Every athlete evolves.
When I started running 10 years ago, my first run was in street shoes.
I was a complete novice, but also a quick learner readily listening to my body . And in this case, my feet were telling me “please buy a pair of running shoes.” With little thought, I bought the first pair I saw at the store.
Not long after lacing up my new sneakers, the evolution continued and I started signing up for trail running races. My love for the sport quickly grew as did the race distances rapidly moving from 10k to 50k to 50 miles. The sudden increase in training volume and racing intensity led to small injuries like a stress fracture and shin splints. My body was speaking to me again – but this time the conversation started my journey into barefoot/natural running.
As runners, we need to understand and respect the natural design of the human being. Knowledge of the way we are built will allow an athlete to follow a logical progression in training, as well as to select shoes that will allow him or her to run naturally. Minimalist shoes are a must for someone like me, who wants to run fast and has a compressed racing schedule with one race after another with little recovery in between.
In 2013, the evolution continued. I started to compete in obstacle racing, such as Spartan Races, and I love it! To give you an idea of my 2014 season so far, I have completed 9 Spartan Races in 2 months and I finished 1st, 2nd or 3rd in all of them. In this evolution, only the strong survive!!! So the question becomes is the success in the shoes? The shoes you choose to wear don’t necessarily dictate whether you get up on the podium or not. However, wearing minimalist shoes can unleash our natural potential and permit us to maximize our athletic capacities. We can evolve into our greatest selves. And the inability to perform at our best is simply not an option.
My evolution from novice runner to competitive obstacle racer is far from a Cinderella story, unless you consider my “glass slipper.” I found SKORA shoes while browsing online for the best minimalist shoe for obstacle racing. My needs were very specifics: zero drop, light, supple and flexible, close to the ground, nice wide toe space and tough enough to not be torn up by the very harsh steep trails full of thorns, mud pits, rocks and slippery roots. The model Core from Skora just fit the bill! I had found my glass slipper!
Just like in the Cinderella fairy tale, people seek me out after I have a great performance at a race and hope to see what shoes I was competing in that day. I gladly show them my SKORA Cores. They all do a double-take and say, “Wow, they are so light, so small and flexible, and without any rigidity… Don’t you get hurt with so little protection?’’ I answer proudly that what protects me from getting injured is not the shoe itself, but the use of a proper natural running technique developed by these minimalist shoes. These minimalist shoes helped in my evolution as an athlete strengthening all my muscles, tendons and ligaments in my foot and ankle. It is my body, not the shoes that protects me.
Like a glass slipper at a fairy tale ball, the Cores at an obstacle race is the perfect accessory for me! The courses in obstacle races are anything but nice, flat terrain. I dive into water. I crawl and jump in mud. I climb rocks, walls and ropes. Yet all along the course, I feel light and powerful as the water, rocks, and mud don’t stick inside or outside my shoes.
My evolution as a runner may have not been a regular fairytale, but there is a moral to the story: Learn how to run naturally, get some SKORA Core shoes, and just like Joe de Sena, founder of Spartan Race, would say: ‘’Spartan Up!''
The evolution isn’t over and neither is my story. Come see me in Spartan Races across Canada (Super & Beast Ottawa) , USA (Sprint Boston; Super Tri-State New Jersey; Beast Vermont), and France (Trifecta Weekend France). I will be happy to share with you my experiences, love for obstacle racing, and SKORA shoes!
You can find out more about Helene or contact her at the below links!