The Zeroth Mile

Well here it is April 2012 and the Boston Marathon has come and gone. Though some runners are still feeling the affects of the heat from this years race.  I’ve been back running for a few weeks after 4 months of zero miles. 19 miles is my tally for this week. Issues with my kidney disease are still there. Not much to report on in that front, except that we are still monitoring the condition and a decision will be made in June if treatment is required. Exercise seems to take away the fatigue.  So I have been building up my mileage. I watched Boston 2012 on my computer and followed the Winnipeg runners online. Kudo’s to all who ran this year in the sweltering heat. If I was there I probably would have run as well. PB’s were not in site.

My new goal is to run Boston 2013. I can use my Marathon from October 2011 as a qualifier, as well as Boston offered a deferral to runners who picked up their bibs for 2012 who did not run. So I’m in!

I thought I had created a word when competing for the line up at the dessert table at a family gathering, when my kids/nieces and nephews were calling dibs on first, second, third etc. I yelled out I’m zeroth, to get my dessert before them. I got challenged and won. Zeroth is a word. I may not have used it in the right context but I won the challenge and gave up my spot in line. I liked the word so I created my own definitions

Zeroth mile;  all the miles run in training for a race.  or in my case 1,000 miles not run in not training for Boston 2012.

Zeroth place; running PB during a training run.

Zeroth post; blogs written in my head but not posted during the past four months.

This blog may change its looks in the next while. It will be about my journey to run the Boston Marathon. Hopefully in 2013.

No. 1 Doing your Best

A much wiser person once told me, “You did your best.  Some days your best may not the same as other days, but you did your best.”   This wasn’t told to me in relation to running races but it could be.

We spend weeks training for a race, in all kinds of weather, over all kinds of terrain. We faithfully do our long slow distance runs, hill work, speed work, and fartleks and get better at it each week. We stretch properly, strengthen our cores (some actually do this), and cross train. We give up late nights and fast food. Our diets would make the authors of the Canada Food Guide proud. We visualize the race course and have a race plan. We are ready to get a personal best in the next race. 

BUT, is there always a but? No, but sometimes things go wrong. What affected you in a race may not have affected your friend. There are so many variables on race day that are not in your control, but you do your best anyway for that PB.

The weather was either too hot, too cold, too humid, too wet, too windy, snowing, or any combination of these.

A well meaning volunteer course marshal points you in the wrong direction and you either add distance to the course or its too short.

You are on track for a PB during a race and miss it by a few seconds, only later to find out the course was not certified and it was 400 meters too long.

Your plan to not go out fast at the start of a race didn’t happen, and slows you in the last half of the race. Ah, but it felt so good.

A spectator darts out in front of you during the race causing you to fall and hurt.

There is no more water at the aid stations on one of those very hot days.

You drop your gels and don’t stop too pick them up saying I don’t need those, to find out you really do.

That nagging injury you thought you dealt with comes back to visit you during the race. Hello old friend, long time no see. Sit and let’s visit a while.

You get sudden onset of a flu bug from your kids whom you’ve ignored during the past 4 weeks of intensive training at the half way point and have to drop out.

You come across another runner in distress during a race and stop to help.  (Sandra gets kudo’s for doing this.)

That wasn’t honey on the stick. Yuck.

Where were your itch free shorts the morning of the race? Where is that guy with the stick, I could sure use him now.

You paid your entry fees for your dream race, only to get injured during training and can’t run it this year.

Despite all of this you did your best, and for that you should feel proud.

Thanks to family and friends for the kind words, phone calls, emails, and prayers as I deal with my illness.

You are the best.

Merry Christmas


No. 2 Glory Days

Bruce Springsteen has a song titled “Glory Days”, which is actually pretty depressing. Sitting around talking about how good things used to be. Yuck!  So with that I present my year in review and more importantly what Glory Day’s lie ahead.


I ran on six different pairs of shoes this year, five pairs of which are retired. I was looking at buying a new pair when my illness occurred, so I will put that off for a while. The only pair that I have remaining are my racing shoes which have 180 miles on them. I use them for racing and speed training. The first four pairs are the same model that are not available any more.  Pair five is not manufactured any more as well, but may be available through outlet stores.  I am looking forward to trying new shoes on when able.


I have kept track of my mileage from Dec 26, 2010. So with no more miles to put in before this Christmas my total for the past year is 2,220 miles. I have run on 258 days and have had 107 days off, an average of 8.6 miles per day run. These miles were run in four provinces and in one state. I am looking forward to running with friends again. Distance and pace are not a concern. Mileage put in with friends are the best.


I have run in nine races this year which is three more than last year. 

Marathons  – 2;  Marathon relay – 1;  ½ Marathons  – 3;  10 km – 1;  5 km – 1;  Beer/Pop  Mile – 1

I obtained a PB for my current age group in the 10 km, ½ marathon and Marathon.

I am looking forward to running at least one race next year.  Will it be Boston?  If it is that will be a bonus, but it will not be at a PB pace.

Medal Count

Do medals count? This past year placing in a race was a priority for me.  I was so excited to place in my age group in four races, 3rd in the Frost Bite 5 km race,  2nd in the Winnipeg Police Services ½ Marathon, 2nd in the Diabetes ½ Marathon, and 1st in the Empower 10 km race.  Ok, there were not many contestants in my age group in each race (3/9, 2/49, 2/22, and 1/11), but in the Diabetes ½ marathon and 10 km races are where I had two of my PB’s and that was exciting. Next year I look forward to a participation medal in a race as well as brunch at the Fort Whyte Centre after the Hypo-Thermic half race that I have registered for. I could probably sell my bib, but that would mean no brunch celebrating my friends achievements.

Glory Days

It has been a great year for me. However, the best of the Glory Days are yet to come. The future is unknown, but for sure it will be glorious.

No. 3 Patience

Todays visit with the Doctor was full of information.  A lot of it technical and overwhelming. The good news is that from the few tests that were performed so far on my kidney biopsy, they were able to understand part of the problem. A huge technical/Latin name that he wrote down for me, but in laypersons terms, the kidney acts as a filter for the blood, and the ends of the filter are a bit inflamed, allowing protein to enter my urine.  The damage is minor and there is treatment. The cause and the cure are not so simple.  We may never know the cause. The cure is a work in progress. More blood tests and urine samples to monitor the situation. Also I am on meds to help reduce the fluid buildup in my body /swelling, and an additional med to lower my blood pressure. The Doc told me today that we’ll just take it one day at a time until all the tests are in.  By mid January 2012 we should be able to have a game plan. Even then it may still be a work in progress to get the treatment that will work for me. I laughed inwardly when he said one day a at a time as I had just blogged about it a few days ago. Patience is now my new motto.

Being in and out of the hospital over the past few weeks has allowed me to see some people a lot sicker than me. I feel so fortunate to have the Dr. Verrelli looking after me. His attention to detail is incredible. He has a lot of patients and has total recall about every thing about my case. My problem is minor compared to what others are going through.

With apologies to the late Bing Crosby, here is an early Christmas gift to my friends who run.

I’m dreaming of an injury free Christmas,
just like the ones I used to know
Where the trails glisten and running partners listen
to hear sleigh bells in the snow

I’m dreaming of an injury free Christmas,
just like the ones I used to know
Where the trails glisten and running partners listen
to hear sleigh bells in the snow

I’m dreaming of an injury free Christmas,
with every Christmas trail I run
May your runs be merry and bright,
and may all your Christmases be injury free

I’m dreaming of an injury free Christmas,
just like the ones I used to know
May your runs be merry and bright,
and may all your Christmases be injury free

I’m dreaming of an injury free Christmas,
with every Christmas trail I run
May your runs be merry and bright,
and may all your Christmases be injury free

May your runs be merry and bright,
and may all your Christmases be injury free

And may all your Christmases be injury free (All your Christmases be injury free)
And may all your Christmases be injury free (All your Christmases be injury free)
And may all your Christmases be
(All your Christmases be injury free)
(All your Christmases be injury free)

No. 5 & 4 Recovery

My biopsy went well yesterday. I was worn out after the days events, but not in pain. The Doctors and Nurses took excellent care of me at St Boniface Hospital. They are a hardworking and dedicated staff.  Now we wait for the results, which may come in two weeks due to laboratory overload and staff holidays. In the meantime I recover from the biopsy, which has me restricted from doing anything physical for at least a week.  I have also decided to start taking something for the fluid retention. So far I’m up about 30 lbs from my weigh in after the Toronto Marathon, and am to lose no more than 1 lb per day. I hope to lose only 15 to 20 lbs from the medication, which will bring me back to my pre-race weight.

I am envious now when I see someone out running. Wishing them well and wishing I could join them. The weather has been fantastic for winter running this past week with more in the immediate forecast.

Doc’s office just called as I was about to post this. They expect preliminary results from the biopsy tomorrow afternoon. Crossing my fingers for good news.

No. 6 One Day at a Time

When will I be able to run again? How long will it take me to get back in shape? What races will I run next year?

My concerns about my health are all around running. Not, What’s wrong with me? When will I get better? What kind of treatment will I have?

My questions have been my normal thoughts during the past year. Everything has revolved around running. Late movie Saturday night?  Mmmmm, Ok I’m only doing 12 in the morning.Burger and fries for lunch, someone else’s treat. No, thanks I’m doing speed work tonight, I need something light.

Having a schedule and goal has kept me focused for the past year. I still need the goal to focus on. What happens tomorrow during my biopsy will happen and the results will be delivered. I can’t affect any of it. I will deal with what happens and then start running again. What will my new running reality be? I don’t know, as I will take my recovery one day at a time, towards my goal.

No. 8 and 7 Determination

Watching an athlete excel in their sport is very emotional. We went to the Canadian Wrestling Olympic Trials yesterday to watch Leah Callahan compete in the 72 kg Freestyle division. She had to win during the round robin to proceed to the Gold Medal match against the reigning wrestler who represented Canada in the Beijing Olympics. To win the round robin event Leah had to win the best of three matches against a teammate from her club. It was a great matchup that had Leah working hard to win in two bouts. Next up was the finals in which she needed to win two matches each consisting of the best of three bouts.

The first bout of the first match was a bit of a get to know you dance with Leah winning. The second bout, had Leah show her strength and wrestling intelligence by out wrestling her opponent in spectacular fashion to dominate the first match. The second match had her opponent change her strategy by taking a different stance that seemed to work as she was up one point with 12 seconds left in the first round. Then it appeared that the fire in Leah’s belly burnt hot, and she showed her determination to win by overpowering her opponent to get a point in the last second to tie the first bout. The second bout continued the same way with Leah dominating her opponent by lifting her off the mat and winning in a decisive pin to the mat. Thus, confirming her spot on the Canadian Olympic team.

After her win, was the first time that any emotion appeared on Leah’s face.  She was so in her own space during the competition that there was no emotion leaking out from her tough exterior. It was a different Leah after her final win with her whole body appearing to smile.

It was an exciting day that had me out of the house for about four hours, after which I had a great nap. I’m so hoping that I can start treatment soon, and this fatigue that I’m feeling will go away. Today’s venture had me out for an hour for coffee with friends after their run. I miss the camaraderie of the after run get together.  I felt as I had run today and went for another nap after.

No. 9 Spirit of Future Races

I’ve been questioning myself as to why do I want to run the Boston Marathon.  The reason for the questioning is that there is a chance that I may not be able to. I have an upcoming procedure on Tuesday next week to determine why my kidneys are not functioning properly, and also to determine a course of treatment. The course of treatment varies with the problem, but worst case scenario may mean no more running. The Doctors want to wait for the biopsy to be done before they give me a prognosis, which is the proper thing to do. However, a Google search gives the whole gamit of causes and treatment. The worst of which is not favorable for me running Boston in April 2012.  Thus, the questioning.

To run Boston would be amazing. Just because it’s the oldest marathon in existence, is a minor blip on the radar. I just think it would be incredibly fun. Ok, running 26 miles and 385 yards may not sound like fun to the average person. But who said runners are average.  Runners are, well let’s just say different. Runners are “special”. The adrenaline rush of pushing yourself to run the distance is hard to describe. The crowd support is a runners drug. My recent experience with the crowds in Fargo and Toronto confirm that. Unknown spectators cheering you on, lying to you that you look great, and you can do it. Boston is supposed to be lined up for the full distance of the most enthusiastic crowd in the sport. The music at the Fargo Marathon was uplifting. Every mile a live band playing Rock and Roll.  Elvis, Johnny Cash, CCR, Blues Brothers,… made you want to dance during the race. There was no wall. Boston is supposed to be the best there is.

I’ve been visualizing running Boston for the past year during training runs. It is now something I have to do. So I pray to the spirit of future races for a Christmas miracle that will let me run the Boston Marathon in 2012.

No. 10 Canadian Running

I’m getting addicted to following the Canadian running scene through “Canadian Running”, a magazine dedicated to, you guessed it, Canadian running.

I’m starting to recognize the top names on the Canadian running scene, as well as learn about some upcoming runners as well as races. Recreational runners are featured as well. The photography is great, and the advertisements are not to obtrusive. You don’t have to flip through 10 pages to read a 1 page story.  Lots of good advice, from how to run a faster 10K, to new ways of avoiding stress fractures.

My Jan/Feb 2012 issue arrived today. Kind of like buying a 2012 model car in 2011. A good stocking stuffer for the runner on your good list.

No. 11 Ghosts of Races Past

As I was waiting in Emerg last night waiting for 7 hours to get a referral to a specialist, I was thinking about the upcoming winter races that I may miss. Due to the late hour of the night I was able to only write part of this post last night and not post it.

First up is the Frosty Nipple Run on January 1st, in which you run with running suits and swimwear on only. Due to some modesty laws, the only frosty nipples to be seen will be those of the men. The race as I understand it is a run around a parking lot. More time is spent getting the group picture than actually is spent running. I have never run this one, but do have it on my list should I be in town and able to run. Later in the morning is a 5km Resolution run. A great run to let your family know you’re serious about this running thing.

Later on in January is a 5km Frostbite run on the Red and Assiniboine Rivers at the Forks. I ran it last year and true to its name I received Frost bite on my face and three toes. I also received a 3rd place certificate for my age category.

A Mid-winter race that is re-known for the great brunch after is the Hypothermic half marathon at Fort Whyte. A great race that is well organized is run in three waves. The first group is mostly finished by the time the second group starts, and same for the third group start. The reasons for the three wave system are twofold. The race is partially run on trails that may not be able to handle the number of runners. But more importantly is the size of the dining hall to serve up amazing feast at the end of the race. I’ve run the second wave and as we finished the race and enter the dining hall, the first wave runners are just finished eating. We get to trade a few stories of the day as they are leaving and we dig into our food. By the time we were finished eating the third wave is just coming in. More celebrations and we are homeward bound. The popularity of this race and food is such that you have to register in November for the end of February race.

The end of the winter or early spring race is the Winnipeg Police Services half marathon at the beginning of May. I put this as a winter race because last year there was a snow storm the night before the race that left the race course snow and ice covered. This is another popular event that sells out every year.  It is also well organized event.

So far I have registered for the 2nd wave of the Hypothermic half marathon for the end of February 2012. Race it or run it doesn’t matter as much as I will be there for the food after.