Today I had the advantage of a pacer on a run.  The pacer was my oldest son- he rode his bike while I ran.  He was in inspiration- he kept me going when if I had been alone, I may have stopped to walk about midway.  I’ve become a running slacker and he was not about to let me slack today.

About a month ago I purchased a pair of Nike Free running shoes.  I bought these in hopes of minimizing back pain that I have had as a result of running this year.  Since my duathlon in late July, I have avoided running for the most part.  I was able to convince my wife to participate in the most recent area duathlon, last weekend, and as a relay team, she ran while I rode.  That worked out perfectly for me.

So back to the shoes and today.  For the past month I have been remiss to try the shoes.  With the boys’ soccer practices we end up not getting home until nearly bed time and I find it hard to get motivated to run at 9PM most nights.  And with the other activities and commitments, most nights run about the same, no time to run until after the kids go to bed.

The shoe purchase was a result of discussions with a co-worker.  He had recently read the book “Born to Run” and was exploring the phenomenon of barefoot running.  He is training for a marathon but is yet to go it bare.  But he has been very interested in what I think of the Nike Frees so his interest is hard to hold back and he frequently asks if I have been able to try them yet.

So today was the day.  Taking them to the street was a culmination of a few things – for one we started the day at Virginia Beach, an overnight excursion for some indoor, off season swimming, but the weather there this morning was pretty bad (rain and heavy winds) so we decided to some home early.  On the way back from the Beach my wife and I listened to “Born to Run” audio style, so that was inspirational for trying the shoes.  And the weather here was cool and cloudy- the skies had not yet opened up and I figured a 20 minute run would work.

When I announced that I was going out to try, my oldest hopped up and asked if he could come along.  He suggested the ride while I ran and was kind enough to wait for me at various intervals.  He still amazes me with his riding, taking on hills easily and enjoying himself.  I am so glad he took to riding.

So how did they work (the shoes that is)?  They felt pretty good- I could feel the road much more with them (they use less padding to help you feel more of the barefoot).  I felt my foot roll from the outside toward the small toes on toward the big toe.  And more importantly, no back pain although my quads were killing me, mainly due (I think) to my 21 miles bike ride yesterday.  I have read a lot about sore calves while getting used to the barefoot running style but mine felt pretty good- either I am doing it wrong or I was more focused on quad pain.

So not just about parenting, a little about gear, but it is all part of a day in the life.  And more importantly, any time we can involved our kids in our activities is a big win, especially when those activities involve exercise.  Lead by example, involve when you can – two approaches where you can’t go wrong.