Well this week marked another first in my barefoot adventure when on Tuesday I took part in my first race in my Luna Sandals!
I'd been talking up the Luna's all week and this 4.5 mile hilly road race was the perfect time to show people what they were like.
This was a very small club race but I still got many comments on why with minutes to go to the off, I still had my "chill out" footwear on and when I was going to change :)
Even at the start line I was asked "you're not really running in those are you?" like I was some kind of sadist... Well soon the race was on and it was uphill which suited the flip flops well as I was forced to take small short strides and soon I was mid-pack "best of the rest" maybe?
I ran past the first check point and the marshals were looking at each other in confusion as I'm sure some people still thought I was trying to be funny with my footwear choice. But the fun really started as I reached the top of the first climb....
Now I was sprinting fast downhill on tarmac road. The thick vibram soles of the luna's were fine and I was very comfortable and I started to think barefoot and road running really works (it has been said before by better people than me) BUT it was the noise that brought the smile to my face.
Slap, Slap, Slap! as I thew myself down the hill. It felt fine but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get any quieter. Maybe it was because I wasn't running right? but it made the marshals smile as they could hear me before seeing me. I later went on to say it was a safety feature!
Three laps later and as I was getting "looser" and more relaxed I did think I was a little lighter on my feet but I still drew comments at every bend from the spectators which was actually fun. Speed wise, I don't think they aaffected me at all. The only thing I did notice was that the rear straps kept creeping down slightly but I could move my foot and they would re-position. I think they need a little rework on the straps as I've been wearing them socially for too long.
Well I crossed the finish line in a respectable time and was asked again by the same club runner for the 3rd time "did I really run in those?"
Yes I did..... and I loved it! I'm going to give road runs a try in the VFF's and see how I get on?
The next day was a very short but steep Fell race. I thought I'd try the new Merrell's as I thought the route was stony paths but how wrong was I!
Oh while I remember......, I'd decided that I'd try and re-sell the original yellow Merrell's off ebay and they were soon snapped up from a fellow club runner so people are willing to give it a go I guess?
Well we set off and soon the path was under a mini lake of deep mud! I knew when most of the start line had fell shoes on that I might be in trouble but too late. I decided speed and aggression was needed so every time I hit a patch of the brown stuff, I went hard, straight and fast. Actually this worked quite well and despite blowing up on the race as it was something like 800ft in 1.5m I had a good time.
I've now not worn road shoes for weeks, maybe months... I little while longer and I should be fully converted.