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


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