A favorite quote:

Make play a high priority in your life for if you die tomorrow no one can play for you, but someone can and will do your work for you!!!" Ken Beebe (Dr. Play)

Sunday, August 22, 2010


We are camping again. We are really ruffin’ it. We don’t have hookups of any kind, however, a couple months ago, we upgraded to 2 ‘deep cycle’ 6 volt batteries and are on day 5 of this camping trip without having to connect to any type of shore power.

Yep, were ruffin it.


This battery revelation opens up a whole new world for us and our camping adventures. As long as our water tank is full and our waste tanks are empty, we figure we can go ‘Boondocking’ for at least 6 days at a stretch with no requirement for connections. That is super-duper news. Imagine all the mountain meadows, prairie lakesides and music festivals that this opens the door to us!

We are exactly 30 minutes west of our house. Right now we are pretty smothered in forest fire smoke from all the fires in British Columbia, but it sure makes for some nice photo opportunities.

It a really cool sight to see, when you look straight up, and there is blue sky, but anywhere else and it’s like the thickest fog. These pics are on the way to the camping area.


IMG_6463   IMG_6445 God’s country. truly.

On Saturday we were supposed to go to Millerville for the Farmers Market and Fair. Nope. The line up of cars was at least a couple kms long and we were in NO mood to get stuck in some ‘city folk’ crowds. We ended up in Okotoks for some breakfast and then back to the house (because we were so close) for showers.

After a stop at the house the board of directors were anxious to get back on the road and back to the mountains. Pump gas (as Andrew says it) first, then gone again!


Long time ago back story: 17 years ago I went to Saskatoon from my home in North Battleford to upgrade my high school Math and English marks so I could get into Architecture school. I got there and the first thing I had to do was look for a job. I found one, and it was a position selling coupons door to door. The story of the coupon sales cult company is probably a whole nother marathon of blogging to tell that story, but the one thing that did come out of this job was I met my good friend Randy. I have not seen Randy in 17 years, but we reconnected and have kept in touch through Facebook (He moved to England 13 years ago), and I just happened to know that he was back in Canada on a family camping trip. Turns out he was one mountain range to the north from us.

I gave Randy a call and we headed out to Bow Valley Provincial Park, just east of Canmore. He had moved from his campsite over to a day use picnic area on the banks of the mighty Bow River.

It was like we saw each other yesterday. Yammer yammer yammer… yakkity yak. The bonus is Traci and Randy got along very well and Andrew, after a little bit of shyness, was all over Randy t0o! It was good to see you Randy. I remember being very good friends with you back then and this little hour long visit confirmed why. I sure hope it isn’t another 17 years before we get to re-connect again.


If you click on the photo below, it will come up much larger (settings in Livewriter are very user friendly like that) . It is a pretty nice shot and if you want to download it for you desktop background or anything, feel free! The mountain on the far right is Yamnuska. I am going to climb it before the summer is out.


My DW enjoying the day


My DS enjoying the day


My DW and DS enjoying each other!


Randy and I…


Here are the 5’s enjoying some mountain air as well!


I was going to run the Prairie Link trail today, but I couldn’t find anyone to go with (there are lots of bears in the area and DW didn’t want me to go alone), so I am going to run 10k tomorrow in my Neighbourhood when we get home. I do have a date with follower and regular commenter Ellorneo to run this trail next Sunday. I saw a photo of Lorne’s VFF’s on the Vibram Facebook page and I requested a friendship with him. We have commented back and forth as well as facebooked, but never met yet. Should be a fun run! Here is the original Facebook exchange.

lorne neil

I thought it was a funny exchange. Glad I friended him now!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Really behind…

…now …but it’s for a good cause. Me. I have been building a followership and trying to garner some sponsorships for my running hobby over at my running blog.

I’ll do another list and try to get through it in the next couple days.

  1. Andrews Birthday. He turned 3 on July 24th. It was a very good day.
  2. Camping. We went to Rosebud, Alberta for a rocket launch of all things! Shortest trip of the year, no less fun tho!
  3. I now run barefoot! I’ll link over to it at the other one.
  4. Traci has started a new business, selling gift baskets, and is taking a very cool government sponsored business start-up program for entrepreneurs. She is loving it!GettaGiftlogo
  5. Work is work.
  6. I shot 82 on my one and only round of golf so far this year!
  7. Had to take Rizzo in to emergency with a suspected hernia in her back (she is better now)


S’bout it! Seeya soon!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Best day…

I posted this on my Run Blog, but it involves Andrew alot, so here!

It was easily 2 times more fun than any run day in my history, and quite possibly 3 times more fun.

I put my bib on and Andrew asked for one. Turns out, he had one too! he was SOOOO happy! All the kids got #1!


We left the house today at 8:20 and made a quick stop at my favourite sponsor, the Cranston Location of Good Earth Cafe. I walk in and Thelma goes “So, how did it go?”.. uh, I am on my way there right now… she said she thought it was yesterday, but nonetheless was excited that I stopped in to say hi and grab a coffee on my way there. On the suggestion of Traci, we got a picture. Nice! (she was so excited for me, her enthusiasm actually helped me get ready for the race!)


We made our way over to the Ronald McDonald House by about 9am for the Rock the House Run, and had an hour to relax and soak in the atmosphere. They have a pretty nice set up. Lots of space for everyone (500ish runners and walkers), have great free stuff including, water, fruit, cinnamon buns, ice cream, coffee, massage, kids play areas, stage with live entertainment, and a professional warm up guy. The warm up thing is actually very cool as I am super ready when he turns us around and the gun goes off.    

Big Ron and Me


Little Ron waving at me (not really, but it looks like it)


Me with all kinds of nervous apprehension when we arrived


Ronald McDonald House, Southern Alberta


The vendor and start area


Here is Beezley (yep, he’s my token ‘One Name’ person that I know!).


He emcee’d the event and he is the morning show host at Calgary 97.7 the Mix FM radio station. He is probably more well known as the Arena voice of the Calgary Flames! On top of it all, he is a good family friend. Thanks for all your hard work at these event Beez! At one point prior to the start of the race, he was introducing dignitaries and some of the people who make the race possible, and then he says “AND we have a Barefoot runner, doing the 10k today! Way to go # 3320”. I then had a bunch of people coming up to me to say “Are you really running Barefoot?” in as many different ways as there were people asking! It was a lot of fun. I learned a long time ago to embrace and enjoy positive attention like this, and boy did I ever embrace it!

before I get to my race report. I’ll tell Andrews…

The boy has 19 different means of wheel’d transportation in the basement, shed, garage and backyard. One of them is actually a tractor that is battery powered. So does he ride any of them? nope. He runs everywhere he goes. From the time he could walk, he was running. He understands everything about running ie, fuelling, hydration, pacing and stretching. We were at Good Earth this afternoon and he just broke into an impromptu stretching routine to the amusement of the others in the cafe.

Poppop was running with him in the kids 1k, and I have been warning him that he better be ready to run the entire 1k as Andrew (in the right mindset) would run fast the entire way. Well… he was and he did! Andrews run is a fast walk for Poppop, however each time Poppop went into his fast walk, Andrew would say “RUN Poppop!” and so Poppop would run!


Each of the kids got an empty happy meal box and were to stop at stations all over the course to pick up goodies to put in the box. And, as per last year, he got a medal! *WoOt* He had an amazing run and was very proud of himself (As were we).

In the meantime, I was busy near the start yakking it up with runner after runner. I could tell there were lots more people interested, but were too polite (Canadian) to come up and start a conversation. If I wasn’t with someone, I would look them in the eye and smile, and they would come right over to talk at that point.


Traci and Nan were walking the 5k and made it back to the start line just in time for the gun. Traci got this picture as I took off! Nice one!


Because we had such an awesome warmup with Pete the Fitness Guy, I got myself into a really nice rhythm right from the start. I wasn’t over the timing mat yet and people started talking to me about my barefeet. This would continue on for the entire race. I figured I was going to be a bit (understatement) of a spectacle, so I figured I would make everyone feel at ease and smile, laugh and talk to everyone! I ran with a stack of free coffee coupons from Good Earth and handed them to the volunteers as I ran by, gave the good ol’ hang loose sign to all the entertainers and chatted with everyone, no matter if they seemed interested in a conversation or not. The entertainment was great and Traci got pictures of almost everyone on the 5k loop that were playing for us!

DSCF2079 DSCF2066 DSCF2067 DSCF2070 DSCF2071 DSCF2073 DSCF2074 DSCF2075 DSCF2077 DSCF2078

Oh yeah. it was a misty rain for most of the run, which was super fine by me! Thanks to all the entertainers, you guys were amazing!

I was in the mid pack, feeling really, really good as I ran a 5:20/km pace (too fast) with little or no hard breathing or any other issue. I just felt wonderful! I’m in there somewhere!


People are so amazing, I got every question imaginable about my feet. As I ran past people I could hear them say “That guy has no shoes!” or “you lost your shoes”. I would see someone stopped to tie their shoe and I'd tell the person running next to me ‘that never happens to me anymore’… chuckle.

I didn’t carry water, I didn’t carry food, I just wanted to run unencumbered. It was truly a great experience. I ran the entire course, save for a few walking steps at the water stations and a stop at the ‘Paint the Run’ booth where you were handed a paintbrush to swipe a canvas on the way by. I stopped and painted a footprint! hehe. Too corny?

My feet felt amazing for the first 4k, but I had a feeling my quick pace was going to bugger me a bit and it did. At the 4-5k mark I started to get a pain in my right foot, right in the ball of my foot. It pissed me off a bit as it was the spot where I stepped on the rock at the spray park (not running) a month ago, It is a deep bruise down there and it is a little bit annoying that it is lingering as long as it is. Ah well, we’ll just make some foot placement adjustments and viola, comfortable running again.


I must have chatted with a hundred people. Even the cops directing traffic were all chatty, when normally they don’t even smile or acknowledge you. I made the 5k turnaround at about 27 minutes (too fast, and I knew it), and so I knew I was just going to be hanging on when I finished. My first 5k highlight was stopping for a big hug and kiss from Andrew who came running out to meet me at the turn! Awesome.

The crowd thinned out, but it made it easier to joke around and chat with everyone doing the 10k. All the entertainers and course marshals were all cheering for me on the second lap as it seemed like they were even more amazed now!

The rain picked up a bit and the streets were completely soaked by now. I stepped on a rock that I couldn’t see on the darker wet pavement. I said to the people around me. “Dang, I just stepped on a rock”… they didn’t say anything. I could tell they were all like “Stupid jerk, running barefoot”. Or maybe I just imagined that’s what they were thinking…

Last year this run seemed SO long to me. I’m not sure why, but the rolling hills just about killed me then. This year, as I approached the finish line, I wanted to make the turn and carry on for another 5k. Earlier in the run I thought my too fast of pace was going to hurt me, but in fact I felt great right to the end. Sure I was fatigued a bit, I finished this race only 2 minutes off my Shod PR, so it wasn’t a factor of taking it easy, but I felt like I could have kicked it into another gear. I didn’t kick it into another gear, because I knew that was tempting fate with how good my barefoot training was going and I didn’t want to jeopardize that by being stupid and hurting myself. I love this too much to be an egomaniac. I crossed the line in 57:43 (chip time) and I got the biggest cheer I have ever received.

notice the lady behind me with the hula hoop? her and a dude that  juggled 3 balls ran the 5k, hulahooping and juggling the entire way…


I used to be just a Clydesdale, nondescript runner, but now I was Barefoot Neil, the barefoot guy who ran the Rock the House Run! When I crossed the line I went straight to say hi to my family, grabbed a drink of water, then just stood in the center of the entertainment area and chatted with a steady line of people who were amazed I actually did it! Everyone was incredibly curious as to ‘Why’. I basically told them it was a choice by me to run with joy and an attempt to run pain free. They seemed to accept that, and seemed very happy to know a little more about Barefoot Running. I even spoke to a few of the fastest runners (40min 10kish, Hi Rob and Mike!), as they were REALLY curious about it. I found the whole thing flattering and was very proud to be there as the token barefooter on this day. I know barefooting is going to become more popular in the future, but for now, I am happy it was just me today, as I obviously enjoyed the attention.

My feet really seemed to heat up about 15 minutes after the race, so I put my 5’s on and that solved that right away. We hung out for as long as people wanted to chat with me, then headed out for home. We stopped at the Good Earth to let them know how I did, and as I regaled the race story to Thelma and the rest about all the people and the coupons handed out (I made sure all the EMS and First Aid people got free coffees too) and Thelma gives me a big hug! She seemed very happy with her investment and that made me happy. I say the following, not because I was a sponsored runner, but because it’s true. The Good Earth Coffeehouse and Bakery in Cranston Rocks! go there and enjoy the incredible atmosphere! I am so happy they came to Cranston!


I made the evening  news too! Here is the full broadcast link. I am at about 14:20 to 14:30. not too smooth, but it was 9.5k and I was feeling it a little bit… lots too work on still.

What a day… I am so in love with my barefootness. Thanks to my darling wife for putting up with all this!

  • Barefoot mileage since June 29th : 87.2km
  • VFF mileage since July 7th : 11.8km
  • Shoe mileage since SOBF (start of barefoot): 5km (25:30 5k race PR on July 1st)

running product makers look at what you get! Please sponsor me!