Monday, November 14, 2011

How to take 5 minutes off your 5k- go barefoot!

I am shocked that this was only my second 5K, but there it is. In my Army days, I never ran more than 2 miles for the PT test. I just started running again last January, and after being repeatedly re-injured began minimalist in barefoot running in March. I ran my first 5K in Austin, shod on February 20th, 2011. I ran my second yesterday. In February I ran it in 26:38. Yesterday, 21:23. I took over 5 minutes off of my 5k in less than 9 months - and barefoot. In my Vibrams, I run about a minute faster when all out running a mile. I really wanted to run this one barefoot though as a matter of sticking to what has helped me.

The 5K was held in downtown Austin, just like the Paramount 5K a year before. Somehow, though, Susan G. Komen was way more hilly. I run downtown Austin all of the time and rarely do I ever do the turns like this race to run so many hills. The top finisher was a full minute slower than last year, when they ran a much flatter course for the same race.

 I was really excited to run this race for my mother, pictured above, with my son and my wife, Emily. In 2005, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. While I fought in Iraq, she was in the fight of her life back home. She is fine now, but it was a major battle and I'm proud of my mother, who is my hero for her fight. Ever since I have been back, our family has walked the fun walk together, and my son has done it every year since he was born. This was his fourth (we did Ft. Worth earlier this year).

 I really had no idea how I would run this race. I have not been running much under 5 miles and no fast runs at all. I have been sick as a dog all week, but in my training run Thursday, while very sick, finished my 5th mile in under 6 minutes wearing Vibrams. So I knew I could run fast, but was not sure how I would do early in the morning, sick, and without shoes. It all turned out great. I think I ran the first mile in around 6 minutes, the second in 7, and the third in 8:23. I was a little sad though, that I did not push harder at the end. I felt like I had a lot more in the tank, I was just surprised how fast the finish line came up.

Now, I did have one epic fail. My chip did not record!!!! I hae no idea why, but it did not work. I had a gun time of 22:13 and luckily had my garmin on to show 21:23 as my official time.

The nearest unrecognized runner was in under 21 minutes, so I highly doubt that was me. One of the chip people told me that the chip being next to my skin may have caused it to fail, so I should get a chip holder, which I will do for save measure. They are at least going to add my gun time to the record, he said. Even a 22:13 would have been a major improvement, but I know 21:23 is way more realistic because a) the garmin and b) once again I did not have the guts to move to the front of a race. Since I finished in the top 50 of over 1300 people, I'm not going to worry about that any more.

So all in all I fell great. When I was waiting for the race to start, kind of feeling like crap from the cold, and from the way I feel when I take meds, but I sat there for a minute and thought about my mother and her fight. How she felt far worse than I did and fought on. This will be one of the many thoughts that I hope helps me in my quest to become an utra-runner.

I do think next year will be more of a speed year for me. I'll have less time to train, so no ultras (my work is busy on an every other year cycle). But I do plan on running a fast marathon, and getting under 20 minutes on a 5K. I think healthy, on a flat course, I'm not that far off.

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