Sockless in Cape Elizabeth: To run or not to run?

Last Sunday, I laced up my running shoes to join 6,400 people running Maine’s Beach to Beacon 10-K. A lovely course that winds its way along the shoreline, it features world-class runners along with recreational participants, like me. I’ve been running since college, but I’m a lot slower these days, an honest reminder that time just doesn’t stand still.

On race day, we settled into the car just after sunrise for our hour ride to catch a bus to the starting line (yes, you can get tired just finding your way to the race!). As we approached the parking area, I reached down to put on my running shoes, but realized I’d forgotten to pack socks. Those who run can only imagine how foolish I felt. I always carry two extra pairs in my gym bag but was going to have to run a 10-K sockless. Naturally, given the early hour, there was nowhere open to buy an emergency replacement. My only hope was that  more mindful fellow racer would have an extra pair that I could buy or borrow.

We parked and my search began. I went from car to car as bodies were sleepily opening doors to join the bus line, but no one had an extra pair. Next I approached the quiet group queued in the bathroom line –but again, no one had a pair. With time running out, I realized I was going to have to run sockless so joined my group to board the bus.

As I joked about my packing mishap, a woman standing nearby transformed into my guardian angel as she said, “You can’t run like that” and magically handed me the extra pair she’d packed for her teenage daughter.  She’d been among those I’d previously asked and maybe she didn’t hear me, or maybe she needed to be sure her daughter didn’t need them. Regardless, she saved me from blisters and more.

Moral of the story:

  1. Even the most organized of us will occasionally forget something.
  2. You can believe in the kindness of strangers.
  3. Slow and steady – and socks or no socks – gets you to the finish line.

Happy running!

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