Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring, Hey Spring Are You Finally Here

I have been anticipating the coming of spring here, since, well since November (when the first snow hit the ground). I don't know why, but this year's winter seemed longer than normal, colder than normal, and just gave the impression that it was not going away. It almost seemed like Mother Nature wanted to be sure she threw enough challenges in front of me to make my winter barefooting attempts interesting. This also made me feel like I needed to have one more L-O-N-G sub-freezing barefoot run before spring finally entrenched itself on our fair city in its full glory. I've had some very interesting experiences (and of course a lot of firsts) this winter, besides the biggest being just running around Winterpeg with my barefeet exposed to the elements. Now of course I did not run barefoot all winter, that would be 'CRAZY', somebody would of reserved a room for me in Selkirk or something if I did. But on that note, I did log 96.6 kms of barefooting from the time the temperature dipped below the big donut (I should say Cheerio, trying to eat healthier you know), till now. Now that may not seem like much, but let's put that into perspective shall we, almost 100 km in snow, slush, ice, freezing temperatures and my favorite road salt. I know some runners (you know who you are), that will not even go outside running in the winter because it is too cold and icy. Don't get me wrong, running in the winter is not for everybody, it can be cold, lonely, exhausting, did I mention cold, and you will never secure a personal best time as all you want to secure is your footing. But that being said, it was fun and challenging all at the same time, here is a quick recap of my running hi lites from this winter.

  • Of course almost 100 km logged (14 runs total for a average of 6.9 km)

  • Coldest Run: -29 degrees Celsius (this was a short one at 2.0 km)

  • Longest run: 20.9 km at -2 degrees.

  • Deepest Snow Travelled: up to my knees.

  • Set Trail for Hash House Harriers Running Group (Temp was around -20)

  • Odd Looks, Finger Pointing and "OMG's": To Many to Count.

  • Stopped by Police: None unlike some friends out east who were stopped a few times by curious officers.

  • Frost Bite: A couple of minor cases.

  • Road Salt Burn: To many, this is what limited my barefoot running.

  • Lost Toes or Digits: I am proud to say 'NONE'.

I want to express that I am not alone in this exploit, there are a number of 'Crazy Canucks' and even some 'Unbalanced Americans' south of the border that have taken up this challenge this year. Kudos to some of these individuals go to the following: Barefoot YOW , Alan T, Run Barefoot (longest run at 30 km), Kitty K, Inbetweenmytoes, Saypay45, Smelph (most runs at 29), Matt, and I know I am missing a bunch more and for that I apologize. Great job everybody!!

Overall a great experience this winter, now the question will I do it again next winter season, well it's to early to know for sure, since we are only just getting into Spring, only time will tell.

Now, I got a little off topic with all this winter stuff, since the title of this blog was suppose to be about 'SPRING' (added a little green to put me in the right frame of mind). Maybe a picture,

Well the picture is about Spring and she is barefoot, what more do you want?

Or maybe this?

Who doesn't like puppies?

Anyway, enough getting off track, there are some sure signs of spring settling in, snow and ice melting, buds coming out on the trees, more daylight than darkness, the geese start showing up, potholes rearing their ugly heads (very common in Winnipeg), winter clothing hitting the closet, zoo animals get a little frisky (as one of my friends found out yesterday, you know who you are) and the tell-tale sign for me, the elusive runners come out of their caves to start training for summer marathon season, 'OUTSIDE' of all things. This is also a great time for me, as I can start shedding the winter foot coverings and dust off my far to long cooped up toes for hopefully a good barefoot running season.

I've got a lot of goals this year for both myself and my barefeet, and only a month to get my slightly tender toes conditioned for the season. It is only 4 weeks till May 1st, this is a very important day, not only is it the first race of the season for me being the Winnipeg Police Service half marathon. But it is also the 1st Annual International Barefoot Running Day, which I am proud to say I will be part of and trying to promote in my own 'under cover of darkness' way.

Insert Plug Here

The whole idea is to give barefoot running a try, whether it is for 13.1 miles like yours truly or one km, or even for a 50 yards, it does not matter. The freedom of running bare is exhilarating, and it cannot be described it has to be experienced. I know it might sound silly, but it brings me in touch with the earth (figuratively and literally) and my surroundings , I lose myself in the moment and my senses seem to come alive like nothing else. It has made running fun for me, and that is all that matters. Anyway I will write some more on this in a future post if there is any interest shown.

Anyway enough on this for now, back to spring and goals.

With the onset of Spring, my running will be going into hyperdrive as I try to prepare for the things I want to accomplish this year. Running barefoot almost 100 percent of the time being the ultimate goal and challenge, considering I plan to run a series of half and full marathons with a splatter of ultra trail marathons (50km) for good measure. I also want to surpass the 1,000 mile mark barefoot this year. Doing this with a wife that also loves to run long distance as well and two very energetic children will be a challenge but what is life but a big bowl of cherries..., no that is not right, I mean, Life would be boring without something to work towards.

I know I have a lot of work ahead of me, but darn it I will have fun trying to achieve what I have set forth to do. I will be trying to keep weekly updates on milage, etc as I go this year (mostly for me), for anybody who may be interested. So if you see some random guy running down the road, sidewalk or trail in Winnipeg with bare feet and a big smile on his face, wave and say hi, because that would either be me or some other like minded soul who is enjoying the freedom of running.

I know running barefoot is not for everyone, and it is not my goal to convert the masses, I just want the opportunity for people to give it a try, because you never know, you just might Like It!

Here's hoping everybody has a great running season, and I get a chance to meet a bunch more 'passionate about running' people this year.

It's A Great Day To Run Barefoot And Free'


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