I cracked out a brand new pair of Brooks Pure Connect minimalist shoes, my new Men's Utopia Thermal tights, and my 1995 Mohican 100 mile wicking top (Brooks product, too).
I felt a bit underdressed off the start, but within a few minutes was into a methodical pace around Bass Lake, then up into the "maze" which eventually comes out at Moses Manor; I then took the descent back to Bass lake around the west side trail and back to my starting point.
The Brooks factory site (brooksrunning.com) states: "Embrace the ground beneath you with the featherweight feel and pliable flex of the PureConnect 2. This slim and nimble turn-hugger is the perfect fit when you crave less shoe and more freedom. A split toe groove extends toward the midfoot, engaging the natural movement of the foot and letting you feel every nuance of the run. With rad looks, the baby is ready to run, right out of the box."
On this day, I brought several thoughts together regarding the Pure Connect experience:
1) As the definition states, these shoes are ready to go, no break-in required. They're light and wispy and the dirt comes alive beneath your feet. Every pebble, every nuance and change of terrain is telegraphed through the Pure Connect's through your body and into your mind. It's more salient running that heavy, cushioned trainers provide.
2) Shoes like Pure Connects bring a freshness to running. This is my 30th year of endurance sport and at times, it's hard to fire the engine. Today's run, with crisp temps in the low 40's and the lightness of my new running slippers brought me to life.
3) The Pure Connects force forefoot running. There's no option. Minimalist cushioning doesn't allow for a clumpy,foot slapping stride; instead one must use the body to absorb shock and that comes from a delicate impact off the heal.
4) I listen to Ben Greenfield's nutrition and fitness podcasts and have been somewhat enamored with his comments on "earthing." According to earthing.com:
Just as the sun gives us warmth and vitamin D, the Earth underfoot gives us food and water, a surface to walk, sit, stand, play, and build on, and something you never, ever thought about—an eternal, natural, and gentle energy. Think of it perhaps as vitamin G—G for ground. What does that mean to you? Maybe the difference between feeling good and not so good, of having little or a lot of energy, or sleeping well or not so well. You can’t see the earth's energy but some people can feel it as a warm, tingling, and pleasant sensation when they are out walking barefoot along the water’s edge at the beach or on a stretch of dew-moistened grass.
I'm not sure if I'm buying on all the way to benefits of earthing...but ponder this: What if the Pure Connects put one closer to the ground, offering more contact with the terrain we traverse? Are we sucking a bit of vitamin G into our weary bones? Do my tender footstrikes put me into a different place with the nature around me?
I can't be sure, but today's run held a bit of magic. Old tired master man was back once again, feeling as if he was part of the world around him. He wasn't an intruder, but rather a welcome guest. I think the ground liked me and on this occasion, invited me back for another connection in the very near future.
(Disclaimer: I am a Brooks supported athlete and received Brooks promotional products)