I ran the Barefoot Benefit 5K today. It was my first time running in an actual race. I really enjoyed the experience. The race was at Sequoyah Hills Park in Knoxville Tennessee, my hometown. As the name entails, the race was intended to be run barefoot, although that was not a requirement. I was surprised that out of the hundred or so participants, only a small handful were actually running barefoot. Go figure.
The course was entirely grass, held in an open expanse of the park. The Tennessee River flowed silently next to us. The ground was soft from a recent rain. This made it a little more difficult than running on pavent. The soft earth steals a little of your rebound energy with each step. I came fully prepared to run on pavement and was a little surprised when I found out the race was going to be in the grass. As a regular barefoot runner, I can tell you that I would prefer not to run on grass. Sure, it’s soft and easy on your feet, but it conceals potential dangers. You can’t see what’s lurking under it. The grass can hide all sorts of things; broken glass, dog poo, used condoms, AIDs infected needles… just use your imagination.
Aside from the turf, it was a really fun event. It was a beautiful day, and just cloudy enough to make the temperature comfortable. There was a cool breeze blowing during most of the race.
Denice and Sylar were there to cheer me on. Sylar is in training to become Denice’s service/therapy dog. He did great today. He only lost his shit a couple of times when I was passing by. The race was broken down into three laps, so every time I lapped he got a little excited. It felt really good to have them there.
I don’t remember my exact run time. I saw the clock at the finish line, and it was at forty-two minutes and something. Yeah, I’m slow, but for a fat guy, I suppose I’m doing ok.
I have another race coming up in November. This is a ‘conventional’ 5K, on the streets of downtown Knoxville. I will be running it barefoot. After seeing that a small fraction of racers actually raced barefoot at a barefoot event, I am expecting to probably be the only dude out there running shoeless. Should be interesting.