Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Nail on the Trail

Last night was supposed to be a run night but I was not into it at all.  I was really busy at work Monday and Tuesday and I was kind of tired so I almost skipped it.  It turns out that I'm glad I didn't.

I knew I wouldn't regret getting out to run so I just put on some running clothes as soon as I got home.  We had some dinner and got the offspring to bed and I headed out right away.  I was not feeling it so I decided to take a different route than normal.  I figured if I took one of the usual routes I would know exactly what distance I had ran and I could have talked myself into quitting early.  I took off down the trail that runs through the park near our house and headed towards Silver Lake thinking I would go until I wanted to turn around and head home.  I really expected to "bonk" after about a mile but I decided that was fine if it happened.  It was a good plan.

For the record, I learned the term "bonk" from Super Mario.  Check his blog out here.  He is a multi-sport athlete, training for the Wisconsin Ironman.  He is also the reining champion of the Gilman Memorial Turkey Trot - probably the most important race of his career thus far.  As I understand it, "bonking" would be to pretty much run out of gas.  It is not the same as "boink", which is of course the sound of scientific progress.  (Calvin and Hobbes? Anyone?)
After about half a mile I had hit a good stride and my breathing was perfect with my cadence.  That's a pretty normal progression for me, but I'm always glad when I hit it.  When my breathing and cadence are in rhythm I feel like I can run forever (even though I can't).  I pulled a Forrest Gump and just kept running.  I even overtook and passed someone!  After a while, I decided that I had run far enough down the trail so I made note of my location and turned around for home.

A cool thing happened on my way home.  A kid on a bike rode by me in the opposite direction and as soon as he went by I heard him hit the brakes on his BMX bike, doing that cool sideways skidding stop that was so awesome to do when I was his age.  Especially when you were on gravel and could pull off a complete 180 or more.  Fresh concrete was good too since you could leave a nice black skid mark.  He caught up to me and rode along side watching me run for a few seconds, and then blurted out "Doesn't that hurt?"  Because I'm an egomaniac I of course answered "Not really.  It just takes some practice" and I smiled at him.  He kept riding along so I asked him if if looked like it hurt.  "Yep!" was all he said and he turned off the trail onto a side street.

Since I had just bragged to a 10 year old, I decided that I couldn't give up and had to run the rest of the way home.  I was still feeling good anyway so that was fine.  It was at about this time that I discovered a nail lying on the trail.  Luckily, I spotted it with my eyes and didn't find it with my bare foot.  Good times.

The rest of the run was uneventful.  I made it home, brought some food to the cat that lives in my yard, and grabbed my laptop to join my lovely wife on the patio and map my run to find the distance.  I use a website to map my runs.  Get this, it's called  Catchy, huh?  There is a lot of mumbo-jumbo on there, but I just map my runs on it to find the distance.

My dear wife asked me how the run went (as she always does) and I replied "Really good!" (As I sometimes do.)  I told her that I hoped it was three miles, but it was likely only two.  I really felt too good to have gone any further than that.  I sat down and drew out my route, ignoring the mile counter the whole time so that the end would be a surprise.  Total miles: 3.1!  A complete 5K run!  And it felt good! 

So that is the story of my first barefoot 5K.  Unbelievable in my mind.  That half marathon next May isn't looking so daunting now.  Only 10 miles further!

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