Yes, Andy Anderson is a pro wrestler. Yes, we are going to talk about pro wrestling. No, that's not ALL we're going to talk about.
Andy is one of those guys that made it all the way to the WWE, but unfortunately, never got a solid gig. Still, he used that experience to fuel a career that took him around the world and earned him the respect of many of the top stars of today and yesterday.
Now, residing in Edmonton, Andy uses his love of personal fitness and his ability to communicate and teach in his new career, owner and trainer of a one-on-one workout studio in Edmonton Alberta, TCB Fitness.
Andy is one of those guys who you start chatting with, and soon feel like you've known all your life! Enjoy the fun stories, revealing insight, and even a few surprises!
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If you think running in the rain sucks...
I'm always fortunate when I visit Vancouver. The last two times I was there for the BMO, we had beautiful sunny days, with just enough breeze to make it bearable. Sure, rain was part of the vacation stay, but it was something I could live with.
Then it happens. One of my Vancouverite friends will hit me with the “You don’t know what it’s like man! The gray, the dreariness of it all… the rain is BRUTAL”. Even as I look at this week’s forecast for Vancouver, without a sunny day in sight, I say “BRING ON THE RAIN!”
I love where I live, but the biggest challenge of training in Edmonton has to be our weather. “Inconsistent” is an understatement, but it does offer its own unique benefits to a marathon runner.
For most of my training, we have had some bitterly cold temperatures. As a team, the rule is that anything below a base temperature of -20, and we move it inside to one of the local indoor running tracks. However, -19 with a -29 wind chill factor? That’s fair game to get out and take on the terrain.
Weeee!!!!! That's pure ice... downhill!
Yesterday was one of the hardest training runs I’ve had in 3 years. Last week, after months of snow and ice being packed down and settling in, we got a nice little heatwave, with temperatures going up to 10 one day.
However, as a longtime Albertan, I knew it couldn’t last. Sure enough, the night before our training session the next morning, we had what’s called a “flash freeze” in the area. Toss in some rain, and the entire city of Edmonton became a skating rink.
What measured out to be about 9 KM felt like 20, as getting a sure footing was nearly impossible. I have tried strap-on cleats before, and while they help on the snowy terrain, I never found them helpful on ice – plus they seem to do a number on my feet in general.
While grueling, there is (as there usually is) a bright side. Running on this crazy terrain can make for some great development of stabilizer muscles. Plus for those who have trouble pacing themselves, the extra focus spent on not falling on one's own ass tends to lend itself well to maintaining a regular speed.
I know there are many Vancouverites who may not believe me when I say I welcome the rain with open arms. To them, I simply say that I've never bruised a buttcheek from slipping on a puddle. Wheter sunny or damp, I welcome whatever Mother Nature offers us for May 5th. Except for the wind.
Y’all can keep the wind.
What's your preferred running weather? Leave a comment below! Thanks!!!
Mike Anderson is another one of those guys who you may not know by name, but he has produced some of the coolest events, some of which you may have gone too!
From being one of the guys behind the scenes at the Big Valley Jamboree, to CREATING the cross-country speaking tour starring WILLIAM SHATNER, Mike is someone who has taken the skill of throwing one hell of a party, and turning it into a career most can only dream of.
Can't see the player below? CLICK HERE FOR THE DOWNLOAD LINK (or right click and "SAVE AS")
2010 - First Training Season
I’ve re-written the starting line to this blog 10 or 11 times already, and all I can think of is the fact that I have no business being here.
Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be more excited or honoured that the BMO Vancouver Marathon offered me the chance to be an official blogger for the run this year, and like the rest of you who have entered, I’m counting down the days to May 5 when we all huddle up to the start line and get ready to embark on an amazing journey.
Still, I can’t help but feel that I have no business being here.
This isn't a new feeling. It’s the same way I felt when I attended my first Team in Training group training session. It was a blustery morning in February of 2010. Weighing in around 320lbs, and even though I had spent weeks in the gym doing hours on an elliptical trainer, lifting weights, and even trying running on a treatmill, I had managed to get down to about 300 before that fateful morning.
2010 - First BMO Run: 8K Road Race
The team and I went out, and that was the day I discovered that I couldn’t make it more than 50 metres without feeling like I couldn’t go on.
I have no business being here.
That was the same thing I said when I first came to Vancouver to run my first BMO event – the 8K Road Race. Up until that day, I had never registered for nor competed in an actual road race.
I crossed the finish line, and admittedly, I broke down into tears. That was when I knew what crossing a finish line felt like.
I have no business being here.
Just months later, I was terrified and anxious as I walked up to the start line of the Seattle Half-Marathon. 21.1 KM. Another finish line… but no tears. This time, I knew it was only the beginning.
I have no business being here.
After challenging Las Vegas came a return to Vancouver. Once again, taking on the 21.1, this time I was after something I never thought I’d even want a year prior: to try for a personal best.
I got it, taking 8 minutes off my original half-time. Tackling Prospect Point in Stanley Park without slowing down showed me the importance important of training that day, and how I’ll always get out of it what I put it.
There are some things, even training can’t prepare you for.
San Diego 2011 - Incomplete
After another period of months of training, I was ready to take on the San Diego Half-Marathon, once again in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. Years prior, I had began noticing that at times, my heart would jump to a rapid pace. I used to think it was serious, but my quack of a then family doctor told me it was heartburn and to just get over it.
That “heartburn” just about killed me when I had an attack 11 miles into the San Diego half and my heart wouldn’t slow down for almost an hour. After 45 minutes at rest, in a stretcher, my heart was still beating at 189 BPM.
The technical term is “supraventricular tachycardia”. I like to simply call it “scary as hell”. I’m in another country, thousands of miles from home, and now I’m in the back of an ambulance being rushed to UCSD Hospital.
It was a dark day when in my head I told myself, God, or whoever may have been listening, “If you want me that bad, I’m going out my way!”
I have no business being here.
This time, I may have actually been right. After two months of what had essentially felt like Vancouver here in Edmonton, we got a sunny break – the hottest day of the year, the same of which was the 2011 Half Marathon. Still, after just a couple of months “training” , I decided this would be the day I would look myself and my maker in the eye and see who flinched.
That may be a little over-dramatic, but whatever... I still won that day.
Las Vegas 2011 - New Half PB
Milder versions of the “scary as hell”would come up once in a while – however as the months went on, I would eventually meet a cardiologist by the name of Dr. Evan Lockwood who said not only could he fix me, but that I should KEEP running.
Doctor’s orders, I returned to Vegas for a mess of a race, but still managed to shave another 7 minutes off my previous personal best.
Sure enough, at the end, my ticker let me know that things still “weren’t cool between us”, but I managed to shut him up without seeing what the inside of a Las Vegas hospital looks like.
I bet there’s slot machines.
Edmonton Hypo Half 2012
Finally, with a scheduled date for heart surgery, a nifty little procedure where
they actually burn off one of the nodes that makes my heart go all crazy-bananas to begin with, I decided that I had one more grudge to settle:
The full marathon.
Naturally, Ionce again picked my mistress, the ever-so-tempting BMO Vancouver Full. Just for kicks, and essentially on a dare (thanks again, Andre), I even competed while training in a “Hypothermic Half” here in a very
snowy Edmonton. Picture running in oatmeal for 21.1 KM.
In order to ensure my heart wouldn’t play any new games with me, I was on these nifty two-tone blue pills which in addition to my ticker, slowed down every other muscle in my body. I knew I wouldn’t be fast again, but still, I wanted to be able to run one full marathon with all the original parts I was given –
minus my tonsils, but I really didn’t have a choice in that.
BMO Van 2012 - 3/4 in
I have no business being here.
I intentionally showed up early to the start line of the BMO Vancouver Marathon. Two hours early. As I watched Half-Marathoners dash by me trying to get their gear checked and make it to the start line on time, I casually strolled through the
It all seemed perfect. A new course, the chance to run the sea
wall, and of course, finally getting the nerve to try tackling the dreaded 42.2. As the corrals began to take off for the half-marathon, I thought back to my first run in Vancouver, and how the marathoners blasted past me as I got ready for the 8K. The nerves were still there after all this time, but I had no choice. I was going to run this damn thing, and do it with a smile.
Finally, I started to look around and saw that people were starting to get ready for the big one. I had a plan: Run if I can, walk if I must, but whatever happens… DON’T STOP.
I love/hate this bridge
I knew the pills were going to make it difficult. Still, I plodded on. I decided partway through to just walk the uphills. Carrying my big frame up hills wasn’t something that was easy to do to begin with, so with the added lag of my body working at about 75% of its potential it was an easy decision. I carried on.
By the time I hit the half-way point, my feet already felt like hamburger, and I was just getting started. What was once the allure of the new course, the sea wall, became a cruel lesson in geography when it comes to exactly just how far away the Lions Gate Bridge is from the start of it.
Why the bridge? Well, you see, my hotel was near the bridge, and since I knew it crossed over the sea wall, I figured that when I saw the bridge, I was almost done. It took several twists and turns,
but seeing that bridge was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever gazed eyes upon.
Nearing downtown, I met a fellow “back of the pack-er”, a woman who I will forever remember simply as “Calgary”. At this point, names didn't matter - we were both there for the same reason, and we were both battling against ourselves. Calgary and I stuck together and fought through the pain in our feet, backs, brains, etc. Our joint goal: JUST DON’T STOP.
With downtown Vancouver in my sights, I thanked Calgary for helping me push through, and then I told her I was going to try and push it for the last 2.2 KM. She understood, and I was on my way.
We were literally some of the final people to cross the finish line. The crowds were gone, the police had re-opened most of the roads, and it was clear that if I was lucky, I may be able to make it before the final cutoff for the event.
Random people would shout out their car window and cheer me on. People enjoying lunch on a patio would do the same, and one woman even came out of a store to show this large shuffling man some support.
As I finally made it to the last turn of the race, I heard something I had never heard in all my other races…
FULL Finish 2012
My name being announced as I was about to cross the finish line.
As though the empty street had been instantly repopulated, I found myself being cheered by all the race volunteers. They made me feel like a superstar. The girl who put the medal around my neck was the most beautiful person I saw that day, second perhaps to my pal Chris Hayden, who stayed with me as I recovered from my journey.
Vancouver did me a solid.
I might be the guy you ask if “this is your first one?”, or “are you lost?”. I may even be the guy you recognize as the one who puked in the bushes after the BMO last year. It was my own fault, I should’ve paced myself with that banana.
At the end of the day, May 5 will be my 10th endurance event of either a half or full marathon.
It may be your first, in which case, if you’re scared, don’t be. I’ve gone through all this and I’m still showin’ up. May 5 will be a day for celebration, and a day where I may actually bring back the finish line tears.
May 5 may be “just another race” for some, and for others it may be the greatest thing they'll ever experience.
No matter what, May 5 will be the one day we can all look ourselves in the mirror before we trek to the start line and tell ourselves:
"I DESERVE to be here."
The Mike McGuire Podcast - Now (and Forever) on Saturdays! Episode 4 - Entertainment Mogul Ron Kitchener
Kitch will probably want to give me hell for calling him an entertainment "mogul", but what else can you call him?
Manager to several successful Canadian talents, getting in on the ground floor of somebody by the name of TAYLOR SWIFT, owning a record label, a music publishing company, a tour production company, a television division, and even a website which you may be familiar with, www.topcountry.ca, it's safe to say Ron may have an interesting story and perspective to share!
Join us as we chat about life management, his early beginnings, whether or not his first office was as small as Jason McCoy said it was in episode two and MUCH more! It's a fun, informative chat with one of the leaders of the entertainment industry in Canada, in a way that can relate to anybody!
PLUS: Mike has some exciting never-before-shared news about his involvement in the 2013 BMO Vancouver Marathon! Worth the listen! Enjoy!
Can't see the player? Click here for the direct link to the podcast!
I just finished another meeting with a client here at the radio station, and I realized it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged on a personal level. Truth be told I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. Several “incomplete”postings have been written, most of which I abandoned for the same reason: they were just too damn depressing.
So, let’s get it all out and be done with it.
It’s been over 5 months since an 8 year working relationship was severed. In that time, I’ve tried my best to remain positive. Through the endless phone sessions negotiating my release, to bills rolling in, lawyers and most importantly, convincing my 84 year old grandmother (whom I’ve been raised under as ‘son’) that it’s all gonna be okay, it was a cavalcade of emotions.
I felt like a failure.
I tried to be a company guy – often going above and beyond in the hopes that maybe I could catch a break and be let into the “circle”. I chose to believe what I was told – “Work hard and it will pay off”. What wasn’t mentioned was how sometimes, hard work just doesn’t cut it. Still, I held my head up and carried on.
One of the most difficult things to get over is the loss of whom I considered to be friends. It’s amazing to see how many people you instantly become “the enemy” to, just because you don’t work under the same roof anymore. Even more difficult, was watching someone I once looked up to showing his cards and being reduced to telling half-truths in the hopes he keeps the "bosses" happy. I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same if that much money and a job title were on the line, but then again, I’ve made some notoriously strange decisions and still managed to keep my head above water, or as people seem to be saying, “land on my feet”.
I have found solace in the fact that despite losing those I worked with and confided in as companions, even more friends came out of the woodwork to support me. New friends crop up in the strangest of places, and ultimately, I realized that I simply wasn’t as alone as I felt.
Being far enough removed from it all, I’m in a much better place these days. To those who saw our employment together as the only reason to want to speak to each other, I miss you. To those I inadvertently pissed off through rounds of "tactless passion", I apologize. To those who didn't like me, I'm okay with that too.
Was I the perfect employee? Clearly not. Did everybody like me? Definitely not. Does it matter? Yes, but only when used as a way to learn and grow. Today, as I sit in an office of my own, facing similar decisions bosses I’ve had face, I use past examples as my own personal “Do” and “Don’t” list.
In short, I’ve grown up again, and it's amazing.
Today, I'm in a much happier environment. It's amazing to be around people who want to do more than just "get by", and have something as special as a FIRST radio station to be a part of. My health is (minus this little chest cold I'm dealing with) much better, I don't dread going into work, and I have some very exciting things starting up in my life which we'll talk about later on. The best part is, even in my darkest hours, I discovered how people can be both rotten and wonderful to one another.
In the words of a good (yet hilariously angry) friend of mine, I aspire to simply rise above and “Be better”.