Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Oh my I was on Run Barefoot Girl

Awesome self portrait while running. 
Hey guys, I'm on vacation in the mountains but I had to stop by and tell you that I was featured on Run Barefoot Girl's Yay for me. I have listened to this podcast since I started running in Vibrams last year. Caity is awesome and she has brought together so many wonderful women and men to provide information and inspiration to the barefoot running world. I wanted to thank Caity for including me. I feel like a 'real' barefooted now. Maybe I'll have to change my name to Barefoot something. Lol. Anyways go check out her podcast if you haven't already I am sure you'll love it.

The view. 
And just because I can't help myself, here are some pictures of my first run out here. It was hilly, think running in the Rocky Mountains, and beautiful. I am challenging myself to run the hills, I have gotten lazy. I used to be so good at hills but I have started dreaded them or walking. This run was sweet, I pushed hard on the climbs and I did it. I seriously felt amazing afterwards, so proud of myself and energized. Now if I can only find a way to get out on the trails and run, that would be perfect.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kyle's Millarville Half Marathon Race Report

Why hello everyone. Yes, this post is late by about a week. Robbie did a great write up of the half marathon from her perspective and I wanted to make sure that I did one also. It just apparently takes me a lot longer before I get in the writing mood to do one. I should really get better about that. Ah well.

Anyways so like Robbie said, we started off the day by getting up at Zero Dark Idiotic as our friend Kelly would say, or in actual time 4 in the morning. We got up, got all our stuff on, ate some food and then headed down to the Millarville Race Track to catch a shuttle bus. I was a little worried before we got down there that there would be tons of people arriving early and that there wouldn't be enough room on the shuttle buses to take us over. When we got to the race track just before the first bus was scheduled to leave there was almost no one there. I guess we had nothing to worry about.
Robbie and I on the bus.

We got on the bus and waited to head out. Our friend Barefoot Neil joined us on the bus and we headed to Black Diamond to start the race. There we did the usual pre-race activities. Potty time!!! Laff. Neil and I got the usual stares and scoffing from people. Robbie was in the washroom line just behind one lady who was scoffing so she made a point to call me hot stuff and to mention us being barefoot. Love it. Funny how being barefoot, or almost barefoot gives you thicker skin. Really I don't care because I'm passing most of the people who are scoffing at me. ;)

Met up with our other minimalist friend Maria and chatted with her about her lovely Hattori's. As Robbie mentioned she was in her Stems and I was in Robbie's pair of Invisible Shoes with the beautiful bright pink laces.
The technical T from the race, which of course we did not wear to the race. Standards, people!!!

I had originally intended on running the race in my Stems also, but a week or two before the race I was feeling like I would prefer something a little more roomy and airy. Granted the Stems are super wide and lovely, but I think I really wanted to be barefoot. However I knew that my feet weren't quite ready for a half marathon distance and so I wanted to save them a bit. So I went with a pair of huaraches instead. I know they say not to do anything new for a race, so I put like 5 miles on the huaraches, then relaced them for my feet, put another 7 miles in them and then ran the race. That's totally fine, right? Laff
Once again this picture from the lovely Maria showing off our great footwear.

So back to the start of the race. We lined up at the front of the back third with Barefoot Neil and off we went. There were 3 little sections of gravel on this run. The first one was right at the beginning for a very short distance. However the rocks were big and on a very hard surface. Of course I managed to catch one rock on the arch of my foot. Ouch. Thankfully that was the only real problem with rocks that I had that day. I ran with Robbie for the first little bit. While I was still running with her one of my shoes wasn't fitting nicely. I felt like my foot had moved over to the edge of the shoe and the laces weren't tight enough. Crud. Maybe I should have spent a little more time making sure they were fitting properly. However, since I'm stubborn I decided I would wait it out and see if the problem would fix itself. I said goodbye to my lovely wife and started to ramp up the speed. I was aiming to average about an 8 minute mile the whole time and so I started going in between 8 and 8:30 minute miles for the first little bit. The first 2.75 miles are all uphill so I kept that pace the whole time. Thankfully my shoes did work themselves out and I was a happy flying man.

I should probably pace myself better. I have heard that you should go slower at first and then aim for negative splits. Apparently that's not my style. I try to aim for one pace and then keep roughly around that pace the whole time. So far it has worked okay, but maybe I should try it the other way. Either way I have to say I love the first little bit of a race when you start closer to the back and then get to pass lots of people. Helps the ego. :)

From there my pace sped up a bit so that it was more in the 7:30 to 8:00 minute mile. As I passed one group of guys I heard them all start to mention 'that book', and that Caballo guy. Cool. Once I started running I don't think I heard a single negative thing about my Huaraches. I think the people who were the most amazed by them were the Volunteers. Always good to wave and thank them and to interact with them as I run by. I found it funny when one person called them Flip Flops. Other than that struck up a couple conversation with people as I passed or they passed me. Other than Robbie, Neil and Maria I saw a couple of people in Vibrams, a guy in New Balance Mininus and a girl in New Balance Minimus shoes as well.
I so wish my phone was set to video when I tried to take this. This dude when he passed me had his arms in the air conducting an orchestra. He almost did a jig or some fancy step to his run. It was hilarious.

The race was supposed to be a Net downhill course and I guess technically it was. I will contend that really, they lied. Net downhill but still lots of big hills. That and a long long stretch between Black Diamond and the Millarville Race Track made it a big mental game. I sucked it up, kept my pace and chugged on. I played leap frog with a couple of runners. They would pass me, keep going for a while and then peter out a bit and I would pass them and leave them behind. I had a bit of a mental game near the end. I had about 2 miles left to run. I knew from checking out my garmin that I was running around 8 minute mile average. I had two miles to go and was feeling tired. It would be nice to PR, but I wasn't really pushing for it. However with the distance remaining and the current time I knew that if I just pushed out two more 8 minute miles I might be able to just manage a new Personal Record. So even though I wanted to slow down, I made myself continue going the current pace. Chug, chug chug, Ugh. Then the end was in sight. I entered into the Millarville Race Track grounds and then came across the gravel at the end. Ugh. Really sucks when you want to give it a final push, but then you hit gravel. Got past the worst of the gravel and put on the speed. The girl just behind me did the same. I tried my best to get in before her but she had just a little more push than me and so she finished like .2 seconds before me (I took comfort later that my chip time was a good 15 seconds faster....Laff). Race done! I finished in a time of 1:45:20. Woot!!! New Personal Record! Beat the last one by about a minute and a half. And I would say that this was the harder course. Very pleased. Glad to get another half marathon done and I had a really good time.
The hand fired clay finisher medals. Note the iPhone for scale. Big medals and very heavy.
Taking a look at the final times I ended up finishing 40th overall out of 263 people. Not bad. 33 out of 99 guys and in my division (Males between 30-39) I came in 12th out of 28. Nice. I never really considered myself a speedy person and I certainly don't think I'll finish first ever (unless everyone else stays home... Laff), but I guess I am pretty speedy.

Well I'm tired now so I should wrap up this post and head to bed. I'm looking forward to more running. Running for the fun of it and enjoying running. I love to run and I really love to run barefoot. Thankful to have other barefooters to run with downtown and I'm looking forward to my first actual barefoot race, like my rockstar wife just did. I'm also interested in trying another type of Huaraches. Robbie and I have our eyes on a pair of Unshoes Wokova Feathers. We have heard good things about them and we love the look of them. If anyone at Unshoes wants us to review them, we would love to. Otherwise we will just suck it up and buy a pair each. ;)

Until later, have a great night everyone and happy running.


Barefoot 10K

Oh my goodness I am so excited to write this post. If you are friends with me on Facebook I am sure you've seen all of my postings about this weekend's awesome run. I don't have many photos of the race so you'll have to look at the same ones again (Sorry, have to figure out how to run and take pictures at the same time).

So Saturday Kyle and I woke the kids up at the crack of dawn and piled them into the van. It was pouring rain and coldish. I was running my first 10k and Rebekah and Abi were running a girls 1k. It was the Starbucks Run For Women. This was a run totally on pathways and what we thought would be a easy course (note it was NOT). After the Millarville Half I was really aching to get out of my shoes and do a race barefoot. I have been running some barefoot and I spend all my time barefoot around the house and the yard. My furthest distance before the race was 4.5 miles. I figured I'd carry the invisible shoes if it got to be too much or if the course was just too rough.

The rain stopped just as the festivities got under way. One of the race officials came over to me and asked if I would be on camera saying why I was running and that he wanted me to get my picture with Catriona Le May Doan, the Olympic Medalist for Speed Skating who was the special guest there. I guess the tutu caught his eye. I was really out to have a good time. It seems to me that so many people take races so seriously and I know that I'm not going to win. The tutu helps me remember that this is fun. Really I pay good money so that I can run these races so I should really enjoy it. We listened to a great speech by Catriona and then did a short warm up.

I did all of this barefoot standing in the soaking wet grass. Oh man it felt so good. I got a number of weird looks and some questions about if I was actually running the race barefoot. Overall I think that being barefoot actually kept people away more than caused them to be curious, either that or the tutu made me look crazy.

We walked over to the start and bunched up with our estimated finish time. I have never run a 10K but I was hoping for 60 minutes or less, given that I thought it was a pretty easy course. The only worries I had really was the start. So many people in clunky shoes and my defenseless feet. I was worried someone would stomp on my toes and I'd be hurt before things even got started. Things turned out great and I didn't even get a nudge. When I was standing at the start line a couple of ladies standing beside me asked me about my feet. I told them that I often run barefoot but that this was my first race barefoot. They mentioned that they saw a guy running downtown barefoot even through the winter. This made me laugh because I am sure that it is our friend Paul, or one of the other barefoot runners that Kyle runs with. It seems that the group of barefooters running around downtown are starting to get people's attention.

Anyways the run was great, the pathways were wet and covered in puddles, and worms I must add. The puddles were amazingly warm, it felt so great to run through them. Stepping on the worms was an interesting experience. The race had a number of big hills. Running up was good and running down was ok. I found it challenging to get my feet turning over fast enough as well as dodge the many people putting on the brakes as they ran down. I played leap frog with a couple of ladies up and down a couple hills. They would get in front of me on the up hill and I would zoom past on the down hill. It was fun and we chatted for a bit on the straight away. They commented that it was amazing to watch me run down hill with no shoes.

I was not prepared for the hills, oh man.  I haven't been running much. I am dealing with a number of chronic conditions and pretty much chronic pain so I have been taking way more rest days. I will post soon about my new diagnosis and what on earth I am going to do to keep running. To keep it short, I have trouble eating and digesting foods of all sorts, and I have constant GI pain. Good times I know. Anyways with all of the troubles I have been having I wasn't really running my best race. The beauty of it was that I could just enjoy being barefoot. Seriously there is no rush or crazy push to be the fastest, I was out finally running bare and enjoying the sensations. The only problem I encountered was after the turn around. There are some pretty big hills to get down and by this time the 5Kers were heading back some of them walking 3-4 across the path. I had to break often  on the downhill when no one would move over. Seriously there are no brakes on bare feet running down crazy steep hills. I am pretty sure that the last 1.5 miles of down hills braking and weaving caused me my blisters. The last stretch was hard. My feet were done and I was getting so tired. I finished in 1:01, really not bad after all. Run Keeper Race info. I finished 24th out of 122 in my age group, and as Kyle says I was first in the barefoot division.

I had some blisters on my feet and they were pretty sore afterwards. But now on Sunday they are super happy and looking to get out again. I had Kyle take a picture of my feet after the race, I am almost embarrassed to post it because of the blisters, I know barefooters aren't supposed to get blisters, but hey I guess I can only get better.

There you have it, my feet post 10K on wet pathways, up and down crazy hills. All in all I am super pleased.

I had a nice surprise at the end of the race, while I was waiting to cheer my friend across the line I saw Maria!! I didn't know that she was running this race and I cannot tell you how excited I was to see her. We grabbed a quick picture of our beautiful faces and our feet, cause that's how we roll. Maria has been such an encouragement to me. She is relentless in her running and seriously puts me to shame with the miles she runs. It is super sweet to have another minimalist/barefoot women as my friend. Thanks Maria for all the encouragement. You Rock!!!

Thank you all for the messages on Facebook and the comments of the blog, I cannot believe how supportive you all are. I am a happy happy barefooter, and I am looking forward to many more miles run and maybe even a few more races run barefoot.


-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 18, 2012

Millarville Half Marathon ... The race where I learn I can do hard things

Saturday Kyle and I left the house at 4:30 am. This is nuts! Why would anyone leave their house at that crazy hour? Well for a race of course. We were running in the inaugural Millarville Half Marathon, dubbed the Hillbilly Half by some. It was a rural race from Black Diamond to the Millarville Racetrack and Farmers Market. I was really looking forward to this race. It was billed as a net downhill course. Ha! Net downhill includes a lot of freaking big hills.
Here's Kyle and I at the start line, happy to be running and racing together. Although we don't run together. That man is crazy fast, he'll post about his race later I'm sure, but I'll just hint that he finished with the front of the pack. Speedy husband.

We met up with some other minimalist and barefoot friends at the race. Here's our picture with 4 different shoe/no shoe options. Kyle in the styling pink laced invisible shoe, me in my Lemmings, our friend Maria sporting her stylish Hattoris (she ended up with 2 major blisters though), and our friend Neil in his bare feet. Neil was one of inspirations for us to ditch our shoes and learn to run bare.

Going into this race I was unsure of how I would do. I was hoping to get a PR. After the first 3K I knew a PR was not in my future. Leading up to this race things were tough for me. After a fall on a trail run, asthma that was flaring up from all the pollen and an increase in my abdominal pain leaving me with very little to eat that didn't hurt, I probably wasn't in the best shape for this race. Looking back my last long run before this race was actually my last Half Marathon in May a whole month ago.
This race was a major head game for me. It was hard. You know how when you're running after a certain distance or time you really hit your stride? You feel like you're flying and get into the groove. Well there was no flying for me this race. Every step felt hard and my head was telling me to stop. Ugh! On top of that I was trying a new water system. I bought a fuel belt camelback to carry my water. With the increase in my abdominal pain my normal fuel belt that goes around my waist was way too painful to use. Well like they say don't do anything new on race day. Well I learned my lesson. My hose was kinked so I could only get very tiny sips of water. Ugh! I don't normally use aid stations because I am super nervous about what I eat/drink. So many things make me so sick that I avoid unknown drinks and food. After not getting any water for the first half of the race I decided that I really needed to start drinking at the aid stations. The first one I stopped at I swear I could have gulped down 3 or 4 cups of water. I didn't though because I knew that I'd probably throw up with too much in my stomach. Really there isn't much else to report. I finished in 2:03:xx. Runkeeper race info. Not bad at all but not a PR for me. My first Half in finished in 2:02:xx. Granted my first half I was a heel striking cushy shoe runner with bad form.
So the good from this race? Well I learned that I can do hard things. I finished even when things weren't going well. I finished in a pretty good time even with way too little training. I also learned something new about myself. I am not a quitter. See I always thought of myself as a quitter. When things got hard I would quit. I didn't finished University but switched to Bible College, I didn't finish Bible College and instead got married. I started and didn't finished Midwifery school, trying to do internship with five young children didn't make sense to me. I always had a good reason to quit or maybe a good excuse, but I always told myself that I was just a quitter. Saturday's race was probably one of the hardest things I have done both mentally and physically, and I didn't quit. I could have. I could have turned around 3K in like I wanted to. I could have slowed way down, even walked a lot more but I didn't I pushed as hard as I could in the condition I was in. When I crossed the finish line I was spent. I really left everything I had out on the course. Sure I'd be happier if I could have PRed, but I am very happy with how I did. I couldn't have run any harder, I gave it all. Really that is all I can do.
Here's the video of my finish thanks to speedy Kyle.

Going forward I am hoping to do some things differently
-- train more regularly
-- find out how to fuel enough to build up a good glycogen base
-- figure out my camelback
-- ditch my shoes and concentrate more on building my barefoot base
-- stop worrying about times and PRs and focus on how much I love to run
So there's my plan. My goal it to run my next Half Marathon barefoot. It is at the end of September and I think I can get there. So here's to running more free, free from my shoes, free from my ego that says I have to be faster, and free from pressure that I put on myself to be the best. I am going to run like I love it because I do.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Splashing through puddles

Well we are less than a week away from our next half marathon, our next half being the Millarville Half Marathon. Information on it can be found at . This half is a point to point from Black Diamond to the Millarville's Farmer's Market. This is the first year that they are doing it and it looks like it's going to be a fantastic race, although I must say that we have not been training enough for it.

I find though that I am definitely not a competitive runner. I mostly just want to run for fun. I'm sure I will improve as I run, but I'm not doing it for PRs or anything. Not that if I manage to PR that I'll be upset. No, I'll gladly take it. ;)

Anyways so back to running. Last week on Wednesday I believe, I went out running at lunch time. It has kinda been rainy and dreary all week, and that day was no exception. In fact I was kinda thinking that it was going to rain during my lunch run so I was getting myself mentally prepared for it. Thankfully though the rain stopped just before lunch and it was nice and warm out. I took full advantage of it.

I was trying out my wife's pair of Invisible Shoes Huaraches that she won off of Jeff's blog at Barefoot Inclined. Robbie tried the shoes and didn't really like huaraches, so I figured why not give them a try and see if I like them. Now these shoes were custom made for B's feet so I knew that they wouldn't fit exactly right but thankfully our feet are quite similar so they worked just fine. Oh and did I mention that they have bright pink laces? Super sexy for me to wear.

Anyways I was wearing huaraches with lots of puddles out and I was having a blast. All the other runners were running around the puddles, or even scaling small walls to avoid getting wet but I, with a big grin on my face, plowed straight through the middle. The joys of running barefoot or in minimal shoes.

Short review of the Invisible Shoes, keeping in mind they're not custom fit for me.
Pro: I love the feeling of being almost barefoot. My feet felt nice and free while protected at the same time. I loved the feeling and I'm definitely interested in trying it out more. Kinda trying to decide if I should adjust the shoes and run the half in them. Really interested in trying out other huaraches as well. I'm liking the look of Unshoes.
Con: The noise. I'm used to being super stealthy. The shoes slapped the ground with every step. Everyone heard me coming and I was much noisier than any other runner. Anyone else experience this or is my form just weird in huaraches? Another con was that I got blisters from wearing them. Not on my feet where the straps were, but on the bottom of my feet. I'm chalking that up to them not being the right fit for me. I could feel that they had a little too much wiggle room to them.

Anyways, cut to today. I had a long run planned today heading home from church. It ended up being about 11.7 miles and I fought the wind the entire way. Felt tougher than it needed to be, but I got it done. Because the pathway we run on to get home runs right next to the river, any time there is enough rain it floods. Today this was the case just past the zoo.

The river had flooded the banks and was spilling out onto the pathway. It was only for about 20 feet, but fairly deep, probably up to mid calf on me. No problem though as I just took off my shoes and ran through it barefoot. Fun times. So glad to be able to kick off my shoes and get a little wet. Everyone should feel the freedom to do so, but sadly I have seen enough uptight people who would never do that. Ah well. Their loss. :)

Are you a puddle splasher or do you purposely avoid them?


Back in the game!

Friday morning Kyle was working from home. He was encouraging me to get out and run. I haven't run all week because my knee and my lungs were not cooperating. I agreed to get our Friday morning. The only problem was that this beauty wanted to come too.

Now she was going to bike and I was going to run. I thought it would be ok. Well very quickly into our 'run', like .01 of a mile, I realized that she cannot bike as fast as I run. I needed an attitude change quick because I was getting frustrated that she was messing up my run. A quick text to Kyle and an encouragement from him to remember that this was special time with my lovely girl, and I was able to relax and help her have the best bike ride ever. She rode 1.5 miles and then we raced the rain home.

She was so proud of herself.
Once I dropped her off I grabbed my jacket and my fuel belt and headed out for a solo run. Turns out that I am still a runner. I tell you I was having major doubts about that. I haven't been running, I have been gaining weight, and feeling just awful. After Friday's run I felt great. I had to stop to take my rescue inhaler twice but felt great over all. I finished just under 5 miles at a 9min/mi pace. It was awesome and really pumped up my self confidence.

Look at those clouds behind me. There was a pretty major storm coming in. Thankfully I got home before I got drenched.
Last point to make is that somehow I am much faster after taking a break. Maybe it's the steroids in my inhaler (joking!!) Friday's run was quicker than normal and then I ran on Saturday as well. Kyle once again encouraged me to get out for a run. I must be cranky or something. I ran just under 5 miles at an average pace of 8:41min/mi. Oh my goodness!! Not that it was easy but I have never run so quick. I kept under 9 except on the bigger hills. My quickest pace was in the 6s. I came home after my run, stretched on the lawn for awhile, showered and then headed off to sing at a memorial service. I finished off the day having vietnamese food with my sister. Overall it was a great day. Kyle is heading out for a long run today in the wind and rain and rather yucky weather. I'll try to get him to post afterwards.
Have a great Sunday!!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Barefoot running for kids.

As most of you know Kyle and I have a rather large herd of children. 7 to be exact. There are only 6 in the picture because we can't post pictures of our foster baby until we adopt her. As we have gotten healthier our children have too. They are now starting to show an interest in running. Often they practice their running and ask us to check their 'form'. It is so cute to hear a 4 year old yell "look at my form" as they run past you. Seeing as we run barefoot or minimalist we had a hard time allowing our children to wear the traditional boxy cushioning shoes that are "good" for kids. So far our kids much prefer to be barefoot than anything else. A couple of weeks ago Kyle and I were out for a walk with all of the kids. It was a mile there and a mile back. Our oldest son Matthew (8) was dragging his feet and whining about how tired he was. Now this poor kid has shoes that his grandma bought him, they are clunky and 2 sizes too big and really looked like his skinny ankles couldn't lift them. We told him to ditch his shoes. The results were amazing. He was running and happy. He had tons of energy and actually ran the mile home. Because of this Kyle went out and bought the older 3 kids each a pair of Vibram KSOs. Rebekah our oldest and Matthew our second oldest love them. Rebekah even wears them to church. Sam doesn't love them because they gave him a blister. Because the Vibrams only came in bigger sizes we couldn't buy them for the younger kids, that and the high price tag. Instead of Vibrams we bought them all water shoes, we were thinking that they were what we ran in all winter long so they should work well for the kids. They all love them. I am so happy to watch my kids run and play knowing that they aren't ruining their feet by getting used to shoe coffins.

Last weekend we participated in the Hope Classic it was a 1, 5, 8K run and a family run. It was very low key but very well organized. Kyle and the older kids signed up for the 1K run. It was an out and back on park paths with 3 different turn around points. The park was beautiful and the weather was holding out, there was rain forecasted. Kyle, Sam and Abi all ran barefoot and Matthew and Rebekah wore their vibrams. It was great. As Rebekah came speeding in for 2nd place a guy commented that she was super fast and that she really didn't have much on her feet. She said that her Dad and siblings were barefoot.
Kyle, Abi (5), Rebekah (9), Matthew (8), and Sam (6)
Getting started.
Sarah didn't officially run the race but she ran about 200m and crossed the finish line.
You can see her water shoes here.
Joseph (2) needed to run across the finish line too.
Here is Rebekah she finished 2nd with a time of 5:05. Not bad for her first 1K
Matthew finished 3rd with a time of 5:55
Abi came in 4th with at time of 6:07
Sam and Kyle came in 5th and 6th. Sam ran the entire way. 
Kids with their finishing medals and faces painted. 

Overall for our kids first race this was amazing. I really don't think it could have gone better. They have all caught the racing bug now. Matthew was asking when they can race again. Rebekah and Abigail and I are running in the Starbucks Run for Women at the end of the month. Now I just need to find more races for the boys. If you are in calgary and you know of races with 1Ks or even 5Ks that are on a Saturday let me know please. We are all infected with the racing bug.