Sunday, May 31, 2009

Air Force Run, Race Report

Melissa on the tarmac.Bernice, John, Lorie
The start... speedy guys up front.
Mike, David, Melissa, Lorie at the port-a-potties. Click all photos to enlarge.
Reflecting with a cool amber beauty at my side and a bowl of the forbidden fruit,
Miss Vickie's on my lap (ummm, Miss Vickie... whisper sweetness into my ears... ummm). Yes, it IS indeed a good day to be alive. Here's my report, unedited and from the heart...the good, the bad and the what the?!
First the good.
Soldier On and The Military Family Resource Centre are two deserving recipients of the proceeds from this inaugural run. They do a tremendous job and both deserve all the accolades and cash that we can muster. These are good folks with noble objectives and I salute them both for the work they do. I encourage you to support them whenever the opportunity presents itself. Score... A++.
The fly-over was amazing and made this race unique from all others. It zoomed past at rocket speed with little time to pull out the camera. Nice touch! Score... A+.
The SARS demonstration was fun to watch and again, is unique to this race. Hopefully these two events will become a tradition. Score... A+.
Running on the tarmac amongst the planes and one dwarfed helicopter was a nice air force touch. It would have been better if the course went a little closer to the planes, but no biggy. Unique and tradition building. Score... B+
The family atmosphere was super. Lots of kids, mascots, smiles, and good cheer. Charisma abounded. Well done. Score A.
A reasonable number of port-a-potties for the crowd. No line-ups, all clean and tidy, and a couple of nice little hand-washing station. Score... A
The indoor facilities were great, lots of space in the gym to store your gear, stretch, and hangout away from the elements. Also, indoor washrooms is a huge plus for all runners. Score... A.
The Bad
The course was between 13.45 miles and 13.50 miles depending upon whose Garmin you checked. This is a huge no-no for any serious runner. A half-marathon is 13.1 miles, any deviation in distance is a significant disappointment for anyone hoping to achieve a personal best. I over heard one runner say she got a PB, but it was about 0.35 miles before the finish line. At an 8:41 average pace the extra 0.37 mile added about 3 minutes, 11 seconds to my time which would have given me a new PB of 1:53:46. Score... F.
That 1/2 mile gravel trail near the end has got to go. Nuff said. Score D
The medal is -sorry, there's no way around it-
chintzy. It's a simulated silver in colour, but looks more dirty grey than silver. It's a little bigger than a loonie (about the same weight) attached to a short red, white, and blue ribbon with a super chintzy gold clip. There's no writing or date, just the stylized shoe with wings and a Maple Leaf in the background. Sorry, doesn't make the cut. Score... C-.
The what the?!
Coffee. Where was the coffee? It was a cold race and more than one person was asking the
where abouts of the coffee pot. I'm not asking for Starbucks here, but heck, even a weak, over perked cuppa-military Joe would have hit the spot. The lack of coffee helped disperse the crowd to the closest Timmies. Coffee brings adults together, it warms the belly and kick-starts the energy. A post race must. Score... F
The food went pretty fast. I ran a sub-2 hour and by the time I arrived at the food tent there were slim-pickings. There was tonnes of fruit and yogurt which is a treat, but the bagels were long gone. No one was checking for bibs at the food line so it's possible non-runners were eating the food intended for runners. Juice and pancakes would have been great. Score... C
The half-way turn around point was a bit of a what the?! There was one lonely, although very friendly, volunteer directing us to turn around at this (she pointed) pylon. That was it. No crowd, no music, no cheering, no sign. This is where runners begin to fade. It would have been nice to mark that crucial spot with a little more oomph, a little
enthusiasm, some blaring music. Even rounding a flag would have been better than rounding a orange pylon. If it weren't for that great volunteer we would have lost a few runners in the field just beyond the pylon! Score... C.
The after-burn.
It's easy for me to sit here and critique the race from the comfort of my couch with Miss Vickie snuggling up alongside. Events like the Air Force Run take tremendous organization and the dedication of hundreds of volunteers. Yes, they made a few mistakes, which I'm sure will be corrected next time, but the community pulled it together and built a new race from the ground up. The organizers and race directors should be proud of their achievement. Well done!
By the way, not sure if you noticed Ted Swain's name on the confirmation list. I hope someone managed to run with his bib. It would have been fitting. Good old Ted, his spirit lives on.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Vic Keller

Congratulations to local fitness guru, Vic Keller, for his amazing commitment to promoting fitness and improving the quality of life for hundreds of people who might not otherwise have had the confidence to take that first, lonely, painful step towards taking control of their destiny. Geoff Kirbyson of the Winnipeg Free Press wrote an article, Trash Your Old Body On This Hill, about Vic which appeared in May 25th's Free Press. Kirbyson quotes Keller "I'm helping people reclaim their lives" and, if I may add, he's probably saved a few lives along the way.
Take Jon Paintin for example. Paintin weighed over 400 pounds several years ago and was a confirmed couch potato. He's now a fit 195 pound, two time half-marathoner in addition to countless road races of various lengths. Jon is adamant that he owes his success to Vic. In his words...
"I've never felt better in my life. I can honestly say it was Vic’s careful, balanced approach, along with the support of the entire power runner’s team, that enabled me to accomplish this. I am forever in their debt.".
Thanks Vic. Your efforts have been acknowledged and are appreciated by many.
Hmmm, wonder what kind of advice Vic would give to help me achieve that elusive sub-four hour marathon? Maybe I should ask?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ted Swain Run For Fun

In Memory of our dear friend and fellow runner, Ted Swain.
Thursday, May 28th, 6:30 p.m. at the Kenaston Running Room
5Km/10Km Run/Walk/Ride
No entry fee
Donations will be accepted for the Ted Swain Family Fund
at the Winnipeg Foundation
After the race:
Pot Luck: Appetizers/Desserts
Share Your Memories of Ted
Sign our very large card
Donations will be accepted for the Swain Family Trust at the Winnipeg Foundation. The Swain family will be working with the Winnipeg Foundation and members of the Running Room to set up an annual event in Ted’s name. See you there,
The Kenaston Running Room Team

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Brookings Marathon, Race Report

Travels With Saphira, A guest blog by our intrepid David Fielder.

When the writer John Steinbeck was in his sixties and disillusioned with America, he decided to take a cross-country trip to see parts of the United States he had never seen before. He knew that he’d need to talk with people so he took along his dog, Charlie. He wrote about it in his book called, Travels With Charlie.
Recently I took my own dog, Saphira, on a trip to Brookings, South Dakota for their 40th Marathon. Don’t get me wrong, my dog can’t run a full marathon, but having the misfortune of travelling by myself, I took her to likewise talk to people. My travels with Saphira took me to a wonderfully fun marathon. A well organized event in a unique town in the Dakotas. The main street has a feel of contemporary and the past. Visit The Ram, one of the restaurants hosting a pasta meal for marathon participants, and see the old turn of the century safe as you talk with people ready to run from all over the State. Arguably one of the smaller marathons around with only 165 marathon finishers, 233 half-marathon finishers, and 30 relay teams – still the event catches you up in the spirit of the runners and numerous volunteers.
The run itself is not an easy one with many hills, and if you’re shy of turns this may be a problem; added to the difficulty was the amount of wind that came up. Wind itself is unpredictable and was a lot worse the night before the marathon; and just to note, actually died down the evening after the race. But live music following the run and free hamburgers all added to the post race atmosphere in little Pioneer Park. The run does take you through the town, out of it, through it, out of it … so on and so until you’re done. Yet somehow it is a lot of fun along the way.
Part of the charm of this run and this town of Brookings is the old architecture with houses that exude a sense of wholesome family life – a kind of Midwestern simple life values of a era some may have known when they were yet children. Yet what stands out the most for this traveller with Saphira was the running community itself. It turned out, while I value her company, I need not have had Saphira along. I saw the running community that included five runners from Winnipeg so embrace everyone.
Let me tell you about Jill Moncur, the woman from Sioux Falls who won the woman’s marathon category. She had made the hour trip to Brookings by herself and was alone when presented with her award. Well quickly good old Winnipegers befriended her and celebrated with her that afternoon as though they were old acquaintances. And for myself, the running community embrace me in their celebrations as well. Whether it was a pasta meal, during the run, or following completion there was always a friendly runner to talk with and with whom to enjoy their company.
Sometimes one must travel alone, with or without their dog or those they love, but the great thing about the running community is that it always welcomes people in and shares the love of the run. Steinbeck found from his travels that he did not need to be disillusioned with America. My travels with Saphira to Brookings, South Dakota Marathon confirms for me the enormous privilege it is to share the road with some great people. Brookings is only about 6 and half hours from Winnipeg and worth taking the trip.
Enjoy the run wherever it takes you.
David Fielder

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Air Force Run

The inaugural Air Force Run takes place on Sunday May 31 with all proceeds to support two very worthy causes, The Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) and Soldier On. The MFRC was established in 1991 to help military families deal with the day to day stresses of military life (of which, sadly, there are many). Soldier On (in collaboration with the Canadian Paralympic Committee) opened their doors in 2007 in response to the growing number of injured soldiers returning to their communities with broken spirits and damaged bodies. Soldier On provides opportunities for their own to rebuild their bodies and their spirit through sport and recreational activities. They provide financial support to injured CF personnel who require adapted sports equipment, and subsidize fitness and sport related activity expenses that directly contribute to enhancing or maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.
The race director guarantees a spectacular race with a millitary fly-pass, a start line filled with aircraft, a portion of the race under the final approach path of an active runway, and a finish "unique to the military". Not sure what this final bit is all about, but I'm sure it will be amazing!
Online registration is available until May 29 so hurry, click
here! Go on, you know you want to.
It just occured to me that we can show our support to the military by placing a yellow ribbon around the tree in our front yard (passive) or we can get out there and kick-butt, sweat, donate some cash, and cheer on the buddies (active). It reminds me of that African proverb, you know the one,
when you pray, move your feet. Hell, I'm moving my feet for Soldier On and MFRC... and I'll be proud of my contribution... so will you.
See you at the start line. Spread the word.
As always friends, it's a good day to be alive.
PS. Congratulations to my good pal, Debbie C. who achieved a B.Q. at The Fargo Marathon. Man oh man Deb, I am SO proud of you!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fargo Marathon Race Report # 2

A guest blog by Shel

Fabulous, fantastic and fun Fargo!
2009 marked the 5th anniversary of the Fargo Marathon. About 20 of us decided last year that we needed a road trip, and the plans for the Fargo race were incubated. The mood was celebratory, jovial and festive, both on and off the course all weekend!
On race day, we set off in a convoy from the hotel; some to tackle the half, and four virgins under Terry's guidance to meet their first full. Then near disaster struck; we got separated and were caught in a traffic jam. Would we make the start of the race? Frustration mounted as we could see the Fargodome, yet drew no closer to it as the minutes ticked by. Bernie, perhaps sensing that I may cry at the prospect of not running with my 2:15 mates, chatted to me nervously and then we decided to sing Abba to distract ourselves. Luckily, the racing gods shined on us and there was a break in the traffic. We launched ourselves into a parking spot.
The start of the race was in less than 20 minutes. We sprinted across the field in opposite directions with one goal; find our racing mates! Easier said than done. I dejectedly walked to the start line alone and decided one final porta-pottie visit would be in order. Joy overcame me as I spotted Ryan in line! I think I tackled him. He said everyone else was behind me! I don't think that I could have been any happier! The racing gods were now beaming at me! David, the 2:15 pace leader was ready, and we headed to the start line. It turned out we would be a team of two, but it was a perfect match.
The weather was wonderful for racing, about 0 C and slightly overcast. I thought this cooler forecast might thin out the crowds a bit, but I was wrong. There was in fact 13.1 miles of streets lined with boisterous, cheering, dancing and roof dwelling humans and canines, who definitely did not lack enthusiasm. Along with the great crowd support, entertainment and my race partner, we happily bounded through the streets of Fargo in perfect sync. David ended up with a personal best time. Congrats to David and all those who finished their first half or full at this event. A great time was had by all. Should we be booking our hotels for next year?!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cops For Cancer Race Report # 2

A guest blog by "B"
I've never contributed to a blog before, but a few nameless friends (Vivian, Lori, Sandra, David) suggested that I may have a running story that may be worthy of your blog...I'll let you be the judge as I personally think that the story itself is quite crappy & I'd take no offense if you tubed it down the toilet.
I still consider myself to be a novice runner. I don't have a pre-run routine in place yet, so my timing is typically off on 'race day.'
So....I was bound & determined that come the policeman's 1/2 this year, I would be well prepared for the run. I spread out my clothes like I've heard from others, the evening before. I crinkled my bib as I've been told to do, by so many. I drank lots of water & ate ample portions of protein & carbs the days leading up to the race. I charged my Garmin & IPOD & made sure everything was working without issue. I went to bed a bit earlier than normal & got up just a tad earlier to ensure my day went over without a hitch.
I had a healthy steelcut oatmeal & blueberry breakfast. I got to Assiniboine Park in perfect form & much earlier than I had expected.
Feeling quite smug in my 'preparedness', I celebrated by finding the 1st port-a-pottie over the bridge & actually had a smirk on my face while I thought how clean the facility really was...I reasoned that it was because I probably was the first person to use it that day...well the 2nd, as I saw a lady walk out before I ventured in.
So after my nature call, I stood up & adjusted my running belt....and it was at that time, I heard the distinctive & unmistakable 'plop.' Knowing that I was already standing, I was perplexed why that noise seemed to have come from around my lower area....until I realized that my cell phone was no longer clipped to my pants. guessed it....It swan dived directly into the sea of blue port-a-potty chemicals, never to be seen again. I know it was set on vibrate, so there were a fair number of 'friends' calling my cell that day, hoping to give someone a kickstart to their day.
That's my tale of woe...if you feel it worthy, I can laugh at myself...otherwise, it was just a s~*tty thing to have happen, just before a race!
aka Beatrice on that particular race day.....(that's yet another story in itself)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fargo Marathon, Race Report

David and Melissa at Twin City Marathon (October 2008)
Race Report written by guest blogger, David Fielder.
Fargo’s Fifth
Well the waters of Fargo did not put out the enthusiasm of overwhelming fan support. This year Fargo put on their fifth marathon with some unexpected course changes due to areas along the river being flooded. The adjustment meant a double loop run. The upside was that the fan support was even more spectacular as they lined both sides of the roads of the 13.1 mile loop. Fargo cannot be beaten for fan support in terms of a relatively small marathon, say compared to Twin Cities Marathon, and this year was no different. The weather was perfect for running. Cool but not cold. Overcast but not grey. The streets were lined with people having parties, and supporters wrapped in blankets, music playing several times from live bands to boom boxes, great water stations with tropical themes, and it simply was the people young and old, including their dogs, who came out to cheer people on. They banged on pots, rang cow bells – we need more cow bells – dressed in costume – a lion, a T-Rex, danced as swingers, beat the band along with cheerleaders, and even Elvis came back to sing. Oh, what a time it was. Within the race itself, there was a sense of great fun and excitement. From having the opportunity to see the lead runners go by, to laughing at the costumes worn by participants – my favourite was a guy running with a bath towel around his waist and with a rubber ducky head – there was great fun to be had.
The fun thing about a marathon is that one is cheered on by people that just want to encourage others.
They are sort of like anonymous friends. While a number of people from the Winnipeg area, literally, ran with good friends from home, the cheering and support that goes on in the Fargo Marathon is outstanding. It strikes me that one of the things we can learn from Marathon running is that we always get by with the help of our friends, but sometimes we need just to encourage others. What a great world where people can be supportive of people they don’t know. This is the world of Marathon running and we are fortunate sometimes to be a part of it in Fargo.
Enjoy the run wherever it takes you.
David Fielder

Friday, May 8, 2009

We Remember Ted Swain.

Ted Swain was a runner. He inspired the discouraged, mentored the inexperienced, and comforted the tired. Ted loved the running community with all his heart and gained the respect and admiration of hundreds of runners. I expect many will carry Ted's name on their bib at the Fargo Marathon this weekend to help spur them across the line and, knowing this fine crew, there will be more than a few toasts of good cheer in the name of our Ted.
Here's to you Ted, enjoy the taper good friend, and thank you. Thank you for your guidance, your passion, and most of all, thank you for your friendship.
The tributes that follow are written from the heart. We hope they bring comfort to those of you who ran alongside Ted. To his dear family, know that Ted was loved and know that he will be profoundly missed by us, his running pals. Thank you for sharing Ted with us. We are indebted.
I remember Ted gathering his group outside the running room in preparation for his run and he would always comment about the group I ran with "you don't want to run with them, they are the speedy people". Although, that wasn't really true in my case it made be feel so good to think someone thought I was one of the "speedy people". Thank you Ted, I will miss you.
Gwen Watson
I remember my first 10K clinic, we were a dedicated bunch of runners (the majority of the group were looking forward to the half marathon) the perfect audience for Ted and all of his knowledge. He told us he never had a10K clinic like this one (maybe he told that to all the groups). At our goal race we named ourselves 'Ted's Disciples' and I think he quite liked that. I have included a couple of pictures from that day. Ted was a great ambassador for the sport of running and he was a great influence and inspiration for me.
Sandra Danberg
I remember early this spring Lorraine commenting on me wearing capris and wanting to bet on who would be the first to wear shorts. I said Onkar, but her money was on Ted. Because "he's crazy" she smiled and said with much affection.
Shelley Timlick.
I will remember Ted as a great story teller…he always had a story. Ted and I started the Police ½ race together…I talked to him for about 5 minutes prior to the start….he looked good and was pumped about running the race, account he’d missed participating in the Hypothermic Half…. He indicated “I’m going to finish this race” ….I teased him because he was wearing track/running pants and he normally wears shorts, even in cold weather. He was also my race leader for the Hypo Half this past winter. On one particular Sunday we ran from the Running Room to the Forks and back (12 miles) along the river from Omand’s Creek…it was such a beautiful day. On our return, when we got to Centennial and Academy he indicated he had to stop….the group kept going. I stayed with Ted and we walked in (I have always liked walking)… the next time I saw Ted he apologized for not talking much that day as he indicated he was in pain that day…. Godspeed Ted!!!!”
Murray Ross
I did not know Ted personally, but I was part of his group for some shorter mid-week runs. He was always there for the Wednesday evening runs, no matter what the weather, he always seemed to be wearing shorts. I always thought it was odd to be wearing them even when it had just snowed, so I knew if I came to run club in shorts I wouldn't be the only one. He was an inspiration to the running community and his stories will continue to be told over and again.
Caitlin Tucker
Tedd was my first clinic instructor, he was teaching a Learn to Run, and their was only 5 of us for the 5k, so we ended up with Ted. He and I ran a 10k race a few years ago, the arrow sign was kicked and a few of us ended up running a longer route, and he told me after that was the fast 10k he had ever done. I will have fond memories of Ted. He will always be the shorts and gripper guy. I plan on writing something on my bib in Fargo for Ted. The running community lost a good guy. He will be remembered.
Lorie Lee
I met Ted two years ago when I was attending a Running Room clinic and training for my first half marathon. I hooked up with Ted's 2:30 pace group, which was HUGE, fun and boisterous. I vividly remember Ted's dry wit and encouragement as he led us on our training runs. And of course, I remember Ted, always in his shorts while we were still dressing in multiple layers, deep in Winnipeg winter. After a few runs, like a father robin, Ted gently kicked me out of the nest, telling me I should be with the "faster runners." Since then, every time I ran by Ted and his group, I waved and greeted Ted, and Ted would say, "there go the FAST runners." The thing is, Ted and his group always seemed to be having the most fun ... Ted dedicated himself to mentoring and encouraging "his runners." He will be greatly missed.
Vivian Rachlis
Unlike a lot of you, I did not know Ted very well, but I know from all the other wonderful people I have met, and ran with these past 4 odd years, he must have been a very special kind of person. I am sure, the entire running room group will be the poorer, with his absence.
Onkar Singh
I have a number of “I remember stories” about Ted as I had the honour of training for and running several races in his group. The one I will mention here was from the Hypothermic in 2008. Both Ted and I were having a tough race so we ran it together, I was very discouraged but as the born leader he was, he kept us going. At the finish, I got my last bit of energy and sped up, just then Ted runs ahead of me and says "Oh no you don't, I can't let you beat me now." Ted was a true teacher, I learned more from him then I could ever say here. On any given race day I would look for Ted as he was always a friendly face in amongst the crowd. It will be strange not to look for him on race day anymore but I will carry with me all he has taught me for a lifetime.
Pam Falk
I first met Ted a year ago when I did a 10km clinic to get back into running after having a baby, and I continued to seek him out for the Sunday long runs in preparation for the Hypothermic Half. I remember well his indomitable good humour on those ridiculous 18km runs this winter with a wind chill in the mid minus 40s. How did he do it?! Ted was wonderful company – we swapped stories about teaching and travelling, and he offered sound running advice and inspiration. He made just finishing the race – whatever the distance -- into an excellent and worthy goal. I respected (and have seen benefits from) his view that it was not possible to run too slowly on the long runs, and appreciated his little ‘instructive’ remarks when I ran ahead of the group. Having spent so many hours running and talking with Ted, I consider him a friend, and am deeply saddened by his much too early exit.
Cheryl Dueck
Ted was in the first Half Marathon clinic I took, back in the days before he was a clinic leader. Which doesn't mean he didn't have a LOT of info to impart to newbies like me, especially the mantra: "Do not change anything on race day, not even your shoelaces." Come the day (a Hypothermic Half), some bright spark had read an article insisting 7 and 1s were better than 10 and 1s, and changed his race day plan. That was Ted, and he finished well behind the rest of us. But with a big smile.
Barb Janes
I will not forget his advice, dedication, and his overwhelming encouragement to the running community. I would like to talk with him after a run; he would typically be encouraging newbies. I will not forget seeing him run up Grant - he will be missed.
Scott Nachtigall
I think my heart fell out of chest when I realized who Ted Swain was. I didn't think I had ever met him during my training through the Running Room, but after recognizing him in a picture that someone sent out after learning of his passing; I did spend one evening with Ted. It was a about four years ago.. a beautiful sunny evening; he was taking the place of the usual 1/2 marathon clinic instructor that night; I had never met Ted before but we hit it off right away. I wore leggings for running and this was quite concerning to him. He couldn't believe I was not wearing shorts. It was a good part of the conversation of that evening's short run; how shorts would help me run faster, etc. It was quite funny I must say. Ted obviously had many friends and will be missed and remembered by so many people he touched!
Miss Viv (Horne)
We have been altered because we knew this kind and generous man, Ted Swain. His highly motivational and passionate coaching style has provided inspiration for many to start and keep on running. He was teaching his 19th clinic. The Running Room was indeed fortunate to have such a leader on the team.He changed the lives of many and we are changed because we knew him.
Adieu dear friend.
Lorraine Walton Manager Kenaston Running Room
Ted was the instructor for the hypo half clinic winter 08/09. I remember one particular day. It was around Rememberance Day so the weather wasn't absolutely frigid yet, but it wasn't warm. The sun was out so it looked deceptively nice. And there was Ted. Dressed in shorts and this crazy viking hat/wig with long braids! I wasn't running in his group, but I can only imagine the thoughts of the people driving by thinking, what the....?
Irene Blank
I was so saddened to hear of Ted's Passing, I was in shock.
I remember my first Running Room Clinic only one short year ago, when I first met Ted. I looked forward to coming to his clinic class every single week. Ted's enthusiasm is one of the reasons why I am still running one year later, with now four half marathons under my belt since. With his encouragement, I am now preparing for my first Manitoba Full marathon this June.
I cannot imagine not seeing him on Sundays each week. It still has not sunk in. I start to question if everything in life really happens for a reason... things sometimes do not make any sense.
Then I think back over the last year of discussions with him, whether it be race tips, race strategy, reasons for running, his goals, my goals, and then I smile. I saw his enthusiasm for life, for teaching...for leading. He was a special person. Every time I run, every time I race, I will think of Ted. He will always be there...
We will miss you Ted.
Mike Smith
I remember passing Ted at the Cops For Cancer Run. He was on a walk break and was drinking some high-falootin runners concoction. I approached from his left side and placed my hand on his shoulder as I slowed to pass. I squeezed his shoulder firmly and said "Have a good run Ted". He smiled that Ted smile, lighting up the world, and quietly cheered me on, "Run like the wind Mike... run."
And I did. I ran like the wind. Thank you Ted.
Now in the solitude of reflection with tears brimming I understand the outpouring of grief from his beloved community. Ted ran because he loved us all and wanted us to be the best we can be. Blessing of blessings to you Ted.
So dear friends, run hard, love much, be kind, and remember always, it's a good day to be alive.
Mike Bennett

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Tribute To Ted

Most of you know by now that Ted Swain died following the Police Marathon. Details are sketchy at this time, but it appears he died from a heart attack. Needless to say the running community is saddened by the loss of such a generous and kind man. Those of you who knew Ted understand the sorrow we collectively feel. He was kind, patient, and loved the running community with all his heart. He was a dedicated clinic instructor for years for both the half and full marathon and he set a rock solid pace (I was his "2-hour man" at the hypo clinic and we shared scooter stories). Ted read See Mike Run and often commented on the postings.
It would be appropriate to honor Ted via this blog, I think he would approve. If you'd care to participate please send me a short remembrance of Ted (there's so many) and I will post them without editing. I ask only that they be short (about one paragraph) and they have the words "I remember ..." somewhere in the first couple of sentences. Please also forward any pictures you might have of Ted and please forward this request to any of your running buddies who may wish to contribute a story... spread the word.
I will post what I have on on Friday evening so let's set a deadline of Friday at 9 PM. I hope you can make a contribution.
Thanks all. It's a good day to be alive.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cops For Cancer 2009 Race Report

You know the saying "It's not the sleep you get the night before the race that matters, it's the sleep you get the night-before-the-night-before that really matters". This was certainly true for me. Last night I sprung wide awake at 1:00 AM in a cold sweat! "My bib, my frigging bib... I forgot to pick up my bib!". Don't ask how this is possible, it's embarrassing enough admitting to such a huge goof publicly, online no less. After pacing the house for ten minutes, now wide awake with no hope of sleep, I emailed race director, Nick Paulete.
"Dear Nick, I'm an IDIOT... blah, blah, blah...Is there any way I can run tomorrow?".
I returned to bed where the scenario rolled around the recesses of my brain, getting bigger and uglier as the night wore on. I woke from a half-sleep at 5 AM turned the coffee on and checked my email. There it was, an email from Nick, the sweetest email I have received in a long while:
"Hey Mike" says Nick, "no worries, I have your race kit for you at the merchandise table. Have a good run."
Needless to say, that one liner email made my day. Thanks Nick, you're the dude of the day!
Aside from that one blip the race was amazing, perfect weather (aside from the west wind down Portage Avenue), great companions, superb organization, more port-a-potties than I've ever seen at a 1/2 Mary race, and that amazing military fly-by at gun time. The water/ gator-aid stations were well managed with super cheerful volunteers. The crowds were thick and enthusiastic. All in all a perfect race. Thanks again Nick!
I held back at the start line for about 5 minutes -actually I was last to start- because I needed the solitude and elbow room. The big crowd was scaring me. I'm still a little wary on my calf injury (memories of Hypo). I ran the first 7 miles at a 9:00 - 9:30 m/m pace and then picked it up to 8:30 to 9:00 m/m pace for the remainder. My split time was about 1:05 at the half way so, for the first time ever, I managed a negative split. Average pace was 9:07 (no walks) with an overall time of 2:01. It ain't a PB, but man-oh-man, compared to the Hypo-thermic Half, I'm doing a happy dance!
The best part of the race for me was running the last three miles with Ana, a past student of mine. She's presently in grade 9 and was diagnosed with diabetes about 7 months ago. She's run numerous 10 k races at my run club, but The Cops for Cancer run was her first Half-Mary.
As you know, the last three miles is the most gruelling. If runners had cartoon thought bubbles you'd see hundreds of bubbles popping up at mile 11 reading "what the %$# was I thinking?!" Paradoxically, at mile 11 through 12 Ana was busy planning her next full half-marathon in June! It was gratifying seeing her sprint the last 300 meters to the finish line where her father greeted her with open arms.
Congratulations to my good buddies Doug McPherson, who came in first in the 55-59 age category with a time of 1:41:47, and Nazir Ahmad who came in second in the 65-69 age category with a time of 2:09:03. And a special congrats to running pal Laurie Lees for her amazing 1:59:30... a sub-2 hour... a sweet, sweet dream cometrue. Way to go all of you!
It feels good, amazing in fact, to be back in the running world. I feel quite at home with this group of winners, yes indeed, quite at home.
So dear friends, you know it... It was a great day to be alive.
PS...Race results can be found at:
Cops for Cancer