Favorite Pastime - Resting!

Favorite Pastime - Resting!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Five Years of Barefoot Running...almost (and 2,264 miles this year)

Happy New Year Barefooters!

Late December snowy run in Howe, IN
As 2016 comes to a close, I look back at this unlikely journey and think "Wow, this has been fun!"  Almost five years ago, I hung up my running shoes for good. (Feb 11 is the actual anniversary of my last "shod" run).  At the time, it didn't feel like a big milestone, actually quite the opposite.  Two days later, I thought my running career was over!  You see, at the time, I was really getting into the barefoot thing, but still relied on the Vibram 5-Finger shoes from time to time...usually when the weather wouldn't cooperate and I still felt like getting in some miles.  This back and forth between shoes and barefoot, is what I believe caused my stress fracture on Feb 13th of 2012.  While I know some minimalists believe this is a good approach, I believe that the shoes allowed me to do more than my feet were actually ready for at the time, and thus the injury....if you like, please go back and look at my blog posts in early 2012 if you want to relive my injury and subsequent recovery.  I think about it often and it has shaped me into the barefoot runner I am today.  I wouldn't put shoes back on now if you paid me!

This has been another big, high mileage year for me:  2264 miles for the year!  Although, this will be the first year in the last 5 I didn't break the previous year's record.  Actually, as I look over the past year, it was rather uneventful by comparison and I don't really even have enough to publish a "Top 10 List" as I did the last couple of years.  Still, there was much to celebrate in 2016.
--- I ran barefoot in 9 different states:  IN, MI, CA, TN, AL, GA, VA, SC, NM
--- I ran barefoot in 3 different countries:  USA, Malaysia, Singapore
--- I ran 2 barefoot marathons:  Albuquerque (Duke City) and Indianapolis (Monumental)

I also ran a couple of 5K races (one in the Spring and one in the Fall) and even placed 2nd overall in the Fall race.  The Albuquerque Marathon was a nice getaway vacation for Linda and I and it set me up to finish off the "50Sub4" quest next month, finally!  The Indy marathon was a fun group event and served as both my 80th marathon and my 8th barefoot marathon.  It also spurred me on to raise $2000 for clean water in Africa through World Vision (my heartfelt thanks to all of you who contributed and prayed for our team!)

This time of year, I like to "crunch the numbers" and the 2016 annual total of 2264 gives me a new lifetime percentage of 28% barefoot (9,226 barefoot miles vs. 32,800 total lifetime miles)  Looking at the chart I also note that the last three years have been my highest annual totals ever, in the entire last 26 years (since I began running).  I've also now run around the earth 1.3 times!

OUCH...sliding on icy concrete - not recommended!
The month of December was pretty uneventful actually since the weather finally decided to get cold for real.  The second week of the month was particularly cold and my weekly total was less than 4 miles!  I ran one day when it was only 18 degrees and yes, that was the high for the day, but no, that is not a barefoot record for me!  This week also included the only day this month I missed due to weather, -2 degrees...brrr!  And, to top it off, on Saturday Dec. 17th we had a pretty bad ice storm, but, of course, I went running anyway!  On the first two steps out of the garage, my feet flew out from under me and I went down...HARD.  I scraped the top of my foot in the process and landed on both my left hip and left elbow.  I just laid there for quite a while in the freezing puddle of water and didn't move while I tried to figure out what I had broken...luckily nothing.  But it hurt, bad.  Still, I said a little prayer, walked back in the house, put on a fresh pair of gloves, looked at my bleeding foot, and then, of course, went back out to "carefully" get in my run!  The landing on the left elbow was the worst part...I wrenched my shoulder and upper body pretty bad and had trouble moving that shoulder without pain for the next few days.  It is still hard to put on a shirt even now, two weeks later, but it is slowly but surely getting better.  

I thank God that I didn't break anything or get more seriously hurt, because that would have really messed up all the plans for next month.  God provides!  Can I get an Amen!  I am learning to lean on HIM more and more everyday! 

Speaking of plans, it will be a very busy month of January.  On January 8th, God Willing, I will run the Disney Marathon under 4 hours and will finally complete the 50Sub4 quest to run all 50 states in under 4 hours (the last 5 barefoot).  Next, I have a business trip to California and Mexico scheduled for the following week.  And then, on Jan. 21, again God Willing, I will leave for a 2 week mission trip to Ganta, Liberia in western Africa.  We have a team of 8 people going and this will be my 3rd trip to this same location within the last 5 years, travelling with our organization known as Hope In The Harvest.  We are celebrating the completion of the ARC (Agriculture Research Center) at LICC (Liberia International Christian College) which 5 years ago was literally a dirt hill on the edge of a swamp!  As Jesus' hands and feet, we celebrate the lives changed through the Agriculture Program at LICC as this "seemingly" agricultural community begins literally to "learn how to farm" and its families learn to depend upon God for their daily provisions.

I will still be in Africa on the 1st of Feb, so, apologies, my blog next month will be a little late, but don't worry, I will get it done...hopefully with much good news to report from Ganta.

Blessings & Have a Prosperous 2017,

Barefoot Dan

December Total = 90.02 miles
2016 Total = 2264.33 miles


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Enjoying Some Rest

Hello Barefooters,

Team World Vision (partial) at the Starting Line
November has been a good "resting" month after my two recent marathons.  I definitely needed the rest since the two marathons were only about 3 weeks apart and both banged me up pretty good.  The Indy Monumental Marathon was on Nov. 5 and was run along with my World Vision Team from Christ UMC Westfield.  I was blessed to raised $2000 for this event which will help to provide clean water to 40 people in Africa next year.  A big "THANK YOU" to all of my donors and those who prayed for our team during this event.  Our team celebrated the event afterwards, with food of course!  And we are so energized we've already signed up to do it again next year as a team!


The weather for race day was perfect with temps in the upper 30's and lower 40's at the start.   As you know, it's best to be a little cold at the start so that once you get going and the blood start flowing, it turns out to be just right.  The first few miles I maintained my 8:30 (or so) pace and kept it up until we split off from the half marathoners.  This, in hindsight, turned out to be WAY too fast.  Once the course got north of the Indy fairgrounds the pavement turned rougher and my pace began to slow.  It was at this point I suddenly remembered what I said when I ran this 4 years ago:  "I'll never run this barefoot again!...Indy doesn't know how to pave streets!" and yet I must have forgotten this!

The last half of the race I slowed considerably and was actually glad I didn't need a "Sub 4" for this race because I don't think I could have done it.  The pavement leading up to Burdsal Parkway hadn't been touched in 4 years and was absolutely crumbling...I kept running (in my mind) but I'm sure any bystanders might have thought I was walking! 

I did pick up the pace at the end and got back to a reasonable looking gait.  During the last mile of the race WRTV reporter Mary Milz came running along side and sort of "interviewed" me about running barefoot.  I gave her some basic info about barefoot marathoning and she said to send her an email and we would talk more (I sent her the email, but no response yet!)  Once I rounded the last corner and could see the finish line I went blowing by Mary and about 50 other runners in that last quarter mile...it felt so good to go from an 11:00 min/mile pace to a 7:18 min/mile pace knowing the end was near!

Yay!  Finish Line!
I staggered across the line and went immediately to the baggage area where I knew my checked bag (with Flip Flops) would be waiting...ahhhh, relief!  After a few minutes recovering I made my way back to the Team World Vision tent where our regional team leader Alyssa welcomed me in to the smell of pizza.  Even better, I got a hug and kiss from our local team leader (my wife Linda) who had just completed her half marathon and was waiting along with the rest of our team.  Then of course, after finishing the pizza, we went out for breakfast at Lincoln Square!  ---Eat to run or run to eat...your choice!

This was my 80th marathon and my 8th barefoot marathon so all in all, a pretty good milestone.  I came in 2177th overall at 4:15 even (again, happy to not need the sub 4).  The rest of the month I have pretty much taken it easy, although the middle week I did get in almost 40 miles and enjoyed the first slightly snowy run on Nov. 19th.   Since then I've been nursing a bit of TOFP (Top Of Foot Pain), which you barefooters know is usually very bad news.  However, this seems to sort of be a phantom pain which is moving around a little so I am not overly alarmed at this point.  Still, it is good to be able to just run "a little bit" each day and not overdo the miles, as I continue to recover from these two relatively rough marathons.

I'm getting psyched for my upcoming Disney Marathon in about 5 weeks and will really enjoy finally finishing off the 50 Sub 4 quest if successful.  This will mean that the last 5 states (some of the hardest) were repeated to not only get the times under 4 hours, but also to do them barefoot.  I'll be ready for a good long rest after that!

Enjoy the holidays!

Barefoot Dan

November Mileage = 108.5 miles 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Something Scary for Halloween!

Happy Halloween Barefooters,

So since it's Halloween, let me show you something scary and gross! 

This morning during my 10 miler, at about 8 miles, I turned to look for traffic behind, took my eyes off the road in front of me for half a second and stepped on something (maybe a rock?!) very hard with my left forefoot.  It hurt like you wouldn't believe!  I limped the last two miles home, hoping to sort of shake it off.  I said a quick prayer that I wouldn't hit anything else in the exact same spot, which would have taken me to my knees.  Sometimes after hitting something hard like that it can take a few strides, or sometimes up to half a mile, to get everything feeling all right again.  But not this time!  I stopped to look at it a couple of times with my headlamp and it seem to just be a blood blister, but each step was increasingly uncomfortable and I began to actually change my stride to find a better landing zone (never a good thing!)  When I got back to the house I was not encouraged.  What I saw was about a dime size blister forming and starting to throb.
Halloween Injury...ouch!

Now it's mid morning as I write this and it is still throbbing inside my shoe.  Not only that, I'm now walking with a slight limp!  Normally this wouldn't be so bad, but what makes this such a "scary Halloween surprise" is that I'm supposed to run the Indy Monumental Marathon in 5 days with Team World Vision on Saturday.  I was planning to only run 3 days this week (Mon 10mile, Tues 8mile and Wed 6mile) and then take off Thurs and Fri completely to be ready for Saturday...but now it looks like I will be taking the WHOLE week off and then just hope and pray to be ready to go on Saturday.  Don't get me wrong, it's not the end of the world, but definitely not the way I wanted to taper for this race!  Oh well, up until now it had been a great October for barefoot running...how fitting that this happened on Halloween!

I started off the month with a nice high mileage week of 77miles followed by a week of tapering to get ready for the Duke City Marathon in Albuquerque.  This would be my 3rd (and hopefully final) attempt to get the ever elusive New Mexico Marathon under 4 hours for my 50Sub4 quest.  Linda and I flew out on Thursday afternoon and made a nice 4-day weekend out of it.  We explored Santa Fe NM on Friday which was a short 90 minute drive from our hotel in Old Town Albuquerque.  We enjoyed the Georgia O'Keefe museum in Santa Fe as well as some other museums, shopping and excellent restaurants.  Santa Fe is quite an eclectic mix of arts and entertainment so my artsy wife Linda was right at home, and I didn't mind it either!
Chillin' at the start
El Pinto Restaurant
 On Saturday we took it easy and went to the race expo at the Isleta Resort and Casino...but I should have stayed away from the blackjack tables! The expo itself was nice and Linda did a little shopping for her upcoming race.  For whatever reason, I forgot to buy energy gels at the expo which I would live to regret at the race the next day.  After the expo we explored Albuquerque a little more and found a really nice restaurant, El Pinto...if you are ever there, I highly recommend this place!  We then drove the course to get a feel for the surfaces and I was not impressed, but felt that anything had to be better than the horrible surfaces during last year's "fail" at the Shiprock Marathon in northern New Mexico.

4 Hour Pacer - Group was a "little" fast
Sunday was race day and we got an early start and arrived downtown with a good parking spot so I could relax in the couple of hours leading up to the 7am start.  I was glad the start was at 7 since the predicted high that day was 80.  Morning lows were in the lower 50s and once the sun came up it would be getting hot fast.  The first two miles were on city streets out to the Bosque Trail, a bike path along the Rio Grande.  The streets were pretty chewed up but I was able to find some decent sidewalk sections alongside.  The problem was that even when I found some otherwise smooth sidewalks, they always seemed to be littered with debris and pebbles.  Not so bad on the trip out, but I knew it wouldn't be fun after 20+ miles coming back.  At mile two we got onto the actual bike path which again was pretty smooth but always seemed to be littered with pebbles.  I got lots of the usual barefoot comments but no sympathy (and I didn't expect any!) for the rougher surfaces.  Most shod runners just sort of look at me and probably rightly think "Put on some shoes you dummy!"  For the most part during the first half of the race I was able to keep pace and actually put some "minutes in the bank" which I would definitely need in the second half.  For the first half I maintained a very respectable pace, somewhere around 8:35/mile or so, but then I started paying it back slowly.  It became a little tedious in the second half doing the math to know how much I could slow down knowing that it would get really slow toward the end.  As it turned out, I didn't slow too quickly and my first mile over the dreaded 10:00/mile pace was not until mile 23 and even then, I kept them all under 10:30.  I knew I was slowing when the 3:45 pace group caught up to me at around mile 15.  The scariest moment was when the 4:00 pace group caught me, and then passed me, in the last mile, but they were actually a little ahead of their predicted pace.  Also, I knew I had a couple of extra minutes to spare as I had delayed my start at the beginning to let traffic clear and hadn't run through the first timing station (chip reader) until 2 minutes after the start gun sounded.  All in all, I still cut it pretty close with only 3 and 1/2 minutes to spare, finishing in 3:56:29.  Plenty of time!  Whew!  Linda was happy that we didn't have to come back a 4th time to New Mexico, although we really do like it here.

Yay!!  Duke City Complete!
So now I have only one more state to go (Florida) in the 50sub4 quest to get all the states under 4 hours.  Again, the plan is to run the Disney Marathon in January to complete the circuit, but this is God Willing, of course, and barring any injuries like the one I have throbbed on my left foot right now!  Still as I look back over this 5 year odyssey and the number of minor injuries and subsequent gross pictures I've posted on this blog, I still must say they've all been "skin injuries" and I have not had one significant structural injury (tendon, ligament, bone) since the stress fracture in the 2nd metatarsal as a result of barefoot running (and again, I attribute that stress fracture to the switch back and forth to Vibram 5-Finger shoes) in the beginning. 

So yes, I am still a strong proponent of Barefoot Running, even though this week I'm limping!

Best of luck to all my World Vision Team-mates in your races this weekend.
(still not too late to donate, click here!)

God Bless,

Barefoot Dan

October Mileage = 196.31 Miles

Friday, September 30, 2016

Marathon Season Approaching!

Hello Barefooters,

Pool is covered, Fall is here
The Fall marathon season is getting underway for most of us.  The leaves are "maybe" starting to turn and the days and nights are getting a little bit crisper.  The cover is on the pool (always a little sad) and the rain is getting more and more frequent.  I started off the month out in sunny California and now I'm finishing it up in rainy Michigan.

My training has been going pretty well and I've gotten in some pretty good high mileage weeks, finishing out the month with just over 200 miles.  I have three upcoming marathons:  NM, IN, and FL in the next 4 months and I'm looking forward to each one.  In two weeks Linda and I will fly to Albuquerque for the first one on Oct 16.  I will need to try to keep that one under 4 hours since it will be my 3rd attempt for NM (for my 50Sub4 quest).
Team Duff in support of GiGi's Playhouse

One of the highlights for the month was running a 5K in Forest Park in Noblesville to benefit GiGi's Playhouse in support of kid's with Downs Syndrome.  We had a larger group from our church running for "Team Duff" which support's Kevin and Tendra Duff's twin boys Kaiden and Trenin who were born earlier this year with Downs.  Kevin and Tendra have shown remarkable resilience through it all and have been models for us all on how to handle adversity.  It has been wonderful as well to see our church and community rally around this amazing family in their difficult season.   God is definitely at work in this situation.  Our team is looking forward to many more years of supporting this race and this wonderful cause.
No shoestring? use a Zip-Tie!

This was the first race for this organization so understandably it was a little rough around the edges.  The volunteers did not seem to be well informed on the layout of the course or the need to hand the water out to the runners.  We also experienced a wrong pointing arrow, which led the first three runners the wrong way out into a parking lot.  This allowed the fourth place runner to catch up with us as we started an out-and-back with about one mile to go.   I regrouped pretty quickly and was able to come in 2nd (barefoot of course) but couldn't quite catch the guy in first who was pushing a stroller!  Oh well, it still felt nice to come in 2nd even if there wasn't much competition that day!  And since I forgot my ankle chip strap (a must for barefooters) I had to do some improvising.  Did you know you could use Zip-Ties to fasten a chip to your ankle?  

I continue to praise God for all he has allow me to do with my gift of barefoot running.  I continue to be amazed at the variety of conditions and surfaces that He allows me to be able to run and look forward to the next races, adventures and people I meet as I continue this most enjoyable chapter of my life.  Good luck to all the marathoners in training out there and enjoy the cooler temps!

Also, thanks again to all who are supporting my fundraising with World Vision, I'm about halfway there! (it's not to late to donate!) 

God Bless,

Barefoot Dan

September Mileage = 203.81 miles

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Barefoot Summer Is Winding Down

Hello Barefooters,

Dave, Dan Sarah and Megan - Twinsburg OH
Time to close the pool...
Well, summer is winding down although we should still have lots of good barefoot weather between now and when the snow starts flying (oh yuck..bad image...erase!)  I had a great month of August with a wide variety of barefoot running opportunities and goals.  I started off the month in Twinsburg Ohio at the annual Twins Days Celebration
Twinsburg 5k - 19th overall (of 200+) and
Silver Medal (2nd) in Age 50-54

After the Race
I was blessed to attend with my identical twin brother Dave and also with my twin daughters Megan and Sarah.  We went over Thursday evening and made a full 3-day weekend of it.  There was a twins golf outing on Friday and a Twins 5K Race on Sunday with lots of other fun twin activities in between.  It was really cool to be one of the "freaks" in the "freakshow" and I really appreciated the Twinsburg community, as they really get behind this event as it is their big annual festival which has been going on for over 40 years.

The rest of the month I started piling up miles for no particular reason.  I finished out the month with weeks of 70, 100 and a couple of 60 mile weeks to total up to 305 without any ill effects.  The 100 mile week was done after needing to change my normal longer routes due to Hamilton County opting to "pave," err, Chip and Seal a few of my favorite roads.  I know I've said it before but, just to remind you, I HATE FRESH CHIP AND SEAL ROADS!  This is not paving in my book although after 2 or 3 years of age, a chip and seal road can actually be a very nice barefoot road...but definitely not the fresh stuff.  The gravel they use is some of the sharpest known to mankind and the extra tar used means that everything remains sticky for the first few months.  Again, not a good combination for barefooting (sticky and sharp!)  So, I started back on one of my old favorite routes, a straight run up Anthony Road to the Tipton County Line (8.2 miles) and back + a small spur gives roughly 16.67 miles each day.  This run each day (with a Sunday off as always) gave me a total of 100 miles for the week.  The nice/unique thing about this 100-miler was that EVERY step of it was ON Anthony Road (except for my driveway).  The other nice thing was that this particular route, at least the portion above 256th Street, was another chip and seal paving project just two Summers ago (which I complained about at the time!) and now it had "recovered" to the point where I could comfortably run on it once again.  For those who've been following my blog for a while, you might also remember this Anthony Road 16-miler was what "did me in" back in Feb. 2012 when I got my stress fracture and then had to start all over.  This memory kept flooding back each day as I ran past that same spot in the road -- sometimes with a phantom PAIN in the top of my foot! -- and made it really satisfying to pile up the same 16+ miles each day, 6 days in a row.  While 100 miles is well short of my all time record it is the highest week of this year and was REALLY satisfying!

I'm now on a business trip and finishing off the month here in sunny San Diego running daily 10-milers on the Mission Bay bike trail from my hotel out to Sea Word and back.  I also have a "favorite" memory each day on this path as I pass by the spot where I stubbed my big toe and had to limp 4 miles back to my hotel...must be something about February!!!

Please help supply Clean Water to Africa
The other thing I'm putting together is my fundraising page for Africa.  So, did you know, I'm running 3 marathons in the next 4 months?!?  The middle one is for a good cause.  I've teamed up with World Vision along with 20+ others from my church to raise money and awareness for an absolute crises in Africa...CLEAN WATER.  Did you know that only $50 could supply one person with clean water for a year?  That's a bargain, and that is where YOU come in.  Please go here (Barefoot Dan at World Vision) and support my effort to raise enough money to support 40 people in Africa with clean water for a year.  Click on the "Support Me" button and give as much as you can...or please pray for me and the Christ UMC Running Team as we run the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon (and Half Marathon) to help Africa out of this desperate crisis. 

You can make a difference.

Thanks and God Bless!!

Barefoot Dan

August Mileage = 305.28 miles, monthly and weekly (100) high for 2016

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Barefoot Summer in Tennessee

Happy Summertime Barefoot Runners!

I hope everyone is enjoying the Summer and getting in some good workouts.  I started the month off with a 20 miler and ended it this morning with a 17 miler, but actually those were the two longest runs of the month. 
20 Miler to Start the Month!

I had some relatively "low mileage" weeks the first two weeks of July.  I ran the 20 on July 1 and the main reason was that I had just gotten back from Asia and the weather felt so much better, 10 degrees cooler and much less humid.  That would change by the end of the month but it really felt good at the time and was quite a contrast to what I had experienced on my two-week Asia trip weather-wise. 

The second week was our family vacation down to Tennessee and I basically decided to just run whatever felt comfortable each day and let it go at that.  We camped at Henry Horton State Park about 40 miles south of Nashville.  We camped the whole week (Saturday to Saturday) and really enjoyed the amenities of the park.  We had a nice 4 mile hike the first day we were there.  Later we enjoyed the Olympic sized swimming pool, the golf course and the buffet lunch at the lodge.  Each day we would travel back up towards Nashville to see the sites or other days to some of the more "local" attractions, such as Civil War sites, etc. 
Visiting with Uncle Bob in Gallatin TN
-- 91 Years Young! --

One day we even got to visit my 91-year old Uncle Bob up in Gallatin, just north of Nashville.  He is quite an inspiration to me and my family.  He lives on his own in an awesome house on a hill out in the country which he and my Aunt Mary Lee built back in the nineties.  Aunt Mary Lee has since passed away, but Uncle Bob is still going strong.  He takes care of the entire property by himself and insisted on fixing lunch for us the day we came, even though we offered to take him out to lunch.  He showed me and the girls his model train set up in the basement and we also got to see his family of pet deer (wandering through the yard!) which now has a set of twins!  He attributes his longevity to a good attitude, no prescription drugs (or a daily pill of any kind) and a good glass of wine each day!  Not a bad regimen!
11 Miler in Tennessee

While in Tennessee, my runs were relatively short since I was waking up in the tent each morning and then negotiating the gravel road out of the campsite to some relatively busy roads and highways around Chapel Hill, where Henry Horton State Park is located.  On my Tuesday run up Highway 99, I hit a really nasty patch of loose, sharp gravel and ended up with a deep bruise on the ball of my left foot.  This sort of shortened the rest of my vacation runs although by Saturday I did work back up to an 11 miler once I discovered Highway 270 to the east of town, which offered smoother roads, less traffic and well, NO GRAVEL!  Yeah! 

Once back home in Indiana, I bumped the mileage back up to a 55 and then a 70 mile week but the monthly total of 215 still only ranked 4th for the year and nowhere near my record of 404 set last September...and I have NO plans of breaking that anytime soon.  In fact, I'm not really too interested in records this year at all.  Main reason is that I set them all too high last year and so now I'm just enjoying running whatever distance feels good each day.

I also signed up for two additional races this month.  As most of you know already, I was already signed up for Albuquerque NM in October and Disney World, FL in January to complete my 50<4 (50 Sub 4) goal of running all 50 states under 4 hours.  Well, now I went and added one more marathon in between these two.  I signed up for the Indy Monumental in November as part of our church's marathon/half-marathon team raising money and awareness for World Vision and it's clean water for Africa project.  (and yes, I'll be hitting you up for money soon!)

The other race I signed up for is special as well.  It's only a 5K distance-wise, but it is special since it is part of the Annual Twinsburg Ohio Twins Day Celebration and I will be running as a team with my identical twin brother Dave.  We will be there this coming weekend and will participate in many different activities while there including a twin golf outing.  I'm also bringing along my 15 year old twin daughters Megan and Sarah and they are very excited.  We've never done anything like this before and had fun shopping for identical clothes last weekend.  Megan and Sarah aren't identical but they are getting into the twin-mania thing all the same!  It should be a lot of fun.

Enjoy the Summer (even though the days are already getting shorter!),

Barefoot Dan

July Mileage = 215.94 miles  (1360 so far in 2016)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Back Home After 88 Barefoot Miles in Asia

Hello Barefoot Runners,
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer.  I'm just returning from a two-week business trip to Asia and enjoyed some great barefoot running over there.  Actually, I'm now sitting here in Minneapolis on a flight delay...as per usual, the very last flight of the trip has the issue.  I'm ready to fly back to Indy and everyone is all here...except the pilot!  So, it's a good time to sit here and write this blog.

Rachel's Graduation Night - Family Selfie
Rachel's Grad Party

We started of the month of June by celebrating our oldest daughter Rachel's graduation from Westfield High School.  We had many different celebrations and parties to go to and we are very proud of Rachel and the fine young lady she has grown up to be.  She will be attending Manchester University in the Fall to study Elementary Education.  

I got in some huge weekly totals the first two weeks of the month.  This was intentional since I wasn't really sure how much I would be able to do once I got over to Asia.  So for the first two weeks of the month I had my highest totals yet for the year with a 75 miler followed by a 90 miler.  Nothing like "front loading" the month to get a high monthly total.  The next week was pretty light due to some rain and the fact that I flew out to Asia on that Thursday.

Nice surfaces in Asia!
The trip to Asia was simply phenomenal and I was able to get in some really memorable runs.  We started out flying into Singapore and staying overnight.  We then flew up to Penang and rested for the weekend before starting our "tour" down the peninsula.  We started off Monday in Kulim and then transferred, through Kuala Lumpur, down to Malacca where we spent the balance of week number one.  On the weekend we then travelled back down to Singapore were we spent two days with the local teams and one day travelling by ferry boat over to Batam (part of Indonesia) before flying back to the states today.  A really neat experience spanning 3 different countries, one of which I had never been to before (Indonesia).
Singapore Headlamp Run

The first day arriving in Singapore, it was a short night but I still got up early and did a short 4 miler before heading to the airport.  It was a little rainy but I was able to find the Riverwalk area which would become the staple for my long runs on the following week.

Once up in Penang I was able to get in a nice 4 mile beach run as our hotel was right on the beach in this beautiful resort community.  The run was shortened somewhat by an incoming storm which was blowing in from the north...I didn't want to become a lightning fatality the day before we started working!  Also, I had stepped on something at about mile two, something sharp, like a sea urchin which drew blood in the arch of my right foot.  It was fine by the time I got back to the hotel and I was happy to have the short run completed as I watched what seemed like a hurricane threaten to blow the patio furniture through my sliding glass door!

Poolside in Penang Malaysia
Top of Penang Hill in Malaysia
Also while on Penang  Isand I was able to go on a city tour.  We toured through Fort Cornwallis and the Chinese Snake Temple.  I also took the cable car to the top of Penang Hill and got some fantastic views of Georgetown and the entire island.  I was able to relax by the pool and even got a one hour massage on the beach for 50 Ringet (about 12 bucks!)

From there we spent a long day at our Kulim wafer fab facility before flying down to KL and taxi-ing to Malacca.  I got up early the next morning and discovered some decent running paths through the ancient Portuguese ruins in downtown Malacca.  Each day I extended the runs further and further until I actually ran a 13.1 mile Half Marathon on Saturday for the last run in this beautiful historic city.

Malacca Teammates @ my company Infineon
Good Breakfast Each AM
Ever try Corn Juice?
These Malacca runs weren't without incident however.  Each morning run was done completely in the dark with my headlamp so I could run in the "cool" of the day and then have time to shower, eat breakfast and get ready for work.  The cool of the day turned out to be a pretty consistent 79 degrees with high humidity.  On the Tuesday run I encountered a Big Dog and turned around (somewhere around the Jonker Walk area) and got in my miles elsewhere.  The dogs in Malaysia seem to run loose and are generally pretty small and tame, seemingly afraid of humans, but I wasn't taking any chance with this Big One.  The next day on Wed, a prostitute actually propositioned me from her car and then proceeded to follow me for a half mile calling out "I Love You" and showing me quite graphically what she was wanting to do.  Luckily, I knew of a pedestrian only area and ducked into it to get away from her...she helped to quicken my pace if nothing else as I ran away from her as I was NOT completely sure she was a "she!"  Nuff said.

The last week we were back in Singapore and I got in a dozen or more miles each of the days we were there.  I even finished it off with a 3-mile run to a souvenir stand on Wed. night before coming back to the hotel to pack the bag and head for the airport.  All the runs, whether Malacca or Singapore had surfaces varying from rough asphalt to smooth tile and brickwork and everything in between.  I sometimes felt like I didn't even need my headlamp since the paths were so well lit.  In Singapore I was actually able to run the entire way without ever having to cross traffic or run in traffic as I was able to utilize two overhead pedestrian walkways to link to the River Walk. 

After not knowing how many miles I would be able to get in over there I was pleasantly surprised that the two week total was a little over 88 miles.  While this didn't keep the higher weekly totals from earlier in the month going, it did still give me a respectable 253 for the month which is my highest monthly total of the year.

Keep on Barefooting!

Barefoot Dan

June Monthly Total = 253 Miles

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Toe Injury - "Oh No! Not Again!"

Summer is Here Barefooters!

Well barefooters, we waited through the wet cool Spring, and our reward is now here:  Summertime! 

I always enjoy the warmer weather so I can begin to extend my daily miles and start setting weekly and monthly records (for 2016 at least!)  I started the month with a weekly high record (for the year) of 65 miles.  After that I "rested up" with a 55 mile week.  This was followed by a week up in Michigan on business which I almost topped the record, but alas, it was raining on Saturday morning after my return and I just didn't have another 12 miler in me after running the rough Michigan roads so I settled for a 58 mile week and decided to extend again the next week.  This time I made it to mid-week when once again, disaster struck!  It was Wednesday and I was on my 3rd 12-miler of the week at only 1.2 miles into the run, when, BOOM, I stubbed my big toe on the left foot.  (Same toe I bloodied back in February while in CA and again hit it in the same spot...slightly...last week in MI)  I don't know exactly what it is but it seems to always happen when I'm extremely tired.  Either really late in a run, or in this case, on a day when I should have just rested instead of running at all!

I knew as soon as I did it that it was going to be bad and immediately stopped and prepared to turn back toward home.  Funny though, I immediately and instinctively thanked God and was actually happy to be ending my run (again I was really tired and sort of dreading the next 10 miles anyway).  But when I looked down I saw it was much worse that last time and sort of cringed as I began the 1.2 mile "limp" back home.  I didn't take the picture until I got back home and then tried to clean it up the best I could to get it in a sock and shoe to go to work.  
Ouch!  Same spot as 3 months ago!

As much as it hurt, I really did need a break and I looked at it as God's way of telling me to take it easy and rest.  So I did, at least for a day, and then did 6 on Friday.  All in all, though I did take it easy and relaxed the hectic pace of 10,11,12 mile days from earlier in the month.  I did end up with 231 miles for the month which was a respectable total.  We are now very busy with graduation season as Rachel graduates from Westfield High School and gets ready to start her collegiate career at Manchester University in North Manchester Indiana this Fall.  We had a graduation party for her this past Sunday (for family) and will have another this coming Saturday (for Westfield friends). 

Not sure if I will have a high mileage month in June or not, as I am travelling to Asia for the last half of the month.  I will be in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.  While I have been to some of these cities before, I haven't been to all of them and it's always a little dicey running in some of these places, especially if I'm running in the early AM with a headlamp, as I'm sure I will be.  Oh well, it will be fun to explore regardless!

So, everyone, enjoy the warmer weather (and the humidity!) and Stay Safe!

Barefoot Dan

May Mileage = 231.6miles 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Biggest Month of Year so Far - 239 Barefoot Miles

Hello Barefooters,

I'm loving the improving weather and the ability to do some longer miles.  We start the month out in Myrtle Beach on Spring Break.  We came back to snow in Indiana, but it didn't last long.  A week later I had a business trip up to Michigan and the weather was decent up there as well allowing for some good 12 milers before going to the office.
My weekly mileages were in the 50's or 60's each week and allow for my highest mileage of the year so far.  Off to do some car shopping so I'll keep the blog short!

Have a great May!

Barefoot Dan

April Mileage = 239.56 miles

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Time for Spring Break!!

Happy Spring Break Barefooters!
Feeling a new surface - Rubberized Track
I hope everyone is able to get away and find a nice beach to run on somewhere.  For me and the family it will be back to Myrtle Beach SC next week, one of our favorite destinations.  My sister Jill and her husband Neal live in North Myrtle Beach and we will be visiting with them for the week.  I absolutely love this location for barefoot running since we are only a quarter mile from the beach, so about 95% of my daily morning run can be on nice hard packed sand (or surf!) and not chewed up asphalt which I'm beginning to loathe about this time every year.  At the end of the week we will come back through Ohio and visit my twin brother Dave and his family in Beaver Creek, before heading back home.

Start Line of Westfield Underground RR 5K

Well March was another great month for barefoot running.  The milder temperatures allowed me to average almost 40 miles per week which has me about a hundred miles ahead of last year's total at this point.  The second week of the month was a "6 State Tour" to visit some of my customers.  I stayed in a different place each night and got in some interesting early morning headlamp runs in each off the different locations:  Jasper, IN - Brentwood, TN - Huntsville, AL - Duluth, GA and Murfreesboro, TN (also passed through IL and KY but no running in those locations).  It was a very tiring week since most of the mornings I had 6am conference calls with our Malaysia and Germany locations and then had to go meet a customer before driving to the next location.  This meant for the most part going to bed (collapsing!) at about 9 or 10pm so I could awake by 3am to get in my 4 to 10 mile run ahead of the days activity.  This is not a schedule I would like to have every week, but it was okay for these 5 days. 
Rachel (and Linda) did the 3K Walk

Yay! 22nd place and 1st in Age Group!
Once back home I began preparing (and tapering) for the next weekend's race, the Westfield IN Underground RR 5K.  This was the 4th year in a row doing this race barefoot.

Once again I also brought along some family members to enjoy it along with me.  I asked Rachel, my oldest, to come along and reminded her that all Seniors participating in the race get 5 additional chances at the $350 scholarship drawing (25 in all) after the race is over.  Trouble is, she didn't win (and neither did any of the on-site participants!) as this drawing is also open to all Westfield Seniors each year.  My wife Linda also came along and did the 3K walk along with Rachel so even if she didn't get the scholarship she did get some exercise!
Linda, Rachel and friends at start line

I was happy with the new and improved course which started and ended on the brand new track at the recently opened stadium.  The course then turned north on Union and bypassed the chipped up asphalt of Harvest Meadows (not fun for barefooters!) and onto a brand new wide section of pavement connecting to East Street where the course then turned toward the south.  The rest of the course was the same as last year - winding through Asa Bales Park - until the finish which again landed us on the new track.

The weather was cool (predicted light snow did not occur) but it was perfect racing weather.  I missed my BPR (Barefoot Personal Record) again for the second year in a row, but did manage to finish 22nd overall and 1st in my age group ("old men" 50-55!)  This once again netted me a $15 gift certificate to the Blue Mile running store so I basically ran for free, recouping my $15 entry fee.  I cashed in the gift certificate for a new arm sleeve to carry my Iphone-6 which I can use with the "MapMyRun" app instead of my Garmin. 

I'm not sure I love the sleeve yet, however, as it is almost easier to put the phone in my pocket and also the fingerprint ID doesn't work through the thick plastic window ,so stopping my run at the end takes a series of key-strokes.  Oh well, it's still a good back-up for when I forget my Garmin on a business trip or forget to charge it up.  The freebie MapMyRun app works great and almost "better" than Garmin since I don't have to wait for the annoying "Searching for Satellite" message, which is definitely the downside of the Garmin.

Anyway, my month is ending well, and I hope to continue the higher mileage daily runs into the summer...at least I will for next week on Spring Break!

Everybody, Keep on Barefooting!

Barefoot Dan

March Mileage = 167 Miles

Monday, February 29, 2016

Barefoot Leap Day (and High Mileage February)

Happy Leap Day Barefooters,
I hope everyone is finding SOME good warm days to run, even though it is still February.  Surprisingly it seemed there were several nice days even though we did continue to get some really cold weather and more snow and ice.  I usually waited for the "heat of the day" and ran after work but before dark (a narrow window!)  And then other days, it was warm enough to run before work so I got out early with the headlamp and logged a few short runs.  I was able to get in between 30 and 40 miles each week so overall this was a pretty big February. 

Nice Place to Run!
The other nice thing was that during the 2nd week, which was the coldest of the month, I was blessed with a 4 day business trip out to California.  The first day of the trip I was at my company location in Temecula and got in a nice 10.5 mile run before going into the office.  The rest of the trip I was down in San Diego since we took our customer to visit our operations in Tijuana Mexico.  I was staying in a place I hadn't stayed before so I knew I would have to scout out the new area when I got there to see if there would be any good places to run.  I got there in the late afternoon in time to walk down to the park close by (in shoes...it was actually too hot to barefoot run at about 85 degrees!)  I quickly found a good place to run so I was very happy to be able to get in some more long runs while in the warmth.

I stayed near Mission Bay and Sea World in San Diego and found a really nice path to run on each of the two mornings I was there.  From my hotel I could run about 3/4 of a mile and into Mission Bay Park which has a beautiful wide concrete bike bath all the way to the back of Sea World (about 4.5 miles total) and with some extra spurs got in 11 or 12 miles each day.  I extended my miles each day in California knowing that it was single digits back in Indiana and maybe wouldn't have gotten in any miles at all back here.  The path was completed deserted when I went out each morning at o'dark thirty and the temps were always in the mid fifties, perfect running weather wherever you are.  The path hugged the coast of Mission and went through the Hilton complex on the way to the backside of Sea World.  The path turned to gravel at that point so I didn't venture far down it.  I ran part of the Sea World parking lot as well, but it was VERY rough and not worth the effort with the nice patch of concrete calling me back toward the hotel.  I enjoyed the peaceful warm morning running under the stars, which are also had to see this time of year back in Indiana!  The path was much smoother than what I had run on up in Temecula so I figured I would be able to get a nice one in on my last day there as well.

  Note to Self:  "Don't stub toe while running barefoot!"
On Friday morning before flying back at 6:15 am I went out very early so that I would have enough time to still get in a long run and then sleep on the plane back to Indiana.  I went out and did basically the same route but added a few more out and backs on the section down by Sea World.  I was on one sort of circular turn around (maybe a parking/camp site) and as I turned to go back I stubbed my toe HARD on a curb and heard a loud CRACK!!  I was sure I had broken my toe.  When I looked down, I was shocked to see my toe bleeding like a stuck pig.  But it didn't feel broken and I could move it.  Since I was using my Iphone (Map My Run) as I forgot my Garmin charger back in Temecula, I used the camera to snap a photo of my foot (sorry, I know it's gross.)  I was more than a little panicked at that point since I was still 3.5 miles from my hotel!  I said a quick ,desperate prayer that my toe would be alright and kept running.  I kept praying (breath prayers) the whole way back that I would get it infected (with some weird Vikka virus) running through the puddles from the sprinklers along the trail.

Looked a little better back at the hotel,
but still throbbing.
Since I had extended once again and decided to get in a 12+ miler before turning in the rental car and jumping on the plane, I kept praying hard that I could keep up my pace and not have to start walking or limping.  He again answered my prayers and I made it back to the hotel in time to take a quick shower, put some Neosporin on the toe, wrap it in a tissue and stuff it in the sock and shoe.  It did keep throbbing on the plane ride home but not too bad.  I did make it back to Indiana and then decided not to run on it the next day which was still nice and cold anyway.  By Monday it was better and I did run on it again without any problem.  The rest of the month did have some bad weather but there were enough good days in between that I was able to keep the mileage up.  I finished off the month this morning with a 7.2 mile headlamp run to top the month at 150 miles (my biggest barefoot February ever!)  I'm also celebrating my 7th Leap Day with Linda (we've both now had 7 Leap Days with and 7 Leap Days without each other...wow, what a milestone!)
Hopefully the weather will continue to warm and I can keep this mileage pace going in March.  Looking forward to Spring Break in about a month with a little beach running.  Hope everyone out there is enjoying the mild winter and if not, don't worry...Spring IS coming soon. 

Stay Warm Out There,
Barefoot Dan
February Mileage = 150.7 Miles