Sunday, February 23, 2014

Hypothermic Half Marathon 2014 in Pictures

Bob at mile 10.5-ish
Not being able to run the Hypothermic Half marathon this year because of a bum calf, I did the next best thing; take pictures of other people running the Hypothermic Half Marathon.  If you can't join 'em, live vicariously through their lens.  Here's 20 of my favourite pictures. Such brilliant faces, all frosty and smiley!  

Why do we run?  Crazy question that; we run because through the act of movement -running- our brains become fired with joy. It ain't rocket science!

Don't believe me?  Why then are all these people smiling?

It's a good day to be alive... go out there and live it to the fullest.


(click 'em to make 'em big)

such snow!

such colour!

such a pacer!

such exuberance! 

such positivity! 

such coincidence!

such leadership!

such joie de vivre!

such fun!

such happiness! 

such energy!

such eyes!

such eye lashes!

such determination!

such focus!

such loveliness!

such a smile!

such strength!

such devotion!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Running Mindfully

Mindfulness; focusing on the present, awakening to experience.
Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad.  Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience. (Psychology Today)

Running; both feet off the ground at regular intervals.
Running is a means of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and other animals to move rapidly on foot. It is simply defined in athletic terms as a gait in which at regular points during the running cycle both feet are off the ground.(Wikipedia)

Running Mindfully is a state of bliss experienced by runners as they purposefully focus on their heart and breathing as they run in the moment and for the moment. Running mindfully is not a 'runner's high' which is fleeting and occurs with unpredictability.   When running mindfully one becomes overwhelmed with a sense of contentment, happiness, and wellbeing for the duration of the run.(Mike)

This morning I had a blissful 6 mile run along the Forks River Trail where I entered a state of mindfulness. I was tired from the previous week and my mind was chock-full of swirling, disconnected thoughts. It's been cold around these parts lately so the -14 degrees celsius, blue sky, and bright sunshine was a welcome relief. I was looking forward to this run. Actually, I needed this run. I didn't plan the mindfulness; it simply washed over me and cleansed the mind and calmed jagged thoughts. Before long I became wrapped in the the loveliness and the warmth of her embrace. My mind slowed to match the rhythm of her heart, my heart. Beauty resonated all about in the moment.  Still pictures in vivid colour flash before my eyes.

Proud young mothers with infants in tow. Dads skating madly pulling toboggans with exuberant children laughing. Healthy red cheeks. Neon snowsuits.  Endless blue skies. Brilliant white snow. Old folks shuffling with long coats and wooly mittens. Warming huts, yellow and spinning, red and wrapping, offering warmth no less. Smiles and cheery hellos. Teenagers holding hands... love is in the air? Faint hints of spring. And on and on. And beauty and beauty stacked upon beauty, branching towards the heavens. In the end, all we have is beauty.

I run in the present. I am in awe of my strength. I revel in the moment. The crunching of my footsteps. The evenness of my lungs breathing. The power of my heart beating. This run, this magic little run where I shed baggage, weight ...where the present becomes bright blessed moments of beauty. The past forgotten. The future ignored. Just running in the moment.

Running mindfully, it is a good day to be alive.  


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

David Fielder; MRA Hall of Fame Inductee

Lean Horse 100 Mile Ultra Marathon 2013

Congratulations to David Fielder, John Murphy, and Dwayne Sandal for their acceptance into the Manitoba Runners' Association Hall of Fame. These three runners do us proud! Please join us at the banquet on March 31.  Visit the MRA web site for more information (see sidebar).  

The following is the submission for David Fielder, a collaborative affair between five runners that know well David's insatiable spirit for running.  I think we captured his spirit rather well; would you not agree?

To whom it concerns;

David Fielder meets or surpasses the criteria for the Manitoba Runner’s Association, Athlete/Builder Award.  This nomination was written in consultation with five individual runners who know David well and can attest to his strength of character, his running achievements, and his ability to build community.

David the joie de vivre Runner

David Fielder is an extraordinary runner on many levels.  His passion for running is unparalleled, his joie de vivre while running is entirely contagious, and his running achievements are many and significant.  To know David is to admire him, but to run with David is to find answers for that ever-elusive question, why do we run. Running with David, whether it is a 10-k fun run or an ultra-marathon, brings out the best of all those fortunate enough to run in his path.  If there were ever an ambassador for our community, it is best exemplified in David Fielder.

David the Numbers Runner

David has run in excess of 90 marathons, 10 ultra-marathons (five of which were 100-mile ultras), and countless half-marathons, and 10-k and 5k events.  His marathon PB is 3:43 and he was one of only 17 runners to complete the 2013 Lean Horse Ultra 100 miler in less than 24 hours with an astounding time of 23 hours, 17 minutes.

David the Selfless Runner

Although time is important to David, it pales in comparison to his desire to help others succeed in achieving their desired time.  A friend said recently “David could be an elite runner if he wanted to, but he sacrifices his own run to help others”. This comment rings true to me personally. I recall running the Minneapolis Marathon with David and my energy flagging at mile 22.  I slowed while he maintained a rock solid pace. He weaved through the throngs of runners and soon he was out of sight.  I gritted down and trudged ever forward, alone and hurting, but determined to finish! 

Initially, I barely noticed the faint cheers… go Mike go, go Mike go, go Mike go  Soon they became more pronounced, louder, and building in feverish intensity.  I was confused. Go Mike go?  Are they cheering for me?  Who even knows my name on this course?  And then David’s unbridled grin came into focus like a full moon on a starry night. There was David at mile 23 leading a group of teen-volunteers in this crazy chant. Fist bumps and high fives abounded…. it was all too much.  With eyes watering I didn’t cross the finish line, I soared over.

Ever the selfless runner David had sacrificed his time to organize a group of strangers to cheer me forward, to encourage me, and to give me the strength to persevere. My story is not unique; many runners have a similar story of David’s selflessness. For David, the race isn’t about his success; it’s about helping others achieve their success.  With humility, humor, and grace, David exemplifies the values and virtues of a selfless runner.

David the Volunteer Runner

David teaches grade 8 at a middle school in the Interlake School Division.  He is an exemplary teacher in many regards including his dedication towards coaching.  Currently David coaches the school cross country run team, track and field team, and basketball team.  He is well loved by the many students he has coached. Over the years he has encouraged countless young people to unleash the personal excellence that lies within.

David has also volunteered at numerous races as a pacer.  His groups are known for having a lot of fun on the course, but also for achieving the designated time.  He has helped countless novice runners experience the thrill of completing their first half or full marathon.

David the Passionate Runner

David brings a passion to running that is unprecedented.  He understands that without goals we have no baseline from which to improve or grow.  Several years ago he set a goal to run 100 marathons. He is well on his way to achieve this goal although he rarely speaks of this incredible success.  When asked to elaborate he’ll give a vague answer as if embarrassed and skillfully turn the conversation back your successes. 

In May 2011 David ran a sub-four hour marathon in Brainerd Minneapolis.  The conditions were brutal; the wind, the cold and the rain colluded to make this marathon one for the memory book.  Immediately following the race he returned to Winnipeg through blizzard conditions only to arrive at a closed border station. Napping in the car until the border opened, he arrived in Winnipeg at 5 AM after having driven 584 kilometers. He managed a one-hour catnap before slipping the kicks back on and dashing off to the Police Half-marathon by gun time.  He ran a sub-two hour Police Half on one hour’s sleep after having completed a sub-four hour marathon less than 24 hours earlier. All this was accomplished in blizzard conditions and frigid wind chill. 

David has completed all Fargo Marathons. For many years he ran Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota and the next day run Manitoba Marathon.

David the Spirited Runner

David has organized a little know annual run called the Slurpee Dash.  He and several other equally spirited runners plan a route through Winnipeg that includes a rest stop at all twelve 7-11 Stores.  The intent of this run is to have fun while piling up serious miles over the course of the day while training for ultras.

On particularly hot marathons David has been known to stop for a Slurpee at 7-11 Stores along the course and continue running with Slurpee in hand.

David is well known for showing up on race day in costume.  His collection of costumes includes tutus, Waldo, Superman, Sponge Bob, escaped Keystone convict (for the Cops Run), and firefighter (for the Fire Paramedic Run) to name but a few.  The costumes bring levity to the races and are much loved by spectators, volunteers, and runners.

David laughs and sings while running marathons and constantly engages with spectators and runners alike.  He thanks the volunteers profusely and earnestly and makes them smile and feel good about their volunteerism.  I recall one marathon at mile 24 where David had us laughing to such an extent a fellow runner said her mouth hurt from laughing so hard. Laughing at mile 24!  That’s David.

David has been known to stash coolers containing cold drinks along the course of hot weather marathons and then surprise his running buddies with ice-cold drinks just when it’s needed most!

A friend says it best, “David brings a crazy kinda energy to all races.”

Why should David be honoured with this prestigious award?

In the end all we have are cherished memories of running.  The medals we once revered lose their shine and become tangled webs in cardboard boxes. The tee-shirts we proudly wore become faded and obsolete. The bibs become torn, frayed... meaningless. The seconds we shaved from PBs, once relished, become irrelevant in the mists of time. 

What matters most in the end are the memories of running. We remember the moments created and the lives lived.  We remember the laughter and we remember the pain. We remember the people that inspired us to soar over the line, to do our best, to believe in our abilities, and to laugh.  We remember the runners that dance over the finish line in a pink tutu with an indomitable grin.  

To run with David is to bank memories; memories to be visited time and time again.  These memories of running which we hold tenderly provide comfort when our legs fail, when our hearts slow, and when our passions fade. As we grow old the priceless memories of running sustain us.

I leave you with one such memory.  I paraphrase a memory of David from a friend:

I remember running a marathon with David. I was struggling badly.  He asked me if I could have anything I wanted, what would it be? I said jokingly “a Slurpee”. David - of course- went and found one for me and that marathon didn’t seem so bad. I’ll remember that forever. That’s who David is, the self-less runner.

I can think of no better candidate to receive this prestigious award than David Fielder, the man who weaves memories of running from sweat, build bridges from his passion, and joie de vivre from his insatiable spirit.

Fire Paramedic 1/2 Marathon 2013
It's a good day to be alive,

Michael Bennett

In collaboration with:

Melissa Budd
Nadine Linder
Gary Morris