Friday, September 30, 2011

Journey of 1,000 Barefoot Miles Week Ending Sept 25, 2011

all photos courtesy of City Park Runners

Have you ever had one of those moments when you were a little hesitant or unsure about something, when your brain and body are not on the same page. One of those moments when you need that extra bit of encouragement from a friend or maybe just a kick in the rear end to get you going?

Or in my case Sunday, I heard a whole bunch of comments like, "What are those on your feet?" "Ummm Bob, you forgot to take off your shoes?" Or my favorite, "Bob your not running in those are you?"

It's really interesting being known to run barefoot, its either complete shock and dismay when someone who has never seen you run before notices the non-existent foot gear, or total confusion when someone you know sees you in something other than bare feet. Yesterday I was taking part in a great little event put on by City Park Runners called 'A Run Through History' in support of Variety of Manitoba when the both of these situations happened. Lets back up a bit and I will start from the beginning.

It was going to be a great day, the sun was shining, the weather brisk and cool, a slight breeze coming out of the north, overall perfect conditions for a run. Nicole and I set out with the kids to Lower Fort Garry for the 9:00 am race start time and arrived there with lots of time to spare. I checked in at the kit pickup location and secured the race bibs for both Nicole and myself. Unfortunately Nicole was not running as someone had to watch the kids while the other ran, and this is another reason why she is the best spouse in the world for her willingness to give up her run and let me complete mine. Now Nicole did get out to run early Sunday with Gail, and I was glad for that, because if she did not I would of felt very guilty and it would of been interesting trying to figure out how to make it up to her.

For some reason, I was not feeling my usual get up and go to take off the shoes and just run. So as we walked down this nice new asphalt path towards the fort and the start line. I noticed I was still wearing my Vibrams, which I pondered was a little weird, usually I ditch the shoes first opportunity I get and stretching my legs on this new asphalt with shoes on was a little strange even for me. So with a quick head shake to loosen up the cobwebs, I took off the VFF's and started doing some quick sprints to get the blood flowing. I didn't think about the shoe thing again till we reached the gravel entrance to the fort, and I stepped onto the cold (and I mean cold) very pointy gravel. After a couple of interesting steps, I turned and looked at Nicole and said, "Hmmm maybe I will be using my Vibrams today after all." So I proceeded to put them on and carried on my little way to the kit pickup table. I ended up getting a couple of comments about the shoes that were currently covering my typically bare feet, but I was for some reason this morning I was a little leery to run without them. Strange considering I have ran over worse gravel and in colder temperatures, so this really made no sense to me.

As we gathered at the start line, more comments started coming as running friends and associates alike started to notice my shoes. About a minute before the start of the race, a friend stared at me with a look that spoke to me with something like this "What the hell are you doing mister barefoot runner, get those shoes off your feet." With a shake of my head, I suddenly thought to myself, what am I doing, why am I wearing these, I hate running in shoes. So with a smile and a grin, the VFF's came off and they were thrown towards Nicole and the kids for safe keeping. With that it seemed all was right in the world again. I got back into the running pack, with some "Alright now that is more like it!" and the standard whispers of "He's got no shoes on" and "He's not going to run like that is he." All I could think in my mind was, "Oh yes, yes he is" as a smile creeped across my face.

Then there was the call of Ready, Set, Goooooo!, and we were off. It was slow going for a moment or two as the quicker runners maneuvered to the front and the runners like me made our way through everybody else. But once we got going, we got going. The gravel I was so worried about at the start was still a little cold and stabbing at the bottoms of my feet, but I just got into my high tempo running gait and 'Ninja-toed' my way through to the asphalt path just outside the gate. To explain what I mean by 'Ninja-toed', this is when I use a very light step at a very high cadence so basically the bottom of my feet barely touch the ground. As my foot starts to touch down, I am already starting to bring it back up, creating a very light and silent running stride (hence the reference to Ninja). When I run like this, you will not even hear me coming, or at least that is the objective.

As I turned onto the asphalt path which leads to River Road, I turned on the jets and just started running (some say I float along). I passed a bunch of runners and was just enjoying myself as I scanned around looking at all the trees changing colours. I actually forgot about running for a couple of minutes and just enjoyed the scenery as I cruised along until I approached the turn onto River Road. There was C my personal trainer directing the runners on where they were heading. With a Go Bob Go, and my quick response of "My core is missing it's workout something fierce" with a smile on my face, I rounded onto River Road. I continued to catch up and pass runners along the way and all I could think is wow I feel great and my legs were responding well, this is going to be a quick run. As I looked to the right, you could see the Red River through all the colour changing trees, it really was quite the sight. All I could think was this would make for some great pictures. What a great day and a great location for a run, thank you City Park for picking such a perfect venue.

I looked up the road, and could see the turn around spot in the distance as the first place runners headed by me, I figured I was only about 5 minutes behind the leaders (honestly that is not to bad for me, I was quite impressed with that).I still had a lot of umph left so I started to pick up the pace a little bit. I passed by a whole lot of familiar faces heading back the other way with a whole bunch of 'Way to go's' and 'Great run' and so ons I felt absolutely free and was having a great time. As I made the turnaround and started the trek back to the finish line, I passed a whole bunch of runners I knew including Laura, Elaine, Leslie and Erika, they all appeared to be having a great time and why not.

Heading back up the road, I was really not trying to look at my Garmin to see how far I had gone or how fast I was running, but curiosity killed the barefoot runner so to speak. So with a quick look I was surprised to see that I was just above a 8:00 minute mile and I was approaching the 2 mile mark. Wow, I was so surprised I almost tripped over my own bare feet, I had never been able to run that pace before in a race. I just started to smile, that was when I heard some whispering behind me, "I have to catch him, I can't let Bob beat me!" That was Laura, her competitiveness breaking through as she partnered up to catch me. Well I figured I would make it harder for her, so with a big grin I picked up the pace ever so slightly to make it a little bit more challenging. Now Laura is a great runner and a good friend so I have no problem if she beats me, but I was trying to not let it be to easy for her. I knew in the end she would probably pass me but I wanted to milk it for all it was worth and I did. I didn't let her pass me until we were back onto the pathway to the fort. As she did pass me, I told her to go finish it off strong because I was going to come back at her if I could. I think this motivated her to push quicker, I was just having to much fun so I let her go (I probably wouldn't of been able to catch her anyway at least not yet I am working on it).

As we rounded the corner back onto the gravel road into the fort, I heard a couple of people gasp as they noticed my bare feet. All I could think as I started the loop around was I was going to go as fast as I could and hit that finish line flying. I swear my feet barely touched the gravel as I did not feel anything (I finished the gravel portion at a 7:44 min/mile pace which is absolutely crazy fast for gravel) and then I heard Erick call out on the megaphone, "and here comes Barefoot Bob". All I could do was smile as I crossed the finish line. I finished in 25:17 officially which is still a minute faster than my personal best 5km time. I was shocked because I was only shooting to break the 26:00 minute barrier and I absolutely killed it.

Congratulations to all the runners who finished hard (Laura finished in 25:02 which is a great time and the winning time was 17:18 by QF and SK was a half of a step behind at 17:19), and to the others that finished their first official 5km run (congrats LM with a 36:48 good run). A great thanks to the organizers Erik, Cheryll and the rest of the staff at City Park Runners as well as the volunteers for Variety the Children's Charity of Manitoba for putting on a fantastic event. Of course we cannot forget about all the volunteers who took time out of their day to help make this event a great success. Last but not least to all the spectators and the fort staff who dressed in character to keep everybody entertained for the day with a little bit of history to go along with the fun. I am really looking forward to this event next year. You never know, I might be trying to break the 24:00 min barrier by then.

Some pictures for your viewing pleasure. Thanks again to City Park Runners for the photos and to putting on such a great event.

Look at those great jackets

And we are off, 'See Sheldon Run'

A beautiful day for a run

One and Two come in neck and neck

John coming in strong

Laura, how dare you beat me

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!

Lookout world you haven't seen the last of me!

Damn that is a great jacket.

He got the biggest cheer, running with a coffee carafe like that.

What a beautiful sunny day in Manitoba

Can't get any better than this.

Lower Fort Garry

Lower Fort Garry volunteers in period costume

Milling about before the run.

So after such a great run I have to end off with a great Chinese quotation:

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu
Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC)

or a more topic related quote could be:

"A journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one's bare feet."

To carry on with my mileage reporting for the year:

Monday, September 19, 2011

WH3 Red Dress Run 2011

Barefoot: 0.00 miles

Vibrams: 4.25 miles

Total: 4.25 miles

Note: I am sure there are some questions about the above item, let us just say I was a little concerned about what I was wearing at the time of this run to have to worry about watching for broken glass, etc in downtown Winnipeg as the sun was going down. I am going into no more detail than that, but it may lead into a future post, and yes there is pictures but I am not going to post them even if you say pretty please.

Tuesday September 20, 2011

Lunch Run at Work

Barefoot: 6.95 miles

Vibrams: 0.00 miles

Total: 6.95 miles

Thursday September 22, 2011

Run From Work to Charleswood

Barefoot: 11.60 miles

Vibrams: 0.00 miles

Total: 11.60 miles

Saturday September 24, 2011

Run With City Park Runners

Barefoot: 5.30 miles

Vibrams: 0.00 miles

Total: 5.30 miles

Sunday September 25, 2011

A Run Through History 5 km

Barefoot: 3.11 miles

Vibrams: 0.00 miles

Total: 3.11 miles

Total for the Week:

Barefoot: 26.96 miles

Vibrams: 4.25 miles

Total: 31.21 miles

Year to Date:

Barefoot: 598.24 miles

Vibrams: 80.20 miles

Total: 678.44 miles

So with the above numbers I will cross the 1,000 km (or 619 mile) mark barefoot since April by the end of this week. Even though I will realistically not reach the 1,000 mile mark this year (unless Winnipeg decides to have Hawaii type weather for the rest of the year, NOT!), this is a huge successful venture in my books. This also gives me the modivation to reach for the goal again next year.

But on that note, lets see how far I can get in the upcoming weeks before the snow flies and the city starts putting chemicals that burn the bottom of my feet back onto the sidewalk.

Until next week and the confirmation of the completed km's.

May your souls tread lightly over the gravel that is life.

On on


1 comment:

  1. May your souls tread lightly.. I like that. Thanks Bob, as usual, a vivid and entertaining race report. I would have joined you but I was running Niverville. On on. M