So I decided to run a local 1/2 Marathon; The Midcoast 13.1 on 3/11/12 in Lincolnville, Maine. It was hosted by the Cellardoor Winery and sponsored by some terrific local businesses.
When you run the roads in the Midcoast area you know you will encounter a few hills. This Half marathon was no different. There was one biggish hill around mile 5 and the last 2 miles were up hill to the finish!
I had no expectations. I am in a very competitive age group and I knew I would be going up against some fast women. I didn't want to start out too fast and then burn out at the end so my plan was to start off at a conservative and slowly pick it up and save some energy for the 2 mile uphill finish. I usually run around a 1:50-1:54 half and I hoped I could come close to that.
It was a cool, windy start. Probably about 36 degrees. I was hoping to try this completely barefoot but tested the asphalt the day before and it was REALLY cold. I decided to play it safe and wear my VFF. I didn't want to injure myself by running on the roads and not being able to feel what I was doing. I do think the temps warmed up by the finish so that they were around 40F but I didn't know how long it would take for my feet to warm up and with all the training I have to do to get ready for my 50 miler I just didn't want to chance an injury. ( This is a pic of my very first barefoot half marathon in 2008, 6 months after starting barefoot running, on a cold October morning, when the roads were wet and cold)
This pain was all I could think of happening to me again, so going for a little protection seemed ok. I am also into my 5th season of barefoot running so my style and technique have changed but I still can't get that picture out of my mind when I question the weather conditions in relation to my training.
Anyway, it was a cold walk to the start (about 1/2 mile from the venue) and then we were off. I did start out on the conservative side but I felt really good. By the 5 mile mark I had passed about 10-12 people and felt like I was getting stronger as I went. I kept thinking: "Am I going too fast?" I still have 8 miles to go. I just felt good. I continued to monitor my technique, running loose, relaxing, keeping my breathing at a nice steady pace. I caught up with some friends around mile 8 and tried to give them some encouragement hoping they would go with me to the finish and we caught up with another friend who was indeed barefoot. He was looking great and we ran together for a mile or so. Near the end with about 2 miles to go I just felt wonderful. I again monitored my form and tried to relax and get ready for the 400 ft. climb to the finish line. I kept a steady pace and tried to run through the head wind without slowing down. With a 1/2 mile to go I could see and hear the people cheering at the finish line. I was going to finish strong and I felt wonderful.
I saw my time as I crossed the finish line. "WHOO HOO" I yelled! "That's a PR!" 1:38:51! Who says determination, hard work, training and practicing good form doesn't pay off? I am so excited! This is a good place for my training to be right now.
(with friends at the finish)
I am excited to run again today. It's warmer (about 50F) and I can stretch my toes and give them the barefoot run they wanted yesterday. The asphalt will be a great and wonderful experience today after being warmed by the sun all day.
Onward...a new day and 3 cheers for more training...:)
"I started running barefoot in March 2008. I started one step at a time, one day at a time. I decided to start keeping a journal of sorts. Sharing my history, my journey and my adventures."
I have taken some new paths in relation to my running over the last year. This blog will still include my running adventures but I have to move on with more stories of my family and the journey we have taken together over the last year. This blog was started as a way to help me record my barefoot journey but now needs to become more than that. Please be patient as I explore ways to stay connected with family and friends.