Sunday, September 28, 2008

Top Ten Reasons To Love Minneapolis

Everyone who has run Minneapolis tells me it's the best.  From fan support (350,000!) to complimentary bling, to organization, to the course itself... it's all amazing!  I'll give a play-by-play next week, but for now I leave you with Words of Wisdom from Shelly,  Top Ten Reasons for Loving Minneapolis (in no particular order).
1.  No sales tax on clothes!
2.  Albertville.  You have to pass it on the way in and out. Did I mention no sales tax on clothes?  If you are not already signed up Google Chelsea Premium Outlets, to get the coupons and VIP voucher.
3.  Cariboo Coffee.  Yumm!
4.  The Marathon Expo.  It's enormous and there are lots of great giveaways and shopping deals.  Did I mention there is no sales tax on clothes yet?
5.  Famous Dave's.  Even if you're a vegetarian you have to kiss the pig just because it's funny. 
6.  These guys are from here and they're all over the city.
7.  IKEA!
8.  Rice Park.  The bronze sculptures are fantastic.  Take your camera. 
9.  The marathon itself.  Eleven-thousand, five hundred heads bouncing and bounding in unison. It's a beautiful sight.  Leaves are turning colours and falling, the air is crisp and sunny to start and gives way to a fantastic fall day.  The course is wonderful and well supported.   Don't forgt your tube socks for your arms to keep warm pre-race.  You will not believe how many are littered throughout the first miles of the course. 
10.  Your friends and family can watch your progress on-line via the website.  Isn't technology great?
Have a great race Mike!  I can't wait to hear all about it over coffee, and yes, I will follow it on line too!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Simple Act of Kindness

A simple story.  At mile 24 of the Manitoba Marathon a little boy of 8 or 9 ran up along my side and matched my pace.  It was humid and I was feeling rotten.  I was hot, nauseous, and my brain function was sparking at about 20%.  My legs were dead weight, my spirit leaden. The self-doubt, the pain, and the nausea were taking a serious toll.  I was aware of someone running by my side, someone small.  He was communicating but I didn't understand. He touched my arm and I looked down.  He held my hand momentarily and then let it slip away as silently as night falling.  Angelically, he disappeared.  Several seconds passed before I realized I was holding something deliciously cold.  I looked down.  There in my hand was an ice cold freezie. It was sweet, cold, succulent, and... oh so kind.  I sobbed for the kindness.  I was touched by an angel and it felt good. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Plantar Faciitis

Yup, down for the count again... just in time for the two week taper. "Plantar" means bottom of the foot, "fascia" is the connective tissue that connects your heal to your toes, and "itis" means inflammation.  Put all this together and it spells sharp, throbbing pain in my right heal.  There's a whack of causes for Plantar Fasciitis, but mine is typical of the marathon runner... overly aggressive training, that is ...too much, too fast, with too little rest.  Go here for the best online information that I can find.  I'm not sure what to do at this point in my training.  I'm looking for a silver bullet, but apparently ice, rest, stretching, and patience are about the only four options available (Note: I don't do "patience" very well).  Two weeks to race day and I can barely hobble to the fridge for an amber beauty... cruel!  
On the plus side I managed a 42 mile bike ride today (you don't need your heal for cycling) and aside from a little residual pain, I feel OK... not great, just OK.  I did have an epiphany though and after all, how often does one have an epiphany?  I realized that, at age 52, I need to slow down a bit.  My knees were killing me, my heal throbbing, and my IT-bands were stretched taut.  I realize I am putting a lot of stress on this old bod and it's not bouncing back as it once did.  For the first time ever, I'm starting to feel my age. I'm not saying doom and gloom, but perhaps I should slow down a tad.  And that's exactly what I'll do... just as soon as I run a sub 4 hour marathon!  Minneapolis?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Run For The Hills

The only thing better than racing Treherne is racing Treherne two consecutive years.  I love this race!  It has all the elements; gorgeous scenery, challenging course, lots of port-a-potties, aid stations around every corner, great community spirit, and -la piece de la resistance- parking right next to the start line!  Yeah, there's hills, some of them big, some of them really big, but all of them character building and to be conquered one step at a time.  This is not a race to be looking for that elusive P.B.   It's more of a slow grill kind of a race... one to be savoured and appreciated.... kind of life affirming... a 'good attitude' kind of a race. 
It was a cold one!  My hands were thick and raw.  I remember not being able to toggle between functions on my Garmin because of the numbness.  And then the sun would come out and all was well.  And then the sun would go down .... up, down, up, down, cold, warm, cold, warm... The wind was intense and from the north, but remember, it's life affirming and what's a race without a little discomfort?  I poured it on for the last three miles hoping to break 2 hours, but alas, it wasn't in the cards this time around.  My official time was 2:03:49 (about middle of the pack for my age category... not bad for Treherne).  I was sick the entire previous week so I was just happy to be healthy enough to run regardless of time.
Mario is my new hero!  You know that corner where the sign says "Wimps & Wussies This Way"  "Full Mary That Way"?  Mario went THAT way!  He was one of only 40 or so brave souls that did the Full Mary (make that the Full Mario).  I waited for him to come into sight and then cheered him across the line.  He looked strong, but clearly wiped out.  He had enough energy to hug me and give me the famous Mario Grin.  With sunken eyes he then mumbled something to the effect of "Mikey, it was so hard"  and then he walked away across the hard-top with only a slight limp.  Well done Mario.  I'm not sure I'll follow your example, but I sure do respect you for this achievement.  26.2 miles... a state of mind... 26.2 Treherne miles... a state of being!
A shout out to Race Director Gary Lodwick and his stellar race committee.  They've worked tremendously hard to deliver a serious race with all the amenities.  Kudos are also extended to the fine volunteers who went out of their way to make this a most memorable event.  And to that woman who played the theme from Chariots of Fire  on her piano with windows open as runners poured by at mile 0.5... thank you... it really made my day and epitomized the Treherne Spirit.
It was indeed a wonderful day to be alive.
See you on the trails.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


My son Max and I just returned from standing along the funeral route of local boy, Corporal Mike Seggie. Seggie was killed on September 3 in an insurgent attack while on patrol in Afghanistan. He was 21 years old. Seggie was one of three Canadian soldiers that died in that particular attack bringing the total number of Canadian casualties to 97. As I stood next to my 20 year old son with heads bowed, I reflected. In a perfect world Seggie wouldn't be in that box. In a perfect world Mike Seggie might be sitting next to my son in a lecture hall at University of Winnipeg, perhaps mustering the courage to ask that pretty brunette two rows up for a date. In a perfect world Max and Seggie would be discussing Saturday night shenanigans over coffee or beers. In a perfect world Seggie would be hanging out in my basement and chomping down food from my refrigerator as all of Max's buddies do. In a perfect world there would be no reason for war and dear young Seggie would be at home with his parents. It's not a perfect world but men and women like young Corporal Seggie have paid with their lives in the pursuit of perfection. Thanks be to Seggie.
I need to process. I need to go for a run.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sunday's Run

I ran 20 miles yesterday and it went well aside from the stumble at mile 1.  It was pretty well completely dark at 6:15 AM when my big toe found chuck of asphalt rising about an inch from the path.  I managed to stay up right for about three seconds as I stumbled top heavy at a good pace.  I remember thinking "I'm goin' down, I'm goin down... oh God, bones, watch the bones..." and then everything slowed down and I could see myself like those flip cards that show motion. My head and chest were about as far forward as possible when I managed to tuck in and roll shoulder first downhill on an asphalt trail.  And roll I did, like a beach ball!  I came to a stop about 20 feet from where it all began and lay there stunned.  Cautiously I did the bone inventory -check- the muscle inventory -check- the cuts and bruises inventory -check.  I survived unscathed, unbelievable.  Actually I would have appreciated a little road rash to show the kids at school... bragging rights and all.  
Interestingly, we were talking about running stumbles on Saturday over coffee.  
The quintessential running play list is coming along.  I have about 10 tunes.  Send me yours.
Bye for now,  M

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Catching Up

I've been a little remiss in my blog posts lately, sorry, got some catching up to do.  To be frank I'm a little burned out from running, hills, fartleks, speed, tempo, lsd, and on and on.  Training for the Full Mary alone is not particularly joyful.  My training for Minneapolis started 3 days following the Manitoba Marathon so I've been training solid for about 6 months straight.  In a group you can whittle away the miles with idle chatter and share a few laughs.  We take comfort in a group because we know that your buddies right by your side feel exactly the same way as you... we can identify with one another and this tends to ease the burden.  The monotony of those long runs (like tomorrow's 20 miler) plays on the mind.  You need to stay focused and keep the negative stuff out of the brain.  This is sometimes easier said then done.  So, long story short, I was bummed out, bored with running, and not finding a lot of satisfaction... thus the stingy blog posts.
That was yesterday.  Today I joined the Corydon and Wentworth crew for a fabulous 5 miler to the Forks and back and I feel great!  I had forgotten what it like running with a large group and listening to all the laughter and chit chat, getting caught up with the buds and generally just having a great time.  This is such an amazing group of people, so positive and welcoming.  I am so honored to run along side these friends.  Coffee talk following the run was the icing on the cake... thank you for the run and the time together; you have no idea how it energized me. Tomorrow's 20 miler will be a piece of cake thanks to you!
By the way, if you have running related aches and pains you might want to check out Jen's Blog (August 13).  She talks about foam rollers that literally "roll out" the pain.  A lot of runners swear by these foam gizmos. 
I'm hoping to compile the quintessential Runner's Play List and I need you help.  I'm asking you to send me the name of the tune that gets you pumped up, the tune that gets you across the line, the tune that inspires you and tweaks your soul in the right places, the tune that tugs away at your heart and causes you to reflect at the 20 mile mark, the tune you play as you enter the chute, or cross the start line.  It can be fast, slow, country, metal, pop, grunge, classical, jazz, whatever turns the crank.  My only request is it's available on i-Tunes.  I will compile the playlist on i--Tunes for anyone to download.  It would be great if you could tell  me why this tune is an important to you or if it belongs at the beginning, the middle or the end of the playlist (think of 2 hour run, where would you like to hear it?).   I hope some of you participate; it'll keep my mind out the negative place of late.  Thanks.
Bye for now, it's a damn good day to be alive don't you think?
Oh yeah, the good news... 2 weeks to taper!  Good luck to everyone running the Treherne next Sunday... especially Mario who's doing the Full Mary.  Awesome Mario, awesome!