Part 8: First Barefoot Race

The Corporate Run
Well, this was more of a Corporate Run in Place. My friend Valerie’s mom worked for a company involved in the race and she took the liberty of signing both her daughter and myself up for free! Now at that time, Valerie was not gonna run with others in anything no matter what. An impossible idea. Her friends have asked for years. Valerie would do nothing she didn’t want to do, and this was something she simply would not do. So this was an interesting predicament. With constant pushing and convincing, she finally yielded after about a month of my better than previous negotiators annoyances and I was finally gonna run a race together with a friend!

The Plan
Since I was still suffering from growing pains, I had no intention of attempting speed. Still at that time I felt that 5ks were just kind of a fun waste of money and stepping stone for people wanting to go longer distances (I see my error now but I was new to everything then, and more stubborn obviously). So I figured I’d go barefoot, for fun, just to be a clown. I mean, Valerie wasn’t going to go very fast and I had planned on staying with her the whole time so what the hell right?

The Barf Then Run
We went in her car, she having this clever facial expression on the entire way to the station. We took the train again, like I had in the marathon, since this race was to have near 20,000 people, at least. On the train, people were asking me about my VFF’s (short for Vibram Five Fingers). Even though it was 2010, even in Miami, the VFF’s were pretty scarce. Only one store had them in Miami, and it was a very small store called Venezia that resided in a hotel with an AWESOME owner. So since I put those babies on, people from then on would be staring at my feet. Ever heard that story?

When we arrived at the destination, Valerie still was looking funny. She told me she wasn’t feeling too well. I figured she was bs’ing me. I knew she didn’t wanna be there, or at least she acted like she didn’t. And after all of the hard work convincing her to go, she probably just agreed as to shut me the HALE up. Nonetheless, she went and barfed in the porta potty. Well, that’s what she said she did in there. She didn’t look sick. She didn’t look sick when she left the urinal. But whatever. Starting time.

Take It All Off, Except the Jeans
I took the VFF’s off and D-Ringed them to my jeans. Yeah yeah, I wore jeans. I don’t know why, but it was a tad chilly or something so I wore them and put on a bright green sleeveless running shirt. I think I wore the jeans to not get as much attention to going bare since I hadn’t ran 3 miles bare before and was a tad concerned, let alone a very slow 5k. Like over 50 minutes…

Valerie then decided she wasn’t going to run. Not even lightly. She did here and there but it was for a maximum of maybe half a mile. The rest was a slow walk. Well, for her. I wasn’t going to walk, I was going to run. But it didn’t mean I had to run forward. I was there to run with Valerie, but she was sick or unable to run. So I ran in place, acting ever so goofy as became my way at these races. Big mouthed, singing and yelling, I mean, why not? So many are soooooo serious at these events. Who said I had to be? I don’t ever want to be.

It was surprising that after 55 minutes of running barefoot on Miami open streets that my feet felt fine. More than fine. They were barely even dirty. The only obstacle was the bridge with the grate covering, which was not too happy, but it was fine right after. I was asked about the VFF’s and running barefoot and I answered accordingly. I did it because it was natural, light, and uber fun. No it wasn’t dangerous. The solution to obstacles is to pay attention. This kind of talk would continue to this day, but I am fine with it. It comes with the territory. The more natural you go in life, the more foreign you are to others it seems.

The Morning Read
Anyways, the following day I got a call by Valerie. She was laughing and told me they mentioned me in the Miami Herald newspaper. I asked how they knew my name and why and that I didn’t understand why I would have been mentioned, except the jeans part maybe. Hopefully not the yelling and singing! She sent me the link and I read it, quoting it below. I doubt this was about me. Surely I was not the only one. Surely. Sorry, for calling you Shirley.

“There was a runner in a stuffed buffalo head. Another dressed as a giant bowling pin (for Lucky Strike lanes). One ran barefoot. Another ran backward. A few pushed strollers. There were lawyers and chefs, janitors and accountants, rabbis and construction workers.”

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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