Monday, August 1, 2016

Training for Lean Horse (part 3)

big birds flying across the sky 
throwing shadows on our eyes
leave us
helpless, helpless, helpless...

neil young, helpless

I have just returned from a 17 day road trip through North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Southern Ontario. My plan was to wake early every morning and 'hit the trails' and 'log some serious miles' in preparation for Lean Horse. Instead I downloaded the  Pokemon app and set out to catch 'em all.  I also drank mucho amazing Niagara On The Lake wine purchased directly from the vintner (wouldn't you?), and who can say no to Wisconsin cheese and Michigan local, organic craft beer brewed 15 feet away from my bar stool? That and reading and driving and lounging, and snacking, and napping makes Mike a sluggish boy. 

Seriously, I did not play Pokemon, but the rest, guilty!

I ran a total of 31.47 miles in 17 days. Yup, pretty sad, maybe even a little pathetic. The running I did manage however was sublime.  I went for quality over quantity and at my age that's not such a bad thing.  I'll get back on the trails and return to a healthier routine tomorrow. 

I composed the following paragraph shortly after running The Bruce Trail. It is my attempt to describe the feel of this trail. Pardon the flowery prose... it's from the heart.

Thoughts of nothing cascade through my mind as this ancient trail rolls underfoot. Early morning sunspots flicker and burn kaleidoscope through magnificent old growth forest. I am brilliant in this moment. I am razor focussed on my surrounding. My brain fires in rapid technicolor and fades in a breath to calmness. This moment is fluid and effervescent. I am grateful for this opportunity, however fleeting. This trail, this beautiful Ontario path, anchors me.  I glow with health and happiness. My heart pumps strong. My bones sustain my soul. This moment leaves me breathless with child-like curiosity. 

This trail is my life force.  

This trail is my journey.

I am helpless.

Jo is teaching all of us a hard, heartbreaking lesson.  Scott Sugimoto
I received a note from my friend Scott the other day in which he shares his fear of the 120 mile Fat Dog ultra marathon through the Cascade Mountains in British Columbia. He takes inspiration from Jared Spier's recent guest blog on See Mike Run. is the everyday "life" stuff that one truly needs to maximize as it is what we take for granted. Scott Sugimoto
I have read for the third time your latest guest blog.  As much as I find the news of the declining health of your friend upsetting, it is the inspiration I need to go out and live each day as best as I can. I hope as much as it was an update on Jo's condition, there also is a message to others.  I have been hesitant to seriously discuss Fat Dog as I didn't want to come across as dramatic or morbid. The simple truth is, given my family history and my current age, in another 10-15 years, I will be a memory to whatever family and friends I leave behind. I put that in print and think "really"....what a putz!   

In a lot of ways Michael, your sign off is motivating for me.."it's a good day to be alive". Yes Sir, it is, and for me events like Fat Dog and whatever challenges I am capable of attempting down the road are my envelopes to push the edges of life and live "life to the fullest moments". With that said, it is the everyday "life" stuff that one truly needs to maximize as it is what we take for granted. Time with family and friends.... I guess Michael, Fat Dog is simply because it's there and can I do it. I am closer to the end than the beginning. Again I say that not trying to be morbid or dramatic, but it is the truth. We all know time flies and cannot take that time for granted. You friend Jo is teaching all of us a hard, heartbreaking lesson. 

Scott Sugimoto
We need to go out and live each day to the fullest. Scott Sugimoto
Lean Horse is four weeks out. These are the inspirations I will carry to the start line. These are the inspirations that will sustain me to the finish line.

It's a good day to be alive.