Part 17: 9.5 Months After Losing Da Shoes: The Kansas City Marathon

October 16th, 2010
The excitement was in the air. Chad and I got up uber early, hit some oatmeal with some whey protein added to it, based on a suggestion. Figured I could test that today. Why not? An hour later, we both hit some chia seeds with some honey and lime. Yummy. Off to the race!

The temperature was in the mid 40’s, probably the coldest morning so far this Autumn. The wind was really heavy, as well. All I knew was that it was supposed to warm up, so I only wore my race outfit. Chad did the same. We were COLD. And I really had to go pee.

Standing in line forever, the Johnny on the Spot lines, watching everyone looking around at each other, fidgeting in nervousness, trying to be cool, the cyborgs hooking up their machines, the over talking to ease the tension; we were all in this together. Chad was like a kid in a candy store; he looked so happy to do this. We finally each got a stall. It’s weight loss time!

And the 5 minutes until race announcement time.

First Five Fingers Marathon: It Has Begun!
Needing a light warmup, we jogged the next couple blocks to take our places just in time. I had told him about the pacers, and how it is important to not follow others faster paces, especially at the beginning. I explained that we would see all sorts of people huffing and puffing after a single mile because they will jump the gun, and how I would run with him for a while and then branch off, leaving him at the mercy of himself, since it was his first race and I felt he shouldn’t be ushered. Suddenly the race started without a sound. We were off!

Taking it easy…
There were bands playing, and people huffing and puffing within the first mile, having passed us early and now already, being passed by us. I was yelling things out, like WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!, and things of the sort. Chad was determined, readying for the challenge ahead he was not prepared for. We had a slow incline to begin, which I happened to have run a couple months prior at the Race for the Cure 5k, which I didn’t mention in this blog thus far due to it’s relevance to a speed writeup AFTER this series. The course turned almost the same as that one and headed in a long downhill, only to give all of us a huge steep up hill, the most challenging of the course in my eyes. Before this, Chad and I were chattin’ and having a blast. We saw a couple others in the Vibrams as well, always a welcoming sign. But it was time to part and I knew it. I wanted to go a steady course on this one and although there would be other times to run together, it was time for me to go faster. I said adios and took off, well before the first steep hill. I wondered if he would walk this bad boy as I was small stepping the beast.

Chaddy Chad, Gettin it!

Cowbell and Singing
The rest of the marathon was nice. I had some good chats with a fellow KSO wearing gal, up until the half marathon split off, as well as with some older gentlemen that have run forever. One, I might add, I would be running with for a bit by chance in the race following this one. Most conversations were about my VFF Bikila’s, as the curiosity of running minimalist is always high in others. I usually focus on how my injuries and pain stopped cold turkey when I switched, sans my overdoing it and growing pains. Later in the race I was frequently getting comments on how tired I DIDN’T look and why. With me replying that it was because I was having fun but could use more COWBELL! I said this often because alot of people were waiving cow bells at every corner. I found it funny, and so did they. If you don’t know why, look it up. It’s from an infamous SNL skit with Chistopher Walkins (ok fine–Classic-SNL). I also happened to hear Enrique Iglesias’s “I Like It” on some loud speakers, and that kicked off my singing of that song for god knows how long. At least parts.

40 to 80
It had been 8.5 months ago that I had run the Miami Marathon, my first, in running shoes. Today, I was running the KC  Marathon without a problem, my second, in barefoot minimalist shoes. With no training, if you could call that no training. There was a small problem though. The temperature had risen from 40 to 80 degrees and I had not had much water or Gatorade. I actually felt a bit under watered for the first time, at least I thought I was. And one of my hamstrings felt like it was about to cramp. In all of my running, I had yet to have a cramp. To be sure, I decided to walk a bit and chug alot of waters at the next aid station. My achilles’ felt fine, my body felt pretty good, I felt pretty good, the guy I just passed was barfing water and sitting on the curb, probably not feeling good, ambulance please, it was near the home stretch. Let’s run home!

Smiling Together
As I came to the finish line, there was a guy coming up on my tail, he was going faster than I was. He looked at me and gave me a challenge smile, so I took off with him. In a few seconds I was well in front of him but figured it would be nicer and more fun to get a smiling tie across the finish line, so I slowed down, amazed at my energy at this point. Nothing like another seed to be planted in that damn head for future consideration.

The goofy face I made when I accepted

The race was over. They gave me the medal. I asked for it to be handed to me, but they made me bow. I liked the medal, especially since it not only matched the colors I just painted my room, but also the colors of the Bikila’s I wore: sky blue and yellow. And my man Chad was waiting there with a big smile on his chevy chase.

I met him and quickly went to chug water and eat whatever junk they offered. I asked and he told me about his race, how amazing it was and difficult. I hoped he had become addicted like I was. We headed to the post race tents to sit and rest, passing a booth that gave our times. I got mine. It was 30 minutes faster than my first and previous marathon, and I walked near 30 minutes, pee’d during the race for the first time, didn’t push it, sang, yelled, laughed and hadn’t trained for the past 2.5 months. If you could call that not training.

Point Being
I apologize for seemingly boasting here on this no training thing. The fact is, I surprised myself. For any of you whom feel as though a marathon is unreachable, it is definitely reachable. Not only that, it is feasible without much effort. Just a lil bit of time. And that is the point. I later read that Barefoot Ted ran a 100 miler not having run more than 15 miles a week all year. As long as you are generally active, the way we are designed, and not uber unhealthy in diet, the way we were designed, doing this kind of thing can be majorly enjoyable and nothing more than a simple activity. All it takes is a simple choice and some focus on each step along the way. If you get tired, go slower. If each step is a chore, look at your form, how you land especially. Is it light and easy? If not than it is time for a change. I changed when I felt I was running unnaturally and the results include making running as simple as it is meant to be. A basic and easy, natural movement. I used some minimalist toe shoes and barefoot running to get me there. Sure it takes some practice to adjust, maybe a full year, maybe two, maybe barely two months like with Chad, but that is what it takes to get back into true human form. The rest is all mind. If you think you can’t do something, you are right. If you think you CAN do something, you are right, at least at that moment, but ACTION is what actually gets it done. The way is to simply do it and not miss it in the midst of thinking.

With that, I decided I would run an 50k ultramarathon two weeks later.

From Never Running To An Ultramarathon In A Year
Part 1: It All Started…
Part 2: Injuries!
Part 3: The Wall.
Part 4: The Marathon
Part 5: Putting On My New Feet
Part 6: The Alligator That Smiled At Me
Part 7: The Book That Plants
Part 8: First Barefoot Race
Part 9: Running Forever in the Park
Part 10: The Short Race Report
Part 11: Kansas City, Gonna Get My Baby Back Home
Part 12: The Return of the Long Lost Runs (no toilet humor please)
Part 13: Dorothy, We Are In Kansas Anymore
Part 14: Worn
Part 15: Valet = Achilles Tendinitis = No more running this year, well…
Part 16: Marathon Decisions: Screw It
Part 17: 9.5 Months After Losing Da Shoes: The Kansas City Marathon
Part Last

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