Very important disclaimer

Please be advised that the contents of this blog are opinions only (my opinion, the opinions of my family and the opinions of anyone else directly or indirectly involed in this blog). This is not an accredited training blog, nor is it an accredited anything blog. If you (and you) do anything that this blog says, or don't do anything that this site says not to do, and you get injured, sick or killed, you cannot blame me or my family or blame anyone else directly or indirectly involved in this blog. By reading anything on this blog (including this message) you are saying that you are a person who makes thier own choices in life and does not hold the writer of this blog, the writers family or any one else that may be directly or indirectly involved in the production or writing of this blog, responsible for your stupid and irresponsible behaviors, injuries, sicknesses or deaths. With that said, please enjoy my fun blog.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Best day…

It was easily 2 times more fun than any run day in my history, and quite possibly 3 times more fun.

I put my bib on and Andrew asked for one. Turns out, he had one too! he was SOOOO happy! All the kids got #1!


We left the house today at 8:20 and made a quick stop at my favourite sponsor, the Cranston Location of Good Earth Cafe. I walk in and Thelma goes “So, how did it go?”.. uh, I am on my way there right now… she said she thought it was yesterday, but nonetheless was excited that I stopped in to say hi and grab a coffee on my way there. On the suggestion of Traci, we got a picture. Nice! (she was so excited for me, her enthusiasm actually helped me get ready for the race!)


We made our way over to the Ronald McDonald House by about 9am for the Rock the House Run, and had an hour to relax and soak in the atmosphere. They have a pretty nice set up. Lots of space for everyone (500ish runners and walkers), have great free stuff including, water, fruit, cinnamon buns, ice cream, coffee, massage, kids play areas, stage with live entertainment, and a professional warm up guy. The warm up thing is actually very cool as I am super ready when he turns us around and the gun goes off.    

Big Ron and Me


Little Ron waving at me (not really, but it looks like it)


Me with all kinds of nervous apprehension when we arrived


Ronald McDonald House, Southern Alberta


The vendor and start area


Here is Beezley (yep, he’s my token ‘One Name’ person that I know!).


He emcee’d the event and he is the morning show host at Calgary 97.7 the Mix FM radio station. He is probably more well known as the Arena voice of the Calgary Flames! On top of it all, he is a good family friend. Thanks for all your hard work at these event Beez! At one point prior to the start of the race, he was introducing dignitaries and some of the people who make the race possible, and then he says “AND we have a Barefoot runner, doing the 10k today! Way to go # 3320”. I then had a bunch of people coming up to me to say “Are you really running Barefoot?” in as many different ways as there were people asking! It was a lot of fun. I learned a long time ago to embrace and enjoy positive attention like this, and boy did I ever embrace it!

before I get to my race report. I’ll tell Andrews…

The boy has 19 different means of wheel’d transportation in the basement, shed, garage and backyard. One of them is actually a tractor that is battery powered. So does he ride any of them? nope. He runs everywhere he goes. From the time he could walk, he was running. He understands everything about running ie, fuelling, hydration, pacing and stretching. We were at Good Earth this afternoon and he just broke into an impromptu stretching routine to the amusement of the others in the cafe.

Poppop was running with him in the kids 1k, and I have been warning him that he better be ready to run the entire 1k as Andrew (in the right mindset) would run fast the entire way. Well… he was and he did! Andrews run is a fast walk for Poppop, however each time Poppop went into his fast walk, Andrew would say “RUN Poppop!” and so Poppop would run!


Each of the kids got an empty happy meal box and were to stop at stations all over the course to pick up goodies to put in the box. And, as per last year, he got a medal! *WoOt* He had an amazing run and was very proud of himself (As were we).

In the meantime, I was busy near the start yakking it up with runner after runner. I could tell there were lots more people interested, but were too polite (Canadian) to come up and start a conversation. If I wasn’t with someone, I would look them in the eye and smile, and they would come right over to talk at that point.


Traci and Nan were walking the 5k and made it back to the start line just in time for the gun. Traci got this picture as I took off! Nice one! DSCF2063

Because we had such an awesome warmup with Pete the Fitness Guy, I got myself into a really nice rhythm right from the start. I wasn’t over the timing mat yet and people started talking to me about my barefeet. This would continue on for the entire race. I figured I was going to be a bit (understatement) of a spectacle, so I figured I would make everyone feel at ease and smile, laugh and talk to everyone! I ran with a stack of free coffee coupons from Good Earth and handed them to the volunteers as I ran by, gave the good ol’ hang loose sign to all the entertainers and chatted with everyone, no matter if they seemed interested in a conversation or not. The entertainment was great and Traci got pictures of almost everyone on the 5k loop that were playing for us!

DSCF2079 DSCF2066 DSCF2067 DSCF2070 DSCF2071 DSCF2073 DSCF2074 DSCF2075 DSCF2077 DSCF2078

Oh yeah. it was a misty rain for most of the run, which was super fine by me! Thanks to all the entertainers, you guys were amazing!

I was in the mid pack, feeling really, really good as I ran a 5:20/km pace (too fast) with little or no hard breathing or any other issue. I just felt wonderful! I’m in there somewhere!


People are so amazing, I got every question imaginable about my feet. As I ran past people I could hear them say “That guy has no shoes!” or “you lost your shoes”. I would see someone stopped to tie their shoe and I'd tell the person running next to me ‘that never happens to me anymore’… chuckle.

I didn’t carry water, I didn’t carry food, I just wanted to run unencumbered. It was truly a great experience. I ran the entire course, save for a few walking steps at the water stations and a stop at the ‘Paint the Run’ booth where you were handed a paintbrush to swipe a canvas on the way by. I stopped and painted a footprint! hehe. Too corny?

My feet felt amazing for the first 4k, but I had a feeling my quick pace was going to bugger me a bit and it did. At the 4-5k mark I started to get a pain in my right foot, right in the ball of my foot. It pissed me off a bit as it was the spot where I stepped on the rock at the spray park (not running) a month ago, It is a deep bruise down there and it is a little bit annoying that it is lingering as long as it is. Ah well, we’ll just make some foot placement adjustments and viola, comfortable running again.


I must have chatted with a hundred people. Even the cops directing traffic were all chatty, when normally they don’t even smile or acknowledge you. I made the 5k turnaround at about 27 minutes (too fast, and I knew it), and so I knew I was just going to be hanging on when I finished. My first 5k highlight was stopping for a big hug and kiss from Andrew who came running out to meet me at the turn! Awesome.

The crowd thinned out, but it made it easier to joke around and chat with everyone doing the 10k. All the entertainers and course marshals were all cheering for me on the second lap as it seemed like they were even more amazed now!

The rain picked up a bit and the streets were completely soaked by now. I stepped on a rock that I couldn’t see on the darker wet pavement. I said to the people around me. “Dang, I just stepped on a rock”… they didn’t say anything. I could tell they were all like “Stupid jerk, running barefoot”. Or maybe I just imagined that’s what they were thinking…

Last year this run seemed SO long to me. I’m not sure why, but the rolling hills just about killed me then. This year, as I approached the finish line, I wanted to make the turn and carry on for another 5k. Earlier in the run I thought my too fast of pace was going to hurt me, but in fact I felt great right to the end. Sure I was fatigued a bit, I finished this race only 2 minutes off my Shod PR, so it wasn’t a factor of taking it easy, but I felt like I could have kicked it into another gear. I didn’t kick it into another gear, because I knew that was tempting fate with how good my barefoot training was going and I didn’t want to jeopardize that by being stupid and hurting myself. I love this too much to be an egomaniac. I crossed the line in 57:43 (chip time) and I got the biggest cheer I have ever received.

notice the lady behind me with the hula hoop? her and a dude that  juggled 3 balls ran the 5k, hulahooping and juggling the entire way…


I used to be just a Clydesdale, nondescript runner, but now I was Barefoot Neil, the barefoot guy who ran the Rock the House Run! When I crossed the line I went straight to say hi to my family, grabbed a drink of water, then just stood in the center of the entertainment area and chatted with a steady line of people who were amazed I actually did it! Everyone was incredibly curious as to ‘Why’. I basically told them it was a choice by me to run with joy and an attempt to run pain free. They seemed to accept that, and seemed very happy to know a little more about Barefoot Running. I even spoke to a few of the fastest runners (40min 10kish, Hi Rob and Mike!), as they were REALLY curious about it. I found the whole thing flattering and was very proud to be there as the token barefooter on this day. I know barefooting is going to become more popular in the future, but for now, I am happy it was just me today, as I obviously enjoyed the attention.

My feet really seemed to heat up about 15 minutes after the race, so I put my 5’s on and that solved that right away. We hung out for as long as people wanted to chat with me, then headed out for home. We stopped at the Good Earth to let them know how I did, and as I regaled the race story to Thelma and the rest about all the people and the coupons handed out (I made sure all the EMS and First Aid people got free coffees too) and Thelma gives me a big hug! She seemed very happy with her investment and that made me happy. I say the following, not because I was a sponsored runner, but because it’s true. The Good Earth Coffeehouse and Bakery in Cranston Rocks! go there and enjoy the incredible atmosphere! I am so happy they came to Cranston!


I made the evening  news too! Here is the full broadcast link. I am at about 14:20 to 14:30. not too smooth, but it was 9.5k and I was feeling it a little bit… lots too work on still.

What a day… I am so in love with my barefootness. Thanks to my darling wife for putting up with all this!

  • Barefoot mileage since June 29th : 87.2km
  • VFF mileage since July 7th : 11.8km
  • Shoe mileage since SOBF (start of barefoot): 5km (25:30 5k race PR on July 1st)

running product makers look at what you get! Please sponsor me!


  1. Represent! Awesome, man. Taking life by the horns, etc.

  2. Inspirational!
    I just have to try a barefoot race now. I have been slacking on my barefooting, but I think I will get back at it.
    Looks like you had a blast. Good job on educating people. All those runners now have to question what the running shoe companies are claiming.

  3. I LOVE this! I love everything about this. I love your kid being there. I love you doing it barefoot, and how happy you look. I love the coffee shop and want to go there and drink coffee and read a book -- but it's a little too far from me. And seeing the pix made me really really want to run a barefoot 5K. You made it look like so much fun.

    I also love the way you get all your text to line up with your photos. I am having a lot of trouble figuring out how blogger works all that and it takes me a long time to just make a frumpy showing of my photos. You must be good at html.

  4. Wow Neal, you have an international following now. U Da Man! Maybe your next journey should be a barefoot run from the Great White North to the Above Average Hot Humid Green North (Carolina)?

  5. Hi Neil, thanks for stopping by my blog. I am a follower now. This will be fun to follow a barefoot runner. Looks like there should be some interesting comments too.

  6. Thanks for commenting on my blog. I didn't see you at RMH run, too many people I guess! You have some great pictures on your blog. I hope you don't mind that I added a link to your blog in my RMH post.

  7. NICE finish! Although, I will say that ronald mcdonald really freaks me out..... a lot.

  8. Ugh. Thanks, Adam. Someone had to say it.

  9. props to the whole family!! congrats on the milestone and great to hear that you enjoyed it thoroughly, i find memories like these are the best motivators later on in life. what a supportive family!