Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Please, stop taking my stuff!



to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source
to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

Merriam Webster online dictionary

Stop taking my stuff before I flip my lid!

The Brag.

See Mike Run (SMR) blog is now in its 12th year; a venerable pioneer in the blogosphere! There are 457 posts dating from January 2008 to February 2019. The number of 'hits' or visits from readers is just under 300,000 (but actually closer to 500,000 because I lost three years of data). The majority of visits originate in Canada yet readership is worldwide.

The only renumeration I receive comes from the belief that I have contributed positively to our community. I have supported numerous small businesses such as GORP, City Park Runners, Cranked Energy, and Fix Bites.  I have supported dozens of local races by reporting on the experience -always positive. I supported The Manitoba Marathon when it was faced with declining registration and the lure of Fargo.

I have given dozens of runners a voice through guest blogs and interviews.  I have shared my audacious vision of what running could be in Winnipeg if only we would collectively embrace the day and spark the dream.  Equally, I have bit my tongue and spoken around topics so as not to embarrass or call-out individuals or organizations.

I have spoken openly about my mental health, my struggles, my dreams, my success, and my failures.  I have shown vulnerability. I have laughed out loud, I have cried, and I have bared my soul on these digital pages.  I have shown empathy and shared the struggles of others such as My Friend Jo  or Matt Morrison's For Em,  or Farahnaz Afaq's  Chasing Rainbows.  Bobbi Nicol used See Mike Run as a gateway platform to explain her Life in Transition. These are good stories, honest stories. These are stories of redemption, stories of pain, stories of life.

And through all of this I have sworn once. I used the 'f' word in reference to cancer when my friend Jo was at her worst. My filter is set to PG because I do not wish to offend.

The problem.

People are taking my stuff without asking.  Several years ago a major city newspaper printed a piece I had written about the Boston Bombing entitled 4:49:44 into the Third Wave. The stolen piece was heavily edited and horribly reduced in scope and breadth. My writing drew comparison between a wisp of hair and humanity:
But it's the wisp of hair that is the focal point. I carried a blurry image of this photograph on my long run this morning. The wisp of hair. The red singlet. The thinness of body. Legs buckling. Crumpled body. The incredible pragmatism of Bill's words ... "you're not going to stop there"... as if to challenge the evil head on. A wisp of hair. A wisp of fate. A wisp of humanity.

The stolen piece attempted to capture this same sentiment, but failed completely.  The stolen piece used the same image that I used (and gave credit for) from a sea of thousands; coincidence?

A major Canadian running magazine recently published a SMR guest blog without SMR's permission. The guest blog spoke of one man's struggle with mental health and how running provides solace. The magazine edited the piece and omitted my personal introduction which provided colour and texture to the story.  What is absent from the magazine's version is the backstory.

The backstory to this piece is about 18 to 24 months in the making and is far too complex and private to delve into here. Suffice to say the story evolved over time and slow-burned to fruition. SMR engaged the person in countless conversations and gently prodded the writer to produce a beautiful and heartfelt story of his pursuit of happiness.

What is missing is any kind of citation of this blog.

Never -ever- was this piece, or any other piece on SMR, about selling running shoes for a large corporation.

The ask.

The ask is simple, and I think most would agree, reasonable.

Simply stop taking my stuff without my permission or, at the very least, give credit by citing

It's a good day to be alive,


Monday, February 18, 2019

See Mike Nordic Walk

Nordic Walking is like driving a Smart Car. You know it's good for you, but you can't help feeling a little silly while engaged.

A case in point.

While Nordic Walking through Omand's Creek this afternoon I was stopped by a man. I was listening to some groovy tunes so I couldn't make out what he was saying.

I stopped, removed my gloves, toque, and ear buds, smiled patiently, thinking this better be worth it, and said "Pardon me."

He said something about skis. Bewildered, I replied "Huh."

"Your skis man! I found them, they're on top of the hill" to which he emphasized with a raised hand, pointing towards the hilltop.

Even more bewildered I replied "What....skis?".

"In case you're looking for your skis, I found them, they're up there" he replied with a mischievous grin.

Hoodwinked and it's not even April Fools!

Dude, funny!


Not to confuse the issue, but Nordic Walking is also know as Urban Poling (correct) or Urban Trekking (incorrect, trekking is more of a long arduous journey similar to Ultra-marathons).

Think of cross country ski-ing minus the skis. That's Nordic Walking in a nutshell. The poles help create a rhythmic, flowing movement of the entire body with an emphasis on arms, legs, and core. Nordic Walking is vigorous but, unlike running, there is little impact on the knees and hips. If used correctly the poles will alleviate some weight from the knees and hips. Some poles have built in shocks which help cushion the force on the arms as one plants the pole repeatedly with each step.

Urban Poling is a real workout, make no mistake. You will work up a sweat and your heart rate will raise to a sustained 70 - 80% intensity. Your upper arms will ache and you'll sleep well.  It pairs very well with my personal favourite exercise regime, Good Life Body Pump.

I don't want to get into the 'how' of Nordic Walking because I'm not an instructor. The best online resource I can find is Urban Poling.   There is also a small Urban Poling community in Winnipeg which one can track down online, but it's slim to non-existent. I'm more interested in the 'why' of Poling.

I'm an injured runner. I have a torn meniscus, torn ACL, and arthritis in my right knee, and I suspect my left knee is not far behind.  I've been fitted for a brace which will arrive in a couple of weeks. I'm hurtin' and I miss my running routine, especially my Sunday forest runs. Most of all I miss the socail aspect of running. Let's face it folks, not running bites.

Does Nordic Walking help fill the void?

The short answer is yes. Nordic Walking satisfies my innate need to be physically active outdoors. Nordic walking allows me to enter the mystic zone, and I feel mentally satisfied after a one hour intense walk.   Physically I am drained but not to the same level as running.  My knees still hurt  (think low grade head ache in the knees), but nowhere near to the pain I have while running. I suggest all you injured runners give it a try.

The longer, much more complicated answer, is no. Nordic Walking is excellent and I am enjoying it immensely, but it is not running.

Running allows me to enter a world of altered states; an amalgam of pain, ecstasy, sweat, joy, and tears. Running gives me inner peace and knowledge that I am all that I can be, all that I have become.  Running forges friendships where talk and laughs runs freely and earnestly. Running allows for a world where age, sexual identity, profession, background, culture become meaningless.  Running is a world of perfection where our heart, muscle, bone, and mind combine to make perfection.

That's all.

Yo, good day to be alive.


Saturday, February 2, 2019

Knee Deep In A Rut

I'm in a rut; a Winnipeg in February kind of rut.  You know; wheels spinning, gears grinding, hoping for a boost, need a push kind-of-a-rut.

The good doctor made a diagnosis today. Not the one I was hoping for but, oddly I feel better knowing exactly what's happening to my body. I thought at one point it was all in my head.

Turns out it's all in my knee; my right knee to be precise (but I suspect the left one is a little wonky and on borrowed time).

The good doc interpreted my MRI today. It seems I have a hat trick of ailments.  I have a torn meniscus, a torn ACL, and ...  sh*t ... degenerative arthritis.

The torn ACL stems from a prior tear from nasty trip on a forest gnome in April 2015 (see DNS).

I have given up the large goals of marathon and ultras. I asked my doc if she thought a slow half-marathons was possible in time.  Her averted eyes told me no.  She then suggested working up to running for an hour at a time.  Apparently running for an hour won't cause more damage. In fact, she says it will probably strengthen the knee.  On the down side I have to wear one of those ugly bionic braces. On the plus side I have some pain management meds that seem to work well.

Surgery is an option, but I don't want to go that route just yet and neither does the doc.

I don't want to be a Miserable Mikey. I have it good. Hell, I can run for an hour.  Some would give anything for that one privilege.  I'm not complaining but it's my blog, my rut... I can whine if I want to!

Did someone say wine?

The hurt stems mostly from not being able to run.  A large part of my identity is wrapped up in the running community. Not running means the absence of a positive social outlet. Not running means diminished energy. Not running means languishing mental health. Not running means the continual presence of absence. The knee hurts, but the soul does too.

I miss running in the zone where time slows and my mind flows freely.

I miss my Sunday morning trail run with my chatty friend, WD50 ;)

I miss running through the bush of ghosts.

I have discovered Nordic Walking (aka Urban Poling). It's a great upper body workout and it allows me to get out on the trails and build up speed.  I would strongly encourage any hurtin' runner out there to work Urban Poling into their recovery plan.  There's very little stress and way less pounding on the on the knees.  I'll blog a article about Urban Poling soon.

Bionic Mike
I thank Dr. Christa Mason (In Motion Network) for her support.  She tells it straight, but she 'gets it'. She understands the pain is more than  knee deep.

It's a good day to be alive.