Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Week of March 20 to 30

Consume much?  The Story of Stuff has nothing to do with running , but a lot to do with our consumption habits.  Thought you might enjoy it... pass it on.  M
Wednesday, 6.02 miles, 8.52 pace, -7 (-13 w/c), route  
Naomi, Jacques, Nazeer, Debbie, John, Lorie, Elizabeth  
It was a quiet run... one of those "ok, let's get this over with"  kind of runs.  Not sure why, just tired I guess.  At sub 9 it was indeed a quick gait.  
Thursday... I wasn't able to attend the clinic or run due to work obligations.  Thank you Naomi for leading this evening.  I hear it was solid pace (9:20 ish?).  I told you you'd make a good pace bunny.
Saturday, 14.23 miles, 9:59 pace (w/w), +1 (yeah... plus 1, as in above zero!... only the second time this year) route 
Rod, Dinu, John, Jacques, Ken, Nazir, Dianah, David
A winter storm watch was issued so we were expecting some nasty stuff, but it was actually very pleasant.  Aside from some huge puddles that required some delicate tip-toeing, and some amazing potholes that could swallow a inattentive runner whole, it was a most agreeable route. It was actually a route I borrowed from Terry's playbook from several weeks back.  Unfortunately, we ended a little shorter than anticipated and had to walk a fair bit, but walking is a good recovery strategy and there was no grumbling so all is well.  Congratulations to Jacques and John for whom today's run is their farthest distance to date.  They held up well and are eager for next week's 16 mile push.
Several weeks ago I got a tiny blister on my pinky-toe, no bother right, it'll go away, right, ...wrong! After today's run it's now turned into an ugly mass of unrecognizable red swollen meat... yuck... and ouch!  I picked up some cool little "blister cushion" band-aids with ADVANCED HEALING and PROVEN HOSPITAL TECHNOLOGY which is guaranteed to ENHANCE MY BODY'S NATURAL HEALING POWERS.  All this for 7 loonies ... amazing!  I also picked up some "new skin" spray-on gunk that claims to be better than real skin.  There is a small disclaimer if applied over the eyes... me thinks who in their right mind would spray new skin over their eyes?  Sheesh Man!   Woe is me as I suffer in silence... in the meantime you can send your sympathies and home made blister remedies.
Shelley has organized a CPR training workshop for runners.  Dates are April 19, 9 to 5ish and a shorter session on Sunday.  Shelley will serve coffee, snacks and lunch.  The cost is $125 and they need a minimum of 6 participants.  Contact Shelley if you're interested or email me and I'll forward your contact information to Shelley.
I was reading Jen's Why I Run blog and found an entry on mantras.  I was intrigued.  I used a mantra on a Habitat For Humanity bike ride to get over the top of some nasty hills after a particularly gruelling 106 mile day.  I repeated my sibblings names over and over again, youngest to oldest, chant-like to help me forget my pain and concentrate on the task.  Near the top I remember saying the names louder and louder.  It worked for me.  I hope to talk more about this in future blogs.  Do you use mantras?  Thanks Jen, way down in friendly Utah.
I'll be running in Kingston, Ontario next week... that means hills, hills, and more hills!  I'm planning a solo long-run along Lake Ontario with a finish at Old Fort Henry.  With a little luck and a few prayers I'll be running in shorts, glorious shorts!  Check back next week for pictures.  Oh, by the way, while I'm away I deputize Naomi to take the lead.  Good luck on Garbage Hill next week.  Cheers all.  It was another good week to be alive!
Week total = 20.25

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Week of March 17 to 23

This video reminds me of the Redd Foxx quote "Health nuts are going to feel pretty stupid one day, lying around hospitals dying of nothing."
Wednesday, 6.19 miles, 9:03 pace (tempo), -4 (-10 w/c), Sterling Lyon, Preston Trail/ Grant/ Chafont/ Return via Grant
Jacques, Naomi, Lorie, Anne, John D., Deb, Tom, Sandy
Aside from the crappy ice on Sterling Lyon the footing was reasonably good (it's all about the footing, right V).  The Preston Trail was particularly good this evening; it's always been a favourite of mine.  The trees provide shelter but they also give a sense of security and calmness, especially after Sterling Lyon Parkwak which is abuzz with high speed traffic.  Jacques and Naomi took the lead on Preston Trail but got turned around near the end of the trail.  It's a good reminder that we need to stick together in unfamiliar territory.  This was a textbook tempo run, fast, reasonably good footing, and ideal temperatures.  Ahh, now if only the snow would melt!
Thursday, 5.54 miles, 9.37 pace (steady), Centennial/ Wellington/ Assiniboine Park/ Park Boulevard/ Grant
Debbie, Alex, Naomi, Christy, Jacques, Manny, David, Henry, Madeline, Pam
This evening's clinic was one of the best I have attended.  Professor Mike McMurray spoke about preventing running injuries.  The breadth of his talk was far too complex to delve into in this blog, but here's some interesting tidbits from the lecture:
  • A 150 lb. person running a mile, using a stride length of 2.5' takes about 1,175 steps.
  • With each step they come down with 2.5 (250%) their body weight.
  • The resulting force is 220 tons total or 220,000 lbs. on each foot.
  • To walk the same distance the resulting force is 127 tons (63.5 tons on each foot).
No wonder we're sore!  Anyone care to do the math of the force expended over a full marathon? Is there an accountant in the house?  
And another couple of tidbits:  
  • If you don't make time for exercise then you will have to make time for illness.
  • Being injured is part of being active.
  • When muscles fail or fatigue the force is transferred onto the joints and surrounding tissue... which then leads to breakdown.
The run was great.  We even managed to share a few corny jokes.  David told a particularly interesting joke about passing a fellow traveller.  Be sure to ask him next time you're running with him.  You'll be sorry you did!  I'm faced with retelling stale jokes from last year's training, but that's ok, they're so bad they're forgotten in one breath.  We tell jokes or riddles on long runs. It passes the time and smoothes out the aches.  They don't have to be good (hell, we discourage good jokes) short and corny are the only two criteria.  
The puddles are waining, but are still a nuisance.  The hidden ice patches continue to be a real hazard, watch out.  Before this evening's run I found myself staring longingly at the running shorts on display at Running Room... ahh they look so good, so light, so inviting, so cool... when will the warm weather come?  I'm going crazy with anticipation!  I want to wear shorts!
Friday, Gwen, 7.83 miles, 9.44 pace (w/w), -4 (-7 (w/c), Centennial, Wellington/ Assiniboine Park/ Wexford/ Roblin/ Chafont/ Grant/ Park Boulevard/ Valley of Poo/ Holdsworth/ Glastonbury/ Keswick/ Grant/ Return
Vivian, John, Jim, Ken, Murray, Lori
This was a good, fun, high octane run.  Gwen and Vivian set a killer pace (killer pace bunnies?) and planned a solid course.  We laughed and entertained one another non-stop for the entire run.  We discovered Valley of Poo (stay away), Valley of Death aka Valley of Enlightenment, The Butterfly, and the Barn.  We have learned that Barn Laps are to be avoided at all costs.  I shared that I'm suspicious my wife wants to ditch me for the reno guy who's installing a new jet-tub (wif to hubby... "he's so handy", "he's so organized", "he's so funny" "why can't you be more like him?"... hubby to wif... "yeah, but can he run 13 miles in -47 without freezing his kiester off?").  Vivian shared her unique charitable donation strategy, and is hoping a tax receipt will follow forthwith.  Yes indeed, it was a good 8 miles.  Thanks all.  :>)
Saturday, 12.11 miles, 10.09 pace, LSD, -2, (-7w/c), click here for route
Rod, Dinu, John, Alex, Naomi, Jacques, Debby, Nazeer, Ken, Manny, David.
We started with a rock solid 10:00 - 10:15 pace until mile 5.  At around this point the group was spreading thin. This impacted our walk breaks and discouraged the slower runners.  The lead runners were locked in to 9:00ish pace while the slower runners hovered around 10:00 - 10:15. The lead group continued straight on St. Mary's Road when they should have veered down Mager Drive. We yelled but they were well out of hearing range and continued the wrong way.   Apparently Alex became injured at this point, but half of us were unaware due to the distance between the two groups. We eventually met up at mile 7.5 and stopped to debrief.  We discussed the importance of sticking together on the long runs in the event that someone gets injured, as happened.  We were also reminded that the purpose of the LSD runs is to build strength and endurance,  speed doesn't enter the equation.  In fact speed is detrimental at this point because of the high risk for injury (especially with all that damn ice).  Stanton says no runner has ever injured themselves from going too slow.  Very true, very wise.  I need to practice what I preach as I too am guilty of setting a false pace.  Suffice it to say we all learned a new appreciation of the group mentality; we stay together and look after each other. As pace guy I learned I need to take control and reign in the speedy guys as soon as they attempt to take lead.  I remember a pace bunny who used to yell "back of the line" when a runner attempted to take lead.  The speedy guy would then fall back and slip into the group's pace.   That'll be my new mantra; "back of the line". This was a learning run. Thank you all for the opportunity to learn.
Sunday, 4.74 miles, 9.35 pace, -14 (-20 w/c), click here for route.
Onkar, Ken, Cathy, Debbie, Gwen, Vivian
It was a little chillier than we'd like but all-in-all it was a terrific little spin through the park. Definite long-john weather!  Our thoughts go out to poor, poor Sandra who is suffering through 80 degrees while golfing in Panama.  We have her in our thoughts and prayers. I hear the ice is tricky at the 15th hole ;>) ... ahh, she may be warm, but I'm sure she misses the coffee talk! (Sandra, if you're reading this in Panama, don't come home for another week... the long range looks crummy!).  Sounds like it was a great turnout for yesterday's Wentworth crew who logged in 6 miles.  One of these days I have to join them; they're a very sociable group.  Kudos to David for logging 23 solo miles today... a long haul indeed.  He's training for Boston next month (his 26th marathon!).  Lynda is also running Boston (her 21st marathon!).  We ended today's run at Roca Jack's coffee joint where we chatted for about 40 minutes before scurrying away to our respective Easter Sunday gatherings.  A nice start to the day and a sweet end to the week.
This has nothing to do with running.  Just thought you might enjoy the story....
This afternoon I was cleaning out the basement of my rental house which has been sold effective April 1 (no, this is not a joke).  We've been storing stuff in the basement for the last four years so there was a fair bit of junk (three carloads to be precise).  I unloaded the first carload in my garage and returned for the second load.  I unloaded the second load in my garage and returned 25 minutes later for the third and final load.  As I opened the door to the basement I was met with a water fall.  Water was pouring ... gushing ... streaming through the floorboards.  I immediately closed the main valve, but clearly the damage had been done.  Had I not returned, or if the break happened after the third load, the water would have gushed for a week.  Both tenants have already vacated and I had no intention of returning until next weekend. Small miracles indeed. The source of the water break was the main floor washing machine. Here's the weird thing, both the hot water pipe and the cold water pipe burst simultaneously at exactly the same location (about 4 inches below the valve).  Oh well, all is well, I've got my feet up with Smithwick's by my side and another one in the fridge.  Happy Easter!!!!
Cheers all,  M
Week total mileage: 36.41 miles

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Week of March 10 to 16

Meet 101 year old Buster Martin.  Buster returned to work as a plumber at age 99 because, after 2 years of retirement, he was bored.  Buster recently completed The Roding Valley Half Marathon in Essex with a time of 5 hours, 13 minutes. His band, The Zimmers, have a combined age of over 3000 years and scored a hit single for their cover of  My Generation (give it a listen). He is presently training for the London Full Marathon on April 13.  Buster says "It's about time someone my age did the marathon.  It will be a record, though I'm not doing it for that.  I just want to show that old people can do things."  His first words upon crossing the half-marathon finish line were "Where's my beer?".   I for one will be raising a pint of Guinness to Buster on April 13.  Go Buster, go!
Congratulations to Terry Bialek who completed the Barcelona Marathon on March 2 upright and smiling broadly.  Terry runs out of the Pembina Running Room and is a member of Canada's Team Diabetes.  Terry raised $7275 for The Canadian Diabetes Association and his team of 19 collectively raised over $140,000.  Clearly this was a very emotional run for Terry and Team Diabetes. Terry tells the story of one young member who  crossed the finish line with a time of 6 hours, 19 seconds. The race official kept the course open an additional 19 seconds so she could finish with dignity.  He tells of one runner who ran the race for a best friend who died from diabetes days after learning his wife was pregnant with their third child.  Three of the 19 runners
have diabetes.  All 19 runners finished the race with lots of tears and laughter waiting at the finish line.  Terry had been training in -20 to -50 degree weather so the +21 on race day was an added challenge.
My own experience with diabetes is small yet poignant. I taught a little girl about 15 years ago.  Her skin was pale, she had no energy, no friends, and she simply wasn't learning. We were all at loss as to help.  Later that year she was diagnosed with Diabetes and within a week of proper medical care and diet she was a happy bubbly little girl.  We all know someone with Diabetes.  Some of us, like Terry, try to do something about it.   It's regular folk like Terry and Buster that act on their convictions and work to change the world, one step at a time.  One tiny step at a time.  Good for you Terry, you make us all proud!
Wednesday, 6.04 miles, 9.15 pace, +2 (Toronto -2/ -8 wind chill :>)  Ann H, Terry P, Lorie, Nazeer, Debbie, Onkar, Tom, Tracy, and Sandy. 
Tom, Sandy, and Tracy normally run out of the Pembina store, but are joining us on Wednesdays.  They like the tempo and we like having them with us... a symbiotic relationship. Tom is training for the Fargo Half and the Manitoba Half while Sandy is training for the Manitoba Half.  We ran with Terry Pitcher's group this evening.  Terry managed to find dry pavement and avoided the largest of the puddles.  It was as good pace, faster than I normally remember from Terry.  He must be eating his Wheaties.  The warm temperatures are a welcome relief from the frigid climes, but the puddles and sand are a real hazard.  Hopefully things will dry up soon.
Thursday, 5.0 miles, 8:57 pace, -1 (-8 w/c), Grant/ Chafont/ Corydon/ Valley/ Grant. Henry, Madeline, Nazeer, David, Al, Naomi, Alex.  
Henry had us stretch from head to toe and discussed the importance of each muscle as we stretched.  It felt great, but some of those muscles hadn't been stretched for a long time!  I must admit I rarely give stretching the attention it deserves.  I probably stretch less than 5 minutes after running 10 miles... I know, bad Mike, bad!  The puddles along Grant weren't too bad except for that one lake which we precariously managed to portage by scrambling along a sand covered snow bank.  We started pretty slow, but by the time we reached Chafont we were in full pace.  David is training for a fast marathon so I joined up with him and ran the last couple of miles at a sub-nine pace.  It was an exhilarating pace, but clearly out of my league.
Sunday, 10.16 miles, 9.51 pace (w/w), -11 (-17 w/c)
Nazeer, Naomi, Rodica, Debby, Lynda, Lyle, Ken, Myles, Al, Onkar, Diane, and Dinu.
There were huge crowds at the Running Room this morning.  I guess the warm weather is bringing out the treadmill runners in droves.  It's nice to see all the new faces, but a special nod goes to all those runners who ran all winter regardless of the weather. We're a tough bunch. Tough but crazy.  We miss Sandra who is still nursing a nasty muscle injury she received at the Hypo from a wayward dog.  Apparently she's getting to know her elliptical machine very well and is icing the muscle and attending physio regularly.  Sandra is determined to stay true to her MB marathon goal.  We're all rooting for you Sandra.  Get well soon!  It was great having Lyle back with us this morning.  He ran a 1:44 at last year's Police Half so he's pretty quick.  Diane also joined us midway down Wellington Crescent.  She just sort of appeared out of nowhere and ran with us for about 6 miles.  Gwen and Vivian (and Mildred I believe) had an idyllic 10 mile run through the forest.  I believe they are training for the Police Half.  
Last week I sent an email out requesting a used pair of size 12 running shoes for a troubled student at my school.  Typically, the response from the running community was overwhelming! About a dozen runners responded within a day with offers of cash to purchase a brand new pair. Many others committed $5.00 or more towards the cause.  As it turns out my good friend Nazeer donated a lightly used pair of size 11 and 1/2.  And then again this afternoon I received an email from Rachell with an offer of a second pair (size 13).  Thank you all very much for the huge response.  You're simply amazing.
A final note... many of us will be climbing on our bicycles within the next week or so.  be sure to "Do The Test" (sidebar) and be careful out there.
And yet another good week of running and friendships.  Cheers all, M
Week mileage: 21.2

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Week of March 3 to 9

Wednesday, 6.01 miles, 9:24 pace, -19 (-27 wc), Centennial/ Olmand's Creek footbridge/ Assiniboine Avenue/ Park footbridge/ Shaftsbury/ Grant.
How to ruin a perfectly good day?  Check the qualifying times for Boston!  Q.T. for my age bracket for instance is 3:35 male/ 4:05 female.  Just when you're starting to feel a little cocky about your speed you learn you're not even in the ballpark for Boston.  An 80 +  year old man needs a 5 hour time to qualify... that's 80 as in 8 decades old!  What's a guy to do?  I could work towards qualifying for the female time of 4:05 (even 4:00 in a pinch), but 3:35 ... that's a tall order!  Some of you are thinking sex change or I could counterfeit my birth certificate to read 1928, but there is a less drastic solution; you can always "buy" yourself into the Boston.  For a mere $2000 fundraising you're in! Having read the QT's I have a whole new respect for all running in this year's Boston Marathon. Cheers to you all! You are amazing!  This evening I asked my wife how she'd feel if I work towards qualifying for Boston.  She replied "if you did that you'd become obsessed".  Me? Obsessed?  Nonsense!  Bernie, Lorie, Jacques, Liz, and Debbie had a good spin this evening.  Quick pace, clear trails, good talk, all is well. 
Thursday Clinic, 5.21 miles, 10:22 pace, -22 (-29 wc), Chafont/ Valley of Death/ return.  
(Henry, Debbie, David, Al, Jacques, Naomi, Manny, Caitlin, and 3 others).  Physiotherapist, Barb Webb was the guest speaker this evening.  Good talk on pronators (feet roll inwards/ low arches) and supinators (lacks inward rolling/ high arches).  Long story short, be sure to buy your running shoes at a professional running store (Wal-Mart doesn't cut it).  Here's an unsolicited plug for my favourite Running Room store.  Having purchased at least 4 pair from the Kenaston store I have yet to be disappointed.  Each pair fit like a glove (yes running shoes should fit like a glove, weird, but true) and the staff walk the talk.  I'm waiting for the dryer weather before I buy my next pair. Do yourself a favour, ditch the old one at about 350 miles.  They may look ok, but trust me, they've lost their integrity and your feet will thank you.  The wind was a little sharp this evening.  I feel the skin on my face aging, but that's the least of my worries, now that I know my Boston QT :>(  .   Our group is starting to slip into a groove.  Naomi, recovering from a strep throat is back in fine form.  Pace groups seem to be forming naturally.  Good laughs, good groups, good people.  Things are shaping up for a fine marathon. 
Saturday, 16 miles, -12 (-22 w/c).  (Terry, Lorie, Mario, Edwiena, Lisa)
I joined the Fargo group for a run in the park this morning at 7 AM.   Conditions were reminiscent of last year's Hypo; fresh snow covering trails and roadways, wet feet, deep drifts and the like.  Despite the less than ideal conditions it was a picture perfect run with stellar company and two (2!) washroom breaks (the second one, mile 12, was at Timmies... the aroma of fresh coffee and toasted bagels was painful).    We met another running group at The Forks who started their run at 5 AM so we grudgingly forgave Terry for the 7AM start.  Terry sets a rock solid pace; I'm sure my Garmin didn't fluctuate more than +/- 10 seconds for the entire run.  The course was idyllic and clocked in precisely at 16 miles. If you've never set a route before you may not appreciate how challenging it is to be this precise (I usually err on the side of too long (right Lynda).  Lorie is totally hooked on cold water baths following long runs.  I've never tried this but I hear the results are miraculous.  I'm having trouble with the concept of lowering my lower extremities into ice cold water after a 16 mile run in -22 weather, but that just proves I really am a wimp and will never qualify for Boston!  Thank-you to Lisa for pointing out the video "After The Marathon". Do check it out; it's a painful hoot (see side bar). A huge thank-you to Running Room Rachelle for having bagels, peanut butter, cream cheese, and chocolate milk waiting for us at the store.  What did we do to deserve such treats?!  Mario of Hypo Fame (1:49) has an interesting little wager with his 17 year old son.  The one with the slower MB Marathon time must wear a France Soccer Jersey to the Caboto Centre following the race.  Here's to the old guy. 
Sunday, 10.35 miles, 10:38 pace (w/w) -21 (-25 w/c),  Grace Hospital/ return   (Nazeer,  Lynda, Debbie, Al, Jacques, Naomi, Ryan, Liz)  Great having Nazeer back in the groove.  He's been hibernating in Hawaii for the last 6 weeks and returned a few days ago to freezing temperatures and way too much snow. He'll be training with us for the MB Marathon and hopes to complete a 4:15. We started with one large group today and ended with two.  The faster runners are starting to strut their stuff and move at a pace more to their goal.  Good for them.  It's nice to see the groups starting to form in such a natural way.  From what I see Naomi would make a pretty fine 4 hour pace bunny. Henry, take note, she's fast.  Lynda is well into her training for Boston and she looks very strong. She qualified at last year's MB Marathon with about 6 minutes to spare!  Boston will be Lynda's 21 marathon!  It's an honor to run along her side (I'm hoping her mojo will rub off on me).  We'll be rooting for you Lynda!  Debbie thinks I should run 16 miles every Saturday because it tends to keep my pace a little slower for Sunday.  Truthfully, I felt as though I was dragging an anchor for the last 2 miles.  Ahh, what doesn't kill you makes you stupid, errr, strong.  Happy trails.  ;>M 
Week milage 37.57 miles