My first race sub 30min 5K and break-through "zen" moment!By Jonny00GT I woke up this morning feeling like I wanted to go back to bed, in spite of getting plenty of sleep, but this 5K was to benefit kids with cancer, and my ride would be here soon, so I popped a Claritin D, some chia seeds, Gatorade, and vitamins, then woke up my feet to give them the good news. The weather was perfect, hanging around the mid 60s, and the grass was still wet from the sprinklers as I walked across the lawn to my ride, now that's refreshing!!! My buddy and I enjoy the pleasure of christening fresh port-a-johns...first sign it's gonna be a good day!!! I'll admit...I was a little worried. I'd already signed up for the race when they told me there would be pictures and posters of kids with cancer along the route and when it comes to kids, my skin gets thin, my heart gets big, and the tears jump on deck! Honestly, though...it wasn't anything like that! You want to see some positive spirit and real live "Think I Can" power...them's the folks for it!! You also think twice before bitching about ANYTHING!!! I downed a blood orange and started to shake out my legs, still thinking I'd just be cruising this one today. My running club buddies warn me there are a lot of walkers in this bunch, so we squeeze to the front. When they blow the horn, I hit start on my watch and go into my game plan...just warm up easy, stride it out, stay loose, relaxed, and let my heart rate come up easy and then see where I am. One of the ladies in the club said she's probably run a 10-10:30 m/m pace and expressed some interest in ditching her shoes, so I figured I'd end up running with her, but that's where things went funny... I'm usually comfortable at a 10-10:30 m/m pace, but here I was totally chill and breathing easy doing 7s and 8s and finally relaxing in to a 9 flat pace! I felt...perfect! Cobble stone out of the square...the nice smooth roundly kind, followed by concrete city roads, the kind that have been worn smooth by Texas heat, Texas trucks, and Texas traffic. I don't know if it was the bucket training I've been doing or just these streets, but it felt like running on Egyptian Cotton! My feet have been the constant lately with all run efforts dictated by my cardio, legs, and will power. For once, I'm passing and passing back those who faded as we went. I feel total control over my breathing, super relaxed,and totally loose. I play with my form a little, trying to coax a little more efficiency out of my right foot, a little more knee bend, and loose arms. My heart rate eases up slowly until I'm comfortably in the high 170s to 180 and holding just before 1.5 miles. (I've hit 195 in sprints and nothing exploded, so I'm feeling pretty safe at this pace for 3 miles.) As I pass the 2 mile clock, it says 18 minutes, but my watch says I'm still a tenth shy, but I'm just enjoying the run and trying to stay relaxed and smooth, check I'm on my 9 flat pace, so I'll have something left at the end and go back to people watching. When my Garmin says there is a quarter mile left, I kick it up a gear, but I stay on top of my breathing. When I round the last corner, I hear my "speedster" running club friends, who have been hanging out for that last 10-12min waiting, calling me home and some exclaims from strangers regarding my choice of footwear. I'm down into the 6s now "an ahm gev'n 'er all she's got, Captain!"...and that's when 2 pre-teen girls blow by me, and I gotta smile! The clock says 29:14 as I go by and the sheet says 29:10, which is more than a minute off my best 5K time in a race and almost a minute better than my best 5K time around my neighborhood. No, that's not a blistering time, but this was the first time, race or other, that my run had a warm up, I eased my heart rate up, totally relaxed in the middle, power left for the finish, enjoyed every minute of the run and felt the sense that I could be good at this! Maybe even fast...eventually! I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm finally feeling like a runner and I owe it all to the good people of Barefoot Runners Society convincing me to take off my shoes!