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Barefoot Mountain

Tue 9th October 2012

On Saturday afternoon I saw a post on the Lordshill Road Runners Facebook page asking:

So, who’s running the first CC6 tomorrow?

“Well not me,” I thought, “because this is the first I’ve heard of it. But I’d like to. I’m planning to run Sunday morning anyway.” A short search later led me to reading the rules and directions on the CC6 website. A few more hours later, after rushing out a membership form, and bothering people at home on a Saturday night, I had managed to secure a fresh LRR vest and began race-eve preparations!

Upon arrival at Kings Inclosure (Stoney Cross), I quickly encountered the veritable horde of Lordshillers mingling, chatting, stretching and having group photos taken. Throughout the morning, I was asked how I thought I would fare in my Vibram FiveFingers on a cross-country course (so much so that Irene suggested I write an article for the newsletter). This surprised me a little, as when I read reports about running in FiveFingers it’s often on trails, making me feel like a bit of a fraud with my road running. I assured everyone that my runs through Lord’s Wood and the Ted Pepper Memorial 10km had prepared me for anything.

I started the race at what felt like too high a pace, but I thought I’d stick with it for a bit, but that only lasted until I encountered The Hill. The course description indicated it was a “two laps of mostly gravel and grass paths”, so it came as a bit of a surprise when I encountered the 40m vertical climb (over about 1km of the course) through a swamp! A few early attempts to run on the grassy verges instead of straight through the mud were scuppered when I planted my foot in a puddle as deep as my knee, after which I embraced the mud like a hippopotamus.

Overall the race was fun, but far more exhausting than I originally expected. The seemingly never ending hills combined with the stickiness of the mud meant I had to make use of the ultra-mantra “if you can’t see the top of the hill, walk it” on a couple of occasions. Despite the challenging nature of the course, I’m already looking forward to the next CC6!

I know what you’re all thinking: How did the Vibram FiveFingers fare in the hilly mud? Well I didn’t lose either of them, so they hang on to my feet pretty well. However, they did let in a fair amount of mud and water, which meant that my feet were sliding about inside the shoe during the second lap. I think tightening the hook and loop strap will help with this next time. The soles on my TrekSport FiveFingers have a good amount of grip, and although there were a couple of slippery moments, I think these were primarily due to me trying to change direction too quickly, and I would have slipped just as readily in regular trail running shoes.

The bonus of wearing minimalist shoes was that I chucked them in the washing machine as soon as I got home, and they were dry and as good as new in time for the Monday night run in the Common.

From → Running

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