Blog entry posted by otoole4info, Nov 2, 2013.

Here I am a week after running 40 miles in 30 hours. It's time to post a review of the events.

40 miles in 30 hours really doesn't seem like much when you look at it that way. Here is what I got myself into. In February of this year I signed up for what is called the "Clam Chowdah Challenge" in Falmouth, MA home of the famous "Falmouth Mile and Road Race".

The challenge being, run the Cape Cod Marathon Half on Saturday 10/26 and then run and complete the full marathon on 10/27. I know, it only adds up to be 39.3 miles total but I ran an extra 7/10ths of a mile to warm up on Saturday morning.

Before the weekend of the runs, a few days before, I got the idea of posting here on BRS looking of 40 reasons to run 40 miles. You all rocked with helping me reach the 40 reasons. Believe it or not it helped a lot when I started hitting hills between mile 20 and the end of the run on Sunday. I also had a separate 40 for 40 going in an email chain letter a group of my friends have going called "BookFace", we are not on Facebook so we keep in touch via email or phone calls instead.

Saturday morning, 10/26, "Cape Cod Marathon Half"...... It was a little chilly but not too bad, in the 40's if I recall. Sun was shining and there was no breeze, pavement was dry and it looked to be an awesome day for a run.
IMG_1648a.jpg A funny before race photo with some friends that were running the half as well. I did not run the race with the sweats or coat on. I did however wear the hood thing around my neck but not up like is pictured. I ultimately ended up putting that in my pocket as it warmed up quite nice or at least I warmed up quite nicely.

The shotgun start was at 7:30 AM exactly and we were off and running.

Talk about a beautiful run..... Wow, it was just awesome running along the coast and around a lighthouse. Highly recommend this marathon half if you ever have a chance.

So I hadn't really run since mid September when my training fell off track due to germs brought home from the kids school. I decided, well I'm just going to run..... fast, slow, walk or whatever it didn't matter. Figured I signed up for it so I was going to finish both events regardless of how I felt during the run. I was even prepared to roll down hills if I had too, that didn't happen but I was prepared.

I'll talk about barefoot friendly-ness toward the end of the blog.

I finished the marathon half and PR'd to boot. Not having trained like I had scheduled, I was happy with a new PR. This was my 2nd barefoot half and my third half if we count the one I ran shod. My time was 1:55:51, under 2 hours! I'm very happy with that!

After the half I only had one minor blood blister on my left foot
IMG_1646a.jpg This was taken care of right after the race and again before going to bed Saturday night, after all I was running the full barefoot the next day.
IMG_1661a.jpg Crossing the half finish line.

So the half was over and I had the full to look forward too. I questioned myself a little bit as to why I had signed up for such punishment, a half and a full back to back, I had no answer besides I apparently was completely insane but I wasn't the only one there were I guess just over 100 that signed up to do the same.

Sunday morning, 10/27...... Time for my first ever barefoot full marathon. The temperature was in the upper 40's, I think, and it was fecking raining. I was not happy to see rain but oh well. My left foot where the blood blister was feeling just fine and the blister was gone. I wore sneakers until just before the start of the marathon since the roads were wet, thankfully the rain had stopped and the forecast for the rest of the day was looking great.

At 8:30 AM we were off and running with a canon blast. Since my longest ever run was only 14 or 15 miles prior to this marathon I had my pockets loaded with Cliff Chews (2 packages), one Cliff Bar and I carried my hydration running belt with 3 waters and one Sobe. I had decided while running during the first 2 miles that I was going to eat chews (3) at 6 mile intervals and eat my cliff bar at mile 18 or so. I also decided to hit every water stop the course had set up even if it was just to put water in my mouth and spit it out.

At mile 17 I hit a hill and I guess my "wall" - I didn't feel horrible though and I knew I could keep going. At this point I ate my cliff bar as I walked up the hill, washed it down, and started running again down hill. I didn't really ever feel like or have to fight with myself to continue running, I knew I was going to finish one way or another.

Oh yeah and the wet roads, I would say around mile 6,7 or 8 they were dry. I had sought out dry areas all along the way in the beginning as well.

Miles 20 to 24 had rolling hills and hills I really didn't want to see, I either walked up them or barely ran up them, either way I was going to conquer them.

Mile 24 to the end, fairly level..... kept telling myself, "just keep running, just keep moving". Rounding the last corner onto Main Street in Falmouth, the finish line was in sight. That last little stretch though seemed like 10 miles. I crossed the finish line at 4:44:46, under 5 that is what I was shooting for but I was prepared to go 6 hours if need be.

My feet felt raw and when I was finally able to stop and actually look at them I had 3 blood blisters and one normal blister. A blood blister on my left foot was huge, same area as the one from the half.
IMG_1669a.jpg This photo was after I had already popped them. Here is a video of the blood blister on my right foot being relieved if you really want to watch it.

So I did it, the "Clam Chowdah Challenge" and I did it barefoot. During mile 23 or 24 the race director was on his moped checking on runners and he talked with me for a bit about barefoot running and running in general. I thought this was really cool.

My combined Chowdah Challenge time was 6:40:37, I placed 70th in the challenge out of the 94 that finished it and I did it barefoot the entire way. Here is something mildly crazy though, the male winner of the half also ran the full and finished 2nd in the full, WTF..... that's fast.

Is the course barefoot friendly, I am going to say yes. After all I was able to do it. The roadway along the coastal areas is a little coarser than that of the inland pavement. I sought out the painted lines and anywhere crack sealant was laid to provide a little comfort especially during the end of the full marathon.

Here is a photo of the metals and the mug (mug is the challenge prize) - I also got three shirts out of the events as well, half, full and challenge.
IMG_0005a.jpg IMG_0006a.jpg IMG_0011a.jpg

After the half there was water, bananas, popcorn, and some other things for runners. The only mildly disappointing thing during the whole event was after crossing the full marathon finish line the only complementary item was a bottle of water........ Luckily I had friends there and my wife who bought me a coffee and some other goodies from the "Pickle Jar" (go there if you go to Falmouth, awesome café).

Other than the lack of food or even a lowly banana at the end of the full marathon, would I do it again..... Maybe not the challenge, but definitely one or the other. I'd like to do the Marathon again just to see what my time would be without running 14 miles the day before.

Here is a link to the events page if you want to watch it for 2014 or take a look at photos, times, etc - I managed a bib number of 3001 and that is for both events.

Oh yeah my wife said she say other barefoot runners at the finish line for both, all except one carrying min shoes. There were plenty of min shoe runners. The one not carrying any mins I am pretty sure was a relay runner. I was hoping to run into one or two of the barefoot finishers, but guess I was too slow.

It's been a week since the races and the only thing that still mildly hurts or is sore are my calves. The next day after the marathon I was walking barefoot again. I'm amazed at the recovery time of my feet.

Time to get ready for Holiday 5k and 10k's, I've already signed up for another marathon in the spring. As it gets closer I'll tell you which one.

Hope this reads well.

Added later..... knew I'd forget something.

Other runners during both the Marathon Half and the Marathon were awesome. Many passed me by or I passed them by replied with a "good job" "that's awesome" "keep up the good work" "you going the whole way barefoot" and so on. There were a few that for some reason talked about me thinking I wouldn't hear them. Believe it or not, running barefoot we hear almost everything.

One fellow marathoner ran past and advised me I was "very stealth" I thought about this for a minute, he is right. I listened to myself, absolutely no sound is coming from me. My feet land gently like a feather, breathing was not labored, I was just floating along so to speak.

Another honestly did know what to make of me, She said I was either completely insane or inspiring, she hadn't decided yet. I told her to take a little of both and call it good.

Also I did carry my Luna sandals strapped on with my running belt just in case something happened along the way. Nothing did and I never touched them, they just came along for the runs. I taped my big toes as well since I've had the habit of stubbing them. I'm happy to report I didn't stub them once.
Barefootshuffler and Barefoot TJ like this.

About the Author

Running bare since January 2013. Look for me at a race, I am constantly looking for other barefoot runners! Have yet to cross paths with any.