Favorite Pastime - Resting!

Favorite Pastime - Resting!

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