Tuesday, February 6, 2018

#dropkickfebruary

Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life.

Bobby Bare, All American Boy

I received a text from a friend the otherday in which she confided "I'm tired of being sick, grumpy, and I want to go for a run".

It got me thinking.

February is a grumpy month of frigid days and colder nights. The endless darkness weighs upon our shoulders us as we hunker down and go through the motions of life. February is square wheels, icy seats, and fender boogers. It's tax time. It's time to tighten the belt and face down the red line debt. It's a time of tasteless fruit and brown slush.  February is yuck!

Kick Me!

The long range forecast calls for a return to seasonal temperatures in just seven days, hang in there! But we know it's just a guess and the target is always, a.l.w.a.y.s.  just out of reach.

Sigh, February.

It's time to drop kick February!

I am on a mission to improve the quality of life for humanity!  No small task, not for the faint of heart, but I'm up to it.
Old school iPod
I will forward my iPod to a friend. They will load ten songs that are happy, inspirational, motivational or just gets your feet moving!  This friend will pass it on to another friend who will also load ten songs onto the iPod.  This will be repeated 8 more time for a total of ten people contributing 100 songs.  I will add the last 10 for a playlist of 110 song that will surely drop kick February.

Rules:
  • You must own the song (no illegal downloading please).
  • The person receiving must be connected to running in some capacity (This rule is pretty loose. I only mention it because this is a running blog, duh).
  • The turnaround time for each person is 24 hours or less. 
  • The last person will contact me to arrange pick-up
  • To make this as inclusive as possible, you will be challenged on a grid to find someone who: 1) has run a 100 mile Ultra, 2) has run a 5km, 3) uses a wheelchair, 4) was born in a country other than Canada, 5) has survived cancer 6) is over 70, 7) an MRA board member, 8) lives with depression (and is willing to share), 9) has experienced a significant loss in the last 12 months, 10) a race director of a running event.
If you're stuck, just pass it onto buddy down the street.

The playlist (and comments from the ten contributors) will be posted on SMR.

I will pass the iPod onto my grumpy friend to get this started.

It's a good day to be alive.

Mike

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Arrowhead 135, 2018, Race Report by Scott Sugimoto

Snow and cold wind whip across my face. I am on a trail standing by a fence..... and I have no idea where I am.  

Scott Sugimoto, 0600, January 29 2018, somewhere in Minnesota.  

Scott Sugimoto is an adventurer and a gentleman in the truest and finest sense of the word.  He says wryly "I have more time behind me than ahead of me" and he makes extraordinarily good use of the time he has remaining. He believes life is about making memories and marking life events by accomplishing goals that leave us breathless with admiration.  

Scott send thanks to Sue Lucas for her patient teachings, her motivation, her inspiration, and most of all, for her friendship.

This is Scott's race report of the fabled, not for the faint of heart, Arrowhead 135 Mile. I am honoured to host this guest blog on See Mike Run, and more honoured to call him my friend. 

Take a deep breath, and read on.

It's a good day to be alive.  

Mike



This event started for me almost the year before. Speaking with my friend Sue about Actif Epica, reminded me about someone I had long forgotten.... me as a young boy. My heros as a youth were the Arctic/Antarctic explorers. I might not be finding brave new worlds, but I am certainly finding adventure.

Sue Lucas is one of two women to achieve a Trois Award 
(i.e. completed Arrowhead by all three disciplines, ski, bike, and run).

Release the Hounds (
Fatbikers lead the way)

The Saturday prior to the start of Arrowhead, I met Jon Paradowski and Sue Lucas at Dallas Sigurdur's , and we picked up Pete McAdams enroute. The travel down was uneventful and we arrived checked in, and got gear check out of the way. The Sunday was shuffling cars around, eating, visiting, meeting old friends making new friends and the pre race meeting. We skipped the pasta dinner to return to the hotel to relax(?), review gear and eat. The plan was to be up and out of the hotel by 0630 Monday. Jon and I decided in order not to be rushed we would get up at 0445, and get our adventure going.

When I awoke, I squinted at the clock on the desk (0419). I figured I would go get a coffee in the lobby and let Jon sleep a little more. I was onto my second cup when I realized that with my glasses off, I had misread the time, it was actually 0319 when I got up... oppps. Everyone is up now and Jon, Sue and I load all our gear into my wife's jeep and the three of us cram ourselves into the two front seats. It was an easy short ride to race start where I managed to get the jeep stuck up to its axles in snow!

Fireworks, release the hounds ... and off go the Fat Bikers! A couple of minutes pass and off go the skiers, (Sue Luca being one of the skiers) followed by the runners.

Checkpoint 1, Gateway Store

The first leg to Gateway approx 35 miles, is flat and for a good part, quite firm, I am thrilled by this. The field seemed to break into smaller groups and those clumps seemed to remain fairly close together. For me it was time to try to get into a routine of eating and drinking, getting used to the trail, and just trying to maintain a steady pace. I believed I had a good plan that had no finish time expectations on myself. I would just try to stay ahead of the cut offs. I knew by doing that, and by just moving forward, I might finish.

I got to Gateway over 3 hours ahead of the cut off! Only a third of the way through is too early to celebrate anything, but by accomplishing this, I knew that now it would come down to my mental resilience or lack there of that would determine the outcome. Gateway is a gas station C store that opens its doors to the Arrowhead competitors, to recover and prep themselves for the first overnight.

It was at Gateway when once again I am reminded what a special community ultra running is as I have to ask Chuck Fritz for money to buy a cup of soup. Chuck is awesome as he stares at me and states "Scott, finish and you owe me nothing.... and I know your going to finish" .

Scott's maxim.

My plan was not to rush through the aid stations but not to waste time either. Approximately 40 minutes after arriving I head out into the darkness for leg 2. I was well aware of the hills in the third leg so I was taken by surprise by the climbing that was part of this leg. As I travelled and made my way along the trail I was getting concerned as to how tired I was feeling. With that said I chuckled as I thought of a phrase Jon told me, "shiver bivy", here you don't break out your sleeping bag and bivy sack, just collapse onto your sled and awake shivering from the cold, too funny.

Speaking of cold, the last forecast I saw was a low of -12C. Now I wasn't opening my weather app , but holy crap, it is getting cold out! I have since discovered it got to -27F (-38 C) overnight.

Everyone knows the old rule, "nothing new on race day", well here is where a bad decision on my part could of ended my event. I brought along a new jacket. If it didn't work out I could be in a lot of trouble. Fortunately for me once I slipped it on I was warm in minutes, but now I was overcome with fatigue.
Shiver Bivy

At one point I awoke when I walked on a 90 degree angle to the trail and right into a snowbank. I had heard of people saying their asleep on their feet? Well, what woke me up, was my knees buckling beneath me and me falling to the ground. Instead of laying on my sled, I thought my shiver bevy would be just to bend and lean on my poles. A couple of times I woke up as I started to fall foreword. Whatever gets you through.

As dawn approached I found my second wind, but was now struggling with diarrhea, I believe this had a significant impact on me later in the event. As I approached the second aid station the cabin MelGeorge at Elephant Lake, I had another good laugh as I thought of my friends Scott Kummers AH race report and his fear of running on the lake, thank you Scottie, I was in need of a good laugh.

Checkpoint 2,  MelGeorges Elephant Lake

It had taken me over 13 hours to get to MelGeorge, I had hoped for a little quicker as I wanted to leave with a minimum of 2 hours ahead of cut off. Here is where I made another error that potentially could of ended my event later on, which it didn't, but it certainly made my life more difficult for me. I decided to spend more time slowly rearranging my gear , changing clothes, and eating, then I did sleeping. I was over 24 hours into my event with +30 to go and I had taken a 20 minute nap. I was at MelGeorge for 3 hours and spent more time socializing than I did sleeping. A rookie mistake for sure!

Off I went to start leg 3, feeling positive but knowing that it is at the 70 mile distance is when an ultra really starts. As well one of the things Sue had mentioned to me was that there were 43 hills in this leg of 40 miles!

43 hills in 40 miles

It was within the first mile that I was into my first big climb. It was short steps, heavy use of my poles, making regular stops as needed. Oh my goodness this is tough. The hills are relentless! One after the other I found myself so far leaned forward that my sled belt would start to slide down my backside. It was funny, at the end Sue asked after all my questions to her and everything I read was I ready for this section? Early on, I knew I was woefully under prepared for these hills and was getting increasingly concerned!

 A couple of issues were rearing their ugly head. The climbing was causing me back spasms and the diarrhea was getting worse whenever I ate or drank as in all my water was Tailwind. Sadly I am going have to find something different as after two longer events that I believe Tailwind as a major reason for the onset of diarrhea. Mistake number three, if eating and drinking are the cause I will just stop doing both. Not the smartest move to make!


Two hours from Surley

I have to admit the second night is really a blur. There was snow, some wind, and not near as cold as the first night. I don't recall being as tired as I was the first night, but I was becoming aware that my thought processes were not as they should be. At around dawn I was getting very frustrated as I felt the third and final aid station Surly should be close. Every corner, every climb was followed by various expletives.

One of the snowmobile volunteers stopped and asks me how I am doing. I try to be as positive as possible, and ask if he knows how far to Surly? His reply was gutting! I am 4 1/2 miles away!?!?

WTF!!!

He asks if I am out of water, not that it matters as I cannot get help from him or face a DNF worse yet in my decreasing mental state it never occurred to me to use my required stove to melt snow and make my own water.... duh. Anyway we look at our watches, it's 0500. He says keep moving you will be there in 2 hours or less and drives away.

Lost

Snow and cold wind whip across my face. I am on a trail standing by a fence and I have no idea where I am. As I look around I have no idea how I got to where I am. I remember talking to the volunteer on the snowmobile. I remember running up a trail and I remember running down a trail. Otherwise, nothing! I look at my watch, 0630.

OMG , I have no memory of the past 90 minutes. Which way to go? How long have I been here? Fear rises as I worry I have finished my event in the middle of nowhere. I make the decision to move forward, if nothing else my plan was simple from the beginning, just keep some foreword momentum. IF I have been moving at all, I should reach Surly by 0700. If not well, I don't have a Plan B just yet.

Ten minutes later a fellow on a fat bike approaches. With a lump in my throat I ask if he knows if the Surly aid station is close by. He gives me an odd look and points with his thumb over his shoulder and says, right around the corner. Some days are better lucky than good, and at 0642, twenty three hours after leaving MelGeorge and nearly 48 hours from the start, I check into the aid station #3.

In hindsight, I am of the opinion my "survival" of the last two hours filled me with adrenaline making me feel in better shape mentally and physically than I actually was. I dump out the Tailwind from my thermoses, and I drink some water, and get on my way in less than an hour. Before I go, Kate Coward and Kari Gibbons catch up to me. Two incredible young ladies that are doing the double Arrowhead! Yes you read that right, in just over a week these two ladies are travelling the route in both directions.

Darn, this is crazy stuff.

I leave Surly full of energy and confidence, one more big climb, one big down hill a total of approx 24 miles to the end! As I am travelling down the trail, I am once again in tears.... not for the first time over the last two days. I think of my wife and daughters at home and I cry, I think of Todd and Kim and last October Lemming Loop and I cry. The running community at home, all the support and I am in tears. Darn this is crazy stuff.

I get to the top of the last hill, it is the biggest drop on the course, I remember Jon laughing out loud as he speaks about sliding down it. I think, no fucking way am I risking hurting myself now. The sled and I walk down to the bottom.

The first 4-5 miles seem to go well and I think I am moving at a good pace, but drinking water now seems to go through me so I stop drinking. I am feeling fatigued cannot concentrate and my back is in a constant state of spasm. I am aware I am slowing down, I am leaning heavily on my poles like I was climbing. I can feel the finish getting away from me.

My mind wanders, I begin to question if I am on the right trail. I seem to come in and out of various states of awareness, but I wonder have I kept moving.? Have I been standing still at all? In all honesty I don't know!

Fear, panic grow me, I see a snowmobile volunteer approaching, I worry that he will pull me off the course, I think I know what day it is , but no idea of date, hell.... where am I again? He is getting closer... Rice Lake, no, Park Falls, no, shit.... he stops, " how you doing?" - my reply "good" ... he tells me how far and how long it will take me and as he drives away, I cannot remember a thing he said.

It only hurts when I breathe

I can see the tops of buildings now, I know I am close to the end. Sadly in more way then one. I have to concentrate on each and every step. My back feels "locked" , but it only hurts when I breath. I have to concentrate to stay in the moment. If I don't focus, I seem just to zone out into nowhere land. I come to four markers in the ground, I know that there part of the route, but for the life of me I cannot figure out what direction I am supposed to go (it was straight ahead by the way).

I begin to panic, think Scott think!!! Then I decide to call Sue, through the fog, I remember participants can help each other but no outside help. I pull out my phone and... it's frozen! I collapse onto my sled, look up and...

Kate Coward and Kari Gibbons

... I see Kate and Kari coming down the trail. I get up and head towards them. I am crying, lost, and afraid I won't finish. Kari says to me " your going the wrong way ". When I tell her I am lost she rubs my back and states "don't worry sweetie, we will take care of you". I fall in behind but soon cannot keep their pace and after a couple of corners I can no longer see them.

As I walk along I pull my phone out again, in my panic I did think to throw a hot shot by my phone and now it works and Sue answers. She tells me to keep moving she will send Don out.... I have no idea who Don is but okay. Quickly a snowmobile is there and it's Don.

Half a mile to the finish from just around the corner. I make the turn and it's all an uphill grade. I am so hunched over now I am all most walking on my knees, it takes all I have to keep going forward. When I reach the finish line I ask the fellow,"Am I an official finisher?"  When he replied yes... I made the ever dramatic face plant onto the ground of the parking lot.

Ugh.

At least the volunteers just carried close to the door of the hospitality room and let me limp in under my own power .... as it was, so I was able to maintain some level of dignity.

Miracle child, Aiden, receives Scott's Arrowhead toque for his bravery.

Easily the most difficult event I have done. I was the cause of most of my misery. When I say I feel I was lucky to finish, I do not mean to take away from anyone who finished or those who DNF. Luck will not get you through Arrowhead. By luck I mean my errors could of as easily ended my day at several point . Cannot wait till next year!


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Unregistered Bib Swapping

Full disclosure time...

There was a time I would park in accessible parking zones. I stopped when I learned it was wrong.

There was a time I would drink and drive.  I stopped when I learned it was wrong.

There was a time I would bandit courses.  I stopped when I learned it was wrong.

There was a time I would swap bibs without registering the swap with the race director.  I stopped when I learned it was wrong.  

There was a time I did lots of crazy stuff but I stopped when I learned it was wrong, illegal, unethical, or just plain stupid.  

I'm here to tell you UNREGISTERED BIB SWAPPING is wrong plain and simple. It's akin to banditing a course only considerably worse because the unregistered runner calls the integrity of the race into question.  

Unregistered bib swapping is wrong for many reasons. Aside from being unethical the following is a thumbnail sketch of the issues at hand:
  • Men are running as women thus raising the competitive bar unfairly for female runners.
  • Experienced runners are running as 15 year old children thus robbing younger runners of their glory and setting impossible records for teens and tweens.
  • Unregistered runners requiring urgent medical care may not receive timely medical intervention because their bib number is associated with another person.
  • Race directors assume liability for unregistered runners even though the runner has not signed a waiver.  
I attended a meeting last evening organized by Manitoba Runners Association Executive Director, Kathy Wiens. I will not disclose our conversation but I can say it included the following three points:

1. Data collection.
2. Education
3. Punitive Measures

Manitoba Runners Association will issue a 'statement of concern' on February 5, 2018. The statement will be sent to all Manitoba race directors under MRA's governance. Clearly, we expect an educational social media blitz will solve 90% of the problem. The remaining 10% may require further investigation and possibly, punitive action.

Suffice to say, unregistered bib swapping is unethical, causes significant liability concerns, puts the charities they support at risk, and call the integrity of the race into question. Unregistered bib swapping is akin to banditing and broaches on cheating.

Now that you know unregistered bib swapping is wrong, please stop.

Spread the word.

More to come later.

As always, it's a good day to be alive.

Mike

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Run Puerto Morelois Die Happy

MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY, West Jet flight 2345, We are evacuating. We are evacuating.

Captain of West Jet Flight 2345 to tower moments after the two aircrafts collided. 

GO GO GO

Crew giving instructions to passengers at the emergency chute.

These audio snippets are etched in my mind forever. The jolt of the planes colliding, the firebomb, the explosion, the smoke, all pale in comparison to these words... Mayday, Mayday, Mayday.

This post is not about the fiery crash. That's between me and my therapist. Suffice to say I have never witnessed pure, unadulterated panic and I do not wish it upon anyone. It's terrifying, it's visceral, and it's trauma inducing. Mental Health experts tell us incidents such as these often trigger long buried past trauma. Yes, this is true, more on that later, maybe, who knows for sure?

The trauma I experienced is softened as I run with friends. Your kind words, your expressions of concern, your compassion mean the world. You make me whole again.

I told my therapist this morning I don't like to talk about this experience because it seems artificial. I want your ear for an hour and I know that's not possible. I tell the story in bits and bites highlighting the visuals because that tells a good story. I expect you want the Hollywood version so that is what I tell. But mostly I hold it tight to my chest.

I thank my special friends for being there for me when I need you the most. I thank you for the coffee. I thank you for listening. I thank you for hearing me.

On a lighter side I give you this little video, Run Puerto Morelos, Die Happy.

Peace and love to you all.

It's a good day to be alive.

Mike


Friday, December 22, 2017

Junel Malapad; Just a Beauty of a Guy

Just a beauty of a guy. 

Ace Burpee (on nominating Junel #3 Top 100 Fascinating Manitobans)

Junel
(photo credit unknown)

Who is Junel Malapad?

Junel Malapad is an extraordinarily ordinary person. He's a father of two lovely daughters and he is a loving husband.  He makes his coin as head custodian at a Winnipeg school, and he's the son of blue collar Filipino immigrants. He's shy, humble in his achievements, and soft spoken. His thick black hair, sparkling eyes, slim build, small stature, muscular frame, and youthful grin belie his 47 years. He simply does not stand out in a crowd.

He's also a gifted runner who shares his gift freely. He runs to lighten the load of the burdened, the hurting, the forgotten, the invisible ones.  He raises awareness and money through the simple act of moving his feet.  He gives, and gives, and gives, and expects nothing in return. It's for this reason he is known and admired by Winnipeg's running community.  He is truly, a beauty of a guy.
I have a gift of being able to run long distances and I like to share my gift. I am a regular person that has unexpectedly stepped into the skin of someone much bigger than me. I am a runner who just likes to help out.  Junel
Junel and a blogger named Mike
(photo credit unknown)

Trash Stigma

Several years ago a student died from suicide at his daughter's school. Junel's daughter, was absolutely devastated by the news of her friend's suicide. Junel shares freely his brother's struggle with mental health and how it robbed him of him of his livelihood and happiness for ten years. It was too late to help his brother, but he needed to be there for his daughter should she ever succumb to depression. Thus, the annual Trash Stigma 100 km run was born.  Now three years and growing, the Trash Stigma Run has raised tremendous awareness and about $15,000 for the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Trashing Stigma.  Garbage Hill sunrise.
(photo credit unknown)

Siloam Mission

Another cause close to Junel's heart is Siloam Mission. Although not directly linked to mental health, one can connect the dots between poor mental health and living on the streets in -40.  Last year Junel read the story of a person without a home freezing to death on the cold streets of Winnipeg. Saddened by this tragedy he recalled walking his then 5 year old daughter back to their car from an evening at the Forks. She complained of being cold and then reflected aloud "It's okay to be cold for a little while, some people don't have a home.  We'll be warm soon".  Thus the annual Boxing Day Run was born.

Now in its third year, Junel hopes the Boxing Day Run hopes to further raise awareness of the good work accomplished at Siloam Mission.  He has raised several thousand dollars through previous runs which he will probably double and triple as more and more people join his cause.  

Junel wants your help in changing Boxing Day to Running for Siloam Mission Day.  Please join him for a portion or the whole 100 km.  Maps and approximate times are below.


(photo credit unknown)

What drives Junel?

Turns out, this is a complicated question. The answer is an amalgam of the love for his daughters, his wife, and family. Memories of his father, who died from cancer, tugs hard. Dreamy days with family and friends where potlucks abound. His running friends, far too many to mention but several stand out: Al Garlinski, Natalie Pirson, Jonathan Torchia, Robyn Penner, Joanne Noga, Derek Page, and Megan Hunter.  

Junel was also inspired and gives credit to Fast Eddy who ran across Canada twice and raised tonnes of cash for Breast Cancer and Alzheimer's.  Turning 40, then 45 (in a blink). He gives credit to the Running Group Keep Moving Sharing and Inspiring And finally, Junel claims to be inspired by an "invisible force" that connects people in the running community. Positive electrons of goodwill and good cheer travel at the speed of light, connecting us, lighting us, energizing us. We trot peacefully without a worry.

To donate to Siloam click here, then click the donate drop-down menu, then click Change Boxing Day to Running Day. I know you're strapped for cash but even ten bucks helps.  

"Why do people admire you so?" asks this pesky blogger.

"I like to run happy, maybe that's what they admire." replies Junel.

Yes friends, run happy always, and remember those less fortunate.

It's a good day to be alive.

Mike

Maps showing Junel's route on December 26.  Help Junel turn 

Boxing Day into Siloam Day









Monday, December 11, 2017

A Timer's Tale; A Guest Blog by Dwayne Olson

Dwayne Olson is well known in Manitoba's running and triathlon community. He is the owner/ operator of Prairie Timing Services (and a new dad!).  In this guest blog Dwayne raises the issue of unregistered bib swapping and how it negatively impacts timing results. If you've ever swapped a bib without bothering to re-register the new runner, you really should read this post.  It's a good day to be alive.  Mike


Dwayne Olson and family.

It’s 4:30 AM on a Sunday and I inevitably ask myself the same question every race day. Why did I choose this part-time gig? The final checks are ticked off my list for essential components and I am off. Every race day I wonder how things will turn out. Will the wind blow my tent over? Will the rain affect the readability of the RFID chips? Is it going to be too cold or too damp to print the results outside? I hope there won’t be too many race day changes amongst the athletes.

Each race morning I have to rush to: speak with the race director, confirm the finish area and set up the read zone in time to refer back with the registration volunteers and update any changes that have been made. This is usually from people dropping down in distance due to illness or a late decision to change due to insufficient training. When my mats and antennas finally test operational and I finish entering the last update it’s time to start the race.

The horn has sound and the race is underway. I match my clocks to 1/100th of a second. The next thing to do is import the chip start times. If this goes well, I’ll be able to use the same computer and present the chip times minutes after the bulk of the finishers have come in. If the chip start import doesn’t go well, I’ll need import the chip starts onto the back up computer later on that afternoon, which would create a lot of questions from everyone at a rather inconvenient time.

As the first runner crosses the finish line, the chip reads and the time registers. I check that the athlete did indeed finish in the proper race as some people tend to change their distance without notifying the race organizers. I breathe my first sigh of relief that everything is in order, however, there are still over 200 racers to go. As the first pack of athletes cross the finish line I’m able to see that they have all read. This may be the last time I am able to confirm that visually as the amount of people crossing the finish line will soon turn into a steady stream making it impossible to do any visual confirmation. I now have to let go and trust everything is in order.

I can see the awards volunteer walking toward me and I start to print off the first set of results. These preliminary results are for awards only and will not include the finishers that came in after the time of printing. I have learned to accept the wave of questions that come from the athletes whose time is missing from the preliminary results sheet and it is an understandable concern from their perspective. At this point in the race I am often looking over at the awards volunteer as their face tells me exactly how their day is going.

Today it has happened again, the awards volunteer is speaking with three women and I already know the problem. The top three women are all well aware that they are they are top three women as they have identified each other early on in the race. The awards volunteer and top three women turn and look toward the timing area with uniform frowns on their faces. They are all nice people and quietly pushing down their frustration so as not to jump to conclusions, however, I know the award volunteer’s day has changed drastically and she is now trying to remain composed. As the wave of frowns approaches me, the awards volunteer asks, “These women claim to be the top three. Is it possible there is some mistake?” “Yes” I reply, there is quite possibly a mistake.” As I speak with the three women I can see that they are absolutely certain in their claim and I tell them, “ I believe you, however, I must confirm that this person is not a woman; can we page this bib number please”? The awards volunteer drops her shoulders slightly in minor disappointment as she knows it couldn’t be as simple as an instant disqualification for the phantom winner.

The awards volunteer then informs the Race Director that the awards presentation must be delayed as there is a discrepancy. The Race Director accepts this fact with the usual pessimistic reaction saying, “Of course, it can’t go completely smooth”. The awards volunteer then starts to page the bib number. After the third page, we have determined that the bib number has probably departed immediately after completing the race. It now remains for us to determine whether or not to award the top three women to the three that have approached us and are waiting with some anticipation or wait to confirm by video. It is impossible to use the video that we have recorded as there are still finishers coming in and we may need to confirm an age group standing. The awards volunteer knows that if she makes a mistake here, it will be very awkward to ask someone to give a medal back and it will be an inconvenience for everyone to arrange a time to switch medals. To my relief the Race Director and Awards Volunteer have decided to risk it and go ahead with awards ceremony. I then confirm the results by video later in the afternoon. It shows a male crossing the finish line with the bib number in question. The person who accepted the bib on short notice has no idea that they caused a major delay in race operations or that a volunteer won’t be back the next year as they don’t want to be put into stressful situation without being paid.

I have come to the conclusion that people run for the feeling. That feeling is often amplified at a running event. There is something great about the running community that we can’t get from our regular lives and I don’t know any race organizer that actually, “does this for the money”. A Race Director often decides to host an event for many of the same reasons someone would host a party. There is a great energy at every event and, just like a party, each event has its own distinct feeling. Just like a party, there are thoughtful guests and not so thoughtful guests and just like a party, the host is most concerned that everyone has a good time. Just like a party, the host may choose to deny someone’s entry out of the desire to ensure everyone has a good time.

Dwayne Olson
Prairie Timing Services

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

We Moved Our Feet For Art City

Photo Credit Blane McFarlane

I prefer science over religion, yet I keep one foot in the pew.

My father was a mathematician, my mother a devout Catholic.  Wherein lies the truth? I was conflicted as a child, tortured through my teens.

I remain conflicted but I move my feet because it makes me feel good.  A selfish concept really, but why not feel good about doing good?


Latin Beat over the Miz Bridge
Photo Credit Junel Malapad
When I first came across the African proverb, Move your feet when you pray,  I was immediately drawn to the simplicity and elegance of the concept. The image of people dancing, and moving their feet, and laughing and actively praying appeals to me. Activism for the good of humanity.

Collectively moving our feet. Collectively creating a movement of peace and goodwill. Collectively praying. Collectively moving our feet for Art City.

I still prefer science over religion and yet I pray.

Thank you to all that moved their feet this past Sunday.  You prayed along my side. We raised $5100. The money will be used to purchase a much needed fancy new inductive stove along with all the special inductive pots and pans.  I like the tangible element of the stove... I can touch it, feel its warmth, taste its offerings.

We Tangoed along Wellington Crescent, Hustled through Omand's Creek, Rocked along Wellington Crescent, Grooved a Latin Beat over the Miz Bridge, and Slow Danced to the finish. It was such a sensuous, gorgeous, sweet slow dance. Four men dancing, hurting, laughing, emotional. Josh, David, Tim, and Mike moving our feet and praying for a better humanity.

It hurt so good.

It was a very tough slog, especially the last two loops, but it was made so much easier knowing you all had my back.  There are too many of you to thank, but one stands out.

My friend Tim.
You are a rock star.
You dance hard.
You are learning to walk.

Tim dragged my ass over the line and I am forever in his debt.  He was there for me at my most vulnerable. I was tired as fuck yet Tim dragged my sorry, beat up ass over the line.

I love you all.

It's a good day to be alive.

Mike

Hurt so good and Tired as Fuck references with thanks to John Mellancamp and Gord Downie

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Moving My Feet for Art City; 341 meters, 782 steps.

Come join me, move your feet for Art City.
On December 3, 2017 I am moving my feet for Art City. I will run ten loops of the Wolseley Avenue/ Wellington Crescent trail in the hopes of raising $3000 for Art City. Tomorrow I run my last training run, 24 miles, then the sweet taper. Loving the taper!

The total distance is 58.341 kilometers, that's 341 meters beyond 58 kilometers, a mere 782 steps from finishing. My mind will be numb, my eyes moist, and my heart and bones spent.  If you can lend your support, this is where I will need you the most...341 meters from the finish, a mere 782 steps. I won't be pretty, but I will smile and wave, guaranteed.

Truth be told I have never run 58.341 kilometers. I've come close, but never 58 kilometers and never in the winter. If I succeed this will be the greatest physical accomplishment of my entire 61 years.

I am running to support Art City. This is not about ego, it's about doing good. It's about being an art-citizen. It's about moving our feet, figuratively and literally, to strengthen our community. It's about making our city more accessible, more inclusive, more kind.

Anxiety sets in as race day approaches.  Am I strong enough?  Can I do this? Am I eating right?  Do I feel a cold coming on?  What will the weather throw at me? Do I have the correct gear? And on and on... the anxiety rolls through my brain... relentlessly....3 AM haunts me... seemed like a good idea at the time... what was I thinking.... Only runners will understand.

I can do this. It will be hard, really hard, but nowhere near as hard the work accomplished daily by the volunteers, staff, and board of directors of Art City who work tirelessly to improve the human condition of West Broadway, an under resourced neighbourhood not unlike Vancouver's Lower East Side or Toronto's Jane and Finch. Where some see blight, Art City sees hope.

As of this moment this campaign has raised $2390, or about 80% of the $3000 goal.  If you have the means please consider donating by clicking here.  You can also share this post to your friends, colleagues, and family. And finally, please join me at anytime on Sunday, run or walk, cheer, smile, wave, and especially that last 341 meters, 782 steps, that's where I will need you the most.

See Mike Run for the Mun, Dash for the Cash!

When you pray, move your feet.

It's a good day to be alive.

Mike


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Cuddle Kitties for Art City... training for Moving My Feet

About midway through today's 31 mile training run for the Moving My Feet for Art City event  I had a full-on explosion of an idea!

"Oh, oh" says wife.

Jennifer and I are caring for a mother cat and her three kittens for three weeks.  Here's the awesome idea....

Why not make the kitties work for their kibble and grow some cash for Art City?

Serious blogger at work.
Barn Hammer Brewing Company, 595 Wall Street, Winnipeg
Starting today, for the very low price of $25 (all funds payable to Moving My Feet for Art City), you can cuddle kittens in a nice warm room, on a comfy chair, in front of a crackling fire with a pot of tea, with a playlist of your choice. And, if that's not enough, you get a tax receipt!  It's like free kitty therapy.

Group rates available.  

Kidding of course... I'm still a little delirious from the run.  Come and cuddle kitties anytime (but  be prepared for some arm twisting).

I had the good company of Carly for 11 miles this morning (and Tim, Lynn, and Darcie on previous runs).  We talked Netflix (Ozark), podcasts (S Town), books (Kindle vs paper) friendships, children, relationships, work challenges, and on and on.  We chatted, and chuckled, and listend respectfully.  It was an affirmation that all is right in the world, and it is indeed a good day to be alive. The miles passed quickly and comfortably.

We danced along Wellington and grooved on Wolseley.

What will our $3000 contribution mean to Art City? What are the tangible results? Can it be measured in quantitative terms? For sake of argument let's say yes. In quantitative term $3000 will buy... oh I don't know... let's say:
  • 1000 paintbrushes or,
  • 30 gallons of paint or,
  • a wheelbarrow full of googly eyes or,
  • nutritious snacks for a month or,
  • who cares?
I have no idea and I really don't care, and neither should you.

It's the qualitative experience that excites me. What will $3000 buy in qualitative terms?  I say with certainty our $3000 will buy:
  • an opportunity for West Broadway youth, who do not have the opportunity as their same aged peers in other areas of Winnipeg, to explore and express their creative potential in a warm, inclusive  environment.
  • a dedicated and caring staff whose primary goal is to make all youth (and adults) feel accepted, valued, and safe.  
  • an anchor for the community where citizens of all walks gather to celebrate life.
  • a residency program featuring artists from (literally) all over the world who roll up their sleeves and work with West Broadway youth for a week, developing incredible art projects and then another artist and another week, then another....
  • a weekly outreach program that services 6 communities city wide.
I can keep going but I think you catch my drift.  Art City cannot be measured in quantitative terms (as much as the beancounters would like it to be that simple). I've said it before but it bears repeating here:

Art City:
  • is a lifeline for West Broadway,
  • fills the cracks and voids of social programming and access to mental health opportunities,
  • is a beacon of possibility, a place of hope, a bed of positivity.
How can one possibly measure that in quantitative terms? 

I'm shooting for $3000.  At this moment I have reached $2015, a little more than two thirds of my goal. 

Come for kitty therapy and help close the gap.  Like a kitty on your lap on a cold winter afternoon, you'll feel warm and fuzzy all over.  Click, click, click....

To donate please click here or click the widget on the sidebar.

It is, without a doubt, a good day to be alive.

Mike

Saturday, November 11, 2017

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

U2

The Lockport Rivers Edge Run is proposing a full marathon option to their very successful 1/2 marathon/ 30 km event.  They are requesting our feedback so here goes.

What's not to like? I think it's a great idea and it will be an nice addition to a busy autumn race season. Let's not forget the Treherne full marathon or the recently announced MEC full marathon, plus the many half-marathon events and 30 km events in and around Winnipeg and Grand Forks including Chicago, Minneapolis and Regina.

Will the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Run finally take the leap to 26.2 in 2018 and upset the proverbial apple cart?  Only Jonathan knows for sure, but my money says yes.

With due respect to the RDs and planning committees of Rivers Edge marathon and MEC marathon their events are local community events that will attract 25 to 50 runners at most.  I'm not sure why MEC is even considering a marathon event given they cater to trail runners. If they want to expand they should be looking at a 50 km ultra... not a marathon which falls clearly in the domain of road runners.

The point is, and admittedly it's a selfish one, quite simply I still haven't found what I'm looking for. The Lockport and MEC marathons will never be destination runs.  They will forever cater to a small market in an very crowded field. It's a lot of work to pull off a marathon (if done right) and the payoffs can be intrinsically rewarding but financially less so.

Would I run their marathon? Sure, providing their event fits in with my training schedule and budget. Neither event would be a destination, more of a goodwill community event.

This blogger suggests MEC and Lockport enter this field with eyes wide open, especially their first year.  Runners have come to expect minimal requirements.  The weather can make it or break it so consult your crystal ball. And for goodness sake, whatever you do, don't have participants run two loops of your half marathon event and call it a full!

The Lockport Rivers Edge Marathon and the MEC Marathon will never be 'destination' runs. You need look no further than Treherne. That's not a bad thing, it's just the reality.

I'm looking for a big city marathon that attracts international elite runners with cash prizes.  I long for a Winnipeg autumn Marathon that is at least as big as Regina Marathon (can the bar be set any lower.. kidding, I love Regina). I wait with baited breath for the courage of a race director to step forward and yell

Yes! We can do this!

The trouble with Winnipeg is we think small.  We need to start thinking big.

It's a good day to be alive.

Mike