Naked Foot 5k!

Naked Foot 5k 300x225 Naked Foot 5k!

I love this picture--see the difference between mid foot and heel striking?

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The fun race tee

Ever since concentrating on changing my form, one of my bucket list items has been to run a 5k in bare feet. So when I won an entry to the DC version of the Naked Foot 5k a couple of weeks ago, how could I not go?

Let’s be clear–my goal was to run a bare foot 5k, not race one. I haven’t done enough miles completely bare foot to make racing a 5k reality, but I knew I could run it. I drove down to the race location in Meadowbrook Park in Bethesda. A beautiful park, btw. I met up with a couple of friends from home and we decided to warm up on the course. I did this in shoes and as we headed into the wooded section of the course, I kind of second guessed whether or not I should attempt this. There was a nice stretch of gravel, for starters, which is NOT friendly to bare feet. Then there was the single track in the woods. While it was a nice hard-packed dirt trail, there were still plenty of sticks and stones that worried me. After the wooded section, the course went back to pavement, where I figured I’d be most at ease.

NakedFoot.kathhazel 300x225 Naked Foot 5k!

With Katherine and my friend Hazel pre-race

We finished the warm up and then I located Katherine of Neon Blonde Runner, who also won an entry to the race. Katherine is a sweetheart and so easy to chat with.She’s also got a lot of running talent and is just getting started–she hasn’t even scratched the surface with where she is going. It was great to connect with her.

Soon we lined up, me in my bare feet, and we were off. The grassy section we started on was great, as was the first section of pavement. Then we hit the gravel and woods. I had to drastically slow down to make it across this section, but then once I got into the woods, I felt comfortable again. In fact, I caught myself smiling a big smile back there–I love trail running. Then it was back onto the pavement again.

This is where the bottoms of my feet started to scream at me, which surprised me. I thought the woods and grass would be my biggest challenge, but no, it was the very porous black top and concrete. By the final section back in, I was jonesing for some grass–I could feel blood blisters on my toes and soles of my feet. Finally the sweet relief of the grass was in sight and I finished off the race. A slow time, but that was my plan anyhow. The success was in running a 5k in my bare feet.

I had a blast at this event–it was low key, full of other bare footers, minimalist runners and a smattering of traditionally shod runners. Everyone was out there to

have a good time and explore the world of natural running. Katherine tore up the course, finishing in third place overall!

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Not so pretty feet post race

When I finished, my first goal was to get to the car, clean up my feet, and get some shoes on. After returning home, I did a more thorough job of cleaning up the sore spots, applied some Aquaphor and bandaids, and spent the remainder of the day walking gingerly. Yes, I paid a price for this one, but it was worth it. Goal accomplished. I smiled all day thinking about it.

Would you/have you ever considered running a race in bare feet? Why/why not? 


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  1. Honestly the idea intrigues me but I am not sure I could pull it off. I tried running in Nike Frees for awhile and the bottom of my feet were in agony similar to yours in the race. Since then the furthest I’ve run in barefeet is maybe 100 yard striders on the grass. Nice work on the race! You ladies look great in pink!
    Kris @ recently posted..Weekend Round Up & Tweet of the TrialsMy Profile

  2. You are a rockstar! I do have a friend that runs/races barefoot but let’s just say her feet are solid compared to mine. I know my feet would never handle the change in terrain. I absolutely hate walking on stone so I can only imagine if I were to run into sticks and other objects. So proud of you for trying it out!
    Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb recently posted..Buzz: Dreams And Adventures? The Time Is Now.My Profile

  3. saw the pic on FB and was tremendously impressed.
    mad the husband check it out, too :)
    Miz recently posted..Walk with me (NAKANO splash it on/step it up challenge).My Profile

  4. I loved the idea of this when I first saw you mention it on your blog a few weeks ago. I would love to do a race barefoot but would need to spend a lot of time and mileage beforehand in more minimalist shoes / barefoot before I made that jump. I give you so much credit for doing it =)
    Michele @ nycrunningmama recently posted..Best. Decision. Ever.My Profile

  5. Wow, neat! Good for you, taking on a challenge like that (and props for focusing only on that rather than your race time. focus is what makes goals happen!). I’ve never run barefoot, but I imagine the pavement being very painful. Grass would def be my preference. Congrats on accomplishing your goal. Hope your feet feel better!
    Meredith @ DareYouTo recently posted..Tangy TunaMy Profile

  6. I haven’t run a race barefoot. Maybe if I took your approach of not racing, but just running it – smart approach! The most I do barefoot is run around our yard with my daughter and some strides along the football field with drills. Great to hear how it went for you!
    Jen B. recently posted..Airport 5k 2012 – Race RecapMy Profile

  7. Wow- that’s awesome you ran it barefoot, especially with the gravel sections! Love the t.
    In theory I’d like to, but I would need to put on some miles barefoot first.
    Abby @ Change of Pace recently posted..Change the Pace – bikeMy Profile

  8. Hope your feet are doing ok today! Sounds like a fun race!
    J recently posted..Friday Favorites: Books made into Movies/TV showsMy Profile

  9. What a neat race! I’ve never considered doing a race barefoot but I do plan on banking some barefoot beach miles this summer just to try it out!
    Fancy Nancy recently posted..Monday MotivationMy Profile

  10. Awesome job! I think if a course were all grass, I’d definitely go without shoes, but through woods or on pavement, I need a little rubber under my feet!
    Jen @ ConcreteNCoffee recently posted..Day Seven – The Treck BackMy Profile

  11. I think I’d run sections of a longer race barefoot, just like I’m thinking of using several different pairs of shoes for my ultra. The change-up should give my feet a break and maybe a lift. Cool that you crossed that off your bucket list!
    Kovas – Midwest Multisport Life recently posted..Week 8: The North Face Endurance 50K TrainingMy Profile

  12. Like you, I’d run one, not race one. I have certainly experienced the pain from running barefoot on asphalt. When I blithely tried over 3 miles barefoot one day (first time ever running barefoot), I have deep, deep blisters that took months to even surface, and plenty of worn skin, too! In the future I would stick to grass or dirt. The funny thing is, I spent my childhood barefoot and my feet are pretty darn tough. I thought they could easily with stand the stress, but no!
    Gracie (Complicated Day) recently posted..Decisions, decisions.My Profile

  13. I think if it were a really grassy/dirt course I may consider it but I don’t run barefoot very much so I don’t think it would be smart. I used to live barefoot in the summers as a kid and remember having very tough feet. Great job on your barfoot 5k!
    Christy @My Dirt Road Anthem recently posted..NOT NOW!My Profile

  14. I honestly think that the only time I could run barefoot would be on a beach. I’m more of a heel striker I’ve been told and I’m not sure I could handle the barefoot thing anywhere else than on a beach. lol I think those of you who can do it are awesome, though!! Looks like a really great race and I LOVE the tee. :D
    Melissa @ Live, Love, & Run recently posted..Weekly Chase Monday: tracking & staying on schedule.My Profile

  15. I love the idea of running barefoot, but it would take a lot of training to make the shift. It is something I will keep in mind for sure. Love that first picture – that picture really does speak a 1000 words
    Krysten Siba Bishop (@darwinianfail) recently posted..Motivation Monday – Going in for the KillMy Profile

  16. Wow congratulations on that! No plans for me, I’m too much of a wimp, would be afraid I’d step on something. I can barely walk in bare feet outside let alone run.
    Robin recently posted..I beat an Olympian!My Profile

  17. Congrats on your barefoot race.
    I wouldn’t run barefoot since the races around here are not barefoot friendly. I also get some ball of the foot aches and pains so a race shoe such as Saucony Fastwitch is about as minimal as I’ll get for a race.
    Joanne recently posted..CNYEats A Taste of Utica NY Style CheesecakeMy Profile

  18. way to go!! i am working on picking up my feet more now that I am more consistently landing under my body

    i think a barefoot run is in my distant future
    Amanda @RunToTheFinish recently posted..Workouts and Goals: 10 Pounds in 10 DaysMy Profile

  19. I would not want to run in bare feet because it sounds so painful! I know people swear it’s great and helps you have better form, but, nope, not for me. LOVE the race tshirt though! Bet you’ll get some looks when you wear it! ;-)

  20. That sounds like such an incredible experience and glad that you had a chance to do it. I too am intrigued by barefoot running but think that I’m too much of a wimp to give it a go. Maybe one day? Plus, I LOVE that first picture. Yes, it speaks a thousand words.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Scenes from my weekend – AshevilleMy Profile

  21. Running barefoot does not seem to be for me, so I doubt a barefoot race will ever be in my future. Congrats on yours!
    Raquelita recently posted..Travels: Mount RushmoreMy Profile

  22. Wow, congrats to Katherine! She comes across super sweet on her blog, too. I love that picture depicting barefoot vs. heel strike… I’m a little nervous to see one of those of me, I have a feeling I might lean more toward the heel striker, but I’m working on it.
    Laura recently posted..Big Book of Marathon Training Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  23. They have one of those races here in Denver. I’d like to run about a mile of it barefoot, but I am too freaky about stepping on something and being laid up for another year! Ha. Glad you did it and checked it off your list. LOVE that shirt!!!
    Jill recently posted..America’s Highest Road Race: Nailed it!My Profile

  24. Great job! I am glad you had fun and hope your feet heal up asap. :)
    Erin Henderson recently posted..Who I AmMy Profile

  25. I’ve worked out 100% barefoot (in my home) for over two years now. I won’t rule out naked running. Being barefoot is so natural to me. I had to turn to barefoot workouts in the first place because exercising with sneakers on the carpet actually hurt my feet.

    How do you master the mid-foot? My running kid is a heel striker and he’s been trying to hard to break the habit.
    Yum Yucky recently posted..Video: Why Half-Naked Yoga Is Good For YouMy Profile

  26. Wow, I’m impressed! I have never thought about running barefoot, my feet are not nearly tough enough:)
    hikermom recently posted..Welcome to Summer Virtual Run and Puppy LoveMy Profile

  27. Congrats to you. You have been working very hard at this and it clearly has paid off.

    That being said with your rekindled triathlon passion I would not suggest pedaling the bike barefoot. Probably hurt!!!!!!
    Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race recently posted..Brunch At The Bahamundi’sMy Profile

  28. Great job! Love that pic of your midfoot strike vs. the heal-striker.

    I’ve done a little barefoot running on the track but I’m such a tender-foot I think running in the woods would have killed me!
    Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted..Working with a coachMy Profile

  29. You have some brave feet! Congrats!
    Laura recently posted..Well, I’m following SnookiMy Profile

  30. How cool! Congrats on a goal accomplished. I don’t think your feet look that bad actually. Mine usually look worse and I wear shoes! :) Your form looks fantastic too, by the way!
    Kate @ Run with Kate recently posted..Philip Rivers 5kMy Profile

  31. Nice! Would I consider running a race bare foot? depends on the terrain.
    Kenley Jones recently posted..Unmotivated!My Profile

  32. Wow-that’s pretty intense! WTG!

    I may be willing to do a mile barefoot one day….
    Adrienne recently posted..Memorial Hermann Sugar Land TriMy Profile

  33. Barefoot? That’s crazy talk.

    The post-run sensitivity is normal, and will be gone by tomorrow, probably tonight. If you persist in this barefoot yahoolery, you will probably one day race a 5k barefoot, PR, and your feet will feel wonderful.
    Barefoot Josh recently posted..My Form Could Be Terrible, You KnowMy Profile

  34. So do you think you will run another race barefoot or was this a one time goal thing??? Either way… I’m impressed!!! I could never even if I wanted to because of a surgery I had on my foot 12 years ago… just wouldn’t be smart for me.
    Kristy (@KrisRunTri) recently posted..36th Annual Blossom Time RunMy Profile

  35. Wow, what a cool race. I think I would like to try doing a really short barefoot race sometime. I have done a very little bit of barefoot running after a few runs, just to work on form and I believe it really does help.
    Beth @ Miles and Trials recently posted..Weekend of funMy Profile

  36. I would never (hate that word) run a barefoot race as I dispise being barefoot outside and sometimes in my own filthy house. Ewe, yuck! But serious props to you! Cute shirt always a bonus.
    Fueled by Spite recently posted..Next raceMy Profile

  37. Great t shirt. I often wear a new race t- shirt to school the next day but I’d probably forego wearing that one!

  38. That’s so awesome. And I agree, the shirt rocks.
    The Green Girl recently posted..Wrigley River Run 10k Race ReportMy Profile

  39. Way to go! I don’t know that I will ever go barefoot for a race, but I do use minimalist shoes and aim for a more natural running style. I have a Luna Sandals kit to put my own together and may give those a try. It takes a long time to make the transition to truly minimalist/barefoot running, though!
    Denise S. recently posted..Expo fun – continued!My Profile

  40. Very cool but I still can’t say I’m ready to transition to bare feet. Funny since I like being barefoot rather than wearing shoes.

    Great job!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..She’s Going the DistanceMy Profile

  41. Great job!!! I would love to run one of these races!!! I am trying so hard to correct my form!! Love the t-shirt!!!
    Toni Church recently posted..Monday Motivation featuring Show Me the Medals My Profile

  42. I’ve done some barefoot running around my neighborhood so I would think about it for a road race. Still too much of a chicken to try it in the woods

  43. I’m guessing you got rid of any callus build up on that blacktop. Sounds so painful!
    Char recently posted..Weekend RecapMy Profile

  44. That is awesome! I’ve heard a lot about minimalist and barefoot running, but never heard anyone’s experience racing in bare feet. I walk around barefoot around the house all the time and the blacktop can get mighty hot!
    Sylvia @ Frolic Through Life recently posted..Little Boy’s DreamMy Profile

  45. I think it’s awesome that you ran a 5k barefoot.

    I just was more excited that you ran at Meadowbrook! I started all my marathon training runs from that pavilion and when I used to coach XC for BCC we used to meet there in the summer. Good memories. Thanks!
    Heather Winkler recently posted..50 shades…My Profile

  46. Great job, you are a great runner.
    Impossible for my old and injured body to run barefoot.
    Black Knight recently posted..SummerMy Profile

  47. Good for you! I’ve only done one 5K barefoot and honestly haven’t run one mile barefoot this year. But last year my feet were in the best shape they’ve ever been and I know it was from all the barefoot running I did. Great job!
    Jen recently posted..A Hike With the Family to the Top of the MountainMy Profile

  48. AH!! LOVE THIS! So glad you had a good time!
    Andrea @ theMFDre recently posted..IX Things Sports Taught MeMy Profile

  49. Hey,

    Thanks for coming out and running! We love your blog. Here is our DC video!


  50. You are amazing- what an accomplishment for you and your feet! Would you run bare foot more often now?
    Tasha @ Healthy Diva recently posted..The BEST NewsMy Profile

  51. I enjoy what you guys are usually up too. This kind of clever work and
    exposure! Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve incorporated you
    guys to blogroll.
    instagram followers recently posted..instagram followersMy Profile


  1. [...] Katherine and Miss Zippy both won entries as part of my giveaway – you should head on over to their blogs for their [...]

  2. [...] this before by a PT and found to already have that cadence, but still, a recent shot of me at the Naked Foot 5k made me wonder if I wasn’t still over striding a bit. A 180 cadence, I thought, would help [...]

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