Jason is a "leading" light in the Barefoot running community. He was one of the "Guru's" I sought advice from when I decided to dump the conventional running shoes well over 18 months ago and without his advice (and other's like TJ, Victor and a whole host of others from Runner's World on-line), I would have started my minimalist running career with more pain and greater disappointment than most. He quite rightly has gone one to be quite famous in a geeky/nerdy kind of way. Okay, that sounded better in my head than it did as I was typing it.. ;)
So I was contemplating the article as I was tearing salami for the pizza I was making. Only Jason can tell you, if this is a comforting thought. Is thinking of his article as I deliberately destroyed sausage meat which was destined to be cooked in a hot oven for 20 mins a comforting thought? I can see the restraining order with my name on it, being prepared as I finish this sentence.
His blog post was about his new working relationship with Merrell and the conflict of interest it creates. As he was explaining both his interest in Merrell and his conflict, I could both empathise and in some ways rejoice that I am not in his position.
His take on the educational aspect of his new role with Merrell is welcome news to my ears. For a long time I have been concerned about the sudden, perhaps even fad-like interest in Minimal/Barefoot running. I am glad that there is more awareness and acceptance, but I do get worried that people will just take off their shoes and run without realising that when you do take off 2+ inches from the heel of your running shoes, you have to re-learn the art of running. It's not an easy or pain-free transition for most. A lot of the injuries caused by Barefoot running that are cited by the professionals, I am sure are caused by un-informed runners doing "too-much-too-soon". Anything that promotes the education of
"How to run Barefoot or Minimalist" has to to be a good thing in my book. Whenever I am asked about how to run in Minimalist shoes or Barefoot, the two sentences I say are; "Go slowly" and "Read before you do". I know that's not going to stop people watching me and thinking it is easy to do. After a while running with little or nothing on your feet is easy; but initially, trust me it's painful, literally!
I am trying to get this across in my own little ways. Wether it's via BRS, or the random questions I get via the running club or those in the coffee shop. In Canada we are a little behind the trend in the US, so this gives me time to contemplate my responses to the inevitable questions. If Jason and his fellow counterparts from the Barefoot running community can make my life easier in the long run, then "hail to ya!".. Go for it; I like the easy life! (Not something I should put on my CV probably).
The second part of his post about the conflict of interest his job with Merrell causes, made me very grateful. He was unsure about how his new relationship would conflict with his other role of testing new minimal shoes that come onto the market; especially in this case the new Merrell minimal shoes due in the Spring. Why am I grateful? I am a nobody and I rejoice in this.
Luckily I don't have the issue that I am world-class athlete or someone who is an innovator in new, (or in this case old) techniques. No-one is interested in my opinion on a commercial level. I was talking to another friend of mine, Jesse Scott, the other day about how great it was to be one of the "people in the back of the crowd". Jesse, however, despite what he may think, won't be one of the unknowns; he is such a fantastic runner that I would be surprised if he stays un-noticed for long. Yet, at the moment, we are both enjoying our little slice of anonymity. It is great that what we say isn't analysised or reflected on. We can be the fool and "pull funny faces" behind those more worthy of attention without anyone realising. We can be goofy, silly and say the most outrageous remarks without having to contemplate who is listening. We know that whoever is listening to us, has the same mentality as us. It's fantastic!
I have always maintained that I would rather buy my own clothes/shoes/gadgets/whatever and be able to say what they were really like without having to think carefully about what I was going to say or how it would be interpreted. Even from my day's in IT, I revelled in the freedom of being able to say, "No offence, BUT...", before providing a diatribe worthy of.. well, someone more eloquent than me. I don't do "political conversation"; probably the reason I was kept in the "back-room" and given limited interaction with customers..:)
I am glad I have a little bit of cyber-space where I can rant and rage against whoever I feel like. I like that the people who read this probably have the same ideology as me, so won't get offended. I find it comforting that nothing I say will be taken as offensive. After re-reading this I am not sure if most of my readers will not be offended. Think like me!?! Okay, I can see why some people might be offended.. :) I would be offended too, if I wasn't me and I hadn't had two glasses of wine. *hick*; you could call me anything now and I wouldn't mind.
So in reflection; education.. GOOOOOD, infamy... BAD!... :) Not that everything I do or say is infamous, but let's just say that it's probably a good thing my part of cyberspace is very, very small. :D Carry on the good work Jason, just ensure you send me the links to the relevant articles - searching for them seems like hard work to me! ;)