I'm more excited than I look here, I swear!The race runs through the great city of Portland, Oregon, and we had awesome weather. It was in the mid 50's and sunny (an October miracle, for those of you blessed my drier climates). I had been waffling all week over whether I'd run barefoot or in my running sandals. With weather like this I couldn't pass up the chance, so I did it (foot)naked!
I started at the way back of the pack. a.) because I'm slow and it's demoralizing to get passed by 8-year olds dressed in full giraffe costumes, and b.) It's a crowded race and I didn't want to get my feet stomped on. Nice thing about starting at the back? You get to be the one who passes people; double points for every "awwww, man, that guy just passed me and he's barefoot!" (I got two or three of those bonus passes. W00T!)
That's me in red, passing Fatman and the Green Lantern/Hornet CollectiveRacing is no fun without fans, so I brought some with me. The super-awesome Mrs. M. and my two kiddos came down to watch/cheer/take pictures. It was awesome to hear the "Go Daddy" chants from the sidelines at the start and finish.
GoGo muggin' for the camera
Stinky doin' her thang. I fear for her teen years...
I felt pretty good throughout the race. The first chunk is up a long, gradual incline, so the initial pace (for me) was pretty slow, with lots of runner traffic. The one thing that bugs me about these "event" races/runs are the blockades - groups that run three and four across, taking up the full width of the course. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that people are out there doing something active, but it makes it hard to keep an even pace going. I spent as much time running side to side as I did moving forward at times. Whatever, We were all having fun, so no harm no foul.
After a short but very steep run-up, we leveled off for the return back to the finish. well, what do we have here? I see bare feet running up ahead! I'm not alone (I know there are other barefoot runners, kids, so chill; she was the only other one I saw today)! As I caught up, we chatted for a second. It was kind of cool to bond with a fellow loon during a race. Alas, she was faster than I, so our alliance was short lived.
What goes up must come down, so the last third of the course is a slight downhill. Downhill running is still a weakness for me, as far as barefoot goes; I feel wildly out of control and uncomfortable when I follow all the suggestions I've read. I've got to work on this, for sure, because I did slow down some. I should mention here that Portland has some of the worst paved streets I have ever seen or run on. It was like running on gravel in most cases. As a result my feet were a little tender by now, but nothing I couldn't deal with.
Making the turn into the finishing straightaway!
Making the last turn I had a good bit left in the tank, so I was able to kick into gear for a strong finish. This has been a goal of mine, to not be completely flagged at the end of a run. I want to stride across the finish, not stagger. Plus, it feels good to kick it up:) Unofficial time of 30:30 by my stopwatch. Not too shabby, if I do say s myself!
Post race revelry. Feelin' good.
I'm pretty happy with my result. It helps serve as a baseline, since this is really my first race as someone who takes running seriously. I can make goals and plans now based on an authentic result and have built a basic foundation as a runner. Next task is to work on my form and some core strength to support (bad pun!) that.
Next race will be the Turkey Trot in the Tri-Cities on Thanksgiving morning. I will be sub-30 minutes; mark my words...