"Just go. Nobody notices at first," said the Enthusiast, reassuring me that I wouldn't make a scene starting my first barefoot three-miler of the year in front of our apartment manager, neighbor and two prospective tenants.
"Where're your shoes? Woo-hah!" screamed some guy from behind me after I crossed the intersection at Merriman and Memorial, disproving the notion that nobody notices at first.
"Hey, look, honey! It's one of those barefoot guys," I read off the lips of a man driving a passing SUV.
"Get the fuck out of my neighborhood, freak," I read from the mind of a grumpy old lady with wrap-around sunglasses.
People sure do like a spectacle, and for some reason running around without shoes provides ample entertainment -- thankfully, for me too. My first barefoot run of the year went much better than last year (it was also about three weeks later), but it still elicited stares and at least one snarky comment. But my feet felt great afterward.
Most of this year, I have been running in Vibram KSOs, and recently when the weather permits I've taken off my shoes to finish the last half mile or so of run barefooted. Last night finally provided nice enough weather for me to fully test my shoeless skills.
Clearly, all the barefooting last year paid off, as I suffered no soreness or blisters from the run. The difference between running in Vibrams vs. bare feet is significant, but the main thing I noticed was my lack of lung power. I was reminded of the difference between running on dry pavement vs. snowy conditions. Your body has to work harder to go the same distance.
I focused on landing lightly and lifting my feet quickly, but made sure not to push off. In Vibrams, I get hot spots on my big toes from stomping down and propelling myself forward. Without shoes, I probably doubled my foot turnover speed. I took two short walk breaks because I was winded.
This run pushed me over the 100-mile mark for the year and put me in good position to log double-digit mileage for the second consecutive week -- something that hasn't happened yet this year. This morning, I started sketching my training plan for the Akron Marathon. It's time to start building a strong base.
Wherein we ask politely for better weather.
Miss Zippy expresses concern for the Enthusiast while I practice the part of a morning person and proposes a rule change for Mother Nature: "I hope the enthusiast gets a pass on your morning rancor! Ugh to 30s in May--isn't there a rule against that?"
Answer: It's really bad when she's also cranky in the morning, which is rare, thankfully. As for 30s in May, there's a reason why so many people have left Ohio for warmer climates. Yeah, the job market is bad, but the weather is worse.
Happy Hour is nearly upon us, teammates! Have a finely brewed weekend, and don't forget to wish your mom a happy Mother's Day. Run well and drink well. Cheers!