Friday, April 29, 2011

A new milage, Good Friday's activities

A sign along our route we found interesting,

located between homes by the side of the road.

We aren't in Winnipeg anymore!

After a miss print one week a few months back, writing about running to Oak Hammock Marsh, when a close friend corrected the statement and pointed out that it was Fort Whyte we ran to; it became a goal to run out to Oak Hammock Marsh. It has been our longest distance so far, a 28+ miles. Very close to the 50km we hope to successfully run May 14th at the Manitoba trail run in Spruce woods. But this would be getting ahead of myself…..

4am, sitting at Tim Horton’s sucking back a coffee, not for enjoyment, but it seems a necessity at this point in the morning. Then finding out that breakfast doesn’t start until 5am! Did anyone else know this? I was sort of astounded to find out that at 4am, there are NO breakfast sandwiches available! So a muffin had to suffice for the first while. We both arrived a bit late, which was very nice to get in a coffee and muffin before hitting the road, and headed to find another Tim’s 6 miles away, where we would arrive after 5am so we could fuel with the expected breakfast sandwich (finally).

Being more properly fueled (mmmm) we hit the hill! Garbage hill looks a bit different at 6 in the morning. We were also surprised to see someone out walking their dog at this hour on a holiday, nice to know we aren’t the only crazy people out and about. Having joined a clinic at City Park Runners, Tuesday nights I have spent learning to run hills. I’m not yet sure I’m ready to admit this to everyone out there but…….. I have really enjoyed learning more about running hills, running up this thing, or maybe it’s the downhill….. Definitely the downhill! I get a bit of speed built up on the downs and just love the fact that I feel like I can actually keep up with others on a down. I’m not a fast runner at all, but a downhill lets me look like I run.

At this time of the morning we have decided that we are not too worried about our route as it is 6-8am on a holiday and we don’t expect any other questionable characters out and about with us on the road. (keep in mind I would have no idea what a questionable character would look like) Up Notre Dame, down McPhillips and out to Leila, where we find another bathroom break. This is the last known bathroom break we have on our route, and once we hit pipeline road, we don’t know what will be out there for the second half of this run. (Insert music from ‘twilight zone’ here)

We have been packing a lot of things for many of our runs up to this point, mostly food, extra clothing, and water. At this point we had discussed leaving a lot of stuffs behind, get some basics and run with that. So in my pack I filled the platypus with an electrolyte replacement drink, had a container of grapes, half a roll of bathroom tissue (could be needed!), headlamp, extra grocery bag (I’m not sure why either, but it was there), wallet, phone, house keys, pen, band-aids, hand sanitizer, extra shell(looked like rain), extra leggings (in case of getting too cold),contact case and rinse, sunglasses (ever the optimist?), and some gels just in case. This was a nice light load for a change. No I’m not kidding! I think it may stem from reading about a race where there were not enough supplies along the route for the runners who are in the California mountains, running along a 100 mile trail, and a few having to DNF about halfway, because not only one but several stations along the way ran out of water and the rest of their supplies. I know we are nowhere near running this kind of a distance at this point, but it is nice to know that we wouldn’t have to worry about?????? Not sure yet, but maybe we won’t have to if we keep this up. Although, after the lesson learned at the Polar Bear run across Lake Winnipeg this year, when I’m running in a planned event I think I will try and trust the RD’s and rely on their providing along the way. I must have some trust issues?

Pipeline road took us out quite a ways and we were able to see farm lands as we went. Everything was very wet, but we were also hopeful because the flooding was not as bad as we had imagined it might be. Along the way we were greeted by several dogs. This is a bit unnerving, I think I may prefer to run by someone disheveled looking in the city than try to run (walk) by a barking dog who’s NOT leashed and their owner is nowhere around! There was one owner who corralled his dog, then let him go again, only to stand back and call to him. I was a bit concerned about this one as I was unsure what would happen if the dog charged us, but it ended alright as we passed and he decided that we were no threat to his person and he ignored us. There was another dog protecting his land a bit later, he paced back and forth along his property, barked a few times and kept us under watch, but never left his land. Then a little while later we met two retrievers’ who had a really close look at us as they checked us out from their property line, but then came out to give us a good sniff. This was unsettling, one dog had his tail wagging, which made me feel a bit safer but the other wasn’t so sure and kept looking at us to make sure we didn’t do anything to his friend as we were sniffed up close. Through all these dogs, we slowed to a walk as to not give them a chase, but we were really unsure what else to do. There was a time that I had learned a bit of self defense but as I scrolled through the very short amount of knowledge in my head there was really nothing I found that would be useful here. (Not that I am quick enough to use anything I’ve learned anyways)

It was interesting to see and follow a map; some roads look longer than others you know. It was nice to get to the road where we found our last 11 miles lay in front of us, route 220 black dale road, straight ahead. After a while on this road I found myself wondering if I had taken the right turn, thinking that we should be seeing more signs for our destination, forgetting that I have plotted this route to avoid traffic on a busy highway. Only to find ourselves at intersections with a large sign for our destination, another 100 yards or so up from here and we see a sign for a ‘Manitoba Attraction’ 3km away. Along with a cool ‘wildlife crossing’ sign, at this point we were having some excitement about almost being there.

We finally arrived at the sign to mark our occasion of making it. We did finally run to Oak Hammock Marsh. 28+ miles, and we were in hysterics to realize that it was probably another half mile to get to the actual building up the road. So up the road we went, and when our ride drove by we waved him on to meet us at the very end.

Of course we finished with a lunch celebration, but when the food came we devoured it too quickly to get a picture to insert here. I need to say a huge thank you to our husbands and kids who put up with our insanity, and for driving out to get us on our one way journeys.

My lesson learned:
We can only be a successful as our support. Without my family I would not be able to accomplish all that I am; and I would not have the potential to be what I will grow to become.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Journey of 1,000 Barefoot Miles - Week Ending April 23, 2011

Well this has been an exciting week for me, not only have I had the good fortune to run almost everyday (just missed Tuesday) this week. I have had the chance to run with some great friends, surprise myself a little bit with some good time intervals and experience some new running routes to boot.

On top of all this, I have had some other great happenings as well, and to create some unnecessary suspense, bum-bum-pada, I will make you wait until later to find out what exactly that was. Believe me its exciting, at least I am excited, and a little nervous as well. Anyway, a quote from one of my favourite bands, "On With The Show", here is how my week has broken down.

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Barefoot: 5.88 miles

Vibrams: 4.92 miles

Total: 10.80 miles

This was an interesting run, the weather was cool, off and on gusting wind, and I was really not sure how my feet were going to react. Started out with the Vibrams until my feet warmed up, not sure why, but I had a gut feeling this was the way to go. Started out fast, really fast for me, the first mile was a 8:49 pace, I had to force myself to slow down I felt so good, but I knew I was trying for at least 10 miles, so I didn't want to burn myself out. It was hard to slow down, I had to focus really hard, and I kept looking down at my Garmin, to try to regulate my pace. If I could keep that pace for 13.1 miles, that would be under a 1:56 half marathon, I just remembered telling myself. Then reality set in, I'm just not ready for that yet. Anyway I was able to get my pace down to a modest 9:28 min/mile over the next couple of intervals, I was very happy to maintain that pace.

I decided I would run in the Vibrams till I got to Assiniboine Park, then once I crossed the foot bridge and reached the duck pond I would shed the shoes. That would be not quite 5.0 miles with the Vibrams, then I would run the balance back barefoot utilizing a different route. Remember when I mentioned, I had a gut feeling that I should wear the Vibrams to start? Well I was glad I did, I rounded a corner of a building and ended up right in the middle of a big pile of freshly broken glass. There would of been no way to avoid it and I would of filleted my feet, without the Vibrams, I still had to pick some pieces out of my shoes once I crossed the area. Whoever said, listen to your gut, I owe you one.

I finished at the duck pond with a distance of 4.92 miles in under 45:00, not to bad. After a quick drink of water, the shoes came off and I started thru the park towards the Moray Bridge. Running gravelled asphalt roads and paths, chip and seal roads, concrete sidewalks and dirt paths barefoot is like a concoction of different senses for the feet, this is the best way I find to build up the layer of skin on the sole of your foot. But note, beginners should not start with the amount I do, I am a bit of a sadist, building up slowly is the way to go.

Finished the balance of the run up to Portage Ave and headed west towards home. Finished up with 10.80 miles in just under 1 hour 45 minutes for a average pace of 9:45. I cannot wait till all the winter gravel (small and pointy) gets cleaned up, my pace slowed accordingly while trying to avoid the majority of this with my bare feet. But overall, a good run none the less.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Barefoot: 5.35 miles

Vibrams: 2.10 miles

Total: 7.45 miles

Monday was a two run day, I completed a quick barefoot 5 mile plus route during lunch hour, concentrating on rougher terrain to help condition the feet. Ran by 3 construction sites and thru all the limestone and gravel that was spilled all over the roads from the dump trucks. Also did not avoid all the winter gravel on the sidewalks this time by plowing thru the majority of it the rest of the route. I have a 50km ultra marathon trail run in a couple of weeks and the intent is to complete it Au Natural, so this abuse is necessary so my feet are prepared. Needless to say my feet were seriously tender once I got back to the office.

The second run consisted of my HHH run, and since my feet were still a little tender, I did this in my Vibrams. I am finding that I need about a day, to have my feet rebound from a abusive run like I did at lunch. It was a good short run, perfect to loosen up my stiffening muscles, and of course there is beer at the end, what more could you ask for.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Barefoot: 0.00

Vibrams: 0.00

Total: 0.00

Tuesday was a rest day for me, I had a very important appointment in the afternoon, and I figured my leg would be a little to sore to go for a run. My niece, who works out of Living Canvas Tattoo in Winnipeg, was scheduled to put a new piece of art on my lower right leg (barefoot theme of course).

The script reads, "I RUN" and as I finish my Barefoot Events I will be adding the Mileage to the Feet Starting With 13.1 Miles at the WPS Half Marathon next week.

I will say I have had a few tattoos done over the years (this was number 9), but the top 2 bare feet and the script hurt like a son-of-a-gun being right on that muscle. My muscle was doing involuntary convulsions while Candace was inking, it was kind of interesting.

The second part of my day was a trip to City Park Runners, Nicole has been complaining that I have been stealing all her running jackets, so she felt it was time I got my own. I had seen this great jacket that City Park has that I really liked that also advertised the store that I have become so fond of. So by the end of the trip I was up a tattoo and a very cool jacket, that I will be proud to wear. Thanks honey, for all your support and I love the jacket.

Front View

Back View

Wednesday April 20, 2011
Barefoot: 6.76 miles
Vibrams: 0.00 miles
Total: 6.76 miles

This was another run at lunch, decided to take a different route, further into the heart of Transcona (insert erie sound effects here). Headed down a major route, before encountering a big accident which made me turn around and head back and devise a new route. I didn't think, the emergency crews would appreciate me running by the overturned truck that was partially blocking the sidewalk. I could imagine the expressions on their faces as this barefooted runner sprints past them as they clean up the mess. I do hope everybody was ok, I did see some ambulances scream by earlier, but I know they are good hands. Our cities front line emergency workers (all our Firefighters, Police Officers and EMT's) are fantastic and should be applauded and thanked for the great job that they do on a day to day basis.

Once I turned around and headed back I veered into the residential area of Transcona to get some additional mileage in, I might of spooked a couple of senior citizens, but I also got a lot of waves and a couple of "Wow, that is impressive" and one "Don't step on anything I wouldn't", that one make me chuckle. On the way back, I knew it was bound to happen sometime I got stopped by a train (it being Transcona and all). Very interesting feeling to be standing there with bare feet with all the vehicles waiting for a train to clear the road. All in all a great run, with a average pace of a 9:25 min/mile.

Thursday April 21, 2011
Barefoot: 6.25 miles
Vibrams: 0.00 miles
Total: 6.25 miles

Thursday night was my run with City Park Runners, always a good time, lots of great conservation and of course a good run as well. This was suppose to be a easy 10km run, of course that would usually mean about a 10:00 min/mile pace, and considering the conditions, I was ok with that. It was very wet, and this would be officially my first completely wet run of the season. Running barefoot on wet asphalt and concrete poses it own unique challenges, because if your form is not perfect, this will cause friction thru rubbing that you do not want. Also with the wetness, this will also soften up your skin layer that little bit allowing the blisters to be created easier. One other issue with wet asphalt and darkening skies is it is harder to pick up the rocks and gravel that you want to avoid. Not impossible, but one or two usually slip through. Anyway, in short I ended up with a couple of blisters by the end of the run, one on each foot (a matching pair). The one thing that amazes me is that blisters now are nothing, I just drain them, add some antibiotic cream, and they are gone the next day, like they weren't there at all.

Friday, April 22, 2011 (Good Friday)
Barefoot: 6.01 miles
Vibrams: 0.00 miles
Total: 6.01 miles

I want to start off this day report with a big congratulations to Nicole and Gail who left very early Friday morning for a small run from Westwood in Winnipeg to Oak Hammock Marsh. This small accomplishment consisted of just under 30.0 miles, Nicole was using her Vibrams and Gail was using a pair of running shoes that would of been considered new in 1985 and have travelled some serious miles. I am proud of you both for setting this goal and accomplishing it with flying colours, and no worse for the wear. The 50km trail ultra on May 14th will be no issue for either of you at all. A big Woohoo goes out to the both of you.

Friday's run was alot of fun for a couple of reasons. First of all, I got to go out with a very close friend, Gail E. (another Gail), and for the first time the both of us were able to beat another good friend's time by a whole minute. Now, there is the point that he just had major dental surgery and this was his first real run in a week, but I'm going to gloat anyway. Also we had a great time in my books, I believe running with Gail pushes the both of us to go just that little bit faster and harder. I am going to miss not having her to run with at the half marathon next week, to help spur me on. Anyway it was a great run as I said, we ran thru the Wolseley area, then over the train bridge to Wellington Crescent back towards the Miss, back into Wolseley prior to heading back. Even with my slightly tender feet from the night before, we had a great run and time of under 57 minutes for 6 miles. Thanks again Gail, we must make a habit of this, because I had a blast.

Week Totals
Barefoot: 30.25 miles
Vibrams:7.02 miles
Total: 37.27 miles

Year To Date
Barefoot: 57.16 miles
Vibrams: 21.83 miles
Total: 78.99 miles

I am a little lower in mileage that I would of preferred but I have some big races coming up in the next couple of weeks, so I do not want to go crazy with mileage and either hurt myself or burn myself out. But once summer hits, my mileage will be increasing as my feet get stronger again.

Oh yes, I almost forgot about the exciting news. Our running group was contacted by Shaw Cable last week about doing a piece on 'Barefoot Running' and my '1,000 mile challenge'. I was honoured and humbled that anyone would be interested in this, and with some thought and a lot of encouragement from friends, I have decided to go ahead and 'run with it' so to speak. So next Wednesday, they will be coming out to do the interview and film shoot to introduce Winnipeg to the Crazy Guy Who Runs With No Shoes! Wish me luck, I will probably need it.

Until next week,

On On.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Long Run FRIDAY April 22/11

Due to Easter Sunday celebrations the long run will take place tomorrow instead.  We are looking to cover 30 miles and plan to leave at 4 am.  This will be the longest distance before the 50K race at Spruce Woods  May 14th.

Register at

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Got Vibrams - City Park Runners Does

As of today, City Park Runners located in Winnipeg is now offering the Vibram Five Finger Shoe line to its customers. City Park Runners is an independant dealer with a commitment to personal service to any and all that walk in the door looking for the perfect running gear. Heck its my favorite store to shop in and I don't wear running shoes, now that should tell you something about their passion for helping all runners, not just looking to sell you another pair of shoes.

Not only does City Park carry the Vibram line, but they also carry numerous other minimalistic brands as well, including the New Balance Minimus, the ECO and the Nike Free lines.

Drop in and take a look around, you will not be disappointed, you will fall in love with the service and the personal touch that you receive.

2091 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3J 0L1

Phone: (204) 837-9242
Fax: (204) 837-9272


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Journey of 1,000 Barefoot Miles - Week ending April 16, 2011

Well, unfortunately not too much to report this week. I only got out for a couple runs (and short ones) due to obligations and my feeling under the weather, I could also mention that the weather really sucked here as well.
But to ensure I am consistant on my reporting, I will continue with them weekly:
Sunday April 10, 2011

Barefoot: 0.00
Vibrams: 2.61 miles
Total: 2.61 miles
This run was with the WH3, affectionately called the "Spring Shiggy Run". In short some sadistic runners (thanks WB, MD and NC) set a trail through some of the nastiest, wettest, muddy, and sometimes sh##iest locations for a bunch of crazy runners to follow. If you come out dry and clean (right Thor), then something is wrong, and it could be deemed shortcutting. I would of normally done this barefoot too, but I was warned that there was some suspect waterholes, terrain and some barbwire to fend through, so I might want to wear the Vibrams. I grumbled for a bit, but folded like a bad poker hand and put on the shoes. Nothing like the sensation of running thru ditch puddles up to your knees, as people drive by, you get some crazy looks. Anyway, it might of been a good thing that I put the shoes on, because I ended up splitting my toe open anyway. Oh well, why not have a little blood with the mud, I always say.
On, On.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Barefoot: 5.50 miles
Vibrams: 0.00
Total: 5.50 miles
This was deemed my speed training for the week, I ran up and down a major route in Transcona, during lunch hour. Wind was pretty crazy, 30 to 40km and swirling per hour (not sure I was ever really running with the wind), but I was still able to maintain a 9:33/mile average pace for the duration with a 9:05/mile pace between mile 3 and 4. I was really hoping to get 30+ miles in this week, but what can you do, sometimes you have to listen to your body and shut it down, so that is what I did. Just means I will have to do some heavy running this week to catch up, weather pending of course. Come on Mother Nature, don't let me down.
So here we are once again with the week and running total:
Vibrams: 2.61
Total: 8.11
Year to date: Barefoot: 26.91
Vibrams: 14.81
Total: 41.62 '
It's Good To Run Barefoot and Free'

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Long Run sunday April 17/2011

We are going to meet at Tim Hortons 2500 Main Street ( by Kildonan park) for 7 a.m.  and aim to run 16 miles.  Some of us will start running 2 hours prior to get in added mileage so please don't leave without us if we are a few minutes late.  Check the weather report before you leave as I hear it is supposed to snow.  See you tomorrow!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Journey of 1,000 Barefoot Miles - Week Ending April 9, 2011

So the journey of 1000 Barefoot Miles has begun. I took my first plunge (both figuratively and literally) into my goal on April 2. I figured a Saturday to Saturday week count would work the best for me, as this gives me the opportunity to put in a good long run on Saturday if I think I am falling short for the week. I am not completely sure how this weekly updating will develop throughout the year, but life is a adventure, so we will just see what happens. My first thought was to log the milage and be done with it, but to me that is boring, and I like to look back at my runs to see how they went and what unique things happened (like they always do), along the way. So with no further delay, here we go, Everybody Ready, On Your Mark, Get Set, Gooooooooooooo!!!!!!

Week One:

Saturday, April 2, 2011:

14.5 total miles

13.25 miles Barefoot

1.25 miles in Vibrams

Yes, I know I have already thrown a curve ball (baseball season has started you know), I am also going to log my miles ran in my Vibrams too, because there is sometimes that bare just will not do. Anyway this was a great run with City Park Runners (CPR), a great group with a very positive and encouraging way about them, even towards a guy that does not wear shoes. Big difference from that other 'running store with the name that shall not be spoken.' Anyway this was my last cold (below zero) run of the year I hope, and the first of many barefoot runs to follow. There was lots of ice, snow, frosty concrete, gravel encrusted asphalt, etc to run over and through. Now you are probably wondering what the 1.25 miles in the Vibrams was about, well that was saved for the area from the Forks to the turnaround and back to the Forks, because the terrain was just too gnarly (that's a word I never thought I would use). As this was my first run of the season, the feet have not been completely conditioned for solid frozen limestone paths as of yet (or limestone of any type, ouch!!). Anyway once we hit the Forks again, the shoes flew off and I was back to 'Au Natural' again, one of my running partners even mentioned she could not believe how fast they came off. Lots of strange looks and finger pointing by pass buyers (are they in for a shock when I put the kilt on for the first race of the season), but surprising no comments.

In short a good first run, feet a little tender, but considering the distance ran and the terrain, I am not surprised.

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

1.5 total miles

0 Barefoot

1.5 Vibrams

Yeah, yeah I know, 2nd day into challenge and I am already wimping out. Well, all I have to say is you run 13.25 miles barefoot the day before first time out, then try to run barefoot the next day. Anyway this run was with my weekly fun run group called the Hash House Harriers (HHH), and no it has nothing to do with drugs. Beer, yes. Potato chips, yes. Silly names, yes. A whole lot of fun, definitely. It not often you can get a bunch of professionals (and serious runners) together who just are out to have a good run and a whole lot of fun. Anyway I am getting off topic, weather was crappy (started snowing, roads were really wet), my feet were still tender from the day before, and I wanted to try to keep up with these very quick friends of mine, so the Vibrams stayed on. End of story.

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

7.41 total miles

7.41 miles barefoot

0 miles in Vibrams

This was a good tempo run with CPR, weather was perfect, roads, sidewalks and trails were gravel filled but manageable. Company was excellent, as always. Lots more finger pointing, a couple of weird looks, a gasp or two, and a comment that I will save for the end. Overall, I was very happy with this run (also first one run of the year with shorts). I very much enjoy these Thursday night runs, lots of runners, and generally a good vibe. Kudos go out to the owner's of CPR who put on these run clubs (and Eric runs with everybody), and allows everybody to meet at their store and ensures that everybody is teamed up with the right partners and makes everybody feel like they have been coming out for years, whether your new or not. Awesome job guys.

Oh yeah, comment time, this one is a common question that I get, but if you logically think about it, it seems kind of silly afterwords.

Q: "Did you run the whole way barefoot?"

My response, " Yes, I did."

Q: "Wow, you must have some major callouses on your feet to do that?"

My response, "No callouses here, my feet are really soft, just tougher, thicker skin. Just think of it this way, you are running on gravel, asphalt and concrete, the rougher surfaces kind of simulate a pedicure, callouses are worn down in much the same way, leaving you with very soft feet. In fact, the soles of my feet kind of mold to the surface that I run on, but right now they are a little tender because i have been wearing footwear all winter, thus my skin layer has weakened and I need to get it built back up."

At this point I lifted up my foot to show them the bottom, and besides a little redness at the midfoot to front where I land, my foot looks perfect.

A couple of wows and that was the end of that. I do try to educate when someone is interested, but I will never be aggressive about it.

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

10.10 total miles

0.75 miles barefoot

9.35 miles Vibrams

Once again, I am realizing that right now I need about 3 days between barefoot runs, until I buildup my skin layer a bit. The weather was not the best, it was 6 degrees (but a very chilly 6 degrees), the ground was really cold and wet (I could not get my feet warm), and I was having a very difficult time picking up the sharp rocks in the wet ground conditions. With the tender feet, sharp rocks are really not a good thing, lots of pins and needles. I was also running with a quicker group this morning, trying to push myself, so I put the Vibrams on and off we went. This was a really good run for me, great conversation, running partners that were willing to push you to go that little bit harder (when one of us was starting to faulter, the others encouraged and outright said we would not let them slow down). This was great, because of this, we picked up our pace from mile 1 thru 10, consistently going faster, until by mile 10 we were at a 9:23 minute mile. This for me was awesome, because I normally go out to fast and by the end I am sucking wind, by the end of our run, I felt like I could of kept going, and even increased the speed a little more. This bodes well, because I run faster without shoes than with, so I am excited to see what I can do with this (maybe a 9:00 minute mile, I would be grinning from ear to ear if that happened). Thank you Romona and Kathy for a great run. Also of note, the other reason I do not like shoes when i run, with the Vibram run, also came some chaffing and bleeding on my feet where the seams run, irritating, but I will live.

So recap of milage:

Week: Barefoot: 21.41

Vibrams: 12.10

Total: 33.51

Year to date:

Barefoot: 21.41

Vibrams: 12.10

Total: 33.51

Note, I have done a significant amount of running in Zem's, mukluks and my Vibrams since the start of the year but I have decided not to account for these.

On On,

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring, Hey Spring Are You Finally Here

I have been anticipating the coming of spring here, since, well since November (when the first snow hit the ground). I don't know why, but this year's winter seemed longer than normal, colder than normal, and just gave the impression that it was not going away. It almost seemed like Mother Nature wanted to be sure she threw enough challenges in front of me to make my winter barefooting attempts interesting. This also made me feel like I needed to have one more L-O-N-G sub-freezing barefoot run before spring finally entrenched itself on our fair city in its full glory. I've had some very interesting experiences (and of course a lot of firsts) this winter, besides the biggest being just running around Winterpeg with my barefeet exposed to the elements. Now of course I did not run barefoot all winter, that would be 'CRAZY', somebody would of reserved a room for me in Selkirk or something if I did. But on that note, I did log 96.6 kms of barefooting from the time the temperature dipped below the big donut (I should say Cheerio, trying to eat healthier you know), till now. Now that may not seem like much, but let's put that into perspective shall we, almost 100 km in snow, slush, ice, freezing temperatures and my favorite road salt. I know some runners (you know who you are), that will not even go outside running in the winter because it is too cold and icy. Don't get me wrong, running in the winter is not for everybody, it can be cold, lonely, exhausting, did I mention cold, and you will never secure a personal best time as all you want to secure is your footing. But that being said, it was fun and challenging all at the same time, here is a quick recap of my running hi lites from this winter.

  • Of course almost 100 km logged (14 runs total for a average of 6.9 km)

  • Coldest Run: -29 degrees Celsius (this was a short one at 2.0 km)

  • Longest run: 20.9 km at -2 degrees.

  • Deepest Snow Travelled: up to my knees.

  • Set Trail for Hash House Harriers Running Group (Temp was around -20)

  • Odd Looks, Finger Pointing and "OMG's": To Many to Count.

  • Stopped by Police: None unlike some friends out east who were stopped a few times by curious officers.

  • Frost Bite: A couple of minor cases.

  • Road Salt Burn: To many, this is what limited my barefoot running.

  • Lost Toes or Digits: I am proud to say 'NONE'.

I want to express that I am not alone in this exploit, there are a number of 'Crazy Canucks' and even some 'Unbalanced Americans' south of the border that have taken up this challenge this year. Kudos to some of these individuals go to the following: Barefoot YOW , Alan T, Run Barefoot (longest run at 30 km), Kitty K, Inbetweenmytoes, Saypay45, Smelph (most runs at 29), Matt, and I know I am missing a bunch more and for that I apologize. Great job everybody!!

Overall a great experience this winter, now the question will I do it again next winter season, well it's to early to know for sure, since we are only just getting into Spring, only time will tell.

Now, I got a little off topic with all this winter stuff, since the title of this blog was suppose to be about 'SPRING' (added a little green to put me in the right frame of mind). Maybe a picture,

Well the picture is about Spring and she is barefoot, what more do you want?

Or maybe this?

Who doesn't like puppies?

Anyway, enough getting off track, there are some sure signs of spring settling in, snow and ice melting, buds coming out on the trees, more daylight than darkness, the geese start showing up, potholes rearing their ugly heads (very common in Winnipeg), winter clothing hitting the closet, zoo animals get a little frisky (as one of my friends found out yesterday, you know who you are) and the tell-tale sign for me, the elusive runners come out of their caves to start training for summer marathon season, 'OUTSIDE' of all things. This is also a great time for me, as I can start shedding the winter foot coverings and dust off my far to long cooped up toes for hopefully a good barefoot running season.

I've got a lot of goals this year for both myself and my barefeet, and only a month to get my slightly tender toes conditioned for the season. It is only 4 weeks till May 1st, this is a very important day, not only is it the first race of the season for me being the Winnipeg Police Service half marathon. But it is also the 1st Annual International Barefoot Running Day, which I am proud to say I will be part of and trying to promote in my own 'under cover of darkness' way.

Insert Plug Here

The whole idea is to give barefoot running a try, whether it is for 13.1 miles like yours truly or one km, or even for a 50 yards, it does not matter. The freedom of running bare is exhilarating, and it cannot be described it has to be experienced. I know it might sound silly, but it brings me in touch with the earth (figuratively and literally) and my surroundings , I lose myself in the moment and my senses seem to come alive like nothing else. It has made running fun for me, and that is all that matters. Anyway I will write some more on this in a future post if there is any interest shown.

Anyway enough on this for now, back to spring and goals.

With the onset of Spring, my running will be going into hyperdrive as I try to prepare for the things I want to accomplish this year. Running barefoot almost 100 percent of the time being the ultimate goal and challenge, considering I plan to run a series of half and full marathons with a splatter of ultra trail marathons (50km) for good measure. I also want to surpass the 1,000 mile mark barefoot this year. Doing this with a wife that also loves to run long distance as well and two very energetic children will be a challenge but what is life but a big bowl of cherries..., no that is not right, I mean, Life would be boring without something to work towards.

I know I have a lot of work ahead of me, but darn it I will have fun trying to achieve what I have set forth to do. I will be trying to keep weekly updates on milage, etc as I go this year (mostly for me), for anybody who may be interested. So if you see some random guy running down the road, sidewalk or trail in Winnipeg with bare feet and a big smile on his face, wave and say hi, because that would either be me or some other like minded soul who is enjoying the freedom of running.

I know running barefoot is not for everyone, and it is not my goal to convert the masses, I just want the opportunity for people to give it a try, because you never know, you just might Like It!

Here's hoping everybody has a great running season, and I get a chance to meet a bunch more 'passionate about running' people this year.

It's A Great Day To Run Barefoot And Free'


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Long Run Sunday April 3/11

Some of our runners are crawling out of the woodwork now that the weather is warming up.  It will be nice to run with a larger group again.  Welcome back! T asked to set trail so it will be fun to see what she comes up with.  Will probably do loops to accommodate those who want to run a shorter distance.  Nicole tells me a new barefoot runner may also be joining us and we look forward to hearing about his running experiences .  Meeting at 6 am ( We ditched the 5 am time so as not to scare anyone away)  at Timmies on Westwood and Portage.  See you tomorrow!