Favorite Pastime - Resting!

Favorite Pastime - Resting!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year! - 44 Mile Week

Happy New Year Barefoot Runners,
I hope everyone had as nice a week as I did.  I am truly blessed and it was great to be off work for the entire week!  I had my highest mileage week since I started barefooting and my longest barefoot run ever this week -- 11 miles.  The daily breakdown for the week is as follows:

TUE0.250:03:190:13:1633BAREFOOT - Ouch! Turned around.
TUE6.150:57:220:09:2033in Vibrams
WED6.651:01:070:09:1126in Vibrams
FRI7.051:01:120:08:4146in Vibrams
SAT5.160:46:070:08:5637in Vibrams
The two barefoot days were relatively dry (not counting short slushy run on Tues) and as a result these were my 2 longest runs of the week.  The feet felt really good on both of these barefoot days, although I did sort of develop and then re-aggravate a blood blister on the ball of the left foot.  It still looks pretty bad but doesn't hurt (and it didn't pop, thank goodness).  On the 11 mile run I actually carried my Vibrams in my jacket pockets just in case I got into trouble.  It was nice to have them (psychologically) although I didn't feel the need to use them.  This was a particularly long route down Hwy 38 all the way to the South Harbour Fire Station and then back up through South and West Harbour subdivisions.  The roads in these sub divisions were very rough and weren't exactly dry as they had been snow covered just 48 hours prior.  All in all it was a great test of the feet and I felt very fortunate to hit 11 miles by the end of my first year barefooting!
The other days I used the Vibrams as it was either snowy (Tues) or rainy (Fri) or just wet. 
Even though I hated using the Vibrams, I do love the fact that I'm still able to run on these "bad weather" days and keep up the cardio.  And I really needed them for warmth in the slushy snow on Tuesday morning.  I also appreciate the tread on the bottom of my my particular brand of Vibrams (KSO TrekSport) for extra traction on the snowy hills, etc. 

Once again, thanks to my Garmin 405CX I was able to run 7 completely different routes in each of my 7 runs.  I really think the Garmin motivated me to go longer three different times this week and helped push me to the 44 mile total (incidently, this is my longest week of the year since early Jan 2011.)  It had been a particularly low mileage year even in shoes, prior to starting the barefoot thing in Mid July.  My total annual mileage is 839 miles (lowest since 1995!) while my Barefoot Mileage is 202 and my Vibram Mileage is 70.  The first half of the year was shod but only 560 miles or so, due to hip and hamstring injuries (now completely healed thanks to barefooting!)
Overall this has been a great "start" at barefooting and thanks to the mild winter so far, I've been able to steadily increase my mileage and start going back-to-back instead of skipping days.
Weekly Overall Mileage = 44 miles
Weekly Barefoot Mileage = 19 miles

Stay Safe Out There This Winter Barefooters!
(...because the colder weather is coming!)

(BF) Dan Lutes

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Barefooters! - 5 New Routes in 5 Days - 28 Miles

Merry Christmas Barefooters!
I'm loving this "warm" December.  I ran 5 times this week and ran a different route each day (thanks to the Garmin).  Only used the Vibrams once and that was for my long run on Wed. which was around the Bear Slide Golf Course for a total of 11.5 miles.  I probably should have used the Vibrams a 2nd day on the Thursday out and back to MacGregor Park but went barefoot even though it was kindof wet for that 3.8 miler.  I don't mind going barefoot in the wet, as long as I know it will be a short route. 
The lowest temperature I ran in all week was today, Saturday, which was 32 degrees but it was Sunny and actually kind of felt warm.  Maybe because it was Christmas Eve!  It was a great run out to Flippins Road and then, since I was feeling so good, an unplanned out and back heading south on Anthony road.  The feet felt great even though it was cold and this had been a "high mileage" week already.  Today's 5 miler was a great way to cap off a 28 mile week.  This was my biggest week yet although the long run was in the Vibrams.  By the way, that is also the longest run yet in the Vibrams.  The other nice thing is that I started pulling the pace down, turning in a 9:14 on the barefoot 6 miler on Mon, an 8:42 for the Vibram 11.5mi on Wed. and another 8:42 for the barefoot 3.9mi on Thurs.  I am looking forward to being off work next week and getting in some good runs in some beautiful weather.  So far, the weather forecast shows dry, sunny and highs in the 40s...you gotta love a mild December in Indiana!!
Merry Christmas to All,
(BF) Dan Lutes

Total Miles for Week = 27.9 Miles (16.4 Barefoot, 11.5 in Vibrams)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Barefoot in December!

Hello Barefooters,
So far this has been a great December for barefoot running in Indiana.  Temps have been staying in the upper 20s and 30s and we have had several sunny days.  As you know, moisture is the barefoot runners enemy, so I have really appreciated the few sunny days we have had to both warm and dry out the pavement.  I've also been having a blast using my new Garmin 405CX which has encouraged me to go on some longer routes and even go off and discover some new ones.  It is amazing how easy it is as a runner to get into a rut of running the same routes OVER and OVER again!  The Garmin automatically maps out my route on my laptop when I get back so it's great to try new routes just to see how they will look on the map! 
Here is an example of my 10 mile route I ran this past Wednesday.  Also graphed are elevation (green) and speed (blue).  So far I'm really happy with my purchase.  This was a Cyber Monday buy and I got it for only $150!  I had always held off buying a running GPS thinking that I liked the freedom of NOT having all the "infrastructure" and hassle of the GPS and connection to computer, etc.  I like the idea of just getting up and going on the run first thing in the morning...the simplicity of it all.  But this Garmin makes it even simpler, and now I can just go for a run without worrying about staying on a pre-measured course.  And in the case of travelling, I can just get up and go and this model even helps me get back to the hotel if I get lost (if will give "turn by turn" directions to "return to start").  I haven't explored half the features yet, but I'm definitely having fun playing with my new toy!  The breakdown for the week is as follows:  Monday= 6, Wednesday=10 (in Vibrams), Thursday=1, Friday=4.8, Saturday=1.5, both Monday and Friday were dry/sunny so I went barefoot even though it was 32 degrees both days.  The Wed and Thurs runs were wet/rainy (but in the 50s) so I used the Vibrams on Wed and went short (although barefoot) on Thurs.  It was interesting to look at the bottom of the Vibrams after using them and finding several different sized "pebbles" stuck in the treads.
Here is a photo of the collection of "stuff."  I guess this is what always sticks to my feet when they get wet, so I do appreciate the Vibrams in the wintertime.  Now by far the most interesting run of the week was on Saturday.  I was up visiting the in-laws in northern Indiana and we recieved an un-expected half inch of powdery snow this morning.  Since I had already planned to do a short recovery run that day, and hadn't brought along the Vibrams, I decided what the heck and GO BAREFOOT IN THE SNOW!  It was 28 degrees with almost no wind and a fine powder of snow still falling.  It turned out to be really fun.  I fired up the Garmin and went on a 1.5 mile run out on the shoulder of Hwy 120 down to Camp Lutherwald and then turned into their entryway a couple hundred yards before turning back toward the house.  Believe it or not, the feet felt pretty good.  Even though they started to numb a little, I never completely lost the feeling in my soles and could actually still feel the small rocks, especially in the snow covered gravel driveway of Camp Lutherwald.  The Hwy 120 shoulder felt great since it was a very smooth surface, made even softer by the thin covering of snow.  I got back to the house and felt like I could have gone another half mile or so but decided I should just call it quits and enjoy my "triumph" over the snow.  I came back inside and warmed the feet while playing around with the Garmin, downloading the data and showing off the new toy to my brother-in-law John.  I'm definitely looking forward to some more snowy runs this winter although still not looking forward to the much colder temperatures ahead.  Well, everyone be careful out there and stay safe with your winter running.  Enjoy the challenges ahead! 

Happy Barefooting,
(Barefoot) Dan

Total Miles for Week = 23.3 Miles, (10 in Vibrams and 13.3 Barefoot)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stonehenge - Barefoot!

Hello Barefooters,
Well the trip to the UK went well.  I went barefoot for the first night I got there (last Thurs) but only went 1 mile.  The sore spot was better, but the pavement was all wet and littered with small pebbles and sticks.  I decided then and there to switch over to the Vibrams for all the rest of my runs on that trip.  I got to visit Bath, Stonehenge, and Lands End over the weekend.
On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday this week I ran an out-and-back 5 miler from the hotel each morning before work.  The route is along a busy road and the path goes from pavement to gravel and is littered with a lot of sticks and vines.  This coupled with the fact that the runs were all in the dark necessitated the use of the Vibrams.  But it was nice to put in some speed and not worry about the wet surfaces.  Believe it or not the Vibrams actually started giving me blisters on the back of my heels where the upper heel cup squares off.  Other that that the Vibrams were really comfortable and 15 miles on back-to-back-to-back days was a first. 
The weather was nice ranging from 39F to 45F with a little wind and rain mixed in.  So when I got back to the states, I put in a nice 6 miler on Friday (still in the Vibrams) and continued to enjoy the increased speed.  Today, Saturday, I went out and did a true barefoot one mile in the 25 degree Indiana weather.  It was my coldest run yet and a good test of the healing feet.  I could have gone longer but decided to stop and call it a week.  Didn't need any more meatball pictures (oh and thank you all for your concern!!  couldn't believe all the comments I got on the last posting...believe it or not, it wasn't as bad as it looked)
The other nice thing about today's run is that I got to try out my new toy...Garmin Forerunner 405CX, an early Christmas present to myself!  This "watch" tracked my entire run and downloaded it wirelessly to my computer where I could see my avg. speed, heart rate, and even elevation gain/loss all on it's own little web page.  It's quite impressive.  I guess now that I'm not spending any money on shoes, I can spend more on my watch...what is wrong with this picture?!  Oh well, it may give me some more motivation to get out and brave the cold this winter...still not looking forward to those super cold Jan/Feb mornings...Brrr!!

Happy Barefooting All,
(BF) Dan

Feel like I have to leave the "BF" in parenthesis until I shed the Vibrams again!

Total barefoot miles last week = 5.1 miles
Total miles this week = 22 miles (21 in Vibrams!)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

MEATBALL !!! -- Why did I run again so soon?!!!!

OUCH - That was dumb.  Why did I run again so soon.  Last Friday's run up in Howe IN kind of did me in but by Monday afternoon I was looking at the weather map and thinking that the foot didn't feel too bad.  And acutally it didn't feel bad at all and I was kind of amazed at how the skin had completely healed and there was no residual pain...after all it had been a whole 72 hours since I was bleeding.  God has given us amazing healing power in our feet (and our whole body for that matter).  I decided to go out when it was about 39 degrees (and dry) to get ahead of the incoming snow.  My route gave me the choice of a half mile, a one mile, a 3.1 mile or a 4.2 mile total.  I checked the feet 3 different times (at .5, 1.0, 1.6) and everything looked (and felt fine).  So I went for the whole 4.2 and decided to check again at about the 3 mile point. 
Uh-oh.  At 3 miles I started to see a little "pink" on the healing wound and the weird part was that the OUTSIDE of my foot was hurting/burning again...kindof like last Friday.  I surmised again that with the outside edge of my foot hurting I was changing my gait and putting new pressure on the ball of the foot and leading to another blister on top of blister.  The pavement was still a little wet in spots too, which may not have helped either.  I decided to just grin and bear it and actually kind of pickep up my pace on the last mile.  But when I got back after 4.2  miles, it was brutal....I had to take a photo and didn't even bother to brush the leaf off my foot.  (I think it would have hurt to much to wipe my feet anyway.)  Of course I did soak in an ice bath after and then hit the hot tub.  Even though the foot felt even worse than Friday, I felt okay about it knowing it would heal quickly.  And I did stay ahead of the approx. 2 inch snow we had the next day.  Now it's Wednesday and I'm sitting in the Boston airport on my 4 hour layover on the way to London.  The foot feels pretty good today, 48 hours later, but I would definitely not be up for a run today.  Looking forward to sleeping on the plane and maybe getting in a short run in Wales on Friday or Saturday.  Yes, I did bring the Vibram 5-Fingers since I know the weather forecast is cold and rainy for the whole time I'm there.  I also know my running routes from the hotel and much of it is trail or road with some gravel sections, so not really conducive to barefooting.  But we'll see!
Happy Barefooting!
BF Dan

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sandpaper Run - Ouch!

Happy Turkey Day Weekend Barefooters!
Well this week started out good but finished with a fizzle.  Monday was a good 4.2 mile run in the late afternoon and almost ended in the dark...still not used to the short days and the daylight savings double whammy.  On Wed., I went a little earlier than normal and ran on semi-wet roads in order to do the Thanksgiving travelling later in the afternoon.  I had noted a small abrasion on the ball of the left foot from the Monday run, but it "seemed" to be okay after the Wed. run and figured I would have another 48+ hours to recover before my holiday weekend run.  Well, Thursday (Thanksgiving) came and went and I enjoyed the time off and letting the feet rest.  Then, on Friday, after the temps started to rise to the mid 40s, I went for a mid-morning run so the afternoon could be left open for any Black Friday shopping (albeit Shipshewanna style).  I was at the in-laws in Howe, IN so decided to do my normal run on the "Lake Road loop."  The loop is a 1.7mile triangle which is basically divided into thirds.  The first leg is on Hwy 120 and is exceptionally smooth.  The 2nd leg is a county road heading south and the surface is consistent, although somewhat "sharp" asphalt with some "shiny" rocks which resemble cinders.  The 3rd leg is the actual Lake Road portion which is an older asphalt section with many small pebbles, and sand strew across the irregular, frequently cracked surface.  While each section is about .6miles long, the 2nd and 3rd sections are MUCH rougher than I'm used to.  I originally had decided to run either 2 or 3 loops which would have been 3.4 or 5.1 miles. 
Once I got about halfway through the first loop, I thought about just calling it quits after one loop since everything seemed so uncomfortable.  But of course, I talked myself into a 2nd loop and then thought maybe I'd be able to do another 2 loops the next day before heading back home.  But this was a big mistake.  On the second loop I started to feel a lot of discomfort on the outside of the left foot and must have changed my landing enough to put additional pressure on the ball of the left foot.  Before long I was back on the "sandpaper" Lake Road section and the ball of the left foot felt like I had a rock stuck on it, which often happens on semi-wet pavement.  I stopped to brush it off and OUCH, I saw a bright red spot on the very bottom of the ball of the left foot.  How could I have gotten a blister that fast AND already popped it on the same run?!?  This was the first time I had ever seen blood after almost 4 months of barefoot running!  While I have had several blisters (even blood blisters) i had never popped one on the same run and again, never seen blood during (or after) a run.  I gingerly ran (limped) the next rocky half mile back to the house and jumped into the shower, being careful not to leave bloody footprints on my mother-in-law's beige carpet.  OUCH! Was that ever a painful shower!  And the shopping and walking around Shipshewanna later that day was downright painful.  Another first:  only time I've ever put on a bandaid on my foot since I started barefooting...very disappointing.  Today (Saturday) the foot is still very tender...no way to run on it today.  We travelled back home and enjoyed time with the kids, putting up the Christmas tree and "decking the halls."  Next week I will travel to the UK (Newport, Wales) on business where I had hoped to get in a few good runs...but now I think I just may take the time off and heal up.  I will throw in the Vibrams since it will be a long trip with NO running whatsoever.  But Vibrams after 4 months in the barefeet may feel like a total "throwing in of the towel."  Not sure I could do that either...we'll have to see how the feet feel and how the typically cold, wet November/December UK weather pans out.  Oh well, barefooters have to put up with some setbacks and this is my first major one...
Talk to you all in another week,  or two!
BF Dan
Total Barefoot Miles for the Week = 11.8 Miles

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cool Running in November

Hello Barefooters!
Another great week barefooting.  Even though it's getting cooler I still haven't had to resort to putting back on the Vibrams...still wearing just my "birthday feet!"  This past week I actually had four sessions:  6 miles on Monday, 3.1 miles on Wednesday, 4.3 miles on Friday, and another 3.1 miles on Saturday.  It was nice to do a Fri-Sat back-to-back and the feet still felt great even with the short recovery time.  The blisters from a couple weeks ago haven't returned.  I've been spending more time concentrating on the soft landing and I think that has really helped.  Hoping the cold weather continues to stay away...I like the 30s and 40s!  Okay, short post this week.  Everyone enjoy your Tryptophan this week and get in a good barefoot run after the turkey.
Happy Thanksgiving!
BF Dan
Barefoot Miles for the Week = 16.4 Miles

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Light Week

Well, I didn't do much this week but did get in a couple of runs.  On Tuesday evening I went out for a run and said loudly as I went out, "Anyone want to go with me?"  My 11 year old Megan decided that she would go but opted to wear shoes when I told her we were going for at least 3.1 and possible 5 depending on how we felt.  She hung in there but when we got to the decision point at about 1.5 miles she opted for the shorter route.  I wasn't that disappointed since we were keeping a slower pace anyway.  We stopped three different times to catch our breath (at 1.5, 2.5 and 2.9) and ended up running our 5K in 31 minutes...exactly a 10 min pace which was a new PR for Megan.  Very nice run!  Then yeserday I waited for the temp to warm up from the 27 it start out in the morning.  When it got to 40 I went out for a 5 miler, although cut it to only 4 miles due to rough road (old chip and seal) on the 5mile route plus some sloughing blood blisters from a couple weeks ago.  The cold pavement seemed a little uncomfortable at first but then seemed to warm up a little about a half mile in.  Still nothing seemed to comfy so I was happy to get in the 4 miler.  I did a quick 2 min ice bath after and was surprised at how tender my feet were afterward.  Oh well...the life of a barefooter...still happy it's not too cold outside yet...really not looking forward to putting back on the Vibrams.
Happy running,
Barefoot Dan
Total Barefoot Miles for the Week = 7.1 Miles

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Speed is Coming Back!!!

Good Morning Barefooters,
Well, I passed another great milestone this morning.  Since it started out so cold (30 degrees) I decided to wait a couple hours before going out for my speed trial.  I had planned to start working on my speed once the cold weather arrived so I figured this was a good time to start.  I also didn't want to go too long distance wise today, since I can still see the blood blister remnants on both feet from last Saturday's 6 miler.
So I went out when the temp got up to 37, but of course the pavement was still much cooler.  I started off on my 3.1 mile loop at a fairly quick pace and it took over a mile before my feet began to "thaw out" and I had some feeling in my toes and soles.  Actually I was sort of afraid I might be doing some damage but after stopping to check at the half mile and again at the two mile point I was satisfied that the feet were holding up fine, just maybe not as sensitive as I'm used to, what with the colder pavement temperature.  I tried to really turn it on in the last mile, but attempted to stay ever mindful of the soft foot landing, the quick cadence and the slight "lean" forward to increase my speed.  With a half mile to go I ran by a large group of resting bikers who were looking on in amazement.  One gal asked me if I was having fun and I shouted "Of course, nothing like it!"  Then she yelled, "You should be doing the Monumental (Marathon in Indy today)" to which I just gave a thumbs up.  I thought, I still can't nearly do that distance, but I was really enjoying the speed finally and pushed hard though to the end.  I was really winded at the end but it felt so good to be pushing it again.  And the result:  a 5K at a 8:58 pace!!!  Sort of a new PR.  Of course it's nothing like my old speed, but it is a full 1 to 1.5 minutes faster than my normal pace barefoot.  So this was very encouraging...there may just be a future here!  Praise God!
Happy Running,
Barefoot Dan
Barefoot Miles for the Week = 6.2 miles

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Barefoot in Honduras - Are you crazy!!!

Hello Barefooters,
Sorry for the long hiatus.  I just returned from a 2 week mission trip in Talanga Honduras.  First off, let me say it was a truly amazing trip.  I travelled with World Mission Builders, with 27 people from 6 different states.  With God's providence, we completed the building project which was a 28 x 80 concrete block church building for Pastor Celeo Archaga of the Cuerpo de Cristo (Body of Christ) Christian Church.  The team worked really well together and we were even able to furnish the inside with 46 handmade pews, pulpit and communion table.  At the dedication ceremony last Wed. we had 169 in attendance and had 4 people came forward during the alter call, two of which were baptised in the new baptismal pool we had literally just filled only minutes before.
I acutally got in 4 different barefoot runs during the trip.  Each one was unique in that I had different running partners for each...no others were barefoot although I did offer.  The first run was myself and team leader Travis.  We started out from the hotel and ran out toward the main highway.  The road started out as rutted dirt with all kind of debris and then quickly changed to concrete strewn with pebbles/sand and in sections switched back to dirt or gravel.  Needless to say, this was quite a challenge for my Newbie barefeet, but they held up just fine and we got in a good 3 mile run.  It was great to get in a run in a place I wasn't sure it was possible.  A couple days later, we did another 3 miler and Trav and I took along Nick from Tennesee.  I was happy to be keeping pace with them even though I did have to slow down for a couple of rough spots.  I got lots of stares since I don't think anyone down there had ever seen a Gringo barefoot runner.  Then two days later, both of my running buddies had returned to the states, so I ran alone for the first time.  I actually picked up the pace and ran all the way to the sawmill and back for a good 4 miler.  Later that morning at the jobsite, I stepped in a ditch full of water with both feet and that turned out to be not so good.  My feet ached in my workshoes and I actually had to take my left shoe off several times during the day.  I had a hot spot on the outside ball of the left foot and actually sort of thought maybe I had some imbedded glass or a thorn or something.  I looked and looked but never could find anything and the next day it felt fine.  So then another 2 days later, I took Lucas from Arizona out for another 4 miler to the sawmill and back.  Lucas had been in Honduras for a few weeks before our team arrived and had done a few runs but never with a running partner and, of course, not a barefoot partner! 
We had a really good run and my roommate Steve snapped this picture as we returned to the hotel.  This turns out to be the only picture I've seen of myself in barefoot action and I must say I think my footstrike is just as I had been visualizing it.  I flew back last Friday and then went out at home for a 6 miler on my home course.  I'm not sure what happened but I ended up with a huge blood blister on the ball of each foot (maybe my speed was a little too quick).  This was definitely disappointing but by Wed. of the following week (today) I was able to go out for a 3.1 miler on the home course with no issue or additional damage.  The other possibility is that I had "forgotten" my good form while running on the dirt roads and with running partners in Honduras.  Regardless, these great runs in Honduras were totally worth it.  So today, during my short run, I really tried to concentrate on my foot landing and high cadence.  It really seemed to help and the feet feel fine now after a 2 minute ice bath.
Happy Barefooting, See you on the roads, Barefoot Dan Lutes

Barefoot Miles 1st week in Honduras = 6
Barefoot Miles 2nd week in Honduras = 14 (includes 6 miler back home in Indiana)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Best Barefoot Week Yet -- 24 Miles!!! (6 Mon, 8 Wed, 10 Sat.)

Hello Barefooters,
Wow, God is good!
I hope everyone had as nice a week as I did running barefoot.  I got in another 6 miler on Monday (only 48 hours after my first ever 6) and the feet felt fine.  I did have a slight couple of hot spots on the ball of each foot but nothing major.  I also noticed a slight TOFP on the right foot, which should have made me think twice about running even further on Wed. but did I?  Well, yes I did think about it and at my mile 3 point, I decided to go for my first ever 8 miler!  The feet still felt pretty good when I got back and I really enjoyed the 5 min ice bath this time.  However, I was disappointed that I was feeling the start of two small blisters after this one...but the thrill of having gone a full 8 miles did feel pretty special.  I had to take a picture of my dirty foot this time.  The TOFP was a little more noticeable now, and I was glad I wouldn't be running again until Saturday.  The full Thurs and Fri off felt good and I got a massage on Friday and was kind of amazed that the normal hamstring and ITB tenderness wasn't as prevalent as in months past. 
On Saturday morning the feet were feeling fine so I set off for a "6 maybe 10" in perfect weather.  I did my first 6 mile loop to see what the day would bring.  I was a little aprehensive since I'd done so many miles already this week, but this first loop went really well.  At the 5 mile point a large group of bikes past me with lots of smiles at the crazy barefoot runner and an "Ouch" comment from the gal in the back of the pack.  When I got back to the house, I was amazed at how good the feet felt and decided to go out for a 4 mile loop (with option to cut to 3.1).  I again re-evaluated at the decision point and although I was getting tired and the right foot "hot spot" was more noticeable, I decided to go for the whole enchilada!  The last mile was downright painful and straight into about a 15 MPH westerly headwind.  The wind combined with a couple of slight uphill sections, had the balls of both feet screaming by the time I reached the house again.  And yes, I did end up with a blister on the right foot again...for some reason my right foot isn't "learning" as fast as the left!  But I figured now was the time to push it a little, what with great weather and about a 2 week break coming.  Yes, I'm off to Honduras on Monday for a two-week mission trip with 26 others from 6 states on a church building project.  I've never been there before, so I'm not "planning" to get any runs in ...but there are several other runners on the trip so maybe I'll get in a recovery run or two. 
Now its off to MacGregor Park with Megan (my 11 year old barefooter) to do the 1.7 mile loop probably walking only and definitely with me in the Vibrams.  Talk to you all in a couple of weeks.

Happy Trails!   
Barefoot Dan Lutes

Total Barefoot Miles for the week = 24 Miles

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Beautiful Autumn Day - First 6 Miler

Hello Barefooters, today was my first ever 6 mile barefoot run and it went really well.  I came back from my Californina/Mexico business trip late yesterday so this morning I kind of slept in a little.  I had my signed copy of Barefoot Rick's book waiting for me so I read the first chapter before going out on my run.  It's really a great read and just what I needed to get me out the door and moving.  The run was absolutely effortless and I really enjoyed the great Fall weather.  I went on my normal 6 mile loop which was a first since switching over to barefoot.  I found out some of the pavement wasn't as smooth as I previously thought running it shod, but no problems, the feet held up just fine.  At about the 4 mile point, I had another runner come up behind be and say "Wow, I don't see how you do it barefoot!" and I just smiled.  What I was really thinking was "How do you do it in shoes!" because wow, you're really pounding...and I could hear him coming up behind me WAY before he caught me.  He was a bigger guy, with the IPOD in the ears and was heel striking, overstriding, and sweating his was along and my first thought after he passed me, was of how uncomfortable that looked, even though he was pulling away from me!  That is actually one of the great "secrets" of barefoot running is how quiet the foot landing is.  I nice way to think about it is to pretentd like your sneaking up behind somebody and you don't want them to hear you coming...and in a race, thats good.
I hope to keep working on distance until the cold weather sets in, and then shorten it up and work on the speed.  This 6 miler was respectable however, since I finished in 59:02 with a nice comfortable 9:50 pace.  I did an ice bath on the feet for a full 5 minutes after and then to the hot tub for some relaxation...I added another 2 min foot bath at the end.  I only have one more week before leaving on my Honduras mission trip.  Not sure how much (if any) barefoot running I'll get in on this two week trip but hopefully a little, and I hope it's not too cold when I get back to Indiana to keep working on increasing my barefoot mileage.  I also appreciated the fact that the calves are beginning to feel better both during and after the runs which seems to make it feel more natural.  I'm hoping that soon, I'll be able to go back to running every day but for now I definitely need the day off in between to get over the previous run.  Happy Barefooting Everyone!  BF Dan -- Barefoot miles for the week = 14 miles

Thursday, October 6, 2011

San Diego - Rainy Run in Old Town

Well I left the great Indaina weather behind for some rainy weather in San Diego (go figure...it never rains out here).  But I arrived yesterday afternoon and decided to brave the rare southern CA rain for a quick run from my hotel to the "Old Town" area of San Deigo.  Thinking I probably wouldn't go 5 miles again, I took off and soon found lots of different surfaces to explore, from rough concrete to smooth asphalt and everything in between ("old town" indeed!)  This area is a neat historic site with a nice walking plaza and lots of neat little shops and cool history laden older buildings.  It may have been the combination of hopping up and down on curbs and the distraction of looking around at all the cool buildings, but pretty soon my feet were getting tired so I decided to call it a day after only 3 miles....I'll save it for a longer weekend run.  It was still nice to know that I "could" have gone longer but I'm still a little paranoid running on wet surfaces.  Happy Running, BF Dan

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Milestone - 5 Miles!

Good Evening Barefooters...I'm celebrating my first 5-miler today.  The feet feel pretty good and the weather was just perfect.  I do have a couple of hot spots again on the ball of each foot near the second metatarsil.  But compared to how they have felt in the past this is real progress.  The deep bruise trauma from last Friday seems to almost have completely healed so the Traumeel must be doing the trick.  The improved foot landing is becoming more natural to me and my cadence is always above 180 when I measure it.  I have measured it as high as 220 which is usually toward the end of the run as the feet are getting a little tired and tender. Keeping the cadence up high is definitely the secret to the soft landing. I will keep increasing the distance for now and not worry about the pace which is still hovering around 10 minute miles on smooth/semi-smooth surfaces.  Once I begin to work on speed I will definitely have to cut back on distance.  But for now I'm just happy to be at the 5 mile point (finally).  Looking forward to a nice run in San Diego on Wed or Thurs this week.
Happy barefooting,
BF Dan

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Windy and Cooler Weather

Hello Barefooters.  I had another great week of barefoot running.  4 miles on Monday (my first 4 miler!), 2 miles on Wednesday (cut short due to rain), 4.2 miles Friday (hit rock hard at mile 1.5, ouch!), and 2 miles today (2 separate runs).  The first run today was with my 11 year old daughter Megan who ran it in her socks.  We ran on the Midland Trace Trail in Westfield for a quick out and back on the smooth pavement...at 37 degrees and windy, that was enough...but we had White's Donuts waiting for us back at the truck so it was worth it (great carbs!)  Then later I took a letter out to the mailbox and decided to go another mile.  It was now a little warmer (44 degrees) so the feet didn't go numb.  I was happy that the injury from the day before wasn't hurting too bad either. 
Yes, the day before I went out for my first 4.2 miler.  It was 55 and VERY windy.  But I was enjoying the run and it was challenging "pushing" against the strong northwest wind.  At 1.5 miles, without warning, I stepped on a huge rock very hard with the outside of my right foot...so hard I said "OWW" outloud...expletive deleted!  I continued to feel the pain throughout the rest of the run.  I did my normal ice bath afterward, this time 4 min, followed by the hot tub, and then another 1 min ice bath (feet only of course).  Later that night I applied some of my Traumeel that I recieved the day before and it seemed to help.  I bought the Traumeel on-line on a recommendation from Tellman (of Run Tellman Run fame) and it must have helped since I was able to run 2 miles the very next day.  As you can see, the bruise actually wraps up to the top of my foot (red cap on the Traumeel tube points to the bruise), so I have been continuing to apply it.  Overall my feet feel great, even with the deep bruise, and they feel like they're getting more muscular day by day.  It really feels good and the toes are starting to spread and feel more "alive."  I'm hoping the super cold weather holds off for a while since I'm having so much fun increasing my mileage and improving my form.  I'm getting more confident in my form as the blisters on the ball of both feet (under 2nd metatasil) have begun sloughing off with the recent rainy wet weather running, and yet no new blisters seem to be forming.  The one bad thing about this right foot bruise is that it seemed to be my right foot that was the slowest to "learn" the proper foot landing and how to fully "spread out" the pressure across the entire foot.  I'm hoping I don't start babying the outside of the right foot and begin unlearning those good lessons of proper foot landing.  I'll be travelling to CA again next week so I should get in a warmer run out there.
Anyway, please enjoy the barefoot running everboby and continue letting me know what you think by emailing me at dlutes1@irf.com or comment below and follow the blog. 
Happy Barefoot Running! 
BF Dan -- Barefoot miles for week:  12.2miles 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rainy Cross Country Run

Hellow Barefooters!  This morning I had a beautiful run with my daughter Megan on the Westfield cross country course.  We arrived early for my oldest daughter Rachel's invitational meet with 10 other schools.  It started pouring as soon as we showed up, so we got to help the coach set up the team tent in the rain.  Afterward, Megan and I took off slowly across the wet field, me barefoot and Megan shod.  Megan changed her mind about wearing shoes about 50 feet into the run and she kicked hers off and ran just in her socks!  It felt great to do a barefoot run in the pouring rain, although it began to let up almost immediately, just enough to soak everything and get the ground nice and squishy.  The temp was about 52 so the feet were sort of getting numb, but Megan kept saying she was fine, so we pushed on.  Into the woods on the pea gravel trail which felt great except for the occasional larger rock or cracked walnut shell to add to the challenge.  After crossing the wet slippery bridge, it was around the combination asphalt/gravel loop which slowed us considerably, and we stopped to check our feet for damage.  I was a little worried since I had just done a 3 miler the day before (my first "back to back" barefooter) but the feet were holding up fine even though they were cold and soaked.  To my surprise, these harder surfaces now felt really hard (and sort of uncomfortable) since earlier we had been enjoying the mud and grass.  But soon it was back across the bridge, onto a nice grassy stretch, and back through the woods to the finish.  A nice little 1.86 mile run, albeit at a pretty slow pace.  A great intro to the brand new world of barefoot cross country running!  Sarah (Megan's twin) and I did a cool down run back to the van and then all three of us made a donut run to White's Donut Shop for some well deserved carbs!  We made it back in time to cheer on big sister Rachel in her JV race where she set her new PR for the year!...so a great day for us all.  Happy running everyone, and keep enjoying that barefoot stimulation.  BF Dan  (Weekly barefoot mileage:  9.36 miles)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

City Run

Good morning barefooters!  Last night was my first barefoot city run, if you call Westfield IN a city...really more of a town.  I was hoping to get in 3 miles or so, to make up for cutting my Monday run short due to rain (only ran 1.5 miles hoping to avoid blisters) The idea was to meet my buddy Barefoot Tim at the local track and get some foot friendly running in on the rubberized surface.  But much to our disappointment the middle school football team was having a game (how dare they use their own facility!)   So for Plan B we decided to do a couple of loops through town which gave us the opportunity to experience a whole range of surfaces:  smooth asphalt, rough asphalt, concrete, pebble strewn asphalt, grass, tree debris littered concrete, and even a nice redbrick sidewalk (we liked the bricks!)  We stopped at the halfway point and checked our feet and decided to continue on for a 2nd loop.  This gave us a nice 3 miler and some great conversation along the way.  It was a fairly warm evening and we topped it off with an ice bath after...yes, I'm a dork and actually bungee'd in my two 5-gallon buckets of ice water in the bed of my S-10 pickup.  I iced for 3 min and Tim stopped after 1 min (it definitely takes some getting used to)...the icing has certainly been shortening my recovery times between runs and is minimizing the blister I'm still fighting on the ball of my right foot.  I hope to do a 3 miler tomorrow (Friday) and if possible a 1.86 on the cross country course Sat. am with one or two of my daughters.  Sitting here this morning, my feet feel "electrified"!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My first 3 miler!!

I feel blessed!  Today was my first 3 miler.  Actually went out for a 2.5 but the weather was great (52 degrees and sunny) so I went for 3.  The mini blisters which started on last two runs this week didn't seem to bother me so I'm hoping my form is getting a little better.  I'm still icing for about 3 minutes afterward which has been a real help.  I took the girls to the farmers market in Noblesville and walked around barefoot to see Mom's both and get Sarah a feather in her hair (11th birthday is tomorrow!).  Later all 5 of us walked the 1.7 mile gravel loop at MacGregor Park, although I threw on my Vibram's since I already had my mileage done for the day.  Megan ran/walked with me in her socks again -- she's becoming quite the barefooter herself.  My feet feel great, with just a slight ache on inside of my right ankle.  -- Total barefoot miles for week:  8

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Kick Off Your Shoes !!

Here is my article from the Sept. 2011 Kokomo Roadrunner Newsletter

Kick Off Your Shoes!!

Barefoot running!!…huh?!  When I first heard about it, I thought it was crazy…probably like most of you are thinking right now.  Won’t it hurt my feet?  What if I step on glass?  Don’t I need my well cushioned, motion-controlled, high $$ trainers to prevent injury?  Will I look like some homeless person running down the street?  What will my running buddies think?  Will I still be able to run high mileage or even a marathon if I switch over to bare feet?

Well, let me tell you.  I recently switched over to barefoot running and I couldn’t be happier.  I’m more excited about running right now than I’ve been in a very long time.  And yet, I’m still only running about 3 miles a week and then only at an 11 min/mile pace.  That’s right it’s a very SLOW transition.  Doesn’t sound too appealing yet, huh?  I had tried adopted the Chi Running technique a couple of years ago, which in some ways is similar, so barefoot seemed like the next logical step.  And now, my feet and legs feel great and my chronic hip/hamstring/sciatica thing finally cleared up as well.  I finally feel like I’m running the way my body was designed to run.  And really, I’m not trying to convince you to do it, but rather just tell you about my experience.

Barefoot running requires much more than simply kicking off your shoes (as the title would suggest).  It involves completely changing your running style which, depending on your current form, could be very drastic indeed.  Most of us are heel strikers and over-striders when running shod (in shoes).  When one switches to barefoot, you “automatically” begin landing on the ball of your foot first…and why, you ask…because it hurts like #@$% to land on your heel when you’re barefoot!  By running in shoes for years, our heels (and feet) have been allowed to run sloppy without “feeling” the ground as we run.  This causes us to over-stride which leads to all kinds of other problems and injuries to our knees, tendons, hips, backs, you name it.  About two-thirds of all runners will be injured each year due to poor running form which, conventional wisdom leads us to believe, is simply an over-use injury to our already injury-prone musculoskeletal system.  WRONG, when we pound the pavement, because we can, in overly padded shoes, we run with bad form and wind up hurting ourselves without knowing it, until it is too late.  We need to learn to run more gently.

With all that said, my transition to barefoot running has been anything but smooth.  I started off slowly enough (I thought) back in early May with some Vibram 5-Fingers (toe shoes) and very gradually alternated between Vibrams, barefoot, and regular trainers.  But I quickly ended up learning two of the most important acronyms of barefooting:  TMTS (Too Much Too Soon) and TOFP (Top Of Foot Pain).  I went limping into my doctor’s office, and one expensive MRI later, I had a diagnosis of “Stress Response” in the 2nd metatarsal and was told no running for 6 weeks and walking only in “very stiff soled shoes.”  I was dangerously close to believing that my initial gut reaction had been right…barefoot running is crazy and dangerous…but then, I did some research.  Duh…maybe I should have done that BEFORE I injured myself.  With my foot propped in the chair, I began to read “Born To Run” by Chris McDougall, and it changed my life.  Needless to say, this was not only a great story, but it was a real eye-opener and led me to three other books and many great websites on barefoot running.

Q:  So what was my big mistake? 
A:  I wasn’t running barefoot! 

I was running with bad form, and too far, in shoes which offered minimal or no support, and at the same time insulated my feet from feeling the ground.  This lack of feeling, allowed me to run almost completely up on the balls of my feet, without allowing my heel to gently “kiss” the ground before lift-off.  The only right way to do this transition is by truly going barefoot…that’s right, NOTHING on your feet.  If you run in Vibrams, or Nike Frees, or running sandals, then you are not, by definition, barefoot.  This is known as minimalist running, which is fine (for some), but you first need to develop your form in just your bare feet.  Then, and only then, if necessary, due to weather or other conditions, should you use the minimalist shoes.  The soles of your feet are the two best coaches you could have and they will “talk” to you.  They will hold you back and limit you from doing the wrong thing, if you “listen” to them.  And lastly, you must ramp VERY, VERY slowly.  Run only every other day in the beginning, and start with only a hundred yards or so.

I don’t have the space to lay out a training schedule here, but suffice it to say, you will significantly reduce your mileage and slow your speed in the beginning.  And slow is an understatement…you must first learn to stand (on gravel and other surfaces), and then walk, and then run.  My first week or so was spent standing in my gravel driveway before I even started walking.  But honestly, I’m happy with my one mile a day, three times a week, at my 11 minute pace.  All my time/pace/race goals are out the window right now, but I believe I will eventually meet and even surpass my previous fitness level.  But for now, no goals…I’m just enjoying running like a kid again!  And so, if you decide to give this a try, PLEASE don’t let this be the only article you read on barefoot running.  There are several great books and websites out there (email me at dlutes1@irf.com if you want more info). 

In the end, there is something really cool, and cathartic, about starting all over.  And running…simply…the way God designed us to run…barefoot.

Now at 2.5 Miles, yeah!

Hello fellow barefooters.  As I increase my mileage, I'm finding I can only go about twice a week since I need almost 3 days in between to recover.  Last week I did my first 2 miler on Monday and had to wait till Friday to run again.  We were in Gnadden Huten Ohio and the roads were VERY rough, like chip and seal but with large river rock.  I ran the 2 miler with my buddy Mike who was in shoes and graciously slowed his pace patiently while I ouched my way along.  We reached some smooth pavement finally in the middle of the run but it was very slow and I may have bruised the balls of my feet and heels slightly.  I recovered over the weekend and then did my first ever 2.5 miler on my "home course" here in Westfield IN.  I seemed to have hot spots on both feet at the 2nd metatarsil, worse on right foot.  Also a slight inside of right ankle pain.  It was difficult to walk around the first two days, but by today, Thursday, I did another 2.5 miler and it was much better.  The temp was 42 which almost felt cold at first with my toes seeming to go numb.   But as I warmed up I really started to enjoy this temperature.  I paused twice to look at my feet and examine the "hot spots" from Mondays run.  I continued on and now feel fine on left foot but right foot does have a slight blister on the ball under my 2nd metatarsil.  Both feel much better after the run this time and I am continue the 2.5 min ice bath after each run when possible.  Also I did get my first barefoot article published this week in the Club Kokomo Roadrunner newsletter so I will do a second post and show it.  Happy Running, BF Dan

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day 2011

Okay, first day blogging.  Yesterday's run was my first barefoot 2 miler and it went really well at the time.  Although today the balls of both feet are tender (like start of a blister) under both 2nd toe/metatarsil.  Icing after each run for a couple minutes has been very helpful.  I ran only twice last week, 1.5 miles on Sunday with my daughter Rachel, and then this past Friday in Temecula CA on a business trip.  This was also 1.5 miles but on the cart path at Temecula Creek Golf Course where I was staying.  I have started very slowly in the completely barefoot mode in late July with only 0.2 miles at first.  In the beginning, I would walk my gravel driveway to toughen up my feet and help with softer landings.  My main inspiration has been "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall and Barefoot Ken Bob (I drove past Bolsa Chica Beach last week in Huntington Beach) and would like to meet and run with BF Ken Bob someday.