Spirit of Survival Race Report

Posted: October 17, 2011 in Barefoot, Fitness, Health, Inspiration, Life, Primal, Races, Running, Society
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday I participated in the 6th annual Spirit of Survival 5k and half-marathon. This race is put on by the Southwest Cancer Centers of Oklahoma. All of the proceeds go to the cancer centers so that they can continue their groundbreaking research and provide care for those who may not have the means to pay for it. Truly a great cause. This was only my first time running in it, but it’s a pretty big shin dig for my hometown. We had just over 3,000 participants between the 5k, half marathon, 1 mile Leah M. Fitch walk, and the Kids Superhero marathon (more on that in a moment).

Anywho, onto the race report:

We arrived at the starting line 4 minutes before the gun went off. My wife and mom had decided that they were going to walk it. I of course ran the 5k race barefoot, and this was my innaugural barefoot race. I had run my previous in my bikilas. The weather was beautiful. A slight chill in the air and the ground was nice and cool. This was new to my feet, and I was slightly nervous about them warming up. We lined up at the back of the pack because they were walking, and I didn’t particularly care about my time. I was just happy to be there, and run my own race at my own pace. Anywho, the gun went off at exatly 7:45 am. I turned on the tunes, and started walking with the crowd passed the chute. I broke into a very easy stride and pace and manage to weave my way through the starting crowd onto the street that is the first mile of the race. At first the ground seemed abnormally rough for chip sealed asphalt. However, I attribute that to the fact that my feet were still a bit numb. Before the turn around at the half mile point, my feet had warmed up nicely and I was able to relax into my form and just kind of float over the ground. Since I wasn’t focusing on my pace, I decided to focus on everyone else and just have a great time. I smiled at folks, popped my earbuds out to converse with a fellow who was in vibrams that was curious about barefooting, and just enjoyed the atmosphere of my first “big” race.

After the mile turn around, the course lead us onto my usual bike path route that I run during the week. Only today was different. There were no goathead burrs around, no tiny rocks…It seems that the race crew had swept the 2 mile path clear of all debris. This was truly a delight. The path is basically a W shape with and uphill then downhill pattern. Utilizing my form and Kenbob’s teachings (BEND YOUR KNEES) I was able to motor on up the hills, and bomb down them with relative ease.  I think this surprised my fellow participants. I think they figured I’d have to gingerly go down the hills because I had no padding…WRONGO buster. Now that I was on a path that I knew very well, I was able to quicken my pace. Again, I have no idea what pace I was actually running at this point, but I was still at a very comfortable pace and passing folks left and right (not that this really matters, but it made me feel good).

At the third mile I could see the people around me really trying to increase their pace, so I decided to do the same. I didn’t add much to my pace, but it was enough to hold the people behind me at bay, and allow me to catch 1 or 2 people that were ahead of me. Nothing to spectacular, but it was nice to actually be running with other people, and to prove to myself that I could increase my pace and maintain my comfort level. This was something I had doubted because when I run during the week I don’t normally increase my pace much, and I don’t do any kind of speedwork. Maybe I should start that? By the time I rounded the final corner to the finish line I was by myself, and got to run in my barefoot glory up the finish line with the fans while “in my life” by the beatles was playing on my ipod. Great experience. Also, the announcer made special note of the fact that I was sans shoes. That was pretty cool.

After the race, we picked up our medals, I got my time sheet, and we watched the Half marathon winners and placers finish up their race. Matt Aguero, fresh off a sub 2:30 Chicago Marathon finish last week, won the half in 1:17 and some change. Pretty impressive if I do say so myself. After that we proceeded to IHOP and I loaded up (relatively speaking) on pancakes, and hot coffee. It was truly a great morning, and I’ve already picked out my next race. The Frost Your Fanny 5k on November 19th. Hopefully my feet will be adapted to cold by then. I’d really like to run that one bare too.

My finishing time was 35:33. That’s just over 11min/mile pace and is 3:10 faster than my previous 5k best. I was happy with that time.

Until next time,


Here’s a photo of my super hi-tech running shoes:

  1. Rob says:

    Not sure I’d want to run barefoot, but if that’s what you do, keep at it.. Congrats on the finish.

  2. mkcross325 says:

    You have no idea how proud I am of what you are doing. I only walked the 5K and was proud that I had accomplished that, but to see you fun, barefoot nonetheless and even come out ahead of your previous run makes me extremely proud of my “puffin”. I’m guessing..”puffinsmommy” is becoming a more fitting name for me each and every day! A toast to you son for your truly great story!

  3. Joel says:

    Those are so high tech; the best out there man. the manufacturer took millions of years to develop that design. Can’t get better then years of perfection 😀

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