Friday, December 31, 2010
I like to reflect on a year; see what lessons' I've learned well, and recognize others that I know will be back to test me again. I'm also not one for 'resolutions', but I do like to goal set. Maybe it's because I like to plan that it is I like to goal set. Reflecting gives me a place to see where it is I've come from, how far I have made it along the journey, and the goal setting gives me something to reach for over the next little while. Then it will be time to begin again, sometimes it is easy to recognize this as a daily pattern, but today being December 31st I will see it as a yearly one. Until tomorrow morning anyways.
As I met with a very close friend (sister) tonight, I was reminded of the JOY of the journey. Sometimes it takes effort to find joy in the journey, especially when we aren't finding it to be travelled as quickly as we would like, or that maybe we are travelling so quickly that we are caught up in the time flying when we finally slow to check out the scenery we are lost in what we have missed. Our lives are the journey. There is no one destination that we will get to and stay at, until we meet our Maker. Joy has been created for us to find and experience along our journey, until we get home.
Wishing you all JOY to fill your lives along your journey into another year that is filled with awesome experiences; to keep you smiling, loving, living, (running).
As I leave this post I would like to end with another blogger finish, (as my prayers go out to another friend who is soon to be meeting with her Father, Lord and Saviour) I hope you don't mind Mike, and thank you for the reminder with every read of your blog........
It is a great day to be alive!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
The Winnipeg Barefoot Runners have donated to this great cause to help Catra reach her goal and beyond, take up the challenge and join in, see the attached link to help out. You know you wanna!!!!
Good luck Catra, you are an amazing person, and we know you will exceed your expectations, and we will be following and routing for you along your journey.
B, N and G.
Monday, December 13, 2010
This is what some of us are wearing on our feet at -40C. Running in mukluks makes for a pleasant run. The ground is softer beneath your feet when you run on snow and I think this might be the best time of year to start minimalist running for those intrigued with the idea. Nicole made the black mukluks herself with a unique lace up design. Normally mukluks have a looser fit on the calf but it is better if they are more fitted to prevent sliding down when running. If you look closely you can see I tied leather laces around my calf to prevent this from happening and to prevent the pom poms from bouncing around. A sprinkle of mukluk history while we are on the topic....traditionally women did not wear fur or pom poms on their mukluks so Nicole's creation has some tradition to it as well as fashion.
...the camera taking its last shot before freezing up.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Who would of guessed that so many people would be concerned about the well being of my feet?
It was a perfectly balmy day in the 'Peg for November (-10 degrees / -20 degrees with the wind chill) partly cloudy with a pleasant swirling wind. The game plan was to do a 5 km loop from the office, thru the forks, up to Main Street and back to the office, all in all, about 30 minutes due to the surface conditions and expected lack of barefoot traction.
I got ready to go, suited up c/w running toque, scarf, wind repellent gloves, layered shirts and running jacket, and of course my winter Running Room pants (advise from Barefoot Rick stressed the importance of keeping your core warm, and your feet will follow). I decided to leave my Garmin behind this time, as I didn't think waiting for the satellite to be located would be particularly helpful for my bare feet, must keep moving until foot temperature stabilizes. This being said, I headed to the lobby to start my journey into territories not travelled by the masses.
I got to the lobby and looked out the glass entrance doors to 4 smokers all bundled up and shivering, trying to shelter themselves from the wind. My first thought was, 'Hmmm, this should be interesting, hopefully I don't give someone a heart attack (I found out later that all of them were shocked to see the 'CRAZY' guy from the 4th floor still running around without shoes! I wonder who they were referring too, not me!!). Getting a head full of steam, I opened up the exterior door and sprinted down the steps, holding my VFF's in my hands. Around the corner of the building I went and straight thru the first snow bank like a man on a mission, of course I was on a mission, To test the boundaries and go where no Winnipegger has gone before!!
The plan was to do a 5 km loop around the Forks, and see how the feet and toes react, before I tried stretching the distances out further. Let's just say, I have found out the hard way that getting your feet wet in slushy road conditions and then trail blazing thru snow drifts with barefeet, is not the best thing to do. My wet feet froze fairly quickly and I was limited to a 2.5 km run instead. Anyway I digress, so back to the report.
I was very happy at how my feet were responding to the snowy sidewalk and snow drifts both in traction and feeling of the sidewalk. I got some more weird looks from commuters (both pedestrian and car traffic), and a whole lot of finger pointing. I actually felt pretty good, and my feet were fine, I could sense a little bit of numbness settling in though, but I was not prepared for what was to come (this would be the damn slush). I got to a busy street corner, and was surprised to see wet slush all over the roads, not thinking anything of it, I bolted across the street trying to avoid the puddles and ended up bounding thru slush build up and basically soaking my feet. Somewhere in the back of mind, I thought that might not be too good, considering the temperature, and the uncleared sidewalks ahead. But me being me, and ever trying to push the limits, I trudged on thru the snow, causing more looks of confusion as I ran by the bundled masses walking thru the snow.
As I worked my way along Main Street back towards my office, I passed more finger pointing and surprised looks but I really didn't care, I was having a blast. By the time I hit 2 kms the numbness in a couple of my toes was definitely noticeable, but the strangest thing, the rest of my feet felt warm (relatively speaking), I heard that once you get to a certain point your feet start to relegate heat but I was surprised how noticeable it was. My first thought was this is pretty neat, my gloved hands and scarf covered face were colder than my bare feet, who would of guessed.
I pulled into the office and headed up to check out the damage on my feet, they didn' t look to bad at first glance, a little red and the numbness was definitely apparent. But as my feet started to defrost, the numbness was more apparent, and the pins and needles appeared, this of course caused me to dance around my office a little bit, and probably looked a little silly, but it helped push the feeling into my toes.
All in all, everything seemed fine, I expected some minor frost bite to appear because of the wet feet, and I was right, by the time I got home I ended up with 6 toes with frostbite blisters and minor swelling. I drained the blisters to help facilitate healing (and found out afterwards that you should not do this according to the professionals, you are suppose to let them heal and let them break open on their own). I had no ill effects to draining them, but one toe kept blistering up and filling back up with liquid, thus it was drained 3 or 4 times. It took about 5 days for the swelling to go down and the healing to complete, but no adverse effects were apparent. I waited for another 4 days after my toes were healed before I attempted another barefoot run (I will blog about this in a later post), but I was able to run in my Zems quite efficiently prior to that.
So now I know I can run barefoot in the snow, but I believe -20 is my limit, at least until I decided to push the boundaries again.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Showed up at our meeting place to see Nicole had 2 huge trail maps and let me tell you she was pumped to get at them. I must have had an idea this was coming as I went out last night and bought a new headlamp. It was nice to see R and G join us on this fine crisp morning.
The trail is nice and wide. Nicole, R and G have settled in nicely up ahead and there is lots of conversation at this point. The temperature at this early part of the run is somewhere between 0 to -4 Celcius but there isn't any snow on the ground yet. We start off with a 4 mile loop as R has to get back to her family in the city as she had some event to get to. This was her first trail run and she said she loved it. You always remember your first and I suspect you know right away that you either love or hate it.
After saying goodbye to R, we head out onto another trail to do a 14k loop. The previous trail was dry so it was a surprise to find a bunch of huge puddles on this route. How big does a puddle have to be before it is no longer a puddle anyway? There was no way to keep the feet completely dry with all the water but we did pretty well. We had just a little dampness in our shoes and vibrams. It is a good reminder that we will need a backup plan for the colder weather. We discuss varying options, one of which is wearing mukluks and carrying thick plastic bags in our packs so we can slip them on if we come across surprise wet areas. At this point the temperature has warmed up a bit, but not enough to stay warm if we stopped.
In total we ran almost 13 miles and my energy was good for the first time post pneumonia. It turned out to be a great day for a run!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
This brings me to my run today, the weather is a little cooler, I think we were around 1 degree C and -6 degrees with the wind chill, not really knowing what to expect. I stepped outside the same way I was dressing all week, shorts and tech shirt, the wind hit me and I decided I better throw a pair of running pants on instead as all the hair on my legs were standing at attention.
That being done, I headed out for a run not knowing how my feet would react to the colder temperature along with the wet terrain (it had been raining with a mix of snow for most of the day). I headed north getting my feet warmed up (this took about 3/4's of a mile) and I was off to the races, so to speak. I seemed to be going at a pretty good clip, and as I passed a police car sitting on the side of the road, I looked up to see one of the officers pointing at my bare feet and giving me the thumbs up, while the other had this confused look on his face (I was just thinking to myself, please don't give me a ticket for speeding, as I must have been going over 7 miles an hour, lol). I carried on my merry little way and started heading east towards the new asphalt pathway system that the city has put in, very impressed with these, they have done a great job, kudos to the city and the province for investing in these. I passed numerous people out for walks with their dogs, many seemed a little confused at this guy running at them avoiding puddles as he picked his way along the trails.
I was making good time, not because it was cool out, not because my feet were cold and I couldn't feel them (on the contrary my feet were quite warm, it was my unmoving body parts that were cold like my hands), but because it just felt right. I finished the first 5 km in under 25 minutes, which is a PR for me, and I was averaging about a 9:20 mile or so. Then on the return portion of the run, I hit a good stiff wind, this slowed me down a little, but I was still amazed at how great my feet felt. My face was a little numb from the wind and my fingers were getting fairly cold, but damn my feet were perfect. I got some more looks from motorists, especially this young couple who backed up for me at a stop sign, and then I heard the girl in the passenger seat shout, "He's got no shoes", I just smiled and waved, as I shot past them. Even with the wind I finished up back at the house with 6.5 miles or 10.9 kms in under a hour. Thus 10 kms in 57:39, also a PR for me, and my feet were fine.
I did end up with a small blister just behind my toes of my right foot (I am assuming due to the wet sidewalks and asphalt), but other than that, my feet exceeded my expectations for how they did. I was only figuring I would get about 2 miles in before my feet got cold, and not only did I exceed it, I could of gone further, much further.
This looks like it will be an interesting winter, seeing what my bare feet will do, and for how long I can go into a Winnipeg winter running barefoot.
Monday, November 8, 2010
This song has been on my running playlist (the faster version with the Spearheads) for the last year and I still enjoy it as much as the first time I heard it. what is your favourite running song?
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Don't forget to "fall back" tonight. Yay, an extra hour of sleep!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Question: Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "April 11 Long Run":
does any one know where in winnipeg i can get a pair of vibrams??? thanks i have just started running barefoot and would like to try a pair
Even though this is only one question, I actually have two answers for this, or one answer and a recommendation per say.
Answer: There is no local businesses that currently sell Vibrams in Winnipeg or Manitoba. City Park Runners is on the short list as a retailer, but they are still waiting to get confirmation and stock for sale. The nearest location that carries Vibrams is Scheel's in Fargo, as well as a another small independent running store (the name escapes me at this moment). There is also a couple of retailers in Saskatoon. If you make to the Twin Cities, there are numerous sporting stores like REI that carry Vibrams. If you visit http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/, they have a function that will allow you to locate stores. Please note if you are going to look at ordering Vibrams online, order from Vibram direct or http://www.rei.com/ or when they have them in stock http://www.mec.ca/ Do not order from anywhere else as there are numerous companies and stores that are currently selling counterfits (yes I do mean counterfits, there is a market for them).
Recommendation: If you have started to learn how to run barefoot, it is my suggestion (and numerous experts on the subject) that you run barefoot until you figure out the right form that works for you. You will change your bad habits (from shod running) much quicker if you learn how to run barefoot naturally. The point is you need to learn how to feel the ground and pick up your feet verse a swinging motion. There is a wealth of knowledge out there at your fingertips from people who have been running this way for years, eg. Barefoot KenBob is one of the pioneers of making barefoot running more mainstream his forum is http://therunningbarefoot.com/, Jason Robillard is another big proponent of barefoot running http://barefootrunninguniversity.com/ both of these are great resources for not only learning the proper form but for also getting the answers to questions that I know from experience you will have along your journey to 'Happy Feet'.
Also another great resource is The Barefoot Runners Society, a website with barefoot and minimalistic shoe runners that share experiences and knowledge pertaining to this subject. Members are located all over the world and the wealth of knowledge is unbelievable, plus the barefoot running community is absolutely amazing, everybody on there is friendly and just want to help. If you want to check it out the link is http://www.barefootrunners.org/ and if you are interested in becoming a member let me know and I will send you a invite.
Also the biggest and most important piece of advise I have about learning how to run barefoot
is start slow, listen to your body and your feet do not over do it, and relax, running is suppose to be fun, if you are not relaxed while you are running how can you have any fun.
Good Luck and Happy Feet To You
Monday, November 1, 2010
Being a hairstylist I find that it is not really practical to cut hair while I’m barefoot. As much as I enjoy being without footwear, especially inside, I do not enjoy digging out hair slivers from the bottom of my feet. Yes, they hurt, and they are difficult to get to. I have been having a problem this season finding appropriate work footwear for my ever changing feet, but no longer. The Zem booties are perfect, as they look like a shoe, will protect my feet from the hair, and they seem to wash well. I would recommend these as well for indoor use where someone might like a slipper, those of us who get cold feet.
Just a bit of back ground on my feet, shoe sizing has always been a problem for me as I have a long and very narrow foot. Then there is the ever changing nature of my feet which is something else entirely. Mostly the changing feet evolved around the time of my children, and many things happened. At the end of each pregnancy I found my feet had changed and I was required to find new footwear again, but nothing as drastic as to what has happened over this past year of using minimalist shoes. My hammer toes have been correcting themselves! I now have straighter toes, which is how it is suppose to be, although it leaves me with the issue of once again realizing that my foot now has a new size, again. This is where I had the problem of finding a shoe for work that 1. Was not a heal 2. Was long enough 3. Was minimalist 4. Looked great 5. Was narrow enough. Now I have found it in the Zem bootie! It really is quite exciting for me as it is not every day you’ll find a triple A or even a double A on the shelf of a shoe store. A friend of mine who has a triple E width tried them on as well and was very surprised to find that the bootie did not cut into her foot, as she has the opposite problem as I do in finding footwear. The tech bands are very nice to both the narrow as well as the wide foot.
With all this back ground on my changing feet I must mention that I have been trying a pair that are a bit small, but am waiting for my order to arrive for my next larger pair. With this pair I do feel the seam under my heal and have noticed that I have stressed the seam where the sole meets the upper, and after a long run Sunday morning found I had caused a hole here. I have very much been enjoying the booties and decided that with the stretch material it would be fine to take them out finally on an outdoor long run, as I had been keeping them to indoor use and shorter runs outdoors. Even with a hole in them at the stress point where the seam sits under my foot, they washed up very nicely.
I have really enjoyed my Zem booties and am very much looking forward to my next order to arrive; I will need some new colors for work this season! Of course there is also the snow and ice to try them out on.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Now, I have never had this type of injury before, so I really do not know what to expect, I am sure it is fine, but those lingering thoughts in the back of my head persist, and will probably remain until I go out and give it a try. So I am going to make an effort, come hell or high water (hopefully not high water, I can't swim) to go out and put a small run in this afternoon, before taking the skeleton and the tiger out for trick or treating tonight.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Recently Candace was in Winnipeg raising funds for her run. We were inspired by a radio interview which mentioned that she was in need of a new pair of running shoes. Wanting to show our support for her mission, The Winnipeg Barefoot Runners decided to buy her a pair. This may seem odd considering most of us don't wear running shoes and those that do, haven't bought a pair in years nor intend to. We decided to purchase them from City Park Runners as we have had good experience with them in the past (awesome customer service). The owner was so inspired by meeting Candace and hearing her story that he also bought her a pair! We would like to wish Candace all the best and send out a big thank you to Erik who has an awesome running store and for supporting her run.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
An elated new member
Sunday, October 24, 2010
N & G signed up Vulture Bait, it seems like years ago (reality it was probably June), and I was intrigued enough and thought it would be fun to try, so I registered in July. It seems like so long ago, but that just shows you how much we were looking forward to this challenge. Lets just say it did not go in any way like any of us wanted it too, not one us finished for a variety of reasons, which I will quickly dive into when I start the next paragraph. Don't get me wrong we were all disappointed in the final outcome, BUT, we all had a blast getting to where we got and the experience was well worth the journey, and look out ultra world for next year, because you have not seen the last of us.
Now that I have stood on my soap box and waggled my finger in anticipation of next year and successful results, I will now dwell into the individual reasons why we did not finish this race. I do not offer these as excuses to why we did not finish, but reasons that will not deter us from our goals next year.
I will get right to the point, G had developed pneumonia the week before the run, and was put onto antibiotics 5 days prior to the run. Needless to say, running 50 kms or even 25 kms is dangerous with any type of illness, but with pneumonia it could be deadly. So G not wanting to miss out on the experience decided to run at a slower pace to the second aide station, which was slated to be about 10 kms (which ended up to be about 13.5 km), so she could at least partake and not feel like she missed what we had all been looking forward to for months. Plus this was her opportunity to test that cool running dress that she had the opportunity to critique, and damn did it look good on her, so good I thought I was seeing double (there was actually another runner that was wearing the same dress there as well, what are the odds.).
N, finished the first 25 km loop, and she was pulled off the course by one of the run coordinators because she did not make the cut off split. This happened for a variety of reasons. N, being N, was concerned about G and wanted to make sure she was ok until she pulled herself, therefore she was not keeping an eye on the time, thus they took some longer stops at the aid stations, stopped to take pictures, etc. This being said she missed the cutoff time that she would of typically had no issue making to carry on with the second loop or the final 25 km of the 50 km run. Needless to say she was a little disappointed that it worked out that way.
Now my story was a little different, I pulled myself out at the 48 km mark of the 50 km Ultra, now most people would say, why would you do that? You were almost done, why didn't you crawl to the finish line? Well, simply, at the time I didn't think I could go any further without doing some major damage to my already pulled groin. I have been involved in sports all my life, and fortunately I had never pulled my groin, and knowing some friends that have pulled theirs and carried on doing some serious damage and they have never been the same. At the time I didn't think it was worth it, so I decided it was time to stop. Now that I have gone over and over the circumstances in my head, I am kicking myself for that decision, because I think I could of finished, but what is done is done, no regrets. At the time I had just finished a combination of 14 kms of walk/runs post groin pull, after running 34 km of real trails (not your typical Manitoba defined trails), that included lots of hills, switchbacks, creek crossings, lots of leave covered rocks and roots and a variety of running surfaces and some of the most gorgeous scenery that you can witness on this type of run. We also had to dodge mountain bikers and hikers coming from in front and behind, which at times was a challenge in itself on some of the narrow and cliff edge trails, where there was barely enough room for one runner at times. Let us not forget I ran the first 34 km barefoot and wearing a kilt, and I had the time of my life.
On to the run report:
It was a perfect day for a run, blue skies, temperatures sitting around 4 degrees Celsius at start time, and barely a breeze blowing, just enough to not allow the air to get stagnant. N and I arrived at the Fanshawe Conservatory Park at around 8:10 am to meet G who had drove down from Toronto that morning with her husband. After a bit of coordinating to find each other, we headed to the starting area to pickup our timing chips and get ready to partake in the day of fun to come. I will be honest I did get some looks as I was walking around in my kilt and VFF's , and the only thing that was coming to my mind, was "What are they going to think when I take the VFF's off and start running barefoot?" This kind of brought a smile to my face, and I just carried on doing what I usually do before a run, a couple of stretches and just trying to loosen up a little. Here we were, 3 odd ducks( a girl in a pair of VFF's (N), another girl in a dress (G) and a guy in a kilt and soon to be bare feet (yours truly)), standing among some really serious ultra marathon runners, were we nervous, not really we were there to have some fun. It was a little nippley out so we decided to go into the pavilion to warm up, they had a couple of wood stoves going, perfect for warming up the feet.
This is the table that we felt was meant for us, we almost missed the starting gun as we had to get a couple of pictures off the start.
And the gun goes off and we are off (can you spot any of us in this picture)
Final warning for the start of the race was called as we were still scrambling around trying to get last minute pictures, gee who would of guessed, as about 30 late comers (including us), high tailed it out of the pavilion and down the hill to the starting area. There was slightly over 300 runners total between the 25 km and 50 km distances, so it was a good variety. Of course we moved towards the back of the pack (one of these days I will have to position myself better), and I proceeded to get a couple of comments about the kilt and the VFF's, so to add to the drama, I bent over to take the VFF's off, to a hushed chorus of, "He's not really going to run bare foot is he?" Yes, Yes I am, I was bound and determined to complete at least half of the 50 as bare as can be (insert dramatic music for effect here). The grass at the start area is longer, and still moist from the morning dew, actually quite a pleasant feeling on the bare feet, not to cold, just right, I had a feeling this was going to be a great day for a run (boy was I in for a shock). I turned my Garmin on (so I thought), turned my I-pod on to get focused, and waited for the mass of runners to start moving to facilitate the start of the race. I didn't have to wait long, I got moving into a good pace setting myself up behind a couple of runners who were slowly slicing through the crowds ahead. This worked very well, until the pack thinned out, and I was able to settle into a 6:30 min/km, not to fast but a good pace until I figured out what type of terrain I would be facing.
The first portion of the trail started with some open areas to allow the runners to position themselves a little easier before the break into the more restrictive trail portions of the course. We ran towards the camp ground areas (this was where I realized my garmin had not started after almost 2 kms, which I quickly rectified) and thru some quick trails and out onto the access road prior to heading down some old tractor trails. By this point the runners were thinning out as the quicker runners distanced themselves from the intermediate runners (more my speed) and the slower runners. By the time we hit the first aide station at the 5km mark, I had fielded numerous questions about my bare feet from runners and volunteers alike.
Overall I had a lot of comments like you have to have tough feet, or wow that is crazy I wish I could do that.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
I contacted Christine, Founder and Creative Director and Enid, Designer and Maker of Magic at Nuu-Muu.com and they sent me one to try out for Vulture Bait. It arrived a few days prior to my departure date and I confess to wearing it constantly before even running in it because it is that comfortable and cute. Luckily I remembered to wash it in time and throw it in the suitcase on my way to London, Ontario for the race. The dress came out of the suitcase wrinkle free and on race day I wore it over a long sleeve technical shirt as it was a chilly 3C in the early part of the morning.
The dress is an A-Line design made from a polyester and spandex blend and fits true to size. I suspect there aren't too many running dresses around even in Ontario as I had quite a few runners ask me about it ( now I know how Bob feels). I am happy to report the dress did not ride up at all during my run and remained comfortable throughout. Unfortunately I did not get to test the dress to its potential as I decided ahead of time to only run 1/4 of the race due to having a bout of pneumonia. However, I did manage one good wipe out on the course. The dress was unscathed, although my knee was not. I found the dress to be the right length and plan to wear short spankies underneath when running in warmer weather. This leads to another bonus of wearing a dress for us trail distance runners who need to use the ahem, washroom from time to time when there is none around. I won't go into detail for our more sensitive readers. Lets just say it will be much easier to manage these awkward situations in a dress.
I have never seen these dresses before, there are a a variety of patterns to choose from and yet I came across another runner wearing the exact same dress! We had both heard rumours of someone else wearing "our" dress but we only spotted each other after the race. Maryka ordered hers at the beginning of the summer and says she has worn it to every race since receiving it. I believe she recently finished a 100 miler. You can't tell by the photo but she has mud on her pants and dried mud (in true Vulture Bait fashion) all up the side of one arm and again her dress has come out unscathed. She said she bought hers because she doesn't like her belly showing either. I have a feeling we're going to see a lot more of these dresses in the future.
I love the dress. I knew I would. Thanks Christine and Enid. Happy Trails!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
The first thing that popped up on my Google search was an entry asking how many maniacs are showing up for Vulture Bait.
The next entry was a posting from West Grey Runner that I found helpful and am left wondering if perhaps I should wear a mouth guard after reading his review( I paid good money for my teeth thanks to an unfortunate bike accident many years ago). A few of his main points are:
1)You will fall. Probably several times. Every last runner fell at least once on this course. You can decrease your number of tumbles by chatting less and paying more attention to the terrain. Exposed roots covered in leaves is the main reason for the high rate of falls.
2)You will be running with very accomplished runners. Because of the low number or registrants and high number of real athletes ( when do I get to become one of those?), this means people will probably be on their way home before I even cross the finish line.
3)In the later portion of the race you will find mountain bikers,hikers, and dog walkers sharing the path with you. You may have to maneuvre around them as some will not move out of the way for you which will be difficult considering your mental state at this point in the race.
So with that bit of knowledge I hope to set out with a few band-aids, Vegn, and Goo and have a great experience in my introduction to Ultra running. I would like to finish upright with all my teeth intact, because I know my toenails won't be.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
So the story unfolds like this:
We found a great running group a few months ago through some contacts at another group. This group is called 'Roadkill'. They are fantastic! They meet once a week at a track and do speed work together. We have had several opportunities to go, and what we have learned has been so very helpful. Unfortunately I am not always able to go because of the timing and the kids, and how life in general just gets busy. What we have been doing is mimicking what we have learned as well as reading more, with a better understanding of what it all is.
I now know what a 100m stride (pick up) is, and what it is used for- to get the heart rate up before you try to run faster for longer. A 400m is 1 lap around the track. 4 of those is a mile (I can count on a good day). Rest is when you stop and catch your breath (for me that is collapsing onto the ground so I can concentrate fully on breathing), a small break between sets. My belief is that all this is getting the body ready to sustain itself along the runs at a faster pace for a longer amount of time.
We have experienced many different instructions along the way from the coach of this group (he is totally awesome, and doesn't laugh at me, which is nice), but it always begins with a 1 mile warm up, 4x100m, break, then something incredible-the speed work, then a 1mile cool down.
With this small bit of knowledge, when we cannot get to the track where the group runs we find a track in our area and we pretend to know what we are doing. So this Tuesday night we headed out to the track by my place and this is what I did to us:
1 mile warm up (thanks to G for not letting me cut this short)
400m with a 3 min break
800m with a 3 min break
1200m with a 3 min break (I was wavering here about if this was too much? we decided it wasn't?)
800m with a 3 min break
400m with a 3 min break
1 mile cool down (again, thanks to G for pushing me to finish whole)
An hour and 15 min later, we were done.
We have our BIG run in just over a week. I'm so hoping that this is something that would resemble a proper roadkill work out as I'm also hoping this will help us along to our goal of a good finish (that would be without injury). I also remember that in the book "Run like a mother" one of the authors talks about doing a couple of mile sets, and I have heard talk of things called ladders? So I am very excited for the day when I have the time to get back to roadkill, and in the mean time I will try not to kill us as we try to keep up the speed WORK.
Does any one have any favorite speed work outs?
Next, still have to find out about hills? and hill WORK.
Have a great week everyone.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Want to give a shout out to all the people who are running for Filo, a lovely elementary teacher who died recently. If I didn't think I was going to be away this weekend I would have run with Team Filo. Thought I'd put the website up in case anyone was looking to donate. Better late than never!
Thursday, September 30, 2010
It seems to happen that when researching something I come across a different subject which results in an entirely different train of thought. I set out to research the shoes in the above blog ( looking to replace the swim shoes that have stretched out and flew off my foot yesterday in mid stride). The picture of the Eco-Runner carrying a garbage bag was quite a sight. I pick up garbage during a run sometimes but this guy really goes out of his way and collects an average of 5 bags per run (1200 bags of trash per year)! Inspired, I stuffed a grocery bag in a pocket and set off to meet Nicole for a run. This is how much garbage I collected after only 14 minutes of running. Crazy!
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Some of us (ok, me) are in the throes of what is termed the Post Marathon Blues...and frankly I'm sick of this feeling! Personally, I am looking at tomorrow's run as the official end to this blues thing. Maybe we'll go somewhere new...and somewhere extra muddy. I have no idea what distance we'll be running as it'll depend on the collective mood ( 20 miles anyone?). It might be a good idea to bring cell phones and marking tape, just in case ( don't want to do that lost in the woods thing again).
We'll meet at 6 am unless I hear some enthusiasm for meeting at 5 am ( anyone?). Location same place as usual.
Running is so varied form one person to another, it is so individual, it keeps us all learning about ourselves and our environment. Each run, training or race, is so different and ever changing that there are a variety of guide lines for how to train for different events, and they later become more narrow per runner, as to what works for that one specific person. There are so many ideas and schools of thought, which keeps it all interesting and I don't think I will ever get board trying new things. Although now, with trying a new distance I find comfort in the thought of something less varied, a training plan I can stick to, something concrete to follow, one that is specific to this new distance. Call it a starting point, a diving board, something to expand on in the future. We are looking at the last marathon as part of our training plan for the next adventure, Vulture Bait 50k. I am currently working in an after plan, especially knowing how I can feel 4-5 days after the high from completing a marathon. Not something I'm liking.
Experimenting with nutrition and distance has taken up a large part of running this year, each long run has brought out new snacks (Jeannie's chocolate cake was a nice touch back in Feb.) new ways to hydrate in different temperatures (water and Gatorade freeze well in -20C). Where are we going to feel exhausted? How far until we need to refuel? How are we going to refuel? We have discovered that the 'long run rounds' are great cookies for spring summer and fall, but get too frozen in the winter. The home-made protein bars are best in winter as they are better frozen, and get too soggy in the spring and summer when it is getting warmer out.
I guess the lesson is to plan what you can, then roll with what ever falls onto your path, and to always keep getting up. As I write this though I see Gail has a way more awesome post... so I'm gonna stop here and take her advice to keep motivated....
See you tomorrow morning.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Because really the Ultra is in less than 4 weeks....... OK, the panic is now starting to come to the forefront. Since Treherne I have ran 2 WH3 runs (totalling about 6 miles) and a 14 km trail race at Birdshill Park for a total of under 15 miles. Now I did run all this with a nice bruise on my left foot and a knot in my right calf, and that is my excuse for not having any additional mileage, but I am thinking I need to ramp this up significantly so I can feel comfortable going into Vulture Bait.
Now Nicole is planning to run 'The Lemming Loop' Trail race on October 3rd (run as far as you can in 3, 6 or 12 hours, she is shooting for the 6 hours), and I am thinking I should do the same. This will give us a good idea of what Vulture Bait will be like, and this will also be good to have prior to starting our taper runs leading up to it.
It is going to be a fun next couple of weeks, and I am loving every minute of it. Now just to find the time to get all the running in that I want to do. Life is nothing if it not full of challenges.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Nicole, Gail and Me Before the Start of the RaceMy Lovely Wife and I Prior to the Big Race
The run started at 8:00 am sharp at the Treherne Community Club and the weather was perfect for running, not to hot and partly cloudy. It was definitely a good day for a run. I did get some looks as I headed in and out of the community centre, not sure why, could of been the kilt, could of been the VFF's (I like to leave the shoes on till just before the race for the dramatics bom ba da da). I will say I was a little surprised I only had 2 or 3 people come up to me and ask me about the kilt, I was actually expecting a little more. I think Nicole got more questions and comments about her VFF's, which she always answers with a smile.
I want to do this report a little differently this time, expanding on the emotions listed above, it might give you a view inside my head, not like I need another voice in there (just had to include that from Gail's last post about the shirt from Queen City Marathon, makes me laugh every time), as I worked thru the marathon.
This one is easy, I have been looking forward to this run for about 4 weeks, and we were finally on our way driving down the highway from Winnipeg towards Treherne. Gail was driving, I was in the passenger seat, and Nicole was tucked away in the backseat. Nicole and I knew this was going to be a good day for a run due to the following reason, earlier in the morning after packing the kids in the van and heading over to Gail's house, 'Run to the Hills', by Iron Maiden came onto the radio as I started up the car. Nicole caught the irony right away, I was singing along, and it took Nicole to point out what I was singing. This was definitely going to be a good day.
The hour drive out seemed to take forever, but we made it by 7:15 am, enough time to wander around a bit. When we got to Treherne, we were directed to the run location by numerous locals at every corner pointing the way to ensure no one got lost (seems hard to imagine in a town of under 700, but I guess its possible). We got to park about 200 yards from the start/finish line, this was interesting to see this as we pulled up. I could not wait to start the run.
I am finding that this happens to me every run, I get those little thoughts in my head, like '26.2 miles, your going to run that, are you crazy', and 'your knees are not going to hold up, why are you doing this to me?' and my favourite 'you could just pull up a lawn chair, have a beer and watch all the crazy people run!'. This is where I think, well I am one of the crazy ones and I don't want to be left behind. Butterflies in the stomach seems to be a common thing for me at these runs, but I find if I get myself lined up to start, and once I cross the start line at the start of the run I am fine, but I have to remind myself not to go out to fast. The nervous energy always seems to propel me to go to fast at the start, which causes me problems later down the road. I was determined not to let that happen this time. So to help curb the nervous energy, I decided I was going to start this run barefoot, to make me concentrate a little more and hopefully pace myself (did I mention that the majority of this run is on gravel/dirt roads).
The 'Start' warning call was made, and the 70 or so full marathoners lined up ready to go, with Nicole, Gail and myself lined up towards the back as per usual. The official start was called and we were off, we started south from the community club on a dirt road out to the asphalt street, and did a quick tour of the town prior to heading out onto the dirt roads. My feet were responding well to everything that was thrown in front of them for terrain, and the dirt roads were in awesome shape with some good tracks and not to many sharp stones. I had a lot of interest in my barefoot running once I caught up to the back half of the half marathoner's, and struck up quite a few conversations along the way until they cut off of our route. The kilt came up (no pun intended) a few times as well. I was quite happy with my progress, I maintained a 9:00 minute mile thru town, but slowed down to a acceptable 11:00 mile once I hit the dirt roads. I was able to carry this for the first 10 miles or so, slowing down when I hit a hill (I am actually faster going up then going down, which I find interesting) climb and descent to about a 13:00 min mile. I used the hills to pass numerous runners that were walking up them, I think this shocked a few people as a guy with no shoes and a kilt raced by them on a hill climb.
I was so happy with my feet, they felt great, and my confidence sky rocketed and the determination kicked in. It became my goal at that point to not only finish the marathon, but finish it barefoot. It would be the longest run I have done barefoot, as my previously best was 16.0 miles, and that being on a mix of terrain but mostly concrete sidewalk (this was dirt/gravel road).
I will say it was kind of a weird feeling as I approached the point where the half marathoners split off from the marathoners (this was about mile 10). I was running with a group of about 30 to 40 runners and then I headed south, and Everybody else kept going straight. Wow, suddenly I was alone, I could see another marathoner way off in the distance, but it wasn't to long before they were gone too. Boy they are right when they said it is a lonely feeling to be a marathoner, but this made me more determined to push on, but it was honestly harder to gauge my progress and my pace even with the garmin not having some fellow competitors to run with.
A Little Bit of Embarrassment
I can only start this section like this, IT WAS VERY WINDY, I had a hard time keeping my kilt down as I ran along the course (of course it was not a wind that blew in one direction only, it changed directions frequently). For the first little while, I was running with one arm arm holding my kilt down, this obviously impeded my speed, as I was unwilling to give everybody around me a free show, considering I was running 'au natural' under the kilt (what can I say I am Scottish). Once I broke off from the pack, it appeared that the wind died down so I was able to go back to a typical running gait with both arms pumping in time with my legs, this of course allowed me to increase my speed. This of course worked great until I reached mile 13.1 thru mile 16.0, here we were on a wide open prairie road and the wind was absolutely crazy. I had to concentrate a little more on my feet placement because the road was getting rather rough in areas and some pretty nasty stones and rocks kept appearing. Because of this, one good gust of wind hit me at just the right moment, and my kilt lifted up, and I swear it was around my neck. I pushed it down quickly and took a quick peek around to see if anybody by chance saw my 'peekaboo I see you' imitation, and I was quite glad that it appeared that no one did. This brought me back to holding onto my kilt a little more often (I must find a way to deal with this on those very windy days), for the duration of the race.
As the saying goes, "No Pain No Gain", well normally I am a big believer in this statement, but on this day, I hit my limit and on a surface I was not expecting. After running, I would say 14.0 plus miles mostly on dirt and gravel roads and my feet felt as great as they did, and seeing the asphalt road ahead, it was no wonder I was smiling as much as I was. Boy, that was a mistake, I hit the road with a vengeance expecting to be able to fly over the asphalt with not having to pay as close of attention to miss all the rocks. Well let me tell you, the first 20 yards was ok, then I hit the unexpected, the asphalt was in such bad shape it felt like I was running on a cheese grater, serrated side up. I danced around the asphalt trying to find a good line that was not all broken and jagged, moving from the right side to close to the middle (did I mention this was a secondary highway and I did see some traffic along the way). To top the bad surface off, the wind started howling again, and it almost felt like I was going farther backwards then forwards, as I expelled a whole lot of energy trying to maintain a decent pace while trying to hold my kilt down. This stretch was about 2 miles and I was thankful when I saw the next water station and the restart of the gravel road. My feet were more soar then when I ran on the fresh gravel previously. I stopped at the water station, grabbed a water, answered a couple questions about the kilt and the no shoes, then started down the gravel road, with a sigh of relief for the moment.
So lets see, I finished 16.0 miles barefoot as I set forth on the start of the second leg of gravel road (this being more gravel than dirt), and now the bottom of feet felt like one big bruise (two if you count both feet). I made it down the road about a 1/4 of a mile, dancing around and not having much luck, even the small stones that I normally glide over with no issue, felt like daggers in the souls of my feet. Disappointment set in as my thoughts of finishing the entire 26.2 barefoot curl up the chimney like a puff of smoke (and then they were gone). At this point I was wrestling with the possibility of putting the VFF's on and decided it might be for the best. So I came to a stop and tried to put a shoe on, imagine someone hopping around off balance on one foot trying to slip a slightly swollen foot into a shoe, while trying to keep the kilt from blowing up and exposing more to the world then I wanted too. At this point Gail caught up to me, so needless to say, being a little embarrassed I gave up trying to get the shoe on, and decided to carry on barefoot a little longer. I started running again, dodging the rocks as best I could for the next 1/4 mile, but not very quickly, in fact Gail was leaving me in the dust, and Nicole was gaining on me quite quickly. At this pace, I was getting nowhere, so with a final sigh of defeat, I kneeled down and started to get my shoes on, it took a little bit but finally success, they were on. With that I was off and running again, you would be surprised with the difference that that little bit of rubber between your feet and the ground makes protection wise. I was able to pick up my speed again to a modest 11:30 mile, sore feet, near exhaustion and all. I know I should not be too disappointed, as I did run 16.5 miles barefoot, and not to many people can say they have achieved that, so I did sneak a smile or two along the way.
Not only was the distance a source of exhaustion, but the wind was causing havoc with the progress that I was making. I was expelling more energy than I was expecting as I hit a gust of wind head on more times than not. It was definitely challenging, and any thoughts of completing this run under 5 hours had just gone out the window, I just wanted to finish as strong as possible. I will admit, some doubts did start to cross my mind, as the exhaustion started to set in, but I decided I was going to push thru it and give everything I had, until I could not go anymore. I decided that I would start to walk up the hills to save some energy and use the momentum of the run down to propel me further. This seemed to work, I was able to push myself further ahead by doing this, another mind game I started as well was to break the run into 2 mile increments (from water station to water station), this seemed to work as well, as the exhaustion was there but it became manageable as I started to break the race into pieces and focus on the small piece rather than the sum of all the remaining pieces. I think I had found my second, third and possibly my fourth wind, and my legs started to move not as fast as at the start but they were still moving. This carried me thru to the 24.0 mile water station (that and 3 Gu's, and some encouraging words and comments from the volunteers throughout).
Some More Grit
By the time I hit mile 25.7 and the last water station (yes they had the last water station at the edge of town), I was almost spent, but with some last words of encouragement from the volunteers, I dug down deep and picked up my pace as I hit the town's asphalt roads. I was determined to use every little bit of grit I had left to finish this race running as fast as my tired legs could carry me. Rounding corners and running up the residential streets as quickly as I could until I saw a curious sight, two direction arrows together going in different directions, not completely sure what it meant (was I to go around the first sign before turning in towards the finish line?). All that was going thru my head was a HHH reference, as I thought, damn it if I am going to shortcut this, so I wheeled around the sign pointing in the wrong direction and headed into the community centre entrance area. By this point, my legs were really starting to feel heavy, but I dug down and ran straight for the path to the finish line.
As I saw the finish line, Gail came sprinting out to get a picture of me as I worked my way to the finish line, I lifted my arms in mock premature celebration prior to her snapping the picture. I was just focusing on the finish line, as Gail yelled something about a beer and beer fairies and at the time it did not register, just the sight of the finish line. As I drew nearer to the end, the announcer called out my name (and got it right) and added the fact that I was wearing a kilt. I was elated with emotion and exhaustion as I gave him the thumbs up and crossed the finish line in 5 hours 25 minutes and 54 seconds plus or minus (now I have a PB to improve on), not the time I was hoping for but I finished and now I can say I am one of the few who has ran and completed a marathon.Me as I approached the Finish Line and Yes I am Still Smiling
Nicole as she sprinted to the finish line to complete her 3rd marathon
Ecstatic From Achieving The Ultimate Goal
All I can say is 'Woot Woot!' I did it. Now I can focus on the next goal for next month completing a 50 km trail ultra marathon at Vulture Bait. But I am high on life at this point and will not forget this race anytime soon. It was a whole lot of fun, and I will be back again next year.
Kudos to all the volunteers from the start of the race, to all the water and aid stations, thru to the volunteers at the end. Also a big thanks to our beer fairies (Glenn and Jamie), who shared a cold one with us at the end, we look forward to providing the refreshments next year.
And a big kudos to Gail for finishing her first marathon as well (and kicking my ass to boot), you were one of the driving forces to helping me finish this goal. But the biggest kudos goes to my wife Nicole, who not only finished her 3rd marathon after signing up 4 days prior, but also accomplished a PB by more than 5 minutes, she never ceases to amaze me with her strength and perseverance in all that she does.