Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hypothermic Half: A letter to the race directors.

Go Shel!  Go Canada!  Post race brunch... yummy!

Dear Lorraine and Rachel;

On behalf of the 670 runners (and their families, kids, and friends) who participated in today's Hypo Half-marathon I want to send you my personal thanks for a job well done. From start to finish (x 3) the race was spectacular beyond description. I know you took a big gamble going with three heats over the traditional two heats but, you know better than anyone, nothing worth accomplishing is without risk.  You took a huge risk and it paid off tenfold.  For that you should be very pleased.  Here's some highlights from my simple perspective:

1)  The trails were in spectacular shape!  I know from years of running that this just doesn't just happen out of the blue.  I suspect you and your connections have been grooming them for weeks.  Aside from a little ice in Assiniboine Parks the trails were stellar.  And the hoar frost on the trees was a visual treat!  Thanks you!

2)  The start seemed better organized than in past years.  The huge warm up tent (although not really needed this year) shows you are really pulling out all stops to make this the premiere North American winter running event.  Thank you!

3)  As always the volunteers were cheerful, helpful, and full of spunk and vinegar.  They cheered like mad, they smiled incessantly, they gave their time generously.  Please thank all of them them from all of us!
A diehard volunteer, Canadian style eh!
3)  The finish line was a 100% improvement from previous years.  Such a simple change has made such a huge difference.  Straight off the trail into the cafeteria... how sweet is that?  Thank you!

4)  The food, as usual, was spectacular.  As a vegetarian my heart was a-flutter with the numerous yummy options (not the usual token salad that many events pass off as a vegetarian option.).  Not that I partook, but the mounds of bacon and ham was attacked by hundreds.  Thank you!  

5)  The Bailey's (provided by a certain "B") added a little zest to the coffee.  Yum.   Thanks B!

6) Love the schwag ... A+.  Thank you!

7)  The cyclists that provided sweep took their job seriously and made everyone feel a bit safer.  I hope the sweeps will become a regular feature of the Hypo.  In past years the weather has been very challenging and down right dangerous for anyone that may have incurred an injury.  Thank you!  Thank them for keeping us safe!

My personal cheerleading squad.  Thanks Scott, Ted, and Deb! 

8)  The organization was amazing.  I was worried about how you would manage the three heats.  I had images of intense lineups at the food stations and a chaotic start with the 7 AM and 9 AM heats sharing the same course.  My worrying was for not.  Their was a teeny amount of congestion outbound, but nowhere near as much as I expected.  It takes great skill to organize 670 runners of varying skills and abilities.  You did very well.  Thank you.  

By way of comparison, I hear the Hypo race in an unnamed Saskatchewan city drew about 100 runners last week.  Clearly, you guys are doing something right to draw 670!  Thank you very much for supporting the running community with such spirit and dedication. What a race!  What a race crew!  You're the best!

It's a good day to be alive.  Mike

Guy and his beard-sicles!  (Click to get the full effect.). 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Where the heck is Matt?

I attended a professional development session this afternoon organized by my good friend Warren.  He started the session talking about the incredible ethnic diversity in our classrooms as a segue to the video and his presentation.  After viewing the entire video he asked all 100 participants to stand up and dance while he replayed the video. He danced in front of the huge screen while the video played a second time. The dancing started off kind of awkward with only about half participating, but within a minute we were hopping all over the place.  It was hilarious looking around the room at these normally quiet and reserved professionals and seeing them cut some wicked rug!  It was great ice breaker and emphasized diversity in a way like I've never considered.  I guess you sorta had to be there to fully appreciate the moment.  Turn up the volume and enjoy the video.  Mike

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lovely Linda

My good friend Linda, mother of two under two, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  On the eve of her second surgery in ten days she sent a few friends an email in which she expressed fear for the future and frustration at her inability to care for her daughters.  I replied to her letter.  

First up, I want you to know that I'm indeed honoured to be included on your distribution list.  It tells me you value my friendship and that alone makes my day.  Thank you.  
Second, having run a few marathons I have become a firm believer in the power of positive energy.  The last few miles is incredibly painful and deeply emotional.  It is only the power of positive energy that provides the strength to cross the finish line.  The last six miles of any marathon is littered with runners who, for one reason or another, have lost the spark.  They depended upon their legs to carry them over the line when in fact it's the spirit that's needed.  Without the spark, they fade and give up.  My apologies for the cheesy marathon metaphor but it allows me to imagine, if only a teeny bit, your state of mind and your challenge.
Linda, you need to know that as you were wheeled in for your previous surgery, your good friends were channelling their love and their spirit your way.  The sky was thick with vibrant pink clouds of positive energy churning and swirling.   There was no official "stop everything and focus" but everyone knew.  The discreet chatting, the glances between friends, the emails, the tears, the wringing of hands, the silent prayers... all of us were focusing our love to you.
Tomorrow this will be repeated.  Our thoughts, our prayers, and our concern will shower upon you like a typhoon as you are wheeled in to the O.R.  We are there for you Linda.  Think of us as we think of you.
Get well Lovely Linda, your family needs you back at the tiller, we need you back in our midst.

The Winnipeg Police Half Marathon is on Sunday, May 2, 2010.  All money raised is donated to the Canadian Cancer Society.  I plan on running for Lovely Linda.  For whom will you run?

It's a good day to be alive.  :>)  

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Love Shack

This is one of the new Love Shacks, so called for the snuggling skaters inside, on the Assiniboine River Trail.  This particular one is called Apparition.  Notice the little solar collector on the roof; they provide power for lights inside the shack. Apparition resembles a chunk of aluminum foil formed into a little cave by grade school kids for a diorama project, complete with comfy benches.  Apparition is one of 5 Love Shacks along the trail.  Each shack is unique, all are beautiful in their own right. Go here for more information.
This trail is my favourite path in the entire city.  I don't so much run it as float along the surface, marvelling at the skaters gliding, the boisterous teens slapping pucks with broken sticks, the lovers hand-in-hand, the little ones bundled warmly in sleds, the sunsets, the black ice, and my personal favourite, the reams of cars stuck in traffic on the bridges overhead.  :>) 
Oh yeah... it is a good day to be alive.  M

Friday, February 5, 2010

Don't Forget Your Catheter

This clip just in from Vivian.  

An 81 year completing a marathon in 5 hours, 22 minutes is ok in my books, road side assisted catheter or not!  Sometimes you just have to give your head a shake with race officials.  I mean, what the *&^%  were they thinking? Instead of cheering this guy on, they want to disqualify him!?  Fortunately, good sense prevailed!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chicago Marathon October 10, 2010

Just registered!  I'm one of 45,000 runners.  I can't imagine what 45,000 runners looks like?! I'll be a speck of humanity in a sea of sweat and spandex.  I figure I'll just be carried along in a massive sweep for the first 6 miles, maybe longer, and then, tuck in behind the larger runners for 16 miles, then sprint to the finish ;>)

It's good to know that Shel, Terry, Lorie, Sandra, Todd, and others are coming along.  Anyone else?  My hotel is about 0.6 miles from the start line and even closer from the finish.  This'll be a run of a lifetime.  Totally pumped!

You know it.  It's a good day to be alive!