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.

Monday, January 31, 2011

So, this got me thinking, and pondering, and thinking some more…

I received a very interesting comment for a (I think) new reader, who by my Sitemeters account had spent 2+ hours the other day reading this here blog. Now you know how long it takes to read an average blog, so to spend that much time here, this person covered a LOT of ground.

Neil I enjoy the blog, well written and so well-updated. You can almost smell the upcoming 'but' here...
...the 'but' is because half the reason I enjoy the blog is the car crash waiting to happen. After injuries etc. and the low mileage you managed to keep at the end of 2010, I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned that you simply aren't ready for a marathon. Sure you'll complete it: it's evident you're a determined guy. But a better plan would be to build a base and run one in the fall, hit a goal time instead of just completing the 26.2. I know you'll all disagree, but this dissenting opinion needs to be written :0)
Speaking of determination, put some shoes/VFFs on when on the treadmill. The staff at Goodlife may not have had the rule to hand, but if they don't have it in the manual it's because it's one of the more obvious and common sense rules, like don't workout naked or bring your own 1980's boom-box a la Venice Beach.
Again, I know you won't like or agree with this, but it's a liability issue. This is moving machinery with hard edges surrounding it - one slip from your sweaty, hotspotted feet and you can get a good chunk of toe or heel go missing down the treadmill gutter. You'd wear protective gear at work - where the WCB or insurance won't pay if you don't - so why is it different in the gym?
The counter-argument I guess is that you would never be too effin stupid to lose concentration on form or proprioception to slip on the treadmill....
Exhibit A:

Ok, so at first it’s a little bit shocking, (just a little bit) and my nature tend to make me get my guard up and want to defend, but I pondered for a short time before I wrote this in response.

Thanks for the comments. I appreciate the time you took to read through my blog, and feel free to check back often! I hear your concerns loud and clear, and just know I am a pretty thoughtful guy, and I hope I am making good choices. Only time will tell, right. One thing for sure is I have always had a full disclosure policy on this blog, so if you keep reading, you will be sure to find out of you are right on any or all counts!
Stay in touch ok? Oh, I have a reader mail section I write every once in a while, do you mind if I repost your comments there? I love a good debate!
How did you find my blog by the way?

But now after a couple days of some poderance and reflectivitness, I have have come to some conclusions about myself and my running.

This single comment has actually made me think about and FIGURE OUT the REAL reasons I run…

the results of all this thinking in a near-future blog post, right here on BATCKADI.. stay tuned.

Ps. why do you run?

Pps. I actually couldn’t smell the upcoming ‘but’ there. the rest of that comment took me complete surprise. I thought I was being complimented. :O)

Ppss. I ran 16k on the ‘mill at Goodlife tonight. It went as well as could be for being sick and tired, was about 1:50 of running. VFF’s were the worst part of the run. couple hotspots and tiny little blister. Might have to cave and wear the injinji’s.

PpPss. Goodnight.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Excerpt from my email to someone trying barefoot running for the first time

Be prepared to be quite uncomfortable as first. This is new, this is something that your feet aren’t used to. Remember how slow you were at first when you started running? Go slower.

Definitely run on a smooth hard surface like asphalt to begin with.

You are NOT reaching ahead of yourself with your feet. Your mid foot touches down  then the rest of the foot, including the heel. If you don’t let your heel touch down, your calves will be in agony. They are going to be sore anyway.

A couple drills. Run on the spot, then run backwards for a few strides. This will engrain the proper feeling in your feet as to how the landing is supposed to feel.

Bend your knees and relax. Relax... Relax.

Literally only run  200 yards. Maybe.

Never on grass. Ever. Bad things hide in the grass.

Love it! You are going to love it.

Give it a week or two at these short distances, then put your shoes back on and run the rest of the distance you have planned.

Best of luck! If people look at you crazy, just make eye contact and say hi... That usually startles them because they are looking at your feet.

You can do it!



Added: Lift your foot at the end of the stride, don’t push off. let the natural spring in your foot do some of the work, don’t overstride…

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Barefoot Running on the CBC National News!

Yeah! I got this email this morning:

Hi Neil,

I'm a reporter with CBC Television in Calgary. I'm working on a story today

about the effectiveness of running shoes and orthotics. I'm trying to find

someone in Calgary who has tried barefoot running. I'd like to chat with

you about a possible interview.  Are you available today? 


(Mercan’s, the CBC is akin to your CBS/NBC/ABC)

Well internet, what do you think I would do? especially after #6 answer in this post.

So a couple emails later and we have an appointment to meet at 3pm on a downtown pathway for some running shots and an interview. I got there at ten to 3 and as I pulled up, a CBC van pulls up. I hop out of my truck and walk over to the van and stand at the window (I am dressed to run, so I figure the person would recognize me as the runner in the story they are writing. So I just stand there at the closed window of the TV van and nothing is happening. Finally the window rolls down and this conversation took place.

Lady in van: Hello?

Me: Hi, I’m Neil.

Lady in Van: …

Me: Are you here to do an interview?

Lady: No, I am eating my lunch.

Just then, another CBC van pulls up, with the reporter and the cameraman!  Gaaa.. the lady says: I was wondering what you wanted…haha!


Ok, So I walk up to the guys as they are unloading the van and we exchange introductions, than I say to the reporter – Hey, you are a runner, right? – Yeah, he says, ‘but how do you know that?’. I googled you, I replied.

You researched the reporter? he asks.

Yep. I wanted to know what I was in for. It was a relief to see that he was an endurance runner and triathlete, so I know I am not being played the joker or something like that.


The Interview and the shooting was a lot of fun. I could be clearer in my thought process, and it is something that I am working on, but I knew that if there was at least a couple nuggets of clarity in there, that that is all he would need for the report. I was right. The coolest part was running with the cameraman running behind me shooting my feet! Too cool! That made the report. Great job cameraman! (I did slow down for this part, LOL)

Anyhow. here is the video. They don’t have a share button, so if you want to show this you can go to my FB page and share the link from there or use this link.

Let me know what you think! Famous Uh-mercan barefooters, how about a stride critique? Oh, and it was all I could do to not keep running, it was a record high temperature for this day in the history of record keeping at 57f…

In other news:

Ok, here is the video for the Ryders Eyewear / RoadID/ GU Energy contest:

Congrats Winner!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A New Contest! $65 Smackeroo’s!

I love this:

CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from stylish furniture, modern bedding, or great cookware

I had modern bedding back when I was in High School. Silk sheets on an old school waterbed. You wonder why I never got any dates.

image You ever get a leak in yours? gaa.

This contest is not unlike the other CSN store contests you have seen, except that I am now a preferred CSN Blogger (see the tag over on the left?)! That’s right. I am preferred. Pref-ferred! This is the reason I blog instead of going outside. I get preferred here. Outside, I’m just another yuk. At least at CSN I am preferred. I’ll say it again. Preferred. preferred. p-r-e-f-e-r-r-e-d. The more I look at that word the weirder it looks. Preferred. You ever get that? The more you stare at a word, the less sense it makes, and then all of a sudden it is just a bunch of meaningless lines and dots?


It’s like staring at someone's face upside down. Try that one day.I guarantee in about 45 seconds of staring at their upside down face,  your spouse/child/dad/etc will look like an alien to you. focus on the upside down eyes. Fu-reaky.


Wow, it’s late. How much Nyquil have I taken?

O yeah! The contest! $65.00 of merchandise (in the form of a one-time use promo code) will go to a person drawn from all the people who:

***correctly (2 entries) or incorrectly(1 entry) answers the following questions.***

  1. Do you follow me on this blog?
  2. Do you like CSN stores on Facebook?
  3. Do you like ME on Facebook?
  4. Please finish this sentence: Barefoot running is…
  5. Satin or Flannel?
  6. This or this?
  7. I tweeted. (or facebooked or blogged )

ADDED Entry option! Sign up at Joss & Main through this link and receive 3 extra entries! (there are some really good deals on stuff there!) Comment that you did and I’ll credit you the 3 entries.

Have you heard about Joss & Main? It's an exclusive private sale site that CSN Stores recently launched. It offers exclusive sales on top brands and designers for the home at up to 70% off retail. Sales only last 72 hours, but new ones are launched daily and all are backed by the high levels of customer service and quality that you’ve grown to value from CSN.

I will pick a winner sometime in the next 8 days. It may be tomorrow (probably not, but you never know), but just know it may end at anytime without warning. My blog, my rules. CSN Rules: Canada or Uh-merca for entries tho.

I had a contest a while back where Corelle was the key phrase for the CSN contest. I now need some new corelle… Tile floor + beef stew in a Corelle dish = 30 minutes I'll never get back of my life.

beef stew

I have the winner chosen for the other contest, it just takes FOREVER for youtube to upload, so I will post the Blair Witchesque winner video over at the Barefoot Neil Z facebook page in the morning, (I will blog it later in the day for those who are FB wee-todd-did)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Just the facts Vol.1 epsiode 2

My Contests :

Gu – Ryders – Road ID – Road ID – Ends tomorrow, 10pm mtn time!

Watch for a new contest on Wednesday!

Fantastic week of running!


  • An amazing 16k yesterday
  • A nice 7k tempo on Friday
  • A good 8k easy on the mill on Thursday
  • A good 3x1mile interval session for an 8k total (barefoot-gate at the Goodlife gym) on Tuesday
  • A 24 mile week in week 3 of marathon training! Pretty good methinks.
  • All the awesome comments regarding the raw deal at the gym! Special thanks to the Primalfoot Alliance and Daniel Howell!


  • Getting busted for running barefoot on the ‘mill
  • Having a family full of Croup.

Interesting stuff:

  • BMO Vancouver MarathonI have been a oft-commenter over at the BMO Vancouver Marathon’s facebook page. Kevin Jagger, who’s story is pretty cool in his own right, has been doing a great job of managing the Social Media efforts for the race. He has grown the following from the low 100’s to over 2000 in just a couple months with his timely information and his though provoking questions. I think some days I am on there a little too much, but I am enjoying being part of the convo so much, I just can’t help myself. Today we had quite the convo on how to ease into using minimalist footwear for running!
  • BMO Vancouver Marathon Facebook Question from Kristina Gicas: Does anyone have any suggestions on how to transition into a pair of fivefingers? I bought a pair, ran in them once on a treadmill for 20mins and strained my calf muscles so bad I could barely walk for a couple of weeks!! (Neil?...Barb?...Bueller...)
      • Neil Zeller Walk in them for a week first. Then run for 1 minute. 19 minutes too long the first try, i'm afraid. Go very slow, very very relaxed and take really short strides, keeping your footfall under your body. (the heel is allowed to touch down, after the mid foot) Listen to your body, if your feet tell you to stop, then stop.
      • Scottie Kersta-Wilson Oh man ... S L O W L Y ... injured both ankles and out 8 weeks last season. S L O W L Y. On treadmill I do 1/8th mile walk, and then 1/4 mile run for 6 reps to help build up feet and intervals
      • Mae Lee I would just dump the 5fingers and go back to your regular running shoes.
      • Kristina Gicas Thanks for the tips everyone!! I am going to take Neil's and Scottie's advice and try walking in them first :)
      • Matt Merko I would recommend a shoe that would help you make the transition - like the Kinvara or the Mirage - made by Saucony of course
      • Barb Wilkins The guy at MEC told me to just walk around the house in them for a week before even attempting to walk outside in them. I was lucky that it was spring/summer and I was already walking so much barefoot and in flip flops, but yes SLOOOOOWLY.... Your calves will hurt. I think I started 1 km in them once a week, the rest of the time in my runners. Now I'm 4x a week VFF once regular runners (and regular only if I run trails) You'll naturally find yourself landing mid to fore foot and a much shorter stride and a quicker pace. I have a really hard time going back to runners!
      • Neil Zeller By far the best way to learn barefoot style running is by going barefoot. That's how I started. Your feet will tell you all you need to know. I use minimal shoes now only when conditions prevent me from running barefoot... I had blisters an...d really sore calves for a couple weeks, but now have ran many races inc. 2 half marathons fully barefoot with no injuries or lingering issues... Also, you can read up on Chi running and NPR, they preach a short stride, quick turnover, style, that barefooting is known for... If anyone has any other questions, feel free to email me at nzeller at shaw dot ca. I know the barefoot convo can get old for many, so we can take it offline if needed...
      • Kristina Gicas Wow thanks for all this great advice!
      • Barb Wilkins Neil...I'm thinking of switching to barefoot come warmer months! The only thing that stopped me was the dirty icky ground coming in contact with my pristine feet ;)
        How's the water only, no coffee etc going by the way?
      • Neil Zeller Really good. Without changing anything else, I am down 6lbs in 14 days. I used to get cramps once in a while on my runs and those are gone completely too! Still miss coffee (cheated 2 times)
      • Erin Mcd Go slowly! I've been slowly getting used to them for 6 months now. No point rushing things and risking injury.
      • Jean McAuliffe I started with the VFF Bikila last May and took it slow as others suggested. I was running in them with my training group in July for the Portland half in Oct. I heard you shouldn't run in the VFFs on a dreadmill. The heat and friction are ...not good on the feet and shoes. I ran barefoot once on it. Wow - black! It helps to do exercises to strengthen the calves. A good book to read is Barefoot running ( for helpful tips and exercises. I love them! Can't imagine wearing anything else (except au natural).
      • Maxwell Ferguson ‎"Starting off in VFF" is the problem. Get a pair of shoes with a heel toe differential that is less than 12mm. Then work on form, starting out in VFF is asking to lose massive aerobic capacity due to a dramatically reduced amount of training.
      • Neil Zeller I disagree. Transitioning means you don't toss away your regular shoes right away. You can run the first 10% of your regular runs in vff then put your regular shoes back on. I guarantee what you learn will translate to your stride on your shoes. This way you lose nothing while you gradually use the minimal shoes or go barefoot for longer duration as you build up your footness, as I like to call it.
      • Barb Wilkins I did exactly what you just said Neil. As much as I wanted to wear only my VFF's to run, I'd run 1 or 2 km a week in them for the first month, slowly increasing. Doesn't mean I'd only run 1 or 2km a week, just 1 or 2 in the VFF's! Footness...I like.


Just the Facts Feature Blogger of the Week is:

***Beth at Shut up and Run***

Beth has a sweet little blog based in Colorado. I just found Beth’s blog a short time ago and was impressed by her dedication to blogging, but was less than impressed by her commitment to running. She is relatively new to the blogging game, so go on over and give her a follow. Her cute little anectodes will make you giggle with glee, and have you saying “yeah, I've been there too Beth! Uh-HUH! ”.  As for the running. she does most of it in a pool. Not sure what that is all about, but I guess to each their own. Her unique water running club includes a group of nice little old ladies who she calls the ‘nice ladies in the pool’, or something like that. So go on over to say hi to Beth, give her some support and a kind word or two. We were all new in the blogging world once, so she could use all the support you can give her. Have a great day Beth and Happy Blogging! Oh yeah, Beth is also going to try out a little race in New England in April. Good luck Beth!

AND - 96 days until my first marathon! I am really excited for the training to get there, as well and the day itself. Can I still use the word, ‘Stoked’?


One of my first contests was to caption this photo I took. Liz won and here is the result! I still LOVE this photo too. Top 12 for me for sure.

Bull motivation

Sunday, January 23, 2011


The boy has it. This is him at the Children's Hospital on Friday night. He is such a trooper!


He got a gulp of the ‘Dex’ and now he is only suffering from symptoms similar to a bad cold, but not barking like a Seal and/or wheezing to the point of panic. That was pretty scary for us, but apparently it’s pretty normal, but a trip to emerg is mandatory when the breathing gets that bad.

So now, Mommy and I have a bad cold. We were told it was entirely likely as the croup in kids, infects adults with grown up versions of bad colds, including really sore throats.

Which brings me to today. Well yesterday actually. Since we were at the hospital until 3am Saturday morning, I ended up not running my easy run, instead I ate a brownie with Ice Cream. I promised myself that I would get up nice and early on Sunday and run my 16k LSD. I ended up putting the boy to bed and slept until 1am when I got up and couldn’t get back to sleep until 4am.

Why 4am? well, I was up with my mind churning and debating a big decision for our family. We have decided to sell our house in the City and move back out to one of the bedroom communities that surround Calgary. It comes down to a choice between struggling to keep the big house in the city, on one income, or living life to the fullest in a small town, on one income. We are so proud of the little awesome person Andrew is becoming, and we know that it is mostly due to the fact that we chose to have Traci stay home with him. Not knocking anyone else who works and make the choice to utilize day homes etc, and we know lots of great families that have fantastic kids who go to daycare, we just aren’t able to give up the boy. And we are at peace with that decision. It will be hard to leave this house. We built it. It was a dream home, and there is SOOOO much love, sweat and tears here, that I am sure i’ll be a blubbering idiot on more than one occasion as we pack up. I know that we are a family and the saying “Home is where the heart is” is one I believe vehemently, it still will be difficult. That said, small town living is in our blood, and there is absolutely nothing keeping us here in the hustle and bustle anymore. Our company is quite portable, and we wouldn’t be more than 30 minutes outside the city. It’ll make the big shopping trips into the city, that much more fun!

Enough of that for now, I didn’t intend on blurting that out, but it felt a bit cathartic to me, so that’s good I think. If anyone local reads this. Our house is for sale. It is one of the finest examples of move up homes in Calgary. We will entertain trades + cash for anyone wanting to move INTO the city, and we would like to sell privately.

Ok, I woke up this morning with a bit of the croup. A really painful throat and a thick head. Just felt foggy. I actually didn’t get out of bed until 9am, the time I planned on running, but after an internal debate (and some facebook musings) I decided to go for my run.

FAbuloso run! It is above freezing, sun shining and relatively clear paths, and I had a great run. Not the most scenic run, but it never really matters to me anymore. If a run is good, it’s good, and it’s all up to me to decide that. So, not epic, just solid. Solid in a way that makes me super confident for the future! I actually ran 5 times this past week, making it a world record for me. The better news is I feel super! no niggles or nagging aches.

So, 4.5 loops in my hood and I had a 16k long run under my belt!

I ran through the bobsled track 5 times! I kinda liked it. It seemed safe or something.

The Big contest is running until Tuesday, and I have another one starting up shortly so stay tuned!

My Lovely wife has been working hard to stock up her Etsy Jewellery shop. Take a look! And make sure to go check out her facebook page and ‘Like’ it. there will be a draw when she gets to 50 likes! Hurry over!

Seeya tomorrow probably!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Fusion of Flapper

Or something to that effect.

Thanks again to everyone who has commented in support of my little issue with the gym, all your comments are appreciated!

So, I still haven’t heard from GoodLife Fitness… But they did add me to their Google  reader, as I saw in my sitemeter… Yep.

Goodlife. Oh sweet goodlife. Did you know my Prom date left me as soon as we got the the prom? Then she wouldn’t return my calls for days, until I finally realized the she didn’t want me. Don’t put me through this heartache again Goodlife, I don’t think my fragile heart can take another rejection like that. Pick up the phone… call me.

Good news though, They plowed out the main path through my neighbourhood, so I now have a 3.74k loop around the ‘hood where I don’t have to hurdle big piles of snow or cross very busy roadways. That is a good thing for the ol’ training plan. Out the door and running! Sounds good to me.

Hey! Minimalist running shoe makers! Yeah you Merrell, and you New Balance! and you too Vivo and Inov8… I’m sitting here, with a relatively popular blog, training for a barefoot marathon in the dead of winter, without so much of a “hey, would you like to try these out, maybe giv’em a test in your incredibly harsh climate, under my large mammal frame, to see if our shoes are really durable or not?”. Seems to me we are in the forgotten world up here in Canadia… Call me. *hang loose sign, held up to my ear and mouth, pretending it’s a telephone*… call me. And you mercan bloggers… throw your Canucklehead brethren a bone… Yeah, you with all the test shoes… toss a guys name forward would ya? Size 11.5 or a 45-46…

Actually, it would be cool to have a big pile of test shoes, but I would probably end up with my favorite shoe and be all Blah blah blah, this is so awesome, this is the greatest shoe ever for a barefooter… blah blah, you should go out and buy this… blah blah… so much better than the vibram 5 fingers…. blah blah…

but you wouldn’t want that, would you… ‘evs… I am going to run in my $4.00 aqua shoes tomorrow for my 3mile tempo…

I do have  reason for this diatribe. I am a little tired of justifying my Vibrams. They have a place in my running repertoire, but I am finding more and more that they are a fair weather shoe. Even with the injinji socks, the cold seems to be too much for the individual toe pockets. I tend to spend a lot of time trying to keep keep my feet warm when on the run this winter. I am sure if I had a one toe shoe with a 2 layer sock, it would be no problem. Also, yesterday I was about a half click away from a rotten blister while running in the 5’s on the ‘mill over at Goodlife.

That’s right, I went to Goodlife last night. Did not even try to run barefoot, even though there was only 1 staff on, and she wouldn’t have cared 2 bits if I attempted barefootery… I wore the 5’s… nasty hotspot at the end of 8k… gaaa.

Shout out to the Primalfoot Alliance for taking up the cause! They re-posted my blog on their facebook in support of the ridiculousness of the whole Goodlife stuff. Thanks team! The barefoot community is a very close knit group indeed.

Contest update:

I have chosen winners in the Tech Shirt contest.

  1. Tricia @ Endurance is only Physical
  2. Thomas @ Georgia Snail
  3. Congrats to you 2, send me your addy’s and sizes to nzeller (at) shaw dot ca to claim your prize.

****The Road ID, Ryders Eyewear and GU Energy Contest is still running…****

Speaking of Georgia Snail, here is a cool story, and an even better way to make someone's year! Go to the Georgia radio station that is hosting this contest and register to vote for Thomas’s sister (link below), so she can get a dream wedding prior to her soon to be hubby being deployed again!

Here is the awesome story:

Hello my name is Marriah, and I have a son named Xavier (11) and a daughter named Skylar (7). I am also recent college graduate. I am submitting a story about My Love, for Mike. Six years ago my life hit rock bottom, my newborn son Sebastian died, and my (ex) husband left town. I felt I had no hope or meaning in life. I was stuck in a black hole with no way to get out. With no respect for men, I stayed home with just my children for 5 years.
One Friday evening a friend convinced me to go out and enjoy life again. We went to the Blackhorse…this is where my life began to turn around!! Two soldiers asked to play a friendly game of pool, my friend convinced me too. At the end of the night Mike and I exchanged numbers, and before I knew it Mike was calling me every day to see how my day was. After 4 months of dating, and him showing me what a great team we made, I introduced Mike to my children.
I was so unsure how this would go, as my son has Autism and takes time to warm up to people. However their encounter went smoothly like they have known each other for years. Skylar had a new best friend to play with her doll house and Tea set. Surprisingly, his knees didn’t pass his head as he sat with her at her table. Little by little I began to take life by its hand and embrace the “New Beginnings” in life. Because of Mike’s love and care for me, I am a happy vibrant Mother.
On February 14, 2010 Mike surprised the kids and I with a trip to Gatlinburg where he proposed to me. We are getting married during his 14 days home on leave from Iraq, June 10, 2011!! My dream is not only to surprise Mike with this elegant wedding, but this is a celebration of our Love and the joining of our Families. I am so thankful for the Soldier that rescued me and showed me the meaning of life. My children are thriving because they have Mike in their lives. He loves them and cares for them, and he enjoys spending time playing with them.
Thank you for taking the time to read My Love Story.

And here is where to register and vote! Do it everyday! GO VOTE!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Last post on this…

Hi GoodLife, I know you have been checking in on me. Please call me. I would love to have a talk with you about your policy, my reasons why I run barefoot, and maybe, just possibly, we could come up with an understanding. I actually like your gym, the equipment works and the place is pretty clean, so I would like to carry on using the place for my cold weather running days. I would really love to go barefoot on the treadmill though.

Feel free to ask me questions, quiz me on all things barefoot, you might decide, I am pretty good guy, and not a poop disturber.

I had a great run on your treadmill tonight, and not wanting to cause any trouble, I wore my Five Finger monkey shoes. You might wonder why those aren’t barefoot enough for me. Do you wonder that? Well, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – If you are wearing shoes of any sort, it is not barefoot running.

I was hoping my membership in your gym would go to good use in keeping up my foot fitness that I so painstakingly built up over the summer, and I don’t want to lose this ‘footness’, if you will. My marathon is on May 1st, and as you know, there still may be freezing temps and snow on the ground right up till then, and I really don’t want to have ‘soft’ feet for my first 42.2k run. As you know, confidence is a big part of distance running, and it would help my confidence greatly if I had a lot of barefoot miles  under my soles prior to the race.

Thanks for taking the time to get back to me, I promise I won’t take up much of your time, and if you say no, I will respect that and cause no waves for you.

Take care and Good Fitness,

Barefoot Neil Z,

(Email me at nzeller at shaw dot ca, and I will email you my telephone number)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Moving on.

Did not hear from Goodlife Fitness. You know what, I have no desire to battle them. Not them, it’s not worth it in the big picture. I had a good 9.24k run outside today. Maybe I’ll find one of the indoor tracks that will let me run barefoot every couple weeks, just to keep up my footness… AhhAA Josh, I made up a barefoot word!!!

so that’s it. On to positive energy things!

What is one thing in your life that you could replace with positive energy things?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Got told NO!

So there I was, minding my own business on treadmill # 3, listening to podcasts on my iPhone when the young lady at the counter comes walking toward me. She make eye contact. I avoid eye contact and keep running. She gets closer and makes a motion to take out my Yurbuds. I avoid eye contact. She is standing right front of the mill waving at me.

I relent.

She tells me to stop running. Why? I ask. She says I can’t run barefoot. Why not? I ask. She says you just can’t. Is there a rule? I ask. She says yes. Show it to me. I say. She says ok, but please stop running.

I relent.

I slip my flips back on and walk over to the desk. She and another woman tell me I can’t run barefoot. Why not? I ask again. It’s the rules they say. Show me, I ask.

Well, I’m pretty sure it’s in the contract. OK, show me then, I say. They sort of ignore me for a bit while they flip through the contract and shuffle some papers. The second lady comes back and says it’s a health issue. Show me where it says it’s a health issue. Well what if you have *-----* on your feet, and it gets on the treadmill, we can’t have that now can we. What about the locker room, I ask. Well, you are supposed to wear flips in there. Show me, I say. Then the first girl says it’s a safety issue, that you could catch your toe on the edge and there would be blood everywhere. Uh, ok. There are a thousand ways to injure yourself in a gym, and I’m pretty sure I signed a waiver when I signed up.

So. They pull out this MASSIVE book and tell me they are POSITIVE the rule that requires me to wear shoes in this gym is in there somewhere, but they can’t take the time to find it today. Ok, look it up and let me know tomorrow.

I left my email, telephone number and blog address.

I went and changed into my vibrams and went to wait for another mill as my got stolen as I was getting scolded.

Ok, they are worried about my health or the health of others. I won’t walk barefoot in the change room, are you freaking kidding? At least the treadmill has shod runners on it! haha! And if they were so worried about the health and safety of us patrons, they wouldn’t have a shared floor and drain trough in the showers…

If they don’t get back to me by tomorrow like they promised, I am going to go for a barefoot run there, because obviously they have no problem with it.

I personally think, they just decided that this CAN’t be right and there must be a rule somewhere. My question is… Aren’t the Yoga classes all barefoot?

Seems like a pretty solid double standard!

I won’t say the name of the gym, but i’ll give you a hint. It starts with a ‘G’ and ends in a ‘oodlife Fitness McKenzie town’.


That’s all I have to say about that. For now. Dammit. Does this make me a zealot?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Just the facts vol.1 epsiode 1

My Contests :

Gu – Ryders – Road ID – Road ID

2 Tech Shirts

Great week of running, except for the part where I actually froze my Ass. Highlights include TKO conditioning clinic with Pete Estabrooks. Lowlights include finding out a good friend has Cancer and is starting treatments on Thursday at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale on Thursday. Lots of prayers for our ‘Energizer Bunny’ please.

Just the Facts Feature Blogger of the Week is:

***Melanie at Half Marathon Rookie.***

Melanie has a great blog, based in Ohio, and she wants to run a half in under 2 hours this year! Melanie is having a procedure at the hospital on Tuesday that will help fix a heart issue she is dealing with, so go on over, follow her great blog and give her some blog love to help put a smile on her face!

Also, My Lovely wife Traci is making custom jewellery and would like to show off some of her creations. You can see her work at her Etsy shop as well as on her Facebook page. She is happy to make custom pieces for a special occasions! Take a look, ‘Like’ her Jewellery page on facebook to keep up to date on her new creations! Here is what is known as a ‘Barefoot Sandal’.. cool! These are very popular for beach weddings.

Barefoot Sandal 1 Barefoot Sandal 3

Just another teaser…

And finally, not sure if I have shared this photo before, but it’s handy right on my desktop now, soooo… enjoy!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Really, what HASN't happened in the last 15 or so days…

First off… I like this.


And with regards to that, I just wanted to say:

I appreciate you, you internet people! (and the local runners who frequent this blog). I mean it. I gain so much inspiration, knowledge and perspective, as well as a high dose of LOL from you, that I just couldn’t stay away any longer. So I’m back. I am making no promises to keep up a daily blog, but I will blog when I feel like it. It may be every day for a stretch, and I may be off for a week at a time. If you come one here and read a bit, or read a lot, feel free to leave a comment or click follow. If you have a blog or an email attached to your comment I always make sure to go check out your stuff too! That’s all I have to say about that.

Ok, I froze my ass tonight. literally. I wore my Nathan belt out for a scheduled 13k run and the right bottle leaked out ever so slowly onto my butt cheek for the first 40 minutes until I stopped for a walk to GU and have a drink and I noticed that my coat and running pants were a popsicle on the right butt-tock. I came home after a fail attempt to continue and sat on a heating pad for a half hour. I am ok. That’s all I have to say about that.

I ran a crazy race a week ago. The Calgary Roadrunners host a series of cross country races throughout the winter. This was my first one and boy did I pick a doozy. Sooooo cold. Even for here. Do I look frightened?


Yeah. I am frightened. I couldn’t believe how much harder the distance was in the snow, cold and hills. Probably double the effort required. Tough stuff. I used this race as my entry into the FYTO5k that Adam held, but he didn’t want me in his race, and then he tried to make up for it by editing the blog results after I quizzed him about it on Twitter a couple days later… it’s ok, I remember this stuff. Revenge is a dish best served cold… So is Cake, so there is that. Here is the video I took at the race. That’s all I have to say about that.

I was finally tagged with the Stylish Blogger Award. No thanks to you North America. I am person too you know, I like to play these blogger info award deals and did any of you tag ME? Nope… so… my new favourite blogger is Staci from She Runs in Sandals. She is from South Africa, and if anyone knows a stylish blog, it’s the South Africans. You all Pretty much know the rules by now.

Thank the person who awarded you.

Thanks Staci! YOU ROCK!

Tell 7 things about you:

  1. I am no longer reading North American blogs. You know who you are. UPDATE! Craig from Here we go Again saved Christmas… He tagged me on Jan 11th and I Missed it. Egg on my face. I now read North American Blogs again!
  2. when I was 16, I was picked second last in dodgeball once. The guy in the wheelchair broke his hand earlier that week.
  3. When I was 9 and 10, I had my Halloween Candy bag stolen 2 years in a row. By the same guy. On the same street. My friends didn’t share with me. twice.
  4. When I was 12, I had a baseball coach tell me to go halfway from third to guard against the bunt from the guy who was hitting 1.000 on the season. I got hit by a line drive below my nose and above my teeth. I woke up 20 minutes later with a lip that stuck out past my nose.
  5. I once played in a Hockey game where there were so many fights going on at once that the Zamboni driver was sent out to try and clear everyone off the ice. We needed a police escort out of town.
  6. I have I big regret from High School. I was asked by a teacher to help out in a social experiment, where I was to act unruly to her and then finally FREAK out, curse, swear, slam stuff around and then STORM out of the classroom, slamming the door off the hinges. I chickened out at the last minute and basically ruined the experiment by acting out very meekly, whispering some stuff and walking out of the room. To this day I soooo wish I would have gone ALL OUT! It’s probably one of the reasons I never say no to a fun event in front of a crowd anymore. And I NEVER regret going all out, ever! I also once turned down a one in two chance at a Lazy Boy Recliner. I would’ve had to go out onto the ice at a Calgary Flames game in front of 17,000 people and play musical chairs with one other guy. The winner won the recliner. As soon as I said no, I kicked myself. I knew I betrayed myself, and since then, ask my wife, I never miss an opportunity to get in front of people. You know what? Someone is going to do it, and it might as well be me. It is all experiences. The next time you see someone up front, think about how you feel about that person while you sit in the audience. Does that make it seem easier? People are just people… everywhere.
  7. I enjoyed the comments I got during my countdown blogs last week. They made me laugh.

Ok, Tag 7 people… Nah. I got picked last, so there is no one left. Is there? Email me a nzeller at shaw dot ca if I should tag you. That’s all I have to say about that. Update! I Tag LAURA At My Reason To RUN!

I have started my Marathon Training in Earnest. I love it. I have been to the gym a couple times to run barefoot on the treadmill. 14.75 k one day and 8k 2 days later. My feet felt quite abraded. The belt is moving, and I am following it. There is a point where the foot lands and no matter what kind of running style you have, there is a moment of scuffing when you catch up to the belt. that is why the belt is so shiny in the middle. I’ll run on there again, because the abrading causes me to really think about my form, as the quicker my cadence the less abrasion. So that’s all good. The only other problem I see with the mill is that it gets incredibly HOT after an hour or so. I am sure you have felt the warmth through your shoes. It’s HOT when barefoot. I am really looking forward to my BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1st. That day is International barefoot day too! How cool!  That’s all I have to say about that.


I also started, on the advice of my coach at, to ditch all drinks in my life, in favor of water only. I have no problem with the plan except for giving up coffee. I was miserable for the first few days, and now I am just downright mad. It feels like quitting smoking, and quitting smoking was one of the reasons I gained so much weight starting 13 years ago. I am finding myself replacing coffee with ice cream and chocolate easter bunnies. I can’t lie to you, I broke down and had a coffee this afternoon. It was either that or a bowl of ice cream. That’s all I have to say about that. 

I had a redonkulous fun time at Pete Estabrooks TKO Conditioning Clinic he demo’d at the Calgary Fitness Expo on Saturday. Here are the video results of that day. I had a very high level of DOMS on Sunday, and am not looking forward to Today. Boxing conditioning is hard. The video has a funny ending.


Ok, so, that is the ‘Pink Chick’ punching me out at the event… gawd I’m a wuss. That’s all I have to say about that.

I have 3 contests running right now.

This one

This one

And this one on my Barefoot Neil Z fan page on facebook. As of 00:13 on Monday morning, I need 3 more ‘likes’.


That’s all I have to say about that.

Road ID, GU, Ryders and Road ID… You can win it all!

Part 1: Ok, you all know I LOVE my GU, right? Do you know why I love my GU? No? Well then, I'll tell you.

because it works. every time. When I head out on a long run, I don’t have to think about my energy needs, as I always have a pack or two of GU Gels or Chomps in my tote. I really can’t say enough about the little pack of go-gel, it has sort of become my security blanket.

Here is how I use my GU:

  1. Any runs from 5k to 10k, I take along a GU with me, and If I feel the need, I GU. Sometimes at the start.
  2. Any runs from 10-15k, I GU at least once, at the 40 minute mark, and depending on the type of run, maybe a second GU at the 1:20 mark
  3. Any runs over 15k, I GU 15 minutes before the run, then every 40 minutes from the start of the race.

In my experience it takes about 6-8 minutes for me to feel the affects. Maybe it’s a placebo effect, but who cares if it keeps me running, right?

My tip regarding the end of a race is, if I have a GU scheduled on my 40 minute plan, but I only have 3 or less Km’s to go, I GU anyway. I have experienced the results both ways, and I will always GU on schedule based on a couple of really dramatic drops in energy I experienced with 1k to go in a couple important races.

I like Chomps too, However Gels are my Go-To goodness when racing and training. I have actually used Chomps for other kinds of workouts like Hiking and regular gym type workouts (less messy when I can take my time eating them). Additionally, I drink GU2O when I carry fluids for runs over 1.5hrs. Anything less and I just carry water.

The winner of this contest will get a big pile of GU!


Part 2: OK, You all know I LOVE my Ryders Eyewear right? Do you know why I love my Ryders Eyewear? No? Well, I’ll tell you.

Because they are cool, and they work. If I leave my HEX Ryders at home by accident, my day is pretty much shot. One of my biggest reasons to get my eyes lasered 2 years ago was to be able to wear Sunglasses. I had tried Oakleys, Bolles and various other brands, but when I received my Hex’s, I knew I was done looking. I always thought you needed to buy really expensive sunglasses to a: be cool and b: be comfortable and c: protect me from the sun harmful rays. Nope, wrong. for 40 bucks, I get as good a pair of sunglasses that I have owned. (Including my Irridium Blades from 1989).

The winner of this contest will also get a pair of Ryder Hex Sunglasses!

Part 3: You all know I love my Road ID, right? Do you know why I love my Road ID? No? Well I’ll tell you.

Because it is the single item I can put on my persons that give me the most peace of mind. I mean, I could carry my licence, but that doesn’t give any of the info that responders need RIGH NOW if I drop.

I wear my ankle ID everywhere I go, that I am working out or running.  Spend the money, order yours today. It’s the one Item I carry with me everywhere I go. DO IT. (you have been font-shouted, so now you are obligated.

The winner of this contest ALSO gets a certificate for your very own Road ID.


Part 4: You all know I LOVE socks, right? Really, you didn’t know that? I thought I told you that. um, what’s that? yeah, I know I go barefoot. But I can still love socks can’t I? I’ll have you know that the thing I miss most since I started barefooting, is a good fitting pair of socks. It’s true. I was a Sock snob when I wore shoes. You know, I had to have socks that were left and right specific. I did! the best ones were the ones that sort of ‘snapped’ into place they were fitted so well. Well, these are pretty nice, and they can be yours!

The Winner of this contest ALSO gets a pair of Road ID socks.

Speede Sock

You all know I LOVE having you enter my contests, right? Yes? Thought so. Here’s how.

Do this first one or none of the others count - Follow me, Officially, over there on the left <----. See? If not, scroll up or down, you’ll find it. Click on Follow me!  Leave a comment that you did, or you already do.

Ok the rest of the entry opportunities are as follows

  1. Follow Road ID, GU Energy Labs and Ryders Eyewear on Facebook – 1 comment each, 1 entry each
  2. Follow Road ID and GU Energy Labs on Twitter - 1 comment each, 1 entry each
  3. Go to Road ID and tell my what you would buy with your winnings – 1 comment, 1 entry
  4. Go to GU Energy Labs and tell me what is one of the new flavors for 2011 – 1 comment, 1 entry
  5. Go to Ryders Eyewear and tell me the name of 1 of the 3 Ryder sponsored RUNNING athletes – 1 comment, 1 entry
  6. Follow me on Facebook – 1 comment, 1 entry
  7. Follow me on Twitter – 1 comment, 1 entry
  8. Tweet this contest – 1 comment, 1 entry

Road ID, GU, Ryders and Road ID… You can win it all! @NeilZee

9.   Tell everyone you know online about this contest, 1 comment for each way, 1 entry for each way

Contest runs until Jan 25th!

Oh yeah, do separate comments too, Like Angie Bee did as shown below.  Then I don’t have to guess how many entries you do or don’t have. If you put all your answers in one comment, I’ll take 1 entry away from you and give one to everyone else. So there.



Saturday, January 15, 2011

ok… I’m back


Ok. I’m back. Awesome Contest Blog tonight. Check back! Full on Bloggerini tomorrow! Lots to tell.

In the mean time, it’s been cold. Here is a couple pictures and a video of the Calgary Roadrunners Cross Country race I attended last Saturday, which gives you an idea how cold it is/was/is. Those of you who follow me on Facebook have seen these. So good for you. The rest of you can follow here! You don’t have to love me, you just have to ‘LIKE’ me!

 DSCF3026 DSCF3032


Thanks Dawn Henry for this photo… that’s cool isn’t it?

Start of xc race

Friday, January 7, 2011

While I’m away

I’ll give away 2 Cool Kids Run Club Tech Shirts in a contest where:

  1. the first 10 commenter's make the rules of the contest.

And you can’t make a rule that makes you the automatic winner.

And no swearing. seeya in a couple weeks when I pick the winner.


Josh, you can play too, because Iris needs a shirt.

OK, Based on your responses, here are the official rules! If you have completed any/ a few/ all of these, then commented that you did/ have/ are going to - then you are entered. Separate comment for each.

  1. You have seen my most amazing world famous video.
  2. You comment here
  3. I am a follower of YOUR blog
  4. Have been to Glaven’s site and asked him what his rule meant.
  5. You are a follower of Kate's Blog
  6. You are a resident of Canada or anywhere other than Arizona
  7. You are a resident of Arizona
  8. You have to kiss my @$$ to post more often
  9. You follow my blog
  10. You secretly follow my truck
  11. You are in bare feet when you put your socks on
  12. You wished me a Merry Christmas today
  13. You have tried running barefoot
  14. You have a (COOL KIDS, thank you Austin) shirt, but your spouse does not

Ok, there.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Signing off…

… for a while. maybe a month or two.

Happy New year!

I’ll miss ya’ll, but I need a break to concentrate on other things. Take care. Put a weekly note in your calendar to come back here and leave me a comment. Just so I feel liked.

I will post bits from my marathon training on my facebook page from time to time.

Take care! And just for being such awesome internet friends, here is one more pic for your computer desktops. Click pic for enlargens

Wicked Awesome Sunset