Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Experimenting with Fuel for Long Runs

Just finished reading Why We Run by Bernd Heinrich.  He set a goal to win a 100k race and shares his experiences on the foods/drink he experimented with to help fuel his body. Loved his bit about the beer experiment.  He started by running a 20 mile course and at the 10 mile mark he downed a 12 oz. bottle.  He sped up for the final 10 miles and felt he was on to something good. Then this happened....

"For a real test, I entered a long road race toting three six packs.  Presuming a fast racing pace, I planned on having one every 4 miles.  We took off like rhinoceros in rut, and I was soon in the lead, chugging one beer after the other and increasing my lead even further.  While starting to congratulate myself on the great run, with just three beers left to go, I suddenly felt weak.  With two left to go, I lost all my will and just dropped out."  He  goes on to say more fine tuning would have been a good thing.  Prior to the beer experiment, he tried copious amounts of honey (not good), then olive oil (really not good), finally settling on cranberry juice until they switched to an artificial sweetener.  

He went on to achieve his goal in 1981 at the age of 40.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Post Surgery

Well, my 7th surgery (as my lovely wife has so kindly pointed out, I actually thought it was only 6 but what's one more right) on my left knee was just completed on Friday, note this includes 6 scopes c/w cleanups and 1 major surgery. Some people might think I am crazy for running or even contemplating running again, but I enjoy it and darn it my knees haven't felt pain free like this in years.

Now, I know your probably thinking, "Pain Free?", then why the surgery? Well the answer to that is quite simple, my knee has this nasty habit of swelling up, and the only thing that brings it down is anti-inflammitories, which I really do not like taking. Hence the 7th surgery (or scope and cleanout) to get rid of the nasty bone chips and pieces of cartilage that are usually floating around in my knee over a period of time (my last scope was 8 years ago, thus it was probably due).

Anyway back to the day of the surgery, which was Friday, I was slated to be at the Day Surgery Area of the GGH at 11:30 am to get checked in and prepped for the festivities ahead. Boy I love surgery day, not able to eat or drink prior to midnight the night before (I am a loyal coffee and espresso drinker need I say more), especially when surgery is not slated until the afternoon, can make for a very cranky patient. This being said, I have to say the nursing staff that got me prepped for the wait were awesome, kudos go to them for everything they did for me prior to the cut. If I had a good memory for names I would list them but I don't, none the less they were all fantastic. Of course N was there sitting with me keeping me company whether I drifted in and out of sleep or not. Thanks honey.

It was about 1:30 when the orderly came to get me, and it was off to meet with the anasteologist to get prepped to go under (had a slight headache at the time, remember no coffee, so we decided to put me out, as headaches and spinals do not go together to well with me). I would miss watching the proceedure this time but what can you do. I must also give kudos to my anasteologist as well, she was great. Now off to surgery, for the main event, met with Dr. Mueller prior to going under, a quick how's it going, and are you ready, and it was time to go out.

Next thing I know I wake up in Post Op, and everything appears to have gone well, except my blood pressure is 'Way to Low', and they start pumping my full of saline solution, etc to get my blood pressure to some resemblance of normality. 6 litres plus later and by 6:30 I am ready to be checked out. Again a big set of kudos and thanks goto the nursing staff that put up with me during the process. Thanks again.

Post Op Status:
Day 1: Started knee exercises, leg responds well. Swelling starting to go down. Take 2 pain killers to help thru sleep. Note: I do not like taking pain killers unless totally necessary.
Day 2: More leg exercises, walking around (chasing kids), mow lawn (not recommended probably should not of done that). Some swelling remains, leg feels good. No pain killers
Day 3: Go to work, more walking, more exercises, significant more flexibility in knee, very little pain, very optimistic. No pain killers
Day 4: Go to work, more walking, more exercises, mobility and flexibility increased, swelling almost entirely gone. No pain killers.
Day 5 - 7: Go to work, more walking, increase activity to more typical level pre-surgery, more exercises, almost feel 100%.
Day 8: Go for small jog to test knee capability, responds well, optimistic to go for longer run tomorrow. Attend workshop on Barefoot Running at City Park Runner's in the morning, focuses on durability, very informative, more on this in a future blog. Attend the Red River Ex in afternoon and into evening. Take in some jerky rides and lots of walking, knee feels good.
Day 9: (today), just to head out on run shortly, to see how the knee reacts. Very impressed at how my body has rebounded from this surgery.

On to rehab to get back to running, they say 2 weeks, before I will be running again, I am happy to report that everything progressed well, and ahead of schedule. It is now 9 days since the surgery and I am going out for a quick run to see how the knee and leg reacts.

On On,


Disclaimer: I do not recommend the above rehab to anyone. I am doing this to see how my body reacts, medical recommendation I have received stated 2 weeks prior to commencing running again, I am doing this a little quicker, on my own regard.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Long Run Sunday June 27/10

We will meet 5 am at the same location.  We don't have a destination or distance in mind as Nicole is practicing  her  'winging it' skills.  There will be some forests involved, and hopefully some wildlife too.  Safe to say we will run more than 10 miles, but less than 25.   Sorry for the flaky post!  It must be summertime.....

Monday, June 21, 2010

Manitoba Marathon

What a beautiful day Sunday was.
My husband had his knee scoped Friday afternoon, and we weren't sure if he would be able to 'run' after the kids so I held off saying that I would run. As the time drew near I had to confess that I did want to give it a try. I have a great sister-in-law who has a very nice husband who agreed to get up at 5am to give me a ride down to the university so I could be there for 6:15ish. He was here at 5:30am, took me down and then came back to help my husband with the kids. I have a fantastic family!! Of course he then drove back to get me and bring me home, many, many, many hours later.......

I can't believe how nervous I was! Fargo was only a month ago but it seems so unreal that I accomplished a finish, so I thought I should try again. You know, just to make sure it wasn't a fluke. Besides I think, in my mind, I should have three marathons under my belt before I add another four miles to the equation. So Saturday afternoon as I took the kids out to give my husband some rest I found myself at the Manitoba Marathon Expo signing up for the full marathon. Got a few gels, a couple of energy bars, more info on some energy drinks and other neat things. I was really impressed how kid friendly it was, mine went crazy getting their bingo cards signed, probably a bit too crazy, but it kept them somewhat distracted for me to get information at some of the vendors. Each of the vendors were very nice and accommodating as well, and this is not always the case where children are involved. I was nicely impressed, great job guys!

On my way, a quick stop for coffee and a muffin on the way (part of a bribe payment to entice my brother-in-law to get up so early), a planned drop off at the corner of pembina and bison, and a short walk into the university. Along the way I had a few questions about the vibrams from a couple of ladies who had seen my husband at the polar bear run at the zoo earlier this year. They had seem him barefoot along the run. I hope you ladies running the half had a great run. That went well, then a nervous belly drove me straight to the.... enough said.

Finding the beginning of where I should be.... what, there is no 5:30 marker? alright, I will just keep to the very back! Found another runner with great pink headphones, she was looking for about the same time, I found it encouraging. Saw another pair of KSO Vibrams, actually he found me, and gave me a? I think it was like a hand shake but you put your fists together? I'm feeling really old right now, I'm hoping that before I actually post this I can find out what the greeting was called. Running is so awesome just for the camaraderie alone. It doesn't seem to matter where you are, everyone is so friendly, even if they are racing you. I think it could be just a simple matter that we are all racing ourselves more than the others around us? Doesn't really matter, I don't think I've met a really sour runner yet. Maybe I'm lucky?

Then we started..... wow, what a feeling. Excitement, elation, ....fear of what I've yet gotten myself into, again. In the first two miles I met with a lady who was walking in her vibrams. Nice to see yet another pair out there. She had the light blue camo colored KSO style, and looked happy to be out there. I hope you had a great day.

I must be grateful for living in Manitoba, thankfully we don't have crocodiles here! If mosquitoes were crocodiles.... we would have all lost limbs!! But who really cares when we were able to appreciate the parks we ran through, I don't spend a lot of time in the area of the university, but wow! what great parks we have as a city. I was passed by an acquaintance around mile six, but was not able to keep up, and lost him along the way, I have yet to find out if he ran the full or the half? Maybe I'll find out next week. This is all very exciting!

I was passed by a walker around mile 12. We had a short conversation about the vibrams and rocks on the road. This is the most asked question to date I think. The pebbles are not to bad at all, bigger rocks you will feel. But those are the ones that you just try to step around. It does make you aware of you surroundings as you do need to watch where you are placing your feet along the way, especially with a BARE foot.

Which makes me want to back track the the lady running in total BARE FEET! Way to go!!! This was around mile 9-10. I'm not to the point of going that far, totally bare, yet as I'm still getting blood blister under my toes when I do. That is awesome. I hope you had a beautiful day, as you had a great such a fantastic attitude.

2:35 at the halfway point. That is about my average half time, it's warm, I'm halfway there, maybe I will keep a better pace this time in the last half? Time for a gel? Maybe I'll wait a bit longer.

Mile 15 is around where I was hoping to see Gail (my running partner) who was running leg 4 of the relay. Found her waiting patiently, with her husband and daughters. Kinda neat to see people along the way that you know. I told her that I would need her to come by and give me a bit of a pacer along the way cause I was feeling a bit tired in the legs. Not quite two miles later I had the pleasure of a running partner again, for a short time, as I was not able to hold that pace for very long. That is something I admire greatly about G, she can really pick up her pace for shorter distances and slow it down for the long haul. I have not yet figured out the picking it up for a shorter distance yet, but I'm working on it.

Now there was a very helpful medical aid person on a bike around mile 19-20. Told me a story about his friend being pulled off the course when they had to close the course many, many years ago. I had mentioned it was my second marathon, as it had been her second at the time. Wow, that hadn't occurred to me. So I'm once more grateful for an awesomely fantastic day that was NOT 36 degrees out! Only about 6.2 left to go and again my time is around the 4:15 mark. This is paralleling Fargo's' timing.

Legs are getting heavy! lactic acid eh? Guess I haven't moved the threshold enough yet. Guess I got lots to work on. Trying to not walk too much, just through the water stops. Gel only as the water stops are close by to wash them down with, and it all seems to be working well. I took gel at the 15, 20 and 23 mile marks, trying to boost energy at the end, and of course the scary story of possibly being pulled this close to the end....

It was the same nice guy on a bike who found me, and another couple at the orange station. Thank you so much whoever did that!! Incredible!! We got a nice story about how you can tell when someones brain is overheating, they tend to lean to one side, as if they were about to fall over. He is telling us that this is about the time where we should be replenishing our sugar stores and that the oranges will be a help. I have one gel left and I will keep this useful information for the future. The real thing that scared me here is that I don't usually run very straight at all on a normal day. If you asked my running partner or my husband they would laugh and tell you the same, so here I'm thinking about keeping my eyes on the road and trying not to look to out of it. I'm still not breathing hard at this point, but I think someone added more ankle weights while I was thinking about running in a straight line!

Mile 24. Run into the lady I started beside, I hope you had a great day at this point you looked great. I'm almost there..... mile 25, Gotta love the hair! The volunteer had a great wig afro, did I mention...it was great, along with the good news that we only had a mile to go, and the good news that we had already finished 25 miles! Thanks for the enthusiasm, you made me smile.
Then I seemed like I was on my own, around a corner, see a split, keep to my side, full marathon....another corner, a little while later see someone on the other side and follow.... apparently the wrong side of the road. Not sure how I missed that but I'm at the start area and there isn't much further to go, get on the proper side, find a water station, thanks to the military guys! almost missed another turn, but the stretcher guys know where I want to go and are nice enough to give out the directions. Yes this looks familiar, I did run a half one year out here. See the guy on the bike again and say thank you... all the time thinking "just run straight, just run straight!"

Mile 26. Not far to go.... and my phone rings. What to do, what to do? So I chose to ignore it and think that whoever it is probably wouldn't mind my finishing that last .2 miles before I call them back. Besides, I'm not entirely sure what the etiquette is for answering your phone as you are heading into the stadium on the last leg of a marathon. I'm also praying that it isn't an emergency with the kids. Which gives me the incentive to giver to the end.....

And I finish. Nice. 5:42:34 according to chip time. 2 seconds faster than Fargo. Not sure what to make of that, but I'm not gonna over analyze this too much. (not now anyway)

There is someone asking me how I feel? I feel great! My legs are really heavy, the medal is pretty, the Popsicle is just what I could use! Oh yeah, there's a t-shirt too! Now I'm thinking.... "just keep walking, just keep walking, walking, walking,....." there is a little chant from 'Finding Nemo' stuck in my head here.

Thanks to all the volunteers. You are great! I'm hoping everyone out there had at least as awesome a day as I did. No matter what, we all learn something about ourselves and things from those we have around us, and that makes it all worthwhile.

On another, note I must mention a passage which I found encouraging. It is a very popular verse, Philippians 4:13 "I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]. (amplified version) I like this version.....

Enjoy the week off....... at least a day or two? Have a great one!


Friday, June 18, 2010

Sunday June 20th,

There will be no long run this week as the Manitoba Marathon is on. So good luck to all you running, we wish you all your goals! Don't forget to have FUN!! as that's really what it's all about. Have a great run, and you will all be up in time to watch the sunrise, enjoy.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Few Thoughts

Last Sunday we started out at 6 am thinking it would be great to get that extra hour of sleep for a change.  But when I awoke and  realized it was already bright outside there was a feeling I had missed something.  There was sadness in knowing we missed an opportunity to run with the rising of the sun. When I shared this feeling with Nicole she confessed she felt the same way.  I cannot believe I am saying this but we agreed to go back to beginning our long runs before sunrise so as not to miss that magical time of day.  When you start out running in the dark and  slowly see the sun come up upon the horizon, you know you are part of something special, but  you are not merely a spectator.  It reminds me of something I read once.  A society of ancient people believed that exertion through running at dawn helped strengthen the sun to come up for a new day.   So from now on we will do our part in helping the sun come up....although this exertion thing is new to us.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What's in your Pack?

we are all different in what we choose to bring in our packs for long runs.  I am often surprised to see how organized some of us are, while others are fixated on one thing...like interesting snacks.  On a few occasions I have seen a book poking out of someone's pack,  but have yet to see anyone reading while running. I would like to know what is in YOUR pack ( or whatever you carry with you for runs).  Send your photo to barefootrunning@shaw.ca and when enough are collected we will post it in a new series called WHATS IN YOUR PACK WEDNESDAYS.  You might be surprised to see what is lurking in the bottom of your running pack!
Happy Trails.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mud Between The Toes

Went for a quick 6.37 mile run this morning (or afternoon if you live east of Dryden), decided it was time to start building up my miles again barefoot. The goal is to hopefully do the next half marathon completely barefoot. Missing the Manitoba Marathon (insert sigh here!!), as unfortunately I don't think I will be ready to run on Sunday after having orthoscopic surgery on my left knee on Friday. I recover pretty quick but that would be a little optimistic.

Anyway I digress, as usual I start with the run in the Vibrams, with the intent of taking them off once I get my legs working the way I want them too. So I quickly polished off a couple of blocks to get warmed up (about .25 miles), and then took the shoes off. I don't know if I am a bit of exibitist or not, but I always find it interesting to see the look on some people's faces when I run by them barefoot, there is always some finger pointing and some 'Did you see that guy, he doesn't have any shoes on!! Anyway, I started the barefoot excursion down Sask. Avenue as I always do running the asphalt path beside the fence line, this gets my feet ready for the miles to come. Of course the trail comes to an end so, next to the road I go on the gravel edge, getting some interesting looks from oncoming traffic, to quote a song by the Headstones, "I just smile and wave." At this point, I veer off down the pathway that runs along Sturgeon Creek, still a little muddy and wet, but ok barefoot none the less. Watching my speed, about a 10 minute mile, I negotiate thru the muddy portions of the trail, and end up with some coating up my legs to my knees, going for a camoflage look that even Rambo would be proud of, I carry on. Quick run onto Silver Avenue to the bridge and then back to the trail over to Ness. So far so good, my feet feel great, my legs are responding well, and my tunes are pushing me along at a good pace.

Now comes the fun part, onto some higher traffic areas, with more finger pointing and weird looks, yes I am running on the sidewalk up Ness, barefoot with mud covering my feet and running up my legs to my shorts. And yes, I have a big grin on my face, almost feel like a kid in a candy shop (if I liked candy). Boy, I never realized that it was this easy to get off topic!

I actually had one older gentleman, ask me if I had an issue with my shoes since I was carrying them! I had to laugh and told him that I didn't want to wear the soles of my shoes, so that was why I was running barefoot. He just looked and me funny and went on his way.

Anyway, moving along I turned up School Road and headed for Portage Avenue, passing more finger pointers along the way. I short run up Portage to Westwood and then across the street for a quick detour to Browning and over to Rouge. I even had a police officer who was driving by give me the thumbs up as they were heading up the road, all I could think to do was give him the thumbs up back, as I headed in the opposite direction (how original, must think of a more unique gester to give back when this happens next time). Once I was back at Portage and Rouge, I crossed the street again and ran west on Portage to Buchanan and home.

Overall a good run, will work on 7 to 8 miles barefoot next time, after some recovery time from my knee surgery. Hope to be back at it in about 2 weeks.

Until then,

On On,


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sunday June 13th Long run

Here we are and another week has progressed. If I don't put this out there now I feel that I may just sleep in tomorrow morning. Looks like an early start again, but not as early as other mornings. (guess I will sleep in a bit!)
We will meet tomorrow at 6am at our usual spot of Tim Hortons at Westwood and Portage.Last week I was feeling really great when I wrote we would run 20+ and we finished 15. So this week I'm planning a 15 mile run and I'm going to try to find us some trails. There is a possibility of maybe running further, but I don't want to push our feet as I had some issues last week and am not sure if I've fully recovered. (and I'm a suck when it hurts, as well there is a huge fear of injury) I'm looking to be out for 3-4 hours, what we get in is to be determined. I plan on bringing the camera, there could be wildlife.
Whatever your plans this weekend I wish you great memories!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Along Comes A New Barefoot Runner

I decided it was about time that I added to this thought process, since I understand, I have officially been deemed a member of the Winnipeg Barefoot Runners. Let me introduce myself and give everybody a little background on how events unfolded and how I became intertwined in this little group.

First of all I will be going by B (short for Bob), N or Nicole is my lovely but slightly nutty better half, and G is well Gail (also slightly nutty but I like to call a friend). Anyway I digress.

I am a, I guess you can say middle aged (but young at heart) guy with 2 younger sons (9 and 3), who has had major knee issues in the past, leading to numerous surgeries throughout the years. I would guess I am in good shape and fairly active, but running was always an issue for fear of my knees giving out.
I know what you are thinking if I was concerned about my knees giving out what could of possibly got me starting to run? I can answer that question quite easily with one word:


My wife, N, and some friends went to check out this running group last summer that they thought was interesting, the group was called the Hash House Harriers or H3 for short. Basically they are a drinking club with a running problem, they are comprised of a mixed group of professionals that like to run (or walk), sing some very interesting songs, generally have a good time and did I mention they drink


Anyway the Beer part peeked my interest and I thought what the hell, lets check it out. Not sure how my knees would respond, I went and enjoyed myself enough, the pain and swelling in my knees could be tolerated from week to week. Anyway after a while, I found that I actually enjoyed the running part a little more than I thought I would, and the BEER had become just a bonus.

This is where things got interesting, my knees hurt like crazy after a run and for usually a couple of days following. I was running in a old pair of running shoes, which most people would of thrown out years prior but my old rule of thumb was until the shoes are actually falling apart they can still be used. Anyway, at this point N was really entrenched in the barefoot running concept, and after a couple of months of poking and prodding me to give it a try, I went for a run in a pair of her water shoes.

Typically the Hash runs are between 2 to 3 miles and I am pretty much done by the time I finish, and the end beers are welcomed with open arms (or mouth if you will). Well the first run with the water shoes and I ran about 3 miles and a funny thing happened my knees did not hurt, and I felt I could keep going if I wanted too. Strange, I thought it was a oddity and the usual pain I felt would show up a little later, but funny thing it didn't. I did not know what to think, could it be the shoes (no support) that changed how my feet hit the ground or was it just wishful thinking. With this in mind I went for another run, this time around 5 miles, nothing, no pain, and once again I felt like I could go further.

Hmmmm, I think N and G are onto something here. At this point, I carried on with the water shoes and was running 2 to 3 times a week, extending the time and distance each time and still no pain but with some minor swelling if I pushed it to hard. I started a running clinic with the Running Room on the whim that I might try a half marathon (I got some interesting looks from the instructors as well as the other participants in my water shoes, and some even more interesting looks later on but I digress), but realistically I still was not convinced I would be able to pull off 13.1 miles. I was determined to give it a go, and see if I could get the milage up to 13 miles so I could be confident that I could finish what I started.

To carry on I went to Assinoboine Park one sunday morning in early April and decided to run for as long as possible, after 2 laps of the park about 10 kms, I decided what the hell, I am going to really go BAREFOOT, and took off the shoes, I continued to run another 10 kms on a combination of asphalt and grass and could not believe how much quicker I was going and how much I enjoyed the freedom of being shoeless. At this point I knew I was hooked with the barefoot thing, now BARE (no pun intended... well maybe...) in mind, I did have some issues with small cuts, and bruises from stepping on rocks, and I was definitely worried about glass.

Enter the Vibrams, my wife ordered and got a pair of Vibram Five Fingers KOS shoes for each of us, low and behold the one's she or ordered for me do not fit. Lucky for me (not so lucky for her) our feet sizes are very similar, and mine (I mean her's, no I really mean mine) fit me perfectly. I was so excited to try them out, I went for a quick uuuummm 12 mile jaunt (note they say you should not run more than 2 miles the first time with these to build you feet up, but the feet felt so good, I just kept going). From that point it was hook, line and sinker, I was not going to go back to shoes, who needs stinkin' shoes, I run barefoot.

So a quick recap,

I started running November of last year with WH3 so I can drink beer.

Run the Resolution Run in Edmonton on Jan. 1 in my running shoes, struggle to finish but I finish

Continue to run with the WH3 every week and continue to drink beer.

Start running in water shoes and am amazed at the difference (no pain and still get to drink beer).

Run the 10 km Polar Bear run at the zoo, about 2 kms barefoot (got quite a few looks).

Start running barefoot (no shoes of any type) and enjoy it in April

Start running with Running Room to prep for a possible half marathon.

Continue to run with WH3 every week and continue to drink beer.

Steal, I mean borrow N's vibrams and run 12 miles (this still amazes me), this makes me think I can indeed run a half marathon, so I sign up for the WPS half marathon on May 2.

May 2 comes along and I run the WPS half and finish in 2 hours 19 minutes and 43 seconds, and yes I finished this in MY vibrams.

Run the 5km Physio fit run with my son, the majority barefoot, once again numerous looks of, ARE YOU CRAZY!!!!!!

Start running with Road Kill running group, and they are called this for a good reason, to try to increase my speed and endurance.

Run the Airforce half on May 30, and finish with a 2 hour 12 minutes and 42 second time, and other than a sore left foot, felt fine. On On!!! Also in my vibrams (Note I am officially calling them mine now, sorry N, you have your own now), that was a 7 minute improvement over first half marathon.

Complete my 25th run (officially) with the WH3, all I have to say is, bring on 50!!! On On.

Finally I am looking forward to possibly running a 30 km or maybe a 50 km in the fall with N and G if they will let me.

In short, I am having a blast doing something that I did not think was possible a year ago, and if somebody would of said I would run 2 half marathons before June last year, I would of fell over laughing.

Thanks N and G for introducing me to this addictive pasttime, you do know you have released a monster that cannot be stopped.

On On,


Saturday, June 5, 2010


Wow! what a week!

From one thing to the next, and there was time to schedule things that I never thought I would have the time to do. At these times in our lives we find our priorities. What is really important, what needs to wait, what can we start and hand off to be finished (delegation I believe this is called), and what needs to be finished. Who do we need to see, spend time with, care for.

After all this talk about Fargo and then making a commitment to Vulture Bait I'm left thinking that I really need to suck it up and get with the program! Running Sunday mornings at 5am is not necessarily by choice, it just happens to be the time that is available to run. If we want to go for a 4 hour run then that is the time we must start, all the time knowing that 4 hours is going to be 5 hours and there must be coffee along the way or at the end of trail. Gail had mentioned in a blog about getting more serious about the running. Really giving more of that inner athlete effort, giving it her all..... you know.... the end of the race where you collapse and fall over because there is nothing left in the tank? This has inspired me to see how much more I have for these runs.

A little while ago, as I was considering an ultra, I decided that I know I'm not fast so I wonder just how far could I go. Mostly as a runner I feel I'm the turtle. Slow and steady... At Fargo I completed my first full marathon and kept my pace very steady for the first 18 miles (about a 12 min mile), with a little struggle to get to the 20 mile marker where things really started to slow down. (finishing with a 13 min mile average) Now I'm wondering if I could get used to the distance and keep that steady for the whole 26.2+ a few more? Maybe one day double the distance, keeping the pace of course?

Training is where I think I need the help, as we have mostly been building up the mileage over the past year, as well as getting used to the less cushioned footwear. We started road kill this week and I so enjoyed being pushed (mostly as I tried to keep out of the way). Now I know that any of the speed training I was trying on my own has not really been done correctly. I know of soooooo many people who have done the personal trainer stuff that I thought I would maybe look into this. There are so many gyms, trainers, boot camps, where to start? I have been involved in one or two programs over the past couple of years. There is something I have missed, not sure what it is, but there is a piece or two to this puzzle that I just have not quite found yet.

A friend of mine recommended that I check out Elite performance center, this is where she trains and she loves it. (Not to mention how awesome she looks, and in an extremely healthy way!) So I did. My inquiries led me to an application process that surprised me in the thoroughness of information that was required. It made me look at how I was eating (still too much processed junk food) and drinking (not enough water?! or wine for that matter?). Unfortunately this was a week that I took off after the Fargo run so I did no activity, but it made me think about how I want to track my training over the next little while. (I can't wait to see Gail's training book soon as she has the neatest ideas) Then there was a fitness assessment! WOW!! I'm not sure how to describe this hour, but it told me allot!

This is a really great place, everyone was so friendly, kind, and excited to be there..... and this was the staff! The lady who conducted the assessment was great in recognizing my unfamiliarity with a gym set up and was helpful in showing me what I needed to do and what she would be doing to assist me if I needed. Aside from her friendliness, she was motivating, in a positive, make you want to go the extra mile kinda way. I think I'm most grateful that she didn't break out laughing as I attempted to do a chin-up (which was me hanging there), but instead created a situation where I felt comfortable and motivated to not give-up. Then she assisted me in continuing on and trying to accomplish one with her help. I can't remember when I ever really wanted to do a chin-up,.....oh yeah it was Wednesday! Again I was surprised by the thoroughness of the assessment, and two days later I could still feel every muscle covered in the workout! After taking notes on each thing there was measurements to do as well, then she helped stretch me. This was interesting?! The small things really stand out, she took the time to explain that I would be sore the next day and that ice would be helpful (I was prepared with a massage booked for the next morning) and that was normal. Apparently it is not uncommon to need to vomit during this assessment as well (glad I didn't know that going in).
I was impressed with the depth of inquiry, and knowledge as well as the attitudes and helpfulness, and of course how comfortable I felt while I was there (this is unusual for me in any new environment). After the assessment was over it was time to book an appointment for coming back to see what the program was going to look like. Jeff Fisher came over to talk with me and wee sat and he mentioned what the time commitments and costs would be. It was great to see the level of commitment needed to accomplish his program. I would need 4 days a week with around 60-90 min each. Unfortunately I have been unable to find the time to commit to this schedule, but there will be a time where I will be able to train this intensely.... I can hardly wait! On the top of my goal list, training at Elite has been added. Currently I have only found 3-4 days where if I can fit in a 30 min, an hour and a long run at 4-5 hours.... I'm ahead. I found the website to be interestingly intimidating, but have enjoyed fish's blog, he really loves what he's doing and it shows though in the blog and the culture at the facility.

So now I can see where what I'm doing has not been working as effectively as I would like. As it has mostly been cardio, I am looking to change things up, get more serious (will still be stopping to take pictures) and plan more early morning work outs with more weights as well.

Have a fantastic week!


Long Run Sunday, June 6 edition

Here we are, another week is ending and we are beginning a new one.

This has been a busy week for us all I'm sure, I am looking forward to beginning a fresh new week with so many possibilities and opportunities. For this post I just want to say that we will be meeting at our usual spot at Tims (portage and westwood) for 5am. Keep in mind that we hit the road between 5:05 and 5:20am, as there is sometimes need for the extra caffeine start up.

We are looking to keep our distance in the higher mileage (for us) at about the 20+ for tomorrow. I'm wondering how this is going to go as it is my first long run after Fargo and I am just back running this week. I guess we will find out in the morning!

So for today, let's all play hard and get a great nights sleep! See you in the morning!


Thursday, June 3, 2010


Candace Sutherland is a 17 year old Metis girl born in Winnipeg who is currently running across Canada to raise money for  4 charities (Salvation Army,Heart & Stroke Foundation, Canadian Diabetes, and Canadian Cancer Society).  I first heard about her in one of our newspapers in March '10 and was  deeply moved by her story.  She was born in poverty and just when she was about to be taken away by a government agency at the age of 8,  her aunt and uncle came to her assistance and moved to Bissett where her family roots are. Around that time she discovered running and eventually decided she would like to run to raise awareness to what is happening to her people due to poverty. The poverty that exists in our aboriginal populations is disgraceful.  Many communities have no proper sanitation, they are crammed into houses, have poor nutrition, and as a result of this poverty,  TB still exists in  many of these communities.  That a 17 year old girl can recover from her childhood hardships and then run across Canada to help her people absolutely blows me away.

She started her Trans Canada run in March from St. John's Newfoundland with her uncle by her side.  Unfortunately she has not had much media coverage  (why not???),  and now the Quebec police have told her  she is not allowed to run on the  Trans-Canada Highway. This has a familiar ring to it ( Terry Fox experienced problems with running on Quebec highways back in the day).  She is requesting that people write to thegazette.canwest.com to request media coverage for this Quebec portion of her run.  I encourage everyone to check out her Vision4Hope cross Canada run at candacesutherland.com.

"When you run on the earth  and run with the earth, you can run forever".

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Speed Training. Day 1.

Tonight was a great evening, even though at this moment my calves are screaming  and I am covered in dry sweat.  A mutual friend suggested we try her speed training group ( Road Kill) and after gathering our courage,  Nicole and I  decided to take her up on the offer. Day 1, ground zero... AND WE SURVIVED!  To give you an idea how hard this  was,  Nicole collapsed in a heap next to the track at around the 2nd mile mark after running near full out pace, but recovered nicely after a few minutes to do 4 more rounds of torture.   It is one thing to be able to run a slow 21.5 miles, and another thing to run 4 miles at speed. Right now I can honestly say the former is  easier than the latter.

 The runners out there looked like race horses and I felt like a peon  amoung all that talent.  It is best to check your pride at the door when doing this.  I was struck by how the coach comes out every week on a voluntary basis to train these people(their race times are a testimony to his knowledge)! Not only that, he had hand written weekly training schedules to give to everyone. We got Level 5.  I was happy we qualified enough to even receive a level.  Coach Ken looked truly happy being out there and I realized we stumbled upon a gem  with this group.  We will keep going ( as we inch closer to our goal of running an ultra) as long as they don't kick us out!  Nicole managed nicely doing speed work in her vibrams, and even went barefoot for the last 1/2 mile.  I am transitioning from winter footwear more slowly than I would like, and have to revert to old running shoes to do speed work. I mention this because it is important to remember  to transition at your own pace so as to prevent injury. Let your body be the guide.