Running Into 2018

I love Christmas break so much.  It gives me time to slow down from a busy schedule and do some of the things I love to do. Normally when I leave for work this time of year it is dark, and when I get home it is dark.  With a whole week off I can get outdoors, enjoy the daylight outdoors and perhaps get out for a winter run or two.

Nothing quite like a winter run in Canada! πŸ™‚

I can spend some time with the family and catch up with reading and writing. Lastly, something I love to do, but don’t do nearly enough is do nothing and relax.  Shut off the world’s distractions, and just reflect and lay low.  And looking back, and reflecting over this past year, there has been some pretty cool things happen these past 12 months.  So for the next little bit of time please allow me to share some of the highlights of 2017.

1: My Employment

When I reflect and look at it I’ve been pretty blessed, because it was through a running club at work that my running journey all began 5 years ago.  Earning income at my job I am able to help pay the bills around the house, as well as little extras like for a new pair of trail running shoes now and then and a few race registrations each year.  For the 5 years I have worked at my employment I have been in a fast paced warehouse.  A lot of lifting and miles of walking, and at the end of the day my 59 year old body can get pretty worn out. Some days I would have a sleep in the car before I turned the ignition for my commute home. I’ve never been happy with my training for my running events.  I always felt like I was going into these events extremely under prepared.  There is a team of professional writers at work. I have no training in writing at all, and am not at a professional, but I asked my supervisor one day if there was any opportunity at all, I would love to be given a chance to write for the company. It happened, and I could not be more excited.  Part of my workweek is in the warehouse, and the other part is now writing environmental posts for the marketing department.  I can keep my general fitness up with the hours working in the warehouse, but now I also have energy left over so I can be more specific in my training and conditioning for those ultras. In the marketing department,  I am with a great team of professional writers that have a lot of confidence in me.  My first post was published around a month ago. Here is the post. What It Takes To Be Sustainable In Coffee Cups

Header picture from my first work post. Image source

2. Public Speaking.

For those who know me well, I am quite quiet and reserved, and one who will seek out an unoccupied corner in a crowded room.  So it comes as quite a shock to many people who see me speak, as I tend to get very animated.  Much like getting myself ready for these tough running events, getting on a stage to speak takes much preparation. In close to the past 6 years that I have been lay pastoring a church on the side (outside of my regular day job) I have spoken probably somewhere between 250 and 300 times.  But this past year I did something very unique, and that was to speak at an “Ignite Talk”, which has been likened to a mini “TedX” talk.  We have 20 slides, and 15 seconds per slide which auto advance for a total of five minutes. For someone who is used to an hour each week, 5 minutes go by SO fast.  It was a completely different audience and setting at Ignite, than what I am used to and I had SO much fun. Ignite Talks are held worldwide. So check them out, to see if there is an event near you. Here is the link: Ignite Talks.

Speaking at Ignite. Topic for me was teaching the audience how to build a quinzhee. If you get stranded in the cold of winter, you never know.  This might save your life. Image source G. McIntosh Photography


Built my quinzhee between Christmas and New Years, and slept the night in it in -32 degree Celsius temperatures. Fortunately I was warm enough as I was locked out of the house. My son had locked the house for the night not realizing I was out winter camping  πŸ™‚

Looking out from the inside! πŸ™‚

3. My 50 Miler

When I started training in the spring of 2012 for my half marathon later that fall, that half marathon seemed so unreachable. I struggled so much to get there.  And the thought of standing at the start line of a gruelling 50 mile trail race less than 4 years later seemed so ridiculous.  But finishing that 1st half marathon changes a person.  Then finishing a full marathon the next year, and then some 50k ultras in years after that, every finish makes me want to attempt tougher and more challenging races.  So that’s how I ended up wearing a headlamp at 5:00 am at the starting line of the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler.  The majority of runners were 20 to 30 years younger than me.  Fifty miles is a long way, anything could happen out there, and inwardly I was very scared.  The race was extremely challenging and had me going through a wide spectrum of emotions.  Without going into details how it ended, here is the link: My 1st 50 Mile Ultra.

Running the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Miler

4. The Running Community

Back in the fall of 2012 when I was attempting my 1st half marathon in Toronto, I was struggling badly. A lady came up from behind and started talking to me, concerned to know how I was doing.  She was a very experienced runner, having completed several full marathons (including Boston) and was running a full marathon that day.  She ran with me well over half my distance, talking to me, encouraging me, and believing in me that I could actually do this.  It blew me away that this runner would give up a better finishing time to help me (a complete stranger) achieve my 1st half marathon.  She helped take my mind off myself, and helped me focus on the finish line.  I could not be more grateful to her.

Such an amazing feeling at the finish line of my 1st half marathon.

It was a beautiful introduction of what the running community is like.  I am always amazed by the running community. Since that cool October day in 2012 I have tried to be really aware of the other runners, to see how they are doing and if any could use some support and encouragement.  It was 5 years later, another cool, rainy October Half Marathon, this time in Orillia I came alongside another runner who I sensed was slowly fading.  Her name was Jill MacAlpine.  She told me this was her 1st ever race, which amazingly was a half marathon. This was by far the longest distance she has run. Really don’t think I did much of anything, but just stayed running alongside her for support.  Taking her mind off that 8 or 9 kilometers to go and focusing on 1 kilometer at a time, she fought though those mental barriers.  And at the finish line, as our two sets of eyes were tearing up, I was thinking “It doesn’t get any better than this”.  Definitely a highlight of my year.

That exact same amazing feeling as my 1st half marathon was sharing the moment with a runner named Jill MacAlpine after completing her 1st half marathon. I was so proud of her, and happy for her. It does not get any better than that.


Screenshot of a tweet I was mentioned in from runner Jill. It has become my favourite. #humbled

5. My Health

I am turning 60 this year, and I can’t say enough how fortunate I am to have my health.  Sadly this past year I lost a few co-worker friends who previously had worked with me in different jobs over the years. And it hasn’t been easy, and really makes me think of my own mortality.  I can’t say how fortunate I am to be able to run.  Running is a gift.  It helps my mental as well as my physical health. As long as I can, I just want to keep running.

Running Is a Gift        Image Source 

6. Lisa Tamati

The 50 mile race that I ran last July beat me up pretty good. This might be something only a ultra-runner might understand, but after that North Face race, I wanted to go even tougher and longer.  But in order to help me get to that next level, I knew I needed help.  Every level gets more and more intense, and proper preparation becomes more crucial.  There are so many runners that I connect with on Twitter, and there are several who are professional running coaches. Who will I turn to for help? Lisa Tamati, who lives in New Zealand is one of the world’s top ultra competitors and has competed in some of the toughest endurance events on earth.  They include the Badwater Ultra, a 217k race in the dead heat of summer through Death Valley, La Ultra-The High, the world’s highest running race of 222k’s through the Himalayas, and  Niger, 333k’s through the Sahara. On top of being a high profile running coach, she is also a best selling author of 2 books, Running Hot, and Running to Extremes.  Lisa Tamati is a keynote motivational speaker. She also hosts a podcast called “Pushing The Limits”. I connected with Lisa through Twitter and found out she offered an e-course called “Path of the Athlete” through her company Running Hot Coaching.  It deals with mental toughness and a never quit mindset. This can apply not only to running, but to any challenge in life.  I enrolled in the course and told her my goals. Having taken other e-courses before where the only feedback from the instructor was “well done”, I didn’t know what to expect.  But this course has been way beyond my expectations. Lisa goes above and beyond with her feedback, often responding to my answers in great depth of her own personal experiences with raw honesty.  She really wants me to be fully prepared for that next level and reassures me she has competed with and knows runners my age that are doing just that. I’m a third of the way through the course, and it has become a highlight this year. To learn more about Lisa Tamati, her website is

Elite ultra endurance runner Lisa Tamati   Image Source

7. The Blogging World

At the end of each year I always like to thank all my blog supporters.  Whether you have been with me right from the beginning of my blogging journey or joined in this past year, you are very important to me. You’ve read, liked, commented and shared.  It has not gone unnoticed. Blogging connections have become friendships. So as I close off this post I would like to wish each of you a tremendous 2018 and present the 5 blogger friends who have interacted and commented the most on my blog. Thank you!

i: Natalie from the blog Natjtan—16 comments.  Natalie is an adventurer of sorts.  She likes to run obstacle course races, her lifestyle reflects care for the environment. And she takes amazing photographs. You will find a bit of everything on her blog, with a great sample being this post Late November Catch Up

ii: Travels With Choppy—21 comments.   This is such a fun blog.  Some posts involve Sarah’s dog Choppy and her cat Schooner that will make you laugh. Other posts involve Sarah and Choppy’s inspirational “Dog Walk Challenge” that was inspired by my niece Caron’s run-streak. The challenge of walking every day through all kinds of weather. The Dec. 26 post of Dog Walk Challenge will tell you how far the streak has been going!

iii:  An Armchair Perfectionist—26 comments. Prajakta has a bit of everything in her posts. Some feature photography, other times she shares amazing poetry, and others she shares from her heart of what it is like living and working in her home country of India.  In Canada we have come a long way with gender equality in the workplace, but in her post My Gender Prajakta shares bravely from the depths of her heart of the inequality found in India.

iv:  Freedom Through Empowerment—29 comments. Tricia is an incredible encourager. Whether I have written about a race event, or a post on cancer, I am sure she will drop by with an extremely generous comment.  And she is an excellent writer. A post that really resonated with me was called Unplugged.  The opportunity of shutting off technology for a time and experiencing nature and all its analogies that can be applied to life.

v: Travel Tales of Life—31 comments.  Sue and her husband Dave like myself are in their fifties, but boy they sure are adventurous.  With the extremely descriptive posts you feel like you are tagging right along for the adventure.  Sue does most of the writing, and Dave who is just as creative will sometimes share a post. I found Painted Irish Sheep very fascinating.

Thank you so much for sticking around as I shared some highlights of 2017.  Once again thank you for all your support. Have a tremendous 2018.


Categories: Year End RecapsTags: , , , , , , ,


  1. You are a true inspiration Carl and so positive! I always feel so much better and remind myself how grateful I should be after reading your posts. Happy New Year to you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Angie for such a generous comment. We do inspire each other. Your area of Northern British Columbia can be very harsh this time of year, but you embrace it. Your photography is stunning. Thank you for taking the time to read and share. And hope you have a tremendous 2018. I know some year I really want to make it out there for the Summit Run. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Carl – I have problems with your first image. All I can think of are the words – mad, madness, crazy, what were you thinking. But then I remember this is your known environment and you know how to live in it. To me, of course it is a foreign land and an environment which seems unbelievably hostile. So of course I am impressed with your year’s achievements, and your thoughts. Best wishes for 2018. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww thank you for your kind words, and thank you for your honesty in the 1st sentence.. It was so strange a year ago in New Zealand a month during their summer and coming back to the “deep freeze” here in Canada. I was so cold the 1st few days, but the body does acclimatize over a couple of weeks. Today is such a beautiful day with bright sunshine. It was -29C this morning, but has reached -19C. Winter in Canada can be very hostile, but also very beautiful. Being prepared by dressing warmly in layers against the elements goes such a long way. If you are too warm, you can always remove a layer. But if you are cold, and a long way from anywhere to get warm, it can quickly become very serious.
      Thank you for taking the time to read, all the best yourself in 2018! πŸ™‚


  3. Well it looks like you’ve had quote the year Carl! I hope the next is just as plentiful and exciting. Thanks for the blog mention too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have to know more about the “how to build a quinzhee” (for my hubs) and how cool that you sleep out like that (no pun meant)- and also congrats on the writing job – you are blessed and a blessing.
    oh – and goodness – the auto flipping of the slides would be tough for me – but how cool that you gave that ignite talk
    happy new year

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by Yvette. Quinzhees are so much fun, and are a bit of a family tradition. If there was enough snow at the time, between Christmas and New Years I would build one and we would sleep in it as a family together when the kids were younger. There are I’m sure a quite a few tutorials out there if you or your hubby Googles “how to build a quinzhee”. But if you have any specific questions you are not sure about please don’t be afraid to hit me up.

      I am so excited about the writing. I am a person who is very passionate about the environment, and that is what I am writing about, which is so very cool.

      Have a wonderful 2018! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • happy new year to you too and I was just telling my hubs about your post and I could not figure out how to say that word.
        and we will be back here and we can look it up as needed – and I will let you know if we have any direct questions for you

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hope you have a great new year. That is one amazing shot of you running in the snow.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy New Year – wishing you an awesome year 🍾

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Carl, thank you for being a good friend to me – your introduction to Caron’s running is what finally got me to exercise on a regular basis, and Choppy and I are so much healthier and happier because of it. Not just that, but it has really helped me make other healthy changes to my life.

    Plus, your runs make my cold walks look downright balmy and remind me I shouldn’t complain about them. I mean, it was -18 C for my walk this morning. I should break out the shorts and flip flops!

    Anyway, thank you again for being a friend, and here’s to a wonderful 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sarah, I am so very touched by your very kind comment. Your streak is absolutely incredible, and it would be so exciting so see and feel the results that come about from your disciplines.

      We do help each other. Your posts featuring Choppy and Schooner have put smiles on my face on what otherwise might be a ho hum day. Always so amazed by your creativity, and wondering where do you come up with these costumes.

      Your dog walk challenge, challenges me to get out there on days that I don’t feel up to it. Thank you. The blogging world is so cool, where it starts as following one another and turns into friendship.

      I appreciate and cherish your friendship. Thank you so much for all your encouraging support for my blog and my running this past year. Yep and here is to a wonderful 2018! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Awesome, Carl! Looking forward to a great 2018 with a lot of adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You are so awesome Carl! The part in your post where you talk about the runner helping you through your first full marathon had me a little choked-up. Then when you returned the favor, how cool is that?! I’m so happy for your writing opportunity at work. Stay well friend, happy 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Rachael. You always leave such encouraging words. Fellow runners really are so amazing, that runner who helped me at my 1st race could very well be the reason why I am still running. Hoping you have a wonderful 2018 Rachael. I appreciate all your support! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  10. As a new runner, I have to wholeheartedly agree with how awesome the running community is! The encouragement I’ve received from other runners, you included Carl, has made a huge difference!

    And isn’t winter break the best!? I hardly ever have time to sit back & do nothing– it’s wonderful!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Kate for reading and your very generous comment. It makes me very happy to hear you are feeling welcomed and part of the running community.

      Glad you were able to have a break over Christmas and spend some time to do nothing. Our bodies do need that. Thanks for stopping by, and hoping your running journey in 2018 will be truly amazing! πŸ™‚


  11. Carl, you are Amazing! You are always so determined to better yourself and continue to improve. Either your mindset or your life experience. It is inspiring. And the quinzhee is crazy!! I had never heard of that before. I will have to look it up. But the fact that one night your son accidentally locked the door in -30+Β° weather and your response is to build a quinzhee instead of finding real housing made me laugh. Somehow that is not surprising. πŸ˜† I hope you have a wonderful 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww thank you Chelsea. Quinzhee’s are pretty amazing. I would imagine there is a fair bit of information on line. For me on that cold night, the quinzhee was already built. Which is a good thing, as it does take a few hours to properly build one.

      Wishing you a tremendous 2018 my friend! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Sounds like an exciting year! Congratulations on the writing job! I can say I knew you when you were just starting a jog blog–haha..ok marathon running blog is way more accurate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lol…thanks April. Yeah I am very excited about the writing placement . “Marathon writing blog” would be well named, but just does not rhyme like “jog blog”. That’s pretty catchy! πŸ™‚

      I appreciate so much your friendship and support. Wishing you a tremendous 2018! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Happy New Year Carl! What an inspiring blog. Thanks for energizing and motivating me this morning. Time to get on the “dreadmill”. I signed up for the Ottawa marathon this year, working towards a Boston Qualifier. Not bad for 56. See you on the trails.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is SO good to have you drop by here Gene. Thank you for reading and sharing! I hope you have been well. All the best with Ottawa, and I really hope you BQ. Are still part of Marathon Maniacs? Hope you have an amazing 2018! πŸ™‚


  14. I enjoyed reading your year recap. I loved reading about your running experience with Jill. As we have traveled around on our running quest we have also found that runners are an especially neat group of people. How exciting that you are now able to make writing part of your employment! Happy 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Karen for taking the time to stop by and read and share your kind comment. Runners really are a very special group of people. Am so glad to be a part of the community. All the best yourself in 2018. Happy running! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Excellent post! Phenomenal perspective on many levels … public speaking can be daunting and running is a combination of physical and mental challenges – which is why I can relate 😊. I’m so happy to hear you ran the Northface 50K! An ultra is my goal for 2019, this year I’m working on finishing the Marine Corps Marathon faster than last year! Thank you for making me smile this morning 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for dropping by and for sharing such a generous comment. And thank you for sharing a bit of your running journey and running goals. It is so exciting to see you meeting these new running challenges, which prepares you for the challenges in the future. Wishing you a tremendous weekend! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Carl here I am with a big apology. I am afraid that in our final rush to prepare for Asia and then being gone for January I missed this post. So very kind of you to include us in your year end wrap up. I read it all and was feeling so inspired by how as you age new doors are opening up in so many aspects of your world. Then to see this kind and lovely mention was a true gift. many thanks for all of your visits and chats over the years. I have enjoyed them very much and look forward to more in 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww thank you so Sue, ands no apology needed. I have myself really enjoyed our visits and chats, it has been pretty cool. It really is an honour to mention you and your blog. You (and Dave) are so personal with all your readers.

      Yeah, very excited about the new doors opening up for me. As of last Friday I was given a name tag with my new job title on it….Creative Writer. I am very excited. The big challenge now that I am full time writer is to keep fresh.

      Hope you are recuperating from your major trip. So many amazing experiences I am sure! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Carl…great post and thanks for sharing!! You are one busy person. I like your running at this age (I say that as I am only a few years older and have been a runner since my mid-20″s). I no longer run as my knees have decided they are done with running (replacement for both in the not too distant future)….all of that said, I still work out daily as I love keeping fit and those years of running, my body is programmed for workouts…no marathons for me all those years…just running daily and running different trails, paths, etc. Keep after it!!

    I have to admit….it does look cold up there!! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing. Wow, you have been running such a long time Kirt and certainly do not look to be someone in his 60’s.This says a lot for keeping yourself fit over the years. Am sincerely sorry to hear about your knees. I know my time will come, though a lady my age who I paced with in a race in the early part of last year mentioned because I have been running such a short time my knees might be okay for a long time yet. I don’t know if there is any truth to it. Will keep going just one run at a time. I do find trail running much easier on the joints though! πŸ™‚

      Thank you for taking the time to read and for sharing a bit about yourself, and your keeping in shape. So much appreciated! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Impressive years in the past and may it continue in year 2018! Wishing you the best for year 2018!! And keep running!!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. What an adventurous life. I shuddered reading the winter camping segment.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Nice to see your stories and I especially love the photo of you running in the snow. Isn’t that an amazing feeling???

    Liked by 1 person

  21. You are a complete inspiration package πŸ™‚ From your kindness to your running and your writing to your humility. There is so much I have learnt from you πŸ™‚

    Thank you for the mention πŸ™‚ Hope 2018 has been great for you. I am in a better place now – tons of news. I may need your help in a few months around the same πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Wow, what a post. I do love it! Your photos are very inspiring and they show are a window to Your world. Thank You.

    Liked by 1 person

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