Jugo Juice Calgary 10K Race- 8 days until I bring it !

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Photo courtesy of : www.calgarymarathon.com


8 Days from now on June 1st, at 7:30 am,  I will run my first official race since my Heart Attack and I am actually looking forward to it.  I have been training and although I am not as fast as I’d like to be, I am ready.

I am participating in the Jugo Juice Calgary 10 K as part of the Scotiabank Marathon festivities.  I will be running alongside a few other Heart Attack Survivors and with one friend on behalf of Total Cardiology, Cardiac Wellness Institute and the Libin Institute.


8 days is going to come fast.  I am not nervous, not excited, not scared.  I am just anxiously awaiting this challenge.  I need to prove nothing to anyone other than myself that I can do this, I know I can do this.

For anyone who has ever ran, they know exactly how much punishment your body goes through in a race, in training.  I have done many races in my past and some were hard as hell.  I think this one will be my hardest. Looking at the race Map, it looks to be a little tough and slightly scenic.  There no time goals.  Just Finish and Finish Strong.


It will be my hardest, not because I am not ready but because I know I will be battling my brain with each step I take.  I could be wrong.  I hope I am wrong.

The journey to this race started the day I walked into Cardiac Rehab and could barely last 10 minutes on a treadmill.  I know now I can last at least an hour.  I  know that I need to listen to my body, watch my heart rate monitor and be very hydrated.  I also need to ensure I am positive in my thoughts and my words as I hit each Kilometer   This has to be my smartest race.

The last race or run I did was the Color Me Rad 5K with my friends, Dannica, Dan and Josie and I still remember how much fun it was.  I am glad it is my last race memory as it lets me remember why I run.  The fun.  The fun and seeing others accomplish something they did not think they could do.  That is why I started running.

I won’t forget how big Dannica’s smile was when she finished the race.  I was so proud of her !  I hope I have a smile as big as hers when I cross the finish line on June 1.

Look how clean we look ! Dan, Josie, Dannica and Me.
Not so clean anymore. Me, Dannica, Josie and Dan

The finish line.  For some reason I really want a familiar face or two at the end, waiting for me.  A friend, family member….someone.  I have never ever wanted anyone to be waiting for me at the end before.  I am not sure why I desire this now.

I will not ask anyone but if any of my friends are reading this and maybe want to show up, I would be ok with that 🙂

Bring on the 10 K.  This one is for me and I have a little something special planned for this race.

I may not be first and I there is a chance I may be last but no matter what, I will cross that finish line.


Absolutely Nothing. My Return to Beach Dodgeball



MAY 11, 2014.  I made my return to playing Beach Dodgeball.  To say I was nervous in the days leading up to this would be a huge understatement.

Since my Heart Attack and more so, my Cardiac Arrest I have been struggling with PTSD- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  This has not been easy.

I desperately want to feel again.  By feel I mean I need to break, cry, get mad…something, anything that shows I still have emotion.  I am exhausted by comments from people about me being or acting differently.  I can’t explain it in a way that anyone would understand.  I am just not quite who I was before.

Anyway….So returning to the “Beach”.  This is the second time I have been there since my heart attack.  The first where I was going to play for the first time since.  The heart attack happened while playing last year on August 11, 2013.

I could not get that fact out of my mind in the days leading up.  Now, although physically I have challenged myself more than Dodgeball could do to my heart, it still sat in my head.  I was scared about reliving the moment.  Would it happen again ?  Would I break down and cry ?  Wold I get the break I feel I so desperately need to fully heal ?

I got my answer quickly.  I deliberately walked over to where it happened and felt absolutely nothing.  Not upset, not mad, not fear…nothing.

Yes I did think about the last time I played and re played the entire day in my head.  Still unbelievable for me.  I felt no emotion about being there at all, just memories, some a little foggy as I wasn’t in the right mind when the heart attack happened. I am still not in the right mind to this day.

I will say this.  It did feel good to play and to know I can still play.  I am definitely not the same Dodgeball player I was before but I am trying to get better.

I love the fact that my dodgeball friends have been so supportive.  I do know that when I saw Sean and Alanna there I smiled for I will always be thankful for them two people, probably more than they know. I cannot tell them thank you enough.

The day ended as most do at Dodgeball and I was there another hour after as a games coordinator enjoying the moment.  A moment that may have never happened if I had just given up and let fear take over.

I always wonder now how many more years I can play.  I am getting older but the game is still fun and yes, the pain is worth it.

Every week on Sunday in spring and summer I will be back at “the beach”.  I still have hope I will eventually feel something.  For now I will continue to live the moments, have fun and keep kicking ass at getting better.

I wish to feel if only for a moment.  For now, I will be patient until that time comes.  I am still pretty awesome.


The Worst Day of my life. My Mom’s Stroke – 1996

The worst day of my life. February 9, 1996.

 Some of you may be thinking….well, duh, it was the day you had your heart attack !  Ummm no.  Maybe you think it is the day I lost a job I worked so hard to get or maybe the time or two A relationship of mine ended and it seemed like my world was tumbling.  NO, NO and NO.  Here it goes and it’s a story about my mom.

My momma and me 🙂

This is a story I think I have shared maybe once or twice.  I do not speak often of this.

Many of my friends know that my Mom had a stroke on February 9, 1996.  This left her paralyzed and not the same woman who raised this man and two daughters.  I was 18, my sisters, 14 and 9 respectively.

I remember this day so vividly even now,  18 years later.

I was in Grade 12.  I got up early and as I was leaving for school I noticed my mom was in the bathroom after having a few drinks with her boyfriend and a few friends the night before.  Hungover, or so I thought.

I went to school at Diefenbaker High school that day.  It was Friday which made it a half day at school.  I went about my day as usual, attending classes, seeing friends and being happy old Mark.

The school day finished and I was off to my part time job at a place called Easy Street in Sunridge Mall as  an arcade technician and mascot- Ronny the Racoon.

I was maybe 45 minutes into my shift when I got a message to call Foothills Hospital.  It was that phone call that turned my world, my families world upside down.

“ Mark you need to come to the Hospital.  Your mom has had a Stroke. We have been trying to contact you all morning.”

My family had tried calling my school but missed me by mere minutes and I was then unattainable on the bus to work.

I remember standing there, stunned, not believing what I had just heard.  I did not want to believe this really happened to my mom. 

I left work immediately.  When I arrived at the hospital, many family members and some friends were already there.  I was taken to where my mom was, unconscious, lying there.

I could not bring myself to go near her hospital  bed that day and for a couple days after.   I was scared, in shock.  I did not want it to be real.

Would mom live? What the hell happens now ?  What was going to happen to my sisters and I ?   Those were my immediate thoughts.

It was like a bad dream where I hoped I would awake and mom would be there being her silly self chasing us around for fun.

What made this worse for me, were my last words to my mom the night before when she had a few drinks and asked me to go to the liquor store to buy more alcohol for her and her friends.

Those words…..could have potentially been the last I ever said to her. I am sure she doesn’t remember, but I do….. “ Fuck off, I am not going, you all are too drunk.  Seriously, leave me alone.”  Since then I always try to leave friends and family with encouraging words at the end of a day, for you never know when you could lose someone you love.

I hated seeing her drunk.  I hated in that moment that I was 18 and of age to purchase liquor.

The day of her stroke those words replayed many times in my head. 

Nothing I had been through to that point in my young life had ever been so terrible.  Nothing I have experienced since has even come close to how that event hit me like a ton of bricks. 

My mom did survive.  Paralyzed on the left side of her body, mentally and physically changed.  Her spirit stayed and she is still my Mom.

 She has never quite been the same but she is always mom.  She still gives me crap, makes me laugh,  calls me incessantly, gives me $20 even when I don’t need it, wishes me the best, tells me she wants me to be happy, encourages me to dream, wishes I would find a good woman and give her more grand kids.

 I know she blames herself for a lot in life and worries all the time about her kids.  She has a great love for her grand children ( none provided by me lol.)  She still gives as much as she can to others because that has always been her nature.  She is a big reason why I am always helping others, giving back and trying to be as best of a human as I can.

My Momma !  Love you !
My Momma ! Love you !

My mom is not perfect but she is my mom, yes she can be a pain in the ass lol…..BUT,  I am thankful she is here still all these years later.  My only wish is that she could have experienced things in life that I can only imagine she dreamed of.

Sometimes, I wonder how I can make that happen.

So, in honor of the woman who had a big hand in making me the man I am today.  I say thank you to my Mom, Cheryl Suchlandt, I love you and although I am not perfect I will always do my best to be the best son I can.


Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I Love You.

My Momma !  Love you !
My Momma ! Love you !

Happy Mothers Day

 A mother is the first woman a boy loves.  The first woman who he picks flowers for, gives his first hug and kisses to.  She is the woman who has a big hand in shaping the man he will become.  She is the first woman he call’s beautiful.  The first woman he will defend even with fists if needed.  The first woman to see him cry. She will see his strengths and weaknesses.  Encourage his talents.

She will sacrifice for her child no matter what and even give up her own dreams to see her child succeed.

Mom is mom.  A Nurse, parent, counsellor, team mate, friend, protector, mentor, drill sergeant,  disciplinarian, chef, maid, surgeon.  The description of her job doesn’t stop there.

A mothers job is one of the toughest out there.  Tonight I say Happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there both here and gone because moms are never forgotten.

My Mom.  Cheryl Suchlandt.  She has been my rock, my friend, a pain in the ass, a goofball, a confidant.  She has been there to support me in any endeavor I have tried and encouraged me when I have failed.  She has defended me, given me kicks in the ass when needed.

 No matter how old I become she is still mom and I am still the son she held for the first time 36 years ago.  She only strives to see her kids happy and lives vicariously through each one of us.

She is also a grandmother and friend to many.  She is a woman who gives far more than she has ever received.  She taught me always to help others, not take life too seriously and appreciate the things I do have instead of the things I don’t.  She is one of the most giving souls I know.

She is a great story teller and will talk your ear off for hours if given the chance, she is who I got that gift of gab from.  She also taught me when it is important to listen, to be disciplined.

My mom taught me to be a gentleman in a classic sense.  She instilled chivalry and respect for women in my heart at a young age.  She taught me to be loyal, caring, funny and to never give up.

She is not perfect but she is my mom and I will defend her until my last breath. 

Happy Mothers Day Mom.  I love you.



My Story in The Calgary Journal !


A few months ago I was asked by my friend Michelle if I would be willing to share part of my Heart Attack and Sport/ Running story with the Calgary Journal.  Without hesitation I said yes and awaited contact from the Magazine.

The Calgary Journal is a University Magazine produced by Students at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta.  The Magazine is distributed free to many locations across Calgary.  I picked up my copy at my Gym- Fitness Plus.

The article I felt was well written and detailed.  It was so cool to see my story in a paper !  I was interviewed by Quinton Amudson and he was very thorough in is questions and was great at confirming my answers and allowing me to tell my story.  Quinton did seem generally interested in what I had to say and had follow up questions.

The only correction I need to address is that I did not have Bypass surgery.  I had Stent Surgery.

I do wish he had two pages to share as we had a long conversation he day he spoke with me.  I was excited he chose my photos from my RunDisney races out of the many I sent him.

Reading the article encourages me to continue my writing.  Who knows, maybe one day I will be writing of the stories of others in a magazine or newspaper.

Below is the Article.  There are many great articles in this issue.  Please share with friends and family.  Thank you Calgary Journal for allowing me to share my story with you ! Click the Link below to read.







Behind the Lens. My Eyes See

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Behind the Lens is where I love to be, I wish not to be the star.





I see the beauty in a woman’s eyes, her smile. 

see the smirk when a man looks at his girl with love and admiration, happiness. 

I see the hearts of two people in love.




I see the pain of those secretly suffering, afraid of the world. 

I see the story behind the smile.

I see excitement at success.


I see the love of a family and friends.

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I see connection of those around me.



I see desire of one to be happy.

I see pain in our world, loss.

I see the imperfections that really are perfect in their own way.

I see a beauty in others that they may not see.

I see hope.


I see the innocence of a child’s way, unbridled joy and excitement. LEEMER









I see a parents love for their child.







I see the love shared between two people.





I see God’s great creations in their true nature and look on in amazement.

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I see the uniqueness of architecture



I see a world beyond what the news tells us.


I see the real you.

I see my dreams.

I see the secrets you hold, the secrets I hold.

I see you for who you are, which may be better than you perceive of yourself.



I see the strength inside people.

I see the beauty in every moment. Little moments.



These things I see,  brings me joy.

 So I stay

Behind the lens.

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