Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kyle: A win and a fail

Saturday was a very busy day. Rebekah, our eldest, had to be at a friend house early in the day for a day camp with her friend. Right after that the two little girls had a ballerina class. We had enough time after they got home from that to quickly eat lunch and then the two older boys had a birthday party to go to. In and out of the house all day long. So thankfully I was able to take advantage of some time while the boys were at the party.

Ready for a run!!!
Forgot my carabiner. Did Paul's method of tucking it into my belt. Worked great. Can't do that with marshmallow shoes though.
I was able to take just over an hour to have a run. My feet were feeling all better now so I was looking to have a good run. We have been talking about running in confederation park for a while so. Apparently the paths there are freshly paved and are lovely for going barefoot on. So with that in mind, I totally forgot about that and ran down the pathway by the Deerfoot instead. Silly Kyle. My wife is currently running in Confed so she will have to tell me how great the paths are there.
I love running on the paths by deerfoot. It's nice and long and not too crowded. However I now notice going barefoot that the path condition is pretty crappy. The pavement is quite rough. I welcomed every single bridge that came along because the pavement on the bridges is smooth and lovely.

Pathway along Deerfoot.
Pathway in a natural area around Beddington trail and Center Street.
Got a couple of weird looks, but no comments about my barefootedness. But I didn't care. It felt so good to be out running, feeling the ground under my feet. I loved it. I was having so much fun that when I came upon a gravel path I thought, Why not? Wow. I can't believe I was running on gravel. It didn't hurt my feet, but it did feel very sharp. Very intense. After a while it started to feel painful. Interesting because it never injured my feet. All said and done, my feet felt great, but the feeling was too intense.

Gravel Pathway? Don't mind if I do.
The gravel path I was on didn't quite go where I thought it was going. So I could either turn around and go back, go up the hill along the gravel path or go along a trail. I chose the trail. I apparently was feeling very adventurous that day. Running on the trail was lovely, except when there were stones along the way. My feet were still feeling very sensitive from the gravel. Got to the end of the trail and came upon...another gravel path. I wasn't feeling up to more gravel barefoot so that is when I put my Vibrams on. Amazing how much better it feels running on gravel with my Vibrams on. Almost effortless. Before it would have felt much harder, but now it was easy.

And then running barefoot along a trail. Lovely.
More gravel so on go my Vibrams.

All in all I did about 4 miles barefoot and it was great. My feet felt perfect and a day later (today) they still feel great. That was my win. Anyways so I was now running with my Vibrams on and just running back to pick up the boys. I was running short on time so I needed to go at a good pace. This was all good until my big fail. My left knee started to hurt at about 1.5 miles left to go (I ran about 6.5 miles that day). I couldn't walk, couldn't slow down, just had to push through the pain. Bad idea. Had I not needed to be back to get the boys I would have done this totally different. Alas I didn't have much choice. Running 1.5 miles with a hurt knee is not good. I wouldn't recommend it. My knee was super sore all yesterday and last night. It's a little better today but it will probably be a while until I can have a good run again. Aaarrrrgh!

My feet feel great. Knee, not so much.
I have never been good about taking care of myself when I get sore. But this time I'm going to follow RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) like a good little runner and see if that helps my knee to feel better quicker. You win some, you lose some. If anyone has other ideas on how to get better quicker, leave a comment and let me know. Thanks.


Sarah needed to be a pothead too. Laff
Abigail comes up to me and says "I'm a pothead!!!"

Friday, October 28, 2011

Kyle Day 9: More barefooters and more pain

This here is a late post. I should have posted it Monday night, but here we are and now it's friday. So just pretend that this was posted on Monday and everything is cool. :)

So Monday came and I went for another run with Paul and Ryan. Great run. We went for about 10 km. Knowing that this would be longer barefoot than I have ever done (and that the increase in mileage would be substantial) I only did about 5.8 km barefoot and then put on my Vibrams for the last 4.2 km. Definitely a smart move on my part. Didn't want to push it too much. However I do think it was still a little too much, but more on that later.

Probably on the last 3 km of our run Ryan (Paul corrected me, I thought his name was Brian) came running up barefoot. And now there were 4 of us crazy guys in around 7 C all running barefoot (well I was in my Vibrams at that point, but close enough). Awesome. I wonder if we could get any more people to try it. Maybe by this time next year we will have another 4 people. Who knows. Still pretty cool. There was mention in the group of maybe having a barefoot race, possibly in Confederation Park. Robbie says that she is already game and I'm sure we could get a bunch more people to race too. Plus Rebekah would love to run with us. Can't wait till it gets warm again.

Anyways so after my run I started getting more foot pain. Top of the foot pain on my right foot and a little pain along the outside of my left foot. Too much. What was even stranger was like a grinding when I bent my right big toe. Not fun. I did decide to take more time off running until my feet feel better. I skipped running all week and now, on friday, I'm feeling much better. My feet are almost 100% and that weird grinding thing stopped (it actually stopped on Wednesday). I'm sure that my feet are changing and the pain is a factor in it. Either way I'm taking it easy and letting my feet slowly adjust to the mileage. Here's to a good next week and some more miles barefoot. Hopefully the weather holds out. :)

The 4 of us. Seriously, could I take a worse picture? I'm a sweaty mess and my double chin is wonderful. I'm one of those guys who sweats like crazy for no mileage.


OMG!! I can run!!

Ok so really quick post. I ran tonight. Not far but it was AWESOME! Yes I'm yelling. I took everyone's advice and decided to concentrate on lifting my knees higher and shortening my stride. Tada no calf pain. Kyle and I ran back and forth along the bike path behind our house (about half a mile in total). I ran in place to start with to get a feel for lifting my knees. Then I took a very slight lean forward and let myself fall into each step. I pulled my feet in under me and away we went. It felt so good.  It felt like flying really, I felt like I was hardly touching the ground. The only calf pain I had was the one step where I reached out too far. We did the entire run barefoot. Although it was quite cold out my feet weren't really feeling it. I didn't notice the cold until we came inside and my toes started to warm up. Ouch. Anyways thanks to everyone who checked out my form and gave me things to try. I am so excited that I could run pain free. I am also amazed at how great half a mile feels when you haven't been running at all.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Barefoot running on the treadmill.

Well I haven't had much to post lately on the running front. Still waiting for my calf strain to feel better. Generally now during the day walking around, going up and down stairs I have no trouble. I can even run half a block to the mailbox and back without pain so I know it's coming. I have also been making progress on the weight loss front so that is good. Seriously if I wasn't at least losing weight I think I would be unbearable to be around. Running has helped so much with my stress and dealing with the general ups and downs of my moods. Right now without running we are all riding the roller coaster of my moods. Not fun for anyone.

So I thought I'd post about how things have been going with my weight loss and what I've been doing. I am now down to 148 which seems just crazy. I can't even remember being this light. Well I can but I was in grade 10 so it was quite sometime ago. What I have been doing is the same as when I began a year ago. I am counting my calories, 1500 a day, and eating every 3 hours. So far it hasn't been very difficult. I did get used to eating a lot more food than this while I was running but I am getting back into the swing of things. Lots of water, lots of tea when I feel like eating but am not hungry. I also eat on a schedule like a toddler. I am home all day, surrounded by stress and food. I use a schedule to be sure I am not mindlessly eating. I eat at 7, 10, 1, 3 and somewhere between 5-6. If I have leftover calories I eat a fruit sometime after supper. My biggest downfall has been coffee. I love coffee with cream and splenda. Each cup costs me 40 calories, no big deal really, but when I have a couple cups of coffee with snack I am not getting enough real food to help me stay full till my next meal. When I first started counting calories I gave up coffee and switched to black tea. I fell in love with Teaopia teas and have lots different kinds. My favourite right now is their Pumpkin Spice black tea. So good. I think that I am going to have to go back to tea until I can get running again and up my calories.

On the running front I did 1.65 miles on the treadmill on Tuesday. It felt great. I stopped as soon as my calf got sore. I started off in my Ghost 4s and just ran 'normally'. I cannot believe how easy it is to heel strike in normal shoes. It was almost impossible to get the right form because the heel keeps getting in the way. I very quickly ditched my shoes and socks and ran barefoot on the treadmill. Kyle decided to take video of my form so that I could post it here. Kyle has met some pretty great guys who have been barefooting for a long time, and they have been helping him with his form. I have mentioned that I am jealous because I have no idea what I am doing and I don't have anyone to watch me run and let me know. So I am going to post the video here and you guys can correct me and then I'll be a better runner. The run on the treadmill felt great. The belt felt like it was getting pretty warm though by the end. I also had some pretty great treadmill belt imprints on my feet. Should have gotten a picture but I forgot. I think that for now treaddy and I will be good friends. I can run just a little and know that I won't have to limp home if my calf hurts. Also it is one of the only flat areas to run around here. So that's how I've been doing. If you take a look at my video please let me know how I'm doing. What do I need to change?

First section in slow mo, second at regular speed. Please excuse the messy basement I do have 7 kids.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kyle Day 7 and 8: Barefooters aplenty and Running with Rebekah

I should have posted this sooner, but I have had a busy past couple days so ah well. The reason for the delay? Our church had a Weekend for Women 'conference' on Friday night and all of Saturday. So I was in charge of 7 kids all by my lonesome for that time (although a teen from church helped babysit the kids for a bit on Saturday. More on that later).

So on Friday at lunch I was able to get out another run. Ran by myself but there were barefooters aplenty. Well when I say aplenty, I mean I saw 3 other guys barefooting but I guess in our world that is a lot. Pretty awesome too. I managed to get in 3 miles barefoot in pretty chilly conditions. I believe my weather app was saying it was -1ยบ C outside. My feet were feeling pretty good the whole time, not really feeling the cold that much which is pretty awesome.

Anyways so I got out running by myself and right after I started I saw Ryan running barefoot in the opposite direction. Said Hi and continued on. Then another barefoot guy whom I have never seen before came speeding up behind me. He said Hi as he passed. Would have been cool to get his name or to chat for a little bit but this guy was booking it. He was probably doing a 6 minute mile, so I certainly understand why he didn't slow down to my pace (which was 8:20 minute/mile average). Got a couple comments on where were my shoes and 2 ladies were amazed at seeing more than one person barefooting.

On my way back to Eau Claire, right near the end of my run, I saw Brian running the other way. He was wearing thin sandals but he also takes them off after a while to go barefoot I have been told. Very awesome to see so many other people going barefoot. Finished my run and my feet were good but my left knee was a little sore, probably still from Nose Hill before. Maybe I'll take it a little easier this week to let it rest up.

Next on Saturday, while Robbie was at the weekend for women, Rebekah begged me to go running again. We had a teen from our church who wanted to come over to help out so I agreed to run with Rebekah. It was also at nap time so the babies would be down so that also made it easier for the teen.

Joseph managed to bend Rebekah's glasses out of shape so our run had a destination, the optometrist office to get them fixed. My Vibrams were still wet as I decided to wash them the night before (The stench was offending everyone) and I didn't want to barefoot it the whole way so I put on my running shoes. First time in my shoes in a long time so I had to see how it would go.

The run was great though. As I was running with Rebekah, it wasn't fast but it was fun. Lots of great bonding time. Rebekah also spontaneously decided to take off her shoes at 3 points during our run so she could barefoot it. I followed suit whenever she did. The last time was on our way back and she was starting to get tired. She made the comment that running barefoot felt so much better on her feet and that she loved it. Woot!! Loved hearing that, glad she is so happy to run.

Fantastic weekend, glad to get in a couple runs. Looking forward to running with the pack at lunch tomorrow and just having fun.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Hills everywhere

I ran this morning. It was not great. About half a mile in I notice my calf was aching. Not pain aching more like I haven't used those muscles in a while aching. I walked to the top of the hill in my neighbourhood and thought that the run home on relatively flat ground would be ok. The problem is that there are no flat areas at all where we live. When training for the Harvest Half this was a major benefit, the hills in the race seemed like nothing because every training run was a hill run. Now however with my sore calf, being surrounded by hills is not so good. I can run on flat ground with no problems, no pain and all is good. When I start up an incline, no matter how moderate, my calf starts cramping. So today's run was less than stellar. 2 miles done. My calf is sore now and I foresee more time off resting it and icing it.

On a different not I did about half a mile of my run barefoot. I was very interesting. It was about -4C when I left the house and I was surprisingly warm. I had on a pair of leggings, tank top, long sleeve technical shirt and a jacket. I wasn't too warm at all. I was surprised at how good it felt to be outside even in the cold. Even my lungs were doing well. Taking off my shoe felt great although my toes were a bit numb. I decided to put my vibrams back on because the street lights were out where I was running and I couldn't see the ground, too risky for me. Let me tell you trying to get my numb but not yet warmed from running toes back into my vibrams was a hard task. I think it may be time to invest in some toe socks or water shoes. With my vibrams back on I made my way home working hard to keep my form in check and to run as lightly as I could so that there would be the least impact on my calf. It seemed to work although my ninja style running must have looked quite odd. So that's that I think that I am going to rest and try some yoga for the next couple of days and see if my calf heals up. If anyone has any ideas on how to help my calf, specifically my soleus muscle, feel better or something that I may be doing wrong to keep hurting it please let me know. I am open to trying anything.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kyle Day 6 : The plus side of dirty feet

Went for another run at lunch time with Paul. Nice to get some more runs in, even if they are not the longest, it still feels great. This week I was able to get out Monday with the Barefoot Pack, Tuesday by myself for about 2.5 miles, today with Paul and I think I'll squeeze in another lunch time run tomorrow by myself.

 I have to say that barefoot running certainly has changed me and how I normally do things. If you have heard of the two kinds of runners, Cats (solitary runners) and Dogs (run with packs, love company) I definitely fall into being a Cat. I like running by myself as it lets me zone out and get some quiet time to myself. That's how I always did things.

Finding Paul and other barefoot runners to run with has been a refreshing change. It's nice to run with others as well. It's great to have someone else to ask questions of, to get advice from and also just to run with. I feel with barefoot running, rather than running in shoes (minimal or marshmallow), it all about connection and listening. You have to listen to your feet, listen to your whole body, watch your surroundings carefully and the tactile sensations from your feet let you connect with the ground so much more. It's pretty cool. With that in mind, I've been enjoying talking and meeting with other runners. I have also been running without headphones in. Not a big surprise when running with others, but when I ran by myself, I ran without headphones. And it felt great. I'm sure I'll still have runs where I want to zone out, but I'm enjoying connecting with everything now.

Anyways on to the run for today. It was just Paul and I today and we ended up running around 2.8 miles. Felt great with no blisters or hot spots afterwards. Got a couple of good tips from Paul also. I was asking about his shoes that he attached to his belt when he runs. I have my Vibrams attached to me whereas he just uses a pair of $8 Walmart water shoes. This is what he uses in the winter and he finds they work well. An additional use that he has for his walmart water shoes is that he will rip the upper off of them and using the sole, make a pair of Huaraches. Good timing with that because I was just looking at Invisible Shoes for Huaraches. This would be cheaper and homemade is cool.

Dirty feet. Also, happy feet.
Another tip that Paul gave me was that having dirty feet is a good thing. When checking your feet for damaged areas you look for red or white spots on your feet. Well when your feet are dirty you can double check it by looking for areas in which your feet are clean where they should be dirty. If you have rubbed off the dirt, you're rubbing those areas when you run. Adjust and move on. Definitely a good thing to know to try and get better form.

Paul and I after our run.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Barefoot running is depressing me.

No running for me so far this week. It is making me so cranky. I am missing my long runs. I miss the freedom to go out and not think about my kids or the things I need to do at home. Seriously as the mom of 7 kids I need a break. Really nothing is better for my mental health than a long slow run. Since beginning to transition to minimalist shoes and barefoot I haven't been able to get those miles in. I have heard you can run part time in your old shoes and sometime in minimalists but I've also heard that the best is to ditch the shoes altogether. So what gives? Can I run a long in my old shoes? It would make me feel so much better to get out and run. So what have you done? When you transition did you switch totally or partly? I'm going nuts!!!

My not so enthusiastic face, much happier when I have run.
What I've been eating to make me happier.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kyle Day 5: Running with a Pack

Since deciding to start Barefoot Running, Robbie and I have joined the Barefoot Runners Society. They have a great forum there, including a Canadian chapter forum. A reason why this is pretty great is because you can meet other barefooters in your area on the forum.

The results of which were my first Barefoot run with people other than my wife. Paul, another member from Calgary, told me that he goes running at lunchtime around Princes Island. I met with him today and met another barefooter who Paul runs with, Ryan. So the three of us met outside of the Eau Claire YMCA. We got a good number of stares from the 3 of us being barefoot with a couple of inquires about it. Then we headed out for a run. We did just over 2 miles but it was great. Great to have the company of other barefooters. Paul and Ryan also are not new to barefooting. Ryan has been barefooting for 2 1/2 years and Paul has been barefooting for almost 2 years now.

Part of the reason why it's great to run with experienced barefooters is that you can pick their brain for tidbits and nuggets of information. Ryan took a look at my form and told me that I was looking pretty good. I did need to keep my feet under me more. I tend to land my steps a little further ahead than my body. Ryan told me that it is best to land each step directly under your body.

Other than that they told me to take it slow and easy (I find this the toughest. I just want to keep running.) Keep trying new things (Ryan when we were done running went to go jump from rock to rock). I guess they also try and make sure they run on gravel every now and then. Listen to your feet. If you start to get hot spots, adjust how you are running. It's your feet's way of telling you to do something else.

I'm definitely looking forward to running more with these guys and who knows, maybe we can get more people to join us. If anyone reading this is interested Paul says that he normally runs at lunch Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Feel free to join us. Just look for the crazy guys with no shoes on. :)


Losing weight easier without exercise?

Just a very quick post to as you all a question. Why is it that it is easier to lose weight while NOT exercising. I have been maintaining for a couple of months. Really since the start of September. I could't lose any weight. I know that because I was training for a half marathon I was burning countless calories but really that made me quite hungry. I tried to keep my calorie intake low and keep a deficit but I have to tell you it is super hard to run 10-13 miles when your body doesn't have enough fuel. So here I am today finally going down in weight. The scale this morning had me at 152.6 woohoo! I am able to eat smaller portions and keep my calories low and it is all because I have backed off my mileage in a big way. See I am running around 10 miles a week right now, if that. Mostly because I am transitioning to barefooting but also because I want to get rid of these last 20 pounds. Seems so backwards to me. Any ideas? Anyone successfully keep up high mileage and lose weight at the same time? I'd love to know if I am just missing something.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weight loss journey ... one year later

I've been wanted to do a post about our weight loss journey and how we got to where we are. It seems fitting to do this post today because it has been a year since we started. We were both overweight, tired and too busy with our large family to change anything. Kyle and I have been through a lot and I don't think anyone would fault us if we said we didn't have time to work out or try and eat better. See we've had 6 children in 8 years and have fostered 8 babies along the way. We also homeschool so I don't get much of a break from the kids all day leaving Kyle on full-time daddy duty when he gets home so that I can decompress. So what changed? This time last year I was sick and tired of being overweight. I had plantar facetious, heal spurs, bad knees and many other symptoms from being morbidly obese. I decided that this was it and that I needed to change things. You see Kyle and I had decided that we were going to have any more babies of our own, and I wasn't very happy about it. I decided that if I couldn't be pregnant I might as well be fit.

For me this has been a life change. See Kyle was a healthy weight when we were married but I was already obese. I had been a small child, like tiny, and I didn't put on any weight until grade 11. By the time I graduated high school I was already one of the biggest girls. It didn't stop there. Years of fast food, binge eating and unhealthy food choices pushed me up the scale. When Kyle and I were married I was at 220. We quickly got pregnant and my weight went up and down over the next 8 years and 6 pregnancies. I always took pregnancy as my free pass to eat anything and everything in large amounts. I couldn't tell you how heavy I was pregnant because all of the scales I used stopped at 300 pounds. Fast forward to October 2010 and I was weighing in at 270 pounds and 5'7".  Kyle had done his fair share of eating with me and had gone up to 215 at his highest. So we changed. I have to tell you that when I want to do something I go all in. It is everything or nothing. Once we started there was no going back.

To begin with we changed our diet. We started counting calories and made sure that each meal contained a good amount of protein. We used an app called My Net Diary to track what we ate and how many calories total we ate per day. We stopped eating fast food and really only ate Subway if we had to eat when we were out. It also really helped that we ate every 3 hours. For me I ate 300 calories every 3 hours focusing on getting enough protein so that I would feel full. It worked. Kyle and I started to drop somewhere around 2 pounds per week. In March we started learning to run and now as we continue to work towards losing those last pounds. Now we have to balance eating enough to fuel our running and still maintaining a calorie deficit to lose weight. It has been an amazing ride. There have been bumps in the road and some days and even weeks when it seemed that nothing was going right. I have always lived in fear that  the weight may come back. Running has helped so much. Not so much with weight loss (I am so hungry when I am running a lot of miles), but it has grounded me. I am less stressed and more happy. I don't need to eat to make me feel better I can go out and run. There are still days when too much food and not enough moving happens and I go up in weight. As of right now I have been maintaining a weight between 152-157. I would still like to lose some and I am now getting back into watching what I eat fully. It is helpful too that I have backed off my mileage while learning to barefoot run. I am not so hungry now and find it easier to create a calorie deficit.

Anyways the journey continues and hopefully soon we will both meet our weight loss goals, while we work towards it we are having the time of our lives. It is amazing how good it feels to be fit and healthy. I am so blessed that I was able to change my life and reverse the ill effects I had from being so heavy. I never in a million years thought that I could run and now I enjoy it every chance I get.

Kyle before 215lbs
Kyle after 165lbs
Robbie before 270lbs
Robbie After 153lbs

Kyle Day 4: Run with Rebekah

My heel continues to feel better which is awesome. I think I'll be ready to go for normal runs again right away. I was going to rest up for the rest of the weekend, but when my 9 year old daughter Rebekah was asking me to run with her I couldn't say no. This is a first for her. She has never asked to go running before and I was super proud. Rebekah of course being the oldest has seen Robbie and I at our worst. Obese and frankly lazy. We didn't eat right and that is what Rebekah grew up seeing us do. Ever since we started losing weight (A year ago today!!) and started running back in March she has also seen us making better choices for our life. That has recently translated into her wanting to make better choices. She tries to talk about calories, although we redirect her into talking about making healthy choices. She has recently become more adventurous with eating veggies and now loves cucumbers and broccoli. This coming from a girl who didn't really like veggies at all before. Woot!
The path in Coventry by our house
Rebekah getting her shoes on.

With all of that already, when she asked to go for a run, I couldn't refuse. We headed out for a quick run around the neighborhood. I went barefoot (with my Vibrams attached to a carabiner just in case) and Rebekah went in shoes. Although she did take them off twice to go barefoot with me. So proud.

You know what? She is pretty awesome at running. I told her to pick a pace and so we went at about a 10:45 minute/mile pace. And she kept that up the whole time. No complaining, no getting tired, just some awesome bonding time with my daughter.

Barefoot Rebekah
Barefoot but in jeans. Kinda weird to run in jeans

After about 1.25 miles we decided to turn around and head back as it was starting to get cold (this was in the evening). We made a quick stop at the park so she could go on the swings and the playground. And then we headed home. All in all, we did about 2.55 miles in just under 30 minutes. Fun run, great time with Rebekah and she is already itching to get out again. Love it.
Quality time


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 4 for B and 3 for Kyle: Nose Hill Park

So Friday came and this was the last day that Robbie's parents would be in town. They left Saturday morning for their winter move down to Arizona, so I took the day off of work and we took advantage of the babysitting to have a run. My heel was feeling better and I thought I would see how it would go to run with it. Things didn't turn out quite how we expected things to go though.

We got into our running gear, including our base layers as it was about 4 C outside and headed out. For those who don't live in Calgary, Nose Hill is a huge natural area in town. It's at the top of the river valley so you get some nice views. Standing in the middle of the park it's sometimes hard to believe that you're still in the city. Of course it is quite hilly, but we are no strangers to hills and thought this would be fun to do. We parked at one of the lots on the east and started running up the hill in our Vibrams.
View looking up Nose Hill

Robbie looking happy, but still a little chilled
My foot was feeling good and things were great. We stopped a couple times going up the hill due to my wife's asthma (she was on new medication and it wasn't at full strength yet).

B running up the hill.


Felt great to be running again. Plus I love hills.

Got to the top of the hill and enjoyed the view before we headed out on the trails.

The trails on Nose hill we found out are either just trails beaten into the grass, or gravel pathways. The trails were fun to run on, but there were instances of rocks along the trails and of course we got the requisite number of rocks into specific area of our feet. For some reason I always get rocks in the middle of my right foot pad. Ouch
The trails along Nose Hill. Fun and pretty easy to run on.

We got about a mile into our run and then came upon the gravel pathway. Robbie and I decided to take off our shoes to see how it felt to run barefoot on this stuff. We probably got about 10 m before we decided that we weren't quite ready for gravel yet. Sensory overload and hurt a little too much so we didn't want to be stupid about it.
Gravel Pathway. We made it about 10 m.
And back on went the Vibrams. :)
Running along the gravel in our Vibrams felt great. It's amazing how much better the gravel feels in Vibrams and also how much better it feels now than 3 months ago for me. We did various form checks as we went. Cadence good, hips in, feet below us, and lift our feet. Light, smooth and easy. Well we tried all that at least. Wonder if we had the Video Analysis thing done how bad our forms would end up being. We were feeling pretty good at this point. My heel was a little sore, but no worse than before and Robbie had a slightly sore calf. No big deal at this point. Oh and we each had tender spots on our feet from the rocks. We were going at about a 9:30-10 minute mile pace and we decided to try going a little faster. Robbie wanted me to go my normal pace and she would keep up. So we started going about 8:15 minute mile and it was great. Robbie was amazed that she could go that fast and not feel like she was exerting herself that much more. Awesome! And that's when the pain really started. Robbie's calf decided it didn't want to run anymore. She got a really bad cramp and literally hopped on one foot to a stop.

Choking back bad words. Very frustrating.
It hurt to run, even hurt to walk. Frustrated and upset we started walking back to the van. Not a great way to end up a run. I was glad to at least have the time with Robbie, but I know Robbie was upset and felt like the day was wasted. Definitely not how we expected the run to go. Oh and by this point my left knee was a little sore too. even though my heel was feeling better my body was still compensating in how I ran so I must have put a little extra strain on my left knee.

We got home and iced it up. Couldn't drown our sorrows in chocolate and ice cream as we still want to be slim and trim. Robbie looked up her injury and found out that it was her Soleus muscle that was injured and it was due to us running up the hill without warming up first. We will not be doing that again. So now we are resting up and giving things more time before we run. And when we run next, it definitely will not be up and down strenuous hills with unpaved trails.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

More rest time for Kyle... but hey, new shoes!

So I'm still resting up my foot which is starting to feel better so Woot for that! But I'm still going to take it easy for a little while longer. Since unlike my wife, I don't have any new fun running to tell you about, I'll mention the awesome deal that we just got for some VIVOBAREFOOT shoes (yes, it's supposed to be capitalized like that....weird).

Anyways I follow the Birthday Shoes blog and they had mentioned an awesome sale on some minimalist shoes. These shoes are from VIVOBAREFOOT and they were on sale for up to 60% off. Crazy great deal. So my wife and I each got a pair and we will let you know how they work out once we finally receive them.

These are the Neo shoes that I bought
And these are the Evo shoes that Robbie bought.
I'm totally digging the look of the Neo's. I think that they will probably be my casual shoe of choice assuming they are comfortable. I could totally wear these to work on casual friday and no one would look at me sideways for it. My Vibrams on the other hand I would still feel a little self conscious wearing to work. I'm feeling more comfortable wearing my Vibrams at home or out and about sometimes (My eldest daughter still calls them my Dork Shoes. She has softened her hatred for the look of Vibrams a little bit once Robbie also got a pair), but I could totally rock these out all the time.

Anyone else in Canada who might be looking to purchase from TheClymb please note that they currently do not ship to Canada. My wife's parents are Snowbirds so we got these shipped to their american address (they'll get there in time to get them). I guess TheClymb is working on shipping to Canada, but they don't have it yet.

We probably won't get these until mid November but definitely expect a review from us then. I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 3, running barefoot in downtown Calgary

Wednesdays are good day around here. Kyle works from home so that I can take the 3 older kids to piano lessons. Their lessons last an hour and a half. Glorious time all to myself, of course I spend it running.

Today I ran from Bridgeland into downtown Calgary in a loop. (See run here) It was nice, a little cool out but with the sun it was fantastic. I started off in my Bikilas. Feeling good no pain, I notice that I hit the ground harder in my vibrams than I do barefooted. Hmm.
Pathway along Memorial Drive

Just shy of a mile I came across some smooth looking path and decided to lose the shoes.
Nice smooth path. 

I took my shoes off and hung them on my carabiner. See Kyle had this great idea to hook a carabiner onto my spibelt so that I could hook my vibrams on and go barefoot whenever I wanted without having to carry my shoes. This is a great plan and it worked really well. Even better, I thought, was that I could hook my key fob onto it as well instead of putting it in my spibelt with my phone.

I ran a while in my bare feet and loved every second of it. Well except for that second where the two men in the bushes scared me half to death, that wasn't so much fun. I did learn though that I can run fast barefoot.

A little further along I came to some pretty tough path, well tough for me it was starting to hurt my feet so I stopped, took some pictures of my feet and put my vibrams back on to continue my run.

Ouchie pathway. Seriously it was rougher than it looks.

Left foot looking good and dirty.
Right foot looking good too. And a bonus shot of downtown.

So here is where the fun began. A couple steps away from where I sat to put my shoes back on I realize that I don't have my key fob anymore. Remember it was on the carabiner with my shoes. So I start back checking the leaves along side of the path. I'm thinking that it must have fallen off either when I put my shoes onto the carabiner or took them off. I am hoping it was when I took them off. A couple more steps back and look what I found.
Lost key fob

 Ok on with the run. I was unsure of how far I could run today because I thought I may be slower in my vibrams and barefoot so I decided to cross over the Prince's Island bridge into downtown. I should note that downtown scares me. Until I started running I would never have set foot downtown outside of my van. However it is super beautiful and I am so glad I did. I even took a short video for you guys. Fun Times.

Beautiful smooth path. Riverside pathway downtown. 
Shortly after this I found some more smooth path and kicked off my shoes again. It is amazing how great it feels without my shoe. I did get a number of looks. One lady gave me a look that could only be described as disgust. I'm not sure if it was because I was barefoot or if it was because I was barefoot and passing her. Another man can running up a small hill pushing a jogging stroller. He smiled as I passed and then I caught him looking back, I think checking to see if he really just saw bare feet. The best was the two guys who told me to watch out because there was broken glass ahead. I thanked them and kept my eyes peeled. There was glass ahead but I remembered to relax and keep my feet light. No problems no glass in my feet.

The last part of my run had me run across another bridge, past a 'tent city' and back into Bridgeland. On the bridge I had the best running buddy although he was much faster than I was. I have no pictures of the 'tent city' because I was quite worried and ran quickly past.

My friend the squirrel. He was stuck on the bridge, trying to get away from the crazy lady with the camera.
Finished my run with a final mileage of 4.71 miles. Barefoot miles: 2 Vibrams: 2.71. I treated myself to a Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino and headed out to pick up the kids.

Harvest Half Marathon 2011 Recap

Since I'm currently not running due to my stupid right heel hurting, I'm going to do our write-up for the 2011 Harvest Half Marathon. My wife is currently running out in her Vibrams while 3 of our kids are at piano. How I wish I could be out running. Alas I want to be smart so I'm going to rest until my foot feels better. Better to go slow, than to hurt my foot any more.
So on to the Harvest Half marathon. This was our first race that we had ever done. When we had started using the Couch to 5K program we had originally thought of doing just 5K or even a 10K race. When we were doing our runs and easily got up to 10K we thought we would reach a little further for our first race. So we chose the Harvest Half marathon. We chose it for a number of reasons.

1. It was late in the season so we had plenty of time to train for it. Keep in mind that we both couldn't run for 3 minutes at a time back in March, so we needed a later half marathon to build our distance training.

2. The time worked great for babysitters, who were my wife's parents. They are Snowbirds and so at the beginning of October they are getting ready to go back down to the US. It's colder so they can't golf as much, plus they would still be in town. They were more than happy to watch our 7 kids while we ran around for a couple of hours.

3. We love the Fish Creek area and so the route for the race was just beautiful. We even had a date just the two of us to run the route once before the race. I must say it was even nicer during the race with the leaves starting to change colors.

Enough rambling about why we did it, on to the race report.

The 2 days before the race we decided to carb load. Definitely a fun way to prepare for a race, especially since we had been counting calories before. Nice to just relax and have to eat carbs. The night before the race we got into bed and we both actually had a pretty good sleep. Not so surprising for myself since I sleep like the dead, but my wife can be a light sleeper and sometimes has insomnia so that she got a good nights sleep is pretty awesome. We did get into bed kinda late though. I guess that would be why when our alarm went off at 5 in the morning, we both decided that we could spare another 30 minutes and went back to sleep until 5:30. We woke up, I had a quick shower, we got dressed and headed downstairs. For our morning meals, we just had some toast with peanut butter. We had also grabbed a banana each for the drive over, but we didn't end up eating them. We didn't want to have too much in our stomachs for the run, so we stuck with what we knew worked.
And of course Tea. Tea was essential.
One more check to make sure we had everything we needed and then we were out the door. Well one more stop for some 'before' pictures. Robbie opted to run in her base layer from Costco, running shorts, Bondi-band and her Ghost 4 shoes. At that time I was planning on running in a short sleeved short, shorts, Bondi-band and my Vibram KSO. I was debating whether or not I would need a long sleeved shirt over top so I grabbed a massive old shirt I had from when I was much bigger. Oh and we also each had on a pair of cheap magic gloves.

Robbie looking awesome.
Whereas I had to ham it up.

 Then we began the long drive down from Coventry to the start of the race. We parked a little bit away from the community center, right by the parking lot to the Midnapore lake. Only about a 5-10 minute walk, and there were much closer parking spots, but we wanted it that way. With Robbie's asthma we wanted to make sure that her lungs were accustomed to the colder air. Less of a shock to her system when she does start running so then hopefully she will not have any problems with her asthma while running the half.

We arrived at the community center at about 7 and headed in to the gym for the Facebook group meet-up. Along the way we ran into the facebook group Admin Barefoot Neil.
Although I must say false advertising. He was wearing Vibrams at the time. ;)
We ran into a couple more people from the facebook group including Dave and Peter who recently posted his awesome headcam of the HHM. It can be seen at his blog here. We then wandered around for a bit and tried to kill time until the race started. I noted a couple of other people wearing Vibrams and even two guys who were running barefoot. Awesome. We shall see about running the HHM next year barefoot. That would be pretty cool to do that. About 15 minutes before the start we had bathroom breaks and then headed outside.
15 minutes to go and everyone was still milling about.
About 5 minutes to go and we went to the start area. Seeing as this was our first race and we were being pretty casual about it, we headed to the back of the pack so as to not get crushed or pushed around or whatever else we thought was gonna happen at the front. Either way we enjoyed a more casual start to the race.
And we are off. Thanks to Barefoot Neil for the picture

The race started and we headed out, walking till we got to the timing point and then we started our garmins and started running. I ran with Robbie for the first .3 miles and then I got a little anxious to get going. I said Good-bye and started passing people. I must say, starting near the back of the pack is pretty great for me. I tend to be kinda competitive and don't like it much when people pass me. Starting near the back of the pack was great because it allowed me to do most of the passing. In fact, I believe that once the runners thinned out a little no one passed me which I liked.

After I parted with Robbie I realized that the course was different than what we had run before. It was due to construction we were later told. totally cool with the new course change until we got to the gravel. Now like I said before we had run this course before. The last time I had run in shoes, so while this was the first time I was doing it in my Vibrams at least I knew what to expect. I knew that there would be a short little bit of rocky trail right after we got into Fish Creek. I had run in other rocky conditions like that so I knew what to expect. This however was a gravel alley. And about half a mile of it. Ouch. I sucked it up and ran down the gravel as best as I could. I tried to pick the best path but inevitably stepped on a couple choice rocks. And once you get one sore spot it seems like the rocks seek out that spot for more pain. My wife told me later that the two barefooters just went along the grass right next to the alley. Don't know if that would have been better or not as I have heard that grass is dangerous as it hides sharp things. At least on the gravel I knew what I was getting. Helped to prepare my feet for the onsalught.

Coming out of the gravel I ran into another lady from the facebook group. Chatted with her for a little bit and then I went on in preparation for the first hill.
Under the Macleod Trail bridge, start of the hill
This hill starts under the Macleod Trail bridges and continues until you get to Fish Creek at the top of Evergreen. It's about 2 miles uphill with an elevation gain of about 160 ft. Thankfully (or not depending on your point of view) we live in Coventry Hills so we get hill training everytime we head out the door. Personally I love hill training, so much more than speed training or anything else. I get such joy out of conquering hills. An example of one of the runs that we did in preparation for the half is on my Runkeeper page here. After all the hills in our previous runs, this one was a piece of cake. Even felt better than when we ran the course before.

Near the top of Evergreen I ditched my gloves at an aid station. I never really used the aid stations at all but we tried to bring everything that we needed. For my fueling I had a fuel belt with 4 water bottles. As well I had two Chocolate mint GU packs in a gel flask mixed with water and a pack of Sharkies. Note about gummies for future races. While they might be nice and soft in the store, once running outside in colder temperatures they start to resemble the consistency of rocks. My wife had a package of Honey Stinger candies that were nice and soft the whole time. Must try that for next time.

Got into fish creek and the next rocky/gravelly section. Unfortunately for me there was a bit of a bottle jam so I had to run with a pack through the ouchies. But I made it through that and on we went into fish creek. The next while in fish creek was a gradual downhill section and my favorite part of the the race. Downhill, winding back and forth and lots of trees. My strategy for the race was to aim for a 8 - 8:30 minute mile. So far going up the hill I was keeping good time and I was feeling strong and loving it. Didn't take any pictures through this section, wish I had taken more pictures.

About the half way point I did get out my phone for more pictures.
Beautiful fall colors
This picture was taken just after the half point, right after going under Macleod trail. The runners had thinned out quite a bit and I certainly enjoyed passing groups of runners.
The open fields in Fish Creek leading up to the main parking area
While I do enjoy passing people and part of me hates to be passed, I also wasn't going to be stupid about killing myself to keep people from passing me. It was at about the above picture that two women came up behind me. They were running at a good pace, keeping right behind me. Eventually they did pull out and pass me. Totally cool with me. However they then stayed in front of me and didn't continue their quicker speed. Very puzzling to me. Pull out in front and then pretty much slow down. I passed them and continued on my way.
My determined look

Looking at picture of myself that people took, I always look far too serious in all my pictures. My wife has this was of always smiling while she is running to matter what. I love that, that she is smiling and friendly the whole way. I tend to get a more serious determined look on my face but I want to change that. I want to be the happy guy in Vibrams or who is barefoot.
Heading towards the Sikome hill
As anyone who has done the half before, the next fun hill is the Sikome hill. It's pretty short, but steep. Thankfully once again our hill training paid off and I ran the whole thing. Slowed down a bit and near the top I was feeling pretty tired, but it was awesome.

The Hill! Might just be the angle of the picture because I don't think it's actually this steep.
Once the Sikome hill was over it was just a matter of getting to the finish line. Ran through the neighborhood and then turned into the field near the community center. Such an awesome feeling to be so close to the finish line and to have everyone there cheering on the runners. Also pretty great for all of the people cheering all along the race route. Right near the end I spotted my parents, sister and sister-in-law and was beaming. So incredibly happy to be done.
My bad form for the finishing picture. Stopped too quickly.

Crossed the finish line and was so surprised to know that I was around the 1:46:XX mark. If you want to see my race on Runkeeper, you can find it here. Met with my family and then waited for Robbie to come in. We both have iPhones and so I fired up Find my iPhone to locate her. Didn't have to wait long though because my wife is a rockstar. (Part of that may have been written by her, but I do agree).
My rockstar wife finishing strong
Robbie finished with a final time of 2:02:XX, which is stinking awesome because she had her A goal as 2:15. She originally thought she would come in at about 2:30. Half an hour earlier is amazing and I want to go on record saying so. Way to go B!!!
Tired, but happy and feeling great.
We had a fantastic first race that went smoothly. We'd would like to thank Barefoot Neil (who managed to trade our size Medium shirts for Small) and the rest of the Harvest Half volunteers for putting on a great race. We look forward to running this race every year. Hopefully next year we will both be barefoot. ;)