My Hate-Turned-Love Relationship With Running. Part 2.

In Part 1, I described how much I hated running and papayas. And then I told you about how my super-athlete in-laws got me to sign up for an 11 kilometer run:

“[They are] so athletic, in fact, that they took advantage of my newly married, I-don’t-speak-metric, willing-to-do-anything-to-impress-you self, and suggested we all split up into teams and participate in Malaysia’s Powerman competition. This involves each of us finishing either an 11K run, a 64K bike, or 10K run.

Long story short, I’m running my first-ever 11K in a little more than two weeks. In order to prepare for the event, I promptly read dozens of articles on barefoot-running, bought a pair of Vibram FiveFingers, and laid down on the couch. 11 kilometers. That’s 1/2 mile, right?”

Well, I did it. I ran 11 kilometers (6.835 miles) non-stop, with a time of 1 hour and 9 minutes, in ‘barefoot’ shoes’. And it felt like nothing. I actually enjoyed it!

See, I’m the kind of person that lives off of small, happy interactions. In fact, I get so much energy from someone smiling and wishing me a good day that I feel like bouncing around for hours afterwards. That’s exactly what happened during my run. I started waving and smiling at everyone standing on the street watching– the race officials, food vendors, and little kids.

It didn’t feel like work at all, and before I knew it I crossed the finish line way ahead of my competition, my sister-in-law Lin!

The feeling was the same as described in the book, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

Christopher McDougall writes,

“…everything I’d been taught about running was wrong. We treat running in the modern world the same way we treat childbirth—it’s going to hurt, and requires special exercises and equipment, and the best you can hope for is to get it over with quickly with minimal damage.

Then I meet the Tarahumara, and they’re having a blast. They remember what it’s like to love running, and it lets them blaze through the canyons like dolphins rocketing through waves. For them, running isn’t work. It isn’t a punishment for eating. It’s fine art, like it was for our ancestors. Way before we were scratching pictures on caves or beating rhythms on hollow trees, we were perfecting the art of combining our breath and mind and muscles into fluid self-propulsion over wild terrain.

It’s true. What I felt was nothing short of elation. Now it’s just a matter of getting into the habit of running.

Do you run? What do you run in? What do you think of this whole barefoot movement?


  1. Anjum says:

    buddy… this is very interesting. I’ve been trying to develop a love of running, but my calves get all tight even before I get winded, and oh yeah I still get pretty winded. Working through a Couch-to-5k program. But this barefoot / five-finger shoe is an interesting angle to consider.

  2. Aurora says:

    Oh oh, THIS topic. Well, I love Papayas but running… Is something I do because it´s very efficient. Sometimes I have a runners high. For about 5 sec. And sometimes I feel like I gained 10 kilo more, lost my running condition somewhere between bed and door and start to get a headache even during running. BUT I promised myself to give it another try this year, inshAllah.
    Regarding the barefoot shoes: I would love to try them out. But I´m living in Germany and at the moment it -0°C.

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