Octoberfest 5k in huaraches

I haven’t run a road running race in something lke 8-10 years, but I got back from Europe Friday afternoon and said if I woke up in time and didn’t feel jet lagged, I’d head out to a small local race. I woke up early and made it out, registered, etc.

I warmed up in huaraches… I had not decided what to wear yet, and brought 4mm vibram huaraches and my new f-lite 195’s to the race. The run was to be in a neighborhood that I’ve never run before, so barefoot was out… I had no idea exactly what kind of asphalt there might be, and didn’t want to hit chip seal at “high speed” unexpectedly. I hadn’t worn the huaraches that much for running since April or May, so I wasn’t sure how they would feel, but they felt quite good and I opted for them over the f-lites.

Even during the warm up, the huaraches were getting a lot of questions and looks — even causing one lady to trip and fall (I think)! 😦 She was ok, which made me feel a lot better!

Local races here are maybe 100 competitors, so I had secretly hoped for a top 10 finish. But as we stood at the starting line, 3 “ringers” from the big city were there, looking awfully fit and fast. The 1st 1/2 mile was a very slight down hill, and I was cruising in the top 10 – 15. The 2nd half mile was a gradual up to a turn around, and then a gradual down back into the neighborhood. There were no mile markers, but the Garmin showed 1.0 miles in 6:20, about 15 seconds faster than I should have been going, but I was feeling good. 🙂

With just 100 runners, we spread out quickly, but I could hear some comments on the shoes. And with the out and backs mixed in, I could see a lot of the runners looking at my feet. 🙂

The run was pretty flat, but the slight downhills bothered me. I couldn’t really open up and let gravity take over like I wanted to — I’ve always found that downhill in huaraches is a bit tough.

The last 3/8 of a mile was on a small park asphalt path, but it was so twisty and turny…. Again, the huaraches limited me a bit as they were a bit wet from my sweat, but even in shoes, that kind of trail would be hard to get any speed up. I looked in front and realized I would not be able to catch the guy in front, and checked in back and realized I was safe in my position.

I still went as fast as I could, though. I crossed the line in 21:40, or a 6:50 pace, probably a minute faster than I thought I would run in huaraches, so I was pleased. I do think I could have taken 30-45 seconds off that pace if I’d had shoes on, so I am slowly getting back the speed I had 8-9 years ago before all the knee problems.

I couldn’t stick around for the awards and breakfast, as I had to be somewhere, but before I left I checked in and found I was 11th overall. I also had several people come up and ask about my choice of footwear, so I got to evangelize a bit.

I later found I won 1st in my age group (40 – 49 — turning 40 recently has its benefits!), so I have a mug and a $5 gift certificate to the hop shop waiting for me. Not quite enough for a growler, but pretty close. 🙂

All in all a good huarache run, and I got the locals talking about minimalism. 🙂

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