The bare foot is the best running coach money can't buy.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

My slowest, bloodiest race EVAH!!!

This is what it looks like when you get punch in the ribs by the ground. Repeatedly. For eternity.

First of all, big ups to Iris for finishing in the top 3rd of her 5k. Not bad for a newbie!

I, on the other hand, am a clumsy moron. And I mean that in a nice way. I tripped about, oh, 20 times. I've never kicked so many roots and rocks in my life. Like, cumulative. I don't know if it would have been better barefoot (I did wear the $6 aqua socks); probably not. The extra sensory awareness would have been nice, but I think my clumsiness today would have trumped that.

Here's and example of my moronitude: The shoes I wore were the same ones from last week's race. During that race, a seam or some stitching gouged my big left toe a bit. Not only do I wear those shoes, but I didn't tape up my toe. "If it starts bleeding, I'll tape it up at a water station," I in my infinite wisdom declared. Sure enough, that's what happened. It took about five minutes for the helpers to find some tape, as the bandaids weren't sticking. Just about everybody passed me.

Fast forward to 15 minutes ago, where I put my feet with bloody toe icy water. "Ooh, bath salts! That'll feel good!" Did I mention my toe is bloody? So yeah, I poured salt on my own wound.

Anyway, after the bloody toe incident, the tripping and falling began in earnest. I was kicking things like they insulted my mother. I've got scrapes on my back, for crying out loud. I was sure I not only had re-broken my toe, but had broken every other one as well by mile 8 (I don't think anything is broken; sore and stiff, but not broken). It was funny at first. Crash! "You ok?" "Yeah, I'm..." Crash! wash, rinse, repeat.

At around mile 9, I was running/stumbling with a group when I heard a Whump! Crash! behind me. A young lady bit it HARD. Her knees were bloody and was in bad shape. I had two thoughts, one from the gentleman side of my brain and the other from the shameful opportunist side of my brain. "I shall help her, and walk her to the finish if need be," says the gentleman. "My finish time won't matter if I tell everyone I was helping a damsel in distress!" says the ass.

She was able to get up and run/stumble (everyone was tripping; it was like Woodstock) back to our little group. Then she passed them, also leaving me in the dust.

I didn't want to go fast because a. running fast = falling harder, and b. falling is exhausting. Oh right, and I didn't really train for this. That might have had something to do with my difficulties.

I crossed the finish line sore but in a good mood at 2:14/15. For perspective, I ran twice that distance up a mountain at a 10 seconds per mile pace FASTER.

So what have we learned?
1. Even though I like to use big words, I'm not very smart.
2. Even though I've taken years of ballet (I'll tell you about that later), I'm a graceless yahoo.
3. Even though I may act like a nice guy, there's probably a selfish ulterior motive to any act of kindness on my part.
4. I can maintain my sense of humor longer than a good race pace.
5. I can get the crap beat out of me, and still have fun.

The Triple Lakes half marathon was a great race, and the organizers did a great job. Now, I'm going to try to nap and eat at the same time.


  1. i did the half too. I cant believe you did that in aqua socks, thats amazing. I dont think I would be able to walk it without thick shoes.
    But you have inspired me to try this barefoot thing, though I'll stick to walking first.

  2. Just checked the results - you're fast!

    Keep me posted on any barefoot experimenting you do. I'm starting to get the hang of it, so if you ask any questions I might have an accurate answer. Might.

  3. I am so impressed that you ran THAT race in aqua socks, in not a bad time either! Loved your post too!!

  4. Dang, Shannon. You're fast too. Looks like the two of you were in great form yesterday.

    I've run the course before, just not all at once. Owl's Roost (the last section) I've done barefoot. It's not hard, so long as you're paying attention and going SLOW.

    I don't know if I would have had an easier time in regular running shoes. A rigid sole might have protected my feet more from the roots, but then again I probably would have just kicked them that much harder.

    Thanks for the kind words, and congrats to both of you on a great run.

  5. welcome to Runnertalk! I hope you will enjoy the site :D

  6. I think you had a great race time for all those falls! And you were walking around the festival, so can't have been too bad. =) Congrats on finishing! I'm thinking of running it last year.

  7. I wish you could have seen it. I was a one-man vaudeville show, without the aid of a banana peel.

  8. Sound brutal. Congratulations on just finishing and congratulations to Iris as well!

  9. I give you serious kudos for keeping at it - congrats! The whole barefoot things intrigues me (and makes me think of Johnny Appleseed.)

    On an off note, I didn't know they still made aqua socks. Nifty.