Sunday, May 16, 2010

Race Review: Mountain Flower Fine Art & Wine Festival 5K

Yesterday I ran my first 5K in six years. More importantly, this was my first barefoot 5K ever!

The race took place between two churches and offered a shuttle to bring runners back to the start. I brought Whitney with me so she could cheer me on/meet me at the finish line. The race was more of a test run for me. I originally intended to do a 5K later in June, but I saw this one and wanted to try it.

I didn't pre-register for the race(I don't think many people did.), so I got there at about 7:35 to register. There were four places I could register and all of the volunteers were happy to work with me. I got the number 123. During this time I heard the mother of a friend, she's really a wonderful woman and a great person, explaining to the children that the first rule of running is to have a shoe with good arch support. This was fine by me, as we are all entitled to our opinion. I just kept my mouth shut and focused on running the race my way.

We lined up in the road, I set my RunKeeper and the race begun! I kindly pushed my way through a few people and made my way to seventh place within the first couple minutes. During this time I heard the many whispers of, "Look! That guy is running barefoot!" I shot past a woman going uphill only to be passed by her again going downhill. She upped her pace and left me behind at my own pace. 

For the rest of the race I went back and forth with one guy, I will call him White Shirt Guy. He would slam past me on the downhills and I would pass him on the uphills. As I was running I wanted to beat him more and more. I think neither of us would have done as good if we didn't push each other.

Right at the two mile mark we started going uphill. Now, this wasn't a dinky little hill. Most of the race was up a hill, down a hill, but this hill sucked. RunKeeper noted it as a 200 foot climb over 6/10 of a mile, which is a 13% grade. I saw White Shirt Guy start walking. I remembered the "trail runners motto", or whatever Christoper McDougall called it in Born To Run, which states, "If you can't see the top of the hill, start walking." I began power-walking and forced myself to start running at the end of the hill, which was a battle in itself.

White Shirt Guy and I went back and forth until the final stretch. The race director mentioned a loop around the church. This worried me because I thought White Shirt Guy could possibly catch me at the end. Before this final stretch was a medium uphill. I knew my uphills were better than White Shirt Guys, so I passed him and sprinted to the finish at 24:14, my best 5K time yet. The cheers of others as well as the smile on Whitney's face made the finish way more important than the time I got.

After I finished Whitney took a few pictures. Apparently I got first in my age group. Surprisingly I was the only person in the 20-24 category, which made this feat much easier.

Some people, actually more people than I expected, asked me why I ran barefoot. To the ones that seemed interested enough, I went into some detail, but others I just told them it taught me to run with less stress on my body. Less stress equals less injury!

Others asked to see the bottom of my feet. I showed them my right foot, since it is the most healed from my burn incident. I have a couple of marks from the race, but a large majority of them are just unhealed boo-boos from when my form was worse.

I would like to especially thank the volunteers and contributors to the race. You all were more than helpful and kept me hydrated and full with Powerade and bananas!

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