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’

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