Favorite Pastime - Resting!

Favorite Pastime - Resting!

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


  1. Very interesting post. I saw a barefoot runner but I don't think it was you. Yesterday was my first marathon and I also finished in 5:08. I can't imagine how more strenuous physically and mentally it would have been doing barefoot. How sore are you today?

  2. Thanks Jon
    I'm more sore today than I've ever been before in any marathon and this was my 70th! But its a good kind of sore (sort of!)
    BF Dan