This week sees the start of my half marathon training plan. Today's run was planned as a 2 mile easy run, pace around 11 min/miles.
Not wanting to forfeit all the hard work I've been doing on my barefoot running, I'm planning to do all my training runs in minimalist footwear (Vibrams, Merrells, Vivos) and my easy runs in bare feet. 2 miles in bare feet is definitely do-able for me, but those demons inside my head started chattering away early on this week....
I rarely set off bare foot: usually, I wear footwear for at least a mile, until I've summoned up the courage to take them off, and then I run home bare foot. When I say courage, it's not courage to put my bare soles on the floor, it's courage to face the oncoming traffic, friends, neighbours and dog walkers, who look at me a little bit funny, as if to say 'do you know you've got no shoes on..?', 'is it safe to talk to that weirdo?', that must hurt, dog poo, glass etc etc etc. I'm fearful that I'll step on a giant shard of glass the second a person catches a glimpse of me, so they can see the pain written on my face, and smugly nod as if to say 'I told you so'. I'm convinced that the police will stop to 'have a chat' with me, or that I'll twist my ankle on a pot hole and have to be whisked off in an ambulance, where the doctors will shake their heads at my foolhardy ways.
Of course, I could easily twist my ankle in shoes. I could step in dog poo and spend twenty minutes at the sink trying to dig it out of the grooves in my trainers.
I find this fear very difficult to get over, the demons chatter away at me right up until the second I walk out the door, sometimes they win and I put my shoes on, today they didn't. I stepped out of my front door without my shoes, and started running. I ran along the main road, waiting at the side of the road for the traffic to slow before safely dashing across in front of a neighbour's car and giving a slightly awkward wave to her.
I confess that I did veer off the main road to head along a country lane for the most part of the run, and this is not a route I would normally choose because it's quite hilly and it's recently been resurfaced, so the tarmac is quite rough still. However, I met only one car along the way, and it was lovely and quiet with my silent footfall and my dog's quiet padding.
At just over a mile in, I turned around to head back. Safely back at home, with a perfect overall pace of 11 minute miles, I feel suitably proud of the fact that I did what I set out to do and I banished those demons, for today at least.