Welcome to the Maple Grove Barefoot Guy!
For the latest in barefoot and minimalist running advice, news, and product reviews, subscribe or follow me at one of the links below! Cheers citizens!
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The Naked Foot 5K Race Report:Part 2
This is Part 2 in my report on The Naked Foot 5K, the epic 5K race that I helped to run last weekend. You can read Part 1 of the report here. Do you need to? No. But do you want to? Oh yeah baby!
Well race day hit me like a bitch slap to the face. I woke up on race morning dog tired and hungover. Mostly because I had spent the last two evenings hanging out with the Robillards until all hours of the night. After doing their thing in Rochester on Friday, the Robillards came up to Maple Grove (aka "God's Country") to stay at a campsite near our house. Then Shelly and Jason, along with my BRS-MN buddy Katie Button-Swenson, came over for a few libations that evening. It turns out that the Robillards party like my wife and I do...i.e. "after the party there's the afterparty" style. So I didn't get to bed until well after midnight.
I somehow managed to shake myself out of bed at 3:30 a.m. and get out to the race course off of Lake Nokomis by 4:30 a.m. Then, fueled by excitement, and probably some leftover booze, race founder Scott Jones and I got busy building the course. I hadn't seen any of the race decorations, so I really didn't know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. Everything looked really pro.
We were joined at around 6 a.m. by a handful of race volunteers. Several came from a local church to help out because our event sounded interesting. The rest included relatives and friends of Scott and Lauren Jones....and the coolest volunteer of all: my mom. When they showed up Scott and I had set up most of the race structures, so they got to work stuffing race packets, getting the registration table ready, and marking the course.
Volunteers need constant supervision or they go freaking crazy! These were two of our more excitable volunteers. They made the pre-race setup very entertaining.
At around 7 a.m., I got to meet the great and wise Ken Bob Saxton. Well he got there at around 6:30 a.m. A half hour later was when I got enough courage up to go and talk to him. I was a little star struck to say the least. But once I started talking to him, I'm not sure what I was so worried about. He's perhaps one of the most grounded people I've ever met.
Ken Bob hanging out with my mom (standing up in the white shirt). She of course had no idea who he was, and afterwards came up to me and asked if all of my barefoot friends looked like hipsters.
We got everything put up with plenty of time to spare. After setup, I sat back and took in what we had accomplished over the past several months. And I must say, I was impressed. My job as local race director was to line up our race location as well as volunteers and sponsors in the area. After it was all said and done, we had a great lineup. In addition to national sponsor Merrell, we had contributions from Spine and Sports Clinic in Maple Grove (my physical therapist), UCare, Laser Skincare, Gear Running Store, Barefoot Wine, Ken Bob, and Eastern Shores Wellness Center.
The setup looks pretty good in my opinion. Go team Naked Foot! Although it was nothing compared to the tent city across the street. We found out that the Minneapolis 13.1 race would be held in this same location the next day. Their setup made it look like the circus had come to town. But that's okay...we did good for our first try.
We had three races planned for the day: the one-mile fun run, the kids' run, and the 5K race. The one-mile race was an all-grass loop around the baseball fields where we had set up. The thought was that people who had never tried barefoot running before would be drawn to that one. Turns out they all just decided to do the 5K instead. So we only had 4 runners for that event.
Next was the event I was most excited for: the kids run. This would be my daughter's first running event, and she was super stoked. She smiled and gave me a huge hug when I pinned her number to her shirt. It was absolutely adorable.
Clara before her first big race! The run was another all-grass loop that went about 1K around the outside of the event tents. A lot of kids went barefoot, but Clara opted for her water shoes. She thinks that stepping in grass is icky. She actually ran further than she ever has before; almost half way to the finish before she got tired and needed to be carried. So I got my exercise running a 1/2K while holding a 30-pound weight. A weight that was flopping around and slapping my shoulders with excitement mind you.
When we got near the finish line she wanted to run again. So I put her down and we ran the last couple hundred feet in together. We came in dead last. I was beaming with pride at my daughter's accomplishment.
Then came the grand finale. We had an awesome turnout for the 5K race, with a total of 81 participants signed up to run. That's bigger than any previous Naked Foot 5K race! Go team!
I was stoked to see a ton of people carrying their shoes at points during the race. This group of high school cross country runners went barefoot for the whole race! It was their first barefoot run ever! Woo hoo!
This guy was our 1st barefoot finisher. He came in 2nd overall with a sub-20 minute time. He told me he would have gone a lot faster, but this was supposed to be a tempo run for him. He's a perfect example of how going barefoot doesn't have to mean sacrificing performance.
After the race, I was excited to see that people stuck around. Normally at a race I'm used to seeing people bolt to use their free drink coupon. We had a ton of activities for race participants and spectators. Jason Robillard gave a quick clinic using his new ABC method. We also had some great volunteer massage therapists giving free massages.
There's my PT James doing his voodoo magic. I have to give a shout out to the folks at Spine and Sports in Maple Grove. They really are miracle workers. After my last injury, they had me running pain-free after one session. One session folks!
The day went great, and I really didn't want it to end. So I messed around with the decorations during take-down to prolong the magic. Here's my official audition to be that guy that carries the gigantic flag around the football field when your favorite team scores a touchdown. If there are openings available, please call me!
Too sexy Antonio! Too sexy! I was sad to see the Robillards leave. As you can see, we got along pretty well. I'm looking forward to seeing them again in September during the NYC Barefoot Run, where I will be part of a barefoot running presentation sponsored by Merrell. Pretty awesome stuff. Finally...a company that realizes the depths of my awesomeness!
This was a day full of great friends, great fun, and great barefoot running. I'm still absolutely glowing from all the positive energy I received from everyone that attended or helped to make this event possible.
A couple of big shout-outs before I sign off. I'd like to thank Scott and Lauren Jones for putting together an amazing event. Thanks to my buddy Matt Fiereck, who did all the event photography. He took all the pictures you see in this post, as well as all 600 posted on the event website, and as you can see he came up huge! Thanks to all of the volunteers who helped make the event go smoothly. And thanks to everyone who attended and made the event a great success!
Merrell Barefoot Contest Update
We had some confusion as to the winner of the Merrell Barefoot shoe contest. I posted yesterday that the winner was Jeff. Apparently I have several Jeffs who entered the contest, all of whom emailed me thinking they had won. The winner of the contest is the person whose Blogger name is just "Jeff". So if that's you, please leave a comment on this post to confirm your identity, and I will get those shoes out to you.
Sorry if you're a Jeff that didn't win. You still might be a winner of the Branca Barefoot contest though! That winner will be announced later this week.
Go Barefoot with Merrell Free Shipping and Return