Four months into barefoot running, I ended up doing an accidental 12-mile run. I was lucky not to get serious injuries with this run, given how big of a bump this was to my mileage. It felt so good that I kept running only to realize I was 6 miles from where I started. Well, I obviously had to run back, but paid the price with top of the foot and ankle pain for the next couple of weeks. But I was so cocky that night, proud of my achievement, I registered for the San Francisco Half Marathon. I knew that the half marathon was a stretch, but hey gotta try right?
To be honest, I typically don’t train with an end goal in mind. I love running and just kept working the techniques and drills raking up miles along the way. From 4 to 6 miles every other day, I was slowly doing about 8 to 10 miles every other day. My thinking was, if I ended up running 13.1 miles just as a regular run, then race day wouldn’t be any different. It would just be another run. As the weeks wore on, I tried not to think about the race, though the butterflies in my stomach were reminding me incessantly what I was about to do. It was the anxiety more than anything else. I didn’t really care about the race, but was much more focused on finishing the run and getting back without any major injuries. This week I had already run two 12-milers so hopefully I could sail through the third one too.
The Night Before
My wife and kids decided to join me for my adventure and we hung out at my buddy’s place for the night. We got to San Francisco in the afternoon and went to the exposition to pick up the bib and race package. The kids had a such great time at the expo and psyched by all the runners they saw that they decided to register for the munchkin run! When we got back home, the fog rolling over the Twin Peaks was mesmerizing. I don’t think I got much sleep at night, because my wave started at 5:55am and I had to catch a cab to get to the other side of the city.
I was wide awake at 4am, got up and made myself some Chia Fresca. I go through a lot of chia these days and it’s a great way to hydrate before a run. And the sweet lime is a nice waker upper too. Caught a cab and got there just in time for my wave to start. The energy level in Embarcadero was incredible. About 7,000 were running the half marathon. As I made my way to the starting line, there were waves of people running and I decided that I simply needed to join them. The race had begun! The morning fog rolling over the golden gate bridge and the lights on the bay bridge made the entire experience surreal.
Finishing the Race
I ran with my Luna Sandals for the first 3 or 4 miles, ‘cos I wasn’t sure about the terrain. Once I started getting into the groove of things, I took them off and went barefoot instead. There’s something to be said for running across the Golden Gate bridge barefoot with a huge grin thinking, damn it’s good to be alive and running. We ran across the bridge, made a u-turn and headed back towards the Golden Gate park. When I run by myself, I usually take a walking break every 20 minutes or so to check on my body, hydrate, eat, etc. But in the race, my adrenaline was so high that I stopped just once to take my sandals off. I hit the finishing line at 1:52 minutes putting me in the top 10%! The best part of race? The sign that my kids made for me:
Your “shoes” look great on you! Go Dad.
Made my day.
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