Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Week of February 28 - March 2

Wednesday, 6.19 miles, 12.36 pace, -10 (-16 wc) , Wellington Crescent.   
This evening I ran with 3 new runners.  I fell into pace with Heather who is training for her first marathon.  It was a pleasant run, but I'm curious why the next day I was sore after running this relatively slow pace.  Normally I run a pace between 9 and 10 m/m and I'm rarely sore the next day.  I suppose it could be a combination of recuperating from the Hypo and the slow pace. Chalk it up to experience.  Good run Heather.

Thursday,  Clinic
I chose not to run this evening because I am a still a little sore from the Hypo.  Henry discussed the importance of goal setting and the physiology of running.  He also said something that caused me to pause and reflect.  He mentioned in passing that it's important to hold a healthy fear of the marathon; it's not to be underestimated or taken lightly.  The marathon is the single most difficult task we have ever or will ever achieve. It pushes the boundaries of human endurance and to be unprepared is foolish and dangerous.  So yes, a healthy fear is a good thing... log the miles and respect -always respect- the marathon.  We're still looking for some pace bunnies.  It's not too late to join the glamorous pace bunny life style.  Seriously, give it a try; it's a good thing... just ask Martha.
Saturday, 2.25 miles, 9.45 pace, -4 (-12 wc) River Trail to Olmands Creek return
Another run with my loyal K-9 pal, Annie.  She was dog tired (pardon the pun) on the return due to the fact she ran full-out, top speed, rolling, prancing, and sniffing while off leash along the river trail.  I practically had to drag her home.  We need to discuss conservation of energy and pacing. Once again, she's crashed on the floor by my feet and I don't think I'll hear a peep out of her until I rustle the food bag.
Sunday Run, 8.65 miles, 10:05 pace (w/ walks),-3 (-9 wc), Grant/ Haney/ Vialoux/ Wellington/ Lanark/ Centennial 
Liz, Onkar, Debbie, Lynda, Cheryl, Al, Jacques
It sure feels good to shed layers and hear the birds tweeting again.  Is winter loosening its grip or is it just another calm before the storm?  Let's hope for the former.  Onkar is convinced winter's over and the snow will be gone by Wednesday!  I hate to pop his bubble but over 5 decades of Winnipeg winters has taught me that it ain't over until construction starts on Portage Avenue.  It's really good to have Cheryl back training with us.  We agreed that our closet goal is 4:05, but I think she's got her heart set on a 4:00.  I'm sticking with the 4:15 goal, but a guy can always dream!  Jacques and Al are two new clinic members.  Jacque has never run before and aside from last week's Hypo, Al hasn't run in over ten years.  Both are very strong runners and they'll do very well.  It's great to have new faces join the group... now I can recycle those stale jokes I used last year!  A reminder to Al and Jacques (and anyone else) to register for the Police Half soon because as the weather improves it starts to fill up quickly. Good seeing Ryan today, but why was he running the wrong way?  Gotta talk to that boy! 
Congratulations to Terry Bialek (Pembina Running Room) who competed the Barcelona Marathon today.  I haven't heard from him yet, but he promised to drop a line and photos.  I'll publish his story next week.  In the meantime... way to go Terry Bialek!  Last I heard he raised well over $6000 for Team Diabetes
Shelley Timlick is kindly offering to organize a CPR training workshop for anyone interested. She needs a minimum of ten for a group and if there's enough interest she can arrange for a second workshop.  Spread the word.  For more information please email her or leave a message in 'comment' below and I'll be sure she gets it.  By the way, it's great to hear that Shelley is back pounding the pavement.  I expect Chris will be slogging it up and down Wellington Crescent in no time... can't keep a good man down.
Way to go to Terry P's group.  They logged 14.5 miles this morning. The distance are creeping up.  Last time I checked the Fargo Marathon is a mere 75 days away.  Keep it up you guys!
By the way, if you are a Weight Watcher, want to be a Weight Watcher, or know someone who is a Weight Watcher be sure to check out Weight Watchers 1974 Style (side bar).  You must read the descriptions for the full effect.
Sunday Ride, 8.5 miles, -4 (-13 wc), wind gusts 52 k/h, River Trail to Esplanade Riel, return to Olmands Creek
My trainer Lucy must have had a rough night because she slept for the entire ride. The wind gust funneling down the Assiniboine were brutal on the return trip.  The Chariot drags in the wind like a sail and Lucy, bless her little heart, clocks in at about 35 pounds.  There were many thousands of people taking advantage of the river trail.  Young speed skaters zooming, old skaters gracefully hand-in-hand, laughing hockey games, smiling runners (including Rod and partner), teenagers asking for rides in the Chariot, walkers, lovers, babies snuggled in toboggans... it's such a bustle of positive energy in an area that used to be the exclusive domain of a hand full of brave walkers and skiers. Yup, another amazing day to be alive.
Cheers all,  Michael
Week mileage: running 17.09, cycling 8.50

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Week of February 18 to 24

Thursday: 4.31 miles, 9:49 pace, steady run, -12 (-17 wc), light snow.  Golf Course.
This evening was the first full-marathon clinic. We're a small group of about a dozen runners but I expect we'll grow as the weather improves. Please consider joining us and spread the word... the more the merrier.  Speaking of clinics, have you ever considered the privileged pace bunny? Aside from the glamorous lifestyle, the glory, and the unwavering respect and undying admiration of your group members, pace bunnies also get a free admission to the clinic, a very cool race-day tee-shirt, and... wait for it ... a 30% Running Room coupon!  Personally I'm in it for the glam and the free tee-shirt.  Some bunnies feel it's a great opportunity to hone budding leadership skills and it's nice to give back to the community to which we all belong.  Henry is looking for a 4:30, a 4:45 and a 'to complete' bunny. I'll be pacing the 4:15 group this time around.  If you're unable to join us for the clinic you're welcome to come along on the Wednesday and Sunday group runs. A big nod once again to Henry for leading another full-mary clinic... his leadership will get us across the finish line upright and smiling.
Friday: 2.34 miles, 9.25 pace, -12 (-20 wc),  Olmands Creek (return).
Meet Annie, my spoiled rotten, slightly plump, 8 year old Golden Retriever.  This evening was our inaugural run together. I've avoided running with her until now because she's pretty skittish and very strong.  I've had my arm yanked and back twisted several times when she takes off like a rocket to chase down a rascally rabbit or  squirrel as I hold the leash.  I've tried the nose-halters but she hates it and I can never figure out how to put them on.  I'm pleased to report this inaugural run with my k-9 bud went very well... she's zonked out on the floor as I type indicating it was a good workout. Initially she was a little nervous with the whole running thing... she wanted to go fast, really fast, but after reining her in several times, she slipped into the groove and all was well. I was even a tad proud of old Annie trotting along my side all happy and focussed.  She's no longer just another pretty face to feed, she's a runner!  I let her off-leash at Olmand's Creek Park and she pranced and danced through the inner field while I did a lap.  I figure 2.5 miles is her upper limit, but we'll work her up to 5 miles; just wait and see.  At last... she's finally earned
her supper!  On a completely unrelated note, has your Garmin ever locked up?  If so, here's the unlock sequence for the 205 and 305: press and hold the Reset/ Lap and Mode button simultaneously for a couple of seconds. This should unlock the Garmin.  For more information jump here.
Sunday, Hypothermic Half Marathon, 13.42 miles, 9.03 pace, -12 (-17 wc).
Winter running doesn't get much better than today.  It was an absolutely idyllic run; bright blue skies, good footing, warm temperature, excellent company and, the proverbial cherry on top, a most amazingly hearty breakfast with all the trimmings.  Fort Whyte staff must have read last week's blog because this time around the coffee pot was flowing hot and strong! The volunteers were great, especially the gentleman on the Grant Avenue Preston trailhead who cheered us enthusiastically coming and going.  Also the two little cheering girls  sitting on the straw bales along the forest trail made my day!  A nod goes to the Hawaii theme ladies located at the Shaftsbury end of the Preston Trail (I didn't know you could do that with coconut shells).  The Finish Line Welcome Party of Terry, Murray, Rachelle, Kevin, and Anne warmed the heart.....
geeze, you guys really do care!  My only concern was the last turn off the trail as you enter the parking lot towards the finish line. It was a  treacherously slippery 90 degree turn that got polished smoother with each runner.  A wheel barrel of sand would have been well placed.... considerations for next Hypo?  Yup, it was a great day to be alive, but don't take my word for it... read these voodoo-solicited testimonials...This from Lynda...After stories, while training in shorts down in Texas (just had to stick that in), I was most pleasantly surprised by the amazing weather today.  The course was superb, bison and all; the company was wonderful, and the BRUNCH certainly lived up to its reputation.  My first HYPO!  What a superb event! Lynda 

This from Terry...Murray , Kevin, Ann, and my self did not run, we were the welcome back party at the finish line, our small way of GIVING back to the running.  Just want to let you know and the rest of the runners, you all did a FABULOUS job out there, and looked GREAT COMING HOME.CONGRATS to MARIO, he was able to beat his sons pb, way to go MARIO, you rock. Terry  

This from Tom... It was an excellent day for the Hypo... sure beat -47!  I hope that everyone who ran had a good race.  Just finishing it makes it good, right?  If it was your first Half Marathon, way to go!

See you out running.  Tom
This from Ken... Yes, it was a great run. This was the first  time for me(10:00 start). I was so glad that the cold snap we have been enduring finally broke and beautiful sunshine and hardly any wind to go with the mild temperature.  I ran with Bernie for most of the course and he was dealing
with some back pain but we finished pretty much together (2:15 something) Thanks for the company Bernie- enjoyed the run and brunch with you. For myself I was just happy to participate because I had not run since The Great Grain Relay. Prior to that event my left ankle had been acting up  and during that race it was OK, however later that night I tripped over the cat in a dark hallway and that did it. I went to the Pan Am Clinic a few days later to get it looked at. They took some x-rays, gave me a prescription for anti-inflammatorys, said come back in 2 weeks and don't run. I guess I don't listen very well- Oh No- I'm as bad as my kids! The ankle feels fine so it's on to next race.Thanks to the organizers and volunteers. See you soon, Ken
This from Gwen... What a perfect day for a run.  I ran for fun! - this was the first time I actually enjoyed myself.  I didn't care about my time, instead I focused on having a great time with
my running companions, great food and a wonderful massage afterwards. Michael, thank you for being such a great leader.  You never once complained about our whining.  My biggest regret was not being there to make snow angels! It was a pleasure running with you, such a gentleman.  (Shucks Gwen... t'waint nuthin. You made it fun.  MB). Take care.  See you at the Running Room. Gwen

This from Gill... What a gorgeous day for a run!  A huge contrast to last year…not that my time was much better, but this year I’d attribute that to my spotty training & certainly not the conditions.  I think the Hypo is good race to keep me moving over the winter & not one where I’m trying for any PBs.  As for Scott & Mario, well what can I say, they’re fast and strong.  Well done, everyone, and thanks for the company along the way, Gwen, Viv, Bev, and Lori!  I would like to say .... 

This was my third (and sadly my last due to moving on from Cananda) Hypothermic Half. Having just arrived from a balmy Madrid a few  weeks before my first run, I honestly wondered whether I had finally lost my sanity! However, despite trudging through snow in a howling wind, it was surprisingly fun purely due to the incredible spirit of all those who encouraged me along the way, most notably Gwen for the majority of the run and then Shelley during the last mile! Last year was equally as much fun although I felt slightly more prepared having more experience of Winnipeg winter running!. On reflection, this last year may have been the best. I shall never forget some of the runs we have had this winter in preparation for today’s Hypo. There were certainly days this winter when there would have b

een NO way I would have stepped out the door had it not been for all the fantastic people I have been able to run with.  When

you know your running group and friends will be waiting either on Corydon and Wentorth, or at the Running Room, it certainly helps you get out of bed when it is way below -30 and put those running shoes on. And then of course, today was just the most beautiful morning of the winter so far, what a wonderful memory to take with me. So, many thanks to everyone with whom I have been out running with this winter, we have had many laughs, many well earned coffees and brunches and a lot of fun – you really are truly awesome people. And yeah, soon we have Spring and Summer running to look forward to!  Gill


I think Gill has made an important observation.  We depend on each other and care for each other like no other group. It's been an amazing 16 weeks of training together.  It's been damn cold but the friendship and coffee is warm like the Mediterranean sun.  Thank you all for having me along for the run.  Cheers all,  M... 

And this just in from Sandra... Sorry I didn't reply to your request even with threats of voodoo dolls. I was nursing a bit of a muscle strain with ice and advil and then I went out to get some stuff for my Hong Kong trip. So I just checked my email and enjoyed everyones comments. I just wanted to thank you for being our leader and all the inspiration you provided on those freezing cold days that kept us coming out. I am planning on coming to the clinic on Thurs, but I am not sure if I will be running or nursing the strain.

See you then.  Sandra  
And this just in from Mario... Hey Mikey !!!  The course and weather were perfect !! The only little problem was that there wasn’t any mile markers , and could have used more signs. It is not much of a problem. Great job on the course route this year. We got lucky this one.  Mario  (I tend to agree with Mario, mile markers would have helped.  MB)

Week Mileage: 24.38.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Week of February 11 to 17

A few words from Shelley... Hope you guys had a great run this morning. I will give a little bit further of an update but not too much has changed. Chris is waiting for a pacemaker/defibrillator combination implant. The soonest that will happen is Tuesday, but more likely Wednesday or Thursday due to scheduling, and the fact that he is no longer in critical condition.  He could possibly get bumped back again if someone less stable than him should be in line. He is in good spirits and has been hearing tales of my wonderful and amazing running friends. Our phone, email inbox, and all lines of communication have been very busy. We are blessed to be so lucky on two counts; one, due to the perfect circumstances that helped save his life, and two, for all the love, kind words, support, meals, favours, offers of childcare that have poured in from our friends and family. Not the very least of which is from all my running friends. You are like family to us.
It was a huge shock to all of us and still is. The good news is that Chris will make a full recovery and it was not preventable. There is no family history and they still cannot find a thing wrong with his heart. All tests have been normal even after the trauma of the defibrillator! They are likely going to chalk it up to an "electrical short" and truly this could happen to anyone. His fitness level went a long way to helping him make the recovery that he is presently making. The lesson learned here is the life-saving benefit of CPR, and defibrillators. Had he been anywhere else (home, work, cycling, skating, etc) he would not have made it. Maybe the Running Room pace bunnies should be trained in CPR? Just food for thought. And yes, our group is AMAZING, but that doesn't surprise me in the least. The bonds that we have formed over the miles is something that I truly cherish and am incredibly grateful for.
I've known for a long ago that I was pounding the pavement with some pretty incredible people. I am so grateful that they have our family in their thoughts and prayers. You have no idea how this has helped us. I think in an urgent situation like this you go on adrenaline, or auto-pilot. The support I have received has been HUGE in helping me get through, and keeping things as normal as possible for the kids. They are coping amazingly well, and the disruption to their life and routine has been minimized because I have been able to focus on them. In turn, my focus on them has kept me sane... (insert comment here Murray! ;o).... or, as sane as one can be in this situation.When things calm down, I will be out there racking up the miles again. In the meantime I know how lucky I am to be in your thoughts and prayers. Once again, I cannot thank-you all enough. You guys are amazing!  Shelley
Shelley, Thank you for sharing. Our collective thoughts are best summarized by an email from Ted:   "We are holding you in our thoughts and prayers with tenderness, concern and affection. We'll talk to you soon."   Cheers to you Shelley and Chris.  Take comfort in the knowledge you are surrounded by love and friendships far and wide. Michael  
Wednesday: 5.76 miles, 10:26 pace -25 (-37 wind chill) Route 90/ Sterling Lyon Parkway/ forest/ Shaftsbury/ Corydon/ Park Boulevard/ Grant
We had every intention of logging the prescribed 7.5 miles but we got wailed by the drifts on Sterling Lyon Parkway and then took a wrong turn on the forest trail. Yes, it's terribly embarrassing admitting to a wrong turn on a trail we normally run auto-pilot. I'll blame it on Sandra. She had us engaged in a delicious "do-tell" conversation on teenage heart-throbs. Lori and Sandra admitted to a huge crush on one of the Bay City Roller boys and I confessed to a total infatuation with flower power pop star Melanie from Animal Crackers and Lay Down fame... groovy. To add to our confused state we stopped on Sterling Lyon Parkway to make three absolutely perfect snow angels.  Me thinks we're getting a wee bit touched, or perhaps a tad bushed, or maybe even a bit bonked, by these infernal frigid temperatures. As always, inspite of the cold, it was a most enjoyable run... just the three of us chattering away on the same page in unison. So, who's your teen age heart throb?Thanks Sandra, thanks Lori. It was a most pleasurable run... Cheers, M
Saturday: 3.5 miles 9:15 pace. -1 (-5 wind chill). Wolseley/ Wellington Crescent
It was a good quick pace with ideal conditions.  I was over dressed and had to stop after a mile to shed my outer shell. I bumped into Henry Klassen who was running home from his shift at the Kenaston Running Room.  Henry is the full marathon clinic instructor at the Kenaston Running Room.  Having attended his clinic last year, I highly recommend you take this clinic. Henry will teach thing about yourself that you never knew possible.  The clinic starts next week so run!, don't walk!  sign up for Henry's clinic, you won't be disappointed.  I'll be pacing a 4:15 group this year and I have a whole new collection of bad jokes to take your minds of those aches and pains.
Sunday part 1: 6.14 miles, 9:53 pace, (with walks), -10 (-21 wind chill), wind north 41 k/hr (gusts 60 k/ hr, heavy snowfall, low-grade blizzard conditions), Wellington Crescent
Twas one of those character building runs with which we've become all to familiar... strong winds, heavy snowfall, icy roadways and on and on.  Lisa, Vivian, Gwen, Bruce, Lori, Sandra, and I forged on... three miles up Wellington, three miles down.  Not a very exciting run, but it got the job done.  There was more discussion on teenaged heart throbs which whittled away a mile or more.  We also discussed the horrible shooting at the university north of Chicago.  It's odd that the media seems to be underplaying this tragedy.   Thank you Running Room Rachel for the home made chili after the run.  I don't know what other Running Rooms are like across the country, but by gosh, the Kenaston Running has got to be the most welcoming and caring staff in the country.  Thanks again, Rachel... not sure which I like more, your engaging smile or your wicked chili!
I had intended on joining everyone at Stella's but I forgot to bring a change of clothes.  I was soaked from perspiration head to foot (too much information?) and I was starting to chill off (was it Rachel's chili?) so I decide to beetle home to a hot shower and forgo the breakfast.
Sunday part 2: 9.88 miles (bike with Lucy), river trail/Forks/Whittier Park/return
My trainer and I went for a romp down the river trail to the Forks and then on to St. Boniface Festival headquarters, Fort Gibraltar.  I wanted to join the other voyageurs for a Fort Garry Dark Ale around the bonfire, but my task master trainer, Lucy would have none of that... she allowed me 5 minutes to warm my hands and then back-at-er.  This was one tough slog. Between the winds gusting to 60 k/ hr and the new wettish snow, I was dog tired.
A final tribute to our tireless leader Tom Cardinal for putting up with our whining and complaining.  Thank you for your planning,  your organizing, and most of all thank you for your remarkable dedication to the group.  I hope we haven't scared you off Tom.  Cheers and good luck on the Hypo!  Happy taper week.  M
Total week mileage = 25.28
And finally, part two of Gill's cookie recipes.  Enjoy!  
If you like more of a muesli bar, this is a fab recipe as well. 65g margarine 150ml honey 50g brown sugar (I put in less) 200g oats – large ones 100g sunflower seeds
160g chopped apricots 50g nuts 25g sesame seeds Handful of cranberries or raisins if you like. Melt marg, honey and sugar, heat and simmer for 5 mins. Combine other ingredients in bowl then add marg mixture, mixing to combine. Press into tin – shallow tin is better as if too thick the bars don’t stick together too well. Bake 350 for 25 mins or until turning a nice brown colour (sorry, a bit vague). Leave to cool for a bit but before cold, score into pieces but don’t break up until completely cold. These are delicious!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Week of February 4 to 10

Wednesday:  7.14 miles (steady run) 9.42 pace, -20 (-31 wind chill).  Route 90/Sterling Lyon Parkway/Shaftsbury/ forest trail/ Grant/ Chalfont/ Corydon/ Park Boulevard/ Grant
Brrr... We ran headlong into a very strong wind for the first mile.  The gusts were overpowering in places and slowed our progress to a crawl.  Good thing I had that peanut-butter sandwich before I left... it provide just enough ballast to prevent me from becoming airborne!  As we veered west on Sterling Lyon Parkway the scrub forest off our left shoulder provided respite from said cruel wind.  We were singing along, carefree and happy until the trail became log jammed with deep finger-like snow drifts.  They were too wide to hop over and too deep to ignore so we plowed forward.  Ahhh, what the hell, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger!  Vivian had this nifty little head lamp which lit the way through the darkest of trails.  Too bad it didn't zap the drifts.  We continued on through Assiniboine Forest south of Grant.  The trail through this fairy tale-like forest was peaceful and beautifully calm... no wind, clean trails, happy runners fore and aft... what more could a guy ask for?  We joined up with Tom's 2:15 group for the last bit.  It was a good run with good company.  Bernie and George joined us on this run; nice to have them along for the ride. 
Thursday:  5.0 miles, 9.11 pace (race pace),  -9 (-17 wind chill), Running Room/ Chalfont loop.
Vivian, Sandra, Gwen.  Just the four of us this evening.  A good quick pace.  I received major flack from the group because I mistakingly told them last night that this evening's run was to be 3.5 mile not 5, and I "never mentioned anything about race pace!"  In checking the schedule I have learned I goofed... according to the schedule it should have been a steady run, not race pace. I got the 5 mile part right though.  Sorry team,  can you forgive me?  will you thank me on race day? do I still have your respect and admiration? 
It's indeed sweet to have the gentler climes return, if even for a day.  The forecast is not looking good for the weekend.  Blizzard warning with severe wind chill is in the forecast (note to friendly Vancourverites... all wind chill is severe!).  The 12.5 miler at Fort Whyte should prove to be an interesting run (i.e. read chilly).   Hopefully it won't foreshadow what's to come on race day. 
Friday: 7.24 miles, 10:36 pace, -14 (-17 wind chill), school commute, play list Michael Franti & Spearhead
Nothing new to report on this run.  It is becoming a weekly pattern, which I enjoy more each and every week. I find myself actually anticipating the run throughout the day.  I'll change up the route next time to keep it interesting and fresh.  If you're ever in Transcona on a Friday afternoon, give me a call... I know all the good routes.
Saturday: Great Grain Relay, 135.4  laps/ 2 hours (1 lap = 200 meters, 135.4 laps = 27.08 kilometers, 3.5 miles each), -25 (-42 wind chill) but who cares?... it was indoors! 
Kudos to the organizers of the Great Grain Relay. This is one fine event, and the best part, it's indoors while a wicked blizzard is howling outdoors.  The perfect storm!  It took more energy getting to the event than the actual run itself. Running outdoors today would have been out of the question even for hearty Winnipegers who give nary a thought of logging 10+ miles in -40 weather.  This was a nice break, ummm, make that a divine intervention from the same-old-same-old cold weather distance running. It was invigorating to change things up a bit from the normal routine of logging miles, logging miles, logging miles, miles, miles, miles!  Running in shorts and a light tee shirt, twas brilliant... it the little thing that count in life, the simple pleasures. Dare I say it... distant sweet memories of summer flicker and glow faintly deep in the cerebellum, awakening forgotten pleasures ... patience grasshopper, soon this will pass, soon flowers will bloom, soon birds will tweet, soon...  
Let me introduce Team Marauders (photo forthcoming)...
Mario:  eager, enthusiastic, happy and our unofficial leader.
Gill:  intelligent, fit, natural and makes dynamite cookies (recipe to follow).
Ken: inviting, content, relaxed and provided a cooler full of... water.
Deb: focussed, reflective, caring and parachuted in at the last minute to save the team.
Marilyn:  patient, dedicated, organized and counted grown adults running in circles for two hours, thus the patience moniker.
Although we logged only 3.5 miles each my old bones told me it was more like 7 or 10 miles. Sprinting is not what we normally do... we're distance runners and all those youngsters who zoomed past us probably couldn't log half the miles we do in one week.  Man, we're there ever some fast dudes and dudettes.  The collective opinion of the event is it was great fun, superbly organized, and a nice treat from our normal regime.  It's officially on my "to run" list for next year. Thanks again to the good folks who organized this fine event and the blizzard.
Sunday, 11.66 miles, 10:43 pace (with walks)  -32 (-47 wind chill) Hypothermic route.
This was officially the coldest run of the year (a close 2nd is January 21 at -41) .  As Tom said "even the buffalo thought we were crazy" to which I add "yes, and so does my wife"!  Why do we do what we do?  Especially in this kind of weather.  Our pals in Vancouver and Toronto must wonder what it's like to have faces burned by the wind or stomach blotchy with frost or derrieres chilled to the core.  I invite you to comment or send me an email explaining from your perspective why you run in these condition.  Or, if you're reading this in warmer climes, what do you think? Are we certified nut bars or extreme athletes?  Do drop a line, don't be shy.  
After yesterday's blizzard I was expecting horrible trails, but to our delight they were in stellar conditions.  Hats off to Fortwhyte staff for plowing the entire Alive Trail in difficult conditions and for opening the gate a full 2 hours early for our convenience.  Crossing the open field with the wind searing full frontal provided an image of life on Mars.  It was brutally beautiful and witnessed only be the few of us.  Yes it was horribly cold and the wind blew hard, but it was also magnificently surreal and powerfully intense.  
The breakfast, ahh the breakfast.   Fortwhyte did not disappoint.  Aside from the coffee urn running empty on occasion  it was a delicious feast and is a mere glimpse of what we can expect on race day.  And now, as promised, Gills famous Mikey approved...
Not so bad for you cookies! (printed with Gill's permission)
1 cup margarine
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar (I put in about ¾ c in all)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Then you can add 5 cups of anything, I put in
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup nuts
1 cup seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, flax, sesame
1 cup raisins and cranberries
1 cup chocolate chips (but of course I only put in ½ cup of these!)
I also put in a good handful of ground flax.  This all makes a lot of cookies but they freeze very well.  Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla and eggs and cream a bit more. Mix in dry ingredients and then add your 5 cups and mix.  Drop by tsp or however you big you want them, onto a cookie sheet, press them down a bit and bake at 350 for 10 – 12 minutes.  Enjoy!  (we will Gill, we will:>))
On a more serious matter our thoughts and prayers go out to Chris, Shelley, and family.  Get well Chris.  Take good care Shelley, Your Running Pals.
Total Week Mileage = 34.54 miles

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Week of January 28 to February 3

Thursday, 6.35 miles, 9:22 pace, (steady run), -16 (-28 wind chill), My front door, Assiniboine Park Foot Bridge, return via Wellington Crescent.  Play list: Cold Running.

Tom organized a speed-training clinic at Max Bell.  A nice break from wind chilled trails, and snow blown sidewalks.  Thanks Tom, we appreciate all the organizing and your solid commitment to the group.  I hear it was a great success with many runners showing up.  The pyramids sessions sound intriguing.  I also hear running in shorts and a tee is a forgotten pleasure.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend… work again… sheeesh… work, always getting in the way of fun!  I did manage to find a little time however for a quick jaunt.  It was good run… good and fast, but I miss the company of the Running Room buddies.  Running alone is fine, and I quite enjoy it, however it’s pleasant to have someone to talk to, if only to pass the time. 

Bored, I envisioned the Hypo Half.  I picked up the pace.  In my minds eye I could see the finish line (a beat up old Chevy truck parked two blocks away).  I picked it up and poured it on.  Heart rate maxing out, arms pumping locomotive style, neighbours staring,  as I zoomed past Mario and on towards the finish line.  Mere meters from the finish I blew past Scotty leaving him in a cloud of snow... sorry Scotty, you're a good guy, but it's a race, you understand.  What a race, first place... again!  (Note to self... dream on Bennett, dream on.  The only way I'll ever cross the finish line before Mario and Scotty is in my mind's eye... pure fantasy, plain and simple.  ;>)

Friday, 7.8 miles. 10:00 pace (steady run) –14 (-25 wind chill). Play list: Xavier Rudd

I ran home from work again today.  Same route and pace as last week.  I might just continue this Friday afternoon run for the next while.  It's a great way to wind down from the rigors of the week and, like I said in a previous post, when the car commute time is subtracted from the run commute time, I get an 80 minute workout for a 50 minute time commitment.  I can't help but smile (yes, that's a smug smile) as I run under the Main, Donald, Osborne and Sherbrook Bridges and see cars parked in traffic as I move along at a good little pace.  Sort of a tortoise and hare scenario. 

We've been talking on and off about pace smoothing for the last while.  The concern is why different Garmins show different paces (sometimes by as much as a minute) when we're all running the same pace.  My guess is it has something to do with pace smoothing.  I emailed Garmin International last week.  Here's their response to my queston:

Pace smoothing is just another word for averaging. The more you average, the less the reading reflects current pace. But averaging also  cancels out random errors in the unit. So it's a tradeoff. When in doubt, I'd recommend more smoothing. For the most part, you're not  going to change pace that much in a ~10 second window, so smoothing will improve the stability of the readings.

This is the path for adjusting pace smoothing on the Garmin 305.  I expect it's similar with the 301 and the 200 series.  mode>settings>running>speed units>smoothing (adjust to "more").  Let's try this and see if it improves the consistency of our pace readouts.  We'll check in next week.

Saturday, 9.51 miles, 8:41 pace (bike) -23 (-30 wind chill). Lucy's House/ Olmand's Creek/ Whittier Park return (via river trail).

I was tired from yesterday's run so I opted for a little cross training with my good pal and personal trainer, Lucy.  Lucy is my nieces daughter and we've been cross training together for a couple of years.  She really motivates me and gets me pumped up.  Don't be fooled by that cute little smile.  She's a wicked little task master, that is when she's not sleeping. Biker Bear, her teddy, lives in the chariot year round munching on left over snacks from previous rides.  Her mom Laura, is a serious runner with many a marathons under her belt.  She's the one responsible for my current running addiction.  'nuff about Laura, back to Lucy.  I estimate Lucy to be about 30 pounds and the Chariot another ten so not only is this good cross training, it doubles as resistance training.  It was a blissful ride..We entered at Olmand Creek access and cycled the entire trail to Whittier Park return.  We stopped twice, once

for me to warm my hands over a fire at the forks and again under the Esplanade Riel so Lucy could make a snow angel (even task master trainers need a little fun time :>).  I've been told that to translate cycling miles to running miles you need to divide total cycling mileage by 3 (some say 4) to get a rough estimate of running equivalent miles.  Having cycled many, many miles I'd agree this is a pretty reliable formula... IF you're on a road bike, on dry pavement.  If you're hauling 40 or more pounds on a rough (very rough in places) trail, with extreme knobbies and about 100 metal studs in each tire, then I feel it's more like 1:1.  Long story short, I'm logging the full 9.51 miles!  At the start of every ride I ask Lucy if she wants to go fast or slow.  Laura yells "slow" and Lucy replies "fast".  We go as fast as these old legs can muster.

Sunday, 11.08 miles, 10:04 pace (with walks), -16 (-26 wind chill), Running Room, river trail (access Olmand's Creek), Forks, return via Wellington Crescent.
Gwen, Sandra, Vivian, Cindy, Deb B, Scott, Bev.  In typical fashion Scotty ran with two groups running back and forth between the two.  Scott brings good karma to any group fortunate enough to have him along.  His unique laugh lightens the load and is positively infectious. We opted for the river trail route over the Grace Hospital route. Unfortunately the trail was icy in places and the fresh dusting of snow made it treacherous (Yak Tracks would be handy).  We tip-toed along and made it to the Forks in good time. After a little nourishment in the form of free, post dated, Pina Colada shots compliments of my favourite Running Room) we headed home an alternate route. We missed Lori on this run.
Back at the Running Room we were greeted with hot tea which warmed the cockles or our hearts and thawed the jaws.  From there a group went to Timothy's for coffee and eats.  At a table across from us sat a group of four women, one of whom is a friend of mine.  Her name is Marilyn and she recently turned 70 years old. Marilyn has been a strong runner for most, if not all, of her adult life.  She was running marathons years before the present day running craze.  She ran marathons back in the day when they were reserved for elite athletes and the deeply committed. Marilyn is also  a strong rider, in fact I know her more from the cycling community than the running community.  I have had the pleasure of accompanying her on three Habitat For Humanity Cycle of Hope rides.  These rides are 1000 miles and represent a 12 to 14 day time commitment. We essentially live on your saddle for 2 weeks, but it's not all bad, at night you get to sleep on the floor in the basement of the local church!  This summer Marilyn is competing in the Senior Summer Games on the east coast.  Last Sunday I delivered a speech to a room full of Marilyn's running friends, cycling friends, walking friends and family. It was an amazing affair with humble Marilyn at the center of it all.  For those of you who know Marilyn, you'll know what I mean when I say she has the physique of a 29 year old kick-boxer from Sweden.  Good on you Marilyn, may you stay forever young!  
:>)  Michael
week total distance = 34.71 miles