Monday, September 12, 2011

A race report? Really?

Have I so become "that guy" that I am now droning on about every running event I enter?

Yes. Yes I have.

Yesterday I competed participated in the Warrior Dash. I ran with a group of teachers from the school my wife teaches in and where I am doing my practicum studies. Hey; can we write off entry fees as "professional development/team building expenses?" Either way, it was an awesome time and I'm about to break it down for you all to enjoy:

As you all know by now, I am one of them "barefoot runners" and prefer to run that way as a general rule. Still, I didn't really think it was a good idea to go full on naked foot so I devised a brilliant plan to go as almost barefoot as I could. Like most of my brilliantly half-baked plans, this one fell apart about 500 yards into the race as my sandal blew apart and wrapped around my ankle. Great! I had to stop and rip off the sandals, then cut some cord to tie my timing chip around my ankle (all tolled, about 6 minutes against my time).  Plus I got caught in traffic and was facing a backlog at every obstacle (boo!).

Now,  I am totally barefoot. One would think I would be all smiles, but truthfully I was a little concerned. I hadn't done any barefoot trail running so my feet weren't really prepared. the scattered gravel forced me to walk a lot more than I planned and to "pick" my steps to avoid the pointy bits. Now, I am not at all fast, but I was moving slow even by my own standards. It was gonna be a long day.

But what about the obstacles??? I know...that's what you all want to hear. First off, the biggest obstacle was the course. I was in no way prepared for the steep (STEEEEEEEP!!!) hills and switchback turns of the race course. I was anticipating a fairly laid back run made tough by virtue of obstacles. Boy was I wrong, wrong, wrong. The man-made obstacles weren't that big a deal, really. OK, so I did get kicked in the face on the floating log-overs, and didn't have great traction in the mud pits; otherwise, though, being barefoot was an advantage in the obstacles. most of them involved climbing cargo nets or ladders made of 2x4's. My naked toes were like a secret superpower! While my competition (competing to not be last place, but competition all the same) were slipping around in mud covered shoes, I had monkey feet that could grab the ropes, boards, etc. and help me make up time. Time I immediately re-lost when the running began again. It was like a muddy game of leapfrog! I basically hung with the same group of runners (big ups to the Waldos, the Warrior Princesses, and the Alaska Airlines T-shirt guy, who still owes me a piggyback ride...). They were like my own personal cheering section.

Speaking of cheering. Dude. I felt like a rock star! Every water station crew, obstacle attendant or person that passed me was all "Barefoot Dude!! rock on! that's hardcore!" It really buoyed me through the last mile of the race. Thanks to all the volunteers, the crew and the super friendly runners I encountered on the course. I may have packed it in if not for you guys.

For the record, I finished in 1:04:20, or about 20 minutes longer than I'd hoped. Oh, well, at least I'm sure I can beat that number next year!

And now, some pictures:
 the whole crew, before the race
 happy, muddy people
be not fooled! Only I ran barefoot (that's me second from left) these poseurs kicked off donated their shoes to a good cause after the race 
 So proud of my sweetie! she is not a mud person, but had a blast!

Will I run the Warrior Dash again? Oh, yeah! and next time I'll be prepared to do it barefoot!


  1. your writing makes me want to take up running again!

  2. dude! I had no idea you'd stopped. You should totally pick it back up. My stress management is back to normal now that I have good "me" time, doing something active.