After reading Born to Run, I couldn’t get enough information to satisfy my barefoot running curiosity, and then I found the Luna Sandals website. It turns out that we were both from Seattle! And I could go to the factory, get a tour and have them make me my own Huraches! Custom-made! From scratch! So in I went.
I took home my first pair of real barefoot sandals and gave them a test drive on the treadmill. Boy, was I clunky. Not nearly as good at barefoot running as I thought I would be. For some reason, it was way easier on the grass or in my VFF’s. However, I felt a very special kinship to my new Huraches; I just needed a little help.
Danielle getting her run on
During my visit, Jules, the Cobbler Monkey at Luna invited me to the Monday night barefoot run and told me it would be a great place to get tips about my Huraches, learn proper running form and get a run in at a comfortable pace.
Truthfully, I assumed it was going to be a super-intense group of barefoot runners who run around in Mexican canyons or across the Alaskan tundra barefoot and a rapid pace. In a nutshell, I never thought I was going to be able to keep up. I almost didn’t go because, well, I was sort of intimidated.
It turns out that those people are indeed there, but there are also beginners like me. We usually go out at a slower, healthy pace that is comfortable for everyone and we focus on technique and form. Barefoot Ted leads the runs through Volunteer Park, where he drops historical facts about Seattle, shares his philosophy on running, and makes us all laugh.
Sometimes we run down trails, sometimes we run up the water tower stairs, and sometimes we take our shoes off and run on gravel. One day, Bookis brought his ball that a Tarahumara kid gave him and we kicked that around the park for a while- speed work disguised as fun.
Where the fun begins - the Seattle Asian Art Museum
We usually end the adventure about 40 minutes later and do activities like handstands, climb on the camel statue and try to scale the ring sculpture in front of the Asian Museum. And sometimes we just lay in the sunshine and chat.
It is a great low-key way to get introduced to barefoot running, pick up tips and tricks and, above all, meet others who love to run naturally. It’s a relaxed, positive and non-competitive group of barefoot monkeys running around the park.
The Monday Night Run meets at 6 PM in Seattle’s Volunteer Park in front of the Asian Art Museum. Feel free to wear whatever footwear you’re comfortable with.