To be honest, I was never a big runner. I would sprint and get it done quick but endurance running? I found that really difficult and boring. But that all changed when I actually learned how to run.
Iâ€™ve spoken in previous blogs about the importance of connecting with the earth by either wearing minimalist shoes or none at all (check out my blog about the benefits of being barefoot more often)Â This helps you train with all your senses working together, not blocking out touch, or sight, or hearing with earphones etc. Doing these things has allowed my body to perform at its optimal capacity. I can physically adjust to my surroundings faster, I adapt to the climate faster and I take in every little thing, appreciating every step.
I donâ€™t use a treadmill, and I would never go for a run because I have to. I run to explore. To see parts of the environment that you could only see on foot.
I live on the Mornington Peninsula where there are so many picturesque trails to see. I have a deep passion for the ocean, so thatâ€™s where I train the most. I love not just running straight along the beach but getting lost. I have learnt to take a day pack for exactly this reason, for I can easily lose my sense of direction and a phone, water, first aid kit is necessary. I go up into the dunes, crawling through bushes, I see caves and climb through them, over them. If the tide is high, so what? Time to go through the ocean. It may sound crazy but it makes me feel alive! Iâ€™m not just running but feeling what my body and breath are doing. Iâ€™m experiencing nature, incorporating all kinds of movements, and â€œplayingâ€ with my capabilities.
On Sunday 19th May I ran my first half marathon along The Great Ocean Road in my five fingers. I was so surprised at how good I felt, and it confirmed the reasons why I like to open all my senses. Every footstep I heard made me feel stronger, every breath made me feel more connected with those I ran with, we were sharing the same air, the same passion to run, the same cause, because of this I wanted to encourage them and motivate, simply by smiling or saying hi, pointing out a Koala or rainbow. Running can be a form of meditation for a lot of people but we donâ€™t need to completely disconnect ourselves from each other. There was a rainbow the whole way, and every time I lost sight of it around a bend up a hill, it pushed me to go faster to see it once again. I saw a koala in a tree, and the 360 degree view of the coastline was spectacular. It was also kind of convenient that I could check the surf as I ran. I wouldnâ€™t want to miss any possible secret spots.
The secret is to have fun with it. If you hate running, think about why that is. Have you been caught up in numbers and times, making it another chore that stresses you out? Maybe youâ€™d like it more if you just had fun. See where the road takes you. Leave your watch at home. When Iâ€™m having fun it impacts my whole body and my performance because my muscles relax and flow into the movements, my breath is calm, thereâ€™s never a struggle as I take long full breaths- inhaling and exhaling to fuel my muscles. I treat it as a gift from the fresh natural areas I train in.