This was my first race and it was a blast. The weather was beautiful, though I could have done with a slightly warmer morning; the grass was a bit chilly. I showed up a little after 7am and met up with Alan (Longboard) at the "Official" Michigan Chapter "Event Transport". Alan had a nice setup with various BFR books and articles: http://www.thebarefootrunners.org/threads/brs-sprinter-integral-library-massage-table.13893/ http://www.thebarefootrunners.org/threads/ibrd-mi-race-vehicle-ready.13856/ We were joined by a few other barefooters and had some good conversation and some impromptu clinics with interested people. (I am horrible with names, and for the life of me cannot really remember who showed up, and who was pulling the laminated anatomy diagrams from his bag). There were runners of all shapes, sizes, ages, and skill levels. This being my first race I was blown away by the sense of community, and the willingness of complete strangers (from all walks of life) to come up and say hi. As I summed up for my wife, nobody seems to be a stranger at a race. After the 135th repeat of "Harlem Shake" over the PA, they called us over to the start for the 10k. My feet were a little over-sensitive from being in the damp cold grass for a little over an hour, but it felt good to get out on the road. I wasn't sure what to expect when they sounded the starting siren, but when they did, almost everyone started off at a fairly easy-going pace. From the start me and my running buddy Brandon had decided we wanted to fall into a 9:30-10:00 minute pace, we started a little hotter than that (6:30 and 5:30 on the initial downhills), but after the first 1/2 mile or so we slowed down and settled into a 9:45 or so. For those of you that haven't been to the Burns Park area, it is gorgeous. The streets are lined with beautiful older homes, mature tress, and (mostly) well manicured lawns and gardens. I think one of the highlights of this race were the volunteers and residents in the neighborhood. There were groups of people at every corner cheering everyone on and a lot of residents sitting in their front yards waving at the passing runners. The route they laid out for Burns was a fairly hilly one, when compared to my usual routes anyhow, and the road surface was definitely barefoot friendly, though some stretches were definitely rougher on the feet than others. At around mile 2 I started falling into a rhythm and it felt great. I really have to thank Ken Bob for this, if it weren't for his RELAX mantra I probably wouldn't have lasted the whole run. That rhythm was abruptly interrupted by the largest hill on the run, a 1/2 mile, 30 foot gradual climb followed by a 1/4 mile 50 foot climb. I remembered my reading and picked up the cadence and made it up just fine. As a note, I cannot believe how "easy" it is to get up those inclines if you just pick up the cadence, obviously I had to exert so energy to do it, but it felt great. Though there were more hills, mile 3 went by pretty fast and we got a little break with some nice down hill runs before we started the second circuit. I felt even better for the second circuit and we were able to maintain our ~9:45 pace. I noticed I was starting to tense up on mile 4 so I went through my Ken Bob checklist to make sure every thing was relaxed, my back was straight, and body was square above my hips. I was able to get rid of most of the tension and started going through this mental list at regular intervals after that. Around mile 5-5.5 I started to get a little tired so I had to start my "lamaze style" rhythmic breathing to keep on pace. This helped a lot and gave me a little boost of energy to finish the race out with. With only a 1/4mi to go we decided to sprint it the rest of the way, so I bent down low and let my legs fly down the incline and crossed the finish at almost an hour on the nose. The cheering of the crowd was amazing and really motivated us to give it our best at the end. All in all it was a blast and I wish I would have done more races before this. My time wasn't as good as I was hoping, but I had a lot of fun, so I don't really mind. The was my first race experience (and my first time running a 10K distance), but it definitely will not be my last.