Sunday, July 24, 2016

Joanne Schiewe, A Guest Blog By Jared Spier

Tired as fuck.

Gord Downie, Tragically Hip, Man Machine Poem

Jared Spier and Joanne Schiewe
Joanne Schiewe has been openly telling her story since being diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer on February 3, 2015. At that time, she was given 6-18 months to live, and has been fighting hard since then, getting the maximum from each and every day.
Two weeks ago, after a year of positive treatment for her primary tumour, her MRI showed two new areas of growth. This required a change of course for her chemo treatments, and it's been a pretty tough time since. So as we try to keep telling this story openly, we need to let you know what that means:
Today was supposed to be about racing Ironman Calgary 70.3 Even two weeks ago, Jo was looking strong, out for an 80km ride and ready to give a defiant FU to her tumour. Instead, she's been battling harder than ever before.
The new chemo caused severe nausea, which meant 2 days of sickness and the exhaustion that resulted from not being able to hold down any food or drink
That exhaustion led to a few fainting spells, which gave us some scares, and Jo also started to show the first problems with cognition
Since then, it's been obvious that Jo needs to have someone with her at all times. Fortunately there is a wealth of friends and family who want to be with her and help her fight
It's hard to understand how this can all happen in just two weeks, but that's why we're continuing to share this story - we need everyone to understand how terrifying this change of circumstance can be. This is what GBM does...
Two weeks from ready to race to needing help to cut your steak.

Two weeks from independence to holding a hand to walk down a hallway.

Two weeks from living your life to fighting for each following day.

Jo's 18 months are almost up, but she's pushing for overtime!

With thanks to Jared Spier.

It's a good day to be alive.


Friday, July 15, 2016

David's Journey Marathon

When you pray, move your feet.
African proverb

Today I witnessed an outpouring of love for David. It's a miracle David is alive after his July 2013 deadfall from an 8 foot ladder onto a concrete sidewalk. As an electrician he was performing a routine task when suddenly sparks flew.  He was found sprawled on the sidewalk with blood pooling. He was rushed to Health Science Centre where he was diagnosed with severe traumatic brain injury. Placed on life support in a comatic state, he was not fully expected to wake.


Eleven days later he slowly returned to life... back to life, ever so slowly. Learning to walk and talk took years of intensive therapy, but daddy had returned and that was good enough for little Liam.

It's a journey no one ever wants to travel. From receiving the phone call at home to the work site to the Health Science Centre to Riverview Hospital and back home again.   This was David and Mandi's journey and today it became the journey of 24 runners strong. Unlike David's 2013 journey, today's journey was a celebration of life and family and community. Today's journey brimmed over with hope and optimism. Today's journey was happy chatter, laughter, and gentle teasing. Today's journey was about love and family.

David's amazing wife Mandi organized today's journey to raise awareness and funds for Manitoba Brain Injury Association.  Her friend Junal charted a 26.2 mile course along the route and used his full charm to encourage others to support the journey (caution, it's near impossible to say 'no' to Junal, his charm will soften the most bitter of hearts). We gathered at David and Mandi's home at 7 AM and pushed on through the journey. Twenty-four runners strong, we pushed and pulled one another.  Our very own, and much beloved Natalie (an intrepid runner in her own right) joined us for the last leg (is it just me or does Natalie inspire others to no end?). We also had the pleasure of Fast Eddy from British Columbia join us for a portion of the journey... how cool is that!?

It was a slow dance.

It was a perfect dance.

It was a dance of love and grace.

I send my thanks to my friend Sandi who first invited me to David's Journey several months past.  I thank Mandi for her dedication to her family and for her love of David. I thank Junal for his spirit and unbridled energy.  I thank Scott for carrying me over the line. I thank Winnipeg's running community for their inclusivity, for their love of diversity, and for moving their feet. I thank David for being the man he is today; a daddy, a husband, and an icon of hope.

Most of all, I thank the Manitoba Brain Injury Association for piecing David's life together and the lives of many, many other untold journeys.

Well, it is obvious, but worth repeating... especially today, especially now...

It's a good day to be alive.


To donate to Manitoba Brain Injury Association David's Journey click here.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Training For Lean Horse (part 2)

The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs.

The Be Good Tanyas

I thought of Bobbi Nicol and Scott Sugimoto this morning while running miles and miles through jungle-like humidity. Actually, I was thinking more of their gait than their person. Scott and Bobbi are accomplished ultra-marathoners and I have always been intrigued with their languid stride and their ability to run for hours on end.

Today I attempted to emulate this graceful, near effortless, slow dance.  The foot turnover is quick and short, not fast, but certainly not slow.  It's not quite a toe strike, but close. I focussed on landing just under my toes on the flat side of my sesamoid (yes, I had to look that one up). My body fell into a comfortable rhythm and my mind wandered peacefully as the miles clicked by. My heart rate was steady and my breathing was comfortable. The occasional unintentional heel-strike broke the tranquility, but I self-corrected within a couple of steps and then all was well once again.  Thanks Bobbi and Scott.

I was at the folk festival last night so I had a late start this morning.  I left the house at about 11:30 AM and returned at around 3:30 PM.  I'm so conditioned to running in the morning that I said "good morning" to about 50 people, and they all replied with a cheery "good-morning" despite it being afternoon! You just have to love Winnipeg.

I booked my hotel in Custer... holy smokes, I think rates in Manhattan are cheaper! I guess they jack up the prices for the ultra weekend. Oh well, it's worth it, small price to pay for achieving my dream of completing an ultra before age 60.... clock's-a-tickin.

The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs. 

It's a good day to be alive.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Training for Lean Horse (part 1)

Lean Horse Ultra-marathon
Custer, South Dakota
August 27, 2016

Once bitten, twice shy, third time's a charm.

Lean Horse will be my third attempt at a 50 km ultra marathon. I'm hoping for third time's a charm.

Injuries kept me from starting the previous two. Both injuries occurred within a couple of weeks of race day and both were the result of overtraining. I was on schedule for both ultras. Running 25 miles on trails in southern Ontario while on vacation, Almost stepping on a large golden-brown snake napping on a gravel trail in the backwoods of lost Ontario. Hills.  Hills.  Hills. Running 70 or more miles a week for the days leading up to the ultra. I was even considering upping the ante to a 50 miler. I was that fit, that strong, that cocky.

And then the injury.




I like to think I'm a little smarter this time around. Thanks to my super-fit niece, Ainsley I've been cross-training regularly at Goodlife since January.  I found Bodypump and I haven't looked back.  It's an intense one-hour interval training session that leaves me fully exhausted, yet paradoxically fully exhilarated.  It is without a doubt the single best thing I've done to improve my running in years, not to mention my mental health and my confidence.

"Hi. I'm Mike and I've been working out... you've probably noticed."

I've scaled back on my distance. I will not run more than 50 miles in one week. I won't run speed drills because of the high possibility for injury. I've slowed down to 11 minute/ miles on my long runs.  My shorter runs are no less than 6 miles. I will become less compulsive and more zen. Less competitive and more happy.

I can't really believe I'm saying this but....

As of yesterday I'm eating chicken and fish for the first time in 10 years. I became vegetarian at age 50. Now, two months shy of 60, I'm eating meat.  I haven't the stomach to cross over to red meat or pork. The yuck factor is very strong... think gag!

I ran 22 miles yesterday and truly it felt okay, almost like an old friend, but it was hard... really hard.

When I was 49 I set a goal to run a marathon before age 50.  I've since run 18.

At 59, my goal is to run an ultra before age 60.

Stay tuned for part 2.

It's a good day to be alive.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Tallest Poppy Run Club

The Tallest Poppy Run Club

The Tallest Poppy Run Club is inclusive of all runners of all abilities.  Our target neighbourhoods are Wolseley and West Broadway, but other folks are welcome.  The Tallest Poppy Run Club will be led by Ted’s Run for Literacy board members all of whom are very experienced runners.

A twelve-week running program building strength and endurance for participants to comfortably run a 5 km or 10 km distance with confidence and success.  We will run different routes through the neighbourhood always starting and finishing at The Tallest Poppy. We will slowly increase our distance every week. Each session will start with a talk about a different aspect of running including nutrition, injury prevention, benefit to mental health and more.

Twelve consecutive Thursday evenings in July, August, and September at 6:00 to 7:00.

The Tallest Poppy, 103 Sherbrook in the heart of The Beautiful West End.

We believe running not only promotes physical and mental health, it also builds friendships, confidence, and adds to the vibrancy of the neighbourhood. The Tallest Poppy is at the crossroads of Wolseley and West Broadway, and is a welcoming meeting place for the adjoining neighbourhoods. In other words, a perfect location to bridge the gap and build community.

For more information contact:

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Your Pace or Mine? by Lisa Jackson

I received a cheery email from Bridget Robinson the other day requesting support in promoting her friend's book, Your Pace or Mine.  Bridget is well known in Winnipeg's running community and is the race director of the Street Feet Run Well run in Point Douglas.  She's a person of unbridled positive energy and we share an audacious dream of social justice for all.  When Bridget speaks, I listen.

Your Pace or Mine? What Running Taught Me About Life, Laughter, and Coming Last is one runner's reflection of what it means to be a runner.  Having run over 100 marathon, Lisa Jackson is a serious distance runner with more than a few stories.  Her 23 DFLs (dead f*ing last) are a source of inspiration and pride for Lisa. While many runners would be less than pleased with a single DFL let alone 23, she sees the DFLs as a source of strength and indeed, life lessons. Lisa Jackson bio reads:

...she sets out to show that running's really not about the time you do but the time you have, and tells not only her own story but those of the everyday heroes she's met along the way.

Lisa is visiting Winnipeg from London England. She will run the Manitoba Marathon half-marathon and on June 30 will deliver a talk on "Ten things I've Learned on the way to 100 marathons" at 7:00 PM at the King's Head Pub. She will also have copies of her book for sale at $15.00.  We are fortunate to have Lisa visit peg City to share her story.  Be sure to drop by the King's Head for a pint and a story... you won't be disappointed, but don't take my word... there's dozens of reviews. Here's a couple to whet your appetite.

A wonderfully written, inspirational and philosophical book, not just about running but also about life and the many challenges it can throw at us. Heartbreakingly sad in some chapters, hilarious in others, it’s a great read. Lisa’s amazing multiple marathon achievements and the life lessons she has gained make for compelling reading.

(Christina Macdonald, Launch Editor of Women’s Running UK and author of Run Yourself Fit)

Jackson reads like a barefoot romp in the park on a rainy day: refreshing, quirky, deeply insightful, and not afraid to get her feet dirty!

(Lorraine Moller, Olympic medallist and Boston Marathon winner)

I have about 25 books on running in my collection.  Some notables are The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty,  Lore of Running by Tim Noakes,  Once A Runner by John Parker, Born To Run by Christopher McDougall, and Running and Being by George Sheehan. There's a space waiting for Your Pace or Mine by Lisa Jackson next to these distinguished noteables.

It's a good day to be alive.


King’s Head Pub and Eatery  – 120 King Street

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Scott Sugimoto runs for Jen

Scott's hydration station.
Scott Sugimoto ran 100 kilometers today to support Jen, a colleague with cancer.He had at least one runner along his side for every minute of his 14 hour odyssey.  I joined him at 10 AM and managed 15 miles.  During this time I learned Jen's story.

Jen is 25 years old, works at Home Depot, and according to Scott, shatters any stereotype we may hold of young people. Jen is a dynamo and is passionate about her job.  She continues to work despite her poor health and thinks of others before she gives a moment's consideration to herself. Jen has what the doctors refer to as an "undiagnosed cancer".  A cancer without a name, but with all the trepidation, grievous symptoms, and pain.  Jen and her mom need to travel to The Mayo Clinic for experimental treatment.  Because the cancer is undiagnosed and the treatment experimental, her expenses are not covered by Home Depot's private insurance or Manitoba Health.  All expenses are out pocket.

Scott and friend Junel Malapad.
Jen's initial stay at Mayo Clinic is two weeks at, let's say, roughly $1000 a day and likely much more. Jen's mom is a single parent on a limited income and Jen, like most 25 year olds, does not have significant savings.  The good folks at Home Depot have generously agreed to match fundraising efforts dollar for dollar.

Our Scott, our dear Scott, raised over $1000 in fives and tens and twenties.  Runners and children, and parents, and Home Depot staff stuffed cash into his hands as he ran. With eyes brimming over, Scott acknowledged each and every gift with a hug and with an exclamation of humbleness. He was overwhelmed with gratitude and we are overwhelmed with pride, pride and love of this man and his gift.

The smile never left his face.
Scott and Jen are not heros.  They're not special.  They're not even much different than you and me They're just normal folks who believe in the power of positive energy and the strength of community. They use their gifts to motivate us to rise up and change the world one step, one breath, one prayer at a time.

We are the lucky ones.  We are lucky to have Scott and Jen in our lives. Please pay it forward and send a few toonies Jen's way.   Find Scott Sugimoto on Facebook and message him your support. An e-cash transfer is so simple... a few clicks and you're done.

Jeff, Dale, Scott, Donovan changing the world one breath at a time.
Hey y'all, it's a good day to be alive. Make it even better and message Scott.


PS... Scott Sugimoto is currently training for Fat Dog 120 mile ultra marathon and is the designated 4:30 pacer for the Manitoba Marathon... that and he's the finest gentleman I know.