Sunday, January 31, 2010


How do you respond when someone very close to you informs you they have recently had a stroke?  Someone of your vintage and generation.  Someone who embodies healthy living and has been a rock in your life for decades. Someone with whom you share childhood memories that are as strong and colourful as if they happened yesterday.
What do you say to this person?
What do you think? 
What do you do?
The stroke was momentary; a full collapse of the left side of the body with a quick rebound, all over in a few seconds, but unsettling.  Many would have shrugged it off as a simple absent minded slip or a brain fart. Fortunately, my friend didn't shrug it off.  Two MRI's later confirmed the good news and bad; it was indeed a stroke, but not an aneurism. The stroke occurred in a part of the brain that doesn't cause lasting damage, but had it occurred elsewhere the results would have been devastating.  Aside from the initial scare there is no residual damage, at least none that can be detected at this point.  It turns out that this person is probably genetically predisposed to strokes and has been diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure).  The best doctor advice?
1)  Keep your weight down.
2) Exercise.
3) Reduce your salt intake.

Salt by the numbers * ...
  • 1,500: Recommended daily sodium intake in milligrams for people between 9 and 50.
  • 2,300: Maximum daily sodium intake in milligrams compatible with good health.
  • 3,400: What the average Canadian consumes daily in milligrams.
  • 85: Percentage of Canadian men aged 19 to 70 consuming MORE than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily.
  • 60:  Percentage of women aged 19 to 70 consuming More than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily.
  • 77:  Percentage of Canadian children aged 1 to 3 consuming more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily.
  • 93:  Percentage of children aged 4 to 8 consuming more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily.
  • 1: Level teaspoon = about 1,500 milligrams of sodium.
So good friends and readers of this blog keep on running and keep an eye on your salt intake.  The consequences could be serious.

It's a good day to be alive.


* Source, Statistics Canada

Sunday, January 24, 2010

One of those days

I ran 10 miles yesterday in fresh, wet snow.  It was simply "one of those days" that we are truly thankful to be alive; alive and strong.  The gobs of virgin snow softened the outline of trees and benches and muffled all sound.  Aside from the occasional runner, I was alone, all alone, and all quiet, lost in my mind as life and time drifted by.  The crunching of snow underfoot was soft and mimicked the beating of my heart.  The words of Robert Frost's  poem "The woods are lovely, dark and deep..." wormed through my mind.  I was alone.  I was at one with the universe.

These are the fleeting moments that give purpose of being and bring balance to the ugly side of life; these are moments for which we are truly thankful.  The sanctity of life is precious and all is at peace on these days.

As you, my thoughts and prayers go out to the Haitian people who have so tragically lost all sense of balance and beauty.  Haiti, where the sanctity of life is teetering on the edge of dispair. Please give to help restore this delicate balance.

It is such a beautiful day to be alive.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Project 52

52 weeks... 52 running pictures.  
Week 2:  Lorie's birthday run.  Left to right:  Laura, Terry,  Tess, Murray, Lorie (Ted is just out of frame.  Sorry Ted.).  Click image to enlarge.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

1000 Mile Challenge

Looking for some motivation, need a goal, want a personal challenge? Look no further than the 1000 Mile Challenge.  
It's simple, log your running miles from January 1 through December 31, 2010 and try to maintain an average 20 miles per week.  If 1000 miles seems daunting, try 1000 kilometres (about 621 miles).  I've been logging my mileage for the last couple of years (see side bar) and I find it helpful in tracking my running and getting me out of bed on those crisp mornings when I'd rather be sipping coffee and munching sticky-buns on the couch. 
Civil Rights leader and mentor to Martin Luther King, Benjamin Mays once said: 
The tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching our goal.  The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.  It isn't a disgrace to not reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. 
Don't be afraid of the challenge, do be afraid of not challenging yourself.  If you like, send me your name and I'll make an honour role of runners who have accepted the 1000 Mile Challenge on the sidebar (first names and last initial only).  Or, if you're the shy type, keep it to yourself.  In the words of Nike Canada.... Just Do It, Eh!
Other stuff... I was at a small gathering on New Years eve and my good friend Laurie mentioned that one of her goals for 2010 is to take a photograph every day to visually track her year.  She'll no doubt take several photographs every day, but only one will be chosen for her visual diary.  What an excellent idea!  I'm thinking a picture a day is too much of a commitment, but a picture a week seems doable.  My pictures will somehow be related to running in some way, shape or form.  52 weeks, 52 pictures.  I'll be posting them on Flickr. Stay tuned.
It's a good day to be alive,  Mike

Saturday, January 2, 2010

First Run of 2010

Didn't run the Frosty Nipple (too chicken), didn't run Resolution (not available), but I did manage a chilly 7 mile solo-scamper this morning. The temperature was a frosty -30 celsius (-40 w/c) so proper layering made the difference between life and death, or at least comfort and discomfort.  I snapped a few pictures with my wife's Nikon D80 in a fleeting attempt to capture the magic of the day; I hope you can see beyond the -40 and appreciate the real beauty of running on such a magnificently crisp day.  Just being healthy enough to survive the chill, let alone run, is a miracle. Happy New Year to you all.  Thanks for following this old blog; these ramblings of an aging, but passionate runner.  I raise a glass of Chilean Syrah 2006  to you, and to you, and you, and you, and you....

It's a good day to be alive and warm.  If you click the pictures they get big, really big.  And one final thing... yes, my nose is on the large side, but NOT that big. My son the photographer tells me it's just the wide angle lens making it appear potato-like!  :>)  Mike