As most people know, I like to go barefooted. I’ve been that way since I was a kid.
I remember mom once telling me, when I was younger, I wanted to go out in the rain saying, “You don’t want to ruin your new tennis shoes, do you?” My reply was simple; “No mom”. And I proceeded to take off my socks and shoes . For me, it was more fun to play in the rain without shoes than to wear the ill-fitting footgear.
Alas, she really meant was for me not go outside at all.
Fast-forward more than 40 years.
For the second year in a row I decided to run the 10K Coaster Run at Knott’s Berry Farm. This event was held last Sunday, and as usual, I plan to run it barefooted. Now, if you remember last Sunday morning, it was cold and raining.
I brought a light, waterproof windbreaker to wear but I knew my bare legs and feet were going to get wet. And that was OK with me.
As we were lining to for the race, I became aware of two things.
One, it magically stopped raining. No rain! Time to take off the windbreaker!
The second thing I noticed was a young man standing close to me. He was slightly taller and skinnier than me.
But what was most visible about him was that he was going run this race topless. He had no shirt, nothing from the waist up. I looked at him, and laughing said, “You are brave!” He looked at me and then pointed to my bare feet, and then replied, “You are crazy!!”
A nice way to start a race and a conversation.
He told me he always ran without a shirt – it was just more comfortable and cooler for him. Plus, he mentioned he didn’t have to worry about getting his shirt dirty.
The race was supposed to start at 7:00 AM. We started at 7:02; pretty good for an intricate race.
As the race started, I noticed many of the runners from the Corral 1 (where the fastest runners, which includes me, start first) had worn some very expensive running shoes with webbing and neon colors. I predicted in my mind that these runners would avoid running through puddles. And sure enough, they did. I, however, didn’t have the worry of ruining a pair of tennis shoes, so I ran though the puddles, enjoying the cold brisk splash of water on my legs and generally gaining a couple of feet (so to speak) on my fellow runners.
I did slip and fall on some very smooth and very wet terrain at the park. But it was more of a slide (think water slide) than a fall. For the briefest of moments I enjoyed sliding. But I got up and continued my run. I just had to catch the bare-chested young man who just passed me by.
I kept my eye on him for most of the race. He wasn’t hard to find among the crowd. But alas, he was just too strong and too fast for me to catch up.
Unlike last year, when the sun came up at the right moment, we had a cool, cloudy day.
But I had fun. Even beat my previous time by exactly one minute.
I finished #29 in a field of 1166. And like last year, I again finished #3 in my age group.
This was the start of a very fun day.