Monday, May 30, 2011

Journey of 1,000 Barefoot Miles - Week Ending May 29, 2011

After the previous week, I was excited to get back out and put on some miles this week san shoe (or Vibram if you will), but once again life got in the way. It’s funny how that happens, I make plans to go diligently go out for a run daily, and something comes up that just does not allow it. This week was pretty much the same.

Monday was a write off (didn’t even make it out to my WH3 run), the weather was terrible and we had some rock to move out of our front garden areas. It’s amazing how long this actually takes to do, when you first evaluate, you think a couple of hours, by the time you are done, it was more like all day and your absolutely exhausted. Needless to say, no running on Monday, Tuesday fared no better, too busy at work to go at lunch and Nic had hill work outs in the evening. So I had to wait till Wednesday at lunch, neither hell nor high water was going to keep me from heading out.

So here we go, the week that was:

Wednesday May 25, 2011
Barefoot: 7.18 miles
Vibrams: 0.00 miles
Total: 7.18 miles

The weather was decent, although a little windy (the weather channel said 27 km/hr winds from the north, but it felt like it was double that when you hit the open areas. I call it resistance training, and push myself to keep the same pace or as close to it as possible. This was a pretty good run, consistently picked up my pace mile after mile. As this was a run over lunch, I really haven’t had a chance to experiment too much on routes, so I kept to running down Pandora and over to Regent and back towards work. At least there were no trains this time.

Thursday May 26, 2011
Barefoot: 7.80 / 6.35 miles
Vibrams: 0.00 miles
Total: 14.15 miles

The first barefoot mile total logged was another run at lunch from the office, but I decided to shake it up a little bit and find a new route. Instead of heading straight out to Dugald, I curled around the industrial park by a couple of construction sites to Plessis, before heading north. Then decided to run west on Pandora instead of east and cross over to Regent and run up the strip back to the east. This was a lot of fun, as I got numerous honks and waves of encouragement from commuters and pedestrians alike. Like the day before, I tried to increase my speed with each mile, pushing that little bit harder to not only expand my endurance at a higher heart rate, but also push the boundaries just that little bit more. I was very happy to see my 10 km time was around 56 minutes and my average mile pace was a 9:12 mile, not supersonic but a improvement none the less.

The second barefoot miles total logged was a evening run with City Park. Always a good time, as I really enjoy who I run with. I do not put myself in the quickest group, the majority of them are newer to running and training for half marathons or 10 km runs, not the full marathons and longer distances that I prefer. But they are a great group of people, with a sense of humor and are out running for the enjoyment of it, not for the trap of competitiveness that a lot of runners fall into. Running with this group also allows me to work and perfect my form, without concerns of trying to keep up with the ‘Jones’ if you will. The run consisted of the same route as last week, through the park, out to the Moray Bridge over to Roblin, out to Grant and around. Always a fun route because you get a little bit of everything for terrain.

Funny story, that Nicole told me when I got home, she got a phone call from one of her clients into the evening, telling her that as she was driving down Roblin, she saw this group of runners, and there was one guy hopping and brushing off his feet at a light. She then realized that he wasn’t wearing any shoes, and then recognized that it was me. I had to laugh, as this is my usual routine at stop lights, I brush the bottom of feet to ensure I have no hitchhiking stones or rocks along for the ride, and it probably looks a little ridiculous to see from someone else’s perspective. Sa la vie.

Anyway pace was a little slower until we reached the park, when I felt so good I decided to turn on the jets and just let it all hang out. I wanted to see how fast I could go and how long I could hold it for before I had to slow down. At this point we had run about 5.25 miles, and I was hanging at the back with Julio, watching the girls slowly take off from us. I turned to Julio and said, I think they are trying make us look slow, should we go. Julio looked over with a grin on his face and quickly nodded, so I started the ramp up and off we went. By the time we were out of the Formal Gardens, I was in full flight, I have no idea what my cadence was, but I felt like I was flying. I went from a 10:00 min/mile pace down to a 6.85 min/mile pace while still dealing with cars, bikers, pedestrians and the like. I never felt so good letting it all out, and just going for it. I carried this momentum for about a mile, until the traffic became too heavy to maintain it, so I backed off to an 8.0 min/mile for the rest of the distance out of the park and across the foot bridge. I think I spooked a few people as I galloped by them. The crazy thing, after all that extra speed and reckless abandon, I was not tired, I felt rejuvenated. As I made my way back across the bridge to meet my running partners amongst a lot of finger pointing at my feet, and ‘did you see him go’ comments, a big perma smile was plastered on my face. All I heard from my running partners was ‘Wow, you just blew by us like we were standing still!”, and “It looked like you were floating, your feet didn’t even look like they were touching the ground, your upper body was completely still, just your lower body and your arms were moving.” There is nothing more satisfying to a barefoot runner then hearing that your form was that tight (I do not use the word perfect because nobody is perfect) that your upper body is motionless and your legs are moving so fluidly that it looks like you are floating and your running is effortless.

Now if I can only maintain that on an ongoing basis, then I’ve got something.

Saturday May 28, 2011
Barefoot: 11.45 miles
Vibrams: 0.00 miles
Total: 11.45 miles

This was an easy 18 km run with City Park in the morning right after my Saturday morning workout with Carolyn. It was a good run with some great conversation and some fantastic running partners to finish off the week. Only area of note, was that I avoided the limestone path down Wellington and opted for the adjacent grass (which sometimes is worse because of the unknowns) due to my not completely healed bruised foot from last week.

Kudo’s also go to Andy who is currently designing my next tattoo for my right leg as of Saturday morning, it is going to be awesome, and I cannot wait to see the designs.

Sunday May 29, 2011
Barefoot: 0.00 miles
Vibrams: 0.00 miles
Total: 0.00 miles

I was very proud to max out my miles for Sunday at 0.00, because today Nicole took another big step forward, as she smashed her Personal Best time at the Air Force Half Marathon to little bitty bits. She came in at 2 hours 11 minutes and 4 seconds; this was an improvement of over 10 minutes once again over her previous personal best which she just achieved at the WPS Half Marathon earlier in the month. She looked very strong completing the run, and I am expecting the time to be cut again next time around. It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t stop to take photos along the way. I am so proud of her and her accomplishment, and now I have to step it up to get my time below 2 hours for my next half marathon, and 4:30 for a completion goal at the Manitoba Marathon in mid June.

So the total for the week and year date are as follows:

Week Totals:
Barefoot: 32.78 miles
Vibrams: 0.00 miles
Total: 32.78 miles

Year to Date:
Barefoot: 177.89 miles
Vibrams: 71.26 miles
Total: 249.15 miles

Until next week, from the land of ‘The Ten Toed Commandos’

(catch phrase courtesy of GE and AF)

On On.

Running Footwear Update

This is what I ran in most of last year....$7.00  swim shoes.  These actually worked  quite well except that  the soles wore out every 4 weeks and I didn't like the idea of using a disposable shoe.

When the winter months arrived I reverted back to these ancient oldies except on the very coldest of days when I dug out the mukluks.  I was a bit shocked to find that come Spring my feet would not tolerate jumping into the  longer distances in swim shoes as we had accumulated more running miles during the winter months.  Rather than retrain my feet all over again, I decided to rip out the insoles and continue running in these.

Other runners seem to transition very well into running barefoot, but although my desire is there , I need to progress slowly...and what can I say, I am lazy in that department.  Things were going along fine until  a few weeks ago, while attempting to run sideways up Mount Trashmore , my feet came through the side of the shoes and I figured I better get a plan B.

This is plan B.   I actually went out to buy vibrams but struggled with getting my  toes in the right places ( I already have a pair of vibrams but they are too small for running as my feet swell. The toes are not difficult to get into of the ones I already own so they must wear in after awhile). I found this frustrating and decided to try the minimus trail shoe.  They are seriously light weight, have a vibram sole, and have no cushioning in  them that I can tell.  I think they are worth a try for those who want a minimal shoe.  I bought them at City Park Runners.

PS: My oldies are not ready for the garbage yet. For the time being the minimus will be worn on hills only.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Summer and long run sundays, May 29th

So here we have arrived at another week gone by and another Sunday morning is upon us. It seems that spring has arrived and with it our summer schedules. The awesome weather keeps our families busy after the long winter.

This week we all have a bit different plans for the morning run and will each be doing a different distance at a different time. I find it more motivating to get out there for the long runs when there is someone else to run with, especially for a 4-5 hour run. It keeps me from hearing that voice in my head that's trying to tell me I'm tired, or sore. I like to think that when I hear that someone else is tired and sore I can be a positive voice, one that (after my own whining of course) can spur us onward to finish the goal for the day. But tomorrow is something else.

My husband and I grew up in military families. Yes, we are base brats! 3 years ago I ran a personal best in the inaugural Air Force Run here in Winnipeg. (2:32) I had a great fellow who paced me along and got me in. I so enjoyed the run and of course both my husband and myself support our military and the awesome work they do. Last year it was Bobs' turn to run this race in support, and he enjoyed this run as well. This year we are happy to again support the run and I'm excited for it to be my turn again.

I don't usually run with goals in mind, not the sort I find I hear allot about from other runners. There usually isn't a time I want to beat, I've been trying to get under a 2:30 half marathon time for 4 years now and just finally conquered that this May 1st in the police half. Now I would like to see if that was a fluke, or could I do it again? I mostly run with the goal of 'some thing under 2:45 would be nice... ' Because this goal has been out of reach for so long I decided to focus on the distance instead. So tomorrow I am excited to put a little pressure on myself, try to keep a steady pace, and try again to run for a time goal of under 2:30 for the half marathon. There! I've said it out loud and now I'm committed (or I may be after the run tomorrow)......

Have a fantastic week running!


Don't forget to enjoy the moments we meet along our way.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Journey of 1,000 Barefoot Miles - Week Ending May 22, 2011

A Iron Red River Runs Through It
(Iron enriched waterways are a common sight in the White Shell)

Well, here we are one of the most important times of the year, May Long Weekend, also known as Victoria Long Weekend. This is for most Canadians the first opportunity of the year to go out camping, get the cabins functional for the summer, start the process of becoming ‘One With Nature’ once again. This also the first opportunity for a lot of the above noted outdoors type people to drink a lot of beer around a campfire or overlooking a lake and just have a good time. A celebration of the summer to come and the memories that will be associated with it and escaping and wanting to forget the winter that was. Oh yeah, I guess it also recognizing a Queen Victoria or something like that.

Anyway I digress, this was a week of great weather, lots of sun and decent temperatures hovering around 25 degrees. The humidity has not risen to summer levels as of yet, so all in all this was perfect running weather. I have been missing my daily lunch runs at work, and this week was to be no different, I like this time, because it allows me to let the stress of my job just slip away, and puts me into a relaxed and calm state (sort of like a natural Valium of sorts).

So here we go, the week that was:

Monday May 16, 2011
Barefoot: 3.75 miles
Vibrams: 0.00 miles
Total: 3.75 miles

This was the weekly WH3 run from Fast’s house in St. James. This is always an adventure, because the route is always one of a couple different ways, with some unexpected twists and turns. Your running along down a familiar route, then the trail veers off, mostly with little markings so it always takes us a little bit to get back on trail or find the beer stop, etc. Fast also always likes to throw a couple of song stops in and a lot of calisthenics (it’s always interesting doing jumping jacks or pushups on Portage Avenue, lots of weird looks). All in all, it is always good fun, and typically done at a quick pace.

As always we cap off the night with some good silly fun back at the house, and of course a beer or two and some chips. Fast also broke out the bbq for some hotdogs , must teach him about condiments though, Dijon mustard and bbq sauce are not standard hotdog toppings.

Thursday May 19, 2011
Barefoot: 6.02 miles
Vibrams: 0.00 miles
Total: 6.02 miles

This was my Thursday night easy/tempo run with City Park Runners, I enjoy this one for not only the run but also for the conversation that happens along the way. The route this week was over to the park, west towards the Moray bridge, south and then east along Roblin, through the forest to Grant, etc. My running partners and I kept a steady pace until the end when I ramped it up to get the tempo portion of the run in.

The funniest moment of the run was when we were running towards Grant down the asphalt path, we passed a big group of runners from the Running Room. From what my running partners said, all their heads were on a swivel stick, as they all turned and looked at my bare feet as I ran by with silly expressions on their faces and a few ‘Oh my God’, etc. This still amazes me, this really is not that new, people have been running this way for thousands of years, it’s not like I was running over glass or something (oops I have done that too).

Friday May 20, 2011
Barefoot: 10.45 miles
Vibrams: 0.00 miles
Total: 10.45 miles

Woohoo, start of the long weekend and start of Friday afternoon’s off at work for the summer. Sometimes it pays to work in this industry, and this is one of the benefits. I hope to do a weekly run home on Friday’s, although I know this will not happen but I will definitely try to make this happen. I am not a big fan of starting a long run at noon, usually the hottest part of the day, but I am considering it another challenge, along my progression to my Ultra Marathon goals.

Anyway, On On, and here we go, left the office out in Transcona and headed down Dugald and up and over the overpass to Lagimodiere Blvd. The overpass was really rocky (needs a good sweep), and I did a lot of deking and dodging, probably looked like I was playing Hop Scotch while I was running up the sidewalk. I was trying something new today as well, carrying a small pack with my clothes and some other small stuff in it, definitely not the weight that Nicole typically lugs around, but baby steps, starting with baby steps. I definitely got some looks as I crossed Lagimodiere and headed up Dugald to Dawson, this is mainly used as a route for trucks and heavy equipment, as there are numerous construction companies, etc located along this path. Sidewalk sucks along Dugald, all broken up, etc, and there is no sidewalk down Dawson, so running on the road is required along side all the semi’s etc. Very technical for conditioning your feet with the stones and such.

After finishing that portion including the balance of Archibald, I turned onto Provencher and headed towards downtown. Nothing to eventful, my feet were feeling fine, pace was good, overall I was happy with the first few miles. Crossed our famous foot bridge with the million dollar toilet and cruised up to Portage and Main. It is always interesting running through here, because usually everybody is in their own little worlds and they don’t notice nothing that is going on around them or they just don’t care. Enter a barefoot runner, and holy crap, it’s like the world just stops, everybody stops what they are doing and just looks, I find it very interesting. It was a straight shot down Portage to Maryland, a quick turn and towards River Heights and Wellington Cresent.

I love running down Wellington, the traffic is lighter, and there is a great limestone path that is the perfect massage tool for the soles of my feet. Perfect for gravel road training, I have a great half marathon in July out in the foothills of Alberta, lots of technical terrain including a killer gravel road, got to be ready to fly over that. Anyway, while I was deking over the path, I looked up (I regret this every time I do it, but I still do it), and missed a good branch that conveniently stuck into my right foot. Damn it, it hurt more than stepping on a big sharp rock, note to self, stop looking up when cruising at a good pace on technical terrain it plain isn’t healthy. After digging that out, I started back up at a slightly slower pace, didn’t seem too bothered by the tree wound, yet. Made it to the park, with the thought to stop at the duck pond for a quick break before heading home. 10.45 miles completed and approximately 5 more to go. After my quick break, I headed across the bridge to Portage and Sgt. Sundae for a meet up with the wife and my youngest for an ice cream treat. A very tasty hot fudge sundae was in the forecast, and I felt I deserved it, so I did, and it was good, soooo good. Anyway long story short, my run came to an end a little short, but that was ok with me, because my foot was starting to feel the effects of the stabbing on Wellington.

Saturday May 21, 2011
Barefoot: 0.75 miles
Vibrams: 0.75 miles
Total: 1.5 miles

I know this seems a little ridiculous to log this, but this is the long and the short of it, my foot hurt, I was suppose to go out for a 40 km run with City Park Runners, but my foot just said “What are you crazy, can’t you feel the shooting pain that is going through me right now?” I started out completed 0.75 miles on my own in the park, stopped, put my Vibrams on and ran back to the car. A day of rest was in the cards for today.

Sunday May 22, 2011
3.75 miles
16.26 miles
Total: 20.01 miles

Aaahhh, the highlight of the week that was, The Trail Run Though The Whiteshell, I was waiting for this with much abandon, when it was finalized that we were going. Nicole, Andy and I were heading out to West Hawk Lake Sunday morning to meet Gail for a trail run from Star Lake to Falcon Lake and back along the Trans Canada Trail. We did this run once last year, and I loved every minute of it, the path, the hills, the smells, the sounds, did I mention the hills. This is one thing that living in Winnipeg you take for granite, (I know wrong spelling) we have no hills. Hills in Winnipeg consist of speed bumps, overpasses or at best, Garbage Hill (literally an old covered over garbage dump in the middle of the city utilized for hill training). So the opportunity of running real hills (note I spent most of my life in Alberta) always makes me happy.

Unfortunately, my foot did not heal up as well as I had hoped, so my barefooting was limited to just under 4 miles, oh well, there is always next time. Anyway, as I said I love this run, there is nothing like running trails to lift the spirits, get back to nature, etc. The idea of taking in all that pure oxygen (not laced with exhaust fumes) is exhilarating.

The run to Falcon lake was good, Andy and I led the way for the 8.45 miles to the Falcon Lake Bistro (great coffee, and from what I understand gelato), where we waited for Nicole and Gail to arrive. I had my customary black coffee and Andy had this interesting cookie and gelato sandwich, two macadamia cookies and some type of chocolate encased gelato in between. All I could think was there is the replacement of all the calories that you just burned, lucky we got more running to do. Nicole and Gail showed up and they had a quick Coke and snacks as we prepped to head out again.

Gail had this great idea to go check out a single track trail out by the stables, so we headed a little further west. Starting again was interesting, it took about a km to get my ankles loosened up again (I am finding the longer I rest between legs of a run my ankles lock up). By the time we reached the trail, I was all ready to go for this new part of the adventure. Wow, this was amazing they had a 2.2 km technical trail (typically used for hiking) that went through some swampy areas, over some logs, ramp areas and up the rock face prior to looping around and back down and out. Absolutely fantastic, I really wanted to try this barefoot, but my foot was a little tender in areas, plus I really did not want to freak out the family that we passed a couple of times. Nicole thought this would be great for Ultra training and possibily a return trip to London, ON and Vulture Bait again this year, figuring if we could do the loop 25 times, a 50 km run would be a snap, I love her train of thought. We will be back to do this again.

The trip back to Star Lake and the cabin was good as well, the hills were just that little more daunting because we were just that little bit more tired. Once again, Andy and I headed out a little quicker so we got back first. We tried a different strategy on the way back running up and down all the hills and walking some of the flatter sections (note there is way more hills then flat terrain), and this was a good way to get the calves and quads working at maximum effort. It was interesting to do, good for learning to regulate your breathing as well. A few more weekends like this and it will be a good tool for future ultra endeavors. At the end of the day just over 20 miles on some really good technical terrain, and a big grin on my face running from ear to ear.

Here are some pictures of the run on Sunday for your viewing pleasure.

Gail and Andy heading down the trail

Nicole pondering what is important in life (I think I see the perfect trail start for a Ultra)

This was an understatement, this was a good grade slope.

This was the Single Track Trail that we ran, what fun.

What Do You Mean We Are Not Suppose To Go This Way?
(This was along the single track trail, loved every minute of it)

Gail starting up the trail

At the end of the trail, I am proclaiming my desire to come back and run this trail again.

A close up shot of the sign, like the last statement, and who needs footwear if you’re leaving only your footprints

So the total for the week and year date are as follows:

Week Totals:
Barefoot: 24.72 miles
Vibrams: 17.01 miles
Total: 41.73 miles

Year to Date:
Barefoot: 145.11 miles
Vibrams: 71.26 miles
Total: 216.37 miles

Until next week, everybody enjoy and keep your soles close to the ground.

‘Two Soles Move As One Forever Entwined With Nature’

Friday, May 20, 2011

Long Run sunday, May 22.

The bare foot runners will be in the Whiteshell this weekend exploring new trails.  Can't wait!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Journey of 1,000 Barefoot Miles - Week Ending May 15, 2011

At first glance, this was to be a very exciting week, the weather was to get nicer (Ha, this is Winnipeg, should of known better), I was going to ramp up my mileage again after my muscle strain (double phewee, issues at work got in the way) and this was to be the weekend of 50km Ultra Marathon Redemption (darn flood, we could of ran the course but hip waders and a canoe would have been mandatory equipment). So needless to say, there seems to be a common element from week to week, in my journey of 1,000 miles, overcoming life and everything it appears to be sending my way. Well, all I can say is that perseverance will win out in the end, and I am nothing but persistent (and a little pig-headed to boot).

Now, I expect the weather should start cooperating soon (as May long weekend is nearly upon us), I am bound and determined to not allow work to become a distraction, the flood will recede and leave a pristine course for the rescheduled Inaugural Manitoba 50km Trail Ultra Marathon in August. I am also officially signed up for the Manitoba Marathon next month and confirmation of registration for the Buffalo Runner’s Half Marathon in the foothills of Alberta is slated to open this week. So life is good, and I am having the time of my life, whoever said that life is over when you reach 40. I disagree; Life doesn’t start getting interesting until you reach 40.
So here we go, the week that was:

Sunday May 8, 2011
Barefoot: 2.07 miles
Vibrams: 0.00 miles
Total: 2.07 miles

This was just a quick, short run from the house to meet Nicole and the kids at church; I was hoping to do a little more later. But it was not in the cards, for it was Mother’s Day, and it was all about the wife today. So the kids decided they would surprise Mom with a little road trip out to Narcisse, MB. If you are not familiar with this little jewel of Manitoba, it houses the largest snake dens in North America. Over 80,000 Garter snakes hibernate and breed here, before they head out into the world to travel far and wide. Here are some photos for all to enjoy, a little off topic but what the heck, why not.
Anyway back to the mileage for the day, didn’t do anymore, but I was quite happy with the 2.07 miles I did complete, because they were at a quicker pace and no discomfort from my hip. I was able to average a 9:27 mile, not lightning quick but still good in my books.

Just Leory and a couple thousand of his closest friends

Monday May 9, 2011
Barefoot: 6.65 miles /2.38 miles
Vibrams: 0.00 miles
Total: 9.03 miles

With the success of Sunday’s run, I decided that I would go out for a good paced run at lunch, and I think I achieved that. I left the office and headed out into Transcona proper, through some construction sites, over the railway tracks and cruising down Pandora utilizing the bike path. Made the turn onto Day Street, up to Regent and then west for the return trip. This time I was lucky enough not to get caught by a train at either crossings, so I was able to keep my pace increasing as I went farther. By the time I hit mile 6, I was down to an 8:57 mile, and all I could think was, “I’m back”. In short, I was back to under an hour for the 10km, without pushing it too much. It felt good to release and just run, not concern myself with anybody or anything, just concentrate on putting one bare foot in front of another, and listen to the pitter patter of my soles as they glide over the terrain.

As usual, our Monday night WH3 run was a blast, ran downtown this week. Nothing like running through traffic yelling On On, when you spot a trail marker, makes for some interesting looks from drivers and pedestrians alike. Also must not forget the startled looks on people’s faces when a group of runners just stop and break out into song with actions (right outside a Tim Horton’s no less or by the skate park), can we say ‘show stopper’. A much deserved beer stop at the Forks on the patio for some light conversation about movies like ‘Hot tub Time Machine’ (thanks MD), I did say light. Then of course the trip back running once again through traffic and having a great time prior to circle and a very deserving dip in the hot tub for some relaxing. Overall a great day and night.

Now as per my opening statement, the rest of the week, up to Saturday were pretty much a write off. The weather was awful or work prevented me from going out at lunch (darn site meetings). It even snowed on Thursday, to top everything off.

Now we get to Saturday, ooohhh what fun, this was supposed to be the day of the 50km Ultra Marathon in Spruce Woods, well unless we were all wearing scuba gear or paddling in a canoe, because the water in places was 5 to 6 ft high, check out these photos.

A couple of shots of flooded out Spruce Woods P. Park
(Could this be why the Ultra was cancelled)

Saturday May 14, 2011
Barefoot: 11.75 miles
Vibrams: 19.32 miles
Total: 31.07 miles (or 50.0 km)

Anyway, to replace this Nicole and I decided to run 50km on Saturday around the city and find a route to have Gail and Andy run Sunday morning with us playing the support team. So a very early start of 6:00 am (after picking up the babysitter, thanks Oceane) started us on our way. Now the longest distance I have run is 48.19 km, and Nicole was 45.51 km, so this was going to be personal bests for the both of us. Now to keep with the crappy weather theme, it was quite chilly yesterday morning, so until my feet warmed up, I decided to start with the Vibrams (plus I figured Nic and I should match). This of course carried on till we got to the park and the duck pond, where we had a quick brake before heading back out again. So we headed out from the park, me shoeless and Nic wearing her customary Vibrams. Worked our way to the Assiniboine Forest and down a frozen dirt path back towards Hart’s Trail, with a stop to put my Vibrams back on. With the frozen trail, not really picking up the sharp stones very well, and the concern in the back of my mind that we still had a long way to go and I didn’t want to damage my feet, I figured it would be best to wear the Vibrams until I got more comfortable.

After trucking it across Sterling Lyons we headed towards Fort Whyte to do some more trails. Nic was continuously apologizing for holding me back, in which I continuously responded with, ‘I am where I want to be’, and ‘you’re not holding me back’. Sheesh, what does a guy have to do to convince his wife that he wants to spend the whole day with her (and without the kids too), plus she had the route mapped not me (just kidding). With Fort Whyte and McCreary Road out of the way we headed back towards the City of Winnipeg limits, and Kenaston prior to turning south. From here we followed the new bike paths (some unfinished) around onto Bishop Grandin, past Pembina Hwy, over the Red River to St. Mary’s Road. The half way point was a little dirt clump on the side of the trail just west of Pembina Highway, which will forever mark the spot whether it is there or not (that dirt clump means a lot to me and will not be forgotten). At this point we were at about 20 miles, and it was a straight shot up St. Mary’s to the Forks, for a well deserved pit stop.

Once we finished at the Forks, we crossed Main and headed down Assiniboine Avenue. This was where I discarded the Vibrams again. I really should of taken them off when we his St. Mary’s, but for some reason I was hesitant. Oh well, they were off now, and boy I felt so light in the step, my energy perked, I felt awesome, like I could run forever. I don’t know what it is, but when I go barefoot I feel so energized, like nothing can bring me down, free to just run, my cares and worries just seem to slip away. We passed the 26.2 mile distance with little fanfare (honestly I cannot really recall where it was); as we were focused on finishing the run as we were almost there only 5 miles to go. As we headed down Wellington, I massaged the soles of my feet on the limestone pathway, with a couple gasps from runners and walkers alike. This always amazes me, as this is one of the greatest feelings in the world to run on limestone or gravel; it brings great sensations to tired feet. Just before we hit the park, we passed one of the cities great asphalt road repair trucks (I call it the snuffleupagus, you know the elephant from Sesame Street), one of the biggest wastes of money I have seen. It fills the potholes temporarily with a mix of gravel and tar and makes a big mess that at best lasts till it rains, where the fill pops out and becomes a worse pothole. Anyway slightly off topic, I see this truck go by, and the first thing I think is, ‘Crap I have to avoid sticky tar soon’. Well not two streets later, I end up hitting some and end up with tar on the bottom of my feet and sticky rocks stuck between my toes. Here I am at about 45 km and I have rocks stuck between my toes (3 to be precise), just great. So with little fanfare, I stop to dislodge the stones, and guess what they are literally tarred between my toes, it took me a couple of minutes to wiggle them loose enough to pick them out.

Here we are, getting closer and closer to our goal, with only a couple of km to go, with this in mind we chugged along running thru the park to get the last little bit of mileage in. After a quick detour behind the sculpture gardens and down the path we reached the duck pond with 49.950 km on the Garmin. Crap, so we traveled up and down the paths a little bit by the duck pond (which probably confused a couple of people), to get the last little bit to the goal of 50 km. We did it, it wasn’t fast (a 13:15 mile pace average), it probably wasn’t pretty along the way, but we did it, together. I am so proud of Nicole, she is an inspiration to me, she gets an idea in her head, and she does not stop until she gets it done.

Sunday May 15, 2011
Barefoot: 14.0 miles
Vibrams: 0.00
Total: 14.0 miles

I felt that logging the mileage today was more appropriate to do this week then next, as it will fit the story line better. Sunday was an interesting run, this was to be Gail and Andy’s 50 km run with Nicole and I doing support and pacing. So it started off with a bang, with Gail feeling under the weather and could not go, so Nicole raced to meet Andy at the start for this adventure. This was a really early start at 5:30 am, so Nicole explained the route to Andy and off he went, with Nicole meeting him at strategic locations to make sure he did not get off track. Andy’s pace was really good as he kept surprising Nic as he got to each checkpoint before expected. This carried on all the way to the Waverly and Bishop Gradin intersection, with Andy surprising Nic with how quickly he was getting from point to point. At this pace, he was packing on the miles very quickly.

Nicole left Andy at the Waverly intersection with the next checkpoint at St. Mary’s and Bishop, with the intent to pickup me and the kids and get back there to meet him. Needless to say, Andy beat us there; pretty impressive is all I can say. Anyway, once we got there, I decided that I would start pacing him up to the Forks, and hope that I could keep up with him, since I was still a little stiff from running the 50 km the day before. With not being really sure how my body would react to more mileage the day after the big run, we started out slowly. I must say, after about 100 yards, I felt great, my legs were responding well, my feet felt fantastic, I was pumped to pick up the pace. It took us a little bit more than an hour to get to the Forks as Andy started to slow down a bit, this being very understandable, he was in new territory for mileage. After a quick break we were off again, following the same route as the day before with a slight detour through ‘The Gates’ community to add some mileage up front. We were incorporating a few more walk breaks into the routine as Andy started to wear down, but we were still on a great pace. As we rolled into the park, we looped around the formal gardens and around the perimeter back to the duck pond to meet up with Nicole and the kids. A quick break here, then we were off again to finish the last mile and a half to hit the 50 km mark. It was a great run, running time was under 6 hours, not bad for the first time at that mileage. Congrats to Andy, you did great, and the next one we will run together and push each other to a better time. So for me this was just over 45 miles ran over two days or 72.55 km, I am very pleased with that.

So the total for the week and year date are as follows:

Week Totals:
Barefoot: 36.85 miles
Vibrams: 19.32 miles
Total: 56.17 miles

Year to Date:
Barefoot: 120.39 miles
Vibrams: 54.25 miles
Total: 174.64 miles

Here are some pictures of our Saturday and Sunday Runs for your viewing pleasure.

Sturgeon Creek at 6:00am Sat. Morning

Somewhere in Woodhaven, this picture seemed calm but the wind picked up later.

Me putting my Vibrams back on after a 3+ mile run down frozen limestone path.

Well look at that we are now entering Winnipeg, didn't even know we left

Nicole waiting for me up ahead, she was always leaving me behind.

The Red River at the Town of St. Vital promanade on St. Mary's

The Human Rights Museum at the Forks Still Under Construction and will be for the next 2 to 3 years.

Yes, we did it, that would be 50 km!

Andy running away, check out the cool duck feet.

Andy and I heading out for the last 1.5 miles to make his 50 km on Sunday. Notice I do not have the cool duck feet.

Hoping everybody had and will have a wonderful week.

A gravel path well travelled has massaged numerous bare feet.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Another Sunday, and the long run is upon us

We are meeting at 5am to fit in some very long running! Some are out for 5 miles and others are coming out for a 30 miler (give or take a few meters). There will be a bit of support along the way if you would like to join us for a few miles we will welcome you (there will be a car available for rides back to the start). I'm bringing some water, and snacks to assist along the way,every 5 ish miles we'll be there. We will have a map of the route and bathroom stops marked along the way. So get some sleep and we will see you in the morning.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Maybe a 50km weekend?

This weekend we have decided to change things up. This was the weekend we have been training for, our first 50km finish. Unfortunately the park is flooded out and this run has been postponed until August 20th. (I will have to wait for my first official 50km finish until then…). I think there is a lesson in here about patience, training, and recognizing my actual readiness (not just what I perceive in my mind). This lesson will be closer studied after this weekend.

Because of the postponement we have decided that we would like to tackle this distance on our own. Bob and I are running this distance on Saturday as we had a sitter booked (she booked the day off work for us), and so we decided that it would be nice to run together seeing as we have the opportunity. This is not something we are able to do often as sitters get expensive after a while, and they are busy as well with their teenage lives.

This is something I am looking forward to. Bob and I don’t often get to spend this kind of alone time together. So many things are going through my mind; it’s like a first date again. How long until he runs off and I can’t keep up anymore? For any of you who know my husband you know how he shoots out at the start, I’ll be glad there’s no one counting down. Will he be able to run as slowly as I? If not, will I be able to catch up around 17-24 mile mark? (Almost happened once) Oh well, I’m not 17 anymore (far cry from that, thank the good Lord) so I know that these things don’t really matter, I’m going to enjoy tomorrows run for as long as it goes. (He has promised not to run to far off on me; it isn’t a race or anything)

It’s funny how we get caught up in our lives and it’s these little things that we can appreciate, getting to go on a long run with my husband. I am becoming more grateful for the postponement (not the flood), as I wouldn’t have had the chance to spend such a great amount of my day uninterrupted with my awesome husband. Of course our children are a welcomed interruption into our lives; it will be nice to spend a day together.

Back to packing; I wonder what I’ll be able to fill my bag with for this 50km run. (Camera for sure, snacks, water, more water...)

Have a spectacular weekend…. See you Sunday.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Journey of 1,000 Barefoot Miles - Week Ending May 7, 2011

So I must start out this week with a very important notice, as today is a special day to the vast majority of people around the world. Happy Mother’s Day to all those wonderful ladies out there that have lovingly cared for supported, taught and just been there through the thick and thin of all that has happened through the years. I raise my hands to the sky, jump and click my barefooted heels together in recognition of all you are, and how the world would not be the same without you. This category includes my beautiful wife, who has supported me through some interesting times over the years, and has been a great mother to our two boys. I would be lost without you.

With the important announcements out of the way, I can carry on with the week that was. This week was a little disappointing for me, since I was technically not suppose to run for a week to allow my bruised and enflamed muscles to heal. This was really hard, as I caught myself a couple of times putting my running gear together prior to heading to work in the morning. Running has become a very important part of my life, as it gives me the opportunity to lose myself from the day to day monotony and stresses that surround me. To me there is nothing better than stripping the shoes off, and just heading out for a run to get in touch with my soul (or soles), and just flush the crap (no pun intended) away. It gives me the chance to reflect on what is important in life, and that life is just too darn short, so get out and enjoy it, before it moves on without you.

So here we go, the week that was:

Monday May 2, 2011
3.15 miles *
0.00 miles
3.15 miles *

I put an asterix beside the barefoot miles because these were not running miles, but quick walking miles. This was my weekly WH3 run, but for me running was not an option. I do feel these are legitimate miles to count because first of all I was barefoot, and I was moving at an above normal walk pace. Let me also clarify that walking barefoot on trail is actually harder to do, because you use more of the area of your foot when you land, areas that do not typically get used when you run. The soles of my feet are the stronger for it, and I think I will be doing more of this throughout the year. Anyway it was a great trail, that my wife and a couple of great friends set (thanks WB and MD). As this was my Birthday Hash Run, N felt it was appropriate that the drink stop consisted of a shot of Crown Royal (my favorite beverage) instead of beer. As the majority of the runners were running the course, I was glad to have WB walk the trail with me, I enjoy these chances that we get to go out together, I consider her to be very like minded to me (excluding the bare feet but I am working on her) and she is a great friend who listens to my craziness and does not judge.

Boy, I am rambling today, mental note, must try to stay on track.

Anyway after the run, we held a ‘quieter’ circle, singing the swearing song in a hushed tone is always interesting. We also had two new additions to our group, Just Andy and Just Liz (a tattoo artist and a priest respectively), an awesome married addition to our group of misfits. Just wait till we break into ‘Jesus Can’t Go Hashing’, that should be a hoot. Anyway it was a great time as always, and we finished off the evening with a great bbq and some good conversation. Thanks all for making it a great night.

Thursday May 5, 2011
1.15 miles
0.00 miles
1.15 miles

This was a short run after a hour long torture session with my personal trainer (thanks Carolyn), as always she was looking out for my best interest, and decided to stay away from my lower body and focus on core and upper body training (seriously, upper body training, it has been at least 20 years since I done any weight lifting and I now remember why). Anyway, I love training with Carolyn because she is a runner (and a darn good one), she understands what is needed to increase your speed and endurance, and pushes me to the limits when I need it. Anyway, I decided that I would try a short run after the training session to see how my hip was recovering. Kept it slow and even, concentrating on getting my form back in order. Things went well, and I felt good when I finished, a good sign that things were recovering. I also want to note, I think it is hilarious that when I get to the gym I put my Vibrams on to work out, and as I get out the door, I take off the Vibrams to run, it still gets some interesting looks from people.

Saturday May 7, 2011
(My 40th Birthday)
5.75 miles
5.75 miles

This was a great day, not only was I participating in a great run, the Physio Fit Run, I was also running it with my oldest son. Even though he complains that he cannot keep up with his friends pretty much from start to finish, I know he enjoys the fact that he finishes the 5 km run. I know it is not easy for him, he is the understatement of an awkward runner, but he does try his heart out, and when he sees that finish line, he takes off like a rocket, and it puts a smile on my face every time. I know in my heart that he will probably never have the passion for running that both I and Nicole have, but that is ok, as he will find his way and the passion that will drive him in his own time. My son is one of the bright lights in my life, and I am proud of him and all the accomplishments completed and the ones that I know will come. Anyway, rambling again, a quick breakdown, 3.11 for the Physio fit run and 2.64 for warm up and cool down while my son was playing with his friends. Overall I was very happy with how my hip performed, and I think with the stretches that I was shown to make sure my hip muscles are warmed up; I should be ready for some fun runs this week.

So the total for the week and year date are as follows:

Week Totals:
Barefoot: 10.15 miles
0.00 miles
10.15 miles

Year to Date:
Barefoot: 83.54 miles
Vibrams: 34.93 miles
Total: 118.47 miles

I am expecting some big miles this week, as we are planning a 50 km trial excursion this Saturday for our Ultra Run experiences this summer. Nic and I will be doing a trial run on Saturday to test a route, prepping for Sunday’s trial by G and A, in which Nic and I will be crewing and pacing. As we are new to this, it will be interesting and should be a hold lot of fun. So if you have the desire to try a 50 km run within the confines of the City of Winnipeg (will include some trail as well), please come out and join us. I hope to try organizing one of these runs one day, and this will be our first crack at giving it a go.

Hoping everybody had and will have a wonderful week.

Live long and Bare Your Soles,

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Long run sunday May 8th 2011

Sunday, mothers day! With many family activities planned this will be short and sweet. Tim's on portage and westwood, 6am.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Journey of 1,000 Barefoot Miles - Week Ending May 1st, 2011

Nicole and I prior to the WPS 2011 Half Marathon at City Park Runners

All I can say it was an experience. (Photo credits: Cheryl/CPR)

I decided that I would be including the mileage from Sunday, May 1st in this weeks count because it was Race Day for me, and my mileage was a little limited last week due to tapering and a nagging boo boo that my hip was experiencing. But enough whining (for that I will probably pay for dearly tomorrow night at the weekly Hash Run), here is my week in numbers and commentary.

Sunday April 24

Barefoot: 0.00

Vibrams: 0.00
Total: 0.00

This was Easter turkey fest, the only running I did was to the dinner table for more turkey and pumpkin pie (I was barefoot, I wonder if that counts).

Monday April 25
Barefoot: 9.43 miles
Vibrams: 0.00 miles

Total: 9.43 miles

Once again this seems to be my Monday routine, a run at lunch and a HHH run in the evening. A quick breakdown is as follows:

6.5 miles at lunch at a moderate pace, just trying to ensure I get some mileage on my taper week to keep my legs loose. Was really hard keeping the pace down, but I have been fighting a muscle inflammation by my hip (not that muscle get your mind out of the gutter) so I was really trying to keep the speed down, and hope it heals up by Sunday (a little foreshadowing). As always it was a interesting run, lots of weird looks, a lot of finger pointing, you know the usual.

The HHH run was a little more interesting, DDC was hosting from her docile and she organized a great little Trivial Pursuit Hash. Since one of our group was leaving for Denmark (you will be missed BM) and this was to be her last hash with us, DDC decided Danish Trivial Pursuit questions were in order. Not to be outdone, one of our elder statesman decided to crash the party literally, sending one runner screaming away from the sight of blood and in search of a EMT, DDC is married to one. This also resulted in the calling of 911 by a concerned neighbor (thanks alot for that, glad there are some people out there that still care), and the arriving of a ambulance and 2 of Winnipeg's finest paramedics. So after a short break to ensure that TM was ok and an encouraging On On from him as he headed back, the rest of us were off to finish the trail that we started. Once it was all said and done it was another 2.93 miles to the daily total, and some more stories to relived over and over again, I am sure.

Wednesday April 27

Barefoot: 2.57 miles
Vibrams: 0.00 miles
Total: 2.57 miles

This was video shoot day with Shaw Cable, over lunch I did some running on camera, and a very interesting and informative interview (at least I hope I didn't sound too much like an idiot) with Jessica and John. Of course, this drew a little bit of interest and curiosity from some of the locals that were passing by. They are expecting it to be ready for airing this upcoming week, and will also run it before the Manitoba Marathon (which I plan to run of course). Hopefully they got my good side (I'm not sure which side that is, but hopefully they got it!), in the over an hour of footage and 2 hours of overall time for the shoot. I am super excited to see how it turns out (I am sure my form was not good because I was having a hard time keeping my adrenaline in check), and once I got my copy from them I will download it onto the blog. Thanks again Jessica and John for all your hard work keeping me in line, and the good questions that you presented to me.

Thursday April 28

Barefoot: 4.33 miles

Vibrams: 0.00 miles

Total: 4.33 miles

This was just a quick run around the neighborhood to keep me loose. Nothing exciting, just tried to keep the pace slow and even. Could not even say if any comments were made, I was in my own little world thinking about the weekend. The one piece of bad news (or could of been good news) that I got that day was that the 50 km Ultra that was scheduled for May 14th was being postponed until August 20th due to the park venue being closed to flooding. This I think would become to be a blessing in disguise once Sunday came around.

Friday and Saturday (April 29/30)

Barefoot: 0.00 miles

Vibrams: 0.00 miles
Total: 0.00 miles

Once again this was a taper week, so I was trying to take it easy to rest up and be ready for Sunday and my first barefoot race of 2011. Little did I know Mother Nature wanted to play a little trick on us. As everybody knows being the weatherperson (need to be politically correct you know) is the best job in the world, you even get paid when you are wrong, which seems to be quite often. So when the weather forecast called for a crappy Saturday and Sunday, I was not to concerned, because there was a good chance it was wrong. Unfortunately, this time the forecast was right, the temperature went from 22 degrees on Friday to -4 on Sunday with a -13 degree windchill, it rained then snowed and the wind was down right nasty. We were even warned that the race might be cancelled Saturday night if freezing rain fell over night.

Sunday May 1st (WPS Half Marathon)

Barefoot: 0.00 miles
Vibrams: 13.1 miles
Total: 13.1 miles

I figured I would start this off with a picture, as they say a picture says a 1,000 words, well I would tend to agree.
The start of the 2011 WPS Half Marathon May 1st

This was a run for the books, the weather was unbelievable, and yet there was 2000 plus runners, numerous volunteers and other hearty individuals that came out to cheer us on. This is what Winnipeg spirit is all about in a nut shell, the race could of been cancelled, the runners could of not showed up, the volunteers could of packed it up before it even started. But no, Winnipeggers are a robust and proud bunch, when we take on a challenge, we see it thru to the end. This run was for a great charity. "Cops for Cancer", and nothing was going to keep us from showing our support, not sleet, nor snow, nor rain, nor wind (I feel like a postal worker). Anyway it was a great day for a run, unfortunately not a barefoot run, but at least we were running. Now don't get me wrong, I was disappointed that I could not go barefoot (it being International Barefoot Running Day and all), but it would not damper my spirit to much. With the snow on the ground, and the wet conditions it would be the Vibrams for me, because there is nothing worse than a cold and wet run for a barefoot runner, your feet will freeze instantly, and I've had enough frost bite this winter.

It was not the greatest run for me, no personal best, and I didn't come out unscathed, my hip had been bothering me for the last week or so, and with the cold today, it was acting up from the get go. I struggled thru the run, trying to keep up with my wife (who bested her PB by a whole 10 minutes, wooohoo!!), until something in my hip area popped at about mile 12. This forced me to stop and walk for a couple blocks until the muscle relaxed and shifted enough for me to shuffle run into the finish. But at least I finished, I am stubborn, and pig headed sometimes but I was not going to let my hip keep me from finishing this run. I would of crawled thru the slush if I had too, and I was almost thinking I was going to, as my hip was screaming and complaining the rest of the way. But as I said I finished and that was enough of that. It was a trip to the Pan AM clinic in the pm to make sure I did no real damage.

But first kudos to the Race Director, Nick P, his numerous selfless volunteers, the great officers, cadets, EMT's and military personal who braved the cold and nasty conditions to ensure this race went off without a hitch. Great job everybody, this is why this event is so great every year and I intend to run it every year for as long as I am able.

Regarding the Pan AM clinic trip and my cranky hip, it appears that I aggravated one of the muscles that runs by the hip bone, which caused some inflammation. So I am not allowed to run for a week, to give it time to heal properly. Hmmm, I guess it will be some barefoot walking for me to get some miles this week.

I will leave you with some more pics from the WPS run today, to hopefully inspire you as well as to show the heart of the Winnipeg spirit.

A very inspirational runner who does not let his blindness stop him from achieving his goals. Congrats to a great run and finish.

Off to the races, Mike Booth (2) leading the pack out.

The half way point and the two lead runners

Erick from City Park Runners waving as he sprints by the mid point

Who is that masked man?
(All photo credits to Cheryl of CPR)

Week Total
Barefoot: 16.33 miles

Vibrams: 13.1 miles

Total: 29.43 miles

Year To Date:

Barefoot: 73.49 miles

Vibrams: 34.93 miles

Total: 108.42 miles

On On