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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.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

An amazing fail and a shout out to my amazing support crew.

So, I didn’t do it. I ran 30.7kms instead of 42.2. For lots of reasons, the least of not which was my lack of training. here is my entire training log for the last 6 weeks.

March 27 – Rest March 28 – rest March 29 – rest March 30 – rest March 31 – rest April 1 –  rest April 2 – rest
April 3 – rest April 4 – rest April 5 –    4k April 6 – 6 hills April 7 – rest April 8 –  rest April 9 – 10k
April 10 – 32km April 11  - rest April 12 – rest April 13 – rest April 14 – rest April 15 –rest April 16 – rest
April 17 – 21.1kms April 18 – rest April 19 – rest April 20 – rest April 21 – rest April 22 – rest April 23 – rest
April 24 – rest April 25 – rest April 26 – rest April 27 – rest April 28 – rest April 29 – rest April 30 – rest
May 1 – 30.7 kms            

Like,  a REAL lack of training. I dunno, life has been pretty rough in general here at rancho Z, but I shouldn’t have that many excuses. So now you know why I was so thrilled with the distance yesterday and not all bummed out. I went as far as I could go, and not a step further. I found out where my limit is and where I can go in my fitness and in my mental strength. The 30.7kms is a bigger deal for me than the 32 on April 10th, because this run was ALL barefoot. every step. Yeah. Check this out. At the start, just prior to step #1 of this Barathon. Hah! another new BF word!


And just so you know, it was not warm at all to start, as indicated by the frost on the car when I headed out. Yeah, starting temp: 1c – 34f.


Heading over to my run, I found myself so nervous that I actually got queasy. That hasn’t happened before. I guess my body was more afraid of this run than my mind was. I got to the start line. Everyone was there.


To be fair, Run buddy Susan showed up, which made me very happy. We stood on the line. watched the clock strike 8am and we were off!


Here is the video from the mass start!

Thanks very much to Susan, she ran with me for the first 10k, at her 10k race pace (I think she was sandbagging a bit, as she was talking the whole way, without any difficulty. I think your sub 1hr 10k is just around the corner Sue! We had lots of laughs for the first part of my run.


Susan pointed this scene out as we were running. Everyone knows I carry my camera, so she was like, Aren’t you going to take this picture?

Yep! see that green stuff?… Grass! Woot!

When we returned to the start/loop/finish area, Traci and Andrew were waiting for me with a change of drink bottle, and some chapstick, and then Run buddy Tammy was ready to go for the long 18k out and back into the most scenic part of todays run. A bunch of the run looked a lot like this:

And this:

And  made sure to get a really awkward shot of the two of us.

My Shout out goes to my amazing support team. I actually get a little emotional thinking about the support I get from Traci and Andrew on an ongoing basis, not just in running, but in general life! But Sunday took the cake. They showed up at regular intervals, having new Nathan bottles ready for me, a handful of gels and chomps, the tube of chapstick and dry BondiBands for my choosing. I saw them 6 times in the last 21kms. At every stop, the boy would ask “Are you having fun on your marathon daddy?” yeah, I sure was! It was just really incredibly nice to see them so much. The run got an A+ for that reason alone.


Tammy and I carried on through the rolling west end of Fish Creek Park. I had a cool moment when a runner that was coming at us says “Hey! Are you Neil?, you are amazing!, i knew it was you! I follow you!”. That was pretty cool, my first total stranger recon! Tammy just laughed because she had been subject to all the silly comments I get as I run by people, and then this happens.

I liked it.


Tammy was here for todays run as a test of her funky IT band, and unfortunately she had some trouble with it about 9k into her 18k run. I was actually surprised at how good I felt through the first 19kms, but as we approached 21 I started to feel the bottom of my feet and i had some weird fatiguing in my lower legs. The really good thing on this run was that my heart and lungs were never really taxed, it was my strength and soles that gave up on me in the end. Tammy toughed it out for the complete 18k (against my scolding), and I started to struggle a bit at the 25k mark. We had just passed a group of about 1000 (seriously) charity walkers, and I was feeling a bit out of sorts.


I was feeling ok, but had started to feel the twinges of cramps in my hamstrings and quads. I tried to drink well, but it seemed I was on the edge of some issues. Tammy had pulled up at about 25.5k (14.5 for her) and I carried on.

Out of absolutely nowhere it felt like I was hit in the back of the leg with a full swing 9 iron. I jumped about 4 feet in the air and stopped dead. I couldn’t move. The pain was almost too much to bear, and I yelled out “OH MY F**King GOD”. I gathered myself as best as I could and tried to get some motion, and tried to walk it out. It was in the very bottom of my hamstring, centered right above my kneepit and the worst pain I’d ever remembered. Tammy caught up to me and was concerned, but I knew if I kept moving I'd probably be ok. Sure enough after a couple minutes of walking and rubbing and stretching, it just went away. This was at 26k. I went off running again, feeling actually pretty good.

At 27k it was my other leg. Exactly the same, except this was the 7 iron. This time it seemed to take something extra out of me. I started to feel an abrasion on the bottom of my left foot and I thought I might put on my 5’s at the end of this loop. I also started to feel tired. I Gu’d again, and guzzled the rest of my GuBrew and pushed my way to the checkpoint.

I finished the 18k loop, swapped my bottles, drank a big gulp of water Traci and Andrew had for me, and just headed out. ‘Back in 40 minutes’ I told Traci, as this was a 5k loop. It was ok, I was moving along fairly well for the first k, but I was having a hard time maintaining my pace. I bared down a bit and focused on my posture and cadence, and that seemed to help for another k, but it was just up ahead that I was in for a pretty good punishment. This loop leaves the pathway and goes on roads for 1.5k and then back to paths. I must have forgotten that is was just barely spring here and that these roads were still completely covered with sanding chips.

Might as well have been knives. For a little while there were tarred strips in the road that I was able to run on but for the most part there was a complete covering of this sharp gravel. I ran on. My pace dropping from about 6:45 per km to 8:30. I was just picking my way, but it seemed  when I only stepped on one tiny rock, it felt worse than a whole footful.

Then I just couldn’t take it anymore. I walked along the edge where the grass met the gravel. There was no where to escape as the gravel was pushed into the grass, but at least the grass gave a tiny bit of relief. I finally made it back to the pathway on the other side, but for some inexplicable reason the path was covered in the same gravel. I tried to run again, but I was feeling crampy in my legs and my feet felt like hamburger.

The gravel that was on this bit of pathway gave me the opportunity to make a very smart decision. Quit. Pull the chute. End the madness. I pulled my phone out of my Nathan Belt and walk off the trail and Called Traci.

Heh. No Answer.

I texted too (‘call me, i’m fine, i’m just done’), then I realized I had Tammy’s # so I called her and she had just left, but turned around to go tell Traci to call me. Traci did check her phone and get back to me, but not before I filmed this.

I’m glad I did this video, it sort of feels good to remember that moment and how at peace I was with it. I quite enjoyed the 10 minutes of just sitting and relaxing waiting for my ride, but the best was when Traci pulled up and Andrew says from his car seat “Daddy, your marathon was amazing, you won!”

I sure did.

We got back to the parking lot and Traci had a full recovery picnic ready for me, including Turkey wraps, Chocolate milk, bananas, Granola bars, Doritos, water, and other stuff. After a few more leg cramp issues I was finally able to sit down and relax.DSCF4114

I did get a good post run shot of my feet. See the marks from the gravel? yeah, it sucked. On a normal run, I can handle that, for short periods of time (running across a street) but I think after so much barefoot running, my feet were just hypersensitive. 


Here is what it looked like after an hour and a shower at home. Not bad considering. Barefooters talk about ‘Leathering’ up their feet. Do things like keeping your feet out of water (shower, not bath) walk on rough surfaces and try to keep the skin really dry. This allows the foot to toughen and be ready for such punishment. I have a winters worth of skin softening shoe wearing. I think this run will go along way to evolving my ‘leather’. They look a little swollen coz they were. I wore some socks for the rest of the day, as they were tender. I think in the future, I will plan my long race attempts for the fall, when my feet are at their summer prime entoughen!


The little guy was so proud of me.


Traci and Andrew packed up our picnic and and went home, I got in the car, did some facebook updates then headed out too. I was only a few yards out of the park when I started to dread the ice bath at home. Then it struck me that I was next to a glacial river that was just recently covered in ice.


That’ll do! I walked down the boatramp and stood up to my buttcheeks in the 45f water for 15 minutes.


Still not as cold as the water that comes out of our taps here in Calgary. I cleaned the hottub today and this was the temp at startup. It’s no wonder I cringe at the thought of (no)Ice baths.


I also got a really nice Bondiburn! Can you see that? I had lots of comments at work today.


This run was part of my Virtual Marathon. I ran the half on the 17th, and this run this weekend for a total of 51.8km and a time of 6:08. That qualifies me, even though I said I’d do it all in one, I was happy to have the half to fall back on. I am receiving some great reports for the VM, and this is one of my fav’s.


This echo's a familiar sentiment all across the board of participants. You were happy to have 2 weeks to get the distance and it was nice to have to motivation in a somewhat awkward time of the year for races/ training. Great job to everyone who played! Get your reports in, I’ll wrap the prizes up by next weekend to give everyone a chance to get their poop in a scoop!

I can’t wait for the second annual 10-10 Virtual race. You choose the distance! 1k, 1m, 10k, 10m, 100k, 100m… you get the idea. Some people did 4.2 10ks! By then I should have 500 followers, so the prize pool will be that much better! Oh, if you played in this Virtual Race and haven’t followed me officially yet, why not?


  1. I loved this and will be participating in the next one. Congrats on the race YOU did...and the support from your family/friends is awesome.

  2. Excellent effort Neil! You were wise to know your limits. It's a work in progress.

  3. You are AWESOME Neil!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Great race report. Loved reading about it and particularly like the pics of your amazing support team...

    I enjoyed taking part in your VM too and will definitely be back for the next race.

    Thanks for letting me play.

  5. OUCH! Good for you to know when to call it. You still did an amazing job!

  6. “Daddy, your marathon was amazing, you won!”

    That right there is what makes it all worth it!

    Congrats on your run, it's amazing you were able to do 30k on winter running feet! Thanks for hosting my first ever virtual marathon. I posted my results on the comments of marathon sign-up, hopefully that's ok! Again Huge CONGRATS! That little man of yours is a doll and your wife is awesome!

  7. Well done! No fail here my friend! You did great. Family support is the best!

  8. I couldn't do the whole barefoot thing, but the pictures along the route were beautiful. I would enjoy running routes as scenic as that. It's great you have a great support team.

  9. wow, loved all the photos, you did fabulous!

    Okay, I get my first official DNF for your race. I did something to my foot, and I had to take about a week off. In 5 days I ran one 6 miler, one 3 miler, and a 10 miler on Sunday....I'm still going to blog about it though : )

  10. Your little boy's sweet comments literally brought tears to my eyes. You are such a hero to him. I love that!

    I guess technically I DNF'd your race, bc the only requirement I met was the running part. Oh, well. :)

  11. I love this report!
    the videos are great! I miss hearing people speak Canadian English...yes there is such a thing!

    I completed my virtual marathon Sunday
    this was fun!

  12. NZ, just enjoy the journey.

    Richard (

  13. so amazing when your kids say things like that! WTG Neil, but I do have to say OUCH! You are hard core!

    Love fish creek park, went for a run their a few weeks back on the west side, so gorgeous and the best part is the pathways, don't have to worry about cars backing out of drive ways ;-).

    Congrats, what a great accomplishment!

  14. You are hard core!

    For my may 29 mary I'm doing more chip seal runs to prep because of you.

    I think I ended up with 54 k for the virtual marathon. A little low for two week but lots of barefoot walking.

    Thank for the motivation.

    Never a dull moment,


  15. Kids really do say the cutest things. You have an AMAZING running and life support crew there!

    I enjoyed the virtual marathon and will do your 10-10 virtual race. :)

  16. You are the man! Great job. I'm proud of you and love the way you set this up with support everywhere.

    I did my virtual marathon in 5 separate runs for a total of 26.2 miles exactly (that took work) in 4:58:52. I wish I could run 26.2 straight through in that time!

    Thanks for hosting and I'll send you a link to the race report when I put it together later this week.

  17. see follower #214?
    you're welcome

  18. Owza. Tough Man. Those feet look like they took a beating. Sorry you had to DNF. It happens. I'm pretty sure that's not the last and only marathon in Canada.

    I remember 10-10-10 Virtual Race. Kovas kicked my a$$. Revenge.