Sunday, May 29, 2011

For Sale

Lightly used for 8 days while recuperating from grade 2 strain to left ankle. Features include: light, high-grade aluminum, adjustable to 5'2" to 5'10",  ultra-cool rubberized pit cuffs with matching hand grips, adjustable arm length,  grippy rubber thingies for firm footing, Mercedes-silver in colour, stylish design.  Guaranteed sympathy magnet. Perfect for the runner-dad on your list that (thinks) he has everything!  Paid $30.  

Let's start the bidding at $1.00. 

Stay tuned for next week's Sale; "Too Sexy" Ankle Aircast.

Also thinking of starting new blog and I've been tossing around a few names; See Mike Knit, See Mike Scrapbook, See Mike Collect Stamps, See Mike Sit,  see Mike Commiserate....  

All in all, it's a minor setback, but I do so get a deep pang whenever I see a runner. It's amazing how difficult it is to not run.  I was telling a friend the other day that I've gained 2 or 3 pounds and it feels like 20 or 30.  The force of running is strong.  Crazy!


... yes, yes, yes, it's a good day to be alive... but I wish I was running.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The View From Here

When I first blogged about "embracing the suck" I had images of sweat, road dirt, nausea, yucky gels and all the other fun stuff we endure on the marathon path. Turns out embracing the suck is a tricky little devil and has multiple meanings. Who would have figured that it can also mean eating chocolate on my deck while watching the river flow, with a warm sun and cooling breeze? Weird that!
The verdict is a grade 2 strain (there's 3, I asked) on my left ankle. Cast and sticks for two weeks. Fargo Marathon is definitely out and Manitoba Marathon is a long shot. The Spruce Woods 50 k in August is looking mighty sweet though.
Nuff of "woe is me". As my good running pal Jan says, it's like a bad country and western tune, best sung drunk, loud, and off key. It's fun for a while but then you wake up with a hangover.
Moving forward.
Not trying to get all spiritual on you but I did receive this quote in a tweet that sorta left me speechless. The timing is all too amazing.
God (my editorial input: Buddha, Allah, Yahweh, Great Spirit, Creator) grant me the serenity to accept when I cannot run, the courage to run when I can, and the wisdom to understand the difference.
Wow! Puts my little mishap in perspective. "The wisdom to understand the difference". Now that's pure poetry.
To my Fargo Homeies, it has been such an honour and pleasure to run by your side. We ran through some of the toughest elements and yet we did so with grace and fortitude. Running with you through such conditions strengthened my character and brought me such indescribable pleasure. So often I would groan at the thought of another late evening run, desperately wanting to bail. And then, 5 minutes into the run, my life brightened, the chit chat and the laughs abounded. I became drunk in the happiness of just being. Just running along your side. Thank you.
Thank you for your company.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you for the gossip.
Thank your for the many, many, many laughs.
Thank you for the positive comments.
Thank you for your leadership.
Thank you for lifting my spirits.
Thank you for listening.
Thank you for laughing.
Thank you for trusting me to lead.
Thank you for telling me when to follow.
Thank you for your comments on SMR.
Thank you for the emails (so many today).
Thank you for running at 6 AM through dark streets.
Thank you for your respect.
Thank you for the talks about life, God, and politics.
Thank you for the talks about Homer Simpson, American Idle, and teenaged heart-throbs.
Thank you for making snow angels.
Thank you.
In gratitude I give you my mantra. At mile 18, or 20, or 22, or whenever you need it most. When your shoulders are slouched, when you feel like puking, when your legs are lead, when your brain fogs, when you lose sight of the finish line, when your spirits flickers say aloud "embrace the suck". Say it again and again. Louder. Say it to the poor slob running next to you who's dying. Yell it at the sun. Whisper it to your calves. Rap it. Rock it. Twang it. Use the suck to your advantage. Learn to laugh at the suck. Use the suck to dance across the line. Dance across the line.
Dance one for me. Make it a slow dance.
Now friends, run like the wind, while you can.
It IS a good day to be alive.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I joined my group of Fargo-heads for a 5 mile race-pace run this evening. We were running in tight formation as we approached an intersection. Some in the group stopped and others slowed. I lost my focus momentarily and rolled over on my left ankle. This was followed immediately by a searing bolt of pain. I grabbed Karen's shoulders for balance. The pain was level 7 on my pain threshold. The group stopped, frozen. They knew. I waved them on, but they didn't budge. I finally pointed and said "go, the light's going to change". They left reluctantly.
I walked the 1.5 miles back to my car. Tried a slow run, but that was foolish. The ankle was swelling up pretty big. By the time I got to my car it was triple normal size and the pain was intensifying.
I'm at home now, licking my wounds, and icing. I'm thinking the icing is more effective than the licking. The swelling has come down somewhat, but I can't walk. Not sure where to go from here. Fargo Marathon is 3 days hence. Stay tuned.
It's a disappointing day, but in context, it's still a good day to be alive.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fargo Marathon

Calling for, what else, rain.
Mostly cloudy. Chance of rain showers and isolated thunderstorms. Highs 70 to 75.
Saturday Night
Mostly cloudy. Chance of rain showers and isolated thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 50s.
One of my fondest marathon memories was Minneapolis where it rained sheet rain for about 10 miles. My time was off by about 10 minutes, but at least I wasn't sweaty.
Good day to be alive,

Friday, May 13, 2011

Homesick; A Guest Blog

Thanks to Mike for the invitation to write as a guest at this outstanding blog. My topic is injury, and injured runners are like hurtin’ country western singers - hard to listen to. So double thanks.
I’ve been running for 12 years, moderate distance, extreme devotion. I ran ‘the loop’ in our neighborhood, usually the same direction, always the same four days of the week. My running habit began in response to a cheesy article that claimed 20 minutes of daily walking would change my life. Right they were; walking led quickly to running, and - you know what I’m going to say - running changed my life.
Running became a home of sorts, the kind where the phone doesn’t ring, where you can indulge in that strange kind of non-thinking thinking, hear your breathing, feel the elements (lots of these in wpg), sort out your crushes, lose time, gossip to yourself. I ran to celebrate, to mourn, to dissolve the perplexities of the day. I ran through the loneliest and most disappointing stretches of my dissertation. Mostly I just ran to run.
This past Fall I began running with my neighbor, Thursday mornings, 6 a.m., before work. Blizzards, minus 40, ice, unploughed streets and the darkest urban darkness never stopped us. Falling under the influence of his passion for distance running, I began to increase my miles and registered for the Cops half marathon at the start of May. He kindly wrote out a training schedule for me and I knew I was incredibly lucky. My craving to run kept increasing in direct proportion to the accumulating miles. It was a long exhilarating winter; so many new routes, conversations, tunes, stories.
Injury comes to runners in different ways, and mine showed up like a polite but uninvited guest, lingering quietly, awkwardly, at the start of an 11-mile group run. While I was watching the shin pain on my right leg, my left hamstring developed an uninteresting, ‘level one’ strain (coward). I observed a restless two-day rest, then took off for a determined tempo run, full of “now moments” – those riveting seconds of pain or pleasure that don’t allow for outside distraction. Tried another two-day rest. My very last run took me to the Forks but my car had to take me back. That was early April, just as we were heading into the euphoria of single-layer running weather.
The athletic therapist told me what I wanted to hear, “2 – 3 weeks tops,” but speaking like a pregnant woman, I’m in my fifth week. Of not-running. As I intensify my search for signs of improvement, the hamstring situation seems to worsen. No walking beyond 5 minutes. Cycling to and from work is painful.
Not-running is living with the continual presence of absence. I keep turning towards something that is no longer there. I fine-tune my eating and upper body routines, but I cannot go where I need to go, where I dream of going, where I used to go, which is, home.
Courage, fellow runners! Run well… rest well.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Ted's Run

Ted Swain was an avid runner and as a teacher of English, was passionate about reading and literature. His passions inspired thousands of students and hundreds of runners. Tragically, Ted passed away on May 3rd, 2009 following his successful finish of the Police Half Marathon. In Ted’s memory we have established Ted’s Run for Literacy. The money generated from the run will be donated to Start2Finish, Empower Kids For Life, a charitable organization that supports reading and physical activity within Winnipeg’s central schools, a fitting legacy for Ted.
Ted's Run will include a 5 kilometer family-fun-run and a fully sanctioned, timed 10 kilometer run. The race is a looped course starting at Kildonan Park.
Many of us ran with Ted, indeed many of us were trained by Ted. He is remembered always for his patience, his love of running, and his huge welcoming grin. Shortly after he died I blogged a memorial post to which many of you contributed.
Please save the date and send this link to all your runner pals.
Ted liked it when I ended my blog posts with "It's a good day to be alive". This one's for him.
Race Director and old friend, Mike

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Marathon Study of the heart on age 50+


I thought you might be interested in the following letter from Erin Karlstedt.  If you do decide to participate I guarantee you'll get THE BEST medical attention our system has to offer.  If there's something wrong with your heart they will find it.  It's a great opportunity to rule out any concerns.  

I blogged the experience here

See ya.  


Good Afternoon 2010 Marathon Study Participants,

Dr. Jassal and I are conducting another Marathon study at this year's upcoming marathon.  We are hoping to acquire more data for your age group (50+) to strengthen our results before publishing our paper.  

We are in desperate need of additional participants and are hoping that you can help.  If you know of any friends or colleagues who might be interested in participating in our study this year we would greatly appreciate it.  They can contact us at any time with information provided below.

I hope I find you all doing well.  Thank you again for participating last year, it was a great success!


Erin Karlstedt

Contact Information:
Paulette Devigne

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Winnipeg Police Half Marathon 2011, Race Report

I know it felt like the Hypothermic Half Mary, but really it was the Cop's Half. Conditions were less than ideal, but that aside the Cop's is still the premiere half marathon event in Winnipeg.  The race crew worked all Saturday in solid rain, wind, and mud to get things in ship-shape for the 1500 runners and their families.  Race Director, Nick Paulet, is to be commended again for pulling this year's race off without a hitch in extremely challenging conditions.  It was superbly organized and the volunteers were plentiful and so very cheerful.  Nick sent out an email late last night that warned of a possible race closure due to freezing rain and said he would call it at 5 AM.  Fortunately, the rain stopped sometime last night and turned to snow making the course slippery in places, but not dangerous.

So the only question I have is when is Nick going to run for office?  We could use him in Ottawa.

I met my 20 mile goal today by running to and from the start line from my home.  It was a nice run to the start line, but pretty chilly on the return.  My hands were numb and I had no speed so it took at least a mile to warm up and get into the running groove.  I had numerous offers of rides home, which I truly appreciate, but I'm glad I met my 20 mile goal.  It would have bugged me all week had I not.  I had trouble removing my sopping shoes because my fingers weren't working so well. I did manage to kick them them off and then hit a very hot shower followed by tastiest cup of hot chocolate this side of Utah (hi Jen).  Life is presently warm, dry, and so, so sweet!

We all yearn for happiness and for the runners I hang with, running helps fill that void.  I guess this is why I hang with them.  We run because it makes us happy.  That's it... simple, honest, and to the point... the pursuit of happiness.  When runners become injured the pursuit is put on hold.  I'm not saying that running is the only source of happiness, but if one trains relentlessly for months in sub-zero weather for a race goal and then it's gone, it's gotta hurt.  I feel for all of you. 

Here's the story of the day.   Melissa Budd and David Fielder ran a sub-4 hour marathon yesterday in sheet rain, drove home all night, were delayed at the Highway 59 closed border crossing, arrived home at 5 AM, slept for one hour, and made it to the Cop's start line by gun time.   Both finished up right and smiling.  Last I saw them they were huddled around a propane heater devouring a plateful of pancakes.  

It was, and still is, a grand day to be alive... yes, chilly too!


PS Race Results are posted on Results Canada.  

Corey and Mike neck and neck @ mile 5.  Corey 1st place, Mike 2nd place. (photo credit David)
Sandra and some other dude.  (photo credit, David)
Ted and that dude again. (photo credit David)
Mario, 2 weeks from China Marathon.
Jeff, Linda, and Wayne fresh from Boston 2011.
Cheryl and Jim at start corral.
Jo, moments from finishing.
Connie and Jo about to be arrested for looking so good!
Anita in the tent.
Melissa who ran a sub 4 hour marathon yesterday in the rain, travelled home, slept 1 hour, and ran the Cops!
I won!