Monday, April 30, 2012

In the Long Run: Mental Health.

Much like my own head - a lot open open space.
It's Taper Week, people - and we know what that means.

For me, it's sympathizing with Triple T as she goes through the madness that is the Taper before your first Marathon.

For her, it's wondering if you've done enough, trained enough, are prepared enough. (The answer to all those questions is Yes - she has, she did, and she is.)

There's also the lingering questions - Am I going to hit the wall? Will I be hydrated enough? Will I have to poop?

I'd love to be able to give her the answers to those, but I can't. I can tell her that from my past experience, it's Yes - but you'll push through, Yes - if you're not like me and ignore water stations, and No - don't even think about it.

I was looking for a graphic to accompany this post, and I saw a saying that sums it up pretty succinctly: "Running is a Mental Sport and I am Insane". (Reminder: I have to go back and buy that T-Shirt.)

In a way, it's true.

You have to be a little bit crazy to run 26.2.

You also have to be driven, focused, committed, (the dedicated kind, not the put-in-asylum kind) and a glutton for punishment. I think a Marathon should give you two medals: one for finishing the 3 months of training, and one for finishing the race.

Fuck it - make it 3 - Taper week should get a medal of it's own as well.

I hated my Taper before my Marathon, I hated it before my last Half, and I'm going to be dreading it in October.  I can sympathize with what Triple T must be going through. My only suggestions are lots of coffee (that's my solution for most things) and try not to stab anyone.

The Mental part of my Running right now is different - I'm waiting to start my Training for October - I'm "in between" programs right now, so I'm just doing maintenance runs - Tempo, Intervals, Hills (sorta) and a 10 mile Long Run every weekend. It takes mental effort just to stay focused and to not slack off and think "In May, I'll just pick up where I left off.". As any runner will tell you, it's easy to lose that foundation you've worked so hard to build up - now that I have mine back, I'm not going to lose it again.

My mental focus is on getting ready for the training to begin. Making sure I'm ready for what it's going to take to do my best in October. Getting ready for the miles, the stretching, and even the Taper.

I'm willing to skip that last part.

So I sympathize with Triple T and what she's going through in the week before her Marathon.

What exactly is she going through?

Why don't you look here and see?

Tell her I sent ya - and that she's going to do just fine.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Motions.

*If you are my Boss, and have stumbled upon this by accident, just move on - know that I'm working hard and loving every minute of it. *

I can't stand being at work today.

It's not that there is anything really WRONG with work, it's just that I'm I'm totally not in the mood to be here. I'm doing my job, getting stuff done, but I'll admit, my heart's not into it. I'm just going through the motions, waiting for the night to end.

The day is cold and windy, so I'd rather be chillin on the couch, sipping a coffee and watching a movie than be dealing with the Grocery and Dairy sections and their assorted responsibilities.

If my job didn't entail actually closing down and locking up the store tonight, I'd just send myself home - my lack of enthusiasm for this place can't be good for me.

Normally I'm focused on getting whatever needs to be done completed as fast as we can with the most fun for everyone involved - I'm THAT guy at work. The chipper, cheerfull asshole who makes the tedium of the job go by a bit better thanks to my easy-going manner and sense of humor. (Yeah, I know that sounds self centered, but it's what I've been told - and they were sober when they told me, so I'm taking them at face value.)

But today?


Oh I'm doing the job, (If you are my Boss and have disregarded the previous warning and are still reading, I've got everything done and the place looks great) its just that I'm not upbeat about it. I'm slogging through it like everyone else normally does.

And the hours are dragging by.

There's just over 4 hours left in my shift, and if I'm lucky it will only feel like 14.



Thursday, April 26, 2012

Boston Treadmill

As you all know, I'm a treadmill guy.

Until the weather around here starts to get around the teens, (50+ Fahrenheit or so) I prefer to do my early morning runs at the gym. There's probably a million reasons why I should be running outside all the time instead, but I just can't stand running in the cold. (How Triple T did her winter training is unimaginable to me.)

That being said, I just saw the most awesome fucking treadmill ever. It is a thing of beauty. It's like the Rolls Royce of treadmills. Fuck that - it's like the Ferrari of treadmills - clean lines, minimalistic look, and loaded with extras.

It's the ProForm Boston Marathon Treadmill.

Is that sexy, or what?

Not only does it look incredible, but it's loaded with training stuff:
  • HD video of the actual Boston race route, with the platform inclining and declining to match what's shown on the screen.
  • Want to run your favorite route, but it's a screaming blizzard? (Or you live in Chicago) You can plot it on Google Maps and the treadmill will let you run the route, adjusting for hills and such. (You can even see the route with Google Street View.) I could practice running the streets of London, the roads of Paris, or the trails of Campbell River.*
  • There's a ton of speedwork and tempo programs loaded on there as well, to help get you ready to run the big race.
Now let me put it right out there - I would rather run Boston, London, Paris, or even good 'ol Campbell River than have this treadmill. There is no substitution for being there in person.

However, this treadmill combines the geeky tech-stuff that I like with my running obsession, and that's not a bad thing at all. Would I use it to do race-route specific training? You bet your ass. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to plug in the Goodlife Victoria Marathon route for some of my Long Runs? It would be like writing your S.A.T's with the answer sheet beside you.

The scary part is there's no price on it yet....

Well, there's always the Lottery - or maybe I can persuade my gym to get one.

Maybe I should add it to my Birthday Wish List - practically everything I want involves running to some degree, so would the appearance of a treadmill really surprise anybody?

I didn't think so.

I'm just going to go check that site out again, and drool a little bit more.


*Guess which of those three I'd pick last.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


My ass hurts.

I'm not sure if it was the 40 minute, puddles-of-sweat inducing workout on the elliptical this morning or the fact that I have had to run up and down the 26 stairs at work at least fifteen times today.

(Just so you know, I don't work in a tower - the office is upstairs.)

Funny thing is, it's just my left ass cheek - the right is all comfy, but the left is clenched up like it's in self-defense mode.

I'd massage it, but my co-workers already think the running thing is strange enough - if they see me constantly rubbing my ass, they're going to think I've gone off the deep end.

So right now, I'll sit (gingerly) in silence and suffer.

At least until I get home, and then I'll have to ask the Wife for a reeeeally big favor....


Monday, April 23, 2012

Dear Ontario Driver:

Thank You.

Thank You for the pleasant drive to work today - following behind you was a joy on my 20-minute journey.

What was so pleasant, you ask?

You actually fucking DROVE.

- You weren't staring out at the ocean, acting like you've never seen a body of water larger than a coffee cup before.

- You weren't chatting away on your cellphone, oblivious to the world around you.

- You weren't driving a tractor. (It's an issue around here..)

Your consistent speed of +10 over the speed limit made me actually crack a smile instead of my usual drive-to-work rage face.

I'm glad that we could both enjoy the highway without me having to pass you and hope that you would have picked up on the evil thoughts I would have been sending your way. The fact that I didn't have to pry my clenched-in-anger hands off the steering wheel when I arrived at work was a surprise.

For once, I made it to work with warm coffee. (I will admit, I have a shitty travel mug, but that didn't matter today.)

But I wonder:

As someone from Ontario, why weren't you checking out the ocean, the mountains, the majestic scenery we have around here?

Is it because you are used to driving the 401, where taking your eyes off the road is certain death?

Is it because next to the greyness of the urban wonderland that is Toronto, you think trees suck?

Or is it because you had an epiphany on how to fix the Leafs, and wanted to rush back home and tell Brian Burke? (Good luck with that one.)

Whatever your reasons were, I'm glad you were in a hurry, because it allowed me to get a more positive start on my day. You may drive in front of me anytime.*

For that, I thank you.


* That's a one-time offer - if you drive like a schmuck, all bets are off, and you'll see how nasty a guy in a Volkswagen Golf can get..

In the Long Run: Random.

Continuing the ongoing back-and-forth between myself and Triple T about our weekly Long Runs.

This week is a Random kind of week - I'm still doing maintenance runs until the 3rd week of May, and Triple T just finished her last Long Run before her taper begins. Because of this randomness, I present to you Random Running Facts about me:

According to my Nike+, I:
  • Usually run on a Tuesday - and that I run 4 times a week on average. I never would have figured Tuesday to be my major running day - I guess Sundays get all the glory, but when you get right down to it, nothing beats a Tuesday.
  • That the furthest I've ever ran is 26.9 miles. I'm pretty sure the calibration on my Nike was off that day - I know I did 26.2 - and unless you're counting my shuffle towards the chocolate milk and muffins I didn't go farther than that.
  • Have ran a mile in 5'04", a 5K in 20'05, and a 10K in 43'55".  I swear I've been faster on the 10K, but maybe I was just dreaming I was a Kenyan. And I'm pretty sure that mile time must have been downhill.
  • Have an average pace of 8'13". Hopefully my Tempo runs in my marathon program can help improve that.
Running Stuff I want for my 40th Birthday: (Fast approaching, believe me.)
My Wrist + This = Sexy.
  • My entry into the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon. Some may not think it's a gift, but I can just tell them they basically got me a shirt and a medal, just with some conditions attached.
  • The Nike+  GPS Sportwatch. I know Garmin's are dead sexy, but I've had Nike for years and this next step up would be awesome. Plus, it's flashy looking.
  • New shoes. Like the marathon entry, it's something I am just going to buy myself anyway. However, the individual who comes across with these, or even a gift certificate towards part of these, will instantly become my favorite person. C'mon - what's better than buying somebody something you know they are going to use?
  • But I don't want shorts. I mean, I do want shorts, but I don't want anyone to buy them for me - it just seems creepy.
According to Me, I:
  • Look funny when I run. My gait isn't bad, but I don't have that whole "gliding" motion that all the good runners seem to have. You know how they make it look effortless? Well I make it look anything but.
  • Sweat too much. I know running is a workout, but I guess for me it's a shower as well.
  • Could be faster if I tried. But I secretly hate intervals. I can do them, but there is nothing pleasant about the process.
 My Next Few Goals:
  • Turn 40 in 34 days. I'm pretty sure I can do this one no problem.
  • Start Marathon training on May 21st.
  • Stay injury free. (I'm going to try stretching and shit.)
  • First Marathon Goal: Finish.
  • Second Marathon Goal: Finish under 3:30:00
  • Third Marathon Goal: Qualify for Boston (3:15:00)
That last one's a bit lofty, but if I pull it off, you'll hear my howls of joy echoing across North America.

So that's a bit of randomness from me - now see what Triple T has spun on the wheel of her thoughts...


Friday, April 20, 2012

Proud Colors.

Let me tell you a little story.

About 9 and a half years ago, shortly after the first Boy was born, I was surfing online and found a spot where you could request a Canadian flag from the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa for your family. I thought it would be cool if The Boy could have a flag to hang in his room with pride.

I send them my Taxes, they could send me a flag.

With the usual speed of Governmental bureaucracy, I figured it would take a while. They did say at the time that there was a waiting list of about 5 years. To be honest, I only thought about it on Canada Day and when I submitted my taxes. I briefly thought about it when we moved into our new house 6 years ago. Not being sure how long our change of address would stay in the Postal system, I figured it was lost.

Next to that, I completely forgot about it.

On Tuesday, The Wife was picking up the Boy from Karate class. One of his classmates, who just so happens to live in our old house, comes up to her with a package and says "This came to our house for you." My wife looks at it and, sure enough, my name is on the package. When she brings it home, we open it up and see this:

That is one huge fucking flag.

It's 4.6 meters (15 feet) long and 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) wide.

There was a letter with it as well:

It's my old address, but I blacked it out so you can't stalk me.
So not only did they send me any old flag, they sent me the one from the Peace Tower! (For my American friends, that's like getting the flag from the top of the Capitol Building - do they have a flag up there?) The Peace Tower flag is changed every day, Monday to Friday, (unless there is extreme weather or if it's being flown at half-mast) and shipped out to whichever Canadian has asked for it. It's also given to families of Canadian dignitaries who have died. My flag was flown on February 27th this year. The wait list, which was 5 years when I applied, is now 32 years - us Canadians really like our flag!

Just chillin' out here...watching over the country.

My kids were so impressed that we took it to school to show their classes - the "Wow!" from the kids when you unfold this massive flag is amazing - The Boys teacher even asked if they could borrow it for their Canada Day celebrations near the end of the school year.

I'm still astounded at the size of it.

When I told the Boy the story of applying for it, and what my original plan for it was, he asked immediately if he could hang it in his room.

Umm, no.

What amazes me is the coincidence of it - the fact that I'm still in the same town almost 10 years after asking for it, and that the people who live in my old house (which is across town from my new home) happen to go to the same class as the oldest boy, made getting this possible.

What if we had left town? What if they had sold to someone who didn't know us? What if the Boy wasn't in that class? It just would have been returned to the Post Office, or lost forever.

Now my kids have a piece of Canadiana that can be passed down to their kids - it's pretty freakin' neat, and right now, I'm a proud Canadian.

I guess I'll pay my Taxes this year, just to show my appreciation.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Smoky Olfaction

I don't smoke anymore.

I say anymore because for those years of my life that I consider myself functionally retarded, (15-30) I smoked hardcore. I was one of those people who smoked over a pack a day and didn't think anything of it.

Quitting smoking is a whole other post, and not what this is about at all.

No matter how much I smoked, (and if I was drinking, I smoked a lot) I was always able to pull off one thing:

I didn't stink.

   - Maybe it was my cologne obsession.
   - Maybe it was my constant chewing of gum or mints. (When dealing with the public, the last thing I wanted was stinky breath.)
   - Maybe I have a nose that can pick up the subtle bouquet of a fine wine, the smell of freshly cut grass 3 blocks over, the hint of a sexy woman's perfume from across the bar, and yet still ignore the smell coming from my shoes after a run.

Whatever it was, I never had that reek of stale smoke about me.

I can't say that for a lot of people who shop where I work.

The location that I'm in, while quite smaller than my previous location, sells almost 3 times the amount of cigarettes than our downtown location does. Down there, it's odd to see a transaction that involves cigarettes - out here it's odd to have one that doesn't.

That being said, there are a fuckton of smokers who come in and out of the store each day. I don't judge them on their habit, (because I hated people who judged me) but I do judge them on how they smell.

If you can be standing behind me while I'm working stock in my section and I can smell you before I see you, there's a problem.

If I am ringing you through the till, and I know you are going to be buying cigarettes not because you asked, but because I can smell you, there's a problem.

I get how smoking dulls your sense of smell - after I quit smoking I remember how good everything smelled and tasted (pretty sure that helped me hit fatty-status) - but I don't understand how you can not smell the noxious fumes emanating from your own body. And these are the same people who hate campfire season because they "End up smelling like smoke.".

I'm almost thinking we should hand out complementary Air Fresheners with each pack of cigs. "Here you go sir, your pack of smokes, matches, and a fragrant tree to hang around your neck - come back soon."
Like this, but around the throat.

Now if only I can get my bosses to go along with it.....


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Definitive Weights and Measures.

I was writing some other blog post last night* and I used the word "Fuckton". I'm a superlative kind of guy, so in real life it's a word I use often.

  • At Home: "Holy shit, honey - That's a Fuckton of groceries. Are we feeding the entire neighborhood?"  
  • At the Gym: "I have a Fuckton of work to get done today, and I'd rather be running."
  • At Work: "Who ordered the Fuckton of Cream Cheese? Are we selling wholesale to the fatties now?"
 Just to make sure I was using it in the proper context, I looked for a definition. Merriam-Webster was no help, so I checked out one of the better alternatives - Urban Dictionary.

Urban Dictionary defines Fuckton as:

1: n. A very large amount. 2: Very heavy unit of measure. 3: A futon sofa that is used for sexual purposes. 3: More than a shitload 4: A measurement used to describe theoretical objects. Equal to exactly 2 Shitloads + 12 Assload.

I'm not sure how many pounds are in a Shitload or Assload, but I'm guessing a lot. That bit with the futon both creeps me out and reminds me of when I first moved out on my own and futons were cool. (It was the 90's - don't ask.)

Then there's the Metric Fuckton, or Fuck ton, Fuck-tonne, Fuck tonne, or Fuck-ton:

Generally used to imply superlative quantity with the Metric standard included to emphasize this point. The inclusion of the term is, however, fundamentally a misuse of that standard, as the Imperial Fuckton (2000 Imperial Fuckpounds) denotes a slightly greater measure of fuckweight within Earth's gravitational pull than does the Metric Fuckton (1000 Metric Fuckilograms)

I'm not sure of the conversion rate between Kilograms and Fuckilograms, and I really don't think it matters. When I read that sentence, I visualize a gentleman with a British accent, a top hat and a cup of tea - he's reading it Masterpiece Theatre-style - all class and elegance.

Ahhh - class and elegance- it's what Urban Dictionary is all about. It's like Wikipedia without the verification or sense of responsibility. I'm surprised at how much time I wasted there.

But I digress - I've spent enough time telling you about it. I've got to go back and see if I can find a definition for Vagina Cake Balls.


*Don't go looking for it - it's unpublished. That's the rigorous editing and revision process I have for the high-quality posting that goes on around here, people.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I am so fucking hungry lately it's amazing. I can't help it.

I get up in the morning, hit the gym or road and then head home for a shower/breakfast. (Not at the same time - I'm not eating toast in there or anything) I then head to work and bust my hump until my coffee break.

On said coffee break, I demolish an apple, banana, or other tasty fruit like it was the last one on earth - between swigs of water and coffee, of course. Then I head back to work and count down until lunchtime.

Lunch is where it gets embarrassing.

You see, I take out my lunch and throw it into the microwave - then, while its being bombarded with nothing but the safest radiation, I'm already eating the rice snacks I brought to have as dessert after I've eaten my lunch. I'm eating while I'm waiting to eat - how sad is that?

Luckily I've been smart, anticipated my gluttony and brought another rice snack to have after. But that leaves me with nothing if I decide to actually take my last coffee break.

Which is okay, because I can wait until dinner - I think.

Thankfully, even with all this eating, my weight is still staying the same (I'm lean and mean, y'all) - if it wasn't for running and the gym, I'd be rolling around the store.

I do watch my calorie intake, and its just the past couple of days that I find myself to be an eating machine. To be honest, right now I'm eyeballing the container of freshly-baked Chocolate Chip Banana Bread muffins sitting on the lunchroom table..

Nope - I'll be strong. I'm going to tell myself that they look like shit, probably taste horrible, and would add at least 3 minutes to my next race.

That did it. I'm good now.*


*However, if they're still there when I take my last coffee, there's no guarantees.

Monday, April 16, 2012

In the Long Run: Running Changes Everything.

*I don't know about Triple T, but after reading that title, I have a old-school Cyndi Lauper song stuck in my head..

When thinking of a topic for this week, I had suggested to Triple T that we could cover anything, as I only had a 10 mile run, and I wasn't sure what length of time she was scheduled to run for.

Then it hit me - I had actually typed "only a 10 mile run" - like it was some nothing distance, not even worth mentioning.

When the fuck did that change?

Months ago, I would have looked at that distance on the calendar and groaned with dread. Now it's nothing more than a number, especially when doing it long and slow.

Training for my Half, and the 15K I just did, changed me.

It made me a runner again.

It made me appreciate what I can do if I put my mind to it, and to appreciate that accomplishment even if it doesn't match up with my expectations.

I'll be honest - when I didn't PR in the 2010 Victoria Half Marathon, it crushed me. I vowed that I was going to kick ass and show that race who was boss. As a result of that I over trained, injured my hip, and between that and the PF that followed I didn't run another race until my Half in March.

Seeing how Triple T, Rain, and others I follow have dealt with their injuries, and more importantly - their desire to come back or work through them has made me more conscious of my own injuries and how best to deal with them. (That would be the "properly" method instead of the "just ignore it" method)  If these people can persevere and overcome, I should learn from them and work through it too.

The training affected me in the fact that it got me re-dedicated again. Gone was the guy who would hit the snooze button instead of the road, and gone was the guy who only stretched when he was reaching for another pastry. (Mmmm - donuts.)

The runner was back.

But this runner was different than the runner I used to be.

This runner wasn't bothered that he didn't PR at the Comox Half or the Merville 15 - this runner was happy that he ran the race as best he could and that he enjoyed the experience.

This runner takes some time to stretch, (maybe not as much as I should, but better than nothing, right?) takes his days off running, and is doing some cross training when the mood hits him.

This runner gets up at 5am and busts his ass as best he can so that he can have the rest of the day (after work, of course) to spend with his family. (And now the kids want to go into track as soon as they can - I guess I'm setting some sort of example, eh?)

This runner has a six-pack. (It's kinda buried, but give me a bit - maybe 5-10 pounds more weight lost - and it'll stand right out.)

That's the biggest change that I get comments on. How good I look, how much weight I've lost, and how great I must be feeling. To tell you the truth, the closer I get to 40, the more I like to hear it.

Running has changed me for the better, and I'm willing to put up with the aches and pains of it for all the benefits it's brought me. From treadmill to trail to road, it's been nothing but incredible.

And running is going to change me again.

How, do you ask?

Well, it's going to change me from a guy who's done one Marathon in his life to a guy who's done two - I discussed it with the Wife, and I've made up my mind: I'm going to run the Goodlife Victoria Marathon on October 7th 2012.

My training program starts May 21st.

Now that I've rambled on about how running has changed me, why don't we see how Triple T thinks running has changed her? Just follow the magical link, people.


Sunday, April 15, 2012


As much as I love my phone and what it can do, I'm envious of the Sidekick's BlackBerry for one reason: BBM.

For those of you who don't know, (where have you been living - under a rock?) BBM is BlackBerry's combination texting/instant messaging service that runs through data instead of using a texting plan. The cool thing about it is that you can see when your message has been read, so there's no wondering if your recipient got your message - you know.

(Apple has a version too -called iMessage- but BBM did it first so suck it, Apple.)

There's been rumors for ages that BBM is coming to Android, but so far it hasn't happened yet.

The reason I care so much is that since I'm back in the cellular dead zone called Oyster River, the only way I can talk/text with people is over the store's WiFi or by sacrificing a goat to whomever is in charge of my carriers coverage area.

The former is the option I'm forced to work with. (There is a serious lack of goats out here.)

To be able to communicate with the Wife, I've installed a messenger called Kik on our phones, and it works great. Almost the same as BBM, and I'd rather use it than texting anyday.

But the only people I know who use it are the Wife and I. The thing with BBM (or iMessage, I'd imagine) is that it's built into the phone - I think asking people to install a different messaging service just to talk to me makes me come off as a bit pretentious, don't you?

So if any of you bigwigs at BlackBerry are reading this, hurry up and make a BBM app for Android. That way I can talk with my Wife AND all those people I know who have BBM.

The iPhone people? They can take their snooty iMessage and shove it.

(Just kidding Apple - if you'd like to make an Android iMessage app, I'd totally use it. But I think Steve Jobs would rise from the dead and repeatedly bitch-slap the programmers into unconsciousness before it could be done.)


*Those of you who noticed the spelling mistake in the title when I posted and didn't mention it, thank you - it's all fixed now, and I don't look like a retard.

Friday, April 13, 2012

My Day: Intention vs. Reality.

Today is my day off.

When I went to bed last night, I had plans for the day. Grand plans. When I woke up, circumstances have dictated that my day is going to be different than I planned. Here's how it's going so far:

Outside Run at the break of dawn.


Treadmill (not that I'm complaining)


Breakfast in Bed for the Wife and I.

This pretty much says it all.

Taking the kids for an outdoor adventure.


Who knew 2 kids could house so much snot?


Some light reading with my caffeinated friend.


Just picture a mucus-y 6 year old instead of a fat baby.
.... and it's not even 11am yet.

I know that occasionally, hiccups develop on the road of life.

For some reason, today feels like full-on hurling instead. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Thank God for coffee.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I Feel:

- That having to drive my Mom to Victoria (3+ hours each way) for a 20 minute Doctor appointment made me want to carve a shank out of a tounge deppressor and use the Doctor's own lab coat to stash his body.

- That the fact he was delivering good news was his only salvation.

- That seeing what appeared to be a 100-year-old man sleeping in a chair made me lose all hope for a quick visit when we entered the waiting room.

- That my car, tiny as it may be, is a mass murderer in the flying-bug world. Don't you think they'd learn to fly a bit higher and avoid my grille?

- That losing weight means my now-boney ass hates sitting in a car for that long. Either that or I have to seriously pad the drivers seat in the car. Maybe with some pillows. Or a puppy.

- That shutting off my alarm clock and going back to sleep this morning was a wonderful experience. God bless the Late Shift.

- That now that I'm at work, I'd like to re-evaluate my opinion of the late shift. Sure, sleeping in is great, but now I'm here AND I'm missing the start of the playoffs.

- That you know it's playoff time because I didn't want to punch the talkative guy next to me on the treadmill this morning- even though he was a walker - because he was talking hockey.

-That the prudent thing to do before starting to grow my playoff beard would be to check with the wife and get her opinion.

- That it's easier to beg for forgiveness than it is to ask permission. Especially when it comes to facial hair.

- That its going to take copious amounts of coffee and possibly a dancing midget to make the rest of this night bearable. And I'm all out of midgets.

It's going to be a loooong night.


Monday, April 09, 2012

In the Long Run: Spirit of the Marathon

Continuing the ongoing discussion/comparison of mine and Triple T's weekly Long Runs.

This week we're doing something different: Since Triple T isn't doing another awe-inspiring 3:50:00 training run, and my maintenance run this week was only 10 miles*, she suggested we watch and comment on the 2007 film Spirit of the Marathon. It's a documentary-style movie about different runners (Elites, Repeat Marathoners, and First time "Marathon Virgins") training for the Chicago Marathon,

To be 100% honest, I didn't even know this film existed until Triple T mentioned it to me. So I didn't know what to expect when I plopped down in the chair and started it up. Luckily I knew I was going to write about it, so I started jotting down notes as it played out.

I made sure to watch it at a time when didn't have any kids or the Wife around. While they support my running endeavors, asking them to sit through 104 minutes of a film about training for the 26.2 would be pushing it. The kids weren't around this week anyway and when I mentioned watching it to the Wife, I could see the interest dying in her eyes before I even finished the sentence. So as soon as she had gone to work Friday morning, I grabbed a coffee (or two) and started watching.

I know it's a given that I would find something interesting about this movie - I am a runner, after all. What I didn't expect was to find so many things that I found captivating:

*Warning! I will spoil this movie with what I say after this. I suggest you go watch it and then come back - that way you won't bitch in the comments section that I "ruined" the movie for you.*

  • First of all, I would LOVE to run in Chicago. It looks like a concrete forest. I know some of you will think I'm nuts, but I run along the ocean and through the forests all the time. Where I live, the highest building is four storeys tall - the thought of running through the car-free streets would be surreal and entertaining at the same time. I've ran one Big-City race, (The BMO Half-Marathon in Vancouver) and it was excellent. I'm sure Chicago would blow it away.
  • When Ryan admitted his disappointment at having missed qualifying for Boston by running a 3:11:21 the previous year, I wanted to punch him - I would give my left kidney and spleen to run it in that time. (It would probably make me lighter - do you think I should do it anyway?)
  • As much as I admire Jerry and his perseverance, if I went into the gym and he was walking on a treadmill, I would shank him in a heartbeat.
  • I did know that the first Marathoner was a messenger in ancient Greece - what I didn't know that he died after his run. Makes my chugging chocolate milk while stretching seem badass.
  • In the movie, they call the marathon "Everyman's Everest". Trust me - most of the the hills during a marathon feel like Everest - just without the Sherpa.
  • When Lori states that during her long runs her brain just "shuts off" I was ecstatic - it's good to know I'm not the only one.
  • Watching how smoothly Deena, Daniel, and some of the other elites run made me realize I look somewhat like a galloping horse who is trying to speedwalk when I'm on the road.
  • Fun Fact: Ryan showed the pace he's training at for Boston - that's my pace. Then he showed the elite pace on the treadmill - 12 M.P.H.  - I tried that speed at the gym for 2 minutes and it was crazy. To do it for 2+ hours would make my heart explode.
  • I can't believe that they never used to let women run in marathons. Not only are they just as exceptional athletically as we men are, but they completely crush us in the looks department. If I have to keep pace behind someone, I'm always glad when it's a lulelemon-clad member of the fairer sex. They should have had Kathleen stop running the Boston Marathon not because she was a woman, but because she was wearing that nasty sweatsuit.
  • Ryan's DNF at the Half (2 months before the marathon) freaked me out. All I could think of is how fucking crushed I would be. Forget that it was injury related - I would still be pissed at myself even if my leg fell off halfway through.
  • I'm skipping ahead now, but the fact that he supported his wife through her training AND the race made me not want to punch him anymore.
  • Seeing Deena with STACKS of crisp, new kicks freshly delivered to her house made me want to be a professional runner in my next life, or else mug a professional runner in this one.
  • Seeing the detailed preparation of equipment, shoes, bibs, etc that all the runners did the night before the race made me flash back to Triple T's post about how long it takes her to get ready for a run. I can't recall now, but did they show any lineups at the port-a-potties?
  • They actually captured the tension of waiting for the race to start - I felt as nervous sitting in my chair as I did every time I've lined up in a corral. 
  • I will admit - I had to actually stop myself from Googling the finish results - I so badly wanted to know how Deena and Daniel did. I'm proud to say I didn't look, and I'm one of those assholes who flips to the back of a novel if a character I like is in danger.
  • THE CROWDS. If that's what running a major marathon is like, with people lining the streets for practically the whole thing, I want to run one. (The races I run, there's huge stretches with just runners and no spectators except the trees and occasional squirrel.)
  • Daniel's disappointment in his 2:07:something made any frustration I've ever had with any finish time seem shallow in comparison. He runs with his whole country watching - my Wife and Kids will love me no matter what my time is.

I really, really liked this movie. Seeing what the runners (at every level) went through in their training and their race made me nostalgic for when I trained for my marathon. (Yes, I got nostalgic for 20-mile training runs) It perfectly captured the anxiety and obsession that goes into getting ready for the 26.2.

Triple T mentioned that after I watched this, I'd definitely want to do the Full Marathon in the fall, and I will admit that I almost jumped online and signed up before the movie was done. (Almost - I would be lying if I said it didn't strongly sway me in that direction.)

I'm going to stop gushing about it now and just say one thing: SEE THIS MOVIE. It should come free with any pair of shoes, that's how good it is. I don't care how you see it, just see it.

I'm guessing Triple T had the same experience as me when she watched this movie - why don't we both both go over and see what she thought right now?


Saturday, April 07, 2012

Asleep On My Feet.

Last night was a late night.

Today was an early morning,

A 10 mile run,

Cleaning stuff at home,

And busting my ass at work.

The 20 minute lunchtime nap I just woke up from was awesome. (Don't worry, I didn't sleep on the couch.)

I'm trusting on coffee and my upbeat personality to carry me through the rest of this shift.

If you're in the store and see me passed out in an aisle, just give me 5 minutes of rest before you nudge me with your foot, k?



Friday, April 06, 2012

Invisible Children.

*Warning: Some parents may hate me after reading this.*

I haven't seen my kids since Sunday.

It's not that they've disowned me, or that I live in some huge Silver Spoons -type mansion and have lost them, it's just that they aren't here.

It's Friday - Do you know where your children are?!?

What with work, Spring Break, and the scheduling of my last two races, the Wife and I have had to work on some of the same days, which totally messes up our I-have-the-kids-while-she-works-and-vice-versa routine.

Luckily, we have a great support system in town for times like these. My Mother-in-Law, My Parents, and the Wife's Brother & Sister-in-Law have always been wonderful and stepped up to help out when the schedule gets a bit wonky.

But now they won't give them back.

The kids weren't up Monday when I went to the gym and then to work. The Mother-in-Law wanted to take them for a couple of days during Spring Break, so she snagged them that evening before I got home. She kept them Tuesday night as well, and then the Wife's Brother said he and his wife wanted them for the next night. I figured with work and such, I wasn't going to see them until Thursday.


I guess the kids are being extra-special-behaved, because the Brother-in-Law asked to keep them another night. It turns out that they were going to watch the Boys for us on Saturday anyway, (That pesky work thing again) so they've said that they might as well keep them tonight as well and we can just pick them up Saturday night. (I also work Saturday night, so technically I won't see them until Easter morning.)

So the Wife and I have been living like a newlywed couple for a week. I've been able to hit the gym or run when I want, she's been able to sleep in and relax, and we've been having fantastic meals, enjoyable evenings,  and fucking like bunnies.

Left: With kids. Right: Without.

(Not to rub that last one in, but those of you with children know what I'm talking about - it's just waaaaay different when the kids aren't asleep down the hall, or sick, or just getting up for a drink of water...)

While I'm certainly liking all of this "Us" time, I'm also looking forward to the moment when we get them back. Sure, there will be a day or two of breaking them back into the regular household routine after a wild week away from home (Where, according to them, there are no rules and cake is served at Breakfast.) and then things will settle back to normal, and we can have some great family time together before they go back to school.

I'm also looking forward to letting my body "rest", if you know what I mean... The gym and running are hard enough - throw in some random "cardio" (wink, wink, nudge,nudge) when you least expect it, and you can see why I might need a break from my break, so to speak.

I know that eventually the kids will be back, there will be a meltdown/crisis/fight of some sort between the two, and the Wife and I can look at each other and just have that unspoken "Remember when?" look before we go in and break it up.

And then I'll wonder why I missed them in the first place.


Thursday, April 05, 2012

Bone of Contention

Dear Non-Running Customer:

I appreciate that you are complementing me on my running and saying how "in shape" I look. As I gloomily approach 40 (51 days- but who's counting), I'll take any positives about my appearance or form.

I also like that you show an interest in how I'm doing in my races, and have made it a point to ask every time you see me. There are, however, just a couple of things I'd like to point out that will prevent me from stabbing you in the eye the next time we speak:

- Not every race is a "Marathon", ok? There are other distances out there that people run. If you aren't sure, just ask how the "race" was - I'm pretty sure I'll be able to figure out what you're talking about.

- Asking how my "Marathon" was after I've made it clear what distance I did run is kind of insulting. And ignorant. And rude. But I digress.... It's not that insulting to me, but you are downplaying the blood, sweat, and tears that every person who trains for and runs the 26.2 has put in. Did I train for my race? Yes. Am I going through the mental and physical preparation that the average marathoner does? Not even close. There's a huge fucking difference.

- I realize as I talk to you that you have no concept of distance at all. Why don't you go for a drive in your car, look at the odometer for 15km and then come back and tell me what you thought of that distance. Then you can comprehend the length and maybe actually appreciate the time it took to run it.

Once again, I really like that you are inquiring about how I am doing, but it would just be best for both of us if you could take some of this advice before I'm compelled to take my pen out an use it as a weapon.

I do run trails, and I've seen some nifty places to stash a body...

Just sayin'.


Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Face Forward.

I went and got my Passport picture taken today.

I've never had a passport before - last time I  travelled across the border to our neighbors down south, all you needed was a driver's licence and the secret word to get back into Canada. (Hint: it was "Poutine").

It's not that we are planning on going anywhere immediately, but the Wife wants to have them because they are needed to travel anywhere nowadays, and I'm thinking she believes the minute we have them, we'll hopefully win a trip somewhere.

I'd like to have it just because I have a secret fear of someone on a train coming up to me and saying "Papers please." ...and I've got nothing. Plus I think it would be cool to treat it like a badge and pretend I'm a Federal Agent or a Bounty Hunter.

..Now that I think about it, I can't imagine why I've been putting it off for so long.

So as I sat down in the chair to get my picture done, the lady informed me they'll take a couple of shots just to make sure I'm not smiling in them. (Being Canadian, the urge to smile in photos is right up there with holding doors open for strangers - an excellent trait that freaks the tourists out all the time.)

I can understand them wanting a straight picture of my face, but wouldn't having some other shots in the back of the passport help whomever I'm dealing with if and when I cross the border?

Some thoughts on pictures I think might work:

- Drunk Me : Depending on the length of the flight and who my traveling partner is, this could possibly be a real occurrence. Not only would my facial expression look different, I probably won't be wearing any pants.
- Tired Me : Put this one in there for when I'm travelling with the kids. Lack of sleep from packing, driving, and just the  general stress that is a family vacation will have me looking dog tired. As a subset, there could also be "haggard" me, "exhausted" me, and "tired of the kid's shit" me.
- Angry Me : Maybe change this one to "Annoyed". After waiting in a line for hours at the border, or having to deal with airport security, I'm sure this is the expression I'll be sporting as I go through the border.
- Nervous Me : This one should be there because I have the type of friends who think it would be arouse to put a minute amount of weed or something in my luggage. Not enough to get me arrested or anything, but enough that I might get a cavity search out of it.

I'm sure having these additional photos for reference would assist any border guard in determining I am who I say I am.

Now I just have to wait for my neutral-expression photo to meet Canadian standards for being boring and un-exciting, and I'm set.


P.s.- The lady made a comment that "You even shaved." before she took my picture (I was going to work right after) - I'm not sure why she would be amazed - wouldn't looking Lulemon a dirty hippie in my passport photo earn me extra attention at the border?.

Monday, April 02, 2012

In the Long Run: Afterglow

Ok, people - let's talk Endorphins.

Wikipedia defines them as: "endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters. They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise, excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm,

Well, I covered at least 4 of the 6 of those today, and I'll tell you that Spicy Food wasn't one of them. (I didn't use any Gels or Gu's today, and if I did, I'm sure the flavor wasn't Chipotle.) I'm going to leave you guessing on the other one.

Today I finished the Merville 15K in 1:06:37 (official time). While not my personal best, I was so happy after the race that I was grinning like an idiot for hours after. When Triple T messaged me to ask how I did and what kinda topic I felt like writing about for today's post, I immediately told her "Afterglow" - I just wanted to tell the world how great I felt, right at that moment.

(Okay, maybe not right at that moment, as I was in the process of getting changed in my car* - but I think you get my meaning.)

For me, the immediate rush of finishing the race is a jumble of emotions - seeing how I did (better than I expected), having my Family at the finish line, and the immediate congratulations from other runners just makes you feel good.

And today, when I crossed that line, I felt GREAT.

Sure, my legs were sore, and my chest was burning just a bit, (they have a sprint competition for the last 100 meters that I thought I'd try) and I guzzled the G2 my wife handed me like a frat boy with his first keg - but mentally I felt like I could climb a mountain, swim a river, and scream to the world how incredibly awesome I am.

Now those are some fucking endorphins at work.

At the awards/results/whatever thing afterwards, the good feelings just keep coming:
  • I don't know how many of you have ever chugged a pint of Chocolate Milk after running, but that shit is amazing. I like chocolate milk, but after you've had it post-race, you never want to drink it any other way again. It's like having champagne on a Tuesday - it just doesn't feel right.
  • Checking in with other runners you know and seeing how they did is such a rush - everyone knows exactly what everyone else just went through, so comparing times and congratulating each other is like a big, sweaty lovefest.
  • Hearing your friends names called out for Age Group Top Ten finishers is great -
  •  - Almost as great as hearing your own name called because you came in Eighth in your Age Group.
Oh - did I not mention that last part?

You read it right - my close-to-40-but-not-for-another-7-weeks ass placed Eighth in my Age Group. To some, eighth may not be much, I'm feeling pretty stoked about it.

You want to talk endorphins? Let me tell you how good I felt as my kids, Wife, and friends were clapping for me as I went up and got my ribbon**.

It's now seven hours later and I'm still feeling "high".

The Afterglow isn't the reason we run - if that was the case, we'd never stop - they're the reward your body gives your brain for pushing it to the limit and doing your best.

All I can say is that it rocks.

And I can't wait to get that feeling again.

Check out Triple T's thoughts on the subject of Afterglow right here -  I'm glad she made it a point to differentiate between Afterglow and Running Afterglow - I'm still not saying whether or not I had an orgasm at the finish line..***


 *Triple T - Sorry for giving you that visual - I promise you, I normally reply to all your messages while wearing pants.

** I think running is the only sport where you would be happy accepting a ribbon as a prize. I can't see the NFL replacing the Lombardi Trophy with ribbons anytime soon.

***Totally didn't - but wouldn't that make for the world's most awesome/awkward finish line photo?