Here is a little something about me, my introduction as a member of Barefoot Runners Society .
Daniel, or “Paraganek” as he is known at Barefoot Runners Society, is a 41 year-old Czech national who has lived the past eleven years in the United States. Daniel received a masters in building construction from Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic, and in 1999, he and his then girlfriend Zdenka came over on a visitor’s visa for what was initially a short stay.
They intended to travel and Daniel hoped to find some short-term work in order to further his career experience as an architectural illustrator. He landed a job in Toledo, Ohio, where they lived for three years before relocating to Portland, Oregon, for another job. In Portland, Daniel and Zdenka married and a year later celebrated the birth of their son.
Six years on…“and we are still here postponing our return back home from year to year. We just love it here in the Northwest because we love the outdoors – high mountains, ocean, deep forests, river canyons, pristine lakes, volcanoes, high desert, year round skiing... you pick … My whole family lives back in the Czech Republic. I have a 4 year younger brother Paul who practices architecture in Prague. My parents come for a visit once a year, mainly to see our son because he is their first and only grandson (so far, working hard on more to come :-).”
Daniel explains his hobbies and nickname.
“Back in the Czech Republic, I used to be an avid paraglider. I was paragliding for two years on performance class gliders. (My nickname Paraganek means “little paraglider” in Czech).
After moving to the States in 1999, I refocused more on hiking and backpacking, mountaineering, skiing, snow-shoeing, and mountain biking. I also love exploring secrets of photography and computer graphics.”
Most recently, Daniel’s activities have included running.
“I started running shod in May of 2010. I was running just 5K twice a week, but soon enough, I started developing some knee pain. I went online searching for a remedy on various runners' forums and stumbled upon barefoot running technique - ‘The natural way of running’ and ‘running the way God intended you to’ stuff. It just instantly hit me. It all seemed so logical and natural. And it was a big challenge for me, which I liked. So I kicked off my shoes in June and went for all the fun. A couple of blisters in the first three weeks but then no pain, happy knees, smiley face, and great feeling. I was hooked.”
Daniel’s favorite distance is also his favorite race, the 10k Run Like Hell! Portland, because he says it was not only his very first race but he had a new 10K PR of 48:19, as well as a great running memory: It was his first time running in the rain, and he delighted in running through all the puddles along the route and during, which he felt absolutely free and filled with pure enjoyment of the run. Other PR times include a 7:47 mile and 30:00 4 miles.
About the same time Daniel tossed his shoes, he joined the Barefoot Runners Society because, according to him that place is “the best, very active,, and extremely helpful community of barefoot runners I have found on the web.”
And to sum up why he runs and why he runs barefoot, he has a wonderfully concise way of expressing it.
"It just feels so great. It is so simple. I just step out and do it. All I need is my body.”
|Climbing Mt. Hood, OR|