So last week I bumped into my first co-barefooter on the street while running. I've joined groups online, written articles, even put out a Craig's add at one point looking for anyone in the area that might want to run together barefoot without much success, and then running along on a Wed afternoon there's this weird guy running toward me with no shirt on, looking shaggy and a big like a vagabond. I squinted and wondered if I was imagining things then looked down...no shirt, no shoes, a bit shaggy. Ok, if I owned a restaurant I would send me home with no dinner. Thanks for being out there Luke! Can't wait to get some runs in with you!
That was my last run as I've been nursing my foot back to health. My injury is largely about too many bizarre races in too short a time. My new podiatrist told me it was because I was running up too many muddy hills and aggravated the tissue on the bottom of my foot, plantar fasciitis. I've never had a podiatrist before, but then I've never really made a habit of running 40-50 miles a week before either. The plan is to get to the point where a 30-40 mile run isn't a big deal.
I've spoken to people who do this and believe it or not they're the same as the ones you've met who have started cool and interesting companies, written beautiful pieces of music, become amazing artists late in life, gone on trips that make you jealous because they weren't expensive or planned, said something to you casually in an off moment that gave you sense of meaning and made you wonder if you actually knew this person, dropped everything they had of seeming value for something of obvious value, and basically anyone you've spent time with that seemed to be drawing you deeper into something important. They were like physical philosophers. They were expressing inner meaning in the best way they could.
Planning for a 50 or 100 mile run and hearing peoples' reactions to the idea reminds me of an old friend. When he died I tried writing a song about it and recording it, but I could never find a way to make the song resonate deeply enough to do the job. I also tried writing words about it but I never found a way to express it well. When I'm running I talk to him. His sense of humor about something so ridiculous as a 40 mile run, or 10 miles through mud, ice water and electricity, brings me close to him and connects me to the humor about life we shared, it really seems like the perfect dedication.
If I were to run from Detroit to Chicago it would take me 67 hours at my current looong slooow distance pace. I hope to make this run one day and I hope that the voice of my old philosopher maniac friend will goad me on with its laughter and brilliant perspective. I hope that doing something a little ridiculous like running barefoot for 10 or 260 miles will always help me connect to the man who taught me to do what feels right no matter how nuts.
Love you Paul