Well, you can quell those suspicions right now, because I ran a race on August 3! It was the inaugural Dog Days of Summer 5k in downtown Raleigh. And, of course I enjoyed it! It had been nine months since my last race!
An especially appealing aspect of the Dog Days of Summer 5K was that the proceeds went to two local animal rescue facilities: Safe Harbor Farm and Second Chance Adoption. Even better, the race registration count reached some sort of threshold that inspired the race director to donate a full $1,000 extra to the rescue groups! Yay animals!
The barefoot guy to whom I alluded in the title of this post was none other than Anthony, famed blogger at RunningDown.com. I fully expected to run behind him, anyway. And, I would have been disappointed if he hadn't run the race sans shoes!
(I'm telling you this so that barefoot runners do not take offense at my seemingly snarky title. I'm just commenting on the fairly popular misconception that barefoot runners can't run fast)
I essentially decided to participate in this race on a whim, feeling a little desperate for some sort fitness test, I guess. So, I showed up early enough to register and collect the usual race shirt and bag of brochures. I jogged a stiff 1.5 miles around downtown Raleigh before returning to see Anthony and Shannon heading toward the registrations table! What luck, seeing them! Always nice!
So, I stretched while Shannon and Anthony jogged a portion of the course to warm up. And, the three of us congregated around the registration area in anticipation of the 7:30 start.
As we started running, Anthony appeared to run slower than me, muttering some excuse about having too much to drink the night before. (I didn't believe this for a second) So, I followed Shannon through the first half of the race.
The course is not especially scenic. It begins at Moore Square and leads runners down Blount Street to MLK Blvd, where they turn left onto Fayetteville St. (I'd never been down this part of Fayetteville St. before. And, it looked like there was an entry to the greenway there. I'll have to investigate that further)
It's an out-and-back course with the majority of downhill terrain in the first half of the race. So, of course, I started too quickly and faded shortly after the turnaround.
After the turnaround, the barefoot ninja crept up and passed me. Apparently, the toxins that "slowed him down" at the start had been sweated out of his system now. I hoped I would catch him, especially when he had the nerve to stop to pick up a rock! But, nope. I'd paced myself unevenly and felt too exhausted in the last mile to really catch anyone.
I finished in 20:55, which is not at all a PR. I'd say the course could be fast if I were properly trained. But really, since I'd been a tad slack these past couple of months—and, since it is August in North Carolina—I'm happy enough with that time.
Run Raleigh Races put together this well-organized race. And, I'd definitely consider one of their other races next time I'm in the mood for something on pavement. Thanks to all the volunteers who were available to make this one possible!
And, as always...