Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from Sally, Chris and Tia!

Today is a day NOT to race to the finish.

Christmas comes way too soon and is over much too quickly. 

Take the time to enjoy friends and family this holiday season.

(Click on the link below for our Christmas wish for you)

Red Stripe and Negril Sunset ... now that's how to spend Christmas Day!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The strength to get back up: Nick Vujicic

"Never, ever give up" is something I have believed for years. 

Nothing, however hit home harder than this video of Nick Vujicic

Failure occurs when you give up trying.

Until next time...

Reggae Marathon, Negril, Jamaica...what's not to like: sea, sand...running

What's not to love about Negril?  Miles of soft, white sandy beach.  Warm Caribbean water steps from our hotel every day. Sunshine, sunshine, sunshine!  Jerk pork, chicken, rice and peas from Ossies Jerk Centre across the road from our hotel, Foote Prints

After a simply fabulous Rasta Pasta carbo load party, the organizers of the Reggae Marathon asked me to speak at the Media Briefing about the story of running my first marathon and dedicating it to raising money for the Canadian Diabetes Association.  Well attended event with international media well represented.  This was the 9th year of the Reggae Marathon and participation surged to over 1,200 runners entered in the three events:  10 K, 1/2 Marathon and Full Marathon.  Next year, the 10th is expected to be even better.

6:00 am approaching the 5 mile mark.  I have no idea what mile 16 will feel like once the sun comes up...
Sally took this picture...after getting up early and before coffee.  A trooper!

Mile 9 and the sun is just cresting the tree line.  Although there is bagged water and Gatorade at each mile, I have a camel back water system, a water bottle with gels around my waist as well as the 700 ml bottle in my hand.  Taking no chances.  Turns out that a key way to stay cool is to spray water over my entire body while running.  Works. 

Another cool thing about the Reggae Marathon:  they play reggae music...Loud Reggae every mile along the entire route.  You run toward the music the entire race.  You can sing and run!

Can you say, "Get me an aspirin?"

26.2 miles.  5 hours and 25 minutes.  +42 degrees Celsius humidex.  It took 15 minutes in the cold shower cold water dumped over my head to remove that look of agony.  It was emotional.  It was worth it.

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end.  Took this sunset picture on our last evening in Negril. 

Until next year...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Unfinished Business Finished at the Reggae Marathon in Negril, December 2009

December 5, 2009 is the date I finished 'Unfinished Business".  And it only took 5 hours and 25 minutes under the extreme late morning heat along the Norman Manley Highway from Negril to Green Island and back in the 2009 Reggae Marathon.

What was I thinking?  I could have picked a marathon in Toronto...actually could have chosen from the two that are both run in the fall.  I have been asked the question so many times. And the answer every time is that there was a strong emotional pull to do it on the island of my birth.  Added to that:  my Dad was 'uber Jamaican'.  Even after 36+ years living in Canada, he kept up-to-date on the goings-on and was always quick with his opinion on how to fix things.

When the starter's gun went off at 5:15 am last Saturday, it was all I could do to hold back the tears.  Can't run and cry. 

And at the finish...couldn't hold back the tears here.  (Note:  this picture was taken by Sally who with the help of new friends Bob and Debbie from Washington, DC, got her into the media area.  Thanks guys.  Check out their web site, Washington Running Report for another picture of guess who :))

Days later I am still flying high with the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment of conquering the heat, humidity and distance.  Somehow I don't think that feeling will diminish.

And the best part:  even though we did not hit our goal of raising $10,000 for the Canadian Diabetes Association, we managed to raise just under $5,000 in only three months! 

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CONTRIBUTED.  Your generous contributions kept me going when it got really lonely and desolate on the road last Saturday.

OK, the second best thing...taken less than 5 minutes after finishing.  Now that's the real reason for choosing the Reggae Marathon in Negril.  Could not have done that in Toronto.  And if you must know the gory details, I consumed over 10 litres of liquid over the race, 5 gel packs of bad tasting but supremely effective goo and more litres of recovery liquids with electrolytes than I thought I could drink.  Not sure what it did to my stomach, but it got me through the hours and helped immensely with the recovery. 

And to my friends on the Wasaga Beach Road Runners:  you were right about showing respect for the heat.  HELL ON EARTH but I beat the Devil that morning.

Do you run for yourself or someone else? I run because I love to run. I really run to honour those who no longer can.

"I finished"

Until next time...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A very excellent run in the Reggae Marathon Dec 5

This is the actual result of the run on Dec 5 as published by the Reggae Marathon.
Thanks Andre


Excellent result!!!  Very irie man!!!


Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K - 2009
Marathon - Individual Results
December 5, 2009 in Jamaica

Number of Finishers:
Number of Females:
Number of Males:
Average Time:

Chris Morales
bib number:
Wasaga Beach, ON
overall place:
91 out of 131
division place:
15 out of 20
gender place:
63 out of 79
chip time:

Monday, November 30, 2009

5 More Sleeps to the Reggae Marathon in Negril

I can't believe we are now at the short strokes!
I planned to spend today (Monday) on business.  It has not gone as planned.
After getting back to my office after a successful presentation to a new client this morning I expected to spend the balance of the day cleaning up loose ends.  But just like an excited child, I got distracted by the race in Negril on Saturday.  So instead of concentrating on business, I decided to organize my running gear.
And I have enough of it!
With the temperature in Negril expected to be in the low 30's (Celsius) by the time the sun breaks, hydration is my major concern.  And although I am probably overdoing it, I plan to carry my own water supply along with special gels created for high heat situations.  At the start I will look like I am heading out across the Sahara!
Better safe than sorry. 
Other 'stuff': 
  • Special Thorlo cushion socks. 
  • Wrist bands
  • Special Running Room cap
  • Extra pair of running shoes
  • Recovery drink mix for after the run
  • Aspirin and other pain killers (not expecting to be in pain, but you never know...)
  • Laptop and power adaptors so I can do updates from Negril
Have I missed anything?  No worries...I have all day Tuesday to think about.
With the butterflies in my stomach already fluttering, those 5 sleeps will fly by very quickly.
Until next time from Jamaica...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

$10 makes all the difference in the world

$10 makes all the difference in the world

Standing in the grocery line on Tuesday found Sally commiserating with a lady about buying food on a budget.  The conversation turned to kids living at home.  The lady shared her story with Sally about how here son had moved back home recently.  He was 40 years old and due to complications from diabetes, he was unable to work. 

Sally shared our story of how diabetes affected us.  She also continued with my running in the Reggae Marathon on December 5 in Negril to raise $10,000 for the Canadian Diabetes Association. 

What happened next is stunning.

The lady, a stranger to Sally pulled out a $10 bill and gave it to her for the CDA. 

Chance meeting, two strangers in the grocery checkout line sharing personal stories.  Connecting.

I don't know who you are, but that $10 bill means more to me than breathing.  It makes all the difference in the world.  Thank you.

Below is the donation form.  If you have not donated yet, please click on it to download it.  Fill it in and send it directly to the following address:

Canadian Diabetes Association
4 - 556 Bryne Drive
Barrie, Ontario, L4N 9P6

Until next time...from Negril

Monday, November 23, 2009

Customer service that had me free and laughing!

Good things do happen to good people. Read the full story about a positive customer service experience posted on 'Free and Laughing', a blog published by Marguerite Orane. Customer service that had me free and laughing!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Giving is the right thing to do!

Givers Gain.

That is the motto of  Business Network International (BNI).  I belong to the Georgian Bay Chapter based in Collingwood.  I use it with respect to illustrate the positive and inspiring things we have Reggae Marathon December experienced throughout 2009.  Especially in working toward the goal of raising $10,000 for the Canadian Diabetes Association by running in the Reggae Marathon on December 5 in Negril, Jamaica.

 So far we have raised just over $3,800.  Sally and I are blown away by the generous donations so far.

With two weeks to go, the final push is on:  training peaks this weekend with a long slow distance (LSD) run on Sunday with the Wasaga Beach Road Runners.  And we are looking for ways to raise the final $6,200.  You can reach me directly at with suggestions.

Through all of this we have learned what "Givers Gain" really means. People give because it is the right thing to do.

Family, friends, business associates, on-line friends and total strangers have given to the CDA to continue education and research into Diabetes.  We have been moved by the generosity of all our donors.  Large or doesn't matter.  Each one counts.

I have been given advice on training and nutrition.  Some unsolicited.  All valuable.  I have been to a chiropractor, undergone hypnotherapy, had a pedicure, bought better shoes. 

I am eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking less alcohol, reducing salty snacks. As Sally says, "gotta take care of that 50+ body". 

I am running smarter and including rest days. To all the members of the Wasaga Beach Road Runners:  Thank you!

But the biggest lesson?  Its not all about me.

I started this whole thing because I wanted to finish a marathon.  "Me, me, me!"  Everything changed when I decided to dedicate the attempt to raising money for the CDA.  That simple decision kept me sane through the challenges of 2009.  It unleashed kindness, generosity and support.  We knew it was there...just needed a hand to be released.

Givers Gain.  It feels good!

Until next time...

Monday, November 16, 2009

What a blast playing paintball while raising $'s for the CDA

To say we had 'a blast' on November 14 would be an understatement. 

A small but determined group gathered at Wasaga Paintball last Saturday to play paintball and to raise money for the Canadian Diabetes Association.  We had a glorious day:  sunny with the temperature in the mid teens. 

It was a weekend event:  a full afternoon of paintball followed by a banquet dinner at Beverly-on-Main and an 'afterparty' back at Saga Resort where the entire group stayed.  Sally and I didn't make the afterglow.  No, not because the young people tired out the 'old man'...I had a long run planned for Sunday morning and would not have been able to participate fully.

If only I had known what I was in for...

Thanks to the very generous donation from Strongbar the top and hat, very 'slimming'...the entire weekend resulted in us raising over $1,100 for the CDA. Getting shot by the 'kids' was worth it!                             

This is a 'Before' picture...I have no idea what's coming. 

"Hey, is this really necessary?"

Absolutely it turns out. Wish I had worn some padding underneath. Wouldn't have stopped the 'sting' of being hit and put out of the game, but it would have reduced the welts: at least 20...I stopped counting.
Wasaga Paintball is NOT your average paintball experience.  They have over 70 acres of outdoor playing fields.  More than 12 different themed areas.  From the 'Wild West' (our favourite) to 'Black Hawk Down".  Running, shooting and tripping all part of the game. 

And with the gang all assembled, our safety briefing completed, and the adrenelin pumping, our referee for the day took out us out onto the playing field.  

Four glorious hours of scampering up and down the rugged terrain, hiding behind tree stumps, defending our positions, attacking all the time.  Whew, what a workout!

Break time!  Sweating bullets!  Needed to re-load the paint balls, charge up the CO2 in the markers and grab a drink.  Thanks to the local Water Depot in Wasaga Beach for the generous donation of water...don't know what we would have done without it.

No 'After' pictures thankfully.  That would not have been pretty.  Thanks Sally for the great pictures.

I learned a few things last Saturday:
  1. Never stand still in war
  2. Always have a plan before you start
  3. Throw out the plan and improvise quickly once underway
  4. Survival is the only thing that matters
  5. It hurts when you get shot!
  6. Kids like shooting at their Dad
More importantly I learned that young people care.  The guys and girls who took part gave up their weekend to help raise money for a cause.  I am proud of each of them for their support.  "I'll remember you at mile 25 of the Reggae Marathon on December 5"

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Coming to Jamaica to Run"

This article, "COMING TO JAMAICA TO RUN" appeared in 'Hospitality Jamaica', the Tourism Supplement off the Jamaica Gleanor.  I received it from Diane Ellis of the Reggae Marathon who has given great support. It is reproduced in its entirety:

Marketing consultant Christ Morales has a passion for running. A Jamaican / Canadian Morales will be among the hundreds who will gather at the Long Bay Beach Park in Negril in the early hours of December 5, in the light of bottle torches and to the sound of Reggae music as they await the starter’s orders for the ninth renewal of the Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K.

Morales’ objective is not only to visit Jamaica for its beauty and warmth but primarily to challenge himself to successfully complete the Reggae Marathon in memory of his father who “passed away of complications brought on by his years long battle with diabetes.” He has therefore “decided to dedicate my running to raising money for Diabetes Research in Canada. My goal in 2009 is to raise $10,000.” It will be his first trip back to Jamaica for this purpose.

Like Morales there are many others who will be taking the trip for a similar reason. Sports tourism is one of the fastest growing niches in the industry and despite the recession which, globally, is proving to be a greater challenge than many anticipated, there are those who are committed to going wherever the opportunity presents itself and their passion takes them to improve their fitness or as in Morales’ case “to raise money for a good cause.”

In addition to the local entrants, 2009 will see participants in the Reggae Marathon event coming to the island from countries as diverse as Finland, South Africa, Belgium, Brazil, USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Japan and France. Some, like the Arthritis Foundation - USA chapter will also be running to raise funds. The Yellow Bird Runners, Sisters in Motion and the Running Girlz, the all female running club from Burlington, Ontario, Canada have also registered to participate.

This continues to be good news for Jamaica. According to Tanya Miller President of the Jamdammers Running Club of Kingston, organizers of the event, as since its inception “Reggae Marathon has managed to make an important economic impact contributing over US$5.5 million to the accommodation sub-sector alone. We are awaiting the results concerning the food, drink, entertainment and other sub-sectors”, Miller added.

The Reggae Marathon event is also an example of community tourism at work as the entire area - from Negril to Green Island, has caught the vision and embraced the concept and all are working together to welcome the visitors and ensure that each year’s staging of the event is successful.

According to race director Alfred “Frano” Francis “the entire Negril community, from the many volunteers to the hoteliers, has come together to partner with us to present the main event as well as others like the award winning JHTA World’s Best Pasta Party at the Couples Swept Away Sporting Complex and the Village Bash in the Negril town square on December 4, as well as the Awards and Finish Line victory party on the Negril West End after the race on December 5.”

Further information and updates can be accessed at
Negril here we come...:)

42: Marathon distance and humidex in Negril

What have I done?

I started this madness because I wanted to finish a marathon. Now I have to finish 2 on December 5th in Negril!


I'm getting through it by staying focused on three things: motivation, inspiration and passion. And a ton of growing support from family, friends, business associates and total strangers! Plus, donations to the Canadian Diabetes Association continue to climb. Thank you.

And after much of the year endlessly thinking about and planning for the run in December, I am now only '23 sleeps' away from the start of the race at 5:15 am on Saturday, December 5:
  • Picked up my 'Race shoes' at the Running Room Outlet store in Toronto yesterday. Staying with what has gotten me to this point: Adidas Supernova's. Bought the 'Orange' pair this time. A bit of vanity here: wanted to have the shoes match the Team Diabetes singlet given to me by Dave Foster from Wasaga Beach.
  • Also picked up a new running hat and gel belt. Nutrition important; minimizing the impact of the sun critical.
  • Air tickets booked (Westjet of course to Montego Bay on Dec 2) and confirmed hotel in Negril 300 metres from the start/finish (Foote Prints on the Beach)
  • And I continue training with the best group of runners I have ever met in the Wasaga Beach Road Runners. Mike, Eric, Pete, Jim and all the rest: thank you for keeping me me moving with the emails and Sunday morning training runs.

All good on the motivation front.

And then I had a massive inspiration boost: a very, very generous corporate donation to the Canadian Diabetes Association from Gord West and his entire team at Strongbar Industries.( WOW!

I can't even begin to put into words how that felt. Gord and I have been friends since our family came to Canada in 1972. He and his friends Garth, Greg and Brent accepted me, the funny talking Jamaican with the frizzy hair unconditionally. We have been friends ever since.

Inspiration comes in many ways. At mile 23 on Saturday morning around December 5 around 9 am your generous support will keep me going. And yes, I will have pictures at the finish line.

Through all of this this though, one individual has kept-the-faith. Has kept the passion burning. She has kept me running with her line, "Run Christopher, run". Without her passionate support...often at great personal sacrifice...remember the story of her driving me to the start of the Toronto 1/2 Marathon?...I would not have made it through this year.

Thank you so very much, Sally. I love you very much.

Sally's deep passion has kept me motivated and inspired to keep going when things looked dark and crappy this past winter. "We're we are almost at this finish line".

42 x 2 on December 2. Bring it on!

Until next time...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Reflections on our trip to Jamaica

Graffiti is the most effective way to communicate with the people of Kingston. And not the ones who live in the mansions on the hills behind the gates and guard dogs.

Sally and I just got back from a week in Jamaica. We went to attend the 50th wedding anniversary of close family friends. And yes, I got in some really hot weather running for the Reggae Marathon December 5.

It was my first time 'bak a yaad' in over 10 years and Sally's first. We had a blast! But were constantly reminded of the divide between rich and poor. The gap seemed larger. My memories of growing up in Kingston haven't dulled with time. But the current economic and political realities of Jamaica in 2009 play out very starkly on the streets.

Some other reflections from our trip:
  • Driving on the streets of Kingston is a...bit exciting! Not for the faint-of-heart. "Type A" personality from even little old ladies once they get behind the wheel.
  • Car horns! Used liberally. In greeting. In anger. In frustration. Get used to it.
  • Where do the wild goats on the streets come from?
  • Where do the wild dogs on the streets live?
  • Yes you can still go to a very safe, family beach in Kingston. We did and had the BEST fried fish and festival ever cooked. I can still taste the 1 lb Red Snapper! Sally loved hers done up as Brown Stew.
  • Buses pass cars. Even on the tight, narrow, winding road up Mount Diablo on the way from Kingston to Ocho Rios. We took the Knutsford Express Luxury coach and learned a lot about 'overtaking' Jamaican style.
  • Jerk Chicken and Jerk Pork taste best in Jamaica. We make it better in Canada but nothing beats the taste of Jerk eaten with fingers right from the grill. At the Jerk Centre in Ocho Rios Sally and I worked our way though a tasty meal within hours of landing
We left the activity of Kingston for a couple of days of real R&R in Ocho Rios. It was exactly as I remembered. Busier of course (the car horns never stop) but just as beautiful.

From our condo window at Fisherman's Point we had a panoramic view of the crescent of white sand. I didn't run along the beach (too stressful on the joints) but did manage some road runs up the coast to Dunn's River Falls.

Can you say HOT? Even at 7:30 am in the morning the blazing sun got my attention. Seriously! Already thinking about how to better prepare for the Reggae Marathon in 4 weeks.

Despite the 'challenges' we observed, we had a great time. Can hardly wait for December 2 when we come 'bak a yaad' for the Reggae Marathon.

And if you haven't got round to it yet, there is still time to donate. Follow this link for instructions:

Until next time...

Monday, October 19, 2009

I got high on Sunday

And it only took 2:12:15. That was my time in the Goodlife Toronto 1/2 Marathon on Sunday. Started well and finished strong

The high began around the 5 km mark when I crested the uphill grade from Hogg's Hollow. That was one mean hill.
It stayed through the 15 km mark when I realized there were only 8 km to go. But it really intensified as I began the final stretch up University Avenue to the finish at Queens Park.
"HUGE" thanks to all the support from the Wasaga Beach Road Runners. So much training advice on our Sunday morning runs in Wasaga Beach. It all came down to one key thing: I ran MY race. I ran at my pace, didn't get sucked in to following faster runners early on, and had enough to finish really strong.
These shots were taken my #1 Support Person, Sally. She is not a morning person. Let me emphasize that: she is NOT a morning person.
We stayed overnight in Toronto at a fabulous hotel near the airport, Hotel Indigo to minimize the travel Sunday morning. Even with that we still got up at 5 am.
I must rephrase: I got up at 5 am to get the coffee ready.
Without that I shudder to think what the morning would have been like.
But she is a real trooper and actually got into the intensity of the day to take some really great shots.
And did it ever feel good to put this medal on. The feeling is still indescribable.
We had a celebration dinner later Sunday afternoon. Ribs! Pigged out on them actually. And the Guinnes...ahhhh....
Yes, I was still on my runners high.
My focus now turns to the Reggae Marathon on December 5 in Negril. I will run MY race there.
Check out how you can support my fundraising for my cause, Canadian Diabetes education and research.
Until next time...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Paintball fundraiser for my Reggae Marathon Run

With a lot of help from 'the sons', we have set up a major fund raising event on November 14, 2009 in Wasaga Beach to raise money for the Canadian Diabetes Association. We call it the 'Wasaga Beach Paintballer' in support of the CDA.

Talk about support!

We have an 'all-inclusive' weekend planned that includes 4 hours of paintball fun at Wasaga Paintball, special banquet dinner at Beverly's-on-Main and 1 night's accommodation at Saga Resort. Plus there will be other 'stuff'.

Honestly I can't contain my excitement and emotion. Here is an idea that came from someone else and that everyone we have spoken to so far simply loves. And the best part is that we get to raise a lot of money for the Canadian Diabetes Association. The details are below:


“In support of the Canadian Diabetes Association”

Saturday, November 14
Wasaga Beach

Chris Morales is running in the grueling Reggae Marathon in Negril, Jamaica on December 5, 2009. His goal is to raise $10,000 for the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA). You can donate to the cause and have a great all inclusive weekend playing paintball in Wasaga Beach on November 14.

1 s t Run the Reggae Marathon Fund Raising Paintballer
  • 4 hours of Paintball fun at Wasaga Paintball (includes gear,
    and equipment)
  • Banquet dinner at Beverly's on Main, one of Wasaga Beaches
    finest restaurants (alcohol not included)
  • 1 night accommodation at Saga Resort, the best hotel in
    Wasaga Beach
  • Light breakfast Sunday morning
  • Prizes
  • Includes a donation to the Canadian Diabetes Association (tax receipt will be issued)

Please make cheques payable to Chris Morales, CDA Fund Raiser Funds must be received by November 3, 2009. My email is: and my phone is: 705 422 1657

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Running is my life ... Lessons about motivation

I spoke to a group of runners this week. A big thrill!

Each Wednesday, Dr. Sarah Adams of Beach Chiropractic in Wasaga Beach holds running clinics Great idea. She asked me to tell my running story to a group of newbie runners. I said yes of course ... I got to run and talk!

I share the text of my talk below because it answers the questions I get asked most frequently: what are my running goals and how do I stay motivated. Here you go:

I pretty much talk about running all the time. I relate most of my life experiences to running. Drives my wife, Sally crazy. But for the past 27 years or so, running has been the one constant through all the ups and downs I have experienced including career. I can truthfully say that without running, I wouldn't be here today. I am running this year to raise $10,000 for the Canadian Diabetes Association, the disease that triggered my Father's death in 2008. Please donate generously:

But let me back up.

My name is Chris Morales. I was born in Kingston, Jamaica and moved to Canada in 1972. Between us, Sally and I have 4 boys aged 22 to 26. We moved to Wasaga Beach about 5 years ago with the intention to semi-retire. It hasn't worked out that way: Sally says I have to keep working so that I don't drive her crazy.

Running has done three things for me: it has improved my health, it has kept me sane and it has led to my 'encore career'. I'll talk about all three tonight. First of all, health.

As I mentioned, I started running about 27 years ago. It took a couple of years for it to stick though. Let me paint the picture more graphically for you: 240 lbs with a size 44 waist if I held my breath in. Completely sedentary lifestyle learned from college/university: chips, pop, beer, TV. The couch was my friend.

Then a number of things happened to get me off the couch. First, my doctor noted at an annual physical that my blood pressure was higher than normal. Based on my family history of hypertension, diabetes and strokes, he suggested that unless I did something about it, I was well on my way toward that.

Second, my twin sons were born. I knew I wanted to stay active in their lives. But that still was not enough to get me up off the couch.

It took a wedding.

I went to the wedding of a friend from college. He was a big guy, weighed over 300 lbs. I hadn't seen him for a year or so and was shocked to see him at less than 200 lbs. He weighed less than me! If he could do it, so could I!

That did it. That was the motivation I needed to start running to achieve the goal of loosing weight.

The very next week I got out an old pair of running shoes. Dug up a pair of cotton sweat pants and hoodie and under cover of night, went out for my first run. At the time we lived at the top of a small hill. The downward run was appealing. I did not think about the return.
I made it exactly 100 feet down the hill before I collapsed. Lungs heaving completely out of breath. Thankfully it was at night.

I continued on like that for about ½ a mile. Stopping every 100 feet to catch my breath. The run back home up the final 100 foot uphill grade was hell.

But I kept at it. Wanted to loose the weight very badly. A couple of weeks of running 3 times a week followed by a couple of weeks off. Then back on. Still eating the salty snacks, pop, beer. Slightly longer distances sometimes. Not much in the way of results for the first few months.

Then around the 4 month mark I noticed that I didn't have to suck in my waist as much to get into the size 44's. Must be the exercise. It was enough to keep me going.

Around the same time I started a new job in Toronto. My client was a dedicated runner. He encouraged me to enter a 10 k race that his company was sponsoring. After lots of hemming and hawing, I did.

Hell on earth for that first one. Shorts too short and tight; cotton t shirt enhancing my 'love handles'. No idea about hydration or pacing. I did very little training. I mean, how bad could it be to finish 10 flat kilometres? Very bad as it turned out.

I was OK through the first 5 k but struggled like crazy for the rest of the race. At 50 minutes with 1 kilometre to go, I somehow found the strength to make it to the finish line just under an hour.

I learned something that day: I loved competing with myself. And I was never going to be that unprepared again. The next year I again entered the event and finished in a respectable 48 minutes.

For the next few years I enjoyed the competition against the clock. I ran countless 10 k and 15 k events. Even tried my hand at a ½ marathon and finished in good shape and in a decent time. I had my personal best in a 10 k as well: 42 minutes. Never repeated since and not that concerned about it. I finally enjoyed running. And the health benefits were fantastic: down to 175 lbs with a size 32 waist. Low blood pressure. I felt great.

Lots of injuries along the way though: shin splints, sprained ankles, and knee pain. Youth is indeed wasted on the young: I didn't stretch, rarely changed my running shoes … basically did everything wrong. I wish now I had joined a running club or asked for advice.

Disaster finally struck in the Toronto Marathon. Again, a little cocky and ill prepared for the event. I unwisely went out too fast with the goal of finishing in a little over 3 hours. Oops...

The rain started at 5 k. The wind at 10 k. The knee pain at 15 k. I made it to 23 k before I dropped out. The worst feeling of my life.

Unfinished business.

I lost the urge to compete in running events after that. Kept running though because of the second benefit of running: mental sanity. At around that time, I lost my job and went through a divorce. I kept running and it kept me sane. Just the exhilaration of being outside with no one to bother me was enough to pull me through.

But I needed competition; needed new goals and motivation. But because of the unfinished marathon and after running in so many 10 k races, I needed something new. Triathlons beckoned.

You think after my previous experiences I would have been better prepared. True to form however, my first one went from bad to worse. It was in Barrie in the early spring. I had a 25 year old bike and no wet suit. It was early spring with air temperature in the low teens and water temperature around the same. And it was a wet start. For those of you who have never done one, that means you wade out into the water 5 minutes or so before the starting gun and tread water until the start. For a guy who grew up in Jamaica, wearing only bike shorts, that was NOT fun.

Turns out that even though I had not prepared at all for this I was a strong swimmer. I got out of the water in respectable time and headed out for the bike portion. Cold and wet. Learned all about wind chill that morning.

And to top it off, as I came back into the transition zone on my bike, I fell off in front of all the spectators as I started to get off. I got up, though and finished the run.

But I had been bitten by the bug.

I spent the winter training. Swimming and running. And in the spring of the following year, a nasty little exercise called 'the Brick'. 30 km bike ride at full speed followed immediately by a 5 – 8 km run at race pace.

But it worked. With a new triathlon bike, racing suit that Sally bought I competed in the Subaru triathlon series for a couple of years. My goal was to finish in the top half of every race and in the top half of my age category. And I did it. Motivated to beat some of the professionals.

After those years I learned to run better and take care of myself to reduce injuries. After all, I wasn't getting any younger. I learned to eat better and began cutting down on the salty snacks and sugar pop.

And I kept running.

Then last year, mid-2008 disaster struck again. Triple hit: lost my job, Dad passed away after his long battle with multiple diseases brought on by diabetes, and the economy went into the tank. I knew if I kept running I would get through it, but it was tough.

The light appeared when I remembered my 'unfinished business'. Ahhh... I was going to finish my first marathon!

That was the goal. The motivation? Raise $10,000 for the Canadian Diabetes Association. And because of my Jamaican heritage, I chose the Reggae Marathon in Negril, Jamaica on December 5, 2009...hey, might as well run where it's warm.

I receive a ton of support from the Wasaga Beach Road Runners: Mike, Eric, Jim and the entire gang have been absolutely fantastic. We run together on Sunday mornings and I get a lot of great advice and encouragement. (Thanks Mike for including the link to my CDA fund raising).

So far I have talked about the health and mental benefits of running. The third one for me is being able to take this into.

The eureka moment came while I was running of course. Duh!

Running: set goals and objectives, train, deal with challenges and set backs. Same as in business. I married the two to satisfy a need in the marketplace of small/mid-size business owners who are want to optimize their business to achieve personal goals and objectives. On line I can be found at

Running now really is my life.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

How's the training for the Reggae Marathon going?

It has been cold and rainy in Wasaga Beach for the past week. And the forecast calls for more rain as the temperatures continue to plummet. Not ideal for training for the marathon in Negril where the recent temperatures at the 5:15 am start have been 27 degrees C.

Hydration, hydration, hydration! Lots of water.

I have been doing a lot over the past few weeks to get ready:
  • Mike McCluskey and the Wasaga Beach Road Runners gang are the best training partners. Mike shares his marathon running experience and training advice. I concentrate on speed-work during my weekday runs and leave the Long Slow Distance runs (LSD's) for the weekends. I have reduced the strain and pain in my legs. Join a running group is my advice to anyone who wants to train better.
  • Going for bi-weekly adjustments and massage at my chiropractor. Keeps me well adjusted and reduces the muscle tightness.
  • Lots of water. On my long runs I use a backpack water system. I go through about a liter of water an hour during my long runs.
  • Shedding weight. Sally prepares excellent meals each day. Gluten and dairy-free, tasty and delicious and well balanced. Thank you very much (I know I'm a little heavy with the hot sauce though).
  • Salty snacks and alcohol gone for now. I can feel the difference and improvement each day.
  • Running in the Toronto Half Marathon on October 18. This will be a real-world test. I don't care too much about time, but I will experiment to see how my body reacts. And John Stanton from the Running Room is the finish line announcer. Cool!
  • Running in new Adidas cushion shoes from the Running Room Outlet store in Toronto. Breaking them and if they feel good after the Toronto Half, I'll buy another pair for the Reggae Marathon.
  • Including a rest day each week. Love the effects of the jacuzzi that day.

The biggest training boost comes in a couple of weeks when Sally and I will be in Jamaica for a week long vacation. Going to a 50th wedding anniversary for very close family friends. Yes we are leaving Tia behind with Michael :(.

Ahhh the heat...I'll get in some 'hot' runs. Sally and I will get in a long overdue vacation . We are really looking forward to it.

And finally, donations are coming in at a good clip now for the Canadian Diabetes Association. A big "Thank you" to those who have donated generously so far. We still have some way to go so please generate to the CDA as generously as you can. Here is the link to the down loadable donation form: Please forward this blog link on to everyone you know.

I have also received interest from some local businesses in sponsoring me. Wow! In the upcoming weeks I hope to promote these socially-minded individuals and companies. If you are interested in coming aboard as a sponsor, please leave a comment below or contact me directly at

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

$1000 in donations to the Canadian Diabetes Association!

I passed the $1,000 figure in donations since the official start of the fund raising campaign September 1. With 2 months to go until the run in Negril, Jamaica on December 5, 2005, I know I will achieve my goal of raising $10,000 for the Canadian Diabetes Association
For those of you who have already donated, thank you very much. Your generous support provides inspiration and motivation.
Here is how you can donate:

To donate with your credit card:

  • Print the form above
  • Complete the form with your name, address (including postal code)
  • 'Check' the box with your donation amount
  • 'Check' the box with the type of credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express accepted)
  • Complete the credit card information (including signature)
  • Mail the completed form to: Canadian Diabetes Association, 4 - 556 Bryne Drive, Barrie Ontario, L4N 9P6

To donate with your cheque:

  • Print the form above
  • Complete the form with your name, address (including postal code)
  • 'Check' the box with your donation amount
  • Make your cheque payable to: Canadian Diabetes Association - Reggae Marathon
  • Mail the completed form to: Canadian Diabetes Association, 4 - 556 Bryne Drive, Barrie Ontario, L4N 9P6
Diabetes can be controlled! Awareness is key. Combined with the information provided by the CDA and their leading-edge research, you can play a part in helping to reduce the ravages of this disease. It works for me! It's why I started running.

Until next time...

Monday, September 28, 2009

What I learned from my road trip to Montreal

Road Trip!

My son, Court and I went to Montreal last weekend to see my youngest son, Holden compete against the University of Montreal.

Holden is in his 4th year of playing football with the Acadia Axemen in Nova Scotia.

After graduating from high school, he got the football bug seriously when he played with the Mississauga Warriors. At the time when I asked him what he wanted to do after that he did not hesitate in his response: "I want to play football at university, Dad". He wanted that more than 'breathing'. He has been single-minded since and plays hard. Goal setting and achievement at its finest!

Since I can't get to his games in Nova Scotia, the chance to see him in Montreal was irresistible. I follow him on-line here

While the Axemen lost, Holden had the biggest grin on his face when we caught up with after the game.

Check out the picture. Now you know why I am a runner.

Holden is built like a truck and can run through a brick wall. And I have learned what 'quickness' is: Zero to full speed in 2 steps. The Defensive Ends have no chance when he is on the field. And he was just having fun.

Some other random learning from the weekend:
  • Schwartz's Deli on Saint Lauren Boulevard in Montreal serves the BEST smoked meat. You do not need to eat for the rest of the day.
  • Montrealers are happy people. We soaked up the ambiance. I will vote against separation!
  • Beer in moderation, warm fall day, football game all go hand-in-hand
  • Sleeping in the passenger seat of a Saab while being driven 'at speed' is great. Good driving Court.
  • "Monster" energy drinks work. Do they ever! "Monster" energy drinks work ... oh, did I say that already?
  • Don't eat cold sausage at 1 am in the morning. Never. Ever. I felt it the next morning in my long training run with the Wasaga Beach Road Runners

Life is funny. As a parent we hope we teach our children to be responsible, respectable and good. And then you have an experience like I did this past weekend where I learned from the kids: play hard, have fun, smile a lot. Go figure.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Article in the Wasaga Sun Sept 23 on the Reggae Marathon

This article appeared today, September 23, the one year anniversary of Dad's passing.
I am pleased that I can use my energy to raise money in support of the Canadian Diabetes Association. Since the official launch of my campaign September 1, over $1,000 has been raised toward my goal of $10,000 before the event in Negril, Jamaica on December 5, 2009. All the money raised goes directly to education and research in Canada.

You can donate directly by going to this link and following the directions:
Until next time...

Formula One Sucks!

I am disgusted with Formula One!

In case you haven't been following, Renault F1 boss, Flavio Briatore was booted this week ahead of a special hearing to determine if orders had been given to his driver, Nelson Piquet Jr to crash out allowing his team mate, Fernando Alonso to win a race in 2008. Turns out to have been true. Renault gets a suspended sentence, Briatore gets suspended 'indefinitely' and Piquet gets a slap on the wrist for putting his life in danger.


Contrast this to the previous scandal last year in which MacLaren Racing gets caught with hundreds of pages of Ferrari technical data. Their fine: $100 million.

Let me see if I have this straight: steal data get fined; endanger life get suspended sentence.

Both suck. But when the value of life is worth nothing, I'm out.

This race is over for me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I can only dream about the all new Saab 9 5 ... for now.

Unless things change very dramatically within the next 6 months, driving this car in Canada will be just a dream

I could wait until it gets launched in the US then find some willing importer to bring one up to Canada. The hassle of that sucks not to mention the extra cost on top of paying full retail. Oh, and no warranty or service.
I could flip to an Acura or Audi. Both make excellent driving cars. Hmmm...
I am considering buying out the lease on my current Saab. At less than the previously agreed upon figure. No warranty though and it would need brakes and tires.
Decisions, decisions...
I likely will drop down to a winter beater and decide next spring.
Irrational as it seems, I love Saabs and will wait-and-see...

My Last Saab?

This is my last Saab.

This could have been my next Saab: the new Saab 9 5

Unfortunately this Saab 9 5 won't make it to Canada for the 2010 model year. The new owners of SAAB Koenigsegg have their hands full in managing their existing large markets in Europe, Asia and the USA. Canada falls under their radar. At least for 2010.

And the business relationship in Canada is 'complicated'. Saab does not export its vehicles to Canada. It does so through General Motors of Canada Koenigsegg will have to negotiate separately with GM in Canada to get the rights to distribute their vehicles. Not at the top of their to-do list I'm sure.

In the mean time, the existing Saab Dealers who will be taking down their Saturn signs at the end of December 2009 will continue to offer sales and service...but for how long?

I turn in the keys to my 2005 Saab 9 5 on November 18 when the lease is up. Great car. Fabulous ride and handling. Love it when the turbo kicks in. One final long drive next weekend: to Montreal to watch my son, Holden play football with his team, the Acadia Axemen. I will enjoy that run.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Questions I would love to have answered

I will NOT look like this on December 5 around 9 am at the conclusion of the Reggae Marathon in Negril.

That's Mike on the right indulging me in a bit of vanity fun early last Sunday morning as we helped out in the Wasaga Beach 1/2 Marathon as members of the Wasaga Beach Road Runners Great time had by all.

On to what's been bugging me for the past week.

Questions, questions...
  1. How do companies figure that laying off their employees will grow their business?
  2. If this recession is over, why are people still cranky?
  3. Why are our Federal leaders screwing around with election talk? It makes us look silly on the world stage.
  4. On that note, wonder if Obama even knows who Harper is during their 'brief' meeting in Washington? (Long way to go for a 1/2 hour meeting).
  5. Still on politics...Ontario politics this time: why did the government fire the head of OLG for no cause? They had to have known it would go legal.
  6. Whatever happened to Tie Domi of the Leafs?
  7. Will the Leafs win the Stanley cup this year? Oops...sorry about that one.
  8. Will the Buffalo Bills ever win a game this year? Don't even ask about the Detroit Lions.
  9. How does Usain Bolt run so fast?
  10. Can the Argos make the playoffs this year?
  11. Do traffic round-abouts really work? We have our first one in the area near the Blue Mountain ski resort outside of Collingwood. Lots of effort and money for...?
  12. Will Americans ever buy small cars?
  13. Why did GM sell Saturn again? Don't they sell great small cars?
  14. Still on autos: will the 'new' GM ever show they have really changed by showing some humility for the fact that we OWN them?
  15. Why do people ride bicycles on the sidewalk?

Would love your comments...better yet, answers :)

Until next time...

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Perfect Wasaga Beach Weekend

I wish it had been 10 degrees hotter and humid (more on that later) but it was a perfect weekend.

It began with a celebration on Friday afternoon. Earlier that day I earned my first $ as a entrepreneur. It felt good. Sally and I celebrated with a drink on a patio on the main area of Wasaga Beach. Cheap red wine in a plastic glass for her; 'Tall Boy' light beer for me. Crap beverages, but it tasted great to be paid for out our our first earnings. More to come...:)

On Saturday morning I went out for my weekly long run as a build up the the Reggae Marathon in Negril on December 5. Weather conditions: sunny, humid and 35 degrees Celsius...oops, sorry, that was in Negril In Wasaga it was sunny, dry and 22 degrees. I put on a fleece pullover over my regular running top and headed out for a 80 minute run. Desperately trying to simulate the tougher conditions in Jamaica. Toque next. Great run. Knee felt fine. Massage, ice and hydrotherapy working along with the regular visits to Dr. Greg, my chiropractor.

I didn't stop after the run. Sally and I had purchased some plants (we never stop working in the garden) and we put them in on Saturday afternoon. Of course, we had to lift sod (our hidden agenda is to remove as much grass as possible). Our next door neighbours couldn't stand it ... they went out for the afternoon. We had a heck of a time with the second plant. We spent about an hour digging up a huge submerged tree stump. I practiced my swearing and came up with a few new combinations. Thanks Mike for the help. The downside was the time and effort to get it out; the up side was that we incorporated it as a design element in the garden.

Hydro therapy after that. Code for a long soak in mineral salts in the Jacuzzi. Ahhh....

Saturday was not over yet. I was delighted when I checked in on my son, Holden and his university football team at Acadia University in Wolfville Holden is in his fourth year and this year became a starter in his position of Full Back. The young man is built like a truck yet has the speed and agility of a gazelle. Unfortunately we can't watch his games on TV here, but his team handily defeated their arch rivals in the first game of the season. Yaaaaay!

Saturday finally ended with a splendid gluten and dairy pasta supper eaten al fresco on our back deck porch prepared entirely by Sally. OK, I helped with the home-made salad dressing, but she told me what to do.

"I hate 6 am" were the first words out of Sally's mouth on Sunday. We had committed to volunteer in the Wasaga Beach 1/2 Marathon and we had to be at Beach Area 1 by 8 am. The Tim Horton's coffee was already brewed in our genuine Tim Horton's Bunn machine so calmness prevailed by 6:15.

We had a blast at the 1/2 Marathon. Lots of members of the Wasaga Beach Road Runners ran in the event. Sally and I along with Mike and Mary McCluskey along with their friend worked at the finish line. I got to pre-announce the finishers so their names could be called out as they crossed the finish line. I took a good, hard look at the final 100 metres...I SAW Negril December 5.

And just when we needed to finally put our feet up, Mike, Sally, Tia and I packed up and headed to Orangeville to attend a tree planting dedication service in Orangeville to commemorate my Dad's passing last year. It was fabulous. My other son's, Andrew and Court were there along with my sister and her family and some other family friends. The singing of 'Amazing Grace' was a stopper along with the release of the doves. Extremely memorable way to celebrate the life a very good man. We went back to Mom's for a truly tasty supper of Jamaican treats (the curry goat stew was a keeper). And I got another donation, this one from my cousin, for the Canadian Diabetes Association! A couple of weeks into fund raising and we are on the board. Thank you if you have already given; please donate if you have not. Let's educate more people on how to deal more effectively with Diabetes so it doesn't cause future health issues. The link to the donation form is here: In the next few months I will be speaking to local groups and will let you know the dates/times.

Exhausted drive back up to Wasaga at sunset yesterday topped off a truly perfect weekend at the Beach.

Until next time...

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