Favorite Pastime - Resting!

Favorite Pastime - Resting!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Barefoot in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore

Hello Barefooters,
Singapore by Headlamp
Rainy Indonesia
God is good and by His Grace I was able to run in a brand new country this month:  Indonesia.  I also ran once again in both Malaysia and Singapore this past month as well as many runs right here in Indiana.  The middle of the month was consumed by a 10 day business trip to Asia but this allowed me to get away from the rainy Indiana weather...only to find even more rain over in Asia!  While I basically went to all the same places as last year on my Asian trip, this time we stayed overnight on the Island of Batam (Indonesia) which allowed me the chance to get my first ever run in that country...fourteen barefoot countries, and counting!   

 
Malacca Long Run
It was a pretty uneventful trip overall, but I always enjoy the early morning headlamp runs (wherever I am) to help reset the body clock and overcome the jet-lag.  That being said, I've been back for over a week and feel like I'm just now getting back to normal sleeping habits.  Linda and the girls are now out of school so we are getting fully into the summer mode...hopefully I can still get up early enough to get in some long runs before work each day. 

Last week was my biggest week of the year so far mileage wise (45 miles) and this was also my biggest month of the year (147 miles).  I seem to have finally gotten out of my winter-funk and can string together some longer runs...so far this week I've already run a 13 miler and a 9 miler...so this morning I slacked off with a 1 miler.  Sometimes you just have to rest a little!
Welcome back to Indiana - stubbed toe!


A couple of days after getting back from Asia I was on a nice 13 miler and feeling pretty good when all of a sudden I dragged the left toe (again) just slightly and stubbed it pretty good...really made me mad too since it has been over a year since I did it last time!!  This picture is actually 24 hours later but it was still throbbing pretty good the next day.  Even though I had this injury, I never took a day off and it never really affected my running (although I have been a lot more CAREFUL lately!)


I also got the pool open once I got back from Asia and was pleased that it only took a couple of days to get going (chemically) with no major equipment repairs this year...although I did find a few tadpoles living in the cover since I got a later than normal start this year with the business trip and also the cooler weather.  This also changes my morning routine as I'm able to dive into the pool after each morning run...although 70 degrees is a little cool for a morning dip...hopefully warmer temps are just around the corner.


Pool is open - green to blue in 48 hours!
We didn't go to the Indy Race (as usual) but did have a nice relaxing Memorial Day Weekend.  On Monday we took the girls over to Turkey Run State Park and got in a couple of nice trail hikes despite the huge crowd which apparently had the same idea! 
Memorial Day Hike at Turkey Run SP

The "strenuous" trail was quite nice and offered some great views between the 3 different wooden ladders which are part of this particular trail.  However, the most strenuous part was waiting behind the 3 dozen other people at the top and bottom of each ladder.  But, all in all, it was a very enjoyable day with excellent weather. 

Our family is looking forward to a nice relaxing summer.


God Bless,


Barefoot Dan


(May Mileage = 147.4 miles)



Monday, May 1, 2017

Barefoot in Belize, Honduras, Mexico, oh...and Nevada too!

Hello Barefooters,
Windy Day in Costa Maya, MX
A rainy April in Indiana has come to an end...and it is still raining!  But what else should we expect for April?  Actually we have had some really good weather this month, although you wouldn't know it from looking at my mileage.  I've sort of been taking it easy and just getting in some minimal miles each day so I didn't have to post a ZERO!  (reminder to all--this is a good reason to keep a running log--it does provide daily motivation!)  Looking back over my past monthly totals, this was my lowest monthly total in over two years!  But it feels good to take it easy and not feel like I have to kill myself every day with miles...


The month started out on the 25th anniversary cruise which was fantastic.  We left out of Tampa with stops in Roatan Honduras, Belize City Belize, Costa Maya Mexico and Cozumel Mexico.  We had only been to one of these stops before so it was a big adventure.  We travelled with my brother Dave and his wife Annette who we had shared our wedding day with back in 1992.  So when we got to Belize we found a nice secluded place and renewed our wedding vows.  It was a neat experience.  Time flies when you're having fun and we're praying God blesses us with another 25 years as well.


Each day on the ship I was able to get in a run on the deck of the ship.  The track on 10th deck of Royal Carribean's "Rhapsody of the Seas" is advertised to be a quarter of a mile but my Garmin shows it to be a little short.  Each day (Monday thru Saturday at least) I would go up and get in 12 barefoot laps on the semi-rubberized surface.  Each day was quite different with the surface sometimes wet, sometimes dry and the conditions sometimes hot, sometimes cool and almost always a little windy.  Some of the days we were already "in port" and other days we were out at sea, so it was always interesting to see what my Garmin GPS watch would give me for the supposedly 3 mile total.  Based on the in-port days I believe the 12 laps gave me 2.72 actual miles but the three "days at sea" totals were 8.16, 7.72 and 3.91 miles, each of which depended on how fast the boat was moving on those days.  And on the particularly windy day coming into Costa Maya, the 3 miles also felt like a run through a mountain pass due to the pitching and rolling of the ship and the brutal "stop you in your tracks" headwind on one side of the ship followed by a "knock you off your feet" tailwind on the opposite side of the ship!  But I did appreciate being able to get in at least this minimum amount of exercise each day, since I was basically gorging myself the other 23 and half hours of the day on the excellent food which was constantly available.
Business Trip to Reno NV


The only other travelling I did this month was a trip out to Reno NV to visit a supplier mid month.  This afforded me some cooler, low humidity runs in the mornings, although I didn't get too adventurous and pretty much kept to the 1 mile loop of concrete sidewalks around the hotel.  Still, I did log a twelve miler the last day there before flying back...sadly, this was my longest run of the month!! 


The rest of the time back in Indiana I concentrated on lawn care and some outside projects including cutting down 3 trees...with probably still about 3 more trees to cut plus some other basic tree trimming activities.  My golf league also started up in April...so see, I have lots of excuses for my low monthly total!  Maybe I will pick up the pace a little in May (or maybe not!)


Enjoy the Warmer Weather!


Barefoot Dan
(April Mileage = 86 miles)

Friday, March 31, 2017

Yet ANOTHER Florida Attempt

Last Snowy Footprint?

Hello Barefooters,

First Flowers of Spring
Well Spring has sprung, and more importantly Spring Break is here and I am looking forward to a week off from work in the sun.

March was yet another busy month and I got in some good barefoot running with the milder temperatures and the buildup to my 82nd marathon.  This was my second marathon of the year, my 9th barefoot marathon and as the title indicates:  Yet ANOTHER Florida Attempt.  This was my third attempt at the State of Florida in the continuing effort to get all my marathons under 4 hours for the 50Sub4 quest.  But alas, it was not to be.
Fargo ND, so cold the trees turned blue!


The week before I was able to "temperature cycle" on a business trip to chilly Fargo, North Dakota.  Here I got in 3 colder runs of 6, 4 and 2 miles in both the afternoon sun and 18MPH winds as well as the cool dampness of the pre-dawn hours.  Here is a picture of the beautiful scenery on my last pre-dawn run in Fargo before flying back to Indiana to get ready for the marathon.

Once back in IN, I got in a ten miler at one-week-out before beginning my quick taper of a 9-mile Monday, 8-mile Tuesday and zeros for the rest of the week.  My buddy Earl Strong and I started driving down on Thursday and took two days to get to Ormond Beach, FL for the Tomoka Marathon.  Upon arrival, we spent Friday afternoon at the packet pickup and then went out to drive the course (my standard ritual).  I was pleasantly surprised at the absolute smoothness of both the pavement and the wide-striping for about 
Course Pre-drive @ Chief "Tomokie" Statue
90% of the course.  What I was most worried about was the rough 2.5 mile section through Tomoka State Park at miles 19 and 20 but felt more assured after seeing the road in person.  There were very rough gravel sections in the middle of the road but seemingly smoother edges, and tire tracks including some sections with a "soft" carpet of piled up leaves along the edge.  I purposely did not get out and barefoot walk any of these sections, since I recalled "psyching myself out" the day before the Shiprock New Mexico Marathon a couple of years ago by walking the rough stuff.  I figured, it won't change anything now...no sense in worrying about it during the first smooth 19 miles of the race!  I figured I would just maintain my conservative 8:45/mile pace throughout the race and try not to give back more than a minute per mile during the rough stuff...sounds like a good plan, right?


The other concerning factor was that the low temp for the area was now no where near the 50 degree range it had been for the past few weeks.  The low temp on race morning was 60 degrees with a predicted high of 77 and a 4-hour finish temp of around 70.  The humidity was 71%, also a little higher than 
Tomoka Starting Line
"comfortable" for Indiana winter runners like Earl and myself.  Even so, I was pleasantly surprised that I was easily able to keep my 8:45 pace going early and using the RaceJoy App for the first time ever, kept hearing predicted finish times at each of the early mile splits of 3hr:50min to 3hour:52min which was encouraging.  However, just 10 miles in I began to struggle holding the 8:45 pace.  After much prayer and digging deep, at mile 12/13 I began to get comfortable again at the 8:45 pace...still I knew that I should not be struggling this early to keep pace and this would be a bad omen for things to come.



...oh and did I mention there was a 15 minute delay for the planned 6:00am start time due to, of  all things a train accident, so add 1-2 more degrees to the already warming temps...oh boy...


While there were pace groups available at this race I purposely chose not to run with them for fear of crowding and not being able to pick my line (steps) as I needed to find the smoothest path.  Still I did try to keep myself within sight of the 3:50 pace group led by Kimmy and the 4:00 pace group led by Mike.  At mile 18.8 upon entering Tomoka State Park I was about equi-distant between these two groups...pretty much the perfect spot considering the early conditions.  Now to just hold a +1 pace (~9:45/mile) or so for the rough miles...I was eager to see what would happen.


Then disaster struck...


The "packed dirt trail" (as advertised) was literally nothing more than a gravel road and sections I thought would be somewhat smooth and do-able, were anything but do-able.  Using both my Garmin running watch and the RaceJoy App on my I-Phone, I soon realized I couldn't even hold a 14:00 average and even that was too painful to continue. 
Within 200 yards, I was reduced to walking and even though I periodically began to gingerly run/jog some sections, my average pace for
Let's Get This Party Started!!!

both miles was about 25 min/mile.  While I was extremely disappointed, I decided to keep moving forward and finish the race...and there was no easy "Hop on the Bus" option like there had been at Shiprock two years ago during my first and only DNF of my marathon career.  After exiting the park, I took pride in making the next mile in 12:11 but then to add insult to injury, mile 22 (which Earl and I drove incorrectly the day before) actually diverted into a housing subdivision along the Titus River with no sidewalk and extremely rough Florida style shell pavement which turned into another 21 minute/mile for me.  After exiting this additional rough stuff, and back to the main smooth road ,I pulled each of the last 3-4
Finished!...finally
miles down to 11 something.  This felt good to do, but...too little...too late!  The damage was done and the minutes had already piled up against me.  I finished with my 2nd slowest barefoot marathon ever...argh!


Earl was waiting for me at the end and we compared notes.  He had wanted a sub 2 hour half marathon but also succumbed to the heat and ended up at 2:10 instead, not ideal, but not as big a miss as mine had been.  I told him that I briefly toyed with the idea of taking my 50Sub4 shirt and a can of lighter fluid and starting a fire...but I calmed down and now am looking a other Florida marathons to attempt.  It won't be for a while as it is definitely warming up now.  Next attempt will have to be November or December at the earliest.


One nice sideline on the trip, we got to meet up with Earl's daughter Brittani and her husband Ron who live just down the road in Titusville.  We got to catch up with them and
Ron, Earl, Brit, Dan @ River Grille in Ormond Beach
have a pre-race carbo load meal at River Grille, a nice seafood restaurant in Ormond Beach, the night before the race.



Now its off to Spring Break, oh, back to Tampa FL of course.  Linda and I are going cruising once again, this time for our 25th wedding anniversary.  We will be departing Tampa for Honduras, Belize and Mexico on a 7-day Royal Carribean Cruise.  This will be our 4th cruise but first one with this company.  Additionally, we will be celebrating with my twin brother Dave and his wife Annette, who are also celebrating their 25th...oh yeah, did I mention we had a double wedding?  We will be renewing our vows somewhere in Belize...I'd better get to writing mine!  Hoping for some good barefoot running on the track on top of our ship "Rhapsody of the Seas!"


Happy Springtime,
Barefoot Dan


March Mileage = 131.47 miles





Tuesday, February 28, 2017

End of the Month Already!

💚Hello Barefooters,
Well this month certainly went fast for me, how about you?  I know it is a short month and all, but with the busy month of January now passed, this month still just flew by.  I spent most of the month recouping from the Africa mission trip and getting caught back up at work.  I only had to travel once this month and that was a short trip up to Livonia MI and back.  February is also "birthday month" at our house with Linda's on the 10th, mine on the 24th, with Valentine's Day sandwiched in between.  Needless to say, lots of chocolate around the house and lots of extra running required!


The nice thing was we had excellent weather for most of the month.  Definitely not your typical February.  Temps peaked into the 50's and 60's later in the month and I was actually able to play golf with our UMC men's golf group on Sunday, Feb. 19th.  I shot a 42 so I probably won't be playing again anytime soon and can savor that abnormally low score for a while!  I got some pretty decent running in with the good weather and kept my weekly average above 25 miles or so which is usually very hard to do in February!


This was a good thing since I need to stay in relatively decent shape for the upcoming Tomoka Marathon on March 25th.  Earl Strong and I have planned to do another marathon road trip (as we used to do so often) and make it a nice 4 day weekend.  We will start driving on Thursday, run the marathon on Saturday and get back home late Sunday.  It will be great to have Earl along to help me celebrate (God Willing!) my final completion of the 50Sub4 circuit to get all 50 States run in under 4 hours.  As you know, my "fail" at Disney Marathon of 4 hours 11 minutes last month left me looking for yet another FL marathon. 


Well, I will keep it short this month in honor of February (a short month),


God Bless and Enjoy the Warm Weather,


Barefoot Dan


February Mileage = 102.23 miles

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Out of Africa

Good Morning Barefooters,
Headlamps Bobbing Down the Road in Ganta 
Thanks for your patience, my post is a little late...our team just arrived last night back in the US after a two week mission trip to Ganta Liberia (western Africa).


It was another excellent mission trip with many "God moments" and also afforded the opportunity to do some great barefoot running with some old and new-found running buddies:  Gary Adams, Brian Fulk, Kelly Kurth, Mark (our Liberian bus driver), Konah Drougbay and Zephaniah (who just joined me one morning mid-run!)  There was a different mixture of runners each of the 9 mornings we ran, and only once the whole trip did I venture out alone.  All the runs were between 1.01 to 4.26 miles and were on surfaces ranging from smooth asphalt to VERY rough, rocky footpaths and backroads.  The morning temps were always hovering around 80 degrees F and it really didn't rain the whole time we were there, so dust & smoke were always a factor on these pre-dawn headlamp runs.


Black Mamba - uh, dead!
One morning we even came across a black mamba snake (don't worry, it had already been killed) but had to walk back to it with Travis to get a picture.  It's head had been crushed and Trav was surprised that no one had picked it up yet to make a meal of it (it did disappear later in the day).  We never saw any live critters on the run other the spiders, large ants and the occasional dog (tame) and chickens.  I was always a little leary running the edges of the paths hoping not to find any live snakes...although the edges often times afforded the only relief from the sharp rock.  I escaped with no major injuries and had only a few arch bruises and a deep heel blood blister the second day up in Ganta.
"Brave" runners - Brian, Dan, Gary



The activities on the mission trip included 4 different vision clinics, networking of the school's computer lab, hanging signs in the "zoo" and some small construction projects like hanging a light and a porch swing.  For those of you who've been there before, please come back and see the amazing progress on this project.  The building of the ARC (Agriculture Research Center) has taken 5 years to complete but has been an amazing labor of love by many different teams and was the God-given vision of Travis Sheets (founder, Hope in the Harvest Missions Intl.)


Earlier in the month of January I had attempted to run the Disney Marathon barefoot in under 4 hours to complete my quest to run all 50 US States in under 4 hours (50Sub4 Marathon Club).  Had I completed this goal, I would have been the 92nd finisher in the club and the first of the year...BUT I guess God had other plans!  My epic fail at the race was disappointing overall but I still enjoyed the trip and would recommend the Disney marathon to others...it just wasn't my day.  The weather was a cold 37 degrees at the start (RARE for Florida!) with a 17MPH wind.  Additionally, the races from the previous day had been cancelled due to lightning so many of those runners gained entry into the marathon the next day.  While they were all in corrals behind my "C" corral, it did add to the congestion getting from the baggage drop to the start line and I ended up having to RUN/JOG to the start line so I was anything BUT relaxed as I started the race.  It was a 5:30AM start and after standing around shivering for 2 hours prior, I was really not in optimal fast racing condition. 
With Lecia at Disney
 4-hour Pace Leader and fellow 50Sub4 Wannabe
I did keep the requisite sub-nine pace for the first 16 miles or so but then the wind, the winding turns, and the rough surfaces all combined to slow me down.  I still had about 3 minutes "in the bank" as we entered the ESPN sport complex at mile 16 but the roughness turned more severe, as the runners were directed onto the gravel baseball diamond infields and various other weird surfaces...so I slowly, and painfully, gave back my banked minutes and watched the 4-hour pace group swallow me up and spit me out as they marched onto the finish in the last 2 miles.  The pace group let by Lecia Williams Holley (new friend I met just after the race), ended up not quite hitting their required pace either and besides, I knew they had started a couple corrals behind me and that I would need to be a couple minutes ahead of them at the finish to have a chance at the four hour mark.  Also, of all things, my Garmin watch locked up halfway through the race so I wasn't able to get accurate paces from about 15 miles on which only further distracted me as it all slipped out of reach...arrgh!  Still it was beautiful to experience the pre-dawn LED lit Disney Castle in the Magic Kingdom and the other Disney parks as well as the Disney character photo-ops...I only stopped at one but I can't blame that for my 11minute "miss" of 4:11.



Oh well, now I just need to go back to Florida again to secure the 50th state.  Earl Strong and I have a plan to go back in late March to try again.  Earl and I ran many of the 50 states together the first time around so it will be fun to do another road trip with Earl to finish this circuit as well.  More to follow on that one as I continue to recover from the very busy month of January.


God Bless You All,


Barefoot Dan


January Mileage = 95.4 miles