Contest for FREE Blue Ridge Marathon entry!

As you may or may not know, I’m setting my sights on the Blue Ridge Marathon in April next year. It’s going to be my 1st barefoot marathon.

The course looks spectacularly beautiful. Like forget your finish time and stop to soak it all in beautiful. Sure, there’s a hill or two. OK, there’s over 6000 ft of elevation change, half of that being uphill. Well, up-mountain. Awesome.

So, you want to run it with me… for free? No, I won’t make you take off your shoes. Run in stilts if you want; I don’t care. All you have to do is:

1. send me an email (inkyd at with Blue Ridge Marathon in the subject line OR leave a comment in the (where else?) comment section.
2. Answer this question: What was your WORST pre-race meal?
3. Deadline: Oh, let’s say by midnight, Oct. 11. 10/11. Nice and binary.

I’ll be doing the random # generator thing to declare the winner.

Personally, I’ve eaten many different foods before running, as I’m a gluttonist pig. But the worst experience I’ve had was running 3 miles in the hot afternoon after eating some chicken, beans, and rice. I didn’t puke, but it was touch-and-go the entire time. Not very exciting; surely you can do better.

Dirty, Gnarly Feet

I saw this clip on MSNBC about barefoot running this morning. Watch it if you feel your IQ needs to be knocked down a couple of notches. It’s the usual BS about glass and grody (remember grody? Ah, the 80’s). Re glass, I’d like to ask: how do you know there’s glass on the ground? Because you can see it. If you can see it, why on earth would you step on it?

But that’s not what I’m focusing on today. “Dr.” Nancy asked the pseudo barefoot runner (he said at the end his fiance makes him wear Vibram’s most of the time) to show his feet. his soles, which looked a little dirty from walking barefoot on the studio floors but otherwise fine, weren’t even in the frame before the “Dr.” said, “eewww, those are some gnarly feet you have.”

Here is my right gnarly foot as of this morning before I ran:

A closeup of the main area of contact with the ground:

No calluses, nothing grody as far as I can tell.

I went for an easy two miler with the wife through town. Here’s what they look like after:

The longer the run, the darker the gunk on my feet. Today is supposed to be a rest day, so two miles is all you’re getting. But you get the gist. The light patches are the dry, tougher spots where my feet bear the brunt of my weight. People tend to think they are calluses when I show them my soles during/after a run. They’re not; I think that’s just what happens, unless calluses disappear after a couple of minutes of scrubbing with soap and water:

and a closeup:

If you would like to use my feet for foot modeling, I’ll put you in contact with my agent.

Bear in mind, this is after 225 barefoot miles in two and a half months, almost entirely on asphalt and concrete. Add to that the few long runs on gravel paths wearing minimalist shoes.

Questions for shod runners: how often do you clean your feet? Is the road really more grody than the inside of your petri-dish of bacteria shoes? How do they smell? Are you starting to feel swindled yet?