built for long distances. But what really piqued my interest…
Was the notion that modern footwear was causing more harm than good.
“The entire, multi-billion dollar industry is based on a campaign not of facts, but of fear. Fear that if you don’t buy a $175 sneaker and replace it in three months, you’ll ruin your knees. So why does anyone wear them? And how did the running shoe, which didn’t even exist before most of us were born, become a multi-billion dollar business and a purportedly indispensable piece of sportswear? – Christopher McDougall
His solution…go barefoot!!
So, I did. It was slow going at first. But after building up the dormant muscle, ligaments, and tendons that cast in “foot coffins”. I started to see progress.
The feeling of freeing my feet reintroduced to my love for running. Bringing me back to simpler times. To memories of when it wasn’t about “how fast” or “how bad” I could beat someone.
Times spent circling the block with my grandma. For the sheer fun of it.
I am still on this traveling the unshod journey. Finding gems along the way. These treasures are what I share with you.
Though we travel a different road. May they find a convergence here.
Cheers to your success,
P.S. I look forward to connecting with you. Feel to shoot me an email anytime. Looking forward to hearing more about your running journey and all the cool things you have going on 🙂
For lots of photos, click here.