It was supposed to be an easy run. The early afternoon was cool but sunny, and the ground felt good under my feet. After my last barefoot run, the goal was to avoid any blisters and focus on good form. And maybe that was the secret.
Saturday offered the best of what was pretty unseasonable weather for a Memorial Day weekend. The sun shined, but the temperature never got much above 60 degrees. I had just mowed the lawn and wanted to get in a few miles before showering.
My watch timer has been set for 35-minute sessions for a few weeks now, so it seemed high time to bump it up to 40 minutes. Most of my mapped out neighborhood runs fall more within 30 minutes, so my route was just wherever.
As it turned out, there seemed to be an inordinate number of people staring at my shoeless spectacle along the way.
An older man stared agog, mouth drooping to his high waistband, the rake dangling in his hand like a misplaced modifier, bewildered.
Another man sat on the ground before his corner flowerbed, but his torso twisted away from his work to admire my careful running form.
A couple of high school girls drove by and honked, which seemed to require an appropriate response (i.e., pistol fingers back at them).
But the coup de grace was a group of sassy ladies pushing baby strollers and cursing about my lack of footwear.
They shouted: "Where your shoes?"
I replied: "At home."
There was more, but this is soon to be a family blog, so I won't print the obscenities. You'd think my bare feet were some major offense to their delicate sensibilities, but their language belied a definite lack of such delicacy.
Maybe it's time to brainstorm some clever responses to such inquisitions. What would you say?
Perhaps my modesty propelled me faster than my intentions of taking it easy. Maybe focusing on good form begets faster running. Or it could be that most of my runs come on hilly trails, which replicate sprint workouts.
Whatever the cause, Saturday's barefoot run was more than twice as long as the one last week, but almost a minute faster per mile.
There has been only one other time this year with a faster pace, but that run in January was a mile shorter. Gotta love these surprise speed sessions.