The Barkley Marathon is considered one of the toughest 100-mile races in the world. It has 59,100 feet of climb (and 59,100 feet of descent), more than any other 100-mile race. Since the race began in 1986, only 13 runners out of about 900 have finished within the 60-hour cutoff.
The Barkley consists of 5 20-mile loops with no aid except for water at two points. The cutoffs for the 100 mile race are 12 hours per loop. The 60 mile “fun run” has a cutoff of 40 hours, or 13:20 per loop. To prove you completed each loop, you must find 9 to 11 books (varies) at various points along the course and return a page from each book.
I read a few of the reports of this year’s race held on March 31 and I looked through hundreds of race photos taken by Geoff Baker. Geoff was kind enough to send me a few photos of feet – and legs from Barkleys. Here is Geoff’s contact information. Geoffrey Baker Photography. and a page from his website showing the competitors - ‘Out There’ at the Barkley: Portraits From the Edge of Endurance.
Thanks Geoff. And now, here are a few photos.
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Footcare
Several weeks ago I provided foot care at the Gold Rush Adventure Race. Last week I wrote of a tape job I observed, and whether is would work of not. Today I’ll share an observation on one racer’s choice of a lube.
The images show two stages of the process. The first image shows our racer cleaning his feet with a wet-wipe. You can see the creases (folds) on the bottom of his feet. These are typical when the feet have been wet for extended periods. Over time, these creases can become painful and if the skin stays wet, can lead to skin separation and splitting.
In this race, the athletes started with a short run, followed with a bike, and then a swim/paddle across a lake. After that, the teams embarked on a long trek fire roads and trails. The problem, as I was told, was the trek started with a river crossing that was also very muddy. This got everyone’s feet wet to start with.
So, fast-forward to the first major checkpoint. The teams came in and transitioned from feet to bike. At this transition area, each racer changes clothes and footwear for the new discipline.
So cleaning one’s feet between disciplines is necessary and always wise. The more you can remove dirt and grit off the feet, and keep them healthy, the better your chances of long term success. Wet wipes are great for this type of cleaning. Tops, bottoms, sides and toes are all important. With clean feet, we are ready for the next step.
In this case, the racer applied a generous coating of Hipoglos. According to Google, this is a Portuguese product has been in Brazil for 70 years. Its common use is for baby’s bottoms to prevent chafing.
The second photo shows its application on the racer’s feet. Squeeze some on and rub it all over. He made sure it gets between the toes and coats every crease in the bottom of the feet. Nothing gets wiped off. Socks go on right over the Hipoglos.
I saw the racer at the next transition area, almost 18 hours later and his feet looked good. He repeated the process again before heading out on the next leg of the race.
Hipoglos is similar to zinc oxide and Desitin Maximum Strength Diaper Rash Paste. In events where there is extended exposure to water, and when one’s shoes and socks cannot be changed, these are good choices. They are great at controlling moisture. They are equally good at controlling maceration. And of course, better to do good foot care early, as was done by this racer, then to try and catch-up after problems have developed.
Zinc oxide is what I use over blisters to control moisture and dry the skin. I have even injected it into blisters to do the same. Lube is good, but many do not protect the skin from excess moisture as well as products designed for diaper rash.
Give it a try.
I received a comment on a recent blog post about runners wearing Vibram FiveFingers. Debra Martin, MSPT, CLT, sent me a link to an article on “Injury Report from the Sump Jump.”
“It was thrilling to see almost 800 people run off from the starting line at this year’s Stump Jump 50Km event. Overall the injuries were few, considering the number of people out there. But there were a few patterns that were noteworthy, so here is a summary for you to learn from in preparing for your next trail race!
We actually had a line waiting for wound care after the 11 mile race due to the scraped up knees, with a few palm and finger cuts for good measure – just a matter of going fast on a technical trail here. I was very pleased that there were few twisted ankles throughout the day! I hope that was the result of trail runners working on their balance and ankle strength over the past few months and not just plain luck.
The toe injuries I saw came from people wearing – can you guess? Vibram FiveFingers shoes during the race. One person jammed their toe against a rock, twice, and has a possible fracture at the base of his toe. The other either dislocated or fractured his little toe when it split on the other side of a bush/tree.
You can find my notes on barefoot running/wearing Vibrams on the wall of this Facebook page. Yes, wearing these shoes can build strength in your ankle and foot. However, racing in them on technical trails… well, these injuries can happen. The bad part is that you will need to keep moving with a toe swelling up in it’s little compartment, and it will be used to help you push off and “grab” the terrain for the rest of the race. Just something to keep in mind when choosing footwear for your next race!”
I suspect this is a foretelling of injuries to come. Sure, runners get injured all the time. But when one changes their footwear to Vibrams, they need to be aware of the trail even more than other runners wearing shoes.
Barefoot and Minimalist Footwear Advice
Take the time to learn how to “read” the trail. Learn how to react to rocks and roots and other common obstacles. Learn how to change your stride mid-stride to avoid turning an ankle. Learn to be patient and don’t do too much too soon.
When venturing barefoot onto trails or even on pavement, you should take a few precautions. Start slowly with short barefoot excursions to give your feet time to adjust. Your feet are used to the support and cushioning of shoes, and going without will make a sudden change. Be attentive to the conditions of the path underfoot. Your feet can be cut or punctured by debris on the road or trail. If you want to run barefoot, start by walking.
Walking and running barefoot can be an excellent way to condition your feet in order to prevent blisters when you do wear boots or shoes. Your skin will be tougher and you may develop calluses. Yet, be forewarned: this is no guarantee that you will not get blisters. Remember that when it is raining, the moisture will soften the skin on your feet. That’s a good time to switch to one of the minimalist shoes.
Aside from the possibility of cutting your feet on glass or metal, if you have any cuts or open skin on your feet you run the risk of picking up an infection. Another concern is skin that calluses over. These calluses can split into fissures, or cracks in the skin. This opens the inner layers of skin to a greater risk of infection. If you step on something sharp and get a puncture wound, seek medical care. Puncture wounds typically close up and this seals any debris, germs, or contaminants inside the wound. If you choose to go barefoot it’s smart to take care of your feet. There is no point in getting an infection through carelessness.
After reading about all the possible injuries from going barefoot, you may be worried. Going barefoot may be the goal of many athletes, but in reality, wearing minimalist shoes will provide protection and enhance the “barefoot” experience. Tellman Knudson likes FiveFingers, especially for people who:
- Don’t want to deal with the pain of running barefoot
- Want to minimize the risk of stepping on something that could hurt them
- Run on hot surfaces where their feet would roast without protection
- Are in the process of transitioning from running in “normal shoes” to running barefoot
Remember that switching to barefoot running or minimalist footwear does not mean you can’t ever run in shoes again. Many athletes employ a combination of barefoot or minimalist and shoes. Running minimalist helps focus on good form, and for many, will reduce injuries. If you want or need something more substantial than FiveFingers, consider using one of the minimalist shoes such as Inov-8, Nike Free, Newton, New Balance 800, or Terra Plana. These replicate the free and natural flexible motions of your feet better than the usual running shoe.
The above advice is part of the new chapter on barefoot running in the January release of the fifth edition of Fixing Your Feet.
Many athletes have used Duct tape on their feet. Newer and better tapes have become my favorite, but I know many still patch their feet with or pretape with Duct tape. Now 3M has come out with a Nexcare 3M Duct Tape Bandages made of real duct tape with a medical grade adhesive. The heavy duty durability of duct tape is a plus. These are a bit longer length for large fingers (or toes). The bandages are latex free, sized at 1 in. x 3.60 in. – 20 to a pack. Retail price is $4.99.
I could see these as a temporary patch over a hot spot or blister. My only concern, common to all Band-aids, is that the area of the gauze is the weak point with such a small bit of tape on the outside edges. I will get a box and try them. In the meantime, I see these as a good choice to put in a baggie to carry in a fanny pack on the trail, or pin one or two your bib number in a race – just in case you need a quick blister patch. You can easily find these with a Google search.
Some of you may have noticed that I have been making the same post on my Happy Feet blog and my Fixing Your Feet Ezine hosted at TypePad – and on my new FixingYour Feet Blog here. I am trying to move away from the two TypePad hosted sites into one. There have been some problems uploading everyone’s emails. Please bear with me and I will keep you posted on the process.
Last week we were in Palm Desert and spent a day as spectators at the PGA Bob Hope Golf Classic. How does this relate to foot care? Read on.
Between one of the holes was a patch of sand where we had to walk to get to another green. As we walked across the sand, I must have picked up a few grains of sand. I didn’t notice it at first. We stood around, watching several rounds of golfers come through. Occasionally we moved back and forth between the 16th green to the tee box on the 17th hole – maybe 50 yards.
Then I felt an irritant in my right shoe. It was a small sharp pain under my heel. Not a big thing, but an irritant nonetheless. I ignored it but it made its presence know every time I walked. Finally I removed the shoe and found one small grain of sand. One grain!
Time after time, we find junk in our shoes and too often we ignore it. Over time, this junk, sand, dirt, a small stone, leaf, or piece of a branch, can cause trouble – for which you’ll pay. A hot spot, a blister, a tear in the sock, or a tear in the insole covering. Or, even worse, we alter our gait – and one thing leads to another – and our knee, hip, or back starts to hurt.
Maybe this seems like a no-brainer, but I have seen athletes suffer because of ignoring this advice. If you feel something in your shoe – stop and remove it. Your feet will be happier.
Winter is here and with it
comes cold, rain, mud, hail, sleet, snow, mud, slush, and ice – all of which
can contribute to unsafe walking and running conditions.
Select the right footwear
for whatever your activity will be. That may seem simple, but it is easy to
forget our footwear choices. Whether you are outside for work, pleasure, or sport,
make sure you are attentive to the conditions of where you walk or run. One
slip can ruin an otherwise good day. None of us wants a sprained ankle, twisted
knee, or even worse, a fall resulting in a broken bone, hip, back, or head
injury. Falls are more common in the winter because of weather conditions and
the shorter hours of daylight.
Wear sensible shoes. Wear
shoes or boots with good tread. Many times shoes made for everyday wear become slippery
in wet conditions.
Take care to choose footwear
that keeps your feet dry and warm. Good socks are also part of the bigger picture.
Take care of your feet with
good choices of “winter-ready” footwear to keep your feet and your body safe
2009 has ushered itself in
and with it comes hope for many people. Our world is changing and it is my hope
that 2009 will be a good year for you. And of course, I hope 2009 will be a
good year for your feet too!
I have just completed a
redesign of FixingYourFeet.com and New Years day is a good day to roll it out
to my readers. Check out the new site. There are new articles, a blister video,
product links and foot links, related books, and more. If you would like to
read an article on a specific topic, please send me an email.
In the months ahead, I plan
on adding more articles, and based on feedback, even more features. I hope to
one day incorporate this Happy Feet blog with my Fixing Your Feet E-zine into
one link on FixingYourFeet.com.
Now, here is my New Year’s foot
care tip. Winter brings drier air to our homes. Make sure you use a moisturizing lotion on your feet to keep the skin soft and supple. Taking a few moments once
or twice a week will go a long ways top having healthy feet when Spring
Once again, happy New Year
from Happy Feet.
I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas. This is the day to spend with family and loved ones. I pray you have been blessed in this past year. Our home is decorated outside with lights and over 40 Precious Moments figures – angels, the nativity, the wise men, and more. It even spreads over into the neighbor's yard. Two angels are on the chimney, and a six-foot star stands 15 feet above.
Last week I
posted a piece offering readers a Christmas gift of a pair of Drymax socks in
exchange for their 50-word entry. I said I would give away at least four pair.
There were stories of desire, selfishness , cuteness, and just plain “I’d like
to try Drymax socks.” In the end, I sent Drymax socks to all 10 people who entered – 11 pairs total.
Mancini (Missoula, Montana) wrote, “I’m a sock hoarder. To my family’s horror,
as a teen, I sewed socks (running shoes, too). I run, hike, and hit the gym in
socks with holes, socks so thin you can see through them. Post-frost-bitten
toes, I splurge on winter wools, but can’t ditch those old cottons. My size-9
feet are reluctant runners, happy hikers, & happy-when-not-too-cold
Pam Walter (Phoenix,
Arizona) wrote, “I would love to try these socks because I seem to be forever
searching for socks that won’t shrink after the first washing and will still
fit my size 11 feet. Most I have tried fit fine but after washing seem to be 2
sizes smaller. These also look very comfortable.”
Patch (Pembroke Pine, Florida) submitted the following, “My wonderful wife Mary
should earn a free pair of socks because she needs them! Since these
socks promise the end of blisters, they would be just what the doctor ordered
for her. The last ultra she ran she had so many blisters, causing her to waddle
funny for days, and that’s not very attractive. In the FL heat and humidity she
could really use something that will not make her feet squish and squeak in sweat
while out running. To make matters worse, most or her Injinji either have holes
or have lost their partners in a sad an unfortunate head-on-collision accident
with the sock-eating washer.”
(Los Angeles, California) wrote, “I have a few pair of the Drymax socks (after
seeing the recommendation on one of your previous emails), and I love them! So
I am entering my essay below to try to get a pair for my wife Meryl. We
do long-distance backpacking (I’ve done the Pacific Crest Trail, and we’re doing
the Appalachian Trail together in 2010), and some trail running. Here is
my essay: I decided to take my girlfriend on a backpacking trip. I packed.
At the trailhead I discovered I had her left boot, but the right boot was mine!
She was mad. Somehow, I still convinced her to marry me, and to
thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in 2010. I owe her. “
Beth Claycomb (Colorado Springs, Colorado) sent in the following, “In a word,
I’m just too cheap to buy nice socks. As a walker I literally walk
through dozens of pairs of Hanes socks every year. In the past year I
think they’ve changes something about their weaving process because I’m getting
holes in all of my socks at an alarming rate. It’s gotten so bad my
2-year-old checks the bottom of my feet daily to look for “hole-ies”.
I’ve heard that nice socks would really be worth the money, but I get buyer’s
remorse just putting them in my cart. Help!”
David Chan (Santa Monica, California) wrote, “Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail
I went through countless smelly pairs of socks seeking the perfect fit. Trail
running has become my new passion, and the need to have a good sock/shoe
combination remains critical to success. I would love to see if Drymax is my
holy grail of socks.”
Tish Murphy (Phoenix, Arizona) wrote, “On search for the “perfect”
sock, looking through my crowded sock drawers hoping that my feet have changed
since the last wearing, browse through sports store bins and always intrigued
by descriptions such as “world’s most comfortable”,
“breathable” or you’ll “never need another pair after you’ve
worn these”. Drymax? Thanks for the chance to win!”
Robert McAllaster wrote, “I am running the
H.U.R.T. 100 in January and would love to test them out in those conditions. I spent one training
day out on the course recently where the water ranged from ankle to thigh deep
on the trails during one downpour.”
(Portland, Oregon) wrote: “My husband and I spent the month of September
trekking in Nepal. Our two porters, Pasang and Wangda, (18 year old cousins)
were a highlight of our trip. After carrying 60lbs for miles every morning
(from their foreheads), they spent the afternoons exploring with us. They were
filled with enthusiasm, tireless, and always happy. They are also poor. Their
shoes were worn and filled with holes, and each had only one pair of socks. I
have been gathering items to send them. Footwear is a high priority, and new
Drymax socks would be a wonderful addition to my care package for them. I have
enclosed photos of Pasang and Wangda. We fell in love them and feel so
fortunate to have met them. They are both still high school students and hope
to attend university in Kathmandu.In the evenings, after trekking all day, they
pulled out their books and studied; without a college education, their options
for the future are very limited. We hope to do more for them in the future,
including raising money toward their college education. It is about $2,000 a
year (each), an exorbitant amount of money for them.”
Lori Jensen (Hillsboro, Oregon) wrote, “I really need a pair of Drymax socks to
give to my husband because I am selfish with mine and won’t give any of them to
him. I feel a little sorry for him that he does not know what he is missing.
Unfortunately, he may never know… “
Drymax for sending me socks I could give away. Who says Santa Claus doesn’t
like socks? If you need last minute Christmas gifts, try Drymax socks. You can get them at Zombierunner.com.
I want to make Christmas
happen for a few lucky people. Many of you know how much I like Drymax socks.
Here is a chance for those of you who don’t have a pair, to get one for Christmas.
Send me an email and tell me
in 50 words or less, why you should get a free pair of Drymax socks. They could
be for you or for a spouse, significant other, or a friend. Maybe you have a “bad
sock” experience to share or maybe a sock sob story. Be creative. Include your
name and address, shoe size, and what your activity is.
This will run until 6:00 pm Monday,
December 15th, Pacific time. I’m sorry, but I have to limit it to
U.S. residents because of postage charges. I will pick at least two male and
two female winners. There stories will be shared in a future post.