Sunday, January 27, 2008

Week of January 21 to 27

Wednesday, 4.3 miles, 9.3 pace (steady run), -23 (wind chill -30), Golf Course Square

 It was a pleasant run, fast and chilly with good footing.  Deborah, Lori, Vivian, David, and Sandra running this evening.  It’s interesting how our bodies have become acclimatized to the cold conditions.  A minus 30-degree wind chill doesn’t seem so bad anymore especially compared to minus 41!  Many runners actually prefer running in minus 30 degree conditions to +30.  One can dress accordingly for –30 or even colder.  The plus 30 with humidex is the real killer.  The group was a little splintered this evening… some going fast, some medium, some slow.  I fell back to accompany a tired runner  We finished in three separate groups.

 Thursday, January 24, (0 miles)

I missed the clinic and run due to a heavy workload at school.  I’m preparing a full day workshop for Friday, February 1 and it’s starting to take over my life.  (For the teachers reading this blog the workshop is on Assessment).  Regrettably I will need to miss next Thursday’s clinic as well.  I called the Running Room and asked Tom to arrange for another group leader.  Sorry folks!  I hear it was a very successful 5-mile jaunt. 
 Friday, January 25, 7.6 miles, 10:00 pace (steady run) -15 (-19 wind chill) Play list: Eleni Mandell
Feeling a little guilty for not attending last night’s clinic I bussed it to work and ran home.  The bus ride is just under an hour and provided some quiet time for planning the aforementioned workshop.  I quite enjoyed the ride; even the 10-minute transfer wait on Graham by the new Hydro Building was all right. The bus was practically empty so there was plenty of room to spread out and, thankfully, the bus driver didn’t yell out every stop, as the metro-brass would have them.
This is the first time I have run home from work.  I’ve cycled the route hundreds of times, but I’ve never had the gumption to actually run the route.  The only downer was Regent Avenue, which is crazy with traffic.  Once in St. Boniface the traffic disappears and the scenery become pleasing.  After a quick stop at the Forks for a sip of water and a visit to the loo, I was on my way for the last leg.  It was an entirely satisfying run.  Here’s the thing: it’s a 30-minute car ride through some nasty traffic.  Conversely, it was an 80-minute run through some of the finest trails in the city.  I arrived home on a FRIDAY feeling alive and satisfied. Usually I’m dog tired and stressed after navigating through one traffic snag after another.  The way I see it, by running home I’m getting an 80-minute workout for a 50-minute time commitment and, as a bonus, I feel good and I didn’t contribute to the carbon stream for one day. 
Saturday, January 26, 7.0 miles, 10:10 pace (steady run) –16 (-25 wind chill), River Trail: Aubrey Street access/ under the Esplanade Riel/ return. Play list: Kaki King
 It was truly a run to savor, sun shining, blue, skies, the river trail alive with skaters, walkers, runners, hockey players, it was just a good day to be alive, plain and simple.  There’s something magical about the river trail.  Everyone seems happier, more engaged, and more aware of their surroundings than street level.  Everyone, even those surely teens, makes eye contact, and smiles.
I extend kudos to Paul Jordan the “dweeb in the snow-suit” (Ottawa Citizen) for having the vision to create this jewel of a trail.  At  8.54 kilometers it’s the longest skate trail in the world.  By the way, if you haven’t stood under the Esplanade Riel and looked up, you are missing a beautiful sight.
 Sunday, January 27, 11.16 miles, 10:14 pace (with walks) –13 (-21 wind chill). Grace General Hospital, return via Lodge Lori, Murray, Bev, Gwen, Sandra, Ryan, Onkar, Deb, Vivian
Our mileage is creeping up as race day approaches.  I broke the back of 30 miles this week! Next week is another 11 miler, than a 12.5 miler, and than, my favourite part of training… the taper week.  Tom has kindly arranged for a breakfast at Fort Whyte Alive following the 12.5 mile run on February 10.  Thanks Tom, this is a nice touch and is much appreciated.
 It’s nice to have the gentler climes return.  We started the run at –13 and ended at –8 so clearly we’re in for a -short- warming trend.  For those of you reading this blog in Texas, Mexico, or Hawaii, (not jealous) we’re bracing ourselves for a blizzard scheduled to blow in late Monday.  Cross your fingers for a snow day… the last snow day for teachers was April 1997, the year of the flood.
 It was good to have Murray join us today.  He’s a fine runner and, as someone said, a dignified person.  Lori would do well to see a massage therapist to address her injury while it’s in its infancy… don’t put it off too much longer Lori or it could slow you down.  Ryan was back and gave us an update on the baby in waiting… it’s a girl!  Bev has a crazy week coming up and Onkar reinforced just how much he dislikes cold weather running.  It was a good day.
Our thoughts go out to Debra B. who mourns the passing of her father.  Losing a loved one is a tough road, but a road that all of us face, a road that brings family and friend closer.  Deb, your father is a huge part of who you are and who you will become.  Run the Hypo for him and make him more proud of you than he is now.  Thank you Scott for discreetly sharing the news and arranging the card for us to express our concern. You’re a good person.
Remember, it’s a good day to be alive.
Cheers to you all,
Week Total Distance =  30.1 miles

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Week of January 14 to January 20

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

4.11 miles, 9.17 pace, steady run, -23 (-31 with wind chill) Golf Course square

 Another chilly one… definite bragging rights for the diehards. Dressing for these temperatures can be tricky.  Too many layers cause discomfort and over heating.  Too few layers causes death!  My toes were cold and my mid-section… ladies please skip this part… was numb, and shriveled to a mere shadow of its former self ... I told you to skip it!

 Nazeer, Lori, Vivian, and I set out a little after 6:00 o’clock.  It was a very quiet run. The normal banter was absent.  Not sure why.  Our frozen jaws could have had something to do with it.  It wasn’t until we turned down the Valley of the Shadow of Death (i.e. the name Vivian coined for the dark trail through the forest), that we started to chatter.  The quarter moon provided some light so we didn’t have to feel our way down the trail as in previous runs. The trail had recently been plowed and it was in fine shape until we hit Corydon.  Here our friendly little jog through the park turned into a Franklin Expedition.  The snow was knee deep and crusty making it pretty well impenetrable. After attempting to hack our way through we decide to cross the ditch and run along the shoulder of Corydon Avenue with high-speed traffic buzzing us from behind.  Scary!  At Shaftsbury Street we returned to the sidewalk and continued on our merry way.

 As the runners from different groups trickled in we warmed ourselves with good chatter and hot tea provided by our lovely Running Room staff.  Thank you Grant Running Room, you’re simply the best!

 PS.  Nice to see Nancy again who has been off due to some nasty ITB.  Welcome back Nancy… it’s good to see your perky smile again.

 Thursday, January 17.

4.51 miles, 9.31 pace, steady run, -17 (–28 wind chill) West on Grant 2.25 miles, return (including Park Boulevard loop)

Our clinic guest speaker this evening was Barb Webb who explained some of the more common runner injures, how to avoid them, and what to do when you get them.  The talk was in depth and far too complicated to review in this blog.  If you weren’t there, you missed a good one, which, segues nicely into… where is everyone?  Is it just me or have our numbers dwindled?  Gotta get those miles in folks.  Don’t let the cold bring you down… embrace it as part of the full package. 

 Mildred, Vivian, Linda, Deborah, David and I had a great, albeit unimaginative, little run.  Wanting to get the prescribed 4.5 miles we headed west on Grant Avenue 2 1/4 miles, stopped, turned, and headed back. Unfortunately, Mildred had to head back after a mile to tend to a delicate personal matter… hmmm, how should I put this… an urgent need to pee!   We tried to convince her to knock on someone’s door and ask to use the loo, but she wouldn’t bite.  Last I saw of her she was running very fast (sub 8:00 pace) in an easterly direction with her jacket tail flapping in the wind!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

6.01 miles, 10:41 pace, steady run, solo, -25 (-36 wind chill), My front door/ Esplanade Riel return (via river trail)

 It is a beautiful sunny day, crisp breeze, and hard packed snow.  Homebound was a little harder on my exposed face so I stopped, readjusted my neck warmer (ninja style), and all was well.  I enjoy cold weather running because it adds a whole new dimension to the sport I love. The challenge of determining just the right number of layers is 1/3 science, 1/3 experience, and 1/3 luck… sometimes the gods are with you and you get it bang-on and yet other times you freeze, or worse, sweat.  You want to avoid sweating in climes like these, and if you do sweat, you better not stop until you’re safe at home, or if you can't quiet make it, just curl up in a snowbank, sleep comes naturally.  Today’s winning formula:

  • Bottom: light polyester long-johns, Running Room winter briefs, outer tights with double layered front, heavier Duo Max trail runners, and the piece de la resistance, a very nice pair of Mirano wool double layer socks.
  • Top: light polyester long-john full sleeve, Stanfield’s polar-therm turtle neck, MEC long sleeved waffle-thermal, MEC zip-up outer layer, Running jacket that covers butt, Running Room neoprene-like toque, wool gloves with nylon mitt, and  neck warmer.

 My left hip is a little sore today.  I need to book a massage with Kristen to get it alligned.  This has happened in the past and she knows just what to do to get them back in alignment. Bye for now.

Sunday, January 20, 2008 

7.56 miles, 9.46 pace (with walks) -30 (-41 wind chill), East on Grant/ Harrow/ Wellington/Sherbrooke/ Wolseley/ Running Room

Definitely the coldest run of the year.  Exposed skin freezing in seconds.  Balaclava icing solid from exhaling rendering them chunky and useless.  Thick white frost forming on faces, heads, and bottoms. Joints squeaking for the first mile or two.  Yup, Dude, it was a cold one... but a dry cold don't-you-know.  Actually, I was comfortable except for my derriere which was frozen, almost solid, for the last 4 miles... it's still thawing as I type 6 hours later.  I bet our friends in Vancouver aren't aren't having as fun as us.  

About 30 brave souls showed up for this morning's run. I suppose it is true that misery does indeed breeds company!

Bruce, Debbie, and Linda joined Terry's group this morning ... something about us being too slow... we're not upset, no way, don't worry, it's ok, really, we don't mind... ;>)...  Vivian, Sandra, Nazeer, Gwen, Lori and I set out at a warm-up pace east on Grant towards Harrow.  En route we got caught up on Gwen's news from her stay in Calgary (all good) and Sandra's news about her stay in Italy (all very good, but evidently she had a little too much pasta). For some reason I reported she was in China in last week's blog... not sure where that came from, sorry Sandra. We ran by the new Stella's restaurant in Wolseley on the corner of Westminister and Sherbrooke.  It's opening in February and should be a real hit with the local tree huggers, myself included.  It was a pleasant run despite the cold and that skitterish black foo-foo dog that lunged at Gwen as we passed, the owner yelling at us to be more careful!  Hmmm, how about reining in your dog, lady?  

Back at the Running Room hot chocolate and tea thawed the hands and warmed the body from the inside out.  The hot beverages encourages runners to hang around a while and chit-chat. The camaraderie at these impromptu tea parties is quite enjoyable, almost the highlight of the run.  It allows us to put faces to names and to catch up on stories from old friends and touch base with an increasingly number of new friends.  Thanks again Grant Running Room... you're the best!

 Nazeer is a good friend.  We trained hard together for last year's marathon and we have grown close over the hundreds of miles of training and racing.  Nazeer has a dream of qualifying for Boston in 2009.  He needs a 4:15 time for his age category which he hopes to achieve in June at the Manitoba Marathon.  Good luck to you Nazeer.  I'll be with you every step of the way.  Nazeer is off to Hawaii for 6 weeks and is registered for an 8 mile run.  Keep in touch Nazeer and keep logging those miles!

Bruce is off to Mexico and Linda and Dick are off to Texas.  Vivian is hoping to accompany her partner Dave to the Boston Marathon on April 21, but has to work out some family stuff before she can commit.  

I was on my way to join the crew for coffee only to discover my car battery dead... flat line dead, Winnipeg -41 dead, anyone got jumper cables dead, dead... not even a whimper!  It appeared that I may have left my running lights, well, running.  By the time I got it boosted my core temperature had dropped more than a couple of degrees.  Nothing like a little sweat mixed with -41 to slur the speech and numb the extremities.  Feeling hypothermic I felt it wise to beetle home to a hot shower and forgo the coffee. Thank you Debbie for the booster cables and thank you Dick for the boost!

Cheezy Poll Results... 57 % feel "safe" running in the dark and 43% felt "somewhat safe", 0% felt "unsafe".

Cheers All,


Week Total Distance =  22.19 miles

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Week of January 7 to 13

Wednesday, 5.17 miles, 9.29 pace Grant Running Room/ Chalfont loop

 Lori, Vivian, Debbie, Sandra, and I decided to stick to the dry pavement and avoid the dark trails.  We also chose to go a little further this evening to lesson the distance on Thursday.  Aside from the distinct lack of testosterone in this evening’s group, it was a good run ;>). 

 Someone asked for the name of a good massage therapist. I can vouch for Kristen Nedohin.  Here’s my testimony.  Last June, two weeks before marathon day, I damaged my glutamous maximus (don’t ask me how… ok, I’ll tell you… I was playing floor hockey with my students and I zigged sharply when I should have turned slowly… I know, stupid, stupid, stupid).  I was limping and in severe pain with every step.  I was devastated with the possibility that I would have to pull out of the race after a year’s training.  A friend gave me Kristen’s number and after listening to my woeful tale, she made time for me over the lunch hour.  She worked her magic and slowly, painfully, after three one-hour visits, I was 90% cured.   I managed to compensate for the remaining 10% pain and I ran a successful marathon.  Kristen is patient, thorough, and explains what she is doing and why she does it.  Her number is 231-1281 and her shop is located at 169 Marion.

 Thursday, 3.5 miles 9.26 pace, Grant Running Room/ Shaftsbury return

 This evening’s clinic was short and entirely relevant.  The guest speaker, Luc introduced himself as a “regular guy, just like you”. He has run 20 + Iron Mans and numerous marathons and half-marathons (hmmm, maybe I’m not such a regular guy, after all… see profile).  He discussed the many products available for nutrition during long training runs and race days. Luc shared his race day nutrition formula (this is from memory so I might not have it completely accurate.  If I’ve goofed up please let me know):

  • 10 minutes: 3 big sips of Gator Aide.
  • 20 minutes: 1 bite of a power bar, three big sips.
  • 30 minutes: 3 big sips.
  • 40 minutes: 3 big sips, 1 bite of Power Bar.
  • 50 minutes: 3 big sips.
  • 60 minutes: 1 gel, 3 big sips
  • Repeat

 Using this formula for a four-hour marathon you would consume 3 to 4 Power Bars, 4 gels, and 4 to 5 liters of Gator Aid (more or less depending on heat and conditions).

 I like the consistency of the above formula and I’ll probably give it a try –or at least a variation of- when we get into 16+ miles.  I’m not sure if this formula would apply to a 1/2 marathon.  I suggest that you pre-cut the power bar in 1/3 inch wide strips and take a few strips at a time as opposed to one large bit. I like to slip a Power Bar strip under my tongue and let it soften.   I find this a lot easier than biting into the bar on the run, especially on cold runs when the bar is frozen!   I like to consume gels (yuck) over a mile as opposed to chugging the whole shebang in one shot. The gel seems to go down easier and I believe it’s digested slower and therefore easier on the stomach.

 Luc also raised an interesting point about tapering.  He reminded us that when we taper from running for the last week, we are much less active and therefore should consume less food.  While training, we burn a lot of calories, we are constantly hungry, and require lots of food, but when we taper, we don’t need the same amount of fuel.  Food for thought… sorry for the poor pun. Thanks for organizing this Tammy.  It was a very good clinic.

 It was Lori’s birthday today (29 I think).  Lori is a true runner and a solid person.  I’ve run with Lori for about three years and I’ve come to know her as a dependable and strong runner, not to mention a fine person with a big heart.  Last year we had the pleasure of running 10 miles in – 52 degrees (that ain’t no typo… that’s a ‘take-away-sign’ followed by a 52).  Lori was so impressed with this achievement that she made a tee shirt. Definite bragging rights.   Happy Birthday Lori, you’re a big part of who we are. 

 Vivian, not one to hold back on her opinions, offers this pearl of running wisdom “Winter Running. It’s not about the scenery.  It’s all about the footing, all about the damn footing”.  So true!  Vivian is a strong runner and likes to pour it on for the last mile or so.  She’s good for a 4:15 – 4:30 marathon time for sure.  She’s a smart runner too; always thinking about what’s coming up and will adapt on the fly.

 Gwen is reading this in Calgary where she’s visiting her brand new grandchild, little Owen.  Sandra is reading this in China where she’s lost in the world of business, but hopefully finding the time to take in some sights.

 The run was uneventful yet pleasant.  Some of us had trouble getting a signal on our Garmins due to the heavy cloud cover.  It appeared that the 200 series Garmins worked better than the 300 series.  At the end we took an average of three Garmins to arrive at an accurate distance and pace.

Saturday, 8.04 miles, 10:38 pace, My front door/ Alexander Docks return

Play list: Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack (season 1), Greg McPherson Band

 It was a glorious run today, sun shining, blue sky, moderate temperature, and excellent footing.  What more could a guy ask for?  A good portion of today’s run was on the Assiniboine and Red River Trails.  These trails are, of course, on the river right next to the skating trail.  Unlike last year, the City has extended the walking trail north onto the Red River right up to the Esplanade Riel.  The trail also heads south under the Queen Elizabeth Bridge and beyond.  There were hundreds of skaters, walkers, cyclists, runners, little kids with parents, grandmothers, grandfathers and even a clown.  Everyone had huge smiles and in true Winnipeg fashion everyone nodded and said hello as we went our way.  I couldn’t help but feel one with Winnipeg.  At the junction of the Red and Assiniboine, right under the footbridge, a dozen or so kids were painting the ice that had been shaved clean by some type of ice machine.  Their water colour paintings of dogs, cats, flowers and such glistened on the ice and glowed brightly in the sun.  It has just occurred to me that the reason this huge ice-canvas is located under the footbridge is to provide a cool vantage point for viewing the artwork. It was an A+ run.

 Sunday, January 13, 2008

10.50 miles, 10:07 pace (temperature –18, wind chill –28, wind N 22 k/h… brrr)

Grant Running Room/ Wolseley/ Esplanade Riel/ return via The Crescent

 The first couple of miles were chilly, but as with all winter runs, you warm up fast.  My only regret is leaving the balaclava at home.  The wind was sharp on the cheeks and mouth, especially on the return down the Crescent.  We had a large group this morning, with a couple of new faces and plenty of familiar faces. Here’s who I remember: Lori, Scotty, Deb, Deborah, Linda, David, Rachelle, Bruce, Ken, Nazeer, and Mildred… I know I’ve missed many of you.  Please drop me a line so I can add your name to this winners’ list.

 Aside from the cold, it was a beautiful run.  Ice crystals fluttered all around and glistened like fairy dust.  I love the sound of the crunching as we run on super frozen snow, especially when we’re all crunching in unison.  The sun came out for the return trip, which always improves the outlook of winter running.  The footing was good (it’s all about the footing, right Vivian?) and the vehicular traffic was accommodating (mostly).  The bathroom stop at the Forks proved to be too long for some runners so several hooked up with John’s group for the return.  A whole crew went to Stella’s but alas, I was unable due to a family commitment.  When I told Mildred I was not able to attend she said with a smile “Aren’t we your family”.  In a way, I suppose you are, or at least it’s beginning to feel that way.

 Thank you Running Room Rachelle!  The hot chocolate and cinnamon buns were appreciated like you cannot imagine.  Those thoughtful acts of kindness really matter.  Like that Free Press Driver this morning who pulled way over to the side and waited a full 45 seconds for us to pass.  Unlike the mean mummy who practically ran over my toes on her way to who knows where.  In any event, thank you Rachelle.  The next time Mr. Stanton is in town I’ll be sure to mention your kindness.

 Let me tell you about Ryan Gray.  I trained with him last year for the MB Marathon and I’ve grown to admire him as strong, consistent runner, but also as a fine person.  Ryan is currently training for his first Iron Man in August (in 224 days I believe he said).  He presently trains 6 days a week for a total of 9 hours.  The training is intense.  He told me that he often finds he’s training at close to 100 MHR for long periods.  The training will pick up as the date approaches. Good luck to you Ryan; if anyone can achieve this goal it’s you. Ryan and his wife are expecting.  I don’t know the due date, but I expect there might be a slight change to the training regime once the little one arrives.

Now for the cheesy poll results “What are your thought on Yactracks”.  I’m not familiar with the statistical validity of a poll sample of 9, but what the hell, we’ll run with it.  The majority, 42% or respondents, replied “I tried them, but I don’t like them”.  I’m happy to report that 0% of respondents use them in the shower.

 Be sure to weigh in with this week’s question: “Do you feel safe running in the dark on Wednesday and Thursday evenings?”

Cheers all,


Week Total Distance = 27.21 miles

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Week of December 31 - January 6

Wednesday: 4.16 miles, 9:01 pace, golf course loop
It was bloody freezing this evening!  The wind gusts were clocked at 70 k from the south and the temperature hovering at -27.  No balaclava, no moon, snow-blown trails... what was I thinking?  Only fools and diehards would run in these conditions!  John, Scott, Deb, and Heather decided any day is good for a run, some are just better than others. John started us off with a quick pace and then fell back after a mile or so.  Scotty took the lead and had us flying along.  We managed to find a little shelter from the wind, but mostly we were fully exposed.  The wind seared like a knife.  I pulled back (i.e. my heart said "whoa, big boy, you're not as young as you feel.") for the last 3/4 mile.   The Running Room staff had hot chocolate and left over Tall Grass cinnamon buns, bless their little souls.  Chalk one up for the diehards (fools?)!
Thursday: 4.13 miles, 9:37 pace, golf course loop
A much nicer evening; good trails, good footage, and perfect temperature.  With no moon to light the way the trail through the forest was pretty sketchy (to use a skateboarders term... didn't know I was hip did you?).  Great company, excellent conversation, an all-in-all perfect run.  The conversation centered around Gwen's new grandchild, Owen.  Did you know if you removed the"O" from Owen and replaced it with a "G" you'd get "Gwen?  How cool is that?  Gwen can't decide which has the nicest ring; Nana, Nan, or Oma.  Grandma is emphatically out! What do you think? :>)  Thanks for the company Gwen, Sandra, Lori, Bruce, Deborah, and Linda.
Saturday: 6.26 miles, 10:24 pace (with walks) , Assiniboine Park return from my front door.
Annette tried to coax the Saturday crew to a game of shinny, but it was nixed or postponed.  Andrea says "I don't do hockey" and Carla replies "What's sponge hockey?" (clearly she missed grade 9 gym class as sponge hockey is one of my two memories of p.e.... sponge hockey and the dreaded showers with the jocks).
Try as I might I couldn't get out of bed to join the Wentworth crew at 8:30.  We had a family gathering to say goodbye to my son who leaves for Japan on the 16th that went well past 1 AM.  It must have been a good party because usually our family gatherings peter out by 9 PM (memo to self... don't ever buy Sake again).  I hear the Wentworth crew had a great turn-out and it was an excellent run to the Forks and back.  
For the fist time ever I ran with Yaktracks.  I was pleased with stability they provided on trails, but I found them pretty annoying on the clear pavement.  I didn't like how they felt on my feet on pavement and the endless "click, click, click" was tiresome.  I'm not sure if I'll use them again.  Certainly in some conditions they're the cat's meow.  I'd be interested in hearing your comments if you'd care to weigh in.  There's also a cheezy poll over there on the right side bar.  The poll will run 7 days and will change weekly.
I went for a lsd solo run and decided to leave the ipod at home.  It was a great run, nice and slow, lost in the basement of my brain, composing a speech I need to deliver in a couple of weeks.   The footing was good, and aside from getting stopped -again- by that damn slow train on Wellington Crescent, it was a textbook lsd run (Stanton would be pleased).  As much as I love running with a group I really enjoy running alone once every so often. It clears the brain.
Sunday: 10.00 miles, pace 9:58 (including walks), Forks return.
I got up early enough to enjoy a cappuccino and read the front page.  As I left the house my first step said "whoa, icy".  My second step said "*@^%$^&" as I picked myself up from my front step.  
Really icy conditions today, lots of brown slush too!  We started with caution, but soon found our footing and aside from the odd spot (especially the Olmand's Creek footbridge) the conditions weren't too bad.  I've certainly had worse.  Runners are terribly paranoid about injuries, rightfully so.  Just ask Ted who is presently nursing a plantar faciiitis injury or Bernice who has a damaged heel is damaged.  By the way, both ran the full ten today... hats off for taking one for the team!  The word out on injuries is R-E-S-T.
The 2:05 group (aka 2:00 lite) started with 13 runners: Bev, Cindy, Mildred, Ken, Gwen, Sherrie, Vivian, Bernice, Bruce, Linda, Deborah, Sandra, and myself.  After a couple of miles several runners fell into a slightly slower pace and continued as a secondary group.  Bernice fell back due to her heel and Bev ran in with her (thanks Bev).
We talked about movies, restaurants, downloading music, injuries, goals and on and on.  We also talked about runners in general and decided none of us has ever met a runner we didn't like, or at least respect.  I believe runners hold a deep connection for one another, even if they have absolutely nothing in common, they know the meaning of fartlek (such a painfully awkward word to use at a garden party.  I place it in the same classification as aspic.).  Also, if you're not enjoying the company of a fellow runner, all you need to do is change your pace, problem solved.
A whole whack of us went for coffee at Timothy's.  Have you ever noticed Scott's appetite? After eye-balling my puffed wheat cake for ten minutes, I finally felt obliged to offer him a slice or risk a poke-in-the-eye.  ;>)
Cheers all, 
total mileage for week 24.55

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

It's a great day to be alive.

Yesterday I volunteered as a road marshall for the Running Room's annual Resolution Run.  I was the guy at the first corner dressed Winnipeg-chic ... you know, Eddy Bauer parka, snowmobile boots rated -80, toque, long-johns, double lined ski-pants, neck warmer, leather gloves, the whole get-up.  The energy of 450 runners and walkers was infectious.  I was warmed and honored to be in the presence of such a critical mass of positivity.  I clapped and yelled at each passing runner and every walker... "way to go"... "happy New Year"... "looking good".... "looking strong".  My words of encouragement were returned with boundless good cheer and enthusiasm.  
At one point I yelled to a large group "It's a great day for a run" to which one runner replied "It's a great day to be alive.".  Seconds behind him a middle-aged walker looked me straight in the eyes and said  "Yes, it is a great day to be alive... I otta know, I wear a pace maker.".  We all laughed and continued on.  
Indeed, it was a great day to be alive, but I imagine for the guy with the pace maker, it was a glorious day to be alive, just like today, tomorrow, the next day and on and on.  We runners are blessed with good health and for that we are truly fortunate.  For those of us who have lost a loved one or know someone who suffers through illness, no explanation is needed.
This blog will chronicle the next 6 months as I (we) train for the Manitoba Marathon.  I will post anything and everything that helps define my understanding of runners and why we do what we do... especially in -52!  I'll share those pearls of wisdom that we learn on the road, the laughter and the anguish.  I hope to post weekly, or after those particularly grueling training runs... you know, those tough slogs when all we can do is laugh (or cry).  I have the utmost respect for walkers and they are welcome to come along for the ride, but the focus of this blog is running. Your comments are welcome.  Your thoughts and discussions are encouraged.  Happy trails.
It's a great day to be alive.