Sunday, July 27, 2014

Go Fast on Wellington

Have you ever had a run that is as perfect a run as a perfect run can be? A run that leaves you breathless and wanting more?  A run where the conversation is smart and rich. A run where the laughter flows freely and cracks like a whip? A run that is so intoxicating we become drunk with life and high with the oneness of the moment.

I happened upon Melissa, Christine, Tim, Scott, and Gary this morning as I trudged solo down Wellington Crescent. I'm currently training for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon on October 5 and my schedule calls for 16 miles. This isn't a huge distance, but it's just long enough to register 'boring' on the fun-scale if running alone.

Like a sailor on a 24 hour furlow I was looking for a little fun and a little company to ease the tedium.

"Come join us" they yelled.

It was all the invitation this sailor needed.  I jumped into cue and the banter began... non-stop, relentlessly positive, full frontal, take no prisoners, laugh-a-minute, rich, unadulterated perfect chatter.

This group holds a healthy irreverence to the traditional running rules. They are renegades in their own right and I love them for their independent spirit. Allow me to stitch together some moments to explain.

We ran to McDonalds on Marion for a Coke and muffin ... what the heck?.. a Coke and muffin at McDonalds! This sailor held back and stuck to water and an extra-crappy GU ... after all, the day is still young and I'm wary of where this could go.  The muffin was devoured, the Coke chugged and the empty cup banged on the counter. With a sleeve-wipe to the mouth we were once again off and running.

Scott, aka The Cisco Truck, carries all sorts of treats in his extra buff fanny pack. He's a virtual mobile Pollock's Hardware, a Willy Wonka treat machine, a Hunter S. Thompson pharmacist,  and an all around cool guy.  He's the MacGyver of running. Legend has it he pulled a a flat of ice-cold Cokes out of his fanny pack on one particularly hot ultra-marathon.

Scott tells how 7-11 head office in Vancouver contacted him about his 7-11 race series and offered all sorts of incentive to grow this race.  Next year, says Scott, will be better and bigger than ever.  Mark your calendars 7-11-15 at 7-11 AM.  Stay tuned for details.

Christine becomes emotional with the talking garbage can at McDonalds.  She has four daughters and takes comfort in the programmed robotic "thank-you" from the garbage can.  She says it's the only thank-you she ever gets as she purposefully places another piece of garbage in the can., and another, and another, tears welling.

As a car approaches from the rear Melissa yells "SCATTER" and like sand-crabs we all scurry to different sections of the raodway.  The driver passes shaking his head.

We cross Main Street in the general vicinity of a crosswalk ... kinda-sorta.

Melissa leaves half a Coke hidden in the bushes in the Gates to be savoured on the return trip. As we approach an hour later only a sip remains.  Did someone help them self to Melissa's Coke?  Only Gary Morris knows for sure.

"Go fast on Wellington" yells Melissa as she scoots ahead at a 7:30 MM pace. We go fast. Tim and I stall out at an 8:30 pace. We catch our breath at the water fountain and then continue forward; forever forward, no looking back.

On Centennial at Kingsway we say "20% done", at Grosvenor "40% done", at Corydon "60% done" and then, at John Brebeuf, 80% done".

I finish strong, smiling, happy.

It was... it is... and will forever be... a good day to be alive.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

The People of Ted's Run for Literacy; Meet Glenn Shultz

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. 

Glenn Schultz is the picture of determination - as you can see. After getting some not so good medical news he decided to take back his health and his life, and running has played a big part in doing that. 

Ted’s Run is proud to have been his first race (in both the 4 and 10km distance), and we applaud his efforts to continue his health and fitness goals while supporting others to do the same!

Ted’s Run for Literacy - How long have you been running? Why did you start?
Glenn Schultz - I started running June 2012. In February 2012, my doctor said I was pre-diabetic. I was 290 pounds. He said needed to change my lifestyle around. I started slowly to make changes with food and walking. Within 3 months I dropped 50 pounds and was no longer a diabetic. By October had lost 100 pounds! I then decided to do the 4 km run at Ted's Run for Literacy as a challenge and to help others.

In 2013, I did a 20 km walk for Cancer Care Manitoba in June. I ran on a relay team in the Manitoba Marathon. I pedaled my bike 760 kms in 6 days across Iowa in Ragbrai, the world’s biggest bike ride in July. I ran the 10 kms at Teds Run for Literacy in October.

In 2014, I ran my first Half Marathon at the Manitoba Marathon. I plan to do a triathlon in Pinawa in August and of course Ted’s in October. I also quit smoking now for over a year.

Where it all started for me? It’s all about challenges. I helped my self to better life now I want to help others who want a better life. Seventeen years ago I could barely walk with Psoriatic Arthritis. “Anything is possible” is my motto.

TRL - What's your "go to" post run snack/meal?
GS - My post race snack is bananas and chocolate milk.

TRL - When you are having a tough run what's the one thought, or piece of motivation that keeps you going?
GS - When I’m having a tough run I keep telling myself 5 more minutes, 5 more minutes. And that quitting is not a option.

TRL - What's the best sign you've ever seen on a race course, and how it make you feel?
GS - One of the signs I saw was in the Manitoba Marathon. It said Go Strangers Go. That got me laughing.

TRL - What does Ted's Run mean to you?
GS - Ted’s Run is 2 things: Its helping others and its helping me for a better life and longer life.

It's a good day to be alive.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The People of Ted's Run for Literacy; Meet Jonathan Torchia

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. 
Jonathan Torchia ripping up the course.
You probably know Jonathan Torchia as the founder and race director for the wildly popular Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Half Marathon, but what you might not know is he’s only been running for four years, and apparently has a plan if a rabid dog (or bear) starts nipping at his heels.

We’ve been happy to have Jonathan support Ted’s Run by being a fan of TRL and helping to spread the word. This year he won’t be joining us - he’ll be running the Chicago Marathon chasing a “BQ.” We wish him nothing but luck.

Ted’s Run Literacy - How long have you been running, and what got you started?

Jonathan Torchia - Believe it or not I have only been running since 2010! Prior to 2010 I couldn’t run a mile to save my life, literally. I was a big boy ( 225lbs ) and played football my whole life and never ever ran. I knew some lifestyle changes had to be made after my amateur football career was over. So I took up running and changed my diet in 2009 making some big changes for the future, and have not looked back since.

In 2010 I signed for my first race ever - The Manitoba Half Marathon. I figured I would set the bar high and go for it, and go for it I did. My first half marathon ever was a 1:39:11 I will never forget that time, ha ha ). I knew I was HOOKED! Post running The Manitoba Half Marathon I got that great feeling that every runner gets of, “When is the next event I can do?” At this early time in my running career I didn’t know much about local events, and can recall I was flipping through my Runners World magazine at work and saw an advertisement for the Toronto Waterfront event in October and immediately thought to my self, “Yes, that’s the one!” So as soon as I could after returning home from work I registered for the event, booked my flight, and arranged to stay with my family. It has been full throttle since 2010 for me, now with running 27 half marathons, multiple 10 mile, 10k, 5k races, and getting the full marathon itch going after doing Twin Cities Marathon ( fantastic event ) in 2013.

I am currently training my guts out for the Chicago Marathon come this fall in October, and hoping for a BQ. One can dream and set the bar really high. A 3:05 Full Marathon time is a huge lofty goal, but like one of my favourite sayings go “a dream without a plan is only a wish”

TRL - While out running you find yourself suddenly being chased by a bear/cougar/scary animal of your choice. How do you get away?

JT - Ha ha, this is a tough one….I have imagined in the past being chased by a really aggressive dog while out for a run, and always think to myself “what would you do?” I have concluded that I would just give her like hell and hope to out run the dog which likely wouldn’t happen, or find a wall or fence that it can’t chase you up on. Thank god, we don’t have bears roaming around though, I would turtle and throw my bright coloured Asics at it.

TRL - You're back from defeating said animal and come home to find your fridge is only stocked with....?

JT - Hmmm, I have a pretty boring diet that consist of eggs, chicken breast, avocados, bananas, Greek yogurt, oatmeal, fish, quinoa and lots of fruits and vegetables. Now secretly what would I actually want to devour after that…, burgers, chips oh and a DQ Blizzard.

TRL - When you're on a tough run what's your go to mantra to pull through?
JT - My go to one would have to be “never give up, keep grinding.” While out on my runs as of late I keep muttering under my breath about my goals I have set out for the Chicago Marathon and if I cut my work out short, or didn’t finish the training session to its completion that I will be the only one to blame. And also saying these two letters a few times “BQ” “BQ” always seems to give me that extra little push, that extra little motivation.

TRL - As a race director yourself, what does it mean to you when someone decides to sign up for your race?

JT - I genuinely from the bottom of my heart cannot describe in words how thankful, how appreciative, how much it means to me when this happens. There are so many great running events out there to choose from, and for someone to cognitively say to them selves “Yes, I want to run this event “ is an amazing thing! I am unbelievably humbled and thankful to each and every single participant and volunteer of the WFPS Half Marathon. When I see people out in public wearing one of our event shirts, race hats, or any apparel for that matter, it gives me chills and the biggest smile ever. I could never have dreamt in my wildest dreams when we started out a few years back the event would be the size it is today!

It's a good day to be alive.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The People of Ted's Run for Literacy, Meet Tyler Walsh

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. 

Tyler Walsh receiving a 'high-five' from his wife Carly as he enters the finishers' chute!
After his wife forced him to get off the couch to join her in a mud run, Tyler Walsh just kept running. What keeps him going? Apparently it’s the fear of fictional Star Trek characters. 

Ted’s Run for Literacy - How long have you been running and why did you start?
Tyler Walsh - Just over a year. And because my wife made me. My wife wanted me to run the Dirty Donkey with her, so I thought I better train a bit so I wouldn’t pass out in the mud. After that I just continued to run and actually enjoy it.

TRL - What’s on your iPod when you run?
TW - I’m currently mid-way through Catching Fire, the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy (Please don’t Mock-ingjay me). I can nail two birds with one stone - I can feel good about getting outside to exercise and enjoy a good “read” at the same time.

TRL - If a movie/TV villain was chasing you who would have you running at top speed?
TW - The Borg - no one wants to be assimilated.

TRL - What’s the best tip you learned after one year of running?
TW - I think having a goal race is something that helps you to stay on track and gives you something to look forward to. Races are fun.

TRL - What does Ted’s Run for Literacy mean to you?
TW - It was my first 10k race, so it was an achievement for me, but I think it’s supporting a race/organization that brings two key elements of life success - reading and physical activity - to kids that need it most.

It's a god day to be alive.