Switching Teams

Last night at the Black Eyed Peas concert, I found myself unusually concerned with the audience’s reaction when one of the band members revealed a Lakers shirt.  The crowd booed frenetically, hissed like a pack of bush snakes, and waved their hands’ central digits vigorously in the air.  I am not a Lakers fan, but respect a person’s choice of team.  The crowd’s intense aversion to someone being on the other side made me take a mental step backward, as I am switching teams myself.  No, I’m not about to start rooting for the Yankees, nor am I in love with the girl next door, or changing jobs.  I am going to ignore my podiatrist, give up my pricey running shoes, and become a barefoot runner.

My friend Sharon, an experienced runner and racer, recommended I read Born To Run by Christopher Mcdougall.  I had considered reading it a few months ago, but with the combination of the heavy-hitting reads for my monthly book group looming over me like a long row of dark shadows, and the amount of time I have been devoting to fitness, writing, food, and my family (yep, probably in that order right now…), I told her it was on my list but set on the back burner like tonight’s bean soup—bubbling away by itself until I had time to get to it.

I finished The Worst Hard Time for my book group last month and desperately needed a break from heavy literature.  I re-read the sample of Born To Run I had downloaded onto my Kindle and decided to buy it and read it, despite the thick, serious, socially conscious text for next month’s book group selection. I knew I wouldn’t have the time to devote  to a recreational book and finish everything else on my loaded plate, but I have been intrigued by stories and articles I have read about barefoot running.  And, my orthotics suck.  No matter what shoes I wear, my left foot always kind of feels like it is partially out of my shoe.  All my laces are too short because the orthotics take up so much room in the bottom of the shoe.  I have spent way too much time trimming manufacturer’s insoles to accommodate my partial custom inserts.  My already high insteps ache from being pressed upward into my shoes by the rigid orthotics.

I have spent the past couple of weeks having an illicit affair with this book, sneaking my Kindle into my purse and stealing whole pages at a time while sitting in my car in my driveway, or during commercials while watching the Olympics on my few free weeknights.  When I started the book, I thought, This is pretty good.  But I’m never running barefoot.  That’s for the real running freaks, the goofballs who go to extremes at the expense of their feet and without discretion, who go against their doctor’s orders to show off and tout what cannot possibly be true.  But— it is entertaining!

After I had read about a third of the book, I began to fool around with my stride and gate in the barefoot running style.  As I read, I worked on the postures and footsteps described in the book.  After just a couple of weeks,  I’m faster.   The running feels effortless,  and my breathing comes much easier.  And I haven’t even taken off my shoes yet.  I’ve just stopped landing on my heels.   (Go ahead and check my posts from the last two weeks.  My speed has continued to increase, distance is easier, etc.)  What will my running buddies say when they see the Nike Free shoes on my feet next week?   Will they howl with laughter when I turn up on Eden Road in Vibram Five Fingers during the month of May?  Will they still run along with me when we meet up next summer and the soles of my feel look like dog pads?

My daughter and I rode the commuter rail to Boston yesterday afternoon to the concert.  The train ride is about an hour and ten minutes each way.  I hemmed and hawed about bringing the Kindle, finally deciding that, tucked into my purse, it’s smaller and lighter weight than a book, and since we had seats at the Garden, my purse with my reader zipped inside would be safe with me the whole time.  So— here I am, at the concert of the year, or at least that’s what I expected.  The crowd is roaring throughout the entire performances of the two opening acts and then all through the main attraction, The Black Eyed Peas, for goodness sake, and I have been waiting months to see them.  I told everyone I know that we’re going; friends and family know how crazy I am about their music, especially in my run mixes.  They are on the stage, doing their BEP thing, the thing I could not wait to see live, and all I can think about is the long train ride back to Cape Ann and how I will have time to finish reading my book.  Geez!!!  The Peas close the concert with their hottest new hit, Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night.  I sing along, like everyone else, but sneak a peek at my watch, wondering how much extra time I will have to read before the train arrives at the station.

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3 Comments on “Switching Teams”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Elizabeth, I’m glad you are enjoying the book! Running barefoot is very intriguing. Jay and I were watching racers cross the finish line at the Tufts 10K this past October when much to our surprise, one of the top finishers was barefoot–running through the streets of Boston! Interesting concept….

  2. lise Says:

    Are you sure you told everyone you were going to the concert??? Did I know??? Is my brain just too crowded w “stuff” that this is one of the bits of information that fell out of my brain almost as soon as it went in??? Glad you went tho!

  3. Craig Says:

    Here are some great photos from that concert. http://thephoenix.com/Boston/music/97871-photos-black-eyed-peas-at-td-garden/

    I especially like the funky wardrobe.

    Hey, do you personally know anyone who wears the Vibrams?


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