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Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Epic Battle: Brains vs Bravado…

… It was a close one today. Bravado won out, again, and I think I got lucky. It was too cold to run barefoot today I think. I think I knew that too, but my enjoyment of the attention I get while running BF (I think) made me leave the 5’s in the bag today.

If it’s not at least 5 deg c warmer for the Half, I'll be in my Vff’s.

There was a point where my feet just felt weird. At about the 4k mark, it felt like my feet were swelling (I couldn’t be sure as they were completely numb).

This was taken at about 2k.

We ran pretty quick, for us, up to the turn around, and made our way back to the water station at 6k. I stopped and had a drink and carried on. It was there I felt them first. I had been warned about them in the cold and wet and was now feeling them. I ran for a while, trying to maintain light, short, easy strides to minimize them. I was thinking that this was going to jeopardize my run in the Half on Oct 2nd, and I started to think about giving up my bib entirely. They seemed to get worse as I ran, like they were growing and starting to take over the entire surface. I told Kelly about them at about the 7k mark and she was worried for me and asked if I was ok to continue and I said the damage was done, so lets go get this!! We actually picked up our pace steadily from that point, finishing the race in an all out sprint. We were pretty stoked to finish sub 57. I walked over to Traci’s vendor tent and grabbed my birks. I was afraid to look as I figure it was going to be gory.

I looked. Huh, interesting. No blisters!! SWEET! At that point it sort of hit home for me that I am really on the edge of stupid about my barefootery as winter approaches. I wonder what my feet were trying to tell me on the run, that made it feel like they were turning into goo. They are very tender right now, and the whole structure of my feet are tired. This was my single biggest week of running barefoot at a grand total of 28kms, but 20 of them were spread into 3 races and the other 8 was an interval run, so it was a pretty tough week for the musculature of my feet and I am feeling it. I might go to the gym this week and ride the bike instead of run, to let my feet rest.

Back to the Event!

It was a really good event. Urban Venus Nail Bar put on a nice day for the runners, despite the weather. The weather was absolute crap and yet probably 300 of the 400 registered runners showed up.

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We arrived to a steady rain that stayed for the entire event, but the big deal was the cold. It stung, it was to the bone cold. Yuck. I can handle colder temps in the dead of winter because its normally dry and if you get yourself warm enough you can stay that way. When we finished the run, we were almost instantly cold. Traci wore about 9 layers of clothes and ended up pretty comfortable for the duration, until the end when the water finally seeped through her boots. Her booth was a huge success and her Baskets ended up being some of the top runner prizes as they looked so nice!


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She had a lot of interest in the baskets and we think she’ll get some good business out of sponsoring this event!

Saw new BFF Joanne again, her and her DH Daren and their shaggy pup were there.


Daren was just going to do a long training run while Joanne runs the 1ok. I complain about my tough week but here is Joannes Week in a nutshell.

  • Last Sunday: Wins 50k Lost Soles Ultra in Lethbridge
  • Thursday: Wins Run for sight 5k
  • Saturday: Wins 5 peaks trail 1/2 Marathon (correction: Ran it, did not win she thinks, ran with wrong bib, long story)
  • Sunday: Wins Urban Venus 10k

That could be considered a good week by some standards. Here she is zooming back the other way, in 3rd overall.


The route for this event is really nice. All on paved pathways, cross 2 bridges, run along the river. and it is really flat with only a few rollers to contend with. I always like running across the Crowchild Trail bridge, under the road bridge. The only part that sucks is when there are 20 or so runners on the bridge, it bounces like a trampoline. See the Ped bridge underneath? We ran across at 4k and back at 6.


The rest of the route looked something like this!

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We had some volunteers that went above and beyond and dressed as crazy cheerleaders! (I think they were volunteers, there really was no other reason to be out there, right?)


Here are the winners of Traci’s baskets. I guarantee they are happy with these run prizes! I would be!

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Traci took some cool shots of Kelly and I at the start and finish. Nice shots!

Leading with the hips… nice. (actually avoiding the puddles)


Sprinting to the finish


So that’s it for today. Let’s see what tomfoolery I can get into tomorrow.

  • Barefoot mileage since June 29th : 160km
  • VFF mileage since July 7th : 45.2km (12 on trails)
  • Shoe mileage since SOBF (start of barefoot): 5km (25:30 5k race PR on July 1st)


  1. Wow Neil, what an amazing story. Keep us posted on how your feet are feeling in the days after this race. Congrats on the amazing time. I did my first 20km run ever today with the group in fish creek and what a miserable bone chilling cold wet run it was. I have to say it was the worst run I've ever experienced, but I'm glad I stuck it out and finished it. I felt like quitting several times. I'll take minus 25 over this crap any time! 20km is a tough distance, at least for me and I'm reminded of your series of 20km runs before the half last spring....don't k ow how you did that!

  2. Great job at the race! Try not to freeze your feet off...

  3. Edge of stupid. I feel like that ALL the time!

  4. Love the report!

    Love the running Neil - impressive.

    Love the macho "Urban Venus Nail Spa" sponsor too - I couldn't pull that off in T.O. - there would definitely be male runners with purses at something like that!

  5. Great report Neil. Thanks for two really fun races, we kicked some butt!
    Stay healthy and we'll see you at the Harvest Half!
    (Joanne, if you check in, very well done - I didn't know you raced saturday as well. When are you out of my age group ? :) It was really great to meet you)

  6. Nice race report and interesting that you're still barefooting it in that kind of weather. I wonder if the feet would eventually get used to it?

  7. This is Joanne...and it took me half the morning to figure out how to comment on this blog, just to make this correction-I DID NOT WIN 5 PEAKS!!! I didn't come close!!! I actually don't even have a real time because I ran with the wrong bib (long story)but short and fast is not my thing, and I DO know that I did not come in first. I felt the coulees on many of those hills, that is for sure. I love 5 peaks but seldom place.
    Anyway, good job, Neil! Kelly--great to meet you, too.

  8. Pfffttt! I couldn't even see your BREATH in that video*, so how cold could it have been?



    Bet you could use that hug from yesterday's post NOW, huh?

    Don't look at ME! I'm Irish - we don't DO hugs. Leastways, not while sober.

    Good thing we're hardly ever sober.

    Still - NO HUGS FOR YOU!!1!
    * Interestingly enough, I could SMELL it, though. Would it kill you Kanadians to learn a little bit about Tic-Tac technology already?

  9. Thanks for correcting that Neil!


  10. Brrr! I froze yesterday with shoes on. Good for you for sticking it out and yey to no blisters. I think you might be in luck for the half ... so far at least. Mother Nature can't always make up her mind it seems.

  11. Very impressive and congrats!

    I met Barefoot Ted this past Sunday at an ultra event. Nice guy. He has a company that sells Lunar Sandals for runners. Have you tried them yet?

  12. Looks like fun!! And I can't believe you don't have blisters.... lucky.

  13. What a great run, report and pics!
    You are so brave for running barefoot in such temps and on wet surfaces too.
    I was reading somewhere that if your core is warm enough your feet will be warm to. It hasn't been cold enough here for me to test that theory.

  14. Love all of the pictures! Although, I will admit that I think that I got just a few goosebumps thinking of 5C. Give me 100F any day over that. (unless I am running)

  15. Theoretically, if your form is good you shouldn't get blisters regardless of the weather. It's that the cold makes the feet numb, which can compromise form. Sounds like you didn't let your form get compromised! Congrats!

    But yeah, comfort counts. Time to start getting used to some footwear, in my opinion. Or move south, where it's 75 degrees right now at 8am.

  16. Wow this is a very successful event. It seems that race is very interesting. The pictures and the post are the evidence.