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.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

No lines at the port-a-potties…

… is one of the benefits of running a Marathon with a total of 1 runners. On my awesome route tomorrow I will pass no less than 15 clean and heated flush toilet washrooms.

Yep. Be very jealous.

The other cool part is having my beautiful wife and my darling son acting as my roving aid station! Because I will have them to re-supply me at specific intervals, I am able to run ‘light’ on fuel and hydration. they will also carry a couple extra BondiBands for me. I will, at 2 times on my run, change into a dry headband.

Yep. I am a very lucky runner.

To be truthful, I won’t be alone for much of the run. I have a few run buddies coming out for various portions of the run. AND, speaking of the run. Here is a bit of an overview of where I will run tomorrow.

I will be in the city, but fully in Fish Creek Provincial Park


Here is a rough outline of the route


There are no leaves on the trees yet, but the scenery is still amazing. It’ll look more like this tomorrow morn.


And here is a picture of what my start/finish line looks like.


My entire course is on park pathways with absolutely no road crossings, lights, stop signs or any other issues to deal with. I will complete 4 out and backs for 42.2kms

  1. 10km out and back on perfectly flat and smooth paths
  2. 18kms out and back on rolling, prairie  and forested smooth paths
  3. 5k loop around a small lake
  4. 9.2km out and back on the same path as the first 10k. (flat)

I am going to start running at a 7min/km pace (my half pace is a little under 6min/km) and see how I feel. I have mentioned in recent FB posts that I am pretty unprepared for this. I will complete it, but I have no idea how much time it will take me.

I’m ok with that.

Andrew helped me make the bib(s). I will have mine, obviously, but he wanted one and then wanted one for Mommy too. So my support team has bibs too!


My team will keep me fuelled and Hydrated along the way. I am a big guy, so it takes more than average calories to keep me moving. I will have what's shown, available to me, and my team will re-fill, re-stock me as I run! How cool hey? Maybe I should run 42.3 and a call them my Ultra Crew.


For all of you running you parts of my Virtual Marathon, Best of luck to you! thanks for playing. I haven’t been too vocal on here or your blogs, as my life is crazy right now (hence, the reason I am under trained), but I have been reading everything you have been posting. I am looking forward to reading all about your races this weekend, and I will have some nice prizes ready to draw for early next week. And hopefully I’ll have some time to write the epic blog post I’ve been promising. Lots going on here. That’s for sure.

Oh yeah, in a fun twist, it’s International Barefoot Runners Day tomorrow too! Cool huh?

I’ll leave you tonight with my favourite quote by me:

“It’s not rocket science people, it’s just running.”


Monday, April 25, 2011

I must apologize…

… I don’t have the time to get all the bibs done. Life has not slowed down one little bit and It would be a disservice to the rest of my life to take the couple hours it would take.

YOU can make yours though. Here is the template. Prize for the best custom bib, as voted on by the race contestants.

Right click on this and save/print it fill it in. Send me a picture of your awesome bib!


That’s it for now, thanks for everyone who is playing, and I will write/post an update in the next couple nights!

Good night and big balls  and thanks for all the fish good luck!

Friday, April 22, 2011

What now?

So, next weekend, I will run my marathon. To be honest, it will be just to get it out of the way now. Run for survival, hopefully in 5 hours or less. You are more than welcome to come run some or all of it with me!

On May 22nd, I am running the Woody’s Marathon, half marathon in Red Deer, and the weekend following, I am volunteering for the Calgary Marathon weekend.

After that. I don’t know what to do. Maybe you can tell me. In a radius of about 200 kms from Calgary, preferably with decent camping, I am available to go and run races! Do you recommend anything?

Local Runners: What races do you like, and why?

Race Directors: Are you interested in some blog love here? I am not opposed to sponsored races, in return for writing some lead up stories as well as (obviously) the race report, complete with pics and videos. I can also create race badges to put on this here blog…

Product Makers: I can use and advertise your products (if I like them) here and at races, let me know if you are interested.

I would probably prefer not to run another marathon this year, but anything less than that distance, and I am game. Trail, road, mountains, prairies, it doesn’t really matter to me, I just love to race!

That’s all, Happy Easter to everyone!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Police Half Marathon Race Report

After all my bitching and whining over at my facebook page I had no excuse to skip it. I thought about it though. I ended up getting there later than I would have normally and misjudged the amount of people there, so I missed visiting with some of the people I wanted to see.

I did get to see Paul and his brother. Paul is living the barefoot lifestyle to get his feet ‘Leathered’ up for the Half Ironman in August.

I saw my main shoe sherpa, and best person of the day, Darren

Bumped into Barefoot Brian. Brian was the first person I ever saw wearing Vibrams over a year ago. I was only barefoot curious back then.

And of course it wouldn’t be a race without Dawn, the Pick Chick. She likes pink. btw.

Ok. So. On the way there, I wasn’t feeling good about the race. I was having an internal debate whether I would wear my Vibram’s or my Merrells. To be honest the only reason I wanted to wear the Vibrams is because it gets me the most attention when I have to wear shoes. It is an ego thing, but more than that, it is my way to meet awesome people. I get to meet all kinds of coolness once the conversation starts regarding my bare feet. Well, today wasn’t going to be the day for barefoot, but maybe it was going to be the day for toe shoes.

I put them on in the car, stepped outside and almost took a digger on my second step. So it was back to the car to put on the Merrell Trail gloves. Immediately I noticed a huge grip difference. To be fair, the Vibrams I own are the regular KSO’s, so no additional grips. They are better on bare clear roads and dry trails than the Merrell’s, but today belonged to grip. I think I knew I was going to be wearing the Merrells, but its like a progression of reasoning with me, and I have to go through all the steps before the s-m-r-t part of my brain kicks in. Even on the drive over, I was trying to figure out if I was going to be able to go barefoot at some point.


The other first thing at a race for me was, I waited for the main group of people to leave before I got going (chip timed, obviously). I am usually in the pack and gone as soon as possible, but for some reason I just hung around and chatted with people. while waiting around, I was trying to take a picture of myself when a lady asked if I wanted her to take a pic of me. Sure. The other pic below is of her and her buddy who was racing.


So, when I finally got going, I realized quite quickly how hard the race was going to be. Our running surface of packed snow had been churned into the consistency of buttery sand. not good right from the start. Didn’t matter at this point, it was a downhill start and the company was good. I started chatting with Barry, who was just setting his MapMyRun on his phone, and we kinda hit it off. We yammered for the about the first km, we talked about clinics and training, up until Darren came up from behind us and asked why I wasn’t barefoot (in jest). Well that started a conversation amongst the runners around us that progressed to me stating “Well you might not know me here, but I’m a pretty big deal on the Internet!”. Well that got a few guffah’s, and I ended up getting ribbed a bit especially a while later when these two below startled me by yelling “OMG it’s Barefoot Neil!!”, for a second I was all ‘woohoo’, but then realized I was being rightfully punked.


Barry and I carried on, chirping like a couple birds in a tree.

Pretty much until we got here.

This is where the path went from bad to really bad. Just across that bridge and into the woods would prove to be a really slippery section, with glare ice covered with the fresh falling snow. I think about a quarter of the people ended up falling, some ended up with race ending injuries. Most of the runners were walking, and there were even a few that were sliding on their bums to get across the worst of it. All the runners were off the trail on either side, so the middle was wide open and I just kept running straight down the middle. That’s one of the beauties of barefoot style running, your feet are on the ground for a very short time, and you are in balance for the most part. The feet never really have a chance to slip out from under you and you are picking them up again. Tricky. On everything but the glarest of ice, the Merrells gave me some pretty nice confidence. I could feel them gripping the ground and driving me forward. I couldn’t even imagine using a worn out pair of trainers.


As we left the woods area we ended up on a flat section again where I caught up with run buddy Liz. Liz was on a mission since a tough Regina Marathon last year and since had brought her half marathon times down about 15 minutes in the last 6 months or so. Way to go! too bad this wasn’t your PB attempt race, but I think it will be soon! good luck.

By this time we had run about 8km and I was feeling the effects of the surface in my legs and in my lungs. This was going to be a tough race. Barry and I chugged up a loooooong hill and both of us kinda sighed in unison as we crested the top, I think both of us getting the idea that no records were going to be broken today…

Oh well. Keep on plugging. To be honest, I was really worried about what the backside of our race was going to look like. The Weaselhead Natural area is the link between North and South Glenmore parks and while the paths are paved and smooth in the summer, they are not maintained in the winter. I was very glad to have experience in the 2 XC races I ran this winter, as I learned then how to run on really rough snowy trails. Kms 11 to 14 were the unmaintained path area.


Oh, first. My apologies to Barry. We approached an area of the path that was completely flooded and there was a single file line of racers waiting to tiptoe through the only part of the path that wasn’t underwater. I ran right through the big puddle, passing probably 100 people and just carrying on. That was the last time I saw Barry. The water was cold, but since I had my Merrell Trail Gloves on with no socks, it made no difference to me if they got soaked.

Ok, once we were in the Weaselhead area, the path was brutal. Like the worst running conditions I have ever encountered. Think icy, lumpy, deep snow, narrow cupped path with no way to see your next step as everyone was so close all you saw was heels. there were 3 ‘runable’ paths parallel to each other, and while running on one, the others always looked smoother, so I like many others ended up jumping from one to the other. I could feel my feet being contorted with every uneven step, and I had to really concentrate on small strides and letting my feet do their job, trusting that they would hold me up.

This was still the nicely maintained part of the path

At the 12km mark we come to some really steep downhills. I was blown away with the grip I had over everyone else here. Again I ran straight down the middle while others were sidestepping and almost crawling here. At the second of the 2 steeps I ended up colliding with a guy who stepped in my line. I kinda grazed off the guy and was able to stop and ultimately hold him up from falling. I apologized and kept on going with an exasperated ‘SERIOUSLY?’ from the guy. Hey dude, not my fault you chose the wrong footwear for this event. Worn out trainers were NOT a good choice today.

With the toughest of the downhills behind me, I was able to settle into the ‘Flats’ area at about 13.5km. I was really getting my head set for the big climb out of the park as it’s kinda our Heartbreak hill in this event.

I hiked it.

Yeah, I was in no shape by then with 6km+ to go that I just decided to hike it. It still took a ton out of me. I was feeling the effects of my lack of training, the rough surface conditions, and my unreasonable expectations at the start of the race. I say unreasonable because I thought I could manage the conditions better, and with all my whining about snow and snow plowing, I felt the need to perform. Well.

not so much.

I just barely held it together for the rest of the run. No conversation with anyone, just my own brain telling me I’m an idiot for pretending to like this. It really was my hardest run. As the last few kms ticked away I started to think about barefoot. I needed to salvage something from this run. I wanted to know if it was possible. To run in the snow.

I had decided in my head that I would make the final decision at the 1km left mark. Here is what the surface looked like when I reached that point.

So there was a bit of visible asphalt, but it was obviously cold. I pulled off the main running line and kicked off my shoes. I started running and right away my thought was that I probably took off my shoes 950 meters too soon. (A km is 1000 meters, btw). I was committed now. I had just gotten back into stride when I saw Darren coming back toward me from the finish area. As I approached, he takes up stride next to me and says lets go, and on top of it, he offers to be my shoe Sherpa and carry my shoes.

Yes! please! Thanks Darren. We run for a bit and I am feeling absolutely done. Full disclosure and for your information, my feet had pretty much froze numb and I was a bit worried I was doing damage to them. This had to be the longest km I had ever ran. It just seemed to go on forever. I walked a couple times, the surface changed from slush to wet pavement to hard packed snow and back to slush,  but with the coaching from Darren and a few cheers from fellow runners I was able to keep going. Darren was hilarious as he ran ahead of me and was shouting to everyone “Look Look! it’s barefoot Neil! No shoes No shoes!!” It was flattering and embarrassing at the same time. There must have been a few hundred people lining the finishing chute and the last 1oo or so meters were downhill so it was a nice finish.

I grabbed my medal and made an immediate right turn into the building. My feet were so fricking numb. I didn’t know how this was going to play out. Was this the line, and had I crossed it with my barefooting? as I sat there wiggling my toes and having to look at them to make sure they were moving, I couldn’t answer the question yet. Darren came in and gave me back my shoes. I just sat there. I could feel my calves and feet cramping up a bit, so I guzzled my water and some more of my GuBrew, and just kept moving my feet waiting for them to warm up. They were obviously very cold all the way through as Paul came up a few minutes later and he laughed at the ice that was still on my toes. I got my shoes back on and walked out to the car to grab my phone and call Traci (and update Facebook of course), then went back in.

My feet seemed to be thawing out by then and it wasn’t really painful, so I figured I dodged another ‘stupid’ bullet. They were however, very sore. You know, generally sore. The overall workout was intense. So much varied terrain. I tried to do some stretching, but that seemed to trigger some cramping, so I just walked around and chatted for a bit.

I’m not sure of the physiology of nerves as it pertains to cold, but my toes were numb, even after some time at home (including a hot shower and stretching) they wouldn’t gain back total feeling. I went to bed and still had numbness in my big toes, but slowly they gained feeling again and by last night (Monday) they are back to normal. I wonder if that was due to the cold or due to the extreme workout they endured. As a testament to the effort, my hamstrings and quads are very sore today (Tuesday) and they NEVER get sore anymore during my runs. It’s usually my calves that are beat.

What did I learn? That feet can get Really cold without falling off. That’s about it. I think I knew the effort was going to be very hard. Would I do it all again? Probably. Maybe next time with less expectations. I am not injured. I am still a bit sore, but am ready for a run tomorrow… That has to say something, right?

Ok, whats the next race? Oh yeah, my Marathon! You can enter this race at any point up to May 1st! You  just need to get 42.2kms in, in the amount of time you have left. Good Luck! I’ll get a registration update posted soon.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Police Half Calgary 2011

No race report yet, but I will give a couple tease photos. Half Race Results here. Report tomorrow. Going plowing this evening.

I’m not as concerned as I look.

I ran barefoot for the final Km. It was cold. Good and cold.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

This is my blog

And I'll NOT blog when I don’t want to.

Actually, I have been missing it. I blame facebook. It sometimes seems to easy to update there and forget about the blog. I even wrote about that a while back.

I’m sorry.

Ok. To the most important item. The Virtual Marathon. It starts tomorrow for those of you whom are using the 2 weeks to get the mileage in.

If you run (or walk) daily, you can go 3km per day, but would need to add 200m to one of your days to get to 42.2
If you run (or walk) daily, you can go 1.85mi per day, but would need to add .3 of a mile to one of your days to get to 26.2

See what I did there? Everyone can play this way! Want to see everyone? Ok, any one that is has a link, go see them, follow them! they will follow you too! (if you are nice like them)

Pretend this is real
Angie Bee
Still Running
Katie Kift
MCM Mama
Tammy S
Paula - Running Mom of 5
Jesse - Run To The Border
Dave with shoes
Chris K
Julie (ROJ)
L Finch
Ryan Zahynacz
R Hacker
Nicole Joy
fancy nancy
Coy Martinez
The Marathon Diaries
Haley @ Climb Run Lift Mom 

Also, since the actual event isn’t until May 1st. I have till then to get your custom bibs emailed to you.

I am looking forward to my Half Marathon tomorrow even though it may be icy cold and snowy. April in Calgary usually gets about 6” of snowfall. So far this April we have had 23 inches with more on the way. the other stat that is reason enough for a sane man to go crazy is, normally the consecutive days that we have snow cover here in Calgary is about 50 days. (We get strong chinooks that periodically melt our snow. You Denverites would know about this) This year it’s been 180 days of total snow cover.


Oh, well. Could be worse. We are not having the storms and flooding and nuclear holocausts like other parts of the world. I will say tho that this long winter really affects the mood around here. Outside seems so far away.  Especially with a 3 year old trapped in the house.

I was having a really good week until I had to go plowing on Wed night Thurs morning. I was having a lot of fun reconnecting to old clients and having lots of laughs with my co-workers. Then I got the call at 1:30 Thursday morning. I never went to bed as I was wired up with the storm apporaching and I just can’t sleep. I had also gotten up at 4am Wed morning and didn’t go back to bed. the next time I went to sleep was 1am Friday. 4am Wed to 1am Friday is approx 45 hours of awake. In the middle of it all I had Andrews first ever concert to go to at his preschool. I was totally blown away by these 3-4 year olds. The teachers deserve a medal. This is the 15 minute concert in it’s entirety, I don’t expect you to watch it. I just put it here for posterity.

Oh, this is what my plow night looked like.



Some of the boy, doing what he does.


The little dude is so much fun! Can’t wait until camping season. It really is all about him. I truly became who I am when he was born. I always say Traci saved me when she married me, and when Andrew came along, I knew why.

And as a bonus, here is a race report from last September, from before I had realized I have indestructible Ninja Feet. I was worried about the destruction of my feet at that race, but it turns out I was imagining the whole thing and I was fine…

AND! I have been debating buying this:


I will probably get one of these soon. I hope. Maybe as an Easter present. Do you get or give Easter presents? besides chocolate?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Honest to Betsy, this is how it went…

Andrews Great Gramma: So you put Andrew down in your bed, then move him to his?

Me: No, he sleeps with us.

Andrews Great Gramma: That must interfere with your sex life though.

Me: Whoa! Gramma!, I will not have THAT conversation with you…

Andrews Great Gramma: but…

Me: BUT, nothing! stop now please.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Now that I have a day job, this really sucks…



I have to go out and plow anything over 1 inch. Not good for training. not good for life in general.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Salmon and Rice makes Everything Nice!

I asked the internet “What should I eat before my big 30k run tomorrow? It replied, Salmon and Rice.

So, like good boy, I had Salmon and Rice. It worked. So well, I ran 32k instead of 30! 3:49. This after not running for 3 weeks (not one step) up until this week where on Tuesday I ran 4 terrible K, Wednesday I ran 8 good hill K’s, Saturday it was a fantastic 10k and then today I blew away a 32k. (my longest ever).

It was below freezing for the first 1/2 of the run, but I took off my 5’s after 10k and went barefooted for the remaining 22k.

pic 1pic 2

It was good. no issues to speak of, just normal sore now. I find that the longer I run, the easier my ice baths get. I spent 25 blissful minutes in the tub, and felt good as soon as I got out. ( I did have to stop and work a cramp out of my Hamstring for a minute at the 29k mark)

I ran a steady 7 min/km pace from start to finish and employed a slightly modified 10 and 1, run walk strategy. All I know right now at this moment, is that I have all the confidence in my ability to complete the Marathon on May 1st, and also to do really well at the Half marathon this upcoming weekend.

I am beaming at my personal accomplishments this week. Lots of things are WAY better then they were a week ago… Thank you to the internet and to my real life family and friends.

After the run, we went out on a Family outing. I took the camera, something I haven’t done in a long time. Maybe good stuff all goes hand in hand. Andrew is studying ponds and birds in his pre-school, so we headed out to Frank Lake.


And we got to see and do stuff like this.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

What’s this all about?


That is what it is all about for me.

I didn’t run a single step for 3 weeks while trying to get my life in order. My thought patterns went like this.

  • I gotta get out for a run, but I am so tired and everyone is sick in the house.
  • There is just too much to do right now
  • I’ll be able to catch up
  • The virtual marathon isn’t the same as the Vancouver Marathon, so I don’t give a shit if it takes me 6 hours to complete
  • I’ll be fine when I start up again
  • Man, that was another Sunday gone by wasn’t it…
  • I am so tired.
  • It’s just too hard. Why even bother anymore.
  • Gawd I’m gaining weight
  • Well, i’m not running tomorrow anyway, might as well have a coke float.
  • Well, i’m not running tomorrow anyway, might as well have a plate of nachos.
  • Well, i’m not running tomorrow anyway, might as well have an ice cream.
  • Well, i’m not running tonight anyway, might as well have McDonalds for lunch.
  • Well, i’m not running tonight anyway, might as well have Dairy Queen for lunch.
  • Well, i’m not running tonight anyway, might as well have a burger and fries for lunch.
  • Well, i’m not running tonight anyway, might as well have the fish and chips for lunch.
  • Well, i’m not running tomorrow anyway, might as well work all night.
  • Well, i’m not running tomorrow anyway, might as well have a fudgcicle.
  • Well, i’m not running tomorrow anyway, might as well have a beer.
  • Well, i’m not running tomorrow anyway, might as well have a big bowl of cheeze sauce with white bread to dip it in.
  • Well, i’m not running tonight anyway, might as well have a Venti Mocha with whip and drizzle.

So on Tuesday, even though I over-ate during the day I sent this to Happy Dan


Toughest 4k I have run since my first week of running. I got side cramps and I was just plain winded the whole time.

I went home and didn’t overeat anymore. I drank a bunch of water and decided I’d go run hills with group on Wednesday. I ate well in preparation for the evening run, drank a bunch of water and pretty much got head screwed on straight. It was a really good run. It was 8ish kms with 6 hill repeats in the middle of which I did 4 barefoot, and it seemed like a world away from the day before. So much better.

I had planned on running long this Sunday, but wasn't sure how much I would be able to handle, so when Darren got ahold of me to ask if I wanted to run on Saturday, just an easy run, it was a no brainer. Sure.

Like I said above, it was spectacular. Not in the sense that it was the most amazing physical/fast/efficient run I had ever completed, but it was more about me re-assuring myself that i COULD still do this. It was a mediumish speed (for me), and it was wonderful. Easy conversation about all manner of things and a little running effort.

So what is running all about for me? It about all of you, the internet people and my local running friends that I have met along the way. Darren and I happened to meet during the Frozen Ass 50 in February, and in conversation on that run, we found out we live 3 blocks away from each other. Crazy!

I had never met Darren before that race, but we ended up chatting a lot and he became one of the heroes of my race report. What an awesome guy!

So, really, what I am getting at is, that I am a runner. I need to run, but I can’t do it alone. I feel sad that my situation in life has caused me to miss some of my favorite races this spring already, but soon enough I will be back in the racing saddle, meeting new people and getting my happy fix. I feel bad for you, my loyal internet, that you have to listen to my crappy crap, but, it’s doesn’t seem to be driving anyone away, but I am sure if I carried on like this, that I would be left here alone in the wide world web, typing to myself. That’s no fun.

Anyhow. I gave a glimpse into pissed off Neil in the past few postings, but like I said, that’s not me. Those incidents are very isolated and for once, I am going to let them go… and try to focus on what I can do today to make my life better, so I can help make other peoples lives better. What do you say? Are you with me?

I lied. I am going to go back. But for good stuff. For the benefit of my new, and awesome cool kid readers, this is more like me…

these next two go together, so read the first one first…

And this isn’t the first time I have been in the dumps either. The next link is a post very similar to this one. Uncanny really.

So, I give you permission to slap me upside the internet, when you see me starting to whine and bitch about how busy and tired I am. It has been proven over and over again that I am a much better me when I am running.

Most importantly, thanks to my very lovely wife, for kicking me out the door this week. In not as many words, she said I was more of an asshole when I was not running, so please, go run, come back happy.

I did, and I am.

Friday, April 8, 2011

ok ok ok OK OK ok ok OK!


I will stop with it again. Every time I start feeling a little behind or sucky in my running, I get antsy and feel like I need to re-hash shit that don’t need rehashing.

I’m not going to. I’ll leave what I wrote up, but Anonymous, and Nazzer and everyone else who is like ‘Why the Eff is he doing this again?’, you are right.

You are right. I am simple. Let’s keep it simple and not start something I'm not going to have the energy or the desire to continue or finish. I’m gonna go barefoot’n and that’s all.



I am running 40k this weekend. 10 today and 30 tomorrow. wish me luck. Half Mary next weekend and the Marathon on the 1st. *gulp*

I just like this picture of my boy… from about 10 months ago.