Getting Ready

I’ve decided that I’m going to run Saturday’s Niagara 50K Ultra barefoot. At least, I’m going to give it a try.

The issue isn’t really distance. I ran the Niagara 50K last year (albeit in shoes and pouring rain), so I’m reasonably sure I can manage. I don’t plan to be quick (my finishing time last year was 6 hours, 19 minutes, and change); all I have to do to get an official finishing time and a medal is complete the event in under 7 hours. Doable, I think.

That said, I’m going into this with a few small reservations.

The first is that my training has gone completely sideways over the past few weeks. I’m normally very disciplined in the weeks before a race, but I haven’t been able to be so this time around. My father’s in palliative care, and doesn’t have much time left, so I’ve been very busy (not to mention extremely stressed) while dealing with that. Plus, Kelso, our newly-adopted greyhound (we’ve had him for about ten days), is a delightful fellow, but consumes inordinate amounts of time and energy. Hello real life, goodbye training.

The second reservation is that the skin of the center of the ball of my right foot is still thin, the result of having cut it weeks ago on a small sharp stone. It’s healed and the skin has re-conditioned, but it’s not quite original equipment anymore. I’m going to put some Krazy Glue on the area before the race, but I still think there’s a good chance of that wearing through over 50Ks of pavement, and I’m a little nervous about opening up that cut again.

My loving wife is going to be at the 28K and 37K points of the race to provide support, as she did last year, and she’ll have the Krazy Glue as well as my Fivefingers KSOs. So I’ll be able to do some quick repairs if needed, and will have the option of putting my shoes on if things aren’t looking good.

The last reservation is about weather. It’s going to be hot and humid, which is fine with me. But the forecast has changed since I last looked. Now there a 40% chance of thundershowers, which is supposed to result in about 5mm (0.2 inches) of accumulation. My guess is that it either won’t rain at all, or that it will rain briefly and hard. I don’t want to run for any length of time on wet pavement, though – too much moisture, and the skin of the bottoms of my feet will soften to the point where blisters will be inevitable.

I’m going to try to get a good sleep tonight. Sleeping well the night before a race is sometimes difficult, so getting a solid sleep two nights before is the better option. I may go for a very short run tomorrow (Friday).

And I’m going to try to stay calm and relaxed. I really am.



  1. Alan:

    How did your run go yesterday? I’m very interested to hear. I thought of you as I ran a 15K around the neighborhood in my VFFs.


  2. Alan:

    In my opinion, it sounds as though you’ve got the angles covered. In terms of the weather, really one has no control, so my philosophy is not to worry about things not within one’s control.

    In terms of training, you train more than anyone I know. I bring this point up because it’s my experience that a good solid base, which you obviously have, will always pull one through on event day. I have confidence your base conditioning will pull you through.

    I also think that having your wife (bless her) there 1) supporting you, 2) having the Krazy Glue, and 3) having your KSOs, will not only provide peace of mind, but is a great and viable contingency plan.

    Lastly, I’ll say good luck, but you don’t need it. :^)

    Have a great run, my friend.


  3. Wow Alan,

    Are you planning on running with your Nathan running vest? If so, why don’t you just put your KSOs in that – they’re light enough. IMO – peace of mind can make all the difference – just knowing you have them just in case and no worrying about if you’re going to make it to where your wife is planning on meeting you.

    Best of luck.


    1. I’m thinking of doing it without the vest, because the aid stations on the Niagara 50K are frequent (every 5K), and embarrassingly fully-stocked. If it’s going to be very hot and humid as forecast (37C, counting the heat and humidity), I’d just as soon not wear the vest. In fact, I’m thinking of doing the race very minimalist, without even a watch, so I can focus on my form. Shorts and singlet only for this one!

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