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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Run for Sight 5k…

… at noon! what a concept. A lunchtime run on a Thursday. I loved it!

I left the house at 11 as I had to pick up my race pack at UrbanVenus Spa for the race on Sunday. I forgot to take a photo of the package, but it was LOADED with all sorts of spa crap! lotions and bath salts and more lotions, a bath bomb(?) and a seasoning packet for a Mexican pasta dish. There was a foam football too that Andrew loves!

I got to the Eau Claire market at 11:50, a bit early as the race wasn’t until 12:30 and I wasn’t supposed to meet Kelly until noon. I took the time to reflect on all the time I save by not having to put shoes on.

DSCF2397 its a wonder I can’t swim faster.

This race is in support of the Foundation for Fighting Blindness and is captained by Norma Bastidas. Norma’s story is an entire blog worthy one, but the short story is she has been on a mission to raise money for this cause ever since her son was diagnosed with an incurable progressive eye disease. Here is an excerpt from her story.

Two years ago, Norma’s oldest son Karl, now 13, was diagnosed with cone rod dystrophy, a progressive eye condition with no cure. Norma found Karl’s diagnosis to be an emotionally draining experience. To relieve the stress, Norma began to run – and never stopped.

In January 2009, Norma became the second person in history to run seven of the planet’s most unforgiving environments on seven separate continents in one year. Her journey, known as the 777 Run for Sight, took her through the thick jungles of Brazil and the driest deserts in the world. She leveraged her incredible journey to help raise money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness and to raise awareness of her son and his battle with vision loss.

She is just a firecracker and is so full of energy, it was hard not to be pumped up for this little run.


Ok… so a little 5k? no problem right? Well she talked the talk and ran it blindfolded.


The dude she is holding on to is Brett Wilson of Dragons Den fame. If you haven’t seen this show, see it. Full episodes at the link provided. You will also notice that Brett is Rocking the Saskatchewan Husky Athletics hoodie (or Bunnyhug, as we call it in Saskatchewan). Brett, you are doing a great thing supporting Norma’s adventures!

Speaking of her adventures, for you non link clickers, here is what Norma is up to now.

Norma Bastidas is once more trying to break a record; she is planning on being the fastest female to climb the highest summit on each  continent. The current official record is two years and sixty-eight days. Ms. Bastidas plan to summit all 7 in a record 12 months.

Norma's elite team includes endurance athlete Ray Zahab, acomplished mixed cimber Patrick Delaney but most important Norma's boyfriend, amazing endurance athlete and survivor Charlie Engle.

Seriously, right? and I’m all worried that my freaking feet will be sore after my half in Oct. That’s it, decision made. Barefoot Half, no matter what. Suck it up princess!

Back to the race.

Kelly got there, almost on time but had forgot her bib. Her good friend and running buddy went back to Kellys office and got it for her, at the risk of missing the race. Nice.


I used to go to the gym with Kelly. She met me on my first day on my road to health a couple years ago. She saw this 300lb tub of shit start working out that morning and was hoping the gym had a AED handy. Kelly ran with me in my very first running race! She has been a motivator for me from the beginning! Thanks Kelly! See you on Sunday for the 10k too!! She had a great run and finished 3rd in her age group today! Amazing run!

A few people commented on my feet at the start of the race. mostly because it is freaking freezing here now. It was about 6c/ 43f at the start and it was pouring rain. Exciting times too, Rocky Raccoon was there. I asked him if he was running. nope was his answer in a very telling head shake. We laughed.



Off we went. I started at the back and made my way through the crowd, enjoying the questions and comments that come. I passed these girls dressed as mice. Turns out they were the highest fundraising team, and called themselves 3 blind mice!

DSCF2416 DSCF2419

I passed a lady at a corner and she says “You must be Neil”… I thought maybe I was famous for a second, but I figured it out quickly and I replied “You must be on the organizing committee”. You see, I registered for this race as Barefoot Neil. She was on the organizing committee, and I am not famous.

My feet numbed up pretty much completely. I couldn't really feel the ground at all for most of the race and I spent quite a bit of time concentrating on proper placement of my feet and hoping it was all going well. The first couple k’s were good, the 3rd sucked as we had to go around and up onto a bridge across the river and the down the other side, under the bridge and back around and up to the bridge and back across. This up and down took a lot out of me as I was expecting a flat out and back course. This little hitch cost me my PB today dangit. Or maybe the missed PB came from having to use these to pin my bib on… LOL have you ever seen such big safety pins? I've seen mountain climbers use these! LOL.


I struggled the last 2k but forced myself to keep my pace. I had a couple people pass me in the last few hundred meters, but I was able to pass them back with a wicked kick at the finish, except I missed the last target. it was an all out sprint and she got me. Well played Dawn, well played. image

Ok. Second best part of the day. Meeting Brian McKeever. If you don’t know who Brian McKeever is, you owe it to yourself to look him up. His story is one of the most gut wrenching stories in Canadian sports. ever.

DSCF2420 we could be twins.

I had a really nice chat with him, mostly about barefoot running. He says he trains in really light racing flats and has studies and understands the benefits behind barefootery, but like other elite athletes, can’t take the chance to try it whole heartedly, maybe jeopardizing his livelihood as an internationally ranked cross country skier. Oh, he won this race in 17:59.

The best story tho, comes from a recent running acquaintance. Remember Joanne from the Okotoks race? I told the story about how she wiped out on the powderface trail marathon and smashed her face? Well she ran the Lost Souls Ultra 50k in Lethbridge last Sunday and won it. Yep, she won the race. Top lady.


When I initially asked her about it she said “I did good”. I say, how good? she says “good”. I say, (sort of in jest), did you win? she says “yes”. 1st female, 3rd overall.


I’d be jumping off the roof.

In other news…

  • Ryder Eyewear has sponsored a pair of Hex Running glasses for a prize in the Virtual Race! Thanks!

Suntech Optics / Bugaboos Eyewear

  • I sent a photo to Get Out There magazine. They published it on their facebook and emailed me back and said they had something to send me! Can’t wait!
  • Barefoot mileage since June 29th : 150km
  • 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. Cool! It looked a little nipply for the run. One day I'll see you in a race and I'll post some pictures standing beside the famous Barefoot Neil. And give people your link!

    2. I don't know how you stuff so much awesome stuff into your posts. Awesome.

    3. ...Oh and be careful of that Andrew fella. In those pictures he speaks of...he'll be standing beside the famous "Barefoot Neil" and you'll be standing beside the infamous "Bare-bum Andrew".

    4. What an absolutely fantastic race report! Such amazing people you!

    5. Thanks for the great pic and shout out. It was a fun and inspirational race!

    6. Awesome to see and talk to another barefooter, made my day.
      New 5 k PR in my VFFs. Lunch hour races rock and will defiantly be back next year.

    7. Wow, that race looked AWESOME!! Such an inspiring story too. I can't believe that she's been to that many places!?

    8. Dude, that was one long and varied post. I'm surprised you didn't also give a preview of the Roughriders vs. Calgary game. Who won? Wait, is this Andrew's site.

    9. Great race report! Great 5K barefoot run!