One foot at a time | One sole at a time | One hell of a good time


Friday, September 12, 2008

Latest Painting by Chase Chen - Daughter and Me

BFT and daughter Ona, Hansen Dam

Chase Chen's latest oil painting (large) is of me pulling my daughter Ona in a pony cart (Sulky) over in Hansen Dam in Shadow Hills. I modified this cart adding the rattan seat and used it to train a lot last year, preparing for a self-assisted Badwater attempt that was not meant to be.

I am moving back to Shadow Hills to be closer to my daughter. More reports to follow.


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Friday, August 24, 2007

Latest Paintings of Ona by Chase Chen

Titled: Reading (she is reading A Series of Unfortunate Events)

Titled: Feather

We are a very lucky family. Our good friend Chase Chen whom we have known since he practically got off the boat from China has become our family's personal artist who just happens to paint masterpieces. Such is life.


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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Leadville 100 - Crewing and Pacing

Nearly 600 Starters, ONLY 210 Finishers

Caballo Blanco's (Micah True) Crew for Leadville 100 in 2007
Deborah (Cebolla), Adrian (Brocoli), Caballo, Ona (Monocita) and BFT (El Mono).

My interviews with Caballo Blanco Pre- & Post- Race

Club Mas Loco member Chris Labbe, aka Cabro,
finishes in under 25 hours
Paced from Haggerman Pass Rd. to the Dam
wearing Vibram FiveFingers Sprints

Leadville Trail 100, August 18-19, Leadville, Colorado

Elevation: 10,152 feet (3094 meters) from Wikipedia:

The historic City of Leadville is a Statutory City that is the county seat of Lake County, Colorado, United States. Leadville is a former silver mining camp that lies near the headwaters of the Arkansas River in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The city's central district has an elevation of 10,152 feet (3094 meters), making Leadville the highest city in North America. The federally designated Leadville National Historic District includes many historic structures and sites from Leadville's dynamic mining era. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the city population was 2,688 in 2005.


Many people have told me that Leadville indeed may be barefootable, i.e. doable by one conditioned and well practiced in the art of barefoot trail running.

One question I hoped to answer during my trip to Leadville this year was whether or not one could finish the course unassisted by footwear within the 30 hour cuttoff.

This question remains open.

While crewing and preparing to pace Caballo, I got a good overall picture of the course, but not much of the trails.

While pacing for Mas Loco member Cabro (Chris Labbe), I wore my FiveFingers Sprints.

Why not barefoot?

Well, it was not my place to experiment on a rocky portion of the course during the last 15 miles of a race at 3am in the morning in the dark on an unfamiliar trail with a runner who is close to breaking 25 hours.

The FiveFinger Sprints performed quite well in this section of the trail that I ran. It would have been much trickier to handle this territory at night barefoot during the last 14 miles of a 100 mile race..., but POSSIBLE in my estimation.

Perhaps I will give it a try next year.


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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Hercules Back on the Wagon for the First Time

Hercules has found a new passion: pulling Ona on the Horse Cart.

I finally figured out how to rig our pony cart for him by using old inner tubes tied around the handles.


PS. All is well until he sees another dog or horse. Then it is full-speed ahead followed by a crash.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Polar Bear Swim 2007 - Dos Lugares

Ona and I made it into the January 2nd Daily News

After the swim - Endorphin kick

Ernie has participated every year at Hansen

Ona braved the cold too.

Polar Bear Swim 2007: Part 1
Location: Hansen Dam Swim Lake

We woke up at 7:30am. The swim began at 8am, so we had to move it in order to get there on time. Sun was out, but it was quite windy. This year I stayed in the shallower side of the pool and ran and porpoised my way to the finish.

Very happy to see many regulars at the pool, including the famous Ernie, a.k.a., Headwig. He has participated every year the Polar Bear swim has been held at Hansen Dam.

Swimming in cold water is extremely exhilarating. I think it must get the endorphins pumping vigorously. I did not feel cold on exiting the water, and this year there was a really nice fire pit and big fire burning at the finish. Very nice.

I hope to do it again next year. We are off to Cabrillo Beach to participate in the Polar Bear Swim there.

Polar Bear Swim 2007: Part 2
Location: Cabrillo Beach, San Pedro, CA

I am pretty sure I am the only person in all of Los Angeles who participated in both City sponsored Polar Bear Events, one at Hansen Dam and the other at Cabrillo Beach.

It just so happens that we live within walking distance of Hansen Dam and my mother within walking distance of Cabrillo. So, it has become a family tradition to swim in both locations on New Year's Day.

Cabrillo was fantastic. Water was quite warm, around 58 degrees. I was among the hearty souls who swam out to the buoy and back, about 1/2 mile.

My mom made some terrific stew that I had as soon as I got out of the water. I also had a nice glass of Port. Come and join us next year.

Before the swim


After the swim.


Barefoot Ted's Adventures

PS. You can read about last year's swim here. Ona made the Daily News last year, and apparently, we made it again this year.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Lake Nacimiento, California

Spent the weekend with Luis Escobar and Family at Lake Nacimiento.

Barefoot Ted's Mermaids

Picnic-bench Yoga

Ona Faces Car Trouble

Ona with FuFu and her FiveFingers which proved very useful in our campground that was full of broken glass and lost fishing lures. Way safer than the flip-flops kids were wearing.


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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Nike Podcast Interviews at Griffith Park

Photos by Ona McDonald

Today many of us Wild Mountain Runners were interviewed for a Nike sponsored podcast featuring running groups from all over the country.

We were joined by the famous Barefoot KenBob of

Some runners did not participate, because they thought that their endorsement contracts did not allow them to be in a Nike sponsored film, even though it was not a ad. I thought that was strange, but more room for us hams to yap.

After the group interview, they also interviewd me about ultra running (which I am new at). They decided to use the backdrop of my infamous 1966 VW Beetle. I proudly wore my Clif Bar visor and my Vibram FiveFingers jersey, shoes and shorts.

Any inspiration I can give, I will give. Hopefully it is not all hot air!

Best Regards, Barefoot Ted

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Malibu Backbone 100k Trail Fun-Run - Aid Station

It was time to give-back a little more to the running community that I have grown to love.

Ona and I volunteered to take care of the aid station in Andy and Jeff's 100k backbone fun-run.

Leigh, Vicki, Jeff, Ona, Ultra Suzy and Barefoot Ted

Everyone loved the food...

Ribbons awarded made of trail markers and leaves
Kyle, Ona, Vicki and Leigh

We had a great time hanging out in the Dead Horse parking lot in Topanga Canyon. Lucky for me, my old friend Urs lived near by, so Ona had a chance to meet some new friends.

Ona did some video interviews. For a funny look at the race, listen to Ultra Suzy's interview here. QuickTime Required

Best Regards, Barefoot Ted

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Press Release: Barefoot Ted to Run Boston in FiveFingers™



Long Distance Runner Will Compete Almost Barefoot in
Vibram® FiveFingers™

WHAT: Vibram®, the worldwide leader in high performance footwear soles based in Concord, Mass., will sponsor Ted McDonald, a.k.a. Barefoot Ted, a six-time barefoot marathoner to compete in Boston. Ted will wear Vibram® FiveFingers™, a unique glove-styled shoe that offer all the health benefits of going barefoot with the gecko-like grip and the protection of a Vibram® sole.

FiveFingers™ was originally developed by Marco Bramani grandson of Vibram Founder Vitale Bramani. Bramani loved the balance and control of sailing barefoot but wanted better slip resistance and toe protection from dangerous rigging.

Although this product is intended for sailing, sea kayaking, and related sports, the concept is gaining traction with barefoot runners, walkers and recreational sports enthusiasts. FiveFingers™ stretches and strengthens muscles in the feet and lower legs, improving balance, agility, strength and speed.

WHY: For Vibram®, this is an opportunity to showcase their innovative FiveFingers™ while illustrating the many health benefits of going almost barefoot. For Barefoot Ted, an avid proponent of barefoot running, FiveFingers™ gives him the freedom and sensation of running barefoot, with the protection of a Vibram sole.

WHEN: Monday, April 17, 12:00 p.m.

WHERE: Hopkinton, Mass. to Back Bay, Boston, Mass.

CONTACTS: For more information or interviews, contact Anne Tommasi, Tommasi PR 603.893.5878,

Photo by Ona McDonald

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

FiveFingers™ Speed Training

photo by Ona McDonald

Did a little speed work today and yesterday wearing the FiveFingers™ barefoot shoes. I just had to get out and feel some of that sunlight that we have been lacking this past week here in Los Angeles.

I love running in and around Hansen Dam in the East San Fernando Valley. If you haven't been there, you are missing out on a great running spot.

Best Regards, Barefoot Ted

PS. You can view some more in-action running shots from this same day by clicking here.

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Friday, March 24, 2006

What the &*@#?

photo by Ona McDonald

The future exists now for some.

Primitive and post-modern combine.

Actually, the connections between the Tarahumara indians and Vibram are deeper than would first appear. Both have found successful shoe sole solutions from automobile tires.

Best Regards, Barefoot Ted

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Chase Chen's Newest Painting: Time Machine

Time Machine 38" x 80"

Close up of Ona in backseat

That's me in the driver's seat. Ona, my daugther, in the backseat. 1966 Beetle, my 40 year old car...still going strong.

This painting is some kind of masterpiece. It is part of a long series Chase is doing on my family and pets. Another book of drawings and paintings will come out early next year.

Best, Barefoot Ted

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Years Polar Bear Swims (plural)

Flash, Ona makes Daily News Newspaper

This year, I did two polar bear swims: one at Hansen Dam near our house, and the other at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro near my mom's house.

Hansen Dam

Cabrillo Beach

Video footage from Cabrillo Beach Polar Bear Swim 2006

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Yucca Sandal Expedition with Paul Campbell

Ona and I met with Paul Campbell today. He introduced us to a huge variety of native sandals made from agave, yucca and other materials. He has a fantastic collection that can be seen in his book "Survival Skills of Native California".

Proud results. Ona holds today's prize

Paul took us up into the local mountains. We found an excellent spot to test manufacture some yucca sandals.

Where we turned off the trail

Our spot

Looking opposite

Raw materials

Necessary tool

Start the toe

Finished, dried sandal

Although I have not had a chance to test the sandals (we only made one today), I know that this are going to work. They are very similar to Japanese waraji. They are lightweight and fairly easy to manufacture (especially if you were making a pair a week). The also are like waraji and AEI Shoes: they flex forward and back, but not side-to-side, which may help prevent punctures.

All in all, we had a great time and very much look forward to learning more from Paul in the future.

One of the highlights of the meeting was getting a chance to eat some dried yucca that was over 3 years old. It was delicious.

Best, Barefoot Ted (and Ona, too)

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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Ona & Papa drawing by Chase Chen

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