Why hello everyone. Yes, this post is late by about a week. Robbie did a great write up of the half marathon from her perspective and I wanted to make sure that I did one also. It just apparently takes me a lot longer before I get in the writing mood to do one. I should really get better about that. Ah well.
Anyways so like Robbie said, we started off the day by getting up at Zero Dark Idiotic as our friend Kelly would say, or in actual time 4 in the morning. We got up, got all our stuff on, ate some food and then headed down to the Millarville Race Track to catch a shuttle bus. I was a little worried before we got down there that there would be tons of people arriving early and that there wouldn't be enough room on the shuttle buses to take us over. When we got to the race track just before the first bus was scheduled to leave there was almost no one there. I guess we had nothing to worry about.
|Robbie and I on the bus.|
We got on the bus and waited to head out. Our friend Barefoot Neil joined us on the bus and we headed to Black Diamond to start the race. There we did the usual pre-race activities. Potty time!!! Laff. Neil and I got the usual stares and scoffing from people. Robbie was in the washroom line just behind one lady who was scoffing so she made a point to call me hot stuff and to mention us being barefoot. Love it. Funny how being barefoot, or almost barefoot gives you thicker skin. Really I don't care because I'm passing most of the people who are scoffing at me. ;)
Met up with our other minimalist friend Maria and chatted with her about her lovely Hattori's. As Robbie mentioned she was in her Stems and I was in Robbie's pair of Invisible Shoes with the beautiful bright pink laces.
|The technical T from the race, which of course we did not wear to the race. Standards, people!!!|
I had originally intended on running the race in my Stems also, but a week or two before the race I was feeling like I would prefer something a little more roomy and airy. Granted the Stems are super wide and lovely, but I think I really wanted to be barefoot. However I knew that my feet weren't quite ready for a half marathon distance and so I wanted to save them a bit. So I went with a pair of huaraches instead. I know they say not to do anything new for a race, so I put like 5 miles on the huaraches, then relaced them for my feet, put another 7 miles in them and then ran the race. That's totally fine, right? Laff
|Once again this picture from the lovely Maria showing off our great footwear.|
So back to the start of the race. We lined up at the front of the back third with Barefoot Neil and off we went. There were 3 little sections of gravel on this run. The first one was right at the beginning for a very short distance. However the rocks were big and on a very hard surface. Of course I managed to catch one rock on the arch of my foot. Ouch. Thankfully that was the only real problem with rocks that I had that day. I ran with Robbie for the first little bit. While I was still running with her one of my shoes wasn't fitting nicely. I felt like my foot had moved over to the edge of the shoe and the laces weren't tight enough. Crud. Maybe I should have spent a little more time making sure they were fitting properly. However, since I'm stubborn I decided I would wait it out and see if the problem would fix itself. I said goodbye to my lovely wife and started to ramp up the speed. I was aiming to average about an 8 minute mile the whole time and so I started going in between 8 and 8:30 minute miles for the first little bit. The first 2.75 miles are all uphill so I kept that pace the whole time. Thankfully my shoes did work themselves out and I was a happy flying man.
I should probably pace myself better. I have heard that you should go slower at first and then aim for negative splits. Apparently that's not my style. I try to aim for one pace and then keep roughly around that pace the whole time. So far it has worked okay, but maybe I should try it the other way. Either way I have to say I love the first little bit of a race when you start closer to the back and then get to pass lots of people. Helps the ego. :)
From there my pace sped up a bit so that it was more in the 7:30 to 8:00 minute mile. As I passed one group of guys I heard them all start to mention 'that book', and that Caballo guy. Cool. Once I started running I don't think I heard a single negative thing about my Huaraches. I think the people who were the most amazed by them were the Volunteers. Always good to wave and thank them and to interact with them as I run by. I found it funny when one person called them Flip Flops. Other than that struck up a couple conversation with people as I passed or they passed me. Other than Robbie, Neil and Maria I saw a couple of people in Vibrams, a guy in New Balance Mininus and a girl in New Balance Minimus shoes as well.
|I so wish my phone was set to video when I tried to take this. This dude when he passed me had his arms in the air conducting an orchestra. He almost did a jig or some fancy step to his run. It was hilarious.|
The race was supposed to be a Net downhill course and I guess technically it was. I will contend that really, they lied. Net downhill but still lots of big hills. That and a long long stretch between Black Diamond and the Millarville Race Track made it a big mental game. I sucked it up, kept my pace and chugged on. I played leap frog with a couple of runners. They would pass me, keep going for a while and then peter out a bit and I would pass them and leave them behind. I had a bit of a mental game near the end. I had about 2 miles left to run. I knew from checking out my garmin that I was running around 8 minute mile average. I had two miles to go and was feeling tired. It would be nice to PR, but I wasn't really pushing for it. However with the distance remaining and the current time I knew that if I just pushed out two more 8 minute miles I might be able to just manage a new Personal Record. So even though I wanted to slow down, I made myself continue going the current pace. Chug, chug chug, Ugh. Then the end was in sight. I entered into the Millarville Race Track grounds and then came across the gravel at the end. Ugh. Really sucks when you want to give it a final push, but then you hit gravel. Got past the worst of the gravel and put on the speed. The girl just behind me did the same. I tried my best to get in before her but she had just a little more push than me and so she finished like .2 seconds before me (I took comfort later that my chip time was a good 15 seconds faster....Laff). Race done! I finished in a time of 1:45:20. Woot!!! New Personal Record! Beat the last one by about a minute and a half. And I would say that this was the harder course. Very pleased. Glad to get another half marathon done and I had a really good time.
|The hand fired clay finisher medals. Note the iPhone for scale. Big medals and very heavy.|
Taking a look at the final times I ended up finishing 40th overall out of 263 people. Not bad. 33 out of 99 guys and in my division (Males between 30-39) I came in 12th out of 28. Nice. I never really considered myself a speedy person and I certainly don't think I'll finish first ever (unless everyone else stays home... Laff), but I guess I am pretty speedy.
Well I'm tired now so I should wrap up this post and head to bed. I'm looking forward to more running. Running for the fun of it and enjoying running. I love to run and I really love to run barefoot. Thankful to have other barefooters to run with downtown and I'm looking forward to my first actual barefoot race, like my rockstar wife just did. I'm also interested in trying another type of Huaraches. Robbie and I have our eyes on a pair of Unshoes Wokova Feathers. We have heard good things about them and we love the look of them. If anyone at Unshoes wants us to review them, we would love to. Otherwise we will just suck it up and buy a pair each. ;)
Until later, have a great night everyone and happy running.