Sunday, May 2, 2010

Barefoot Running - Final Post

A little over a year ago I made my first post about barefoot running. The title was "Sorry Runner's Soul", insinuating I'll never buy running shoes again. Since then I've posted quite a bit about my barefoot running experiences. And today this experiment culminated with my running Bloomsday sans shoes with a goal of finishing under sixty minutes.

I wore my aqua sox to the start and put them away just before it was our time was go. Kathy and I were in the yellow group but we got there quite late so we were in the back of the pack. Consequently, the first three miles were very crowded making it difficult for me to be on pace. The first mile took 8:15. I didn't see the second mile marker. At three miles I was at 25:05. Well, I needed to be at 24:00 if I was going to keep an 8-minute-mile pace. I did not like the idea of making up time so I stopped looking at my watch and focused on running the entire race with my aqua sox staying in my fanny pack. The crowding eased up and I just relaxed and ran.

Since my longest distance to date was 5 miles, I knew my feet would be pretty sore at the end of 7.46. Here's a tip. Run on the center lines. The painted stripes are smoother than the pavement. After reaching the five mile marker at the top of Doomsday Hill I checked my watch and saw I did miles four and five in 16 minutes. Nice!

Pressing on through the West Central neighborhood I was feeling very relaxed. And then turning onto Broadway I entered hell. The surface of that road is absolutely the worst I have ever run on. The parking stripes and center lines helped, but it was a very painful mile. The dash down Monroe was a breeze and it felt good to open up and fly downhill. Crossing the finish line my watch said 1:00:00.39. Boy was I surprised. But I'll find out for sure when the official time is released.


As you would expect, a number of people reacted to seeing me running barefoot. All comments were positive. A couple people even chatted with me about it. The best quote came after I passed two guys just before hitting Meenach Bridge:

Guy 1: "Hey, that guy's not wearing any shoes."

Guy 2: "Yeah. And he's kicking your ass."

Too funny. I have to admit that my soles are sore. That's a long way to run barefoot. But in the plus column, I didn't get a single blister.

Anyway, the experiment is over and I'm done posting about barefoot running. I'm not buying any more running shoes, but I'm sure other customers will take up the slack for me. I'll either be barefoot or wearing minimal shoes like aqua sox because it works for me. But most importantly, it makes running fun for me. Fun is a necessary ingredient in life.

*** Update ***

Bad sign. This morning I can look up everyone's results--except mine.

7 comments:

Lise said...

Perhaps this is a silly question, but where did you put your D-tag?

Hank said...

You can't see it in the picture. I had it looped on a velcro strap around my ankle.

Pat S said...

Congratulations Hank!

Pretty amazing when you look at the overall picture, from genesis of the idea to achieving your goal. Even as a non-runner, it's been super fun following your crazy barefoot running escapades (with a special emphasis on crazy :-).

Kidding aside, it was easy to get on board because of your totally logical explanation of your departure from conventional wisdom. Then again, I suppose i could say that about your blog in general.

Hank said...

Thanks, Pat. And if there's a departure from wisdom of any sort, you'll find I'm involved. :-)

Apparently, the D-tag looped around a velcro strap on my ankle didn't register. No results are posted for me. Bummer.

Bill Foss said...

Awesome!! I had to work, so I didn't get to run.

After the Windermere Marathon, I am back to minimalist shoes and barefeet!

Talked to a lady last night who is one of the timekeepers. She said that if you call and tell them your time and you sound legit, they will get your time and name on the rolls.

Ivan Chan said...

Hello Hank,

I'm researching barefoot running and I wanted to thank you for documenting your experience!

Take care,

Ivan

Hank Greer said...

Thanks, Ivan. I'm still at it.