Sunday, January 29, 2012

2012 Goals Or A Midlife Crisis - We Shall See

So I started writing a post just after New Year's on the goals that I wanted to accomplish this year, but the more I got into it, the more I wondered if I was crazy. I started thinking I was going through a mid-life crisis or something, most guys want a nice new sports car or a Harley, me on the other hand I want to run a 72 hour timed race in December (note it is in Arizona so getting away from the snow would be cool), with a goal of running at least a 150 miles over the 3 days. Could it be a bit of a stretch, maybe, but I have been inspired more and more by the writing antics of some of my favorite bloggers including Vanessa, who wrote about blog here not listening to the experts to try things for yourself, and Jason who is currently writing a book about Ultra Marathon Running with a cool blog that will revolve around the process as he progresses (what a great idea). Further to this Jason has another great blog on the subject (and it can relate to many areas of life), see here . So currently I am trying to figure out how I can accomplish the lofty goal of taking part in "Across the Years", and not fall flat on my face. Considering that I have only been really running for a little over 2 years at this point, why can't I run 150 plus miles over 3 days in the desert?

I am starting to think this might be more achievable than my other brainfart of a goal that I set in motion in November, running an Ironman next year. The running part, not concerned about, the biking, yeah if I focus I can definitely train for that, the swimming on the other hand. I thought I was progressing nicely over the last couple of months, I was able to get an additional pool length into my swim almost every couple of weeks, that was until they did the unspeakable. They dropped the floor of the pool, yeah you heard me, for the first number of weeks I have been able to touch the bottom of the pool in a emergency (for example a leg cramp) not that I have used that safety blanket but it was good knowing it was there. Well I arrived at the pool this week to the sight (or no sight) of not being able to see the pool bottom. Crap, here I thought I was progressing with my little phobia of deep water, well that went down the drain so to speak. Even though the pool was only 8 feet deep, that is a LOT taller than I am, so all those fears suddenly reared their ugly little heads once again. Can I tell you I don't like this feeling, seriously, I have no issue running barefoot on anything (gravel, snow, ice, glass, whatever) but put me near deep water and it spooks the hell out of me. But further to my comments above, I am not going to let my fears win, I decided I would make the plunge and jump in, now I will admit I did put on a floatation belt (it was kind of funny to see a grown man full of tattoos putting a floatation belt on, the tough guy that I am), one step at a time, albeit a small step, it is a lot further than I have gotten in 40 years. So I stuck to my guns and swam for 30 minutes in water that there was no way I would of gotten into last year. So my Ironman goal lives on, and I am not going to give up on it, although next year might be a bit of a stretch, I will continue to work at the swimming and hopefully break the fear in lots of little itsy bitty pieces.

Anyway back to goals for 2012, Nicole and I have a big May coming up, first there is the Winnipeg Police Half Marathon (it so happens to fall on International Barefoot Running Day, going to be planning some interesting stuff for that one) on May 6th. Following up on the 12th with the 2nd Attempt of the Inaugural Manitoba Trail Marathon and 50km (we are running the 50) which I know Duane and his crew are going the extra mile to make it into a fantastic event. Lastly on May 27 we are heading south of the border to run the Med City Marathon in Rochester, MN. This one is going to really cool because there are a lot of people I am looking forward to meeting who are also running that day including Vanessa, Shacky, MGBG, Katie, Dama and I am sure a few other surprise runners that will be showing up. This is going to turn into a Barefoot Running Society meetup and I expect it to be a complete blast, all that barefooting power unleashed on the City of Rochester they will not know what hit them.

So with all this in mind and all the miles my bare feet are expecting to partake in this year. I decided I should sign up for a Marathon clinic, figuring it should motivate me to get a few extra miles in during the weeks leading up to May. So I have been running with City Park, doing some intervals, tempo runs, long runs and core workouts to hopefully get me where I need to be. Between this and Carolyn taking me through the paces at the gym, I think it will be a good year.

I am not looking to far beyond May at this point, but the plan is to throw a 50 miler in there sometime this summer and if the swimming keeps progressing and the fears subside maybe even a 'Try an Tri'.

All I can say is, No mid-life crisis here and who needs a sports car anyway, when my two feet can carry me where ever I want to go, and at this point they are itching to go far.

Long Run Saturday Night

We have gone to the dark side. There is something nice about starting a run in the darkness and seeing the sun rise, but we are too darn tired to do it anymore. Tonight we start off with a sliver of a moon and 1 star to guide us.

Running on the path beside the perimeter highway.  Nicole is exhausted  and isn't sure how she if feeling about a long run for tonight.  Originally she wanted to run Harts Trail and I know she needs this run as much as I do. I tell her this is our survival run and we have to do it or else we will die.  She doesn't question me.  Maybe we are both insane.  I  don't flinch as 3 semi trucks fly by.  All it would take is a little slip on the icy roads and......never mind.

We arrive at the end of  Dale Street and see nothing but blackness speckled with a few stars.  We fumble about for our lights which will be needed for the trail  and quickly catch a chill doing so.  This is a bit of an omen.  We dressed for -20 but it felt colder when we stopped. Our bodies are cold but our feet are toasty.  Nicole is wearing her mukluks and I am wearing  beyond-throw-in-the-garbage running shoes with a few hot shots stuffed at the ends.  Nothing like a chill to keep you from dilly dallying.  I quickly put the camera away as we start the trail portion of the run. We quickly warm up again.  Whew.

The pictures taken on the trail turned out completely black. Our headlamps lit up the trees immediately on either side of us and a bit of the path in front. Occasionally I would see a a car light in the distance and the way it threw the light made me think we were running to the light...the light at the end of the tunnel and all that.

Eventually we leave the trail and turn onto Grant Avenue to head back towards home. This is when the wind slaps us in the face and doesn't let up for the remainder of the run.  We are quite chilled after 45 minutes of running head on into the wind.  I begin to wonder how I could be so stupid to leave the house with only a thin pair of gloves. My hands are beyond cold. We start to plan on sharing a glass of red wine for the last  bit of our run...just to warm up.  To take our mind off Nicole's sore legs and my freezing hands we count our steps by the 100s.  It takes 500 hundred steps to get to the wine.

Thats how we ended up at Smitty's Lounge  on a saturday night. After thawing out we realized we were quite famished. Nicole got us a glass of wine as I prepared our post run snack of majool dates, homemade granola, and pepperoni sticks.  What, does this sound disgusting?  It went great with the wine.   I think the bar staff took pity on us because they let us eat our own food without saying a word.  I decided to get us one more glass of wine to share before finishing up our last 1 1/2 miles home but the bartender told me it was cheaper to buy a carafe.  The result of this economical decision was running home a bit the wet clothing.

  We survived and that deserved a bit of celebrating.  Tonight's running time: 2 hrs 53 min. Next Saturday we run for 4 hours.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Long Run, Sunday becomes Saturday

Looks like our Sunday morning run is going to experience a change this week. To fit in any run at all this weekend, we are going to run Tonight, Saturday January 7th instead. So we will meet at the Tim Hortons on Grant Ave. (close to the forest) at 10PM for a night run. Hope you can join us for a 5-10 miler on some trail, bring a headlamp if you've got one!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011 - The Year In Review

Well, what can I say the year 2011 was a great year in many ways for me, I had some pretty substantial accomplishments that I am very proud of achieving like:
  • First Barefoot Marathon completed (Manitoba Marathon) - Here
  • First Gravel Half Marathon completed (Treherene) - Here
  • First Barefoot 50km Ultra Marathon Completed (Vulture Bait) - Here
  • Barefoot Runs In Temps Below -20 degrees C: Four including one at -29 degrees.
  • Ran Across Lake Winnipeg (Polar Bear Run) - Here
  • My First Article Published - Here
  • Winning my first race in my age category (Buffalo Runners Half Marathon) - Here
  • Setting up the Winnipeg Division of the Canadian Chapter of the Barefoot Runners Society
  • Breaking my personal bests in the 5km, 10 km, Half  Marathon and the Marathon distances.
  • Putting my face in the water and attempting to learn to swim for the first time in like ever.
  • A new position at work complete with a promotion, who says being a little different and not trying to be someone you are not at work hinder your ability to advance your career. I go to work in VFF's  and occasionally dispose of the footwear all together during the day around the office. Everybody is generally interested in my barefootedness, they have accepted me for how I am and judge my performance on my work abilities not my idiosyncrasies.
With this there is always a few areas or goals that fall short, but if life was like a run in the park all the time there would be reason to push ourselves and persevere. This is a list of items and or happenings that were either not achieved or were a low point in my year:
  • I had a goal of completing 1,000 barefoot running miles in 2011, well I did come up a little short at 926 miles for the year starting Jan 1, 2011 and running to Dec. 31, 2011. I will be trying this again in 2012 to see if I can achieve and or exceed this lofty goal.
  • My first running injury occurred during the WPS Half Marathon, where I pulled my groin bad enough I could not run for 2 weeks and not comfortably for 3 weeks following.
  • I encountered a breathing issue during the summer which did not allow me to run as much or as far as I wanted, and forced me to carry a ventilator for 3 months (it subsequently just gone away).
  • Our family suffered a great loss, when our favorite girl, Jeannie passed away in October at the age of 13. Jeannie left us to join her brother Jersey who passed on the previous year, to run and play together once again. Rest in peace, for you will both be missed dearly.

RIP Jeannie - Aug 1998 - Oct 2011
But with all the adversity of the missed goals, injuries and loss came a bright star, and that would be the search for new goals for the upcoming year. I have decided to take on some new challenges this year which I will be touching on in a future post.
I have also decided to keep track of all my mileage this year and I am challenging my two partners in crime (Nicole and Gail) to do the same in the form of the Mileage Tracker on the side of the blog. I haven't quite decided what I will use the final numbers for, maybe a charity donation calculation. If you have any ideas that you think will be fun and worthwhile put them in the comments, and we will see what we can come up with.
I hope everybody has a great year, I know I will be looking forward to see what interesting sights and experiences are in store for me this year.
On on

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Starting 2012 Off On The Right Foot, Then The Left, Then The Right ......

It was a beautiful Winnipeg morning for a Barefoot Run at the Park
What can I say I decided to start the year off with a bang for 2012. A yearly tradition of some of the more crazy of the Winnipeg running community (which I understand I seem to fall into) is to take part in a unsanctioned fun run on New Year's Day. The run has a few names like the 'Frosty Nipple Run' or the 'Frozen Nipple Run' or what I think is more appropriate 'The Polar Bare Run'. Basically it is very quick loop around the Formal Gardens of Assiniboine Park (approximately 700 metres) and then another quick sprint back to your hopefully warm and waiting vehicle. This is all done in as minimal of clothing as possible, I call it the runner's version of the Polar Bear Dip. When I say minimal clothing I mean it, the majority of the runners were decked out in bathing suits (bikinis for the girls  no I was not looking I'm a happily married man thanks as well as speedos for the guys), there was also an assortment of other minimal wear as well as myself and another gentleman who were dawning the mighty kilt. In true spirit of the event, I was also going to run it barefoot as well.

Now to set the stage,

It was 7:00 am on January 1st, 2012 and I woke up with a start,
because I was to go on a run to do my part,
as I looked in the closet it was soon determined to be found
that I had no running clothes anywhere around
so with a grin and a smile my mouth did so built
I pulled out my trusty HHH tartan Sport Kilt
For I knew that I would be running almost nude
and because no one there was a prude
my trusty boxers left behind would be defermental
to me running true Scottish style regimental
also the look would not be complete
if I had any coverings for my feet
so barefoot I went for that scamper in the park
and boy I was sure glad I was not running in the dark
So around the Formal Gardens we ran
only two sleeping friends were missing that would be Ed and Dan,
With a kick of my heels and with a sparkle in my eye
I picked up the pace and no I am not going to lie
My barefeet were rather toasty, for that matter quite warm
and yes I do know this is not the norm,
but as this run is best know as the 'Frosty Nipple'
I was sure looking for the opportunity to get my hands on a nice warm 'tipple'
Happy New Years Everybody.

Sorry for the corny poem, but it has been one of those kind of days. The Frosty Nipple Run was a blast and I look forward to doing it again next year. I think I shocked a few people this morning but I do believe go big or go home. I did get a few comments including the usual ' I wonder if he is wearing underwear under that'.  'Of course not' was my answer with a smile that would not be very Scottish of me now would it. As usual the 'Holy crap he's running barefoot' comment was running rampid but that is ok I get it more times or not, whether it is cold or not. By the way for the record it was a balmy -7 degrees Celsius with a windchill that was dropping it down to about -20 degrees Celsius, not my coldest run but definitely my coldest run with little to no clothing.

I have to sent a big 'hello' to my friends and running partners, Cathy and Aldo who braved the cold to run as well. Also to the other runners who have made a tradition of this, I look forward to next year.  Hope to see you there, it was a blast and a great way to start off a new year.

Cheers and Happy Running.

Cathy and I posing after the run, yes it was a tad chilly but well worth it.
Also note Cathy's hair blowing in the wind there was crazy swirling wind
that almost blew my kilt up and gave the girls behind me a free show. Who says the full moon cannot come out during the day.