I don´t know about you, but since I run/walk barefoot, I have been experiencing a shift from a masculine to a feminine attitude. I mean by that, that I gave up on running to win, to compete, towards an outcome, a result or a goal.
I don´t compare myself anymore with my fellow runners. I don´t plan my runs anymore. I run when my body tells me to do so. I don´t measure the distance, time, heart rate anymore. I don´t follow the perfect running schedules anymore in order to run a certain distance in a certain time. Speed is unimportant.
I just enjoy running. I listen to my body. I discovered that my feet love the earth. No even stronger than that: may I say that my feet have a love affaire with all the different ground textures of the earth?
So I don´t call my injuries names anymore. (But by the way: I was healed of an old, almost chronic Achilles tendon injury by starting to walk and run barefoot (against all professional advice).
I don´t run to get slim, fit, healthy, the best. I don´t want to achieve anything with running anymore.
I guess it all has to do with the fact that barefoot running makes you feel in stead of being mental. So you truly get into a different mode. Some (ancient) cultures had that too. What a liberation, release and freedom.
And what do I do now?
This ecstatic feeling that I get, is hard to describe. Every time it´s an adventure to sense every step. It sucks you right into the here and now and into an intense sensation of the body-nature-surrounding-unity.
I start to run and I pause when I like a certain view in nature or when my body tells me to do so. That was unheard of in the early shod days.
I just don´t care anymore, because I have no masculine, measurable goals anymore. I don´t have to prove anything anymore to nobody.
Even pain or injuries are ok, because in the masculine paradigm that was a hindrance to reach certain goals or to keep up with the fellow runners.
Actually this is a whole different kind of sport – that´s why I call it here in Holland “oerlopen”. (Translated: “primeval running” or something like that. Compare the expression “primeval forest“: ancient forest which has not been changed by man).
It´s such a miracle that the feet and the body know how to do every step on their way: how to adjust precisely to this specific type of surface, how to adjust the position of the feet, which muscles they have to use now and different ones somewhere else, dependent on surface, speed, mood, temperature etc. etc. (Compare that to shoes in the masculine paradigm, but comparing is very mental, so forget it).
Actually I even don´t compare myself anymore to those runners who run with shoes. That would be like comparing apples with pears. Like I said, this a different branch of sport.
So did barefoot running make me shift from paradigm? Did it make me give up on masculine running and did it give me joy instead? I don´t know, maybe….
But let´s stop proving that barefoot running is better, or that shoes make smelly feet or blisters or force you to run unnaturally.
We just have reinvented primeval running/walking in modern times.