Thursday, May 8, 2014

International Barefoot Running Day 2014

The morning was cool, but not cold. I took a drive out toward the San Francisco Bay Area. There were tentatively 5 of us meeting for the roughly 10K run. I had chosen Redwood Regional Park in Oakland because of the soft single-track trails that are covered with decomposing redwood needles. It is a fantastic surface to run on barefoot. I had run some of the trails in this park during my first ultra, the Skyline 50K. As I approached the park, I quickly recognized that I was indeed in the region that I had raced through a couple of years ago.

I pulled into the parking lot and recognized NorCal Will sitting in his car. I hopped out and noticed that he was already barefoot. Not long after, Barefoot Bone Rod pulled up. And last but not least, while we were chatting it up, JJHenry came running up the road.

We talked for a bit about our backgrounds and quickly determined that the 10K distance would be good for everyone. JJHenry was the only one not experienced on trails, but the distance would not be an issue.

We headed back down the road to one of the trailheads that would allow us to start on single-track trails rather than the paved path leaving the parking lot. The trails in Redwood Regional were every bit as awesome as I had remembered. We all took off down the trail in a loose grouping chatting and joking along the way.

I was actually concerned that my lack of recent training was going to hurt me later, but I've found that, for me, running barefoot is efficient enough that I can handle higher mileage than I've trained for. The only challenge that day would be the hills - and there were more than a few long, steep hills to challenge me that day.

Somewhere near the middle of our run as we peaked one of the hills, Barefoot Bone Rod and JJHenry had stopped to chat with a couple hiking the trail. They were quite intrigued by our "barefootedness" and had the usual list of questions. Bone Rod even offered a foot to be felt by the gentleman. He commented that it "was as smooth as a baby's bottom" - common comment from people touching barefoot runner's feet.

The second half of the run was challenging for a different reason - it was mostly downhill and not as soft and covered with needles as the first half. Instead the trail was a bit drier and rocky. We barreled down the hill and eventually wound our way back onto the original trail we had entered the loop on.

Once back at the cars, we grabbed our snacks and found an empty picnic table to chow down and chat some more. We talked about how little we see fellow barefoot runners, how great it would be to run together more often, and also the awesome the trails were in Redwood Regional Park.

A little after lunch, we wrapped up our little event and headed back to our lives.  Once again, IBRD was a success for our San Francisco Chapter. It may not have been a large gathering this year, but it was definitely one of the most fun!

From Left to Right - NorCal Will, Barefoot Bone Rod, and JJHenry

From L to R - NorCal Will, Barefoot Bone Rod, and ME - BarefootTerry (sporting the IBRD 2014 shirt)

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