Monday, June 30, 2014

What's the best darn Energy Bar in the world?

Twelve very active friends have volunteered to participate in a 'blind poll' to definitively answer the ageless question that has plagued athletes since the dawn of time, or since last week when I first put the bug in their ears... 
What's the best darn Energy Bar in the world?

Yup, See Mike Run doesn't shy away from investigative journalism. Bring on the tough questions! 

Each of the participants will sample ten different Energy Bars that are identified by number only. While they munch on the samples they will answer a series of questions. The results will be published on SMR within a week (or so).

With thanks to....
Carly Walsh
Bob Nicol
David Fielder
Ainsley MacDougall
Fern Berard
Darcie Wadelius
Connie Lowe
Melissa Budd
Tim MacKay
Joanne Schiewe
Cynthia Menzies
Nadine Linder

Happy Canada Day everyone; it's a good day to be alive all full of energy and good health!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

The People of Ted's Run for Literacy; Meet Bryan and Cheryl

The People of Ted's Run for Literacy is a 'behind the scenes' look at the many individuals that make up Ted's Run for Literacy; from committee members, to runners, to volunteers, to sponsors.  Every week leading up to race day we will interview an individual whose contribution to TRL helps to define the heart and soul of this fine event. The People of TRL is the brainchild of our Social Media chair, Carly Walsh.
Cheryl Peters (right, blue jacket) trained for months to walk the 2-k event at TRL.
Cheryl and Bryan, two of TRL's favourite volunteers.
If you are a runner you know that a cheer from the sidelines can be all it takes to dig deep for that extra bit of energy. Bryan and Cheryl Peters have been those friendly faces on the TRL course and other races around the city, cheering on their daughter Connie (a TRL volunteer coordinator) and other runners come sleet or snow. We can’t thank them enough for their support and their signs!

Ted’s Run for Literacy - Why do you feel it's important to volunteer at races and other running events?
Bryan and Cheryl Peters - We believe that running events are a wonderful way to support charitable causes. Not only do they raise funds but they go a long way to bringing awareness to them as well. We are blessed to have a daughter who loves running and we want to encourage her and others to keep running in these events.

TRL - What has been your favourite race to volunteer/cheer at and why?
BCP - The "Hypo-halfs" are always fun. We try to be at as many spots as possible to encourage our daughter. We also cheer on others with signs and banners as we go from spot to spot. We love the interaction we get as we have come to know many of the runners over the years.

TRL - What are positive words you can give to keep runners motivated?
BCP - On a serious side we just want the runners to know that this is a personal thing. Many of them are running against their own best time. To hear someone on the sidelines yelling encouragements only fuels them to drag that last ounce of willpower out and finish the race. On a lighter side we love to make banners and signs that show up at every race we go to. Signs like "RUN LIKE YOU STOLE SOMETHING" or "TOENAILS ARE FOR SISSIES". We have a double sided sign that says "YOU CAN DO IT" on one side and a quick flip to the other side brings out everything from smiles to stumbling laughter. The back of the sign says "DON'T POOP". Apparently this is a big concern for some runners.

TRL - How do you stay positive out on the course? Especially when it's raining/cold/super hot?
BCP - Cheryl volunteered to cheer runners on at the Police half marathon. It was supposed to be a warm spring day. As it turned out the day was met by a full on blizzard. Cheryl still went out armed with banners and frozen shouts of "YOUR ALMOST THERE". The coffee shop nearby kept bringing her hot drinks and the runners warmed her soul with hugs as they went by. Many of the Ted's Run marathons have started on chilly mornings. When you get there and see familiar faces and get into the mood you soon forget about the cold and wet. This isn't about us but about the cause and the many runners who are giving it their best to support a worthwhile cause.

TRL - What does Ted's Run mean to you?
BCP - For Cheryl it has been the goal of walking the 2K one year after having a total knee replacement and knocking a big chunk off her previous time when she walked it the following year.

For me it has been to capture the expressions on the runners faces as they cross the finish line. I've been taking pictures since I was a kid and this has been such fun to capture those images. I also know what it's like to have trouble reading. It's taken many years to learn to enjoy a book. Supporting a program that helps kids read and also supports physical activity is all good stuff.

Bryan Peters, official TRL photographer.

It's a good day to be alive, especially when Bryan and Cheryl are volunteering at Ted's Run for Literacy.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Runner Down; Rick Lecuyer Collapses at Boston Marathon

Rick Lecuyer
Fifty-seven year old Rick Lecuyer is an extraordinary individual.  The 2014 Boston Marathon was to be his twenty-first full marathon and second Boston Marathon but, as with many things in life, it did not go as planned.

Rick first qualified for Boston in 2008 at the Ottawa Marathon. He qualified again in 2012 at the Chicago Marathon with an outstanding 3:12:27, almost 18 minutes faster than the required time.  In addition, Rick has completed over 30 half-marathons and dozens of 5 and 10 k event. Clearly, this man is no stranger to distance running.

Rick is the consummate runner; he knows about pain, suffering, goals, triumphs, and defeats. He frequently volunteers at races throughout the city and can often be seen cheering runners curbside. Those that know him will attest that he’s well respected and loved within our tight community. He’s quiet, reserved and shy about sharing his achievements with this pesky blogger. He understands the significance of the events leading up to his collapse and wants others to be cautious.  Rick agrees his story could save a fellow runner's life and for this reason, he wants it told.

Rick was feeling confident and strong in the days leading up to the Boston Marathon.  He was eating and sleeping well and was hydrated. He ran a “good strong pace” the day before the marathon to loosen the legs and ease the pre-race jitters.

Rick was seeded in wave 1, corral 9 as planned, while his life-partner Lorraine started in wave 3, corral 8.

“We’ll meet at the finish line” was the fateful plan du jour.

Rick started strong and was on pace for the first 13 miles. He first sensed a twitch of discomfort at mile 14 and slowed his pace. Still running, he became light headed and disoriented. Suddenly a jolt of pain permeated his right arm and then his chest felt tight and his breathing became labored.  At mile 15 Rick went down on one knee clutching his chest and fainted, collapsing in the gutter of the famed Boston Marathon.

The all too familiar call was made “runner down” and the critical response team jumped to action.

He remembers opening his eyes about a minute later, bewildered, confused and wanting to continue with the race. The police on site told him that wouldn’t be happening and an ambulance was dispatched.  Rick was taken to Beth Israel Hospital, the same hospital the bombing victims were triaged in 2013. 

The medical team noticed Rick’s Road ID and called his daughters Noelle and Nicole who then began the arduous task of contacting friends and family. Lorraine’s daughter Jenn was the first contacted. In the face of adversity these three amazing women calmly developed a plan to text contacts at the Boston Marathon who would then meet with Lorraine.  Noelle was steadfast in her communication with the hospital and together, with good friend Bill Diehl Jones, critical information trickled to his loved ones and friends gathered in bars, hotels, and coffee shops throughout Boston.

The attention now shifted to finding Lorraine who was still on the course oblivious to the happenings.  Two friends eventually located her next to the Boston Common gate.  They provided broad strokes and advised her to call home.

Exhausted and elated from just having completed the most prestigious marathon in the entire world, and now hit with this tragic news, Lorraine’s brain was simply not capable of retaining information. She quickly passed the phone to a friend who took the details.

Lorraine shares:

“The scene at the Beth Israel was somewhat of a war zone with lots of injured runners. By the time I reached him they were discussing options for his care… and concluded that he had not suffered cardiac arrest.”

The reason for Rick’s collapse remains a mystery and is as perplexing as it is unsettling.  He now runs with a HRM and has newfound appreciation of his own mortality.

The final word goes to Rick

“Never leave home without your Road I.D. during training times or race day. It saved my life and it could save yours. Write the names and phone numbers on the back of your bib of people waiting at the finish line.”

It’s a good day to be alive, right Rick?


Order your Road ID today.  Tell 'em Rick and Lorraine sent you.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The People of Ted's Run For Literacy; Meet Wayne Sage

The People of Ted's Run for Literacy is a 'behind the scenes' look at the many individuals that make up Ted's Run for Literacy; from committee members, to runners, to volunteers, to sponsors.  Every week leading up to Race Day we will interview another individual whose contribution to TRL defines the heart and soul of this fine event. The People of TRL is the brainchild of our Social Media chair, Carly Walsh.

Wayne Sage
Premier Sponsor of TRL 2013
Owner Hardwood Designs
Wayne is a TRL double threat - his company, Harwood Design Builders is a premier sponsor, and Wayne is also a TRL racer. We’re proud to have been his first race, and happy that he’ll be back on the pavement in 2014!

Ted’s Run for Literacy: How long have you been running, and why did you start?
Wayne Sage: I’ve been running two years. I started on a dare/bet with good friends Eric and Sandra Danberg who challenged me to get into running. I was 272 pounds and had every syndrome that could be associated with that so I thought running would be part of my weight loss. I lost almost 50 pounds over the next year and Ted’s Run 5k was my first run. I have now done Fargo 10k, and also went to Big Sur, California to run the Big Sur Trail Half Marathon with 3,000 feet of elevation change

TRL: What motivates you to go for a run even when you might not really want to?
WS: Staying in shape and escaping things for a while, running and pushing to see how far I can go and accomplish, and looking at duathalon and maybe triathalon as well

TRL:If your iPod got stuck on repeat while running what song would you want to listen to over and over and over?
WS: Jimmy Buffet’s “Boat Drinks”

TRL: Do you have any pre-race rituals?
WS: Scrambling at the last minute to find where my dogs have hidden my running gear......followed by a regimen of Advil.

TRL: Why did you choose to run in TRL?
WS: My good friend Sandra Danberg is on the organizing committee and asked me to be a sponsor and also thought it would be a good first run for me. After getting involved and learning Ted’s story and the great work that was being done I was so impressed that I became a premier sponsor and will continue to return.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I Am Thankful

"The bone is not the reward - digging for the bone is the reward."

Today I ran the 36th annual Manitoba Marathon in the company of thousands. Like others, I trained many, many miles in trying conditions.  I ran when my mind screamed no.  I ran when my body ached from head to toe. I ran when my spirit slagged and I wanted to curl up in a corner... 

But I run, and I run, and I run... and I ran, and I ran, and I ran.  I ran until I was ready, and then I ran some more.

And what did I learn through these 650 training miles for this single event?

"I wish I didn't do that run" said no one. Ever.  

I learned we can do more than we believe. I learned we can be courageous on the outside when we cower on the inside. I learned life is better when we push our minds, spirits and bodies to uncomfortable extremes. 

That's what I learned.

My time was respectable for an old sea-dog such as myself: 4:14:57, placing 20/40 in my age category (55-59), and 217/391 in my gender placement. What do these numbers mean? Not much really, but for number geeks it means...

If you take 100 male marathoners of all ages and line them up from slowest to fastest I would be number 56 in that line. Forty-four would be faster than me and fifty-five would be slower.

The numbers are interesting and add a layer to my performance, but they are clinical, as if dissecting a frog in grade 11 biology. The marathon is a unique experience for it's about more human matters than mere numbers.  The marathon is about grace and humility. It's about pain and joy.  It's about tears and it's about laughter. It's about all this and more, but truly, it's not about numbers.

So I give thanks...

I am thankful for my health.

I am thankful for my strength.

I am thankful for my heart, my lungs, my bones.

I am thankful for my wife Jennifer for the warmth of her embrace.

I am thankful for my son Max (he makes me glow warm with pride and love)

I am thankful for my deceased father, Charles aka Charlie, aka dad, aka Poppa.

I am thankful for my deceased mother, Dorothy, aka Dixie, aka mom, aka Nan.

I am thankful for my my running friends, so many and so pure of heart and full of joy.

I am thankful for Laura and her daughters, Zara and Lucy  who stood steadfast in the cold rain waiting patiently for a glimpse of me.

I am thankful for my sister Judith, our family matriarch, for hugging me and cheering me.

I am thankful for Ainsley for her kind note waiting for me at 4AM wake-up, go mike go!

I am thankful for the readers of this tired old running blog, you mean so much to me.

Thank you and remember always, it is a good day to be alive, even when it feels as though the walls are crashing down all around.


Friday, June 13, 2014

The People of Ted's Run for Literacy; Meet Christy Zamzow

The People of Ted's Run for Literacy is a 'behind the scenes' look at the many individuals that make up Ted's Run for Literacy; from committee members, to runners, to volunteers, to sponsors.  Every week leading up to Race Day we will interview another individual whose contribution to TRL defines the heart and soul of this fine event. The People of TRL is the brainchild of our Social Media chair, Carly Walsh.

Christy Zamzow; TRL Committee member
If you’ve had the pleasure of being in one of Christy’s running clinics at the Running Room on Kenaston, you know she for sure rhymes run with fun (I mean check out her photos). The TRL Board is lucky to have her as a web-design-type-person, registration-organizer-lady, utlitmate-brochure-creator, and just all-around-super-supporter.

Ted’s Run for Literacy - How long have you been running?
Christy Zamzow - I started running for fitness when I was 18 and despised every minute of it. It was hard! I ran off and on until 2005 when a "frenemy" challenged me to a half marathon. I still remember the first 10 mile training run and thinking, "I just ran 10 miles! All at once!" I think that was when I realized I actually liked running and thinking I could do anything. Even now though, every race I get nervous and think "I can't do this." That is when you just have to trust your training and realize that no matter what, you have just passed everyone on the couch.

TRL - You're known for having a little fun with your race attire - what's been your best costume?
CZ - Ha! Who have you been talking to? I am boring! Lies! All Lies! Doesn't everyone run in a "I Dream of Genie" costume for the Hypothermic Half? Probably my favourite would be the miniature Elvis costume because I could make him dance while I run!

TRL - Do you have a running mantra?
CZ - I do! Have you ever run with Edwina Keats? She is a machine! She just doesn't quit. I did one training run with her and it was a pretty windy day. Every time we had to run into the wind, Edwina sped up. We were on a trail by the river and there were a few hills. Every hill, Edwina sped up. The amazing thing is, the harder the challenge, the faster she goes. Ever since then my mantra has been "Be Edwina. Be Edwina, Be Edwina."

TRL - If you had one item of food waiting for you at the finish line what would it be?
CZ - A cold cold beer.

TRL - What does Ted's Run mean to you?
CZ - Ted was one of the best clinic instructors out there. He always, and I mean always, made sure that everyone got across the finish line. He knew his stuff and he was always available if you had questions. He never made you feel bad for asking. The fact that we can support a charity in his honour that teachers running and literacy to children is just fantastic. Sport is so important for kids and their developing minds.It's absolutely great that we can teach them how to set a long term goal and attain it without a T.V. screen! I will always support this run.

It's a good day to be alive!

The People of Ted's Run For Literacy; Meet Bob Nicol

The People of Ted's Run for Literacy is a 'behind the scenes' look at the many individuals that make up Ted's Run for Literacy; from committee members, to runners, to volunteers, to sponsors.  Every week leading up to Race Day we will interview another individual whose contribution to TRL defines the heart and soul of this fine event. The People of TRL is the brainchild of our Social Media chair, Carly Walsh.

Barefoort Bob coming down the chute.
Ted's Run for Literacy 2013
Photo credit unknown
You may know him as “Barefoot Bob,” but we know him as one of the greatest champions of Ted’s Run for Literacy. From helping raise awareness, to raising funds, to of course running TRL wouldn’t be the same without him.

Ted’s Run for Literacy: How long have you been running?
Bob Nicol: I have been running for about 5 years.

TRL: What’s your favourite post-run snack?
BN: My favorite post run food depends on the length. Shorter runs consist mainly of bananas and oranges - usually what ever is handy and quick. Long runs usually consist of pizza, hamburgers, something to get some of the calories back that I had used up. Also like burritos.

TRL: What’s the perfect song to run to?
BN: I really like "It's a Long Way to the Top" by AC/DC - love the bagpipes. But usually any high tempo music will do, usually on the heavier side though. Gets my feet going.

TRL: Favourite race and why.
BN: Favourite race is most definitely The Canadian Death Race. I really love the mountains and the atmosphere and serenity of the trail is just amazing. I have ran it the last three years and would love to run it every year.

Although Ted's Run is also very near and dear to my heart. I was lucky enough to have Ted as my running instructor at the Running Room prior to him passing away. One thing he instilled in me was the need to have fun on the run and that is something that I try to do with every run. Start and finish with the same smile on my face and encourage and help along the way.

TRL: Why is Ted’s Run important to you?
BN: Ted's Run is important to me for a few reasons: It is such an amazing cause. That would be the most important - to give the kids that need it that extra bit of fun, support, encouragement and help in their lives. It is important to give them that confidence and knowledge that, yes, they can succeed. Very inspiring. Secondly, to see the passion and fire in the eyes of the organizers and the teachers involved including Mike Bennett, Aldo Furlan, Connie Joy, and everybody else involved is amazing. It is my honour and privilege to help in anyway I can.

It's a good day to be alive.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Why I Choose to Run The Manitoba Marathon

I’m the first to admit the Manitoba Marathon is over due for a makeover. Increasing numbers of Manitoba runners have written it off completely preferring events south of the border. Social media sites are abuzz with negative comments about our marathon and many are openly critical, often unfairly so.  It’s easy to get swooped up with all this negativity so I thought I would blog my top ten reasons why I will proudly run my fifth full Manitoba Marathon on Sunday June 15.

10.  I will wear my Diana Stevens Empower Run singlet to honor this most distinguished local athlete. Many will recognize the significance of this gesture because it’s a local event and they will cheer me. If you see me, don’t say, “Go Mike”, say “Go Diana” and then quickly step aside, as the afterburners will surely maim. The MB Marathon is local and locals are tuned into to local heroes and they just get it. Remember... Go Diana!

9. Manitoba Runners' Association Hall of Fame recipient, Michael Booth placed first in the full marathon in 2005 (2:35:38), 2006 (2:31:54), 2007 (2:36:12), and 2010 (2:32:33).  He also placed first in the half-marathon in 2000 (1:09:43).  To run in the footsteps of such an esteemed local giant is a tremendous honor and an extraordinary privilege. 

8. The Manitoba Marathon supports Manitobans living with intellectual disabilities. Since its inception in 1979 over five million dollars has been raised to kick start over 500 projects across Manitoba.  These projects assist Manitobans living with intellectual disabilities gain independence and a live a full life free of institutions.

7. The grunge band at the corner of Dromore and Harrow that rocks out year after year. They have heart and understand the importance of supporting community. Keep on rockin' in the free world, guys!

6. The Manitoba Marathon school programs are second to none.  Thousands of children from across Manitoba participate in one of the six events.  As a school coach for many years I frequently witnessed kids successfully nag their sedentary parents to get off the couch and lace up.  The Manitoba Marathon race committee is to be commended for the work they do in engaging families.  

5. Cars are not allowed into the university on race day! Let’s face it, cars and pedestrians don’t mix and anytime we remove vehicles from the equation we all benefit. The race committee provides free and frequent shuttle service from several convenient locations within a mile of the start line.

4. The Manitoba Marathon is cheap.  Registration is $95. If I were organized and paid closer attention to the early bird price I would have paid $80.   By comparison, the Chicago Marathon is $210 USD, Minneapolis Marathon $130 USD, and the Ottawa Marathon $105.  Of course you also need to factor in airfare, fuel, hotel, and food for all out-of-town events easily totaling an additional $1000.  I’m about an hour away from my bed and my refrigerator from the Manitoba Marathon finish line.

3. It’s comfortable like an old pair of jeans.  I know the turns, the hills, the beer stations, the porta-potties, the tangents, I know the theme song The Chariots of Fire will play at the start, I know the massage shop on Pembina Highway will have the “See You on Monday” sign… With all its warts and bruises and predictability, it’s just kind of comfy to run in your own neighbourhood. Cheezy? Maybe so. Comfy? You bet!

2. All runners are thoroughly checked over by one of two dozen volunteers as they cross the finish line. They ask questions to determine your mental state and are trained in spotting medical abnormalities. These wonderful volunteers will stay with you until they are convinced you're okay. This simply does not happen at any other marathon.

1. All those amazing friends, family, volunteers and strangers that station themselves strategically along the course to show their support. Their cheers, and their ice water, their chilled grapes, their flat coke, their popsicles, their high-fives, their smiles, their blown kisses, their handmade signs, their unsolicited gestures of kindness and love… It’s our event, it's our community, and I am proud to run this marathon and call it home.   

Let’s get out their and celebrate the Manitoba Marathon, our community event. Run, volunteer, cheer, or donate... or not... it's your choice.

It's a good day to be alive, eh?