420

No, I haven’t taken up a new hobby in my dotage.  “420” was my race number for the DSE Half Marathon (Lake Merced – past my alma mater) this past Sunday.  The gentleman who handed me the number had no idea why it amused me, allowing me to feel a teeny bit more “in the know” and less square than usual.

Maybe the number was what convinced me to run.  I’d begun the day with a worsening cold (my first of the barefoot era), after a second night of tossing and turning, and showed up to the start feeling terrible.  This was not only to be my first race in several years, but my first as a visible ambassador for the barefoot cause.  I did not want to DNF – under the circumstances, a DNS almost seemed preferable.

Anyway, I didn’t want to be a quitter either, so I lined up with the rest of them, and made my way around the lake.  It was a 3x loop course – starting off with a downhill, to induce us to run too fast and burn out, and then uphill all the way, all three loops.  I’m still not sure how DSE pulled off the never ending uphill (Escher back from the grave?!), or how they managed to increase the roughness of the trail on each loop.

Anyway, I did it – not quite the 1:36 I’d trained for, but given my condition race morning, sub-1:40 was a relief.  I even got in a sprint to the finish, upon hearing the announcement of a runner right behind me.  I wore my Zensahs, and had no shin splints or ITB issues – just gradual fatigue and tightening of the hips and quads.  The mile markings were a little irregular; I know I started with a few 7:20 miles, and finished averaging 7:38, so must have slowed to almost 8 minutes/mile.  Must pace better; must bring Garmin next time.  Late in the second lap, and in the third lap, I was passed by runners who finished several minutes ahead of me.

Fan interest?  Lots of curiosity and questions about barefoot running.  One runner  said that barefoot running is very common at his running club in Malaysia.  Many were initially skeptical, but … I did finish, and ahead of most.  All the other runners were wearing built up running clogs – I didn’t notice any VFFs or lightweight racing flats, like the Adizero or Wave Universe.

Other thoughts?  Training is not racing – I’m very glad I ran this tune up.  The location, the timing, were all not of my own choosing – just as it will be for CIM in December.

Volunteers on the course were great – they must not have been the ones designing the uphill – and the post-race brownies were terrific.  I’m afraid I must have scored a net calorie gain for the morning!

And I already have my goal for this race next year:  beat the grouchy geriatrician.  Then wear my favorite t-shirt.

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One Response to “420”

  1. Michael Sandler Says:

    Sounds like it was still a lot of fun, and minimalist/barefoot, I love it!!!

    Keep up the great work and spread the word!

    ~Michael Sandler
    Coach, The Barefoot Running Club

    Barefoot Running Club

    Littleton, CO
    335 Barefooters

    http://www.runBARE.com, the barefoot running school is title sponsor of the Barefoot Running Club, based in Boulder, CO. The Barefoot Running Club offers free introductory courses an…

    Check out this Meetup Group →

    http://twitter.com/runswithspirit

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