Saturday, October 11, 2014

The People of TRL; Meet Joanne Schiewe

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.
Joanne crossing the finish line of Iron Man, Boulder, Colorado, 2014
Joanne is the master of ceremonies at TRL, and this year she mastered balancing training for Ironman, working and volunteering with us. Apparently it’s a can’t say “no” type thing. But Joanne embodies everything that’s awesome about being part of Ted’s Run - determination, heart, and humour (see above pic).

Come see Jo rock the mic at TRL 2014!

Ted’s Run for Literacy - How long have you been running and how did you start?
Joanne Schiewe - I had been an athlete and runner in high school but after graduation I spent many years not doing any sort of physical activity. It's a long story on how I became active again but I started running in January 2009. I was on the elliptical at the gym, and I was jealous of all the treadmill people who each had their own TVs. I decided to try the treadmill purely so I could watch TV. I ran 2.5 miles that night. I went home and said "Manitoba Half is in five months - I think I'm going to try to do that." My friends and family know that once I say I'm going to do something, I never back down. Training for that first half marathon was tough and I didn't think I would do it again....until I crossed the finish line. I was super hooked after that.

TRL - You've done some pretty amazing competitions this year (Ironman) - how'd you balance your work life/social life/training? And what are some of thing things you learned from training, and doing these events?
JS - In the beginning I didn't balance things well at all. I annoyed (to say it nicely) a lot of family and friends that I was only available on select days. Training for marathons and especially Ironman, taught me that I needed to learn to prioritize what was important and communicate that to my family/friends. I tell them that they will ALWAYS trump training if they need me. Since I usually have "blinders" on when I am in the thick of things, they just need to speak up when they need me around, want to hang out or even just to go dancing. Balancing everything else....well....I have a problem saying “no” to I have over booked commitments multiple times or just plain forgotten about things (sorry TRL committee). I now depend heavily on my iPhone, sticky notes, and others to keep me organizes. Last year, during Ironman training I felt like I was living from gym bag to gym bag and living out of my vehicle so I had specific days dedicated to appointments, grocery shopping etc... and check-lists to help me prepare for each day.

TRL - You don't like beer right?  You get to create and name your own beer as a post race bevy. Tell us about it.
JS - Beer....yuck! **hides beer behind back and looks other way**..... I would name it "Quick Feet Pale Ale". It would be infused with the sweat and tears of 1,000 runners.

TRL - Name your top three signs you've seen during a race.
JS - I've see a lot of great ones, but I will try to keep this PG (sort of)! "If this was easy, it would be called your mom", "Run like Ryan Gosling is at the finish line, holding a puppy". "If I said you had a nice iliotibial band, would you hold it against me"

TRL - What does Ted's Run mean to you?
JS - That's a loaded question! Ted's Run means many things to me. Unfortunately, I never met Ted but I've heard so many stories about the man he was. He devoted so much of his time to helping people fall in love with running, which I respect and admire so much and I try to emulate in the clinics that I instruct. I love the sense of community (between racers/volunteers/committee members) that exists within our "little race that could". I am so pleased that through our race, we are able to support Start2Finish, who are promoting running and living a healthy lifestyle to kids that will one day run this country.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Yesterday, we said goodbye to Annie.

Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Yesterday, The Beatles, from the album Help (1965)

Yesterday, we said goodbye to Annie. How I long for yesterday. 

We had been planing for yesterday for weeks, but never did we expect yesterday to arrive. She was distressed on Friday, confused and in pain, unable to stand, and frightened.  I embraced her and soothed her. We had just walked that morning as we do every morning (we have a routine, Annie and me) sniffing and marking her territory, slower than years past, but still alert and still alive.  It came suddenly, yesterday.

A trip to the emergency hospital stabilized the worst of it, a shot of something unpronounceable, some beautiful concoction of strong chemicals. It calmed her and eased the pain and confusion.  She became quiet and focussed. We slept a fitful night with Annie by our side on her little bed, motionless, drifting between not quite asleep, not quite awake. 

Dementia, weight loss, bronchial infection, hips failing, weight loss, not drinking, and in the end, unable to stand.. it was time for this life to end. It's odd how we expected it, but when it came we fought it hard, unable to comprehend life without Annie.

The doctor was kind, a good bedside manner you would say.  He explained the procedure. A sedative followed by a strong injection, 10 times the strength needed to ensure a peaceful and final end.  The sedation was quiet. We held her dearly as if for the last time, for the last time, smoothing and caressing as she drifted out of consciousness.  The doctor left the room, allowing us to say our goodbyes, to cry, to hold on to yesterday, however fleeting. 

The good doctor returned and administered the concoction, 10 times the required strength to ensure a quick and painless end. Annie's life ended in our arms, surrounded by love and warmth. 

Yesterday, we said goodbye to Annie.  How I long for yesterday.

It's a good day to be alive.