Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Marine Forecast: wind warning. Plan "B": Hug a tree, go for a barefoot run!

Reduce running injuries - go minimalist. (Seriously!)

We were hoping to get the kayaks on the water today but this morning, Environment Canada was posting a "wind warning" - winds to 90 km/h for our region of south Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Hmm...how come it seems the challenging paddling weather so often coincides with a free day? Ahh, no problem, it's kind of like flying an airplane, it's good to have an "alternate". So yeah, a good day for a trail run.

Gabriola Island has some absolutely wonderful places to run barefoot. Trails are, for the most part, soft and forgiving on the feet. You are always careful of little roots that poke up but so far so good. Occasional muddy spots are, well, just squishy. Transitioning to minimalist shoes / barefoot hasn't been completely without a little pain and strain. Most has been sore calf muscles as a result of not paying attention to the need for gradual progress and forgetting that your body is not nearly as forgiving as it used to be! Recently there was a little top of the foot and arch pain but it goes away and, I think, you're probably stronger (and wiser) for it. Gradual progress (for us) includes alternating regular trail shoes, Vibram FiveFingers, and barefoot. Gotta say though, the latter two are the most fun! Other folks on the trail always give you a rather strange look and sometimes even bring it to your attention that you're not wearing shoes. I like to give them a "Yikes, you're right!" look.

Trails here wind through a federal reserve and an Islands Trust Nature Reserve. There is incredible variety, everything from rain forest carpets of fern, old growth giants, gently flowing creeks secreted away amidst the overgrowth and the underbrush, and views of the snow-capped Coastal Mountains across the Strait of Georgia. Some of the old trees just call out for a "hug". I'm sure the stories they and their ancestors could tell would be amazing as there is evidence that humans have been on this island for as many as 5000 years!
A trail, high above the rolling waves, offers the sounds and smells of the sea which calm and invigorate and brush aside the worries of the day. Paths lead to the shore which, when the tide is out, offers a sandy beach to cool the feet and gently massage the soles (and the soul).

Somehow this kind of close contact with the earth, the sea, and the sky serves as a reminder to honour the present moment. It is sufficient. And it is precious.

Take good care, friends,



  1. We got the snow-capped mountains and lots of sky...oh, but for the ocean too! Been missing the runs with you guys, but you never could keep up, even with your shoes on! :-) Woohoo, it's my BD today!

  2. Happy Birthday Gen! Hey, you know where the ocean is so see what you can do to get yourself out here! As to keeping up, well, you do what you can do - smile! Hope you do something special on your BD! TTYS. D and J

  3. Duncan and Joan:
    At least you had a back-up plan. What was Joan trying to get out of the tree or was she planning on scaling it and was just checking it out other than just giving the old tree a big hug? Hope she had on shoes at that time. It looked pretty rough there and probably had a snake or two in the underbrush.
    That looks really cool running on the beach. Reminds me of where I hail from.

  4. Hi J,

    Snakes? Oh man, we didn't think about that!:o I think you grew up with some pretty incredible beaches - and much warmer water! Thanks for dropping by. D.

  5. Hi J,

    Snakes? Oh man, we didn't think about that!:o I think you grew up with some pretty incredible beaches - and much warmer water! Thanks for dropping by. D.

  6. What a blessing to be able to witness that kind of beauty whenever you want! Must be rough to have to enjoy all that because you could not enjoy the beautiful waters you normally get to.

  7. Thanks Jimmy, it is a special place. Glad to hear you're "on the road again" amidst those warm southern winds. Duncan.