Saturday, April 14, 2012

2012 Cary Road Race 5K

To beat The Josh, you must be The Josh


Photos Shannon took of the race are here.


That Guy
My rival Barefoot Josh has gone from sluggish 4+ hour marathons to sub-3:00 in a little over a year, easily surpassing my mediocre speed . If I am going to beat him in The Scream, I must study and adopt his methods.

I have reviewed his blog carefully. Clearly, the physical aspect is not the key. I have beaten myself to a pulp with training and not gotten fast.

No, it is some sort of Zen-Buddhist-Keanu Reeves-Matrixy mental state that I need. I must adopt his state of mind, put myself in his shoes... wait... there are no shoes. Whoa.
Just running barefoot will not be enough. No, I need to be... "that barefoot guy". I need to race barefoot.

Preparation
Last week I reached my peak weekly barefoot load of 9 miles, including my longest run this year of 3 miles. Obviously, I have put enough work in, and it is time to race!

But physical training is only part of it. I have to be prepared for the awe-struck runners and spectators who will no doubt swarm me like paparazzi, bombarding me with adulation and questions: "How do you do it?" "Are your feet made of steel?" "Are you a mutant like in the X-men?"

Most likely, the press and TV crews will show up to interview me about my amazing achievements. So I had business cards printed up, and hired a publicist. I already have a personal photographer in Shannon, who documented every angle of my barefoot debut.

In the starting line, swarmed with admirers

Start
So I showed up to the Cary Road Race 5K this morning.
Not wanting to be too ostentatious, I positioned myself middle of the pack. I was aiming for a 24-25 minute finishing time, as my feet are capable and comfortable with 8 minute miles. I took my shoes off and gave them to Shannon, along with my Garmin.

Not only would I attempt this barefoot, but also bare-wrist, which would be even more difficult for me. I was Luke Skywalker putting the visor down, going blind. I would need to use the barefoot force to pace myself.

Surprisingly, no one there seemed all that impressed that I was barefoot. In fact, I got nothing more than a few dirty looks like I had just walked shoe-less into the local Olive Garden.

Not as smooth as it looks
As soon as the gun went off, I realized that I might have made a miscalculation. The asphalt was quite coarse and lumpy, not at all like the buttery smooth greenway I had been running on.  With tiny steps, it was tolerable, but I would be lying if I said it felt good. I wasn't sure if my feet could handle 3 miles of it.

Smugness
Fortunately, after a half mile or so, the road smoothed out and it felt wonderful.
I padded quickly and quietly past baby joggers, preteen children, and the elderly. Many of them huffing and puffing in their "foot coffins". I felt smug and superior.

"Eat my dust, Princess!"
A few times I stepped on invisible sharp pointy things which caused me to hop, but otherwise the course was smooth and easy. I crossed the finish line in 23:23, which was a little faster than what seemed prudent. I may have gotten carried away with trying to pass people.

Post-race
"Oh my God! You ran that barefoot! That is amazing! You are awesome!", said absolutely no one.
As Shannon and I mingled after the race, no one really took notice of me at all. They were all too busy heaping praise and congratulations on Shannon:

"Shannon, Oh my God! You ran 100 miles! That is amazing! You are awesome!", said just about everyone we ran into.
She tried to include me, "Well, he ran the 5K barefoot"
To this they would nod at me, "Huh", and then turn back to Shannon, "So how do you feel?"

How do I feel?
Nobody asked, but I'll tell you anyway.
My feet kind of hurt. I have TOFP (top of foot pain), BOFP (bottom of foot pain), and raw spots on the skin in the usual places. I guess I over did it a little.
Though I bet most of the aches and pains are from the full throttle 9 mile trail run yesterday in the Merrells. In any case, the pains are nothing new and have been coming and going the past 8 weeks.

It seems I have a long way to go before I can be "That Barefoot Guy". Maybe it's the glasses. Or the beard.

Shannon's photos are here.







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