I say "race" because I ran it as a tempo-ish run (for me) since I had a hard run 2 days ago - I knew better than to think I would simply jog it without being influenced by the race atmosphere! After over 1200 barefoot miles and becoming pretty comfortable without shoes, I figured it was time to enter the inaugural Conley 10K in Tallahassee. I had always been a little apprehensive about what other people's reactions would be and self-conscious. But I think the primary thing that had kept me from racing BF was the uncertainty of the course surface, because I had been on some courses that went to gravel for a while, or had extremely rough pavement.
The start temperature was really nice for N. Florida - 58 degrees. There were probably 100-200 participants - the typical number for a local 5/10K around these parts. In addition to not seeing anyone else barefoot (not suprising to me), I found it interesting that no one was even wearing Five Fingers. It didn't take me long to mingle with the waiting crowd behind the start line, exchange a few (non-barefooting) pleasantries before the announcements and the gun going off.
Anyway, I started near the back and over the 6.3 mile course very gradually passed a few dozen people. Not because I'm fast, but just because they were slower. In fact, my 10K PR, 4 or 5 years ago at 60-61 was 1:02x. The miles were well marked, the pavement gave me no problems, and there were a few moderate hills here and there. I did get some "shout outs", a couple of "awesome"s, and waves for barefooting. And I heard a couple of funny comments: (1) behind me during the first mile, a man talking to his friend saying "well, they make these things called shoes with a piece of rubber that goes between the foot and the ground..." or something like that, and (2) a young boy to his Dad as I approached the finish chute say "Look, Dad - his feet aren't even bloody". Oh yeah, I was only off my previous PR by about 2 minutes so I'm pretty sure the next one will be a definite PR.
This was the most enjoyable "race" out of the 20 or so previous shod races I've been in except maybe my Snickers HM PR in 2008. So, I've signed up for a 5K in about two weeks (BF of course) but this time I'll be out to race hard and get a new PR. Regardless of speed, I did set a Course Record for barefoot runners!
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WTG Brer! Thanks for the report. I've done two BF races, and been through the various pre-race worries. I've heard the funny comments, too. I remember one guy congratulated me as we lined up - he assumed I must be really fast if I had the cojones to run BF. Lately, I've been wearing my VFFs for races. I'm not confident enough with my technique that I can muster the same speed without any sole protection.
Decker Challenge 09/12
WTG! I did my first BF race a few weeks ago and loved it. BTW I'm slower than you! Keep it up speedy! LOL Same age too.
bob e v 2013 goals: keep on running! Is there anything more than that?
Finish halves, 3M Half 1/13 and probably Decker Challenge in DecHistory: blessed heart attack 3/15/2008; c25k july 2008 first 5k 10/26/2008 on 62nd birthday.
Great job on the race. I think a PR probably is upcoming.
There are comments at every race I run--usually behind me as I pass folks. Most people don't even notice, though. Occasionally someone will ask to see the bottoms of my feet. The barefooting has helped me meet more runners, though.
I hope all your barefoot races end up being as enjoyable.
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2nd BF race and longest BF distance. Ran the Thundercloud Subs 5mile Turkey Trot with >21,000 other runners. With the race, walk to starting line, to/from car about 6mi on the feet. Got a few comments ranging from "Your a brave man!" to (while walking up the stairs in the garage) "You didn't run the race barefoot did you?" a young lady said in amazement. Some finger pointing and comments after passing people. Only challenge during the race was a 1/4mi of relatively fresh chip seal - very rough on the feet. Used a grassy medium but had to watch for glass, metal and rocks but easier on the feet than the chip seal which killed big time! Post race, minor tenderness on balls of feet, not bad this morning during recovery walk wearing END OTG's.
Way to go Bob! Sounds like you enjoyed it - I can't imagine running with 21,000 people.
I'm doing a practice run tomorrow on a 5K course that's coming up next weekend - if it's OK, I'll run it BF for my 2nd BF race (I've got to keep up with you, man ).
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