Favorite Pastime - Resting!

Favorite Pastime - Resting!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Barefoot Record 2222.22 Miles in 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Barefooters,

I'm writing the blog a few days early since I'm taking the rest of the year off.  The new record has now been set and I'm looking forward to taking a few days off to rest the feet.  I'm happy to say I reached an all time annual high total of 2222.22 miles which breaks my shod record by a full 11%. 
Once I hit the 2000 mile mark back on Nov. 15, I kept thinking about where I would try to set the final total for the year.  A couple of weeks ago I landed on the notion of shooting for the 2222 mile mark and kept watching the weather forecast to make sure I could get it done.  The forecast originally called for very frigid temperatures the last week of the year so I planned to get to the goal completed by the day after Christmas.  Even though the forecast has eased considerably, I'm not planning to change the total at this point.  I'm just happy to be done and resting (especially as I look out this morning at the wet and gray conditions.)

My biggest total EVER in one year.

Right now I'm enjoying a full two weeks of vacation here at the end of the year and the next few days will be spent visiting family in northern Indiana.  I normally enjoy doing some barefoot running up in Amish country, but here again, the feet could use a few days off.  I'm also resting up for my overseas mission trip coming up at the end of January.  God willing, I will be traveling with Crossworld to join my Mission Marathon team in the Canary Islands on January 20th.  I will spend several days on Tenerife Island with team members before travelling by boat over to Grand Canary Island.  The team will then run the Gran Canaria Marathon on January 25th.  I will be running the marathon barefoot and this will also represent my first ever international marathon (other than the Detroit Marathon back in 1995 which was technically considered international since it started over in Windsor Canada!)  I'm also teamed up with Free Wheelchair Mission and so far, thanks to everyone's generosity, we've been able to purchase about half a dozen wheelchairs for those with mobility issues.  Since I'd never been to the Canary Islands, this seemed like a great opportunity to combine my missions work and my love of barefoot running at the same time.  God has blessed me greatly in my running and this is yet another example of His provision.

And since it is the end of the year I'm also looking back at the "TOP TEN" milestones of 2014 with thankful celebration:

1.  Coldest Barefoot Run Ever, Feb. 6th = 5 degrees
2.  Fastest Barefoot 5K Ever, March 22nd = 21 minutes 49 seconds
3.  Fastest Barefoot Marathon Ever, Colorado, May 18th = 3 hours 56 minutes
4.  Biggest Barefoot Month Ever, June = 260 miles 
5.  Barefoot Running in Liberia (2nd Year in a Row) in June & July
6.  Biggest Barefoot Week Ever, July 26th = 102 miles
7.  Fastest Barefoot Marathon Ever, Wyoming, Aug. = 3 hours 50 minutes
8.  Biggest Barefoot Month Ever, Sept. = 265 miles
9.  Biggest Barefoot Month Ever, Oct. = 280 miles
10.  Biggest Barefoot Year Ever = 2222 miles

Have a Happy and Prosperous 2015,

Barefoot Dan

December Mileage = 160 miles


Sunday, November 30, 2014

The "Barefoot Mindset"

Hello Barefooters,
As the cold weather set in, I'm happy to have my biggest mileage goals of the year already logged.  At this point, I'm a little reflective and thankful to have a "Barefoot Mindset" about many things in my life.

The barefoot mindset allows one to sort of take things as they come.  Knowing you are not in contol of the key elements:  temperature, precipitation, road surface, debris and traffic flow.  This is the start of patience and of course, prayer.  To be able to ask for things completely out of your control, and then WAIT for them to be delivered helps to develop your barefoot mindset. 

And waiting doesn't have to mean sitting and doing nothing...

You begin to define patience a little differently too.  I like the idea of ACTIVE patience.  Each day is a choice.  I can simply look at the cold snowy weather outside and skip today's long run OR I can go out and "take what I can get."  Maybe go out and run only one mile on snow and slush,  into a 14 MPH headwind, knowing that something is better that nothing...it's better to log a "one" than a "zero" for the day!  Then, maybe, as I approach the turnaround, I can push it for another quarter mile before turning back, and log a 1.5 miler instead of just a one!

Shorter runs due to bad weather also leave you well rested and ready for a sunny afternoon to run a 14 miler knowing that the next cold front is coming soon.  This patience, this waiting for the ebb and flow of the weather, can be applied to the road surfaces as well.  The rough stretch is only temporary...the gravel will end soon...the smooth road is just ahead. 

Sometimes the rough stuff is actually better.  When we think we have a nice smooth stripe to run on, that's often when a hidden rock pops up to say "hello!"  In fact, running on a rough road helps prepare us, both mentally and physically, for the next "surprise" rock on our otherwise smooth, cool stretch of pavement.

And just as running on rough pavement builds callouses and improves reaction time, running in cold weather builds mitochondria and an appreciation for the milder temperatures.  A cold two miler might produce the same internal body response and fitness as a warm sunny twelve miler.  Less is more.

So don't lament your conditions...rejoice in them!

And if you think these words were just about running barefoot, think again...this barefoot mindset can apply to almost everything in this world.

Rocks are just metaphors for the "hard times" in life...

God gave us bodies and minds with amazing abiltities for recovery and adaptation.  But He didn't stop there...as He tells us in James 4:2 You do not have because you do not ask.


Happy Barefooting,

Barefoot Dan

November Mileage = 165 miles

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Record!! - 280 Barefoot Miles in October

Happy Halloween Barefoot Runners,

I'm celebrating my 3rd new record month this year with a new monthly high total of 280.1 miles during the month of October.  This on the heels of my 265 mile September marks the biggest two month total I've ever run (by a long shot) with or without shoes.  This also has me well poised to set my new record high yearly total of greater than 2000 miles and I only did that once in shoes!  

I love the "crunch" of leaves under barefeet!
  With my "short" run of 6 miles this morning, I'm now sitting at 1897 miles for the year, so barring any injuries or other complications, and God Willing, I should be able to far exceed the 2000 mile point by the end of the year.

I really didn't start off the month thinking I would set a record.  I actually took it sort of easy the first couple of days running only 3 and 5 miles (still recovering from the big push at the end of September),  However, I did know it would probably be much higher than normal.  You see, my small group is currently studying the "Transformed" series by Rick Warren of Saddleback Church.  In this 7 week series, the participants are encouraged to set personal goals in the areas of spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, relational, financial, and vocational health.  As my group has shared, we have each set many goals over this time period and we are all feeling really "transformed" as a result of God's work in our lives.  Well, one of my physical goals was to bump up my training to try to reach my 2000 mile barefoot goal by Thanksgiving instead of the end of the year.  I knew this would be a pretty do-able goal and in the back of my mind I thought the weather would start turning much colder and didn't want to risk not getting it accomplished due to ice and snow.  I know myself and knew I would end up risking frostbite or worse trying to finish off the goal if I still needed too many miles by the time December rolled around. 

That being said, I just started running big daily miles in October and actually finished the last half of the month (other than today's six) by running a half marathon (13.1 miles) every day (taking Sunday's off as always).  The result was a bunch of 60, 70 and 80 mile weeks!  It is absolutely incredible to me that this is even possible as I remember back when I first started this oddessy...I used to barely be able to run 2 miles barefoot (if you don't believe me, just scan back through this blog back to late 2011)  God has definitely blessed my barefoot running career and has continually allowed my body to heal and be ready for the next big thing as I have progressed from yards to miles, and now to BIG miles.

My next plans have me looking at two possible marathons in the next couple of months.  The first will be the Grand Canary Island Marathon in January which will actually be a mission trip to the Canary Islands with a group known as "Mission Marathon" in association with Crossworld.  This is an answered prayed as I had been looking for a way to tie my missions work with my love of barefoot running.  The founder of Mission Marathon, Matt Sell, actually found me on the internet through my blog and made contact with me through Rev. Laura Ballinger at my home church, Christ UMC Westfield.  Over the past few weeks, he and I have traded emails and a phone call and again, God Willing, I will join him on Tenerife Island in late January and then travel by boat to the "Big Island" where we will run the Grand Canary Marathon in our cross emblazoned team jerseys.  We will run and travel with, as well as witness to, the members of the local running club on the weekend of the marathon.  It should be one of the most unique mission trips I've ever been on.  Matt has also begun his own barefoot journey and hopes to run at least part of the marathon barefoot with me.

The next one I'm "thinking" about doing is the LA Marathon on March 15th.  Several runnng buddies from my company will be running this one as well, including John Wilshire who will complete his 25th LA Marathon (and he says his last!)  Great accomplishment John!  I've done this one before but of course this will be my first time doing it barefoot.  I did this one 4 years ago with my good friend Jim Kelley, who many of you know, lost his life about this time last year in a tragic car/runner accident in Grand Rapids MI.  Rest In Peace Jim.  I think of you often during my long runs!

Good luck to Earl Strong and all runners during tomorrow's Monumental Marathon in Indy.

Stay Warm!

Barefoot Dan

October Miles = 280.1 Miles (new monthly high)      

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Carpet Tack Injury But Record Breaking Month: 265 Miles!

Hello Barefooters!
I hope everyone is enjoying the great weather this Fall and getting in some nice mileage before the frosty weather hits in a few weeks.  This month of September has been absolutely fabulous for barefoot running.  We were blessed with the cool mornings in the 40s and 50s and almost no rain to speak of.  As a result, I was able to put in some of my biggest weekly mileage totals ever.  The first week was "only" 38 miles since I was still recovering from Wyoming Marathon, but I was happy with that total (since 38 is the average weekly mileage needed to achieve the 2000/year mark).  The next weeks I steadily increased to 50 miles, then 60 miles and then last week 84 miles!
I was really happy with the 84 since as the week started I was just going to run my 12.5 mile course each day for 6 days, which would have netted me 75 miles...still a big week.  However, on my otherwise uneventful Thursday run, I was coming up the biggest hill on Hinkle road and all of a sudden I felt a shooting pain in the ball of my left foot like I stepped on something big.  I took a second step and cringed again as whatever it was seemed to be stuck in my foot.  I looked and sure enough, it was.  It was a carpet tack, not the pointy end, but the side of the head (also very sharp) stuck right in the center of the ball of my foot.  I brushed it off and then reached down to retrieve it and then threw it off to the side of the road.  It looked a little rusty and I immediately thought I was glad my tetnus vaccine was up to date.
I ran the rest of the way home but stopped a couple of times to look at the wound.  It didn't really hurt that bad except once every 50 steps or so it would give me a twinge.  When I got back to the house I was half expecting to see a bloody mess, but quite the opposite, it was just a small line on the ball of my foot.  It actually didn't seem like a cut at all but just a deep bruise. 
Warning:  Don't Step on Carpet Tacks

I limped around the rest of the day but never really gave up on the 75 mile week goal.  At the same time, I started looking at my weekly and monthly total and realized I was dangerously close to the all time Monthly Record as well (set back in May at 260 miles).  Well I needed more than the 12.5 each day if I was going to make the monthly goal but figured I still had 4 days to get it done.  I would need to average 15 miles each of the next 4 days just to tie the record.
So the next day (Friday) I figured I'd just test the foot and if the injury wasn't too bad I'd go for big miles.  The foot held up fine but I'd forgotten to "camel up" enough at the start and started to get dehydrated by about 14 miles...so I gave up on the 18 and turned in a 15 miler.  Still not bad considering the nail injury and still added 2.5 miles from the day before.
Saturday I camel'd up well and went for the 18 again and this time no problem.  Since I always take Sundays off, I knew I'd have 2 days left to get the record.  Monday, I started early (in the dark with headlamp) and turned in a solid 17.  Then Tuesday, today, last day of the month, I capped it off with a "easy" 15 miler but I was worn out afterwards.  A little rest is in order!
I'll include my daily totals below after my monthly total just to reiterate the daily totals need to acheive this monthly record.  Thank You God once again for the amazing recovery ability of this wonderful human body.  Thank You for this temple!

Have a Happy Fall Barefooters!

Barefoot Dan

September Mileage:  265.30 Miles (new monthly record)


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Jackson Hole Marathon

Happy Labor Day Barefoot Runners,

Before Start of Jackson Hole Marathon

I'm out in Jackson Hole Wyoming where I just completed the Marathon yesterday.  I was blessed to have my wife Linda here for the experience and she got to help me celebrate a new BPR (Barefoot Personal Record) of 3:50:48 and another "50 Sub 4" state which leaves me only 3 states to go! (goal to run all 50 in under 4 hours)

I came out to Wyoming on Wednesday evening to attempt to get acclimated a little ahead of the race on Saturday.  The experts will tell you that you need about 10 days to get acclimated properly, but 48 hours was all I could manage.  That being said, the key to acclimation is to DRINK PLENTLY so I bought a case of water on day one and started chugging.  I think it has really helped as I didn't get any of the typical headaches associated with high altitude acclimation.  Now that Linda is here (she arrived Friday) I'm pushing the water on her too and she also thinks it is helping.

I was definitely concerned about this marathon and it's altitude which is all above 6,000 feet.  Of course, since I was wanting to do it in under 4 hours I knew it would definitely be challenging as I had just done Colorado in May in 3:56 but that was even 1000 feet lower...I mean, let's face it...there just isn't enough Oxygen once you get above 6,000 feet!  And with the added challenge of doing this barefoot, I knew it would be at the edge of my capability.

Do I look nervous?

Chilling out before the start
 Another kind of crazy thing about this race was that the race director had declared this an "Eco Friendly" marathon, meaning that all the aid stations would NOT have cups, so you had to carry your own "hydration system" with you while running.  Some ran with a Camel Back system and others ran with water bottle belts.  Some opted for the "HydroPouch" system being pushed by the race director which was basically a little rubbery cup with a clip to hook on your shorts.  At each aid station there was both water and Poweraid in large dispensors with quick valves to shoot whatever you needed in whatever receptacle you had with you.  I looked at the HydroPouch at the expo being hawked for $11 and then opted for my own ziplock baggie for 2 cents which did the same thing and was lighter weight to carry. 

I looked at the Hydropouch as a waste of money for something I would never use again and eventually throw away.  Nice and "Eco Friendly," NOT...thank-you liberals!  I picture a landfill somewhere in the future overflowing with discarded Hydropouches, or worse yet, a sea-turtle slowly choking on some triathlete's lost Hydropouch.  Okay, I'll get off my soap-box, but really, didn't my $90 entry fee pay for the handful of water cups I would have used on race day!  OK, OK, deep breath.

Feet not too bad after 26 Rocky Mountain Miles!

Race day morning arrived with a possible threat of thunderstorms throughout the day, but none ever materialized.  The starting temperature was around 48 degrees with a predicted rise to only mid 60's by end of race, so this turned out to be absolutely perfect running weather.  Linda and I walked the 6 blocks from our hotel to the start and waited with the 100 or so other participants (there was also a Half Marathon with about 400 people but it had a different start location).  I chugged a final bottle of water, handed my sweats to Linda, the gun went off and the marathon was underway.  The first three miles through town were a little dicey as a couple of streets had just been repaved 24 hours prior!  I opted for the sidewalks in these sections as sticky tar on the bottom of your feet is not a good way to start a barefoot long run.  It's bad enough stepping on little pebbles, but you don't want them sticking to your feet!  At about 3.5 miles the course joined the extensive bike trail network which offered some very nice and smooth surfaces and also had a yellow painted stripe down the middle about half of the time.  When I could I ran the stripe, but the path itself was much smoother than most roads.

The course did leave the bike path periodically and join up to regular roads or even highways at some points...total road mileage was probably about 9 miles with the rest being on the smooth bike path.  One of the worst sections was on Hwy 22 leading to the small town of Wilson.  Here, as I crossed the Snake River Bridge, I hit my right heel hard on an unseen rock and sent shooting pains up to my knee.  I think it is a deep heel bruise and I felt it the rest of the race...and still feel it this morning. 

Another Moose Sighting in WY

Linda was following me in our rented Mustang and stopped a half dozen times to take pictures and videos.  This was very nice as it represented the only time in 3 years of barefoot running that I've acutally gotten to see a video of myself actually running barefoot.  After the first water station or so, I got the hang of filling and drinking out of a baggie and actually didn't have any problem at all with it.  I also carried along 5 "Gu" gels which I ate at about every station after the 10 mile point and chased it with a baggie full of water or Poweraid.  At about the 13 mile point I opted for the Port-O-Let and said to Linda as I exited, "Well, at least I know I'm hydrated!"

My overall goal for the day right from the start was to run a 3:50, although I acutal went out much faster in the first few miles at about an 8:15 pace.  By about the halfway point I was feeling very comfortable and had put about 9 minutes "in the bank" over my needed 4 hour goal. (not usually a great race strategy!)  So even though I slowed considerably in the last 6 miles, I said many "breath prayers" to God to not allow me to slow down too much.  I was fairly confident that the 4 hour mark would be met, but I also had the secondary goal of bettering my BPR of 3:56 from Colorado just three months before.
Bright Sunny Finish in Teton Village
This was very comforting and I really never let my later pace slip by more than a minute per mile and kept all those early "banked" minutes safely in the bank and finished strong.  The black bike path was in the beating sun the last 3 miles or so and acutally began to get a little warm on the feet even though it was still not even 11 o'clock yet.  The combination of low humidity, high altitude and brilliant sunshine can make for some very quick temperature rises, so I was GLAD I was almost done.  The last 50 yards or so turning into Teton Village had some of the worst gravel of the day, so my finish video doesn't look to happy or joyjul but believe me, I was very happy at the end.  I actually had one of those sort of emotional finishes and almost became overwhelmed with the fact that I had another 50sub4 state (on my third try), a new Barefoot PR, and my wife Linda there with me there to celebrate.

Now we are continuing the vacation and looking forward to the free Lynard Skynard concert tonight right here in Jackson Hole.  The one surviving member of the original band, Gary Rossington, lives here and this is his "give back" to the community of Jackson Hole.  The concert is at the foot of Snow King ski resort and is about a 7 or 8 block walk from our hotel so we are looking forward to a nice evening if the rain holds off.

Once I get back to Indiana later this week, I look forward to continuing to maintain my 38 miles per week (average) to capture my biggest year ever of 2000 miles (with or without shoes).

Happy Barefooting,

Barefoot Dan

August Mileage = 182 miles

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Barefoot in Africa + New Record Week in Indiana

New Running Partners Oliver and Russell
Hello Barefooters!
July was certainly an eventful month.  It started off in Africa where our mission trip for Hope In The Harvest was continuing.  I was blessed to get in 4 different barefoot runs and actually had different running partners for each.  Each of the runs was from 3 to 4 miles long depending on which way we turned after leaving LICC (Liberian International Christian College) in Ganta.  The surfaces varied from rocky to muddy, and dry to wet so my pace varied quite a bit as well.  On the dry, rocky sections I would fall behind the group but when the wet muddy sections hit I was able to make up ground and even sprint ahead.  Depending on who was in the group each day we sometimes split into two groups, a faster and a slower one, but we all usually ended up finishing together.  There wasn't too much competitiveness in these groups, just good fellowship and site seeing as we ran through the Liberian villages along the main road.  We always started our morning run at about 6:15am (first light) and within about an hour the motorcycle traffic started to overtake the road so we really didn't want to run any farther!  I was just happy to get in "something" while I was over there since I'm still trying to make up my mileage deficit from earlier in the year with the cold Indiana winter.  That being said, I got in about 14 miles total for the 2 weeks in Africa which didn't really help the average...but it was better than logging a bunch of Zeros! 

The Lutes Family in Liberia

African Mud!!
We had a great mission trip and I was blessed to have my entire family with me so they got to experience the wonderful African people as well.  We had 3 different VBS sessions while in Ganta, we built shelves and a workbench for the storeroom, installed fans, doorknobs and kitchen cabinets in the Ag Center and taught several different computer classes.  We also continued our main curriculum "Farming God's Way" and followed up with the pastors from last year's Alpha Outreach program.  All in all, it was a blessed trip.  Our main host Gina Sheets, however, came down with malaria and mumps at the end of our trip so she stayed in Ganta while husband Travis accompanied us to Monrovia for the flight back to the USA.  Thank God that Gina is doing much better now and is actually now back in the USA herself.  Travis and Gina travelled back about 2 weeks after we did.  I just heard today that Travis is now coming down with some kind of fever so please keep him in your prayers. 

Rehydrating with Coffee!

They will stay here during the rainy season and retool for a return in September, God Willing.  Of course the other factor in their return will be the rampant spreading of the Ebola virus which is continuing to take it's toll in Western Africa so please keep this situation and all concerned in your daily prayers as well.

Once back in Indiana, I got right back into a daily routine of high mileage barefoot runs first thing in the morning.  The first two days back I ran a 10 and a 12 and then did 10 miles per day the whole next week.  Then, without much planning or forethought I embarked on yet another ride on the "Crazy Train."  I began last week running 17 miles a day but took it one day at a time.  I literally, couldn't even think about the next day...I had to concentrate on each day...one by one.  By Thursday, I began to have real issues with my achilles on the left foot.  Then on Friday, I felt a tight achilles the entire 17 mile run and it was REALLY aching afterwards.  I prayed a lot that I would still be able to run Saturday and believe it or not, I ran the entire 17 on Saturday without any problem at all from the achilles!  God definitely answers prayers! 
Travelling Barefoot in Africa
So by the end of the week, I now had a new weekly mileage record of 102 miles!  And that's with or without shoes and beats my record from last August of 90 miles which I thought at the time would be VERY hard to beat.  This time it just seemed to be almost methodical, but like I said, I couldn't think about the next day...I had to just run each 17 as if it were a standalone event and then see how the body responded in the next 24 hours.  I continue to be amazed at the healing power of the human body and how much it can adapt if taken care of.  It is truly a gift from God which we need to treasure.  Now this week I'm taking it easy and glad to be caught up with my 38 mile/week average.  I will do sort of a "taper" in August to get ready for the next challenge:  The Jackson Hole Marathon on August 30...can't wait!  This will be a nice long weekend for Linda and me (with no kids!)
Enjoy the Rest of Your Barefoot Summer!
Barefoot Dan
July Mileage = 233.6 Miles 


Friday, June 27, 2014

Off to Africa...After Record Breaking Barefoot Month

Hello Barefooters!

I hope everyone is enjoying the wonderful barefoot weather this summer.   I've had an absolutely awesome month of June thanks to continued good health and beautiful weather...Thank You God!  I turned in 4 consecutive high mileage weeks with a 61 mile, 72 mile, 62 mile, and so far a 64 mile week this week.  Originally, I was sort of going to take it easy this last week, but then realized I was again within striking distance of my all time monthly running total of 252 (yes, WITH or WITHOUT shoes!) so I decided to go for it and wait till next week's mission trip to "rest up."  After this mornings 11.6 mile run, I'm now sitting at 260.18 miles for the month, which I may let stand as the record.  (I could run tomorrow morning before we leave for the airport and even Monday morning in Africa, but I may just take it easy and not put this record too far out of reach for next time I try to break it!)  So with those 23 days of running this month I averaged 11.3 miles per day...I'm pretty happy with that...PRAISE GOD!
Fresh "Chip and Seal" on one of my favorite routes!
I only had one real mishap for the month.  On June 6, I decided to go North on Anthony Road straight up above 236th Street and go for a 12 miler or so.  BUT, once I got up above 256th Street to what used to be my ultra smooth "tar strip down the middle of the road" I was horrified to find fresh chip and seal!!  Yuck!!  As I've said before, OLD chip and seal can be good with the smooth tar strip down the middle, but fresh chip and seal is always bad because the rocks are so sharp and jagged it will stop you in your tracks!  So, after a few painful steps I turned back and then went East on 256th (also rough) and found Salem Road which was a little smoother, but then ended up turning back for home.  All the running on rough surfaces threatened to reinjure the left groin pull and also acted up the associated tendonitis in my left knee.  As I half heartedly shuffled back home I didn't pick up my left foot high enough on one rough section and stubbed my second toe...HARD!  I had never done that before and it really hurt.  Soon I looked down and found the toenail was bleeding and it started looking pretty bad...here is a picture right afterward.

Stubbed Toe on 12 Miler

Of course it wasn't as bad as it looked once I got it cleaned up.  It felt like I had jammed something under the nail but it seemed to just be a good stubbing.  It has continued to be sore to the point where I could feel it during the runs, but never bad enough to stop or even shorten my run for that day.  Just this week it seems to be pretty much back to normal. 
So now it's off to Africa tomorrow morning with the whole family.  There are acutally 14 of us going on this mission trip:  7 from Christ UMC Westfield, 4 from Grace Noblesville, 1 from Sheridan UMC, and 2 from San Diego CA which we haven't met yet other than Skype'ing into our team meetings.  Looking forward to meeting the two of them face to face when we arrive at JFK tomorrow night.  The mission trip is to Ganta Liberia (same place I went last summer) and is in support of Travis and Gina Sheets, cofounders of Hope In The Harvest Missions International.  I can't wait to see the progress and re-connect with the Liberian friends we made last year.  We will be staying in the partially completed Ag Center on the edge of the campus of LICC (Liberian International Christian College).  We will be serving the local Liberians with a 3-day vision clinic, a VBS for approximately 300 kids, a set of computer training classes in Powerpoint, Word and Excel.  We will be continuing our core curriculum "Farming God's Way" and following up on our Alpha outreach program started last summer.  We will also be doing construction projects such as building a work bench and installing shelving in the first floor of the Ag Center.  We will be transporting 4 dozen turkey, duck and goose eggs as well as some fresh water Tilapia from the US, which will be used to further the Agricultural Program Development at LICC.  And I'm sure God has many other neat things in store for us while we are there...He always does!  Our team has many different skill sets and for some this is their first ever mission trip while most of us have at least done some domestic trips prior to this one.  Please keep our team in your prayers and also pray for those we will reach while in Liberia.
Gina already has daily runs already planned so I hope to get in some good barefoot miles while I'm there.  I ran several days last year, although we are staying in a different location this year so I'm not sure how "barefoot friendly" it will be...but I'll give it a try. 

Follow us on Facebook on the Hope in the Harvest Missions International page.

Keep Training Out There and Enjoy Your Summer!

Barefoot Dan

June Mileage = 260.18 miles...new monthly high, with or without shoes!

Friday, May 30, 2014

New Barefoot PR in Marathon + 50Sub4 State!

Hello Barefooters,

My Newest Goal - Just Another Shirt!
It was a great month of May.  Warmer weather, longer runs and my second barefoot marathon under my belt.  I was blessed to be able to complete the Colorado Colfax Marathon on May 18th and continue my quest to run all 50 states in under 4 hours.    As most of you know, I had already completed all 50 States back in 2009 (in my "Shod" days) and afterwards became aware of the 50Sub4 Club.  I realized I had only 6 states which would need to be repeated to get them all under 4 hours.  I had already repeated Vermont and was in the process of training for Casper Wyoming Marathon when I injured my ITB and subsequently became a barefooter during my injury recovery.  My first ever barefoot marathon was the Indy Monumental back in 2012 in 5:08...no where near the pace I would need for the 50Sub4 goal.  But I continued to train, and get faster and Thanks to God, stayed healthy enough to build up to a Sub Four...and at altitude to boot!

My first bib with "Barefoot Dan" on name!

That has always kind of been my concern with this goal is that 3 of the 5 States I had left were higher altitude (CO, WY and NM) which, coupled with the slower pace of barefooting, might have put this goal just out of reach.  But through much prayer and soul searching, the distance and speed did come back.  I am enjoying running more now than I have in years!  I tell people that barefoot running is a COMPLETELY new and different sport.  You basically have to re-teach yourself to run...and that includes starting all over as far as speed AND mileage.  But it DOES come back if you stick with it.
Pre Race - at bag check
The day of the Colfax Marathon we had near perfect weather, with a low of 46 and a 6am start which meant I was done by 10am with the temp still below or about 70.  The course is beautiful and starts on the grounds of the Zoo and goes through Mile High Stadium twice, once at 6 miles and again at 20 miles.  The entire course is basically flat but of course a mile high, and much of it is run along Colfax which is the longest street in Denver.  When we weren't on a city street we were running along bike paths and a trail around Sloan's Lake.  Surprisingly the roads were pretty smooth but there were a fair amount of pebbles and road debris which made concentrating on my path critical.  This was made difficult in the early miles (as I learned in the Indy marathon) when many people wanted to run alongside and talk about barefoot running.  Either they "knew someone who..." or "always wanted to try..." or wondered it I had "ever heard of those Five-Finger shoes" or you name it.  It's crazy how many people made comments or wanted to talk about it.  But I made a concentrated effort to maintain my form and pace during those distractions and sort of got used to it after a while.

Basking in the Sunshine Afterwards!

My goal was to keep the early miles just below a 9 minute pace and see how I felt at the half way point.  The plan worked pretty well as I kept all miles in the first half between 7:55 and 9:03 with most being right around 8:45.  The second half was definitely slower although not significantly.  The last 6 miles were all above 9:00 but the last one was above 10:00.  This is actually pretty abnormal for me as I usually "crank it down" in the last mile but this one was a 10:15 mile.  This was definitely due to the horrible pavement as we re-entered the Zoo grounds.  There were pebbles (Gravel) everywhere and in spots it was like broken up cold patch across the entire road.  This would have probably been ok in the early miles but after 25 miles on barefeet, I wasn't really "into" this last rough mile.  Luckily I knew I had about 4 minutes in the bank to still make the 4 hour goal.  At the end my goal became to get both the chip time and the gun time under 4 hours, which I did.  The gun time was 3:59:45ish and the official chip time was 3:56:17.  So a new Barefoot PR by an hour and twelve minutes!  My biggest PR improvement ever at any distance!
Feet in good shape after 26 miles!
While I've been basking in my accomplishment these past two weeks, I have been fighting a bit of a groin pull on the left side.  The day after the marathon I ran 2 miles easy and both the left and right side was REALLY tight.  As it loosened up over the next couple of days it seemed the left side was much worse.  Then on Thursday, I overdid it and really tweaked it...pulled it the rest of the way...whatever...it hurt.  So I cut the miles way back and took an extra day off.  This week I started slow but increased the miles toward the end of the week.  My goal for the week was to get my full 38 miles in (Avg. needed for my "other" goal of 2000 miles for the year).
Due to the quick taper before the race and the medium to higher mileage after the race I have been able to keep the 38 mile avg. goal for the month.  Still have 170 miles or so to make up from the disastrously cold winter.  The nice thing about taking some time off at the end of last week was that I went ahead and signed up for the next one!  That's right, I'm now signed up to run the Jackson Hole Marathon on August 30.  This will be one of the 4 remaining states needed for the 50Sub4 goal.  Linda and I are planning to make a mini-vacation out of it which will be much more fun than the IN and OUT that I did for the CO marathon.

Happy Barefooting Out There...enjoy your Summer!

Barefoot Dan

May Mileage = 187 miles

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Barefoot Marathon Prep In High Gear - 220 Miles in April

Hello Barefooters,
The preparation is going well for my upcoming barefoot marathon next month in Colorado.  April turned out to be a great month for mileage since the weather cooperated so nicely.  I was able to run a "full schedule" which is 6 days a week with an average of 8.48 miles per day!  I always take Sundays off as a rest day which works really well for "going long" on Saturdays.  My favorite route is a 7.5 mile loop (with spur) containing about 3 miles of the smoothest asphault around (Hinkle Road) as well as some not so smooth areas.  It's a good combination which lets me challenge the feet in the beginning and then reward them with the smoother pavement toward the end of each run.  The 7.5 mile length gives me a good "base" mileage each day and it is always easy to extend the workout if the feet and weather are cooperating.
Michigan 8 Miler - Rough Pavement!  Ouch!

I did have one business trip this month which took me up to Novi, Michigan -- or as I like to call it "The Land of Potholes and Pebbles!"  I used the I-275 Metro Trail behind my hotel to connect to some neighborhoods about a mile away.  But the first day there really trashed my feet.  I did find some "smoother" pavement, but by the last day I had cry UNCLE and only ran 0.5 miles...see it's just hard for me to just take a ZERO mileage day!  The feet did recover and I was able to do a six miler after returning home, but it really does make a difference finding a good smooth surface to run on.  It gives you so much more confidence to "let it fly" when you know the next step isn't going to be on cracked, broken or pebbly pavement.  Which makes me even more nervous for the upcoming marathon in Denver next month.  I've watched the "virtual course" on-line a couple times and from that, I'm optomistic that the pavement will be "ok."  But, we'll see.

Snowy Tax Day Run

While the mileage did stay very high for the month we did have just a little unseasonable weather.  For Tax Day, April 15, we had a freak snowstorm which allowed me, I hope, my last two snow pics for the season.  I really don't miss the cold and snow at all.  It's pretty amazing what the body and feet can tolerate when the only choice is snowy, cold or wet pavement.  But it's also amazing how quick the body can start to get used to the warmer temps and ease right into the longer runs.  My recovery time between runs seems to be decreasing and multiple days in a row of moderate to long distance is now pretty common.   

Last snowy footprints of season...I hope!

Now that I've been able to put in some longer mileage weeks, I've begun to re-focus on the 2000 barefoot mile goal for the year.  This requires an average of 38 miles per week, so April has really helped out with four weeks of 51, 60, 47 and 45 miles each which allows me to start eating into the 240 mile deficit built up in the frigid months of Jan, Feb, and March.  I shaved a good 50 miles off that deficit and hope to keep the momentum going.  Of course I will have to do some tapering for the upcoming marathon race, so I may not make up as much ground in the month of May, but we'll see.  God has been good to me and He ALWAYS provides! 
This upcoming marathon will mark my second in the state of Colorado but will be my first barefoot attempt at a Sub 4 Hour marathon.  I still have 5 states left in the "50 Sub 4" challenge...I think it may be a stretch to try to complete this thing barefoot, but I really like gearing up for the challenge and don't want to go back into shoes just to complete it.  The speed is coming back so I think it is a perfect time to give it a shot.  Please say a prayer for me on May 18 as I make the attempt at the Kaiser Permanente Colorado Colfax Marathon.  What a mouthful!  Kaiser is the sponsor, obviously, and Colfax is the name of the longest continuous street in Denver, on which a portion of the race is run.  I will be flying out the evening before the race and flying back on Sunday evening.  I'm using Frequent Flyer and hotel points so the whole weekend is free other than my entry fee.  Hopefully the altitude won't be an issue although I do expect it will slow me down a little.  There's less available oxygen in the Mile High City, but I'm hoping there will be just enough!     Stay Safe Out There & Enjoy the Spring Weather,     Barefoot Dan     April Mileage = 220.5 Miles 


Monday, March 31, 2014

Out Like a Lamb

Hello Barefooters,

Still a little snow in March to "ice" the feet afterward
Well, March is finally over and we actually had some pretty decent weather to run in.   I ended up with about 135 barefoot miles for the month with the much milder temps.  It was truly a pleasure to get in some 8 and 10 mile runs in the sun, as opposed to January and February when many of the runs were 1 mile or less just to avoid frostbite.  The first three weeks of the month netted my biggest mileage weeks of the year.  Needless to say I'm well behind on my 38 mile per week average needed to net 2000 for the year, but that may still be my stretch goal, we'll see!
The highlight for the month would definitely be my new barefoot PR at the 5K distance in the Westfield Underground Railroad on March 22.  I ran this same race last year but targeted the "speed" this year by doing some barefoot speedwork the week before the race.  I ran a couple of 7 minute miles in the middle my regular runs the week before on Monday and Tuesday and then took Wed through Fri off completely to rest the feet for the big race on Saturday.  There was a threat of rain overnight, but thankfully the forecasters got it wrong and we had completely dry pavement to start the day.  The morning temp was in the high thirties which made for near perfect weather conditions.  The pavement of course, left a little to be desired...this harsh Indiana winter has created potholes everywhere and even the "good" asphalt is littered with pebbles.

With Megan at 5K Start
Glass in Foot After Race
I went out with the intent to try to break 22 minutes and hold about a 7 minute pace...and surprisingly, I did just that.  I said quite a few prayers in those 3 miles, mostly thanks for the dry pavement but also asking to be able to hold the pace.  The prayers were definitely answered with pretty even splits (all within 15 seconds of each other).  I was even able to hold the pace after picking up a nasty little piece of glass in the ball of my right foot in Asa Bales Park with about half a mile to go.  Normally, I would have stopped and brushed this off, but even though I could feel it, I actually thought it was a bit of tar and rock and didn't bother.  After all, I had a 7 minute pace going!  Afterwards I sat in the van and picked the glass out and took this lovely picture.  It actually looks a lot worse than it really was.  I stuffed a napkin in my sandal an hobbled back to the finish line to watch my 13 year old daughter Megan finish her race.  I was a great day for the whole Lutes family. 

Whole Lutes Family Participated
My wife Linda and daughters Rachel and Sarah also did the walk so they came in a short while later.
Megan came in 3rd in her age group and I acually came in 1st in my now "over 50" category and won a $15 gift certificate to The Blue Mile which I cashed in for some Body Glide and a blinky light...Hey, I don't need shoes anymore you know!  The new BPR is 21:49 and beat last year's time by almost 2 minutes.  I came in 26th out of 388 (Top 7%) not bad for barefoot! 
Last Slushy Run, I hope!
I nursed the wound the next week but acually ran on it 48 hours later and got in 22 miles for the week.  We had another slushy late winter snowstorm Saturday so the run was cut short. 
But this morning I got in a nice 8 miler so hopefully this is the start of a nice high mileage week with warmer temps forecast.
Well, I'm glad to have the speed coming back...it's been 2.5 years coming...over 2 years now completely barefoot...and no plans to slip the shoes back on any time soon.  Now to continue the preparation for my next challenge --- a sub 4 hour marathon at the Colfax Marathon in Denver CO on May 18.

Happy Training Barefooters!

Barefoot Dan

March Mileage = 134.5 miles