My journey to finding my “Healthy Running Self”

It just clicks one day, you’re sitting there feeling just gross, and your mind just says, “do something”.  So I did!  I joined a gym for the first time in my life and started working out.  It was so freaking hard, but I kept going 5 days a week.  Slowly changed my diet eating less carbs and more protein.  The weight just melted off.  So amazing with some effort you can physically change your body!  Weight does just melt off when you add exercise to your routine when you’re in your early 20’s.

Now fast forward to your mid-30s and 2 cesarean sections later!  Your body isn’t the same as it was in your 20’s and now that weight doesn’t just melt away either!  What I found is just moving is progress!  I put on those running shoes and walk/ran starting 1 mile until I was running consistently for 3 miles!!!  I found myself excited to register for races, and for awhile that was fun, but it got expensive.  Then I started to battle with blistering around my small toes on my left foot and which made running pretty painful and frustrating.  This began my continued journey on how to stay healthy when your body isn’t on the same page????  I started with working with my husband Aaron Gustafson on my running form and switching out of my trusty old Asics (always 1/2 size bigger) into a wider toe box transition shoe.  I tired a minimal track shoe called Karhu which provided a wider toe box, less toe spring and a bit more minimal then my regular running shoe.  I wore this shoe for about a year which gave my foot the ability to adjust.  During this year I worked on my running form with Aaron and read the wonderful, “Chi Running”, book by Danny Dreyer, to compliment my work with Aaron, and wore Correct Toes toe spreaders daily to help with my sore knee and strength my feet.  I gradually started to lighten my running stride and lift my shoulders to a more upright position.  When I did this my whole world shifted for running…I felt lighter on my own feet and body!!!  Guess what…I started toning my core and my breasts began to lift because I was standing up straight! Yes, your posture has a lot to do with how your body works and looks!

During this time, I went and listened to Runbare’s, Michael Sandler at one of REI’s free community workshops.  Wow, what a great presenter…I was excited to use the ways Michael shared to continue my journey on discovering my healthy me!  I wasn’t ready to dive into the barefoot running world, but I took my shoes off more and felt the ground, and moved to a even more minimal running shoe which I love and continue to wear today…LEMS SHOES they Rock!  My favorites are the Lems Primal 2’s!!!

Lems Primal 2 Shade mens

For about a 6 months I’d wear my Correct Toes and Injinji socks on my runs in my Lems to continue my hard work building a healthier me.  As I continue to be conscious of my running form when running, I’ve also started really paying attention to my breathing.  That’s when I stopped putting my headphones on and started just running and hearing all the sounds around me : ).  Boy, I can listen to my breath and the birds which is something I enjoy on all my runs now.  I’m not a long distance runner nor a fast runner, but I’m a 40 year old woman that enjoys feeling healthy while listening to my body.  My toes never blister anymore and my knees don’t hurt.  I don’t wear my Correct Toes running anymore – just my Injinji socks.  If my feet or knees are tired feeling I may put my Correct Toes on for awhile to help relax my feet after the run, but that doesn’t happen very often anymore!  My feet are stronger, which makes me stronger!  It all connects and that’s the message I want to get across in this post…I started out truly an “unhealthy runner” and became stronger and “lighter on my feet” through the work I did with my roots (feet) and branches (trunk and limbs).  It’s never too late to really start listening to your body…

Thanks for listening,


ocean toes