Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spokane River Run

I was feeling apprehensive about today's run. I haven't been running much, mostly to rest my nagging left hamstring. It's funny how tripping has injured me more than running.

I wore my Vibrams and had my timing chip attached to a velcro strap around my ankle. I started out towards the back of the crowd to avoid the demoralization of watching everyone pass me by. Not long after the start John stopped by, said hello, and moved on ahead. I caught up with him between the 2- and 3-mile marks and chatted for a few seconds. I noticed I was doing about an 8-1/2 minute mile pace so I backed off. I wanted to keep it around 10 minutes a mile especially since I hadn't trained for this.
The first eleven miles went great. My hamstring was nagging me a bit but it wasn't affecting my stride. I made it through that nasty basalt section with only one rock stabbing my arch. After getting through that the trail was open and comfortable, the sun shone, and a beautiful view of the river was below. I reveled in the moment. I felt I could run forever with my eyes closed, but I knew better. I noticed my foot-eye coordination was top of form so I ripped down the downhills. I imagine I looked like a madman with my arms flying in different directions, counterweights helping me with my foot placement. But it works for me.

I had a small world moment around mile eleven. Another runner caught up with me, and I don't know if it was the Vibrams, my running style, or my gray hair, but she asked me if I knew Barefoot Ken Bob. Barefoot Ken Bob lives in San Diego and he's one of the original barefoot runners. He has countless marathons under his belt. I told her I didn't know him, but I knew of him and I had his book.

"I'm in his book," she says. She used to live in San Diego and ran with Barefoot Ken Bob and he included her. She came here by way of Seattle. So why is this a small world moment?

"Cool," I said. "I'm in his book, too. I wrote a story about running the 25th Bare Buns Fun Run barefooted. He included it along with a couple of other stories other people submitted for his book."

She didn't remember it but she's going to check that out. In the meantime, you can read it for free with the link I provided. (If you know me, I apologize for any visuals.)

I told her to have a good run and backed off on my speed. My hamstring was starting to affect my stride so I shortened it and kept plugging away. To top it off, the soles of my feet were paying the price for the lack of training on trails. You can only get to the finish so I focused on relaxing thoughts. I plugged in an earworm of All Right by Toad the Wet Sprocket. (I have never run with ear buds cutting me off from the world. It just doesn't feel right.)
I estimate I finished around 2:34 which is faster than last year and pretty close to what I did two years ago. So in comparison to the past two years I think I did pretty good. But my soles were really sore and I was ready take off the Vibrams and put on the bike shoes to cut back on rocks poking into my feet. On the bright side, I only have a couple of bruises.

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