Monday, May 30, 2011

My First 10K Race! How many times can a grown man cry?

Well the culmination of my training occurred this weekend when I took part in the Jugo Juice 10k portion of the Calgary Marathon.  Though I had raced sprints as a high school student, I had never, ever run in a distance event. I have been "training" since February for this race. I had run on my treadmill prior and the first 10k I ran was at one hour four minutes and change. Through my training, my treadmill runs had only gotten down to 58 minutes as my fastest. I then tried running indoors at the Energy Centre track. I ran the 10k in 55 mins and change. I ran outside 3 or so times with my fastest being around the 54 minute mark. My goal at the start of the training was to run 10K in one hour. As I progressed, I registered for the 10K and put as my goal time of 55:00.

The night before the race I went out with some great friends and my family. I ordered prime rib and it was darn good, but I thought, "this can't be good for me."

I had difficulty sleeping that night as my nerves started getting to me. I was very nervous about 2 things.
1) Falling and 2) Not finishing in the time I wanted.

The next morning I wake up at 5:30 AM for the 7:30AM race. I did not have anything to eat during the morning. I do not like to run on a full stomach, and I was not about to pay 10 bucks for Westin Oatmeal. When we all got to the race area, I was in shock. I had never seen so many people in one spot getting ready for one race. Early numbers put the total people running the 10K at 2267. The course record holder had run this 10K in 30:09 last year. Put this in persepective...I run 5k at about 25 mins at this time. He is done when I am halfway. Funny enough is last name is Kangogo and man Kan he GO GO! He broke his record this year by running a 30:07.

I knew I had 0 chance of "winning" this race but I said to myself I was going to run my race and make everyone I knew proud of me.

Now I learned a lot in this very first race. #1 - Start at the start line. Even if you know you have no chance of winning, start at the start line. I was about 1 minute behind the start line. With over 2000 people, it is bound to happen. Final race placings are set by gun time. This means when the horn goes, your time starts, if you are a minute back of the startline, you have to try to make that minute up somewhere. I will elaborate later on this.

#2 - Run your race. When you are racing people, there are people who will finish in 30 mins and people who will finish in 1 hour 30 mins or more. It becomes very easy and seductive to run faster that you are able to. I hate to be a gimmick guy, but I never trusted my ipod to be accurate. I bought the Garmin Forerunner 405. It beeps every KM and tells me my pace time. With a built in gps it is fricken sweet. The watch really made me stay within myself by knowing my splits. Some people will say have a stopwatch, but the race markers stopped at 3km and didn't start up again till the 7th Km.

#3 Be aggressive. I was not nearly aggressive enough on the finish. I later saw people finishing the half marathon and marathon by almost plowing people down in the final 200m sprint to the finish. I had just maintained my pace. Mistake that cost me positions, and made me angry with myself.

#4 You become emotional. I left my family prior to the start. I was alone with my thoughts and with what I was about to do. Little did I know that my wonderful family, and my friends were walking to the Starbucks nearby about 1KM into the race waiting for me. The horn sounded, and I took off. At around the 1Km mark, I hear "I love you so much Ryan and Go DADDY!" I turn my head and I see my wife, son and daughter on the corner cheering for me. I was a little taken back. I began to tear up, but was able to channel that emotion into positive adrenal energy. As I was running I kept replaying that moment over and over in my mind. Sometimes I would get misty, other times I used it to push myself further. On the last Km, as I came up the final hill towards the final stretch I began to get goosebumps from the cheering crowd. I knew they weren't cheering for me, but they were cheering for everyone. Again out of the noise, I heard " Run Ryan you can do it, I love you." I picked up my pace another shot of adrenaline. I crossed the finish line. I was not really tired from the run, but I did begin to cry. A few things went through my mind. 1) I had run and finished a 10k race. 2) This was a culmination of losing over 50 pounds since Feb 2011 and over 103 pounds since 2004. I had beaten some pretty big obstacles to get to this point. 3) I thought of my mom, she has been gone since 1996, and on that race I was running for her. I had raised money for cancer and this was a tribute to my mom. 4) I ran this for my wife. She is so very amazing and I wanted to make her proud. 5) I ran this for my children. One thing was Aidan wanted me to win him a medal (we all got one for finishing...shhh) and two I wanted my children to see their dad healthy and active.

One last thing I learned is no one is a loser in this. Sure there are winners. They finish first, but everyone who runs the race wins. Everyone has their reason for running. In that, everyone who ran that day was a winner to me. So what place did I win? Well its not as simple as crossing the finish. There is the gun time placing. I was 346th out of all 2267 people who ran. From 12 year olds, to 60 yr olds+, men and women,  that was my position. (I believe the 4th place finisher was in the 55 - 59 yr range.) Out of all the men aged 35 - 39, I placed 39th out of 117. Out of all the males who ran, I finished 255th out of 888. So did I win, sure I finished, I beat my former best time which was 55:17. My final gun time was 52:28 which means when the gun went off, it took my bib 52:29 secs to cross. However my NET running time, which is the time when I crossed the start line, to the time I crossed the finish was 51:28. SO in my mind I ran the race in 51:28 secs and thus my lesson learned about starting at the start when the gun goes off. (Would have moved me up a few places)

My next race will likely be a 5K in Cold Lake, with a 10K or half-marathon in Edmonton in August and a possible 10K run in Medicine Hat in September.

The running bug has bit me, and just think a few short months ago I thought running was boring!

That's the world as I see it.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Twits and Ignorance on the Internet

Very rarely have I ever been driven to the type of anger where I stay awake till 2:00 am on a work night, but last night was one of those nights.

For those of you in Canada and really the world, Slave Lake, AB Canada had a huge fire last night that engulfed the entire town. Over 7000 people had to be evacuated from their houses. In the end, the town hall, police fire and radio stations, the high school and many businesses along with 50% of the homes in Slave Lake went up in flames. Truly one of the worst natural disasters I have ever wittnessed in my province. Thinking about my small family and my home I could not imagine anything this bad happening to me.

The first thing I thought of was I need to go on twitter. The rationale was that since mainstream media were unable or unwilling to cut from Desperate Housewives, Survivor and other trivial programming to bring me an update on people in my province in dire need, I would go to a place where I could get the information I wanted. Twitter.

I should have known that I would find the regular mix of idiots on there, but I thought that in a moment of crisis, people would be sympathetic to the plight of the people of Slave Lake. Most people sent out well wishes, condolences and offers of support to those in need. There were however a select group of people who I will call "Twits". These are the people who have nothing better to do on twitter than to belittle people hurting, or make every issue their own.

Case in point. I cannot even count how many people of African-American descent came to twitter saying that Slave Lake deserved to burn down because of the name. Yes in 2011 people who live in a town deserve to have their homes burned down because of the name having the word slave. The sheer ignorance of people astounded me and led me to tweet "When New Orleans was underwater, Canada sent aide. When Slave Lake burns, USA sends morons to tweet jokes."

Now I clearly painted 312 million people with one brush. Ya that's not a good thing to do, but I was just so darn angry at the fact people would turn a natural disaster into their own personal vendetta with "the man".

Look, we are all sorry slavery occurred, and that many people's families were put through that kind of pain. However, Slave Lake, AB got its name from a tribe of first nations people. Many of the ignorant claimed Slave Lake was too hard to find on google. Yet typing in Slave Lake Wikipedia gets me a link to,_Alberta and further clicking on

I know it takes oh about 5 seconds to find what the town really is about. Of course, the ignorant have to flock to twitter to say how upset they are that there is a city with the word slave in it.  Good for the people who tried very hard to educate those on how the town got it's name. I lost patience and just started spamming the haters with "you're a moron".

So now where do we go from here? I am currently running a collection for cash at my school. I will get the secretary to cut a cheque on Thursday and take it to a local radio station on Friday. I put on my Facebook page and Twitter feed that I challenge the Big Oil companies in Alberta to cast aside some of the millions or billions they make in profits to help rebuild the town of Slave Lake. Ten grand won't cut it. This is going to cost millions of dollars.

To quote a woman on twitter last night  "Google before you tweet is the new think before you speak" however last night I wish most of the ignorant would have thought before they opened their traps to hurt people who don't deserve that treatment.

To those of you from Slave Lake, we are all here to help you.

That's the world as I see it.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

2 weeks to go, 100 pounds down.

Well it certainly has been a long time since I last wrote on ye olde blog. If you've missed me, I am back. We have a new majority conservative government, I told all my Liberal friends and family members the Libs had no chance in this election. After the Tories won, the Sun actually rose the next day, and Stephen Harper did not begin his plans of building a Death Star.

Anyways onto the blog. I am about 2 weeks away from my first 10k run. I am not too sure how to gauge this run as I have really no clue about pacing. A lot of my treadmill runs have been close to 1hr yet the one time I ran at an indoor track, I was at 55 min 45 secs. So I have really no clue what I am doing. I will run my best and be happy to finish I guess. Next goal is to run a half marathon. There is one in Edmonton at the end of August, but I am not sure that is enough time to essentially run double the distance I will run on May 29th. If anyone has any suggestions or helpful advice, I would really appreciate it.

As I said in an earlier blog, when I first moved to CL, I weighed close to 280 pounds. That was approximately 10 years ago. As of my last weightwatcher weigh in, I was 180 pounds. So nice to appear to have lost 100 pounds in the 10 years I have lived here. Realistically, I have lost the weight in about 7 years. Feels good! I have/had asthma. As I have become more fit, I have "thrown away" my inhalers and asthma medicine. I always felt I had "fatsma" as opposed to real asthma. This kind of proves my point that my issues around breathing was weight related. Now I have not REALLY thrown away the puffer, I just don't use it unless I am in dire trouble.

Now some people think that at 180 pounds I should stop losing weight. My wife, sister, and secretary at school are just 3 people who think I have lost enough weight. However, my max BMI weight should be 170 pounds. This is to have a BMI below 25 which is overweight. When I look in the mirror, I still see quite a bit of fat in the old gut area. Now I know what people are saying, you may become Manorexic. I will not go past 165 - 170 for fat loss. I have started to lift a little weight to help with the fat loss, but really if you have fat on your body, should you not try to lose it? The guy who plays Thor has like no fat. I can handle looking like that.

Anyways enough of a ramble for this week. That's the world as I see it! Drop me a line at rbailey(at)