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What Would Another Mother Runner Do?

Two rights make a wrong?

Welcome to the second installment of What Would Another Mother Runner Do (WWAMRD). Last time we debated whether or not we'd stop to poop when gunning for a finish time in a race. We only heard about that one via a friend on Facebook. This column, Dimity and I got to see the situation live and in person at the Ramblin' Rose Triathlon in Raleigh, N.C. a few weeks ago. It involved a self-described, "super fan," Jenn Martin, who we had become fast friends with at our house party two nights pre-race. Here's how the WWWAMRD situation went down:

A veteran of several triathlons, Jenn had talked her friend Jill into doing a swim-bike-run race for the first time. Like a good mentor, Jenn had sent Jill a gear checklist the night before the race after she herself had packed up her own equipment. Perhaps her focus at that point was more on Jill than herself the bike-run transition, after whooping it up for novice Jill, Jenn realizes she's made a terrible mistake: She'd packed two right shoes. Same brand and model, but both shoes were rights. Wrong!

What would you do?

Sarah answers: Descended from a long line of tenderfoots, I would have pulled a Cinderella-stepsister move and crammed my left foot into one of the right shoes.

Dimity answers: I'd go for it and run shoe-less: Even though I've never run barefoot, I often jump into the proverbial deep end in life. If being Shoeless Jo wasn't working after a half-mile or so, I would have called it a day. (Let the record show: Bringing mismatched shoes to a race is something I could totally see myself doing.)

What Jenn did: DNF (Did Not Finish) is not in Jenn's lexicon, so she took off Lucky for Jenn, the run portion of the race was a mere two miles, but still: Her footsies weren't used to being unshod. A knowledgeable volunteer yelled out a welcome tip, "less heel--get on the balls of your feet."

What happened: After crossing the finish line--in a faster time than she did in a tri two months prior (nicely done, Jenn!)--the BAMR joined Jill for her final mile of the run. Barefoot, natch.

What would you—another mother runner—do?

And if you’ve got a running-related moment you’d like some clarity on, via WWAMRD, feel free to email us at runmother [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks!

Barefoot Jenn running Jill across finish line

36 responses to “What Would Another Mother Runner Do?

  1. I pondered wearing my socks but I wear smattering wool and I was pretty sure they would pick up small debree so I opted to go sock less. I did ponder it

  2. If it were two miles I probably would have tried to go barefoot, too, but that would have been bad with my metatarsalgia. So I should probably run in two right footed shoes instead.

  3. I would have tested the tootsies and run it. I have run barefoot before, on sand for bootcamp workouts but not on asphalt. Great story and great work!!

  4. Forst I would have wasted time looking for the left shoe – it has to be here somewhere right? Then I would have looked for someone to borrow shoes from. Then I would have again lamented not having the correct shoes. I would have crammed my foot into the wrong shoe and run. If my foot started to hurt in the wrong shoe, I would have taken off the shoe on my left and run in just one shoe. Yes, I’m strange that way. But the right foot is the one that has issues. Protect one so I could still walk?

  5. If I had them, I’d run in socks. I’m a minimalist runner and sometimes run in sock on my treadmill because my feet can get a little sore after too many miles of rubbing on the mill. Otherwise, I’d have run it barefoot.

    Good job, Jenn!

  6. I would have tried cramming that foot in there. I’m so nervous about cutting my feet on shards of glass. Maybe because I run downtown where there are lots of smashed bottles ready to slice up my most important tool — my feet!

  7. After I stopped kicking myself, I would have shoved my feet into the shoes and seen how it was going. If it was a problem, I would’ve chucked the shoes and run barefoot. Jenn, congrats on finishing the race. I love the spirit of triathletes and the challenge of the race!

  8. I would have run barefoot (I’m used to Vibrams so hopefully it wouldn’t be that much harder), then I would have congratulated myself on such a fast transition time.

  9. I ran Disney Princess in a wet bra because I packed two bathing suit bottoms back in NY. Couldn’t NOT swim with the kids, so swam in a sports bra. So, I would guess I would try to run barefoot. (note to self…try not to buy two pair of the exact same shoes….)

  10. The decision is easy: barefoot. If only the decision on whether or not to stop using pull-ups at bedtime for my 3.5 year old was as easy.

  11. Shoot! This is the kind of thing I have pre-race nightmares about! I would have spent an obscene amount of time trying to find someone (fellow athlete, spectator, anyone?) with a pair of shoes I could borrow (any size would do!) and if that failed, barefoot it would be. Nice job ladies!

  12. Pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to make it on 2 right shoes so would have to go with socks. But I’m a big baby when it comes to my feet, so I’m sure there would be lots of walking involved. Also, bringing 2 right shoes is totally something I would do…

  13. My Friend Jenn is THE BEST!!! It was a great first Tri for me and she took great care of me! LOVE HER and yes, she is crazy!!

  14. First I’d curse, probably a bunch. Then I’d cram my left foot into the right foot shoe and go for it. If it wasn’t working then I’d take those darn things off and go barefoot. I would have to finish after getting that far.

  15. I would have at least started with the shoes but planned to ditch them the second I thought I would be better off bare foot. Too Funny. Nice recovery!

  16. Ok, I don’t know anything about biking, but why couldn’t you run in the same shoes you biked in?

    1. Many triathletes use special bike shoes for clipless bike pedals. Running in those is practically impossible and would damage the cleats. It is certainly possible, though, to bike in running shoes and then run in the same shoes. Triathlon can be an expensive sport and that would save money (and time in transition from the bike to the run, although you’d lose the benefit the cycling shoes provide in the bike race).

  17. I don’t know! I have never tried a shoe on the wrong foot before, so I don’t know how that would feel. Same for running barefoot. But I would not be able to live with a DNF either, so I would have tried the shoes and then gone sock footed if needed. And thanks for the new neurosis. Next time I’m packing for a tri, I’m packing 2pairs of shoes!

  18. I would have run with both shoes. I have tender feet, so running barefoot is not an option. If I had to finish it in nothing but socks, I would, but I can’t imagine going the entire distance shoe-less.

  19. I think I would have started out trying to use both shoes and then gone barefoot if needed. Since I’ve not run barefoot yet I would be afraid to just start out that way!

  20. I would have totally run barefoot! I may not have run fast…but I would have finished. Way to go Jenn! And what an awesome friend to even go back and run with Jill….still barefoot!

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