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.

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Year in Review.

It pretty much blew. Happy it's over.

2012 can't come fast enough! Bring it on!!! WoooO!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fall from grace, Day 7, 8, 9 and 10. Santa’s in therapy…

As I am an experienced viral video owner (pats self on back) I fully expected the utter and complete drop off of my popularity (well, my contents popularity). This years Teddy Bear Toss video went from 300 views on day 1 to 390,000 on day 2 to 100,000 on day 3 and only 4,000 on day 4 and 5. After all the attention the video gets, it is quite a letdown that it’s all over. Chucked to the curb, as they say.

To be honest, I am happy to have been the video selected for the Yahoo story that started it all, and that’s all. It’s fun.

Maybe one day I'll have a video that goes viral that is of me and some talent I have. This 15 year old kid in Winnipeg has done pretty good for himself, and will no doubt make a pile of cash from the exposure… Me and my video? not so much. I’m ok with that, it’s the teddy bear toss that people love, not my cinematic ability.

Cool beans of the whole process? Good Morning America’s email to me… then seeing it on there.

ABCNewsPermissions has sent you a message:



Here is the link to the GMA segment…

The weirdest thing about the whole video viral business is the reciprocal hits my other videos get. Andrews Trail Running video went from 90 hits to 1300!  Woo! (if you watch it, he really gets cruising at the 27 second mark…and his interview at 1:00 is a great if you are looking for some inspiration and motivation)

End talk of video viralness. (unless something cool happens with it)

StreakFail! and that’s ok!

Day 7, I ran, Day 8 i didn’t, yep my Strides Run Streak got busted. I layed down with Andrew and never woke up again. Missed it and just like that it’s all over. Day 9 I said Eff it, let’s keep going, so I ran. Day 10 I ran. So I have ran 9 out of 10 days in Dec. *WoOt*.

Here’s the best part. Me running everyday is slowly changing my choices in restaurants (I had a Cobb Salad instead of Fish and Chips yesterday) and it is certainly affecting my portion sizing. Thanks running, I remember you and how beneficial you are… glad you are back in my life.

Speaking of running back in my life, I have gone and done something really stupid. I registered for a 50km winter ultra. The Gord’s Frozen Ass 50 is the one I ran last year, but only did the half (25k). I fully plan to run the 50. Even if I am DFL. I feel like I am destined in life for a DFL. I will try to avoid it, but I have learned enough from my friends that DFL is still WAY better than DNS or DNF… I am excited. I ran the 25k last year in 2:51, so if I can do the second half in 4 hours, I’m good (I will pace slower in the first half if I am running the full).

I am hoping I get some support for my training. My Dad sponsored the race entry for me. DZell Excavating will be featured greatly on my training and race posts.

For all your Calgary Excavating, Post Holes, Site Cleanup, Grading, Loam, Gravel, Hauling and Snow Removal, Contact Dave at DZell excavating. 403-828-2147. Email, and on Facebook here!

The other support I am looking for is a Coach. Someone to design my plan and give me the accountability to the plan. I would also LOVE it if a nutritionist would come on board. It would be great to lose 25-30lbs before the race (totally doable), but any support would be appreciated. I can make it worthwhile for anyone who would like to jump on board. My google score for this blog is quite high and I have a very good Klout score. (it means I can help advertise your business if you want to help me get to the finish line)


Lego Advent Calendar update.

I guess if Lego put just regular Xmas items in there no one would talk about it nearly as much.

So After Santa was ordered to restore Xmas, he entered therapy to try and get his life in order. Things were going well. Turns out his big issue is with an axe wielding Northerner. It’s a long standing grudge based since China took over the Toy trade and it put local woodworkers out of business. Santa has been living with the guilt of the economic times and just lost it. Therapy has helped. He is now clothed. ( the last 2 days of lego kits were the weird bench, complete with coffee cup and the axe wielding eskimo dude…)

santa therapy

And one final bit of coolness. I received this email out of the blue…

Dear Neil,

I am writing on behalf of *omitted* Productions regarding your photograph the prairie (IMG_4507) from your Aug 30, 2011 post (Mother-in-Law visit and Instagram). We are working with the *omitted* Theatre company to do design for an upcoming theater production and are looking for images that we can use.

Our intention is to use the image as a projected backdrop during the play. Hence, if you own the image, we would like to ask your permission to use and if necessary, purchase this image to use for the production. If the image needs to be purchased, please also let us know how much it will cost to use for this purpose.

Thank you, and we look forward to hearing from you.


I checked it out and it’s legit. FYI the photo in question is this one…


We have my Company Xmas party tonight out in Banff, the house has shown 4 times in the last 2 days with 2 of them being 2nd showings. We can only hope to come back to an acceptable offer… would be really nice to be done with all this stuff…

Seeya later!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 6, a tidy little 5k and Santa freaks out and ruins Christmas...

I ran a nice little 5k. Strides run streak intact! Woot! Day 1, 1 mile was really hard, this was the same hard. Makes me happy.

Lego advent calendar yielded a Xmas tree! Yeah!

Santa (while serving his minimum security sentence and on light labour duty) snapped when he saw the tree and chopped the sonofabitch down!!! Poor frosty the snowman was collateral damage.

That is all...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 5, I am flirting with fame. Again.

But before that: I got home and I tell Traci, “i’ll get supper started” she replies, “Don’t you have to run?”

Yeah! Thanks Honey! Strides Run Streak intact! So I ran. 2 miles tonight. It was nice to hear my garmin beep 3 times (kilometers) for the first time since the Stampede road race in July! 5 days in and it’s all starting to feel familiar. yay. Oh. My advice for the day is. In the winter, running gear straight out of the dryer rock!

Ok, so last year, I shot a video at the Calgary Hitmen Teddy Bear toss game. You saw that on the last post. Last year It was picked up by Puck Daddy Blogger on Yahoo, then picked up by Yahoo main page. I then had 700,000 hits in the next couple days, and countless emails.

Fast forward exactly 1 year

Ditto. same thing has happened.

Puck Daddy wrote basically the same story, but more of an update from last year. They picked my video again. Boom, viral video. I thought the warm fuzzies from the story and video would be all wore out, but as it turns out, nope. People love flying bears. The comments this year are as heart-warming and funny and asinine as last year! Man there are some weirdo's out there… but most are awesome. Here is what my inbox looks like right now…


When a video goes nuts like this, you only get updates on hot count totals every 12 hours or so, so for all day it registered as 314 views. I anxiously awaited the update and this evening when it finally refreshed, it hit a disappointing 11,500 views. Well, oh well. it is truly an old story.

About an hour later it re-updated. 115,700 hits. I am right now the #1 trending video in YouTube! Woot!


Ok, I'm good now. It is also trending now on YouTube and ESPN emailed to ask permission to use the video in all their shows and affiliates (inc ABC I would presume) so keep an eye out.

Fun stuff.

But now the most important news. Day 5 of the Lego Advent Calendar. A wall.

boooooo! it was the stinking second wall of the police station. I am going to be pissed if the next 2 days are the other 2 walls. Anyway. I figured out a storyline that fit.

They got caught after their brazen jailbreak but copped a plea deal. They ended up doing 2-5 in a minimum security prison. They have a pretty slick life with sofa, fireplace, a cat, hotdogs, baguettes and a big box of puffs kleenex… they do have to keep their hair bic’d to the wood. And Santa still like to lounge nekkid.

minimum security

That. is. all.

Till tomorrow.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

We ended up with a LOT of snow! Dec 4, Streak intact! And Jail!

I ran at the crack of 11:30 this morning. It was a nice looking day, but the snow was deep enough to add a high degree of difficulty to the run. I got my mile in, but just barely. I did take the camera out today for some self-love. (Not sure if that’s the right term. Is it?)

Dubious looking start to the run… Feet are warm and dry tho!


Look out! Freight train coming!


Vivobarefoot Neo Trail action shot. It’s amazing how warm and dry my feet are at the end. my ankles were wet, but I wasn’t wearing socks… so there.


I almost ran past this un tainted pathway. I decided to challenge myself. A challenge within a challenge really! (Strides Run streak) I wanted to see how straight I could run. I focussed on a tree at the end of the park and started running.


Meh. I give myself a B+. I think the curve of the earth played a factor.


I really wouldn’t want to run in deeper snow without snowshoes, but on the other hand, I felt about 8 years old running with abandon. It was good overall. Well, another day down. So far it’s 4 more days than I ran in November. (4)


Day 4 Lego Advent Calendar. Yep, some of you may have seen it coming. Jail. So the criminal was put away, Santa got bail (Rudolph has connections in Bail bonds) and the cop was relaxing.

lego jail

Big mistake copper!! Santa showed up and busted out the crook! How will this story play out? Stay tuned for Day 5 of Lego weirdness!

lego jailbreak

Andrew and I took in the Calgary Hitmen Teddybear toss today too! here is the crappy video from this year. I posted it directly from my Iphone.

and here is the awesome video from last year. How do I know it is Awesome? 759000 people say so! Haha!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dec 3. Another run, another storm, another weird Lego advent surprise…

Was going to run in the morning, but by the time Andrew got up and we got to Soccer, it ended up too late. DW had to get to her craft fair in Airdrie and Andrew and I had a sausage party to look after. We got Traci set up at the fair, said out goodbyes and headed out to CrossIron Mall. On the way there Andrew decided it was time to fill me in on our plans for the day.

Daddy, first. *pause* we will go to the end of Big Iron mall and look at the big fish in the fishing store. Then we will go for a walk in the mall and go to the food court and I will have Chinese food with chopsticks. Then we will go to toys and us to look at what I want Santa to bring me for Christmas. We won’t take much time for this because we need to head home to take a quick rest before we find the lego parts from last years calendar. Then we will… Well that's about it.

Is that a good plan Daddy?


Yeah. the mall was pretty fun. Can you tell if he had a good time? He looked at the balloon making guy and told him he wanted a Green Puppy.

Meanwhile, outside it started storming. A pretty good blizzard. I hadn’t ran yet. dang. Oh well, a Strides run streak challenge is a challenge!! My mom came over to sit with Andrew and put him to bed so I could drive back and pick up Traci. After I found out there was another travel advisory to where I needed to go to get Traci, I was motivated to get out there and run, so I could take my time on the road.

It was pretty freaking snowy. I loved it. Actually for about the first 200 feet I wanted to go back home, but after that it was really good. I always liked running in winter. As a gear junkie, it’s prime time! I am still amazed at how good my VivoBarefoot Neo Trails are in the snow. All my other minimal shoes start cold in the winter, but these, sockless, seem to be the perfect temperature at all parts of the run. My feet finish dry too!


It was pretty evident that I was going to be the only knucklehead running tonight.


Went for 1mile and did 1.5 again. I. just. felt. like. runnin.


Advent calendar. Day 3.

A cop with some s&m handcuffs came out as our surprise today. I though naked Santa from last year adds a little some- somethin to todays image. Man does that cop look smug. Maybe because he just came off a successful tour with the village people.


OK, so as you all know, we are as poor as folk right now. Well, we needed a second vehicle as the cube we were driving was given back. Well, I decided we should go to the Auction to see what that was all about. We liked the idea of it, so I went back and bought a minivan for $1900.00. Pretty good deal.

Pretty good deal, that is until we took it to the mechanics shop and found out it needed $7000.00 work just to be safe on the road. Well, since we’ve been going through tons of financial shit lately, I just chalked this up to ‘what the hell’ and we’ll figure out what we need to do later. I couldn’t really deal with this punch in the gut at the moment. I carried on with that day. As it turns out later on that day I am at one of my vendors offices on work stuff. I overhear a conversation about a guy who can’ get rid of a free vehicle. I jump into the conversation casually and ask what kind of vehicle it is. A 1999 Oldsmobile silhouette minivan.

Really? I ask. Yep, he says. It needs a starter, and a few other things, but I think I'll give it away to the kidney foundation.

Can I have it, I ask? The guy says sure. I go over the  next day, load it onto a trailer and take it home. (oh yeah. I guess I should tell you, this free van is Identical to the one I bought at auction)

Yep. Now I have 2 vans. That day I jack up both vans in the driveway and swap starters, and the 2nd, free, van starts right up! Woot! I take it for a drive and yeah, this van is pretty nice! It has a grinding noise from the engine, but I quickly diagnose the noise as a drive axle CV joint, or the hub bearing.

I tore down and re-assembled a 1969 volkswagen a few years ago, so I had some knowledge of cars, so I decided to attempt the repair myself. I went and bought the parts and in about 3 hours I had the work done and a really nice driving van.

Moral of the story? Be nice to everyone as Karma is watching and will pay you back when you most need it.

Another quick story about recent car repair. Our 2004 Buick Regal that we bought new, started having strange problems a couple weeks ago. Minor things like…

when you turned the left signal light on, the engine shut off.

Oy… that was annoying. So, what the heck, no need to panic. I consulted the internet and it had all  my answers. It was the ignition switch in the steering column. Ok pretty simple right? Well, kinda.


It was a little dicey taking apart so many parts of the dash, and I relied on some common sense and plain ol’ good luck to figure everything out. I pulled out the part that was supposedly the culprit and headed down to AutoValue. They have the part, and he quoted me $199.00. Dang, I told him. I can get that part for $125.00 online, inc shipping.

Without missing a beat, he says “Well. the best we can do is $134.00”

Really? I thought to myself. If I don’t ask, you just automatically take an additional $65.00 from the unwitting?

What I said though was. “ok. thanks.”

It was the right part and the car was put back together and running nicely about an hour later. So between the van and the car, doing the labour myself saved us well over $1500.00 in work.


anyroad… I digress.

Traci’s craft fair was part of Festival of Lights in Airdrie. So I took these shots with the iPhone while I waited for her to finish up.





Friday, December 2, 2011

Drove to Edmonton in a frozen windstorm. came home. ran.

Yeah, the out and back business trip was no fun. I heard on the radio that travel between Red Deer and Olds was not recommended. I had just gone past Red Deer.

Had to go to the ‘Chuck’ as we kindly refer to Edmonton. Business. Went well.

The drive up and back was not fun. Lots of ‘oh shit; moments when i didn’t know of the surface tension between the tires and the road was enough to counteract the 100km/hr (60mile) cross winds combined with the very icy surfaces.  Lots of people found out that it wasn’t enough. So many people in the ditch. The province installed a post tension  barrier all the way from Calgary to Edmonton, dividing the opposing lanes of the freeway. I am pretty sure it saved lives today. Especially here. This bog boy was JAMMED into the wires…

Highway 4

There were a lot of big 4x4’s in the ditch too. I think these good ‘ol boys think they are invincible…

nope. There were actually 5 of them jammed backwards into the ditch here.

Highway 5

Coming home was WAY more scenic, but 10x more treacherous. At a few points we were down to a 5 minute mile, just hoping to stay on the road. These Big rigs sure had a rough ride too!

highway 3

Oh, By Scenic, I mean like this…


highway 2

These are taken with my iPhone 5.

Anyway, I made it. Hopefully next Friday's trip is easier. I got home, went right upstairs, got changed and went for a run. Strides Run Streak is intact. 2 days in a row. I went 1.5 miles and felt energized. I slowed down and enjoyed the run. Yesterday I ended up with coughing fits for a couple hours, as I tried to run my pace from 6 months and 25lbs ago. I slowed down, enjoyed it, and went further. Didn’t plan to, I was just enjoying myself so much I extended it.

Oh, and on the second day of Lego Advent Calendar, my true love gave to me…

A Catapult to go along with our ever so popular Christmas character, the Hipster Cat-burglar. Well, I guess we found out what the white thing was from yesterday. Ballistics. So Christmassy don’t you think?

lego catapult

Anyhoo. Tomorrow I will be running in the morning as Andrew and I have a Sausage Party weekend. DW is selling her custom Jewellery in Airdrie at the Festival of lights.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dec 1. I went running.

It was just a mile, but it was an amazingly hard mile! I am participating in Strides Running Stores' Run Streak on facebook. I think it’s the perfect piece I needed in my life right now. at. this. moment. There is absolutely no chance I would have gone running if I hadn’t joined the challenge. *WooT*

Thanks VERY much for the awesome comments on yesterdays blog.

Alanna: Yes, one day you can make up that sign for me that says ‘GO LADYSLIPPERS!!’

Jamoosh: uh. depends if it’s race day or not.

adena: he cracks everyone up. Thank you!

Jeff, Elle, Caroline and Janice: Thank you so much! Caroline did YOUR wish for strawberries come true?

That is what I missed the most. You bloggers know what it is to have such good virtual friends…

Going back a smidge. I am in the most recent copy of Impact magazine, wear testing a couple pairs of shoes for their trail shoe review issue. I got a pair of VivoBarefoot Neo Trails which I LOVE. I will have a pair of regular Neo’s as soon as I can afford them, as I need a casual everyday shoe. The Trails have a very aggressive lug that isn’t conducive to grocery shopping (I also want to preserve the lugs at all costs, this shoe is truly amazing!). I ran in them tonight in the sloppy messy snow and was thoroughly impressed! Just RUN is what they beg, leave the grip to me, you just keep running they say to me!


I also reviewed a pair of Brooks Cascadia. I didn’t mind them for a full on shoe. They aren’t wide enough for me, and that was a bit of a show stopper. My pair is a very bright green, not black and pink.


It is very humbling to be included in this testing program with these other testers… check it..


Thanks very much to Impact Magazine for inviting me to participate! I appreciate your support and love your magazine!

Lastly. We bought the Lego Advent Calendar this year again. Last year was our first year enjoying the daily Lego surprises. If you’ll recall, there was some real weirdness on about day 19, where naked Santa showed up in the shower.


This Advent year just started today, and I thought, since I was going to daily blog the Run Streak, I’d also update you with the Lego Advent surprises. And not to disappoint or prove boring, they start the Festive season with a…wait for it… A hipster catburgler. Complete with a sinister smile, missing tooth and what I can only imagine is a rock for bashing windows in. (or a go mug). Can’t wait for day 2.

Advent day 1

Seeyou tomorrow. I have to go to Edmonton early, but will be enjoying an evening run again!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I’m Neil. Remember me? I was once a good (i think) blogger. I really enjoyed blogging, but that was when life was easier. It became not easier when we finally decided to close the landscape company. There are lots of things that happened since February when we closed the company, most of them really tough. My family is fine. We are relatively healthy, relatively happy, but from there things have been hard.

We are still attempting to sell the house. It’s been 7 months and almost $100,000.00 in price reductions, and we are still no closer to selling. Well, I shouldn’t say that. We sold the house, but the buyer turned out to be an absolute fucking nutjob and after we bent over backwards to meet his demands, he still found a way to back out of the approved contract.

Anyway. Our life has been a series of mad panic house cleans and layers of de-cluttering for buyer showings, and we really haven’t lived in our own house for the past half a year. It really really sucks.

I try not to complain. I ended up with my old job back selling office furniture to the big energy companies in Calgary, so that was nice. I never burned a bridge in my life and it paid off when I called my old boss, and in 3 minutes I was hired back. The job is not easy, but comparably to running a failing company, it is a cakewalk. I go in every day thanking god I had the opportunity to return to a place where I know I can succeed and they want me there as a member of their ‘Family’.

We have had to ‘restructure’ our financial position in life, and that has all been ok, but the sale of the house finalizes everything and pays everything off, so it is pretty painful to not know when that will be done. The first time we were told we were receiving an offer (it turned out to be a terrible offer) I broke down. I thought everything was going to be over and the wave of relief that came over me just dropped me like a rock. 3 hours later it was back to the burden placed back firmly on our shoulders, but for a brief few moments I could see a light. I know everything will end soon, but it really can’t come soon enough.

With that off my chest. I am moving on.

I signed up for a running streak challenge. Strides Running store in Calgary decide to put this on and I am in! I have to run at least a mile every day in December. I will finish off the challenge at Martin Parnell’s first anniversary race on Dec 31st with a nice easy 2.5-3 hour half marathon. I am not trained at all, but I will complete that, just to celebrate the fact that I can. Because I still can, and I will. Simple.

What else:

Andrew is an amazing boy. here are a few of his recent isms.

  • Daddy, I want you to teach me how to limbo.
  • Standing outside the bathroom door, talking to me in the bathroom “Daddy, how long does poop take?”
  • To himself – “It’s amazing what a 4 year old can do”
  • When he sees the first star and makes a wish – “I wish for a big bowl of strawberries”
  • After tasting my ice cream “Daddy, your ice cream is good, but mine is TASTY”
  • About the future “When I get old enough to drive, I am going to get a blue pickup truck so I can take Nan to get her groceries”
  • Daddy, can I get a 4 piece apple with skin on. No wait, with no skin. No wait daddy, with skin.
  • *farts*, Daddy, that was my butt-flapper

Oh yeah. Also, we had a big breakthrough. He sat on Santa’s knee for the first time (willingly). We were at my company’s Christmas party last weekend and he made up his mind that he was going to do it. So as we are watching other kids get called up he leans over to me and whispers “When is Santa going to say my name"?. I reply “I don’t know son, are you on the good kid list?”. In the softest and saddest little 4 year old voice, with the makings of a tear in his eye, he says almost inaudibly “I. don’t. know”.

Well, you should have heard the groans and awws from the people around us who heard him… and a few ‘NEil!’s… thankfully he was called up right away and all was good.

So. In a nutshell. We are blessed. The shit we are dealing with, only relates to money, and apparently they are making more. I am choosing to restart life again so that when the house sells and we get to be burdenless, that I am well equipped to excel in all my fitness and family adventures!

One more note of housecleaning. I owe a number of you some blog prizes from way back. You are going to get your stuff, not sure exactly when, but I have the list and will follow through when I can. Thanks for not hating me. ( I hope you don’t hate me)

I think I'll document the December running streak, so you’ll see me here. but make sure you come hang around facebook, twitter and Instagram with me. I’m still there.
Instagram @nzeller

Oh, thank you to my Darling wife Traci for putting up with me, standing by me and being my best friend. You and Andrew make it all worthwhile.

AND, i still take cool picture with my camera. Some of these are with the Iphone… Crazy huh? (I am really jonesing for a Canon T2i, in case you have one that you don’t use and want to send it to me)

IMG_3214The boy loves singing…

Well, what do you think? Ever have incredibly intense life changing challenges? Ever dealt with stress so strong you think you might explode, or burst into flames on the spot? I think we are to go through this stuff, so that when we come out the other end of it, we appreciate things more.

I am starting to understand the difference between quality of life and standard of living and how those to  things are not actually connected. They can both exist at the same time, but they certainly don’t depend on each other.

ok. enough.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

1st Annual Run/Walk Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, 2.5k Celebrating the 1 year Anniv of MQ250! in Cochrane, Alberta


Please bring your friends and family down to Cochrane Alberta on Dec 31 2011 for an amazing event with Martin Parnell, the man who ran 250 Marathons in 2010. This event will celebrate the 1 year anniversary of his 250th Run. There is a Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, and 2.5k. Have a look here for my quick blog from last years amazing finale!

You can be home by 4 and ready to party, knowing that you have taken part in a very worthwhile event to finish out 2011.

See you there!

Monday, November 7, 2011


I need to, so I am getting rid of my BarefootNeilZ facebook fan page. If you are on there, and don’t follow my regular page, make sure to request me and I'll probably accept!

Here is my my personal facebook link.!/NeilZeee 

In the meantime. Enjoy some more photos from my Instagram @nzeller


Friday, November 4, 2011

Hey… hi

Still addicted to Instagram… @nzeller is my user if you want to connect over there.

I took this pic yesterday with my iPhone and is posted at my Instagram page…


Monday, October 24, 2011

I’m over at Instagram lately.

Hey, Hi! how are you. so much happening here and no time to write about it. When I do get the time, the posts will be EPIC to be sure.

In the meantime, I have been hanging around Instagram. If you have an iPhone, go download the best app in the world (it’s free) and look me up. I am @nzeller. Instagram is like twitter, but you say what you need to say with pictures instead of words. You know me and pictures, right?

Like this…

snapseed pic

Take care my friends. I’ll be around again soon enough, don’t forget about me.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Harvest Half Marathon Calgary, Oct 1st 2011

I got involved with this race for lots of reasons last year, and took it on again this year.

Harvest Half race results are here

I am drawn to this race. It is very grass roots. I think mostly I like it because there aren’t really any rules in the organizing group. Everyone in the organizing committee and volunteer group get to find the part of the race that fits them. No one asks you to do anything you don’t want to do (or at least they know how to get you to do what they want you to, and make it so you are really happy about it).

A couple months ago, I sent an email to the org that said I’d like to start a facebook page for the race.


...was the answer. So I did. Now, I am sure I got more out of the page than they did. I say that because I loved watching the online Harvest Half race community grow, all the while I was meeting more amazing running people, who I had the pleasure of meeting today! It was great to meet all of you! The last few days were pretty cool to see runner take a degree of ownership of the page. It was their place to go to feel like a part of this race, to get information, and to talk about achievements, fears and ambitions! Race day, today, has been a blast. So much race love!

I have a bit of a confession. I kind of purposefully avoided the volunteer table, because I didn’t want to be assigned a marshalling position. It’s not that I wasn’t willing, or wouldn’t have been happy out there, it’s just that I wanted to hang around HQ for the day. Just like I love to soak up the race atmosphere when I run races, I wanted to experience the same thing from the organizational side of things.

Mission accomplished. I was even able to make myself useful, while staying at the start finish line and seeing how it all works. I made friends with the finish line photographer, the timing crew, the title sponsor people and many of the other volunteers. I was able to help dismantle the race packages of the folks who didn’t show up to race (have you ever done that? Bought a bib, then just never showed?). I know there are plenty of people who would have taken their place in a heartbeat, and I felt a bit bad that we couldn’t accommodate them.

Pause: Some housekeeping. Here are all the links with all the background on what this race is too me.

Why I volunteer for the race
My 2010 Harvest Half race report
My follow up to the 2010 Harvest Half race report
My 2009 Harvest Half race report

Ok, I'm back.

I got to see the start of the race. Wow, is that anticlimactic. Takes about 90 seconds and 800 runners are cheering and running. Then gone. Silence. Nothing.

Now what? Heh, I understood what happened in races, but it felt really strange. Oh well, thankfully there are really fast runners in this race.

The first runner came in in 1:22 I think. DFL came in in 3:37. DFL once again was freaking awesome. I have the pleasure of knowing the DFL’s from the last 3 events I volunteered at. DFL at the Calgary Marathon was Paul. Today he ran the half in 2:01. I am friends with the DFL at the Calgary 70.3, and I met and have enjoyed the conversation on facebook with DFL for this race!

For me, seeing these amazing people finish last with grace and style, it makes me scratch off a fear from my life. I always worried about stepping out of my comfort zone and pushing into a new level, for fear of failing. I equated failing with being last, or not being able to finish. I believe now that failing would be to never try. How on earth can I know what I can or can’t if I don’t try. And what else these amazing people teach me it that, no matter what, I CAN finish! Today’s DFL was worried we were going to close the course down on her, not that she wouldn’t finish. I have been involved in all of the DFL’s I speak of, in pretty important ways. DFL at the Calgary Marathon, I kicked off my shoes, and ran backwards down the course until found my bud and ran him in the last 800 meters. At the Calgary 70.3, I had a radio and a truck. I was on the radio, letting the org know where run buddy was, and I delivered her friend to her in the truck so she could run her in! At this race, I assured her on facebook that we would have the timing mats down for her when she arrived.

I am a pretty lucky guy. I had a bud ask why all my friends are the ones finishing last. I replied, I know a lot of people in the running world. That’s what the running world is all about for me. The people.

It’s the people that do it for me. It takes a certain type of person to be a runner. An honest type of person. I always say that running exposes you. You can’t lie about your abilities and then fake it on the run. So the people who run, start with a degree of vulnerability that translates into honesty and open conversation.

Anyway, I am rambling. It has been many days and weeks since I have really written anything down here of substance.

People asked me why I wasn’t running this, my favourite race. I told them I wasn’t trained. That is true, but the real truth is I am pretty embarrassed with how I have let myself go over the past year. I just couldn’t bring myself to run the race in the ‘condition’ I am in. It would be like running a lie.

I like the fact the running world accepts me anyway.

I like the fact that I can still be important to a race like this, that I can make a difference for someone, maybe help them have a good, possibly great day. I put in a solid effort today, trying to be the best I could be to anyone who needed my effort. I think I did ok.

I am in the poor physical shape I am in for lots of reasons. Lots of reasons that are sloooowly going away. I may write about them one day.

At next years race I will race it, a healthier, happier me. I will still give myself to the race, but I will also take from the race. I will take from the race a measuring stick. One that will give me a benchmark. I have my benchmark now, from this year, so I can now measure accurately.

I may lean on some of you though, so be warned. I may ask you how you did it, what you are doing an d who you are doing it with (stop it) The last time I did it, it was on a diet plan. I don’t want to go on a diet plan. I want to eat less and exercise more. But I need specifics. Especially about the food.

So, well. That was a different race report. Ok. Bye.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Andrew is a freakishly good trail runner…

So, what got me back on the trails recently, is that I am wear testing some trail running shoes for a magazine. I’m not sure why, but I invited my son out for one for the runs on Monday, and he did amazing. Yesterday we went out again and I got a video of him.

We did 2km of trails. I let him lead the way and he just motors along. pushes hard up the hills, careful steps down the slopes and quick and smooth on the bendy flats. There are a few precipitous slopes along the trails and he is very aware and cautious to not make a mis-step.

This kid just gets it. And he’s teaching me a thing or two about it too! He is 4, by the way…