Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Polar Bare Run: 2013 Edition

Welcome to the Polar Bare Run
Cathy posing beside the Race Sign
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography

The Polar Bare Run (aka The Frosty Nipple Run), Jan 1, 2013
Winnipeg, MB
Photo Credits : Kelly Morton Photography

So what did you do on New Year's Day?

Well I can tell you what I did. I ran a great little word of mouth event called the Polar Bare Run at the Formal Gardens located in Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park. This was the 9th year for this get together of runners that takes place New Year's Day no matter what Mother Nature's throws at us.

The great thing about this event is that there is no fee, you just show up with a open mind and some form of minimal running gear to blast around the approximately 700 metres of frozen road track and have a bit of fun. The typical attire is bikinis for the ladies and the ever popular speedo for the guys, but you do some interesting variations of this as well, including underwear briefs, boxers, formal gowns and a tutu. Yes, you read that right, a tutu, more on that later, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

I have run the Polar Bare Run for the last two years, and the weather and wind definitely makes this interesting. Both years have produced base temps below -20 degrees Celsius and dropped it even further with the windchill to the range of -30. It makes for a interesting time for sure. This year was no different  with a nice little breeze out of the east, the last sprint when you come around the corner is quite invigorating to say the least.

But I digress, this year there was about 40 runners out to complete the task at hand. Everybody was prepped and ready to go huddled around the start line in a combination of housecoats, winter coats and whatever else they could find to cover themselves before the call to run. At 8:58, the two minute warning was called and jackets, housecoats were quickly removed and everybody lined up for the start call. I hung out in the back trying not to cause to much of a scene as I removed my mukluks and housecoat to reveal my running gear of the day. A Kate Kift original tutu is a combination of blues and white, I thought it blended perfectly with my blonde hair and blue eyes.

Can you spot me in the background,
I will give you a hint, I am wearing something blue
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography

As everybody sprinted off, I slowly picked my way from the back through to the front. I got the usual, 'holy crap bare feet that is crazy', to 'Awesome, what a great tutu'. I felt like I was flying as I passed most of the runner's (I personally think it was the shock factor, because normally I could not compete with the majority of these guys and gals) and headed to the front of the pack. My feet were handling the icy conditions well as I B-lined it down the road.
One of my favorite shots as the runners head down the
road through all overhanging trees
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography
I was chasing down the first 4 or 5 runners as I hit the corner and hit the wind, holy crap it was a like a smack in the face, I knew it was coming but it still shocked me to no end. I picked up the pace to finish as quick as possible, as I started to realize that the very efficient parks crew had spread salt all over the road. Crap, this was not a good thing for my feet at all. Oh well, grin and bear it, because it was going to be over soon.  As I raced to the finish line with my tutu fluttering in the wind, all I could do was smile, I know it was not a official race but it felt pretty good to be way ahead of some really good runners.

Coming into the finish line
Photo Credits: Stephen Anderson-Lindsay Photography

Sporting a Kate Kift Original
and a Grin From Ear To Ear
Photo Credits: Stephen Anderson-Lindsay Photography
I crossed the imaginary finish line and continued around the last 300m back to my housecoat and mukluks, by that time the salt on my feet were starting to take a toll on my feet. It is amazing, I can run barefoot in snow and cold temps in the -30's with no issue, but though some salt into the mix and it just eats my feet. Luckily it was a short run so no real damage done, just a couple of blisters that developed on my little toes.

Here's to another great Polar Bare Run, I know I will be back to take it on again next year. If you want to try something different and fun, this might be for you. Come on out and join us.

Here are some more pictures from the event, courtesy of Kelly Morton Photography.

Hope you enjoy.

Captain Swamp Donkey, John Ford
Sporting The Canadian Winter Fur Hat Special
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography

Cathy still smiling as she finishes this thing off
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography

Hey your going the wrong way
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography

Beach Wear vs. Formal Wear
and A Very Strategically Placed Arm
(Made you look, yes he had a speedo on)
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography

Awesome spirit from these two young girls
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography

Older doesn't mean wiser
She was definitely smartly dressed.
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography

A parting shot, Cathy, Aldo and Myself
Post Race
What A Great Morning For A Run.
You can also check out my article in Canadian Running Magazine Online at the following link, Breaking In A New Year: Polar Bare Style

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2012: A Year In Review

I don't even know where to start with this one, it has been quite the year for this lil' ole barefoot runner from Winnipeg, Canada. I started off with some basic goals which included running 1,000 barefoot miles, finish a Half Marathon in under two hours and continue to push myself to further distances, I had wanted to run my first 50 miler (boy did I miss that target).

My biggest intention was to just go out and run, have some fun and hopefully help some other runners along the way. I quickly realized that I am not the fastest runner and will never compete for to many first place finishes. But that being said, my philosophy has become, start with a smile and finish with a smile, if I can do that they I have won.

Here is a quick recap of the year that was 2012:

  1. Polar Bare Run: A 650m dash around the Formal Gardens at Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg with a twist. The twist being this is the Polar Bare Run. My running attire for this one was a kilt, hat and gloves. Yes I barefooted it and I am Scottish so you can fill in the blanks. It was a great run until we turned the corner and hit the wind (-30ish with the WC). It was a little nipple-ly for sure. See link here, Polar Bare Run
  2. I started my strength and core training with my personal trainer Carolyn. Basically she kicked my rear end into submission and made me all the more stronger for it. How I was going to need all of that later on in the year.
This was where all the craziness started, and I can either blame my wife or thank her profusely, I am not sure which.
  1. Registration for the Canadian Death Race: I almost fell out of my chair when Nicole asked me if I wanted to put together a relay team for the 2012 race. After I put my jaw back into place, I went into hyperdrive to find a couple of other crazy runners who would want to do this with us. Well I found one, my buddy Dan had wanted to run this as well for years but could not find anybody who was willing to run it. Well that was it, I registered us as a 3 person team and 'Up A Mountain With No Shoes' was born. You could not wipe the smile off of my face for a week. At least until I started trying to figure out how to train for this being flatlanders from Manitoba. See link here CDR Training and CDR 2012
  2. The 120 Day Running Challenge: I started a challenge to run 120 straight days with logging at least a mile. This does not sound like much but it was really not easy to do, there are just some days when you just don't want to run. But that being said I started and I finished. 120 Day Challenge
March / April:
  1. March and April were event free months, just CDR training and logging more daily miles. The real fun began in May.
  1. The Winnipeg Police Service Half Marathon: This was suppose to be my first sub 2:00 half mary, well it was and it wasn't. But I am ok with that see link WPS Half Mary
  2. The Manitoba Trail 50km Ultra: This was the long overdue event from the previous year that unfortunately got cancelled due to all the flooding out at Spruce Woods. Dwayne Sandall put on a great event, and one that I will definitely be back to run again. See link here, Spruce Woods 
  3. Med City Marathon: This was a great event, Nicole and I travelled to Rochester, MN to run this one. We met some great people, had a lot of fun. We got to run with some awesome barefoot runners including Christian (Maple Grove Barefoot Guy), Katey and Andrew. This was my first above 90 degree F race, it was so hot, I had to be careful not to burn my barefeet. No PB for this one, it was all about the fun.
  1.  CDR Training Camp: This was our first look at the CDR course. An absolute must for runners who seriously want to run The Death Race. Not only do you get to run or bike the entire course over the weekend, but you get to meet other runners who are also running and those that have run it before. Valuable experience to be tapped. Further to this the camp is ran by Dale Tuck the creator of the Death Race with the help of Tracey Garneau, expert advice for sure. Some great friendships were developed at this weekend. See the following links, CDR Day One ; CDR Day One Part Two and CDR Day 2 .
  1. Where's The Beach? Stead MB: A unique event with a 33km running trail race running the same course and time as a 33, 66 and 100km mountain bike event. Of course I ran the event, because my biking skills suck. It was a blast, and I am definitely looking at doing it again. See the following link, Stead, MB.
  1. The Canadian Death Race: All I can say is this was bloody awesome, Team Up A Mountain With No Shoes' finished the race, and we all did fantastic. Check it out at the following link: CDR, 2012.
  2. Dirty Donkey 5km Obstacle Race: This was a blast, my local Hash House Harriers run group put together a team for this and we ran it hard and had a fun time completing it. Basically a local version of the Tough Mudder series put on by our Adventure Racer extraordinaire John Ford of the Swamp Donkey racing events. I had a blast doing this barefoot and without my glasses (if you know me I am virtually blind without my glasses), so my teammates had to call out all obstacles and other areas of concern to me so I could make it safely through. Somehow I did make it through just in time for the beer.
  1. Lost Soul 100 mile Ultra Marathon: This was my first attempt at a 100 miler in Lethbridge, nothing like picking a hard one first time out right. I ran this race with a good friend Scott Burton who 'convinced' me that I should give it a try by twisting my rubber arm. Anyway, I ended up DNF'ing it but I did complete 100km of the event so I was very happy with that. I am going back this fall if I get in to complete it. Let me say I am determined and my knee is not going to tell me no this time.
  2. Swamp Donkey Adventure Race: The original event put on by John Ford out in the Whiteshell Provincial Park located in eastern Manitoba. This event includes a 10km plus canoe, 30ish km bike through trails and a good quantity of running (about 10km) all mixed together with orienteering. Our team consisted of 3 rookies (myself, Gail E and Peter S), who despite the weather and really not knowing what the heck we were doing finished in the Top 15 for the team event. We had a great time, and yes you will see us back out there again trying to improve on our time. Anybody who likes something a little different, this is a event worth checking out.
  1. Paramedic Fire Fighters Half Marathon: A race that in its first year of existence exceeded all expectations. First of all it sold out not once but twice, as there was such a response the race director, John T had to open up more spots and those quickly sold out as well. Due to this they had to redo the half marathon route to accommodate all the runners. This was a good event from start to finish (just need to make sure they have coffee next year), and I had a great time running with friends and whooping it up with the other runners and volunteers. I also was able to break the 2 hour time I was looking for, well not really just breaking it but shattering it with a 1:53:24 and that includes a good distance of gravel trail.
  2. Following up the WPFS Half Marathon, I ran the Ted's Run For Literacy 10km the following day, where even with tired legs and slightly sore feet I was able to secure another PB with a 52:44. The race directors Mike, Aldo and the rest of the crew put on a great event and lots of money was raised for a great cause. I also got to run with my fellow BRS member Dutchie (Jack) as well, good times.
  3. The Awesome Twosome: A 5 km with a twist, really it a 10 km race with two runners running a 5 km loop in opposite directions. My partner Gail E and I finished 12th in just under 50 minutes combined with me running another PB in the 5 km with a 23:40.
  4. VP of Administration with the Barefoot Runners Society: Still not quite clear why I was chosen for this, but I was honored by them choosing me for this. I just hope that I can live up to their expectations.
  5. 1,000 Barefoot Miles Ran: I surpassed the goal of 1,000 barefoot miles ran and finished the year off with 1,115 miles barefoot and 1,836 miles total.
  1. Selected as The North Face / Canadian Trail Running Ambassador for Manitoba/Sask: This was a great honour to receive as well, I am so looking forward to the upcoming year. See link here
  2. 2012/2013 Winter Barefoot Running Challenge: Participating in this slightly crazy event that I have been involved with for the last three years. I have surpassed 200 km and have completed a 1.5 km run at -31 degrees Celsius. See link BRS Winter Challenge
  1. Canadian Running Magazine Online: I commenced writing a weekly blog for CRM on barefoot running and they are even paying me for it. This is the latest, Moon Joggers.
Basically it has been an exciting year and a lot of firsts, I have been involved in quite a few articles through out the year, either assisting with the article or the focus of the article. It has been a little over whelming at times but fun at the same time. I have also had the opportunity to write a guest post on a great blog called Daily Improvisations, that I am very proud of as well. As I said it has been a fun year.

I am really looking forward to all the adventures that will be taking place over the next year that is 2013, as I continue to grow and push the boundaries that little bit more.