Every so often when I reach an inflection point in my life I like to reflect back on the path I took to get there. When I do that, it really becomes apparent how past trials, tribulations, and decisions along the way shaped who I am now. In the middle of those situations it may have felt frustrating or hopeless, but looking back and seeing the fruit that came out of it, I wouldn't change most of it.

I am at one such inflection point now: I am training for my first ever half-marathon. For me this is a very big deal.

There was a point in my past when I thought I wouldn't run again, or hike again, or backpack again. When I thought that my body was flawed and destined to a life of gingerly walking in expensive shoes and expensive orthotics. That was the beginning of another inflection point in my life, my journey towards minimalist footwear.

I won't go into the story again, but suffice to say that barefoot and minimalist shoes changed my life. This was before there was a barefoot/minimalist movement (or fad) hitting the 'net. Toe Salad was born out of that experience, with a genuine desire to help other people who were suffering similar issues find a way to push through them.

I can say first-hand that barefoot and minimalist shoes work. I can also say it takes time for the body to heal. I probably could have gotten back into running a lot sooner, but I took my time, and waited until I was good and ready before starting up again.

Damien Tougas - Running

Now that I am running again, I continue to take things slow. Nice and slow. I don't want to jeopardize all those years of healing by injuring myself in an attempt to achieve a fast race time or dive into an ultra marathon. At this point I am just happy to be active and outdoors.

Prior to the fall of 2012, the last race I had entered in was a 5K some time around 1998 (at least 15 years ago!). Last summer felt like it was time to try a race again, so our family embarked on a series of local cross-country races. We ran a total of five; I participated in the 10K races, the rest of the family ran in one of the shorter ones (ranging from 1K to 3K). Based on the success of those races (i.e. I completed them and had fun), I decided it was time to up-the-ante a little. I decided to give myself a challenge by running in the half-marathon at the Baie-des-Chaleurs. The rest of the family has decided to run the 5k (a new milestone for them as well).

Brienne Tougas - Running

We are now in the thick of training, having a lot of fun, and enjoying being out in warming spring weather. Spring is a great time of year for a new challenge like this, as it feels like a new beginning.

What new physical goals are you setting for yourself? How are you ensuring that you achieve them in the most healthful way possible?