Favorite Pastime - Resting!

Favorite Pastime - Resting!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Warmer But Wet March

Happy Springtime Barefoot Runners!

Well, March brought some slightly warmer temperatures but we still had quite a bit of rain and snow.

50Sub4 Award
As a result, my mileage did creep up slightly but I am still well off the pace for a 2000 mile year...looking forward to some warm AND dry runs in the near future.  It might also help if Indiana would do some paving projects as the roads are a crumbly mess.  The road in front of my house is resembling a gravel road in both directions so my feet are really taking a beating.

And Now I Have 2 Awards!!
The good news for the month is that I finally received my 50Sub4 Finisher Award in the mail.  I had already placed it on my shelf when the club organizer sent me an email asking if my award had any defects.  I mentioned that the two large stickers had bubbles under them and he said a new award would be sent soon.  That one just arrived this week so now I have two awards, one for home and one for the office!

And now the Lutes' Family is off on Spring Break to Washington DC and I am really enjoying the vacation.  This morning I got in a nice 4 miler in Cumberland MD right down the main drag in town "National Highway!"  It helped that the traffic was very light and I started before sunrise. 
Tonight we will meet up with my good friends Travis and Gina Sheets (Gina works here now) and enjoy a concert at the newly opened Museum of The Bible.  Then we will meet up with Beth and Dave (Linda's brother) and their two boys Joshua and Timothy for a week in Arlington VA.  It will be fun seeing the sights and relaxing with family for a week before the busy Spring travel schedule kicks in.

Hopefully everybody can get in some good barefoot training this Spring,

God Bless You All,

Barefoot Dan

March Mileage = 106.53 miles

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

RRRRRough February!

Greetings Barefooters,

It has certainly been a rough February...

Here in Indiana, both the weather and the roads have been rough.  It seems that the roads are falling apart worse that ever this month.  What used to be some of my favorite routes are quickly turning into gravel roads!  The weather has begun to moderate but that is leading to more freezing and thawing cycles which is obviously not good for the asphalt. 

While I am able to get more miles in on each run this month, I have tended to overdo it which has led to more "off" days.  After being cooped up with snow and single digits through most of January and part of February it is just too tempting on a wet 40 degree day to go out and run 10 miles.  The problem is the feet aren't conditioned to those mileages and I need to take it easy.  Twice this month I have had great weather conditions and ended up running too much, too soon, and then had to take extra rest days.  The first time was Valentine's Day two weeks ago, when I ran a nice 5 mile Monday, 10 mile Tuesday and 7 mile Wednesday, all with temps in the 30s but with wet and gravel strewed pavement.  As a result, I was blessed with no fewer than 5 blood blisters which became very painful and sidelined me for the rest of the week.

And then again this week on Monday I ran 7 and Tuesday I ran 8 only to have to take off today on a perfect 50 degree day because the feet are still sore and recovering from the debacle two weeks ago.  Hopefully, the feet will feel okay tomorrow and I can get March started off right.
"The Path" at Christ UMC

This past couple of weeks at my church (Christ UMC Westfield IN) we have been studying Rev. Mark Batterson's book "Draw The Circle" and visioning a new fitness trail known as "The Path" which runs the perimeter of our 7+ Acre property.  The Path is exactly 1Km (or 0.62 miles) and is currently undeveloped.  Our vision is to develop or at least mark out the path within the next few weeks.  Then, with the help of our "Honey Dudes" men's group and possibly an Eagle Scout Project we would begin to build the trail with gravel, railroad ties, or boardwalk.  We would like to have an arched gateway off of Union Street which would welcome walkers, runners and hikers to The Path.  Longer term we would like to have 6 or 7 "prayer stations" displaying favorite Bible verses of the congregation.  We might even have "fitness stations" for chin-ups, push-ups, etc.  We would love to have the Westfield Cross Country and Track teams incorporate this into their workouts.  We see this as a great outreach to our community and neighbors, and a way to get everyone "moving" in the same direction at Christ UMC. 

I've now completed 4 loops on The Path with a different group of friends each time.  Want to join me?  If you are interested, please feel free to contact me or just come take a hike and do a prayer walk on your own.

Looking forward to a warmer (and more dry) Spring!


Barefoot Dan
(February mileage = 72.0 miles)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Brrrrr! Cold January!

Hello Barefooters,

Well, hopefully everyone is surviving this cold winter weather!

January Headlamp Run
I've been taking multiple days off in a row due to the extended cold snaps here in Indiana.  Lately it has moderated just a little bit and I have actually been able to get in some runs.  For the month of January, I was able to run on 16 days which is pretty remarkable considering how cold and snowy it has been.  The warmest run was 54 degrees and the coldest was 23 degrees (just yesterday).  I have had to change to afternoon runs in order to get the warmest part of the day and have shortened some of the runs considerably.  The longest run for the month was 11.43 miles and the shortest was only 0.51 miles. 

Also, on more than one occasion I actually walked out my icy/snowy driveway in shoes and then stuffed my shoes in the mailbox once I reached the road and started my route.  This allowed me to complete a somewhat dry run without freezing my feet for the first and last 0.06 miles!  As I tell many people, the key to cold weather running is to avoid the moisture at all costs.  This is a pretty difficult proposition in Indiana when you may not see the sun for weeks at a time.  The other side of that coin is that once the precipitation comes through, the temperatures usually rise to "around freezing" so it's almost a Catch-22...it's finally warming up...but now it's wet again, argh!! 

The other difficulty, especially this winter is the amount of salt the road crews are putting down on these surfaces.  As I like to call it:  "Meat Tenderizer!"  This not only irritates the skin on your feet, it also eats up the road itself.  And the pot-holes are continuing to get bigger as the roads crumble with each successive freeze and thaw.  Some sections on Anthony Road, I feel like I'm running on a gravel road!

But alas, there are still some good days to run and I am enjoying the much needed rest on my many "off" days.  Hopefully the weather will continue to moderate and I can get back to some higher mileages in the next few weeks.

Happy Winter Running All!

Barefoot Dan

January Mileage = 77.5 miles

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Miles in 2017

Happy New Year Barefooters,

December running keeps the mileage low.
I'm resting now and enjoying the colder temps to take a break from the higher mileages.  I've enjoyed the month of December and was able to time out my runs to still achieve my overall annual goal of 2000 miles and still not run in any of the super cold temps.  In Indiana, along with the rest of the nation, the temps have been anything but "barefoot friendly."  I was lucky enough to find a sunny window this past Thursday to get in a 17 degree 6.34 mile run to hit my mileage goal for the year >>> 2017 miles in 2017!!!!

The difficult thing with these winter runs is to find enough dry pavement and low wind to avoid frostbite.  In this case I actually drove to a nearby subdivision (something I rarely do) in order to run directly from my car on dry pavement without stepping in slush, water or ice and still get in the 6 miler.

This was actually the lowest total annual mileage in the past four years but I was very happy to get over 2000 once again.  Of course this was a secondary goal to the main goal of completing my 50Sub4 Quest which I did back in November.  I was also blessed in November to achieve a new Barefoot PR in the Half Marathon of 1:44:40...not that fast really, but of course, a BPR is a BPR!!

Other great barefoot accomplishments for the year included running barefoot in 7 different countries and 3 new ones:  Mexico, Belize and Indonesia.  And at least four new barefoot states of Florida, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Nevada.  I also got in two 300+ mile months in both August and October.  I also complete my longest section of the Appalachian trail completely barefoot with over 50 miles in September.

I've now run over 2000 miles barefoot each of the last 4 years and still continue to run more miles each year barefoot than I ever ran with shoes.  Hmm...there may be something to this barefoot thing!!!

As far as totals, I've now run 11,240 miles barefoot in my life of a total of 34,818 overall miles giving me a barefoot percentage of 32.3%.  This means I've now run around the world about 1.4 times and about a third of it barefoot!

I know it all sounds like bragging, but...

I must give all the glory to God and thank Him once again for the amazing healing powers of this body He gave me.  It is truly amazing what can be accomplished when you take only what God provides, one day at a time.

Happy Winter Running Barefooters and

Have a Happy and Prosperous 2018,

Barefoot Dan

December Miles = 82.28 miles
2017 Mileage = 2017.00 miles

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Two Early Christmas Presents!

Merry Christmas Barefooters,
(a little early I know!)

New Half Marathon BPR
November was a great month for some early Christmas presents!  I received both a new BPR (Barefoot Personal Record) in the Half Marathon and finally achieved induction into the 50Sub4 Marathon Club after an 8 year quest.  Also, in between these two gifts, I got in some excellent European runs while on a business trip mid month to Germany and Austria.

The month began with the Indianapolis Half Marathon on Nov. 5 with my team the CUMC Running Angels.  We were running once again to raise money for World Vision to provide clean water to African communities.  This was our second year as a team and was also my third time for the event.  However, this was the first time I ran the Half Marathon instead of the Full.  I decided after last year's thrashing in the Full Marathon I would limit it to the Half and later also to use it as a tune up run for my full marathon at the end of the month.  The weather was absolutely perfect with dry conditions and 44 degrees at the start. 

I ran with headband and gloves and it turned out to be good decision.  I never felt overly warm but stayed comfortable the entire race.  I got many comments as always on the barefoot thing but kept the conversations short and did my best to keep my head in the game.  I got early on into a pretty solid 7:50 pace and basically stayed there the entire race.  I hit some rougher pavement around miles 8-10 but still pretty much stayed on pace. 

I knew as long as I kept my average below 8:08 I could get a PR and as it turned out that was not hard to do at all.  This was definitely a "Good Day" since PRs, even BPRs, have not been that easy to achieve in the past!  As I was the first one in our group done, I hit the massage tent before going back to the World Vision Team tent.  Once there the participants get announced and welcomed into the tent by stating how many people they provided water for.  My total this year was $1125 so 22 people were served...THANK YOU ALL FOR THE DONATIONS!!  Then I enjoyed the unlimited Donato's pizza and waited for my team-mates who began coming in one by one.  Pretty much everybody had a good day and we celebrated a post pizza party with a trip to Westfield for another breakfast!

Then about 24 hours later I jumped on a plane and flew to Europe for a 10-day 3-location 2-country business trip.  I arrived early Monday morning, rented a car and drove to Munich Olympic Park for a nice "knock-out-the-jetlag" run in the misty rain.  I had to wait for two more co-workers to land and then we drove up to Regensburg.  We stayed there two days where I got in a bridge run each morning.  On Wednesday we flew over to Warstein area and each of those two mornings I got in runs both to and around the local lake in Mohnesee.  After that, we flew back to Munich were we stayed the weekend and I got a nice Saturday "long" run around the Isar River in downtown Munich.  Not a big fan of Munich as I stepped on a broken beer bottle and pulled at least two pieces of glass out of the right foot. 
On Sunday we drove to Austria and upon arriving in Villach I met my friend Anthony for a quick run on the Drau River path before sundown.  Anthony used to live in Livonia MI and I've run with him there but now has relocated to Villach so I always have a running buddy there now too!  The next morning it began snowing early so I got in a snow headlamp run on the same path before the workday began.  I also got to experience "thunder snow" which was a first although I never saw any lightning.  We then travelled back to the Munich area and I got in a run in Unterhaching prior to my flight back on Tuesday. 
After Dinner in Cocoa Village

Once back in Indiana I got in a few pre-Thanksgiving runs and tapered for the Space Coast Marathon on Nov. 26.  I flew down to Florida the day before the race and Earl the Pearl (Earl Strong) picked me up at the airport.  We went to his daughter Brittany's house in Titusville and visited with family before going to the packet pickup in Cocoa Village.  We had a nice dinner with Earl's family and then made our way to the hotel for the night in Cocoa Beach.

Cocoa Village FL
The next morning Earl and I boarded the 5am bus for Cocoa Village and got ready for the 6:30 am start.  The half marathon started at 6am but on the other half of the course so that "thinned the herd" significantly prior to the marathon start.  The roads were very smooth on the first half of the race and a little bit rougher on the second half.  But even though it was rougher AND hotter on the second half there was absolutely no way I was going to miss my 4 hour marathon and fail at FL for the 3rd time this year!!  I went out with the 3:55 pace group led by Scott from Miami (originally Edinburgh Scotland) and hung with the group for the first 2 miles.
3:55 Pace Group at the Start
Space Coast Marathon -Packet Pick Up
  However, it was remaining pretty congested in the group and as a barefoot runner I need to be able to see the road and move side-to-side as needed.  So I ran ahead of the group starting at the 2.5 mile mark.  I dropped my pace down to a pretty consistent 8:40 from the groups 8:58 pace and got ahead of them by about 2 minutes at the turn (approx. 6.5 miles)  I held that pace through the first 15 miles or so and then started paying back the bank...not a good strategy for making a good time, but I have played this game many times before and was hoping not to give back to much time.  My miles slipped above the 9 minute pace at around 17 miles but I kept doing the math and didn't let myself slow too much.  At mile 24 Scott and his now much smaller 3:55 pace group came along and encouraged me to hang with them for as long as I could.  I said "Sure, just don't get more than 5 minutes ahead of me!"  I ran a faster mile 25 with them () but then let them go and ran a slower mile 26 () but just fast enough to still pull out a 3:55:53 finish.  I was VERY happy and so glad to finally capture this elusive State of Florida and complete the 50Sub4 quest.
Scott - 3:55 Pacer
I hung out at the massage tent, by way of the beer tent, and relaxed for about an hour until Earl came in.  We snapped a few pics in the heat and made our way back to the bus to get to the hotel and get cleaned up.  We took a quick stroll on the beach before going out for one last meal before he took me to the airport for my evening flight out. 

50Sub4 Finisher Shirt!
Once back to work I submitted my times and photos to the 50Sub4 Club and by Wed. got the notification that I was accepted into the club as the 101st member.  I knew that I missed the top 100 as I would have been the 92nd member had I completed the circuit at Disney back in January.  Oh well...I kind of like the 101 number!  Thank you God for the amazing healing powers of this body and for these early Christmas Gifts of running accomplishments.

Everyone enjoy your December, some time off and some cooler barefoot runs!

God Bless You All,

Barefoot Dan

(November Mileage = 145.71miles)

Getting Hot After the Race\

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!...Warm Weather is Over

Where did the Indian Summer go?

OK Barefooters...time to get real.  It looks like the extended, nice dry 50s and 60s are gone and it's back to normal Fall-like temperatures.  I always cringe this time of year when I have to transition from running in just shorts each morning to taking time to figure out the right combination of headband, gloves (or mittens), shirt (short or long sleeve), tights (or shorts) and maybe even a jacket...Argh!!...too much to think about so early in the morning.  The other thing I dread is the "never quite dry" pavement which seems like even if it didn't just rain overnight, is always still kind of damp.

As barefooters, we know that the moisture is the main factor in how many miles you can do, depending on your fitness level and ability to withstand the cold (come on mitochondria, fire up!!)  Still, it's nice to know the REALLY cold stuff is still a couple months away (hopefully!) so we can use this time to shorten up our distances and get our bodies and minds ready for the truly nasty and cold (but hopefully not dangerous) stuff coming our way.

Glass in Foot - Oct 11
However, over the past month, I've been able to keep up my high mileage and have continued piling up miles in the quest to get back on pace for a 2000+ mile year.  After still being behind on that goal at the start of the month, I'm happy to report being about a hundred miles ahead of the goal with weekly mileages in October of 76, 66, 72 and 67 to try and stay ahead of the curve with cold weather and some upcoming travel expected in November.  I finished up the month with a nice cold 14 miler on Halloween to finish off another 300 mile month.


Felt Good to Get It Out!
One minor set-back happened on October 11 when on one of those cold damp mornings I picked up a piece of glass in my left foot as I changed my route back to one of my shorter North routes.  I think I picked up the glass somewhere around the recycling place (junkyard) on 226th Street and Hwy 31.  It's difficult to see glass when the pavement is wet because everything looks shiny.  I knew it almost immediately when it happened but was able to run back on it (about 2.5 more miles).  Then the next day, I tried unsuccessfully to get the glass out before my 12 mile run, but did manage to work it out with a needle later that afternoon.  Here is a picture of what I dug out...it felt much better afterwards.

Rob Jones Journey - 31 Marathons in 31 Days in 31 Cities!
The highlight of the month was on Friday of the next week, I returned early in the morning from a MI business trip to run with Rob Jones at the downtown Indy Firestation on 10th street.  Check out his story at robjonesjourney.com for more info.  Rob is running 31 marathons in 31 days in 31 different cities...oh yes, and did I forget to mention, he is a double amputee! 
I ran with Rob on the 3rd of 4 sections of his run that day, about 5.4 miles.  He stops for about 20 minutes in between each loop, starts at 7am each morning and tries to be on the road in his RV to the next location each day by 2pm.  He is travelling with his wife Pam (a gold medal Olympian herself from Great Britain) his mom who is also his masseuse and another buddy who doubles as photographer and driver.  It was truly a blessing to be a part of Rob's run and help him raise awareness and money for our wounded veterans.

Next month I will have two races:  the Indy Monumental Half Marathon on Nov. 4 and the Space Coast Marathon on Nov. 26, so this "may" be a lower mileage month as I also have business trips to Germany, Austria and Michigan in between the two races.  As always, with the mileage and with the weather...I'll see what God provides.

Blessings to All,

Barefoot Dan

October Mileage =  300.34 miles

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Barefoot AT Hike - Fontana Dam to NOC

Hello Barefooters,

Fontana Dam NC in the Rain
4 Amigos at the Start
Wow, where did September go?  It was a very busy and fun month.  I started off with a quick two day business trip to CA which included a nice barefoot run in San Jose.  I came back that weekend to get ready for my two week trip on the Appalachian Trail.  I left on Monday and drove down to Fontana Dam in the remnants of Hurricane Irma.  I did a barefoot walk across the dam and back, and then went to meet my hiking buddies (Steve Walker, Bill Johnston and Bill Schulke) at the Fontana Dam Shelter (aka the Fontana Hilton).  Shortly after arriving and sitting by the campfire, we witnessed a loud Crrrrr-ACK and looked up to see a large tree falling just 75 yards from the shelter...although it was down the hill, and not dangerous from our position, this would be an omen of what was to come for the next week of walking in the woods...Many downed trees and branches to hike over, around and through!

"Pack Off" break on the trail
Barefoot on the AT
It rained pretty consistently through that first night in the shelter, but began to clear up nicely as we started our 29 mile, 5 day hike from Fontana Dam to NOC (that's Nantahala Outdoor Center) and yes, I went barefoot.  My thought was to switch to sandals as needed...and as it turned out, I never unclipped them from my backpack the entire week.  As hikes go, this was actually a fairly easy schedule, hiking only 6 or 7 miles per day, although some of the elevation changes were extreme.  This was the perfect opportunity for me to try barefoot hiking once again, while I had done some sections in Virginia this way a few years ago, that time I only went for a mile or so and then had put my shoes back on as we were trying to do 12 mile days on that trip. 
Barefoot Coffee Break

Bill Johnston
This time was different.  With lower mileage goals, I took it slow, and did a full "pack off" break each hour, moving about 1 mile an hour on average.  This pace allowed for good careful foot placement as I walked.  And there were many things to avoid.  Of course the usual rocks and roots, but now with the wind damage there were MANY acorns on the trail along with downed leaves, branches and whole trees.  The acorns liked to hide under the freshly fallen green leaves and found my arches over and over again.  But again, slow careful foot placement was the key whether going up or down the mountains.

Hurricane Irma wind damage on AT
Tent Under the Laurels
We camped in the shelters the first two nights and after that I broke out the tent...mainly because that third night there was no shelter, but after that I used the tent every night since I remembered how easy it was to set up.  No sense carrying it if I wasn't going to use it.  Backpacking is all about conserving weight in the pack.  It's nice as you go along day after day, literally "Eating your load" and the pack weight keeps getting less and less.  I start with a roughly 35 pound pack which allows for full tent, sleeping bag, cooking system, 5 days of food and oh, 1 pound of unused sandals!  This time I also experimented with a reduced sleeping pad.  Instead of the traditional roll out/blow up Thermorest pad, I used the backpack frame pad integral to my borrowed First Ascent pack.  This pad is part of the backpack frame, but is Velcro removable and can be used as a camp seat as well as unfolded at night to make a half sleeping pad.  It's not quite as comfortable as a full pad, especially on the hard floors of the shelters, but worked very well when using the tent and saved about 2 pounds (and lots of space) in the pack.
The Motley Crew Ready for Kayaking

After 2 days, one hiker (nameless) got injured (rolled ankle) and opted to leave the trail with another of our 4 at Stecoah Gap while Bill J and I marched on toward the NOC.  We stayed together more than previously now that the group was thinned by 50% but we still separated on the trail each day...no matter who you a hiking with, it usually turns into a solitary effort for most of the trail.  The nice part about this is you have lots of "alone" time to think about life and get extra praying time with God.  In my case, these were mostly breath prayers, looking for help and safety with the next step or trail section.  Barefooting definitely makes my prayers more necessary and immediate as sometimes without it, I would be completely paralyzed and unable to move forward or see clearly how to get around, though or over the next obstacle in my path.  There is always a smooth part of the path...a better way forward...if we wait for Him to direct our steps.

Kayaking was Fun
We did make it to the NOC where we were met by two other Indiana hiking buddies, Paul Peak and Shelley Lea.  We stayed at the Ash Cabin for week two, which was a nice change of pace from the trail.  We played golf one day at Smoky Mountain Golf Course and rented inflatable kayaks another day for a 4 hour "Class 2" (yeah right) float trip back to the NOC.  On Wednesday and Thursday, Shelley and I hit the trail Southbound from NOC to Wesser Bald Shelter...5.5 miles out + one overnight + 5.5 miles back.  For this 11 mile adventure, I did use my new Merrill hiking shoes...I figured I paid for them I might as well use them while I'm here (but I think I still prefer barefoot if I can go slow and at my own pace)  Paul Peak joined us each day for the 1 to 2 mile section closest to the NOC.  He was a sight for sore eyes on day 2 as he was carrying a beer cooler back pack which made the last two miles SO much more enjoyable.

As far as running, I took a big ZERO for the first week of the AT experience but did get in a couple of runs in week two along the somewhat dangerous Hwy 74 leading into and out of the NOC. 
Shelley, Paul, and Dan - week 2

The last week of the month was spent up in Traverse City Michigan with my work collegues on a team building exercise where at one point we built a Rube-Goldberg machine with 22 people, 7 teams and 35 individual motions...it was a neat experience.  The weather was nice in upper MI and I got in a barefoot run each morning, one with my collegue and new running buddy Ravi on the first day of the conference.  The last day I went long and ran straight up and back on MI-22 for a nice 14 miler.

BCHS Class of 1982 (26 of 145)
Now I'm down in Seymour IN at my step-mom Helen's house where I got to come and enjoy my 35th High School Reunion last night in Brownstown IN.  John Nichols and I met for golf at our local course Hickory Hills in Brownstown and then we met up with 26 classmates last night for the party.  It was so good to see everyone and reconnect.  Our class is fairly good about doing this every 5 years or so and I'm always amazed at the diversity in the students of BCHS and where they've all ended up over the years...of course in a class of 145, there are still many we don't know what happened to, or where they are, but FaceBook has helped us stay connected for this one.

I'm hoping the nice weather continues in October and I can get back on pace for another 2000 mile year.  We'll see what God provides. 

Stay Safe and Enjoy the Fall Weather!

Barefoot Dan

September Mileage (running only/not counting hiking miles = 191.8 miles)