So I ran the Indianapolis Marathon‘s half again. It started out well enough: dry roads, reasonable temperatures, no hangover… At about four miles, I was on pace and through the only real hills on the course. There was something in my right shoe, or so I thought, so I stopped for a second, shook it out, smoothed out the sock, and kept going. I hit the six mile marker at about 58 minutes, and was feeling great. I’d been shooting for a sub-2:05 finish, and was starting to entertain thoughts that maybe I could pick it up for a few miles and finish in under two hours, which would be kind of big deal for me.
That’s more or less the moment that the instep of my right shoe split down the seam. After about half a mile of running in absolutely crippling pain, I figured no guts, no glory, took the shoes off, and carried them the rest of the way. I ended up finishing in almost exactly the average time, and in the 40th percentile overall, and while I don’t feel too good about that, I’m a little proud that I didn’t DNF.
I think there might be something to this barefoot running thing. It’s now about 36 hours later, and while my feet hurt, they aren’t that bad. The blister from the exploding shoe is actually far worse than the parts of my feet that spent 6.5 miles in contact with asphalt, concrete, mulch, gravel, etc. No cuts, thankfully – something I was not at all sure of during the race itself. My calves are really tight though. I think running without shoes must have forced me into a different stride.
Anyway, all I can think is, after thousands of miles, how did the shoe know exactly when to fail?