Wednesday, July 4, 2012

2012 Raleigh's Finest 5K

[The rest Shannon's photos from the race are here.]

I let Shannon sign me up for yet another race, because my legs were feeling OK, and I thought I could use it as a training run for "The Scream". It was also for a good cause:

This race benefits "...the spouse and children of police officers, sheriff deputies, firemen, EMS squad members and North Carolina State Highway Patrol serving in Wake County who lose their life in the line of duty."
A great cause for sure, but it is outrageous that it is even necessary. Any half-way sane society would be paying police officers and firemen a decent wage and completely taking care of their families should something happen to them. But sane we are not.

Shoes or No Shoes?
I was having trouble deciding whether to wear shoes or not.
My 3 barefoot races so far have gone really well, though a little slower than I am capable of in shoes.
But I'll be wearing my Merrell Trail gloves for The Scream, and I need more practice running on roads in them.

When I saw that there no less than three TV news crews there, it was decided for me.
"Oh barefoot all the way!"
Finally! I will get the attention and adulation I deserve for my hard core barefoot badassery, all on the Five O'clock News!

The Anthony Twins

Another Barefooter?!!
"Hey, how are you doing!", said the 8 foot tall barefoot guy standing at the start next to me.
Crap. Another barefoot runner? Suddenly I went from barefoot-running-superman to just another schmuck with his shoes off.
"Anthony", I introduced myself.
"Yes. And you are?", he asked.
"Anthony. I'm Anthony."
"Oh, so am I!"
Crap. Another Anthony? Far from newsworthy, I'm a dime-a-dozen

It's ON
"So I guess it's the race of the barefoot Anthonys!", I said, and we were off.

The course is a simple, flat, out-and-back on Oberlin Road.
For the first half mile, the asphalt is a little rough, but it seemed a little better on the right where the car tires had worn it smooth. So I went out really fast trying to find open spot to run there.

I hit the half way turn-around at 9:22, which is exactly a 6 min/mile.
The temperature would hit 105° that day, but at the 8:30 am race start, it was a comfortable 82°. I dumped a cup of cold water on my head at the water stop, and didn't feel hot at all.

My feet and legs felt great, the best they have felt in almost 2 years. The road was smooth and flat.
Nothing could stop me from a sub-19 minute finish!

Nothing, except the fact that I am not in that kind of shape.
With a half mile to go, I was completely winded. I simply couldn't suck in enough oxygen.
There was a guy who had run the entire race next to me, who finally spoke, "How are the feet?"
"Fine", I said between gasps.
"Why did you start out so fast?", he asked, in a genuine way that made it sound like I had done it as part of a strategy.
"Because I'm an idiot who still doesn't know how to pace himself" was the right answer, but I mumbled something about finding room to run.

Completely running out of gas, I was passed by 4 people before stumbling across the finish line.
There were no TV cameras crews waiting for me.

The Good
  • I finished in 19:23, a barefoot PR!
  • I was the fastest barefooter named Anthony
  • My feet felt great
  • I would not have been any faster in shoes. 

The Bad
  • I would not have been any faster in shoes.
  • This means 19:23 is where I am at right now, well off my 18:15 PR from 2 years ago
  • It means my chances against Barefoot Josh look bleak, with his recent 17:38 5K 
  • I actually did end up on the 5 o'clock news, but not running barefoot. I was walking around looking confused, scratching my head, searching for a bathroom.

NEXT: "The Scream" Preview.

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