One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” –Henry Miller

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Everyday I'm Shufflin'!

Shuffling like this is cool....

I've been rocking a more geriatric shuffle....

because ....

I have three lovely blisters on my right foot, one on my left, and calves that resemble rocks. Yay! ...

Last weekend Daejeon hosted their annual Barefoot Masai Marathon at Gyejok Mountain (note: they call any race a "marathon."  It wasn't actually a marathon, but a 13k. That's about 8 miles, my American friends).  

It was my first and, quite possibly, my last time running in a barefoot race .  The course itself was not terribly difficult.  A few stretches were uphill (as it was a mountain...) but there were quite a few long down hill reprieves.

What killed my poor feet was the path!  In the shade, the cool damp mud felt great!  But while the path was supposed to be comprised entirely of mud, sections of it more closely resembled sand paper. That, in combination with not being conditioned to run without shoes did a number to my feet. 

I don't know exactly how I faired in the race.  I was happy to have run it straight through.  But if I were to guess, I'd have to say that I probably placed in the top ten percent ...of the last three quarters. 

In Korea, whether you are in first or last place (and as you know, I was closer to the later), everyone is treated like an Olympian god.  Adjumas showered me with rose petals as I ran across the finish line. Then they gave me a medal.  I had flashes back to Mrs. Cathcart's 3rd grade class, "Good job, Jessie! You get a gold star for your effort!" 

I had heard that running without shoes changes your form. It's true.  At the start of the race I was bounding like an antelope.  My feet were free!- unburdened by my heavy, cumbersome running shoes.  I wanted to run down the trail with my arms flailing (I refrained to spare others a likely slap in the face.) Around mile 6, the spring in my step took a fleeting exit.  My calves felt like lead.  Running on the balls of my feet had taken its toll on my unaccustomed calf muscles. 

Sore calves and feet aside, it was still a really cool experience. Korean's make races into quite a production.  They had several performers before and after the race: a Nanta performance (stomp meets drum line), musicians, hip hop dancers, and a really cool taekwondo performance.  Black belts obliterated pieces of wood and apples on the ends of knives with their jump kicks and punches. It was amazing! 

I'd like to run another race again soon (maybe with shoes on this time). Now to only recover.. until then .. everyday I'm shufflin', everyday I'm shufflin', shufflin'!

Mud covered feet post run

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