Favorite Pastime - Resting!

Favorite Pastime - Resting!

Monday, December 31, 2012

500 Miles Barefoot in 2012

Happy New Year Barefooters!
I hope everyone is enjoying their barefoot accomplishments over the past year.  I certainly have enjoyed getting more into barefoot running and also completing my first ever barefoot marathon last month.  I was really surprised to be able to continue to keep up my mileage after the race.  My secondary goal was to get to 500 miles for the year and with the mild weather in November and early December it wasn't too difficult.  I did several longer weekly workouts in early December and peaked with a 12 Miler on 12/12/12.
 I may have actually overdone it a little on the 12th, since I had just done a 10 miler on the 10th.  Afterward, I had quite a bit of pain in the left foot and sort of gave up on the 500 mile goal even though I only needed another 14 miles at that point.  That following Friday on Dec 14, my Dad passed away from a massive heart attack, just a few days shy of his 79th birthday.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  Even though Dad had seen his share of health issues over the past several years, he seemed healthier than ever the two times I had just seen him in November.  His death came as a big shock to the whole family.  It was somewhat cathartic to complete my 14 miles over the next few days to take my mind off everything.  I'm sure that Dad is in Heaven and that has definitely made it more bearable.  I ran a 10 miler on Dec. 20th, just two days before the funeral which got me just over the 500 mile point.  The weather turned snowy the next day, so it has been a good time to take a break from running to rest up and recover.  Running is definitely a blessing when going through hard times.  The physical activity gives such a needed release of the stress we build up without even realizing it. 
Uncle Dan with Joshua-2 and Timothy-3mo

My family is now on a trip out to Virginia to visit my brother-in-law David, his wife Beth and their family.  They have two boys, Joshua Jay-2yr, and Timothy Ford-3mo.  While here, we have enjoyed travelling out to see Mount Vernon and also visited the Natural History Museum at the Smithsonian.   I toyed with the idea of doing a little barefoot running out here, since the weather is so much better than in Indiana which now has about a foot of snow on the ground.  But I still haven't run a step and think I will just continue to rest and recover.  At this point I'll just save my miles for January...and training for the Mini Marathon...which will be my first Mini in 4 years and of course my first ever barefoot half marathon(unless I get a wild hair and do the Sam Costa in March).  It will all depend on how much "hibernating" I do during the next few weeks back in Indiana.  The wet salty roads won't be too inviting so I may have even more rest than I really want, but we'll see.

Visit to George Washington's home - Mt. Vernon, VA

I'm not big on making (or keeping) new year's resolutions but I do have a goal of incorporating even longer and more frequent barefoot runs into the schedule.  I really enjoyed learning over the past year what the body can really do, and look forward to even more discovery next year.  If there are some of you out there who never tried barefooting or tried it-overdid it-and then gave up, I invite you to give it another try this coming year.  Just go slow, do small distances and let your body be your guide.  Your feet are the two best running coaches you could ever ask for so if you give it a try...LISTEN TO THEM!


Happy Barefooting in 2013,

 
Barefoot Dan

 
December Mileage:  60 miles (included two 10s and a 12)

 
2012 Mileage:  500 miles

Friday, November 30, 2012

Marathon Recovery

Hello Barefooters,
 I have truly enjoyed the month of November.  As you know, I started off the month with my first ever barefoot marathon at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on Nov 3rd.  Since then I have just been taking it easy and running only what feels comfortable.
The feet have really been recovering nicely.  I have been amazed at how much I've actually WANTED to run since the marathon.  I guess I thought now would be the time to slack off and not be too motivated since the marathon goal was now acheived.  But it seems like just the opposite has happened.  With this big psychological barrier out of the way, I now feel free to go out and JUST RUN...and that feels really good...to just go out and not worry about the miles, or the pace, or even the weather that much.  To just go and run whatever feels good that day and then call it quits.  Well, that lasted a couple weeks and then by the third week, I put in a 20 mile week (two 7 milers and a 6 miler)...which is now considered "high mileage!  It was great to run that high of a weekly mileage but then I did have to back it off the following week and only did 9 this week including just 3 this morning. 

INDY STAR:  At least MY FEET made it into the local paper!

About halfway through the month I received my marathon photos and put together a little slide show.  Most of these photos are from that slide show (sorry, I haven't figured out how to post it in the blog).
I was also happy to learn that my photo (or at least my feet) made it into the Indianapolis Star (Newspaper) but it may have just been on their website...here is that photo.

Now that I've had a little time to reflect and recover, I did go ahead and sign up for the Mini Marathon in May 2013.  I've actually run this half marathon 17 times, but this will be the first attempt barefoot.  I'm thinking about the Sam Costa Half Marathon in March as well, another annual favorite. 

"Floating" above the brick street just seconds
away from the finish line.

If the temps aren't too hot by the Mini in May, I might be able to start adding in some speed by then!  I've also kind of mapped out the rest of the year and have set my sites on running a "500 Mile Barefoot Year" in 2012.  Right now I'm at 435 miles, so it is definitely within reach if the weather stays halfway decent in December. 
I had my annual physical today, and got a clean bill of health.  I sat and reminisced with my doctor about the low point of my year back in February when I came limping in to him with my stress fracture.  I told him I still blamed it on the Vibram Five Finger run the week before and think I had definitely overdone it with the shoes.  I HAVEN'T RUN IN THEM SINCE!!  And acutally, that was my only Vibram run in this calendar year.  So, for all practical purposes, I'm now fully converted to barefoot and have no plans to return to shoes of any kind, at least not in the near term.  Not sure if I want to keep doing long distance runs, but it certainly does feel good to know that I can at any time if I want to.  As you barefooters know, it's pretty much all in your head!

So for now, I'll just keep doing what feels natural and stay connected with the earth...one footfall at a time.

Stay Safe,

Barefoot Dan

November Mileage:  63 Miles
Week 1= 26.2, Week 2= 1 , Week 3= 7, Week 4= 20, Week 5= 9

Saturday, November 3, 2012

First Barefoot Marathon Ever – DONE!!

Hello Barefooters,

Pre Race Carbo/Protien Loading Breakfast

I’m basking in the glow of my first ever barefoot marathon while nursing my sore feet from today’s Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.  I started off the day early with a couple big plates of French Toast and bacon, knowing I would need lots of energy for the 4+ hour marathon (much slower than my shod pace)…and little did I know, it would be slower than that!
The day started off cold but dry although I knew by the radar that the rain would definitely be moving in later.  I just kept praying that I could at least get the first half in dry, since wet pavement is a definite “no-no” for us barefoot runners.

Pre Race Photo Op

The gun went off and I purposely held back, opting to stay in the warm lobby of the parking garage a few extra minutes.  That is the joy of having chip timing:  you can determine your own “start” time and mine happened to be 9 minutes after the gun went off.  (By the way, the chips were in the bib number which made my special purchase of a Velcro ankle band chip holder completely worthless, which I bought thinking I wouldn’t have any shoelaces to tie my chip to!)  Anyway, the 9 minute delayed start allowed me to slowly get my feet under me and concentrate on a relaxed running form which is so critical to proper barefoot running.  I also allowed space between runners to allow me to see the pavement directly ahead.  I really enjoyed these early miles and passed many people even though I was only moving at about a 10-11 minute pace.  The amazing thing was all the comments people made about my bare feet!  I knew from my training that a lot of people would comment, but it was almost over the top…everything from “@#%! You’ve got to be kidding” to “Ouch, does that hurt” to “Forget your shoes?” (the classic) to “Hey are your feet cold?”  For the most part I responded back, and talked about barefoot running and even asked them if they knew some of these Indy streets were actually warm?…it felt really good to run by one of those in infamous “steaming manhole covers” because the pavement was actually warm, sometimes hot!  But after the first couple miles I started cutting the conversations short or just giving a quick thumbs up when the comments keep coming.  Otherwise I was not going to be able to concentrate on my form.  At mile 8 we turned onto 38th street which I knew would be a “bear” due to the slotted concrete.  I was able to jump up onto the slightly smoother concrete median to get a little relief…trouble was, there were broken beer bottles and other debris to avoid.  Pretty bad when your only choice of running surfaces is sharp slotted concrete or broken glass…oh what to choose, what to choose! 

Garmin download of my run

Still all was going well, when the light rain started.  It stayed light at first but was a warning of things to come.  I cranked my mile pace to ~9:50 between miles 9-12 and passed the half marathon point in 2:15, but then things started going downhill.  Between 13 and 14, we passed through a VERY rough section of Broadripple and my mile pace slipped back above 10 min/mile.  The pavement got a little better but was still pretty rough until we jumped back onto Meridian just past mile 14.  This 2 mile section was nice and smooth but did also have a pretty good incline and the mile pace slipped into the 11s.  The tour through Butler University was scenic but again, rough pavement!  At Mile 18 we entered the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art to a downpour mixed with sleet.  The official photographers on the IMA wooden bridge told me I was the only barefooter they had seen today (although one lady had told me that there was a “Barefoot Mark” here today.  The pavement at the IMA was smooth but short-lived and soon we were back on the rough Indy streets in a total downpour.  This continued until we rejoined Meridian with “slightly” smoother pavement at Mile 23 and the rain subsided.  Linda and the girls just missed seeing me finish (my time was 5:08) but we did meet up later at the baggage tent.  It felt soooooooooo good to get my warm DRY shoes on and I was surprised that I didn’t have huge blisters. 

Minimal Foot Damage - All Things Considered

I do have a fairly good blood blister on the ball of the left foot but the right foot (blister wise) is fine.  I do have some significant inside ankle and TOFP (Top of Foot Pain) on the right foot, so I’ll be on some major Ibuprofen for the next couple of days.
After snapping a few photos, we went to Subway for lunch and I felt much better inside the WARM restaurant…although I still couldn’t stop shaking the whole time we were in there.



Happy and Warm in the Subway


I must say, I am very pleased overall, since I had many doubts that I would ever be able to do this distance (and some of those doubts were about Noon today!)  It is truly amazing what the human body is capable of.  If you haven't already done so, I urge you to take the time to appreciate the design of our human bodies and the painstaking thoroughness that our creator took in knitting us together. 
I told Linda afterward that I did more praying today than during any other marathon, ever.  I seemed to constantly be asking for calm nerves, avoiding injury and strength to get through the “next mile.”  Most were “breath prayers” like Phil 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who give me strength.  And He definitely provided today…I could not have done this without Him. 
God is Good!  All the time!


Freezing Cold -- But With My Girls (Sarah, Rachel & Megan)

I hope everyone out there gets the chance to experience a barefoot marathon at least once in their life!

With Feet Propped Up,

Barefoot Dan

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Try a Golf Ball Exercise for Strong Bare Feet

Happy Halloween Barefooters,

I have enjoyed the restful month of October but have found it challenging to keep the feet fit.  My mileage is WAY down in an effort to get to the starting line healthy for this Saturday’s Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis.  All my runs this month have been short in an effort to “do no damage” to the feet -- callous pads, bones & tendons -- between now and race day.  I also put at least 2 rest days in between all runs, usually more.  I have been increasing my use of the “golf ball exercise” in between workouts.  The method is pretty simple.  I place two golf balls on the floor in front of me.  Then, from a seated position, I pick up one golf ball (with my toes) and place it in the opposite hand, and then pick the second ball and place it in the other hand – right to left, then left to right.  I repeat at least five times or more until the toes get tired, alternating which foot goes first each time.

Golf Ball Exercise

This can also be done from a standing position, although it requires a bit of balance.  I think using a seated position allows you to really concentrate on the flexibility of the toes without worrying about falling over.  I also try to alternate which toe is directly over the ball to give the entire foot a workout.  This is best done right after a shower when the toes are nice and clammy to give you good grip.  Some of you may need to start with smaller items, although some may be able to do more.  I know of some barefooters who are able to pick up racquetballs, tennis balls and even baseballs.  But heck, start with marbles if you have to…anything to give the toes a workout and then work your way up to the larger items.

Icing feet and ankles after a barefoot workout

Another helpful method for reducing recovery times after your barefoot runs is the use of ice.  After every barefoot run, I give my feet an ice bath.  Here you can see my favorite method:  two five gallons buckets filled about 4-5 inches deep for about 3-4 minutes.  I’m usually sitting on the edge of my hot tub during the icing, so it mentally helps me to go longer, knowing I’ll be jumping into the 98 degree hot tub right afterward.  I then usually ice the feet for about another minute after getting out of the hot tub as well.
I hope you find these tips useful.  Please say a prayer for me this Saturday morning at 8am for the start of the Monumental Marathon.  I’m still very worried about being able to do this distance and especially on these “less than ideal” surfaces.  If all goes as planned, and of course, God willing, I will run almost as far on Saturday as I’ve run the entire month of October…definitely not my most aggressive marathon training regimen to date!  I’ve also found myself praying A LOT about the weather forecast and so far it looks to be dry, although a slight chance of showers crept back into the forecast just this morning.  Still, I feel fortunate to be running in Indy and attempting my first ever barefoot marathon.  And my heart and prayers go out to the New York Marathoners as their race this weekend is still up in the air at this point due to Hurricane Sandy.  God Bless you all on the east coast as you dig out from this massive storm.  Wherever you are at the moment, take some time and count your blessings!
Enjoy the Trick or Treating Tonight,

Barefoot Dan

October Mileage:  31 miles
 (Week 1 = 11, Week 2 = 6, Week 3 = 11, Week 4 = 3.1)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

20 Miler in September - Is the marathon in reach??

Hello Barefooters,
I hope you're all enjoying the more Fall like temperatures that have finally arrived.  It is nice to be able to run in the cooler temps and enjoy the changing of the leaves.  I've had an extremely low mileage month with one exception...a 20 Miler on September 13.  Since then, I have wanted to do some more shorter runs, but have been sidelined with a nagging ankle injury after my two latest long runs.  Since the 20 miler I have run only 4 times, the longest was a 7 miler this past Tuesday, (see map below from Garmin download), but ever since the ankle pain is persisting, so I will continue to take it easy for at least another week.  After that, I hope to start up again slow and with low mileage, but want to save myself for the marathon on Nov. 3.  And I must say, the marathon is still "up in the air" at this point.  I really need to be feeling much better by race-day to attempt such a distance.  A couple of days ago, I went to down to Indy and drove the course (or most of it) to check out the surfaces I would be running on.  Wow, was I disappointed!  While there were a few smoother than expected areas, the vast majority of the pavement would be considered rough cracked asphault (some of it was worse than what I ran on in Honduras last year!)  A particularly annoying section will be the mile or so on 38th Street which is rough slotted concrete.  Oh well, the marathon is still 5 weeks away, so I have lots of time to psych myself up and pray for a nice dry Saturday!  Please God, it HAS to be dry or there will be no way to survive these rough surfaces if they are at all wet!  Also looking for the ankle to start feeling a lot better with additional rest days and not TOO much atrophy with all the low mileage to come in October.  The theory will be no more long runs, i.e. -- chances to get hurt -- between now and race-day.  At this point in my training and ramp up, if I get hurt now, it needs to be DURING the race, and not before.  Looking forward to a restful month of October...and maybe some Indy street repair!!

Be Careful Out There!

Barefoot Dan 

September Mileage  --  Week 1 = 8, Week 2 = 24, Week 3 =  6, Week 4 = 7

Friday, August 31, 2012

Barefoot 18 Miler

Hello Barefooters,
I hope everyone is enjoying the transition to Fall and the back to school season.  Typically, I don't like summer coming to an end, but in this case, I've had enough of this super hot weather.  While it is still warm, it's now much easier to find good barefoot running temps in the mornings.  I've really enjoyed the month of August and continuing to increase my per run mileage.  The first weekend I turned in my first ever 16.25 mile run, on my course which goes straight up Anthony Road all the way to the Tipton County line and back.  This is also the course I hurt myself on back in February so it was nice to once again conquer it instead of it conquering me.  After each long run, I'm still taking a lot of time off to give my feet time to recover.  I take as many as 5 days off after a long run and then may only do 1 or 2 miles that first day back.  In fact, I only ran 10 times this whole month which is really pretty low, but again, rest has been the key to my ability to increase my per run mileage in hopes of running a Fall marathon this year.
Also in the month of August, construction began on the installation of a new concrete driveway at my house.  I say "began" because the project has been ongoing for 2 weeks now and is still only about halfway done.  But, I'm not complaining...it will be NICE when it's done.  I will enjoy being able to start my barefoot runs right from my porch instead of having to walk the gravel drive out to the road.  While recovering from my 16 miler, I ran an ad hoc 8.33 miler on some new roads around my house.  I call it "ad hoc" because I actually was only out to run a 3.1 and it felt so good I went for the 8.33. 
The new road was actually a repaving of Hinkle road just 1 mile east of my house.  The super smooth road was an absolute pleasure to run on, but was also not so great as I got back on Hwy 38 to run it home.  The 2 week old asphault, while nice and smooth, had deposited little bits of tar all over my soles which then allowed me to pick up every little rock and glued it to my feet!  I had to stop 3 different times to brush off my feet since the little rocks just wouldn't fall off on their own.  I'll avoid that road for another few weeks until the asphalt cures a little more!
Then that very next weekend, I ran my first ever 18.35 miler!  Woo Hoo!  This was also on the out and back to Tipton Co. Line with an extra Deming loop added on.  I felt really good but almost didn't do the extra loop due to some TOFP (Top of Foot Pain) in the left foot.  It was way up high, almost in my ankle, but way far away from my earlier 2nd metatarsal issues so I wasn't too worried.  But I did the loop anyway to get the mileage.  After the run, I felt I had JUST taken myself right up to the limit, and then stopped.  Sounds great!  But over the next 48 hours I realized I had overdone it once again.  Then, when I went out on Thursday for a test 1 miler, I still felt pain, so I've continued to take more time off.  During this down time, I had two business trips, one to New York and one to Austin TX. 
I was happy not to run in NY but actually had plans to run in Texas, until I got to the river walk area and found the pavement scorching hot.  Here is a picture of this beautiful area of downtown Austin.  I kept my sandals on the whole time and just walked the pathway.  Luckily, this week I started back up running and today (Friday, Aug. 31st) got in a 4.21 miler and feel like normal training can resume next week with no problem.  On a side note, it looks like my annual 42 mile ride to Purdue for the first home game of season will not happen tomorrow due to incoming rain from Hurricane Isaac remnants, blowing in later tonight.  This will mark the second year in a row that my ride has been rained out!  Oh well, there's always next year.

Well, everyone enjoy your cooler Fall temps and stay safe out there.

Barefoot Dan

August Mileage = 65 miles (weekly mileage:  21, 9, 28, 1, 6)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Low Mileage, Yet Longer Runs

Hello Barefooters,
Is everybody enjoying this record breaking hot weather?  Here in Indiana, I've had to begin my runs right at daybreak just to keep them cool enough to complete them before the sun gets too high.  Still, I've really appreciated the flexibility that summer affords since there is no snow or ice to contend with!  It's easy enough to avoid the heat of the day at 3pm.

I've now begun to increase my "per run" distance while still keeping my overall mileage down.  This month I ran a 12 miler, a 10 miler and even a 15 miler (first ever!) with little or no damage to the feet. I am still resting at least one day after each run.  And I take even more time off after the long runs.  Recovery is beginning to take less and less time and my 10 miler was actually only 5 days after my first ever 12 miler!  During this rest period, we took a short family vaction over to Springfield IL with the family. 

Here is a picture of the whole family posing along with the Abraham Lincoln family!  And I even got in a short run on that trip around the sites in downtown Springfield.  It's always fun using the Garmin in a new location to see the new running route on the computer once I download it.  Speaking of the Garmin, I had to send the watch in for repair due to a power issue.  I will say that Garmin Corp. has excellent customer service and the RMA process, start to finish, took only and week and I'm pretty sure I got a brand new unit returned to me...and it works great.  

Then 10 days after that 10 miler, I ran my first ever 15 miler...actually 15.35 miles.  This was a Deming loop along with an out-and-back on Anthony Road (same basic route I hurt myself on back in Feb.)  It was great to "survive" the run on that course while the earlier injury was in the back of my mind the whole time.  The next day we took off for Beverly KY on a mission trip to Red Bird Mission with the whole family and 25 of us from Christ United Methodist Church in Westfield, IN.  This was a week long mission trip and was an absolutely awesome chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.  We saw tremendous growth as a group and as individuals as well helping the folks of Southeastern KY...a very poor region indeed.  God is good! 
Here is a picture of our entire group  (Team Red Bird).  We ranged in age from 11 to 81.  While I didn't really expect to run at all this week, the roads were in surprisingly good shape, so I actually ran three different times on and around the Red Bird campus.  One of the days I ran with my daughter Megan (in her socks) and her friend Paige (barefoot!) for a 1.07 mile barefoot run around the campus.  I'm still not sure if I converted Paige or not.  She said afterwards the bottom of her feet sort of burned.  But then later that same day she told me that they felt really good and stimulated.  So maybe she'll give it another try later on.  It is very common for first time barefoot runners to experience a completely new "feeling" as the bottoms of their feet begin to "wake up" to the world around them.  This is the really cool (and addictive) part of barefoot running.  It just makes you feel good!  We all made it back safe and sound to Indiana and I rounded out the month with a short run yesterday.  Looking forward to some cooler temps next month and to continue to increase my long runs in pursuit of a November marathon (maybe).

Stay safe out there and watch out for HOT PAVEMENT!!!

Barefoot Dan

July Mileage = 59.07 miles (weekly mileage:  17, 12, 19.5, 9, 1.6)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Barefoot in Bangkok, Thailand

Hello Barefoot Runners,
This has been another eventful month.  I'm happy to report a good amount of increased mileage.  I actually turned in two of the longest runs since my foot injury (8 miles and 10 miles) and the feet feel pretty good.  Slow and steady comeback has been the key.  I am also still employing the "at least one rest day" philosophy between runs which has helped tremendously.  The key once again is to let the skin on the bottom of the feet dictate both the length and speed of the run.  Once the blisters or "hot spots" start, you should consider your run complete and live to run another day.
At the end of the month, I was able to take a business trip to Thailand.  My first day there was a Sunday and a rest day.  I booked a temple tour of Bangkok and was happy to find that BAREFOOT was the rule at all the temple sites.  And even though I wasn't running, it felt good to explore the different surfaces in the temples barefoot...from hot, to cool...from smooth marble, to rough concrete, to plush carpet.  It was a cornucopia of barefoot stimulation which felt great after flying for 24 hours the day before.  It's amazing how stiff and cooped up your feet can feel after swelling up at 36,000 feet for hour after hour on these long flights.  It was good to get "grounded" the day next walking around barefoot.   This next photo shows me (barefoot of course)  along with my new found friends Bob and Margo from Sydney Australia.  They too were there on business and enjoying a free day before starting the work week on Monday. 
Bob works in the weather industry and is an "ex-runner" due to some chonic injuries earlier in his career.  I told him that I thought he would be great candidate for the changeover to barefoot running.  He has been doing a lot of biking as it is "easier on the legs and back."  I think so many of us out there have given up on running altogether due to injuries caused (in my opinion) by our poor choice of running attire -- i.e. the "best" shoes money can buy!  So if you're reading this and THINKING about trying it...well...it's time to take the next small step and actually TRY IT!  What's to lose?  Except your diginity.  Life is too short to be worried about some out of shape smart aleck driving by and shouting something about forgetting to put on your shoes before you went out the door!  Nowadays, that kind of stuff just makes me smile as I run!

The rest of the week in Thailand was pretty much non-stop meetings and dinners with customers and suppliers.  This meant each night not arriving back at the hotel until way after dark.  So all-in-all, not too conducive for barefoot running.  So it really was truly a recovery week after my 10 miler on Wednesday the week before I left.  I got back home last night and woke up this morning (Sat. June 30) feeling fine and went out for a short 5K.  It had been raining earlier so the pavement was a little wet in spots but not too bad (and Indiana really needed this inch of rain as we are in one of the worst droughts on record).  And once again, it really felt great to "do something" in the first 24 hours after a long flight.  Plus it was a great way to get in a little mileage before the end of the month and not have to turn in a ZERO week!  Still looking forward to slowly increasing my mileage over the next few months with my eye on the Monumental Marathon in November (barefoot?...maybe...we'll see how this "slow but sure" training method works out)

Well, keep up the good work out there and enjoy those early morning runs ('cause the pavement is too hot if you wait much past 8am!...at least here in hot & dry Indiana)

Barefoot Dan

June Mileage = 34.55 Miles

Week 1= 14, Week 2= 7, Week 3= 10, Week 4= 3

Friday, June 1, 2012

Barefoot Quarter Marathon

Hello Barefooters,
Hope your summer is starting off well.  I have been enjoying getting back into it slowly.  Trying my best to keep the feet fit while not overdoing it.  My key to the month of May has been to never run two days in a row and always have a good rest day (or 2 or 3) afterward.  The highlight of the month had to be my Quarter Marathon for Relay For Life on the track at Westfield HS. 
The Relay was run on May 18th and brought together teams from all over Hamilton County (Indiana) to raise money for the American Cancer Society.  A couple of my girls and I decided to take the "UP ALL NIGHT" Challenge so I was able to wait until 2am to run my self imposed Quarter Marathon (6.55 Miles) on the track.  I was blessed to have my 11 old daughter Megan run with me for the first 2 miles.  She then alternated running/resting each quarter mile lap.  Oh, and did I forget to mention, Megan also did it barefoot!  Using this method, I was able to get in my 6.55 miles and Megan got in 4.25 miles.  This was a full 26+ laps on the rubberized track.  Time was just over one hour, so this was a good first test of the foot since the injury in February.  The cool part was the reaction we got from other walkers and runners on the track that night, very uplifting and encouraging.  We even inspired Nick, a shod runner, to kick off his shoes and run the last couple laps of his 4 miler with us.  I warned him to take it easy since the first barefoot run can be painful afterward.  He seemed to do fine, but I'm sure his calves were screaming the next day. 
I had a small blister on the ball of each foot (I think from the rubberized surface of the track) and Megan had some extremely sore calves for about a week after.  Here is a picture of my foot afterwards, hard to see the blister due to all the dirt from the track.  To get our legs back we did a couple hikes on the trail in MacGregor Park as recovery.  I continued taking it easy the rest of the month and won't begin increasing my mileage until mid summer, God willing.

Oh, and the Relay did raise over $100K and our individual team, Christ UMC Holy Rollers, raised over $10K for Cancer Research.  It was a good fund raising year overall despite the shaky economy.  And, it's never to late to donate:  Here is the link to Barefoot Dan's Fundraising Page.

Well, enjoy the summer and watch out for hot pavement!

Barefoot Dan

May Mileage = 42 Miles
Week 1= 5, Week 2= 9, Week 3= 12, Week 4= 7, Week 5= 9

Sunday, April 29, 2012

It WAS a stress fracture!

Hello Barefooters,
I finally found out a few days ago that my injury was indeed a stress fracture.  I was in my doctors office for another issue and requested a follow up X-ray from the one taken back on Feb 15, two days after I hurt my right foot.  Sure enough, the new X-ray showed a healing/healed stress fracture and here is the photographic proof.  (The round "bulb" around the 2nd metatarsal is the healing fracture.)
  I took a few extra days off afterwards, waiting for the radiologist to confirm that it was healing properly and there were no new fractures.  Still, even after getting the "go ahead" to resume normal activity, I've been thinking differently about my foot and will really be taking it extra easy for a few weeks more.  As a result my running mileage is very minimal for the month, however I did begin doing some barefoot walks and even got my wife Linda to do a few with me.  I don't think she will become a barefoot runner any time soon, but it was nice to be able to share with her some of my passion for the barefoot lifestyle and it's benefits. 

The month began with our annual Spring Break trip to FL to visit my dad and stepmom in Sebring.  On the way down we passed through Altanta, GA where we met this barefooter (a nice dog and his owner which, while not a runner, was wearing Vibrams).  We stopped off for two days in Orlando and visited Islands of Adventure and the famed Harry Potter World (my daughters' favorite part).  Eventually, we made it down to Sebring, where I did get in a long hike, starting around Lake Jackson but turned back in the early morning rain.  It was probably for the best as I would have probably gone too far on the healing foot and would have regretted it.  I went barefoot for about 3 of the 8.43 mile hike, and enjoyed this first test of the foot in any significant barefoot capacity since the injury happened (and afterall, it was still Lent and I was still on my self imposed hiatus from running).  When we got back from FL I started back up barefoot running and took it very easy.  The first week, I did a couple short runs from the house and then tested the foot on the Jackie Sanders Miracle Mile with the Club Kokomo Roadrunners for a one mile race.  I took it very easy and still came in 12th in 7:52.  Before the race Charlie Skoog honored me with the presentation of the President's Award from 2010 for running a marathon in all 50 States.  This had been a joint award to both Earl Strong and myself although I had been unable to attend the award dinner back in Feb 2011.  Even though this was a year later, it was still quite an honor to recieve this plaque from Charlie and the Club.  The next week was a business trip to CA and I went out for a quick 2 miler before dinner the first night I was there.  The trouble was, it was 84 degrees and while I knew the pavement was hot, I didn't know I was getting blistered until is was too late and this was the result:  large blood blisters on the balls of both feet as well as the big toe of the left foot.  I guess the feet were both a little tender from being in my shoes flying all day, and also I may have been a little over confident and enjoying the bright sunny day a little too much.
I've definitely had blisters before, but not heat blisters like these, although they are very similar.  These were very unexpected and very painful as well, since I had to walk around in dress shoes the next couple of days.  They are still intact now (two weeks later) as I have been taking it extremely easy since then, as my mileage totals indicate below.  I hardly consider my self a runner these days as much as a healing patient!  But I'm sure when this is all said and done, it will have been a great learning experience.  And lastly I can't conclude without relaying my GOOSE ATTACK story.  As I mentioned, Linda and I had been doing some evening barefoot walks as I recooperated.  These walks were done out our back door and down and around the pond at the bottom of the hill on the back of our property.  One one particular evening, we encountered two rather agressive geese which came swooping in from the south and sort of trapped us on the back side of the pond.  After shouting and screaming like a couple of ninnies and shaking fists and throwing sticks, we escaped around the pond and were on our way back up the hill toward the house.  We were panicked but thought surely the worst was over. 
We stopped to assess the situation and laugh about it a little although our hearts were still racing.   At this point we were a good 100 yards from the pond and the geese were on the far side.  Suddenly, one goose took off and flew across the pond making a beeline for us, honking all the way.  He swooped in and grabbed my shirt and pulled as I ran away and swung my arms around my head (like a little girl).  I'm sure it must have been funny looking, and it's a good thing Linda wasn't recording or I'd be quite a YouTube sensation by now.  All we can figure is they must be nesting somewhere around the pond although we haven't found a nest, eggs, or any baby geese.  All I know is we don't do our walks around the pond anymore without a broom or stick or something in hand to swing in self defense.  It makes for an exciting walk!
Keep running out there barefooters.  Hope to have more progress to report in May.

BF Dan

April Mileage = 9 miles
Week 1 = 0, Week 2 = 5miles, Week 3 = 3.5miles, Week 4 = 1mile

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Yoga, Tai Chi, and...Accupuncture?!

Hello Barefooters,
Finishing up my 7th week off...wow! I haven't taken this much time off from running in over 10 years.  On the one hand I've been enjoying my time off, but on the other hand I feel like a caged animal.  I really miss my normal stress relief and will enjoy getting back to running soon.  The injury to my right foot has given me lots of time to think.  Time to think about running, about injury, about form, about landing, about recovery...you name it.  But, I'll be glad to get back to ACTUAL running instead of THINKING about running.  And yes, before you ask, I am going to start back up barefoot, although I will be starting back very slowly.  I even passed on my opportunity to join Barefoot Tellman Knudson's elite barefoot training program because I didn't feel like I could do it justice from the sidelines.

So what can you do with all your extra time when you aren't running?  Well, you can read books.  Since I got injured back on Feb. 13, I've read "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood, "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand and I'm now reading "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte.  And these are BIG books!  I also took up painting by numbers along with my 11 year old twins, Sarah and Megan.  In about 3 weeks, I finished my "Tuscan Scene" which I think came out pretty good.  Here it is, take a peek.  We're all pretty pround of our work, and we've actually framed our paintings and have them hanging in the living room (at least temporarily!)

I bought a Groupon from an Indianapolis chiropractor for two sessions of Accupuncture.  In the first session he noted a slightly "dropped 2nd metatarsal" and did a minor "manipulation" on the 2nd and 3rd toes.  He stuck me with 7 needles and I did feel some pain relief.  In the second session, he said the manipulation "held" and stuck me with 4 more needles.  Each session lasted about 20 minutes, and I did have a good endorphin release during each accupunture session, which made for a very relaxing experience.  I did have some additional pain relief int the foot, but I'm not sure I am fully on board with the whole accupunture thing.  Don't get me wrong, I totally believe in the Mind-Body connection but I also feel that my pain was diminishing prior to these sessions.  I won't rule it out for the future, but it's not something I'm relying on for now.

I've also rediscovered both Tai Chi and Yoga during my down time.  I began doing Tai Chi four years ago and picked up Yoga about two and a half years ago.  Then, for whatever reason, I stopped both about 10 months ago.  Not sure why I stopped, but these activities were both pretty time consuming and my running was going haywire with injuries, etc.  Shortly thereafter, I started barefoot running and just never got back into Tai Chi or Yoga, both of which I really enjoy.  So, I've started again this past couple weeks and I'm alternating one day of Tai Chi and one day of Yoga, and trying to get in 5-6 days a week.  It's no substitute for the aerobic workout of a good barefoot run, but both can make me work up a sweat, so I feel it's better than doing nothing.  I've also realized how my flexibility has deteriorated since I stopped.  Like any exercise, it takes a while to get into shape, but almost no time at all to get out of shape!

Now, just so you know, I have given up both running and alcohol for Lent, so I still have another week off before I run my next step.  I'm glad I went ahead and took this time off, since I probably would have run the Westfield Underground Railroad 5K last weekend and would have ended up hurt myself with no training.  I'll be heading to FL with the family for Spring Break next week and would have been doing my series of 11 mile runs around Lake Jackson in Sebring, and again, probably would have overdone it.  It will be good to wait until after Easter and then start up slow back in Indiana.  Although, I am thinking of maybe doing a WALK around Lake Jackson in barefeet...maybe.  I may be too tired just from walking around Harry Potter Land at Universal Studios the first couple of days, we'll see.

And lastly, I have the mental challenge of knowing the Boston Marathon is coming soon (April 16) and I won't be particiapating for the first time in 17 years.  Oh well, as they say, streaks are made to be broken and 16 in a row was a pretty good streak.  Still, that will be a rough Monday.

Happy Barefooting,
BF Dan

March mileage = ZERO !!

PS...here's a couple of funny barefoot links:  Steven and Rory Coatsworth  (hit the "play" button on the pic to see videos)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A February Limp Home

Happy Leap Day Barefooters!
I hope everyone is enjoying their bonus day.  February is over.  The weather is warming.  So I should be happy, right?  That would be a lot easier if I was running, but I'm not!  I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I'm once again leaning toward blaming the Vibrams.  My injury happened while on a long barefoot run, but occured just two days after my first run in the Vibrams all year.

February started well, and I had a pretty good couple of weeks at the start of the month.  The first week included a business trip to Chicago and a couple of nice barefoot runs in new surroundings.  The second week was nice as well and I was looking to finish with a Saturday run on Feb. 11, but the weather wasn't cooperating.  Windy and cold (19 degrees) and I didn't feel like flirting with frostbite again.  So I decided to do a quick Vibram run over to MacGregor Park and back, utilizing the 1.6 mile trail in the park, for a total of 5.21 miles.  Afterward, I had a little pain in the lower right back and a little TOFP Top of Foot Pain on right foot.  But nothing I hadn't felt before, and figured that it just happened to coincide with the trail run in the Vibrams.

After a day off, on Monday I went out for a "mid length" barefoot run and it felt great.  I mean really great!  It was 29 degrees and partly sunny with a slight southerly breeze.  I ran straight north on Anthony road and...well...ala Forrest Gump...I just kept on going.  I kept thinking I would turn back, but then kept picking targets just a little farther ahead and thinking how great it would feel to do my longest barefoot run ever.  I ended up running all the way to the Tipton County Line!  And that is 8.1 miles from my house.  OK, I thought, great, I'll get to turn in my first 16 miler!  Upon turning around things were still feeling great and the breeze was now in my face which actually helped to cool me down.   I was enjoying this lightly travelled road and running right down the middle on the softer tar portion left from 3 year old chip and seal.  I was really feeling great.  I had no problem keeping a really consistent 8:40 pace and even started calculating about what time I would be back home.  Running along, thinking life was grand, when all of a sudden, TWANG!!!  A sharp pain in the middle of my right foot stopped me cold.

And I mean cold.  I tried to walk it off.  I tried to shake it off.  I even sat down in the middle of the road, actually laid down on the road and massaged my foot, but to no avail.  I started walking back...but I still had almost 7 miles to go!  I felt like crying but figured that just wasn't gonna help.  I walked on the side of my foot.  I was limping slightly.  I tried several times to run, but each time, after only 2 or 3 steps, the shooting pain was back.  I was convinced I had broken something.  But what to do?  There was no traffic coming along, no cell phone...heck no shoes (at least last time I went on my 11 miler I had hauled along my shoes in my jacket pockets, just in case...Duh!  this was a major screwup!)

I said a prayer.  God, just please keep the partial sun coming, and keep the wind from getting too strong...and please let me get home before dark.  Well, I kept limping along at about a 20 min/mile pace.  The sun stayed just warm enough.  While the wind was bitter, I never got super-chilled and tried to concentrate on not wasting energy shivering.  A few cars came along after I had been walking for over an hour and I thought...well, I've come this far, no sense hitchhiking now...I sort of regretted not flagging down the first couple of cars, but once I got within 2-3 miles of the house, I knew I would survive.  The Garmin went dead for the last couple of miles, but I felt I was finally back in familiar territory...at least they'll find my barefoot corpse!  Well, as you can see from the above picture, the right foot has definitely seen some damage.

I made it back home after 2+ hours of walking and immediately jumped in the hot tub.  (God answers prayers!)  My whole right side was sore from the limp home.  I waited 48 hours before deciding to go to the doctor.  The GP did an X-ray and compared to the X-rays taken back in July when I did this to my left foot.  He then sent me to a podiatrist when the X-ray showed nothing.  The podiatrist did a bunch of twisting and prodding and gave me the diagnosis of "soft tissue damage" and said to let pain be my guide, continue icing and take Aleve (Naproxin Sodium).  I was just happy he didn't stick me in a walking boot.  He scratched his head on the whole barefoot running thing but to his credit he didn't discourage it, and did ask a ton of questions about the whole phenomenon (maybe a future barefooter!) 

So I've been off running now for 2+ weeks and have decided to take the whole month of March off as well and let it heal up the right way.  It feels about the same (maybe a little worse) than what happened to the left foot last summer (which started the whole barefoot thing for me.)  I'm hoping this "damage" falls into the category of the natural "spreading" that goes on with the metatarsals as the foot adapts to barefooting and shed the confines of the dreaded shoes, or as we barefooters say:  "foot coffins."

Either way, I probably needed a break for a while.  No races, or even goals on the near term horizon...although I did sign up for the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis at the end of the year...barefoot?...hmm....we'll see.

Happy Barefooting,
BF Dan

February Mileage: 
Week 1 = 17miles
Week 2 = 24 miles
Week 3 = 9.3 miles running, 6.9 miles walking OUCH

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Frostbite - A Barefooter's Nightmare

Hello Barefooters,
Yeah!! January is over and I didn't have to resort to wearing the Vibrams at all!  But there were a couple of days when I probably should have.  All in all the month was pretty warm here in Indiana.  The highest temperature I ran in was just yesterday at 53 and the lowest was 11 (more on that in a bit).  The highlight of the month was definitely my first barefoot race ever, which was the Jackie Sanders Miracle Mile in Kokomo (a weekly club race) which I ran (and won!) in 7:06 in the snow with about a 1 inch covering on the ground.  This was my fastest barefoot mile ever and I will be interested to see if I can repeat that speed on the asphault.  The other highlight would have to simply be the fact that I was able to go completely barefoot for the entire month.  The problem with the normal Indiana winter is that there is just never enough sun to completely dry the pavement in between rounds of percipitation.  But this was an unusually forgiving January which had very little snow (a few inches) and several sunny days.  Another issue was the fact that even when I got some sunny dry pavement, it was often littered with salt and calcium chloride (or whatever that green stuff is!) which is not friendly to barefooters.   Another highlight was when my 11 year old daughter Megan ran with me a couple of times although she did wear shoes (thankfully she's a little brighter than her old man!)  The last run with Megan was a very cold day (only 22 degrees) and she fell down on some ice at the turnaround.  Luckily we didn't have far to go and she was able to limp it in.
So, back to the title...just how long does it take to get frostbite!  Well, based on my limited experience (twice this month) it takes as little as 3 minutes.  (and it is both temperature and moisture dependent)  The first time I got it, I went out to run on the Midland Trace Trail which is about 5 miles from my house.   I intentionally drove to this trail to avoid the treated roads and was looking forward to my coldest run yet of 19 degrees.  I did a quick half mile out and back and was very disappointed to find that the after about the first .4 miles the trail was salted!  I did my best to avoid the salt chunks, but as you know, it's the super cooled liquid underneath that gets you.  The feet were really cold when I got back to the truck and i drove home with the heat blasting.  At first I thought I had kindof burned the top of my feet with the heater while thawing them out but the pain/numbness went away after about 48 hours.  Then about a week later, I stupidly tried it again, this time on Anthony road and in my driveway after a nice 3 inch snowfall.  It was a very brisk 11 degrees and I stayed only on the very packed areas and off the treated parts.  I only went .35 miles and then jumped right into the hot tub to thaw out.  I thought everything was hunky dory and at first regretted that I hadn't gone a little further but, still I was happy with my "conquest" of the tundra.  But then, after feeling fine for about 6 hours, my toes started to ache...I mean really ache, and even went a little numb.  It was more than a little scary.  This time it was a full 72 hours before the were back to "normal" and with that they still felt a little leathery and had some slight tingling and numbness.  The key to both of these situations was the moisture.  If you run when it's "really cold" then it needs to be "dry."  This will be my big take away from the whole fiasco, and hopefully I've learned my lesson.  Luckily, the rest of the month was warmer, so I was forced not to do anything stupid!  I'm still hoping not to put on the Vibrams again unless I just have to, so I'll continue praying for more of this mild winter. 

Again, thank you all for the comments and encouragement on the blog.  I feel blessed to be able to run barefoot and again blessed to be able to share it with you.  I will only be doing monthly postings from now on, but if you want to send me questions in the mean time via email, feel free. 
And stay safe out there!

Happy Barefooting,
Barefoot Dan

January Weekly Mileages = 6, 14, 12, 14