Septemberfest 5K: Fast, Flat and Free

Discussion in 'Front Page News' started by stjohnthegambler, Sep 4, 2021.

  1. stjohnthegambler

    stjohnthegambler Barefooters
    1. Colorado

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    Septemberfest 5K: Fast, Flat and Free
    By stjohnthegambler


    Septemberfest 5K: Flat, fast and free, a race report


    I’m amazed to have yet another 5K race here in little ole Rangely, Colorado, two weeks after the last one, and this is indeed as advertised: free. All one has to do is show up here in the Elks Park parking lot before 8, sign a form, and you’re given a ____ with a number. I’m second, so I get 102. How or why this is happening at not cost I’m not quite sure, but I think that the richest guy in town is sponsoring this whole three days of festivities over Labor Day weekend, which is I think ironic, but nobody really celebrates the labor part of Labor day anymore anyways. In any case, there are volunteers—a cadre of young women.

    The air is chilly this morning, here at 5,000 feet, which is nice. I’m wearing my Xero sandals to register, and one of the young women says, with alarm, ‘You’re not going to run in those are you?”

    ‘No. It gets worse!’

    ‘You mean you’re going to run barefoot???’

    ‘Yes. I’m sorry.’

    I’m not, but I’m trying to lessen the shock for her. As the start time nears, I come back out barefoot and feel the whole crown staring at me. There are about maybe thirty runners, maybe including a few walkers (much less walkers than two weeks ago, which was a fundraiser). There are some youngsters, like under ten, and looks like most of the high school cross-country team is here. So yeah, I’m not going to be anywhere close to the front of the pack. A guy I know from work says that usually there are some students from our college, like the whole women’s basketball team, who come run this, but not this year: there’s been some quarantining recently.

    I do recognize a couple high school students who took my writing classes last year, though I’m not sure they recognize me, with my long hair tucked up under a hat. And the bare feet.

    We all gather and one of the volunteers basically says, ‘Go!’ And we go.

    Quick start, even a little downhill, and I’ve winded myself. I’m feeling more in shape this summer than in the last two years, but more in the LSD mode—long slow distance—I’ve had two major foot injuries in these two or three years. Not running related, but most recently, a year and a half ago, a torn ligament. Still feeling soreness, still taking r-x anti-inflammatories—about to run out—and it comes and goes: Two weeks ago I felt fine. Today, here, right now, I’m feeling a twinge of soreness. Not sharp pain though, so it’s ok. I’ve been upping my distances recently.

    Anyways, we head west on a neighborhood road, turn left onto River Road, which does eventually parallel the White River and turns to gravel—eep!—but Rueben thinks it’ll stay pavement for this race, which is an out-and-back. The pavement is relatively smooth. As long as there are no stray goatheads, I’m good!

    I slow a bit to get my wind, but then try to get a decent pace in my brain: lifting the feet on the beat to Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation,” while trying to keep a lean of any sort. Has been my problem since starting to run barefoot maybe 14 years ago: I always feel like my torso has a tendency to lean back, especially now that my buddha belly is a little bigger.

    The cross-country pack are of course gone, along with the one older gentleman from last race who was one of the top three—and I think he may be older than I. But, I do catch Rueben, who wasn’t sure he could run the whole thing anyways, and Greg (I think?), maybe a bit younger than I, with whom we were talking to before the race, and there is this guy Ross, older and more rotund than all of us, who is way back there. He’s I think an executive in what remains of the Chevron oil fields offices here in town. Along with some of the wee sproggins (sp?) and their moms. So yes, I’m celebrating passing 8-year-olds. But my point is, I started at the back of the pack and I’m just gradually catching some of the quick-starters. This looks like it though: I don’t think I’ll catch anybody else. There’s a couple few people fifty yards ahead but....

    The two-lane River Road is clear so far. We pass a pair of women who seem to be out for a regular morning constitutional, non-race-related. Sky clear, we’re out of the pines around the park, so the sun is now on us. So, glad I didn’t wear my running shell, but not actually warm either. Perfect running weather. The feet feel good. Like I said, right food mildly sore, but I don’t know if that’s just psychological at this point. I’m really actually used to running hills and gravel roads (in Xeros) so this long flat area feels odd. Breath is back to somewhat normal, though I’m trying to run a wee bit faster than my normal penguin waddle, knowing this is a shorter route.

    Here come the fast folks on their way back: One teen boy in front, then that older gentleman, then another teen boy, then the whole pack of cross-country folks: maybe they’re not even really trying. But there’s Mary, one of my high school students from my college class last spring. I point and say, ‘Hey Mary!’

    She looks at me blankly and is gone, but then I hear her: “Was that Mr. Yohe?!”

    Yes. Yes indeed, that was Mr. Yohe.

    Et voilà, there is the white Jeep, the turnaround point. And there also is Lindsey, the head maintenance person at the college, just on here way back. She’s cool. We wave and I say, “I didn’t know that was you I was following!” So yeah, I actually know some folks in Rangely now.

    I come to the Jeep, where one volunteer is stationed, handing out waters, though one of the runners has stopped to chat with her. So, we’re not super competitive around here, I guess.

    I make the turn and head back. Halfway! No one close behind me here, but I pass them all, giving them waves. There’s Rueben, walking now, and Greg and the wee folk with their moms, and Ross, sweating his ass off. Man, all these out of shape older guys trying to run fast seems like a recipe for a heart attack but oh well! Onward!

    I’m not going to catch Lyndsey, but there is a young teen boy, maybe 12?, who’s going back and forth between running and walking. I suspect this is his first race, maybe not pacing himself. He doesn't seem to be hurt of have a cramp or anything. But, his mom, I think, is hanging back, giving him some encouragement. I can tell she wants to keep running, but she stays. So, I leapfrog with them for a bit, then finally leave them behind.

    This side of the road is a lot more grittier: from the traffic coming into town, from the gravel road section. I keep more to the center, in the hopes that the grit will tend to roll down to the sides, but I’m not sure that’s really the case.

    Pass the walkers. Some traffic now, leaving town mostly, but nobody going fast. I’m not even sure how official this race is: no cops, or signs, or nada. But, at least now we seem to be on a slight downhill back into town. Take the right towards the park, and pick up some speed, to look and feel like I’m giving it my all. Don’t want to sprint though: sprinting on pavement with bare feet always rips up the bottoms of the feet, even with good calluses, which I don’t have.

    Again, feeling the stares from everyone as I cross the finish line, though at least some folks clap politely. My time: 30:59. So I shaved off like 32 seconds from two weeks ago. Ah well....

    I do hang out to watch the rest come in. Greg come in two minutes behind me and says, ‘Man, I was trying to use you as my rabbit, you’re super-steady, but I just had to walk a bit.’

    Well, at least I’m something. Rueben comes in running, though perhaps walked most of it, but all good, he did it. Ross brings up the field of older runners, in full sweat, but shaved off four minutes from last year. ‘Too bad I like to eat more than I like to run!’

    And older spectator comes up to me and says, ‘I was going to tell you out on the race that you forgot to tie your shoes!’

    Normally I get a little defensive about lame barefoot jokes. Like I haven’t heard them all before. But, he’s I think sincerely just trying to chat and curious about why I’m running barefoot. So I tell him how I got plantar fasciitis (if I still perhaps can’t spell it) and it wouldn’t go away for two years until I tried running barefoot on the suggestion of my friend Jen, and how the first time I tried barefoot running, my PF went away.

    He looks surprised, then surprises me by saying he had the PF too. ‘I tried all kinds of inserts and stuff, but it didn’t ever work. Look at my ankle now!”

    I do: his right ankle puffed or bent or otherwise bulging out. Holy crap, that’s from plantar fasciitis?

    Anyways, feels good to have made conversation with someone here. His son won the race.

    Now for a shower, then the drive down to Grand Junction for drunken noodles!

    [​IMG]

    Crossposted at my blog:
    https://johnsbarefootrunningblog.blogspot.com/2021/09/septemberfest-5k-fast-flat-and-free.html
     

    Janne, Tedlet and Barefoot TJ like this.
  2. stjohnthegambler

    stjohnthegambler Barefooters
    1. Colorado

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  3. stjohnthegambler

    stjohnthegambler Barefooters
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    Ha! I just found out I got 2nd place in the men's category for this! Was supposed to get a mug!
     

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  4. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    I'd hunt that mug down.
     
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