Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thank you!

Life, don't ya know,  is a marathon.  We set goals, we work towards those goals, sometimes we succeed, sometimes not.  We look and we search, and once in a while we find the answers to what we seek.   We laugh and we chat.  We ache and we find pain in places we never knew pain could exist. We are determined.  We are defeated.  We live and we grow.  We learn.  We seek wisdom and happieness. We cry and we laugh... my how we laugh.  We give thanks for our health.  We acknowledge we are the lucky ones.  We love our families.  They love us.  They are proud.  We silently model to our children. We run, we run, we run.
Life is a marathon.  One can't get through life alone, nor can one run a marathon alone.  No marathon is finished without giving thanks... thanks to the people who pumped me up, encouraged me, motivated me, and helped me across the line.  To you I say "thank-you".
You gotta love this photograph of Dianah.  The picture was taken moments after completing a 20 mile training run, not in February, not January, not even March... it was taken in May!  Dianah is one tough girl.  She's like the Energizer Bunny.. she just won't stop!  Dianah set a new PB this time around, one in which she can be very proud.  At the finish line she supported me and helped me walk a few steps while I recovered.  I mumbled "blah, blah, blah popsicle" and she ran returning in a flash with an orange popsicle... my favourite.  Thanks Dianah for helping me across the line. Nazir, the quiet one, sets a steady pace on the hills.  He's the mathematician of the group.  Anytime we need to calculate (pace x windspeed) / (gradiant + drag) - heart rate (squared to the third power) = X (in metric and imperial)... Nazir's our man!  A kinder, gentler man you will not meet.  Nazir has been a significant positive influence on me personally. Thanks Nazir, for helping me across the line.  You will do Boston.  You will!Jacques keeps setting these amazing p.b.'s.  First it was the Police Half and now the MB Full.  For a novice runner Jacques is setting some pretty amazing times.  My guess is his next marathon will be sub 4 hours.  Jacques is a strategists; he had no less than three back-up plans for this past marathon and it appeared that he used all three!  In the last couple of miles I was muttering to myself about some crazy thing.  Jacques looked over and said "You ok Mike?". I was pretty out of it at that point, but Jacques query was enough to snap me back into shape.  It's been such a pleasure running with this fine man.  Thanks Jacques for helping me across the line.   Terry is one of those guys whom everyone enjoys.  His humor is infectious and inviting.  Terry makes everyone in his group feel welcome and valued.  I've borrowed more than a couple of routes from Terry and he freely offers suggestions on how I can shorten or lengthen the routes to accommodate our schedule.  Terry's an experienced runner with a zeal for life.  He brings the mundane to life.  Thanks Terry for helping me across the line.Thanks Jen for your running blog and the encouraging comments.  Your blog is always entertaining, always incredibly honest, and always there when I need to read another runner's perspective.  I've modeled my blog off yours.  Utah sounds just like Winnipeg except for the c-o-l-d.  From one blogger to another... thanks Jen for helping me across the line. Rodica is the chatty one.  She loves to make us laugh and tells a story like no one else.  Running with Rod is like driving a fast car with the stereo blasting one incredible tune after another, top down, wind blowing, smiles a mile wide... you just can't help but be mesmerized with her stories and her laughter.  Rod is also a serious runner with many marathons under her belt.  We've shared a few bumps, bruises, and setbacks, but man oh man, it sure has been a blast running with Rod.  Thanks for helping me across the line Rod.   Dinu is the strong silent one with a wicked sense of humor.  He doesn't speak much but when he does it's always interesting and usually very funny.  Dinu stayed with the group until mile 20 and then picked up the pace.  He's a very strong runner and like Jacques, is ready for a sub 4 hour marathon.  Thanks Dinu for helping me across the line. Vivian with the wicked sense of dry humor.  Her wit is sharp as a tack and has caused me to laugh out loud on many occasions.  Vivian is credited for providing names for many of the trails we plod up and down, time after time.  The "Butterfly", "The Valley of Death", "The Valley of Dog Doo Doo" just to name a few.  Vivian is a incredibly strong runner; lean and fast are two adjectives that spring to mind.  She set a PB at The Police Half Marathon and is primed for a full.  Thanks Vivian for helping me across the line. 
Henry you've taken me far; much, much farther than I ever thought possible. You've given me the courage and confidence to do what I once considered impossible.  You taught me how to run smart and efficiently.  You taught me that pain is part of the journey, but you gave me the tools to forge forward and not succumb to the pain.  You are a superior teacher for you inspire.  Thank you for helping me across the line.
Lynda and Debbie, two stalwart runners with tremendous positive energy.  We have run countless miles together and we have found many a trail.   It has been an honor to run with the two of you and I look forward to many more miles. Lynda, you say Boston was your swan song... I think not.  There's several more long dances in you yet.  Debbie, Boston 2010... it's yours baby, it yours!  I am SO your personal trainer!  Thanks to the both of you for helping me across the line. To sweet little Lucy, my nieces' daughter, aka "personal trainer".  Lucy kept me company in sub zero temperatures for miles upon miles as I cross-trained up and down the river trail.  Lucy is an amazing person and has brought such joy to our family.  Her life path is simply a miracle. She has little understanding of the impact she has had on me. Thanks darlin' for helping me across the line. Lucy's mother Laura, now there's another story!  (No that's not her new boyfriend chasing her down.)  Laura is a tremendous athlete and has run many marathons.  In fact she is the person who inspired me to start running.  She ran by my side for my first half-marathon and coaxed me step by step.  I wanted to cave, but she kept me going.   She continues to be a positive influence and I look forward to running Twin Cities with her.  Thanks LJ for helping me across the line. 
Now who would of thought an opera singer would ever want to join our motley crew?  We hope David's singing is better than his jokes!  ;>)   It's been a pleasure sharing the miles with David.  David is a determined individual with a heart of gold.  Thanks David for helping me across the line.
Ah Gwen, sweet, sweet Gwen. They broke the mold when they made this gal. A kinder person you'd be hard pressed to find.  Gwen brings out the best in runners. She leads them with baby steps, build them up, makes them feel omnipotent, and then encourages them to take flight. Gwen, always interested in your best, always caring about your person.  Thanks Gwen for helping me across the line.
John, another skinny little runner with amazing stamina and heart.  John is the new guy on the running block, but I expect he'll be around for a few more marathons.  John is a gentle man and brings tremendous positive energy to the group.  Like all, he struggled on this first marathon, but he crossed the line with a smile.  He walked from the finish line, sat down and teared up. He gave thanks and it was emotional. I was moved with his passion and determination. Thanks John for helping me across the line.
Mario is the up-beat one; always positive, always smiling.  I hear his cheerful "HEY MIKEY" greeting about a block before I actually see him!  Mario survived Fargo with a good time and then, 4 weeks later, Manitoba.  This guy is goal oriented and determined to do the best job possible.  He brings good karma to any group.  Thanks Mario.
Lorie and I share the bragging rights of running 12 miles in -52 and she has the tee-shirt to prove it!  This is Lorie's second marathon in 4 weeks.  We've run hundreds of miles together, made snow angels off Sterling Lyon Parkway, frozen our rears, drank coffee, and confided with one another our teen-aged heart throbs.   Lorie is quite simply an amazing individual with confidence and grace.  Thanks Lorie for helping me cross the line.
Manny the MAN!  This was Manny's first marathon and he performed amazingly well.  He sets his own pace and stays completely focussed on the objective.  Thanks for helping me across the line.
Sandra,  I will remember that frigid run we had back in January.  You and Lorie and I set out down Sterling Lyon Parkway for a 6 miler in pitch black.  We came waylaid in waist high drifts along the trail.  Well, we could have cursed, we could have turned back, we could have crossed around, but instead of that we lay down and made snow angels... talk about making lemon-aid!  We shared teen-age heart throbs (you and Lorie, The Back Street Boys, me Melanie), and then we got lost on a trail we'd run a million times, go figure.  Thanks Sandra, for helping me across the line.
We missed Naomi.  As fate had it, this was not to be her marathon.  I reflect back to those runs back in February through the woods with Naomi taking lead.  We were just getting to know one another and I remember thinking that Naomi was one of the stronger runners in our group.  She has strength, skill, and poise.  She is a runner and I look forward to running along her side once again.  We could feel your good vibes at the finish line, and in fact, I think they dragged me the last 1/4 mile!  Thanks Naomi for helping me across the line.
To the others of which there are many, thank you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the laughs, the support, the coffee, and the wisdom.  I enjoy your company and I am honored in your presence.  Thank you, thank you all, for helping me across the line.  It's a good day to be alive.


Anonymous said...

Michael, you give everyone else credit for helping you over the finish line, yet it is you who helped us over the finish line. Without this blog to keep us informed, without your encouragement all the time, without all the different routes you took us on, (even the exciting golf course run), without all the organizing you did to let us know what was happening all the time, I know that I would not have crossed the finish line. At mile 21-22 I was starting to cramp up in the left leg and was considering to start walking, but you picked me up with your encouraging words and I took my mind off of the pain and kept going to the finish line....
Michael THANK YOU for getting me (us) over the finish line.
I understand that you are going to Minneapolis in October and I wish you Good Luck and Good Health and know that you will finish that marathon as well.

Anonymous said...

Michael, thanks to your encouragement and guidance I have a whole new appreciation for running and for the incredible sub culture of runners. I now find myself appreciating the little things in life a little more and acknowleding and saying out loud..."it is a great day to be alive". This phrase and the power it invokes is a precious gift that causes pause in my sometimes otherwise busy life; where i can get caught up and forget that it is in fact, a great day to be alive. Thank you for that gift.

You are right, this was not my marathon, but the hopes of future marathons are forever in my mind and heart due to your support and contageous love of running. I hope to cross future finish lines with this group of runners that i now call friends.

Run ya healthy bastard, run.

Jen said...

That was so fun to put a face to the names of the great support system you have! What a group! I have to agree with the group that you are an inspiration. I have found myself saying "it is a great day to be alive" as well. It is true and we should all be more grateful for the days we are given. They are a gift and should be treasured as you do. Thanks to you for encouraging words and for the advice. It is always appreciated. Good luck to you and I hope you'll continue the blog and I still need race reports from all the group, hopefully! Congrats again to you all!