Monday, December 31, 2012

2012.. a year in review

First we try to run faster. Then we try to run harder. Then we learn to accept ourselves and our limitations, and at last, we can appreciate the true joy of running.

Amby Burfoot, winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon, 
author of The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life

Here we are on the eve of a new year.  Seems amazing really; the years seem to be zipping along at a 4 minute-mile pace. The older I become, the faster time flies, the less I understand, the more things change, and the more grateful I am for my health, my running accomplishments, my family, and my friends.  

I had lunch today with two of my three brothers. We talked a lot; unusual for us. We talked about the complexities of family and relationships. We talked about building bridges and caring more for one another. We talked about the love we have for our two sisters. Pretty heady stuff for three middle aged guys over a Stellas's coffee, but it's true, we talked and we listened, and it was good... there's something about what happens when we talk*.  

I am struck with the Burfoot quote above.  It's about running but the parallels to life are brilliant.  In life I have run fast and I have run hard, I have run with purpose and passion.  I have run for time and I have run for timelessness   I have run to clear my mind and to shed a silent tear.  I have run to disperse anger and to celebrate joy. I have run to satisfy a primal compulsion.  In 2013 I will learn to run slowly, to accept my limitations, to let go of things I cannot control. 

It was a good year for running, a good year to be alive. I encourage you to set a running goal. Register for a race.  Run strong and with conviction  Run with your feet on the ground and your head in the sky.** Smile at approaching runners because they hurt, maybe more than you.  Like Burfoot says, learn to run slowly. Learn from your humiliation.  Accept your defeats as triumphs.  Learn, as I am trying to learn, the true joy of running... of life.  So my dear runners, for what it's worth, here's my year in review.  

  • I receive an email from Melissa. She says  "I don't ask will I run today, instead I say when will I run today?".  I like that... when will I run today? When will you?
  • First race of the year.  Hypothermic Half Marathon.  My 5th Hypo, 4th really, I had one dnf in 2009. I started off in a frump, but pulled out of it and nipped in just under 2 hours, a first sub-two hypo for me.  
  • I receive an email from Melissa.  She says "running is my own creation".  I like that imagery.  It focusses my energy and emphasizes the individuality of running. 
  • Injured my left calf at mile 17.65 of an 18 mile run.  Three weeks of rest, physiotherapy, massage, more rest, endless rest.  Note: I do not do 'rest' well, but maybe I'll learn in 2013... must accept my limitations.  
  • Sweet Gwen is running again.
  • First ride of the season.  Winnipeg to St. Francis Xavier, return, with Scott.  It wasa great ride. Lots of laughs. 
  • April 17, I'm back running from the calf injury. Slow running.
  • Second race of the year, Run the Rainbow, 10 k.  I ran it slow and very cautiously, calf okay, stiff, but no pain.  Bib number 1509, my birthdate.
  • Third race of the season. Winnipeg Police Half Marathon. Cool drizzly conditions.  Shaved 57 seconds off my previous PB.  Bib number 55, my age.
  • Fourth race of the season.  Fargo Marathon. My goal was to make it to the start line.  Accomplished.  My second goal was to make it to the finish line.  Accomplished.  
  • Fifth race of the season.  Manitoba Half Marathon.  The conditions were hot.  So glad I chose not to run the full marathon.  I returned to the full marathon course on my scooter.  Cheered on all the fulls.  Connie completed her first full marathon.  It was a scorcher at the end. 
  • See Mike Run gets modern. My son sets me up with a new domain name...
  • Training for Twin City Marathon.  Very, very hot July.  I blogged about how to run smart in the heat.  
  • Sixth race of the year. The Fort Garry Rotary Club Half Marathon.  The BEST course ever. The BEST organization ever. The BEST volunteers ever. Shaved a full 3 minutes, 49 seconds off my previous pb for a new pb, 1:49:49... see Mike smile!
  • Seventh race of the year.  The Point Douglas Run. I ran with Connie, David, and Melissa.  The most fun I've had on a 10 k race ever!  This race will stay fresh in my mind for eternity.  
  • We remember Ted Swain. Ted's Run for Literacy. Second Annual. 235 participants, about 50 volunteers.  A huge success for the race committee.  
  • Eighth race of the year.  Twin City Marathon.  I hooked up with David and Melissa at mile 16.  Ran it in together.  Quote of the day goes to Melissa. At mile 24 she says "My mouth hurts so much from smiling"  and then, 20 seconds later she adds "Wouldn't it be funny if tomorrow my mouth hurt more than the rest of my body".  I laughed out loud... how many times can you belly laugh at mile 24 of a marathon?  Thanks Melissa.
  • Ninth race of the year.  The Fire Paramedic Half Marathon.  John asked me to pace a 2 hour group.  I started with about 20 eager runners and ended alone. One runner stayed with me almost to the end but crashed at about mile 11.  My time? 1:59: 57. 
  • Injured again.  Same calf.  This time I'm smart.  I go to physio and massage before it gets too bad.  Feeling sorry for my self.  I'm a big baby when it comes to injuries.  Down for about 2 or 3 weeks. My physiotherapist notices an interesting strike pattern on my shoes.  
  • Bob Nicol, is appointed to the 2013 The North Face Canadian Trail Ambassador.  Bob is one of five Canadian trail ambassadors being honoured for their passion of trail running.  
  • My son moves out. He parts with a casual "Ok, see ya later". I think to myself... 24 years together and it comes down to ... ok, see ya later... Don't get me wrong, it's all good, he's moved out for all the right reasons and he's only a half-mile away, but still, it took a few runs to process the empty nest syndrome.
  • December 27, last run of 2012, logged my 1308th mile of the year.

It's a good day to be alive, this last day of another year. I wish you all well.


*Lucinda Williams
** Talking Heads

Sunday, December 16, 2012

These Runs We Do

Home is where i want to be
Pick me up and turn me round
I feel numb - born with a weak heart
guess i must be having fun
The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground
Head in the sky
It's ok i know nothing's wrong . . nothing

Talking Heads, This Must Be the Place, from the album Once in a Lifetime

With feet on the ground and head in the sky, home is where I want to be. It's ok, I know nothing is wrong.

These runs we do, they make us strong, they make us weak. Through urban forests heavy with hoar frost, along ancient trails by a white Red River, with heart pumping, and mind empty.  These runs we do, they make us whole in spirt, they they make us strong in muscle, they make us weak with love. With oxygenated blood flooding our brains, they elevate us, they transform our minds and our bodies. These runs we do, with feet on the ground and head in the sky. 

These runs we do, they make us strong, they make us weak. We run to remember, and to try to make sense of the incomprehensible. With tears brimming we consider the 26 dead,  a marathon of pain. Google images show the unbearably beautiful, smiling faces of children now gone. Their parents' anguish frozen in photographs; dozens and dozens of painful, indescribable painful photographs of the tiny beloved gone and the families left behind to mourn. Will they ever recover?

The hearts of parents everywhere are broken. We want to reach out to them, to say it's okay, we love you, and we care so, so deeply for you, your loss is unbearable. We want to embrace them as if, through osmosis, we can absorb some of their pain. To share their grief. Just to hold them, to embrace them, to wrap them in a warm blanket of love and comfort. To say... I... am... sorry.

These runs we do, they make us strong, they make us weak. They help us reach deep, deep into the cellar of our brain and heart.  These runs we do, in silence and in complete devotion to peace, we think and we pray.  With feet on the ground, head in the sky, home is where we want to be, home is where we want the children to be. Home, with their parents. Home is where they cannot be.

My friends, you do what you need to do, but take a moment to reach out to your child.  To lightly brush your hand against their back as they walk by.  To quietly touch their head as they sleep. To tell them you love them.  With feet on the ground and head in the sky, our hearts are shattered.

It is a day. We are alive.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cards For Kenny

Minister Jason Kenney 
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Prime Minister of Canada, Office of P.M.
80 Wellington St.
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2

(postage free if mailed in Canada)

Those darn students; they're up to their shenanigans again!  When I was their age I was... hmm, what was I doing... oh yeah, I remember, I joined millions around the world in Peace marches demanding an end to the Vietnam War and guess what?  

We were successful.

Now, back to those rascally students.  

On July 1, 2012 I wrote a blog in support of the student led, 59 Cent Campaign (click here). What is the 59 cent Campaign?

To review, in April of this year The Right Honourable Jason Kenney cut spending to refugee healthcare. The law applies to all refugees arriving on Canadian soil from a country that our government deems unacceptable.  Kenney proudly announced that this will save taxpayers 20 million dollars a year, or roughly, 59 cents per Canadian annually. In response, a group of concerned students urged Canadians to mail Jason Kenney 59 cents with a letter expressing their concern (go here for my letter). 

What do these refugees have in common besides coming from some of the worst environments on the planet?  Well, here's a starters list...

  • They are in dire need of medical care.  
  • They have witnessed  atrocities that have left deep scars.
  • Many have lost their sense of community.  
  • Most have have a limited social network.
  • Many have no family.
  • Most don't understand our culture or our language.
  • Sadly, many are broken spiritually. 
  • They are in our schools, our churches, our temples, our synagogue
  • They have no health care.

So what is that darn Generation Y up to now?  They've embarked on a new campaign... what else would you expect of a group of beautiful, intelligent, compassionate, young Canadians?  Here's what they would like us to do.

In the spirit of joy, love, and peace, send The Right Honourable Jason Kenney a seasonal card asking him to grant one wish: 

To restore full funding to the 
interim federal health program. 

I can't think of a better way to honour the spirit of this season than gathering family and friends around a table to make cards for Jason?  You can change the world and your children can help (teachers, take note).Please, send a card, postage free.

Wait a second!  This is a blog about running!  What the heck does Cards For Jason have to do with running?

That's easy.

Run, don't walk,  to the mailbox with a card for Kenney!

If you're still with me, take 1 minute to watch this student video.

It is a good day to be alive.  It's also a good day to be proud of the young Canadian students for taking non-violent action to change a wrong.  They are the future of our nation and you know what? 

The future looks rosy. 


Sunday, December 2, 2012

This and That

I love the intensity and spirituality of running on unforgiving terrain, looking for and finding the trails less travelled and pushing myself to, and beyond my limits.

Bob Nicol
Bob Nicol, Treherne Half Marathon, 2011

Congratulations to Bob Nicol, affectionally known around here as Barefoot Bob, for his appointment to the 2013 The North Face Canadian Trail Ambassador.  Bob is one of five Canadian trail ambassadors being honoured for their passion of trail running.  

While running the Treherne half-marathon with Bob in 2011 I mentioned at around mile 7 that I was registered to run the Bismarck full marathon in a week.  And then, just to be polite, I added You should join me, not expecting him to bite.  And why would he.. who would want to run a marathon with a week's notice? Who could run a marathon with a week's notice? Bob replied that he'd have to think about it and he would need to talk to his wife. It didn't sound too convincing, but somewhere between mile 7 and the finish line he agreed to join me in Bismarck.

Why the anecdote?  Because it shows Bob's passon and complete devotion to running.  I don't know too many people who can jump into a full marathon with a week's notice, and run it barefoot!  

I'm involved with an early years school in a neighbourhood with challenges. Last week the principal mentioned to me that she provides countless mittens and hats not only to the kids at her school but also kids from the neighbourhood middle school. She told me that they're in particular need of mittens, especially extra small mittens for the kindergarten kids.  I sent an email out to my running friends and they replied in kind.  I have about three dozen pair of mittens, most of them for tiny hands in need of a little love.  Many of the gloves are brand new,  Now that's compassion.  Thank you all for helping!

Trail along the Red
Speaking of trail running, I ran 8 miles yesterday and another 10 this morning.  I found myself on a lovely trail in an Elm tree forest that hugs the south bank of the mighty Red River.  It winds this way and that, it bumps up and down... yellow tall grass poking through white snow... red bushes... a galaxy of branches...snowy trails... soft and quiet... alone.  

Was it happenstance that I found myself on this secluded trail with all the beauty of a W.J. Philips landscape... with K.D. Lang singing the iconic helpless, helpless, helpless on the iPod?

Or was it simply meant to be?


And finally, in the spirit of awards... the ugliest cake of the year award goes to ....


It sorta looks like someone... umm... how shall I put it.... delicately... barfed on the cake. It's my wife's lemon birthday cake.  Apparently it's a big no-no in the baking world to add the wet ingredients before the dry ingredients are mixed.  Who would have figured?  It tastes great, and she loves it (at least that what she tells me), but the image is kind of scary.

You all are wonderful folks with good, kind hearts.  I hope you have a peaceful week and, as always, it IS a good day to be alive.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

And the stupidest bumpersticker of the year award goes to...

slow down, 
you're going too fast, 
got to make the morning last

Simon and Garfunkel, Feeling Groovy

...the white Volkswagen hatchback that blew passed me at 70 klicks in a 50 zone at Provoncher and Archibald this afternoon at about 12:30. I'm not prone to road rage, but man, I was ticked off at this guy.  You would have been too!

The bumper sticker? 
It's only speeding if you get caught

I thought I was mistaking, is that even legal?  When I caught up to him at the red light I checked again... I must have been mistaking, no one would be that stupid... but sure enough, there it was, bold letters, red on white's only speeding if you get caught.  

I commute by vehicle daily, 45 minutes each way in addition to travelling between different job sites, and I see examples of bad drivers every day. But this bumper sticker, this particular driver ticked off more so than usual. It's the self-centered message, don't-give-a-flying-care-for-others attitude that sets this guy apart from all the others.  He even as the audacity to brag about his stupidity. It's sad really... but it still make my blood boil!

I was mad. 

I wanted to confront him and remind that he's in a school zone. I wanted to shake him. I wanted to  make him squirm. I wanted him to attend a funeral of a young person killed by someone with an arrogant attitude such as his. I wanted to tell him about the lingering pain of losing a loved one.  I wanted to tell him the emptiness and regret he would have for the rest of his life.  

I wanted to talk.

I wanted to tell him about Amy, and her uncle Michael.

Michael is a regular guy, a runner, and a blogger (like me in many ways). I have never met him but I've followed his blog for years. He lives in the San Francisco area and he strikes me as the kind if guy whose company I would enjoy over a beer. I would like to go for a run with Michael.   Yes, I would enjoy his company on a run and over a beer. We would have much to discuss and share. 

In time, and over miles, Michael would tell me the story of Amy.

Michael's 27 year old niece, Amy was killed by an inattentive speeding driver one morning while she was on her daily 4 mile run.  Michael has committed to run 12 marathons in 2013 to honour her memory and raise awareness of the dangers of speeding.  Click here to follow his journey. I will add Amy's name to my bib on my next marathon.

How about you?

It's a good day to be alive... let's slow down and enjoy it!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Down Again

I won't bore you with the details, but I will tell you that I'm injured, again.  And it still sucks. And I'm still learning to embrace that suck, but I'm not doing so well in this department. The embrace eludes me yet the suck is in my face and greets me every morning with an insidious grimace. 

And not running still feels lethargic and thick and dull.  And I'm still a big baby when it comes to not running. And I want to run. And it hurts so, not running. Not running, says an old friend, is the continual presence of absence. I say it is the absence of presence, but what does it matter? It aches either way.

I lied.  

I will bore you with the details because it is part of my self-diagnosed therapy, that and staring out the window marvelling at the beautiful bodies that gracefully dance in and out of view. Truly my heart skips a beat as a runner approaches - they look amazing with red cheeks and eyes sparkling and skin glowing. 

it aches 
as they fade 
from view 
of exhaust
like steam trains  
they round 
the rail 
from view

The power of running is magnetic and it pulls hard from the sidelines.  

Okay, enough of that woe is me stuff...

I haven't run in 9 days and 2 hours.

I lied.

I ran today to test the waters. It didn't go so well. The left calf seized again at mile one and I limped home at an agonizingly slow pace.  Stretching aggravates it more so I type this blog seeking more therapy.

Nine days and two hours ago I ran home from work - 11 miles. It was a gorgeous run and all was wonderful in body, in mind and in spirit... I'm humming along, top of my game, thinking, breathing, happy when suddenly ... at mile 10... I zigged a little to avoid a taxi cab backing out of a driveway.  It was hardly a sudden move, but it was enough to tweak the left calf, just briefly enough to open the door, just a tiny crack, just wide enough for that unwelcome guest to latch on to the left soleous.  Wow, it latches on hard and so fast and without warning! 

Having been down this road a few times I know the drill... massage, physio, rest... lots and lots of rest.  Yuck, rest. 

My physiotherapist analyzed my shoe.  First the tread where she found nothing unusual. Then, upon close examination, she noticed wear on the inner side of the left shoe (click 'em big).

My Aisics 2140's 
Look a little closer
And closer yet...
There you go, see it now?
I'm not sure what to make of this pattern.  I checked my old running shoes dating back several years and sure enough, same pattern, same wear, in the same place. Clearly my left foot swings inward and rubs against my right inner shoe.  My right shoe has a similar scar but not as distinctly as my left.  I don't feel my left shoe making contact with my right shoe, but heck, it must be happening. The evidence is clear as day!

Could this be my problem?  Is this why my left calf pops once or more a year?  What can I do about it?  

Sorry for lying... sorry for bothering you with the messy details of my running issues.

It really is a good day to be alive.  My left calf is a minor nuisance, insignificant in the bigger realm. It's frustrating and it steals some joy, but it's also teaches me patience and reminds me that I am alive. I will embrace that suck because the embrace makes me stronger.

It's a good day to be alive.

You be well, all of you.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Point Douglas Run 2012, Race Report

Oh love we can dance, we can dance, we can dance
As long as we dance in the thick of it
As one

Royal Wood, In the Thick of It, We Were Born To Glory

If fun, smiles, and community are a measurement of success than this, the first annual Point Douglas Run, was a runaway 5-star hit.  The registration numbers started slow, nerve wracking for the planning committee. They trickled in ... 65 on Wednesday, 85 on Friday, but then on Saturday, magically 50 walk-up registrants appeared for a whopping 135 runners and walkers by sunny gun-time.  

The race director was all smiles and bubbles as she danced in the thick of it with crooked lady-bug wings. Everywhere smiles, everywhere laughter, everywhere blessed moments crackled like fire. The big old Norquay Community Centre radiated with positive energy. The smell of fresh coffee, toast, and scrambled eggs wafted throughout. It was such a good day to be alive.  So positive and such affirmation of all that is good.  Such a fine race and such good folks in this community. They put on a party and they opened the doors wide for all diversity.  We danced as one in old Point Douglas, in the thick of it, we danced as one.

In his blessing the elder spoke
eloquently of the irony... I paraphrase... 
We hear of bad things in our neighbourhood, we hear that bad people live in our neighbourhood,  all the news is bad, and yet now,when I look upon all of you, with the sun and the clouds, the young and the old, all I see is goodness.  All about me I see hope and promise.
Thought bubbles popped up all around as the elder spoke...'hope and promise'... 'young and old'... 'yellow, red, black, and white'... 'blue, blue sky'... 'sun shining'.... 'river flowing'... 'all I see is goodness'. Yup, I don't know about you but that imagery kinda makes me tear-up a bit.  The wisdom of the Elders runs deep.

The course hugged the north bank of the Red River and seemed to find every hill in Winnipeg!  Check the profile...

It's an out-and-back course that is mostly pavement but a couple of kilometers are hard packed gravel.  Much of the course snakes it way through Grand Old North End along Burrows Scotia, and Cathedral.  It's a pretty route that is steeped in history and charm.  

Although the course was marked sparsely there were enough strategically placed volunteers to prevent confusion.  The few runners that did veer off course were quickly herded back enroute. The course markers were set up the evening previous and apparently some were removed by mischievous folks.  This may have caused a little uncertainty for the lead runners - those speedy guys, they're always getting lost ;>) - The course was also marked with yellow ribbons which really helped with navigation.  Perhaps more yellow ribbons would have helped clarify the course.

There were plenty of water stations placed just where you would expect them to be. The Dixie Cups were tiny. They held a couple of sips at most. I used two cups at each water station and even that wasn't quite enough. I like the idea of small cups to minimize wastage, but perhaps these cups were a little too small for runners working up a steam.  It wasn't a hot race so hydration wasn't a real issue, but watch out in the heat!

The volunteers were simply perfect.  They cheered enthusiastically and they smiled warmly.  Some may not appreciate the goodness of what they do so let's take a moment to remind ourselves about volunteering.  Hmm, I wonder what Wiki would say? altruistic activity intended to promote good or improve human quality of life. It is considered as serving the society through one's own interests, personal skills or learning, which in return produces a feeling of self-worth and respect, instead of money. Volunteering is also famous for skill development, socialization and fun.
Yikes!... and you thought you were just handing out water to strange runners in tu-tus!  Sort of puts it into perspective, don't you think?

The Point Douglas Race is not an officially timed event.  There was a clock at the start line and finish line for those that needed it and some wore Garmins.  Personally, I loved the fact that it was a non-timed event.  Timed runs are a different beast and tend to bring out a competitive spirt. I'm just as competitive as the next runner, however it was liberating to just run for the fun of it. To leave the Garmin at home and pack a tu-tu in its place... now THAT'S liberating!  I hope The Point Douglas Run planning committee leaves it just that way... it ain't broke so don't fix it.

Thank you Point Douglas Run Committee for a really fine event.  I know you will be back again next year so we won't say goodbye, let's part with a runner's adieu ... see you on the trails!

It's a good day to be alive, dancing in the thick of it as one.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Twin City Marathon 2012, Race Report

It was everything I had hoped for.  When we came down John Ireland Boulevard she was just absolutely beaming. It was so much fun.

Mark Brunvold 

I can't say I burned the course but I did warm it up a little. Here's some statistics that will surely cure Jo's insomnia:


  • Average Pace: 10:01
  • Overall Placement: 4985th out of 8780 runners (56th percentile)
  • Gender Placement: 3302 out of 5095 males (64th percentile)
  • Age Placement: 159th out of 314 males in the 55 to 59 age group (51st percentile)
  • Overall time: 4:22:18
What do I take from these numbers?  Simply, I'm a middle of the pack runner, slightly faster than most my age, but no Gebrselassie ... always have been, always will be. And you know what... that's alright.

The foot race was won by Kenyan, Christopher Kipyego with a time of 2:14:53 and Jeanette Faber of Portland Oregan with a time of 2:32:37.  The wheelers was won by Saul Mendoza of North Carolina with a time of 2:14:53. Now, these three burned up the course!

There were so many highlights that I don't know where to begin.  I'm a list sort-of-guy so when in doubt.. make a list:

See Mike Run's highlights of the Twin Cities Marathon...

  • Bumping into my old friend Martial wandering the HHH Metro-dome at 7:00 AM.
  • The young person who took my sweat bag and offered to double tie it for me... she was so sweet.
  • The conversation with a couple of strangers waiting in line at the toilet.. can guys really become best friends for 7 minutes and then depart with no expectations of ever seeing one another again? Of course, yes... it's liberating ... a friendship with no strings.
  • Printing 'Scarlet' on the back of my bib at 6 AM with a borrowed sharpie.
  • Meeting Katie.
  • Meeting Katie's partner.
  • Seeing Katie's Team on the course.
  • Starting with my very fast friend, Winston... he's come so far as a runner... 
  • Watching Winston swim fluidly through the crowds until he simply slipped away from sight.
  • Bumping into David and Melissa at the HHH Metro-dome
  • Catching up to David and Melissa at mile 16 :>)
  • The energy of the start line
  • The sweetness of the finish line
  • The 20-somethings dressed in robot costumes, dancing with a sign that read "26.2 miles... does not compute"
  • The 350,000 cheering-like-mad spectators... wow, what can one say about the spectators? Wow! 
  • Running along both banks of the Mississippi.
  • Melissa saying to me at mile 24 "my mouth hurts from smiling so hard."
  • David running ahead, finding a group of teens, leading them in a cheer "Go Mike Go" as I ran by... they cheered wildly.
  • The leaves.
  • Mile 24... Jon on my mind.
  • Mile 25... Mandi on my mind.
  • Mile 26... emotions running high... Scarlet on my mind.
  • My right knee buckling mid-stride 100 metres from the finish line only to recover in a nano-second.
  • Crossing the line in the sand... that sweet, sweet line.
  • Holding the hips of the volunteer to brace myself as she placed a medal around my neck... her smile was genuine and beautiful.
  • The coffee, oh the coffee, black as night, hot as embers.
  • The shower.
  • The after burn.
  • The nap... the luxurious nap, so deep, so deserving, so satisfying.
Yes, there were many highlights, but the highest point of the race, the moment where truth collided with ego begins thus...

The highlight of the race for me was watching Mark Brunsvold and his 14 year old daughter Amanda run the course.  Amanda is a young athlete with Retts Syndrome and her dad is ...well... he's just a dad, but such an extraordinary dad. Retts Syndrome is a degenerative neurological disorder that almost exclusively affects girls. Mark pushed his daughter the full 26.2 miles in a specially designed racing chair. Amanda is not able to communicate verbally so she bobs her head when she wants to go faster.  On the final stretch her head bobbed furiously urging her poor dad to reach deep into the tank. I was truly humbled in their presence and I don't use that word lightly.  

Their time? ... an amazing 3:51:58.  If Kipyego and Faber burned up the course, Amanda and Mark incinerated it!

Courage and determination are defined in many different ways.

It's a good day to be alive.

:>)  M

Sunday, September 30, 2012

You're vegetarian, where do you get your protein?

My son, he's such a goof-ball. :>) 

I get my protein from plants of course. 

A grade 9 biology refresher might help.  The adult human body needs 8 essential amino acids to produce protein. Children need 9 essential amino acids.

According to Wiki...

9 of the 20 standard amino acids are called "essential" amino acids for humans because they cannot be created from other compounds by the human body, and so must be taken in as food...

Protein is one of the basic building block of the human body making up for about 16% of total body weight. Without protein we enter a negative protein balance (aka starvation). Complete protein are foods that contain all essential amino acids.  Meat eaters have it easy because meats are complete proteins.  In fact, meat eaters tend to consume more protein than needed.  Much of the protein consumed by meat eaters passes through with zero benefit. 

Vegetarians aren't so lucky. Plants contain proteins, but most are not complete proteins.  Vegetarians need to eat a variety of plant based food to ensure they consume all essential amino acids.  Unlike meat eaters, vegetarians cannot rely on a single food source for protein.  Plant based food contain some, but not all essential amino acids.  

How much protein do we need? Good question. 

It depends on our level of activity.  For example, a sedentary male my weight needs about 51 grams of protein to maintain a positive protein balance. Compare this to a very active male of my weight who needs upwards of 115 grams of protein.  

There's many protein formulas online but this one seems to be the most reasonable.  As with anything you read on SMR consult your doctor... don't take my word at face value!
  • Weight in pounds divided by 2.2 = weight in kg. 
  • Weight in kg x 0.8-1.8 gm/kg = protein gm.
  • Use a lower number if you are in good health and are sedentary (i.e., 0.8). 
  • Use a higher number (between 1 and 1.8) if you are under stress, are pregnant, are recovering from an illness, or if you are involved in consistent and intense weight or endurance training.
Where is this blog post going?  Another good question.

My son thinks my vegetarian diet coupled with my level of my endurance training puts me in a negative protein balance. I suspect he's bang-on. He bought me the whey protein mix above for my b-day several weeks ago (he also doctored the photograph in case you haven't noticed).  I have included one drink a day which provides me with an additional 35 grams of complete protein and I feel wonderful! Really, I can instantly feel the positive effects and they last the entire day.  

I realize this is a quick fix and I should really be getting my protein from food but, heading into Twin Cities Marathon, I'm using this stuff!  

So yes, my son's a goof-ball, but he's also the sweetest lad that has ever walked this planet. I love him dearly.

Perhaps you've seen this?  

On a sadder note, my thoughts are with wee Scarlet who slipped away having never felt the softness of her mother's arms or the warmness of her father's breath. Scarlet is on my mind and in my heart. 

It's a good day to be alive but sadly, some days it just doesn't feel so.