Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Tale of Two Runs.

I ran yesterday and today.

I'm running tomorrow and the day after that too, but that's not important. The thing is, I couldn't have had two different runs if I would have tried, and it was all due to heat.

See, I normally do my runs in the wee hours of the morning. It's cool, there's no traffic, and the run just seems to go better. Yesterday, however, I slept in and when I did wake up, the kids asked that I not run and that we spend some time together instead. (How do you say no to that?) The easy choice was to run on my lunch at work instead.

Since I was working late shift, lunch rolled around at 4pm, and I set out as soon as I could get changed.

Holy shit was it hot.

I know it wasn't Texas hot, or probably even Chicago hot, but for my area of Canada, it was pretty fucking hot outside.

And that run sucked. I sweated and sweated, and it felt like I couldn't get my pace under control. I hated it halfway through, and only finished it because I was so far out and had no choice but to run to make it back to work on time. (Looking back, I could have hitch-hiked, but would you pick up a sweaty guy who's breathing hard on the side of the road?)

In contrast, today's run was smooth as silk. My pace was good, it was hard but not too hard, and while I was sweating, it was more of a trickle than a waterfall.

And that level of comfort made all the difference.

After yesterday's run, if someone would have asked me why I ran, I would have to them it was because I was obviously crazy. Today, my answer would have been one about challenging yourself, the serenity, and the sense of accomplishment.

Funny how 5 or 10 degrees can make a difference in performance and outlook, isn't it?


Monday, July 23, 2012


Today is my first day back to work after holidays.

I could talk about all the fun I had with the family, the things we did, the frustration of coming back to work, or I could even touch on my thoughts in regards to the shooting in Colorado or the whole Penn State/JoePa thing.

But I'm not going to.

Instead, I'm going to tell you of the thing that's slowly been bugging me during my entire holidays.


Particularly the lack of them.

Do you see that sign up there? There are literally hundreds of them along the highway - the minute you've driven past the 6km warning for those Elk, there's another sign telling you to look out for more. We traveled up and down the Island during my week off, and I saw so many of these signs that you'd think there was an epidemic.

For those of you who haven't ventured into Canada, your first visit must seem like a wild safari, where herds of Elk are about to spring from the bush any minute and haphazardly trample your rented SUV. Why would they have the signs if the danger wasn't there?

I'll tell you a secret: I've lived on Vancouver Island for 25 years, and I've yet to see an Elk. Ever. No mommy elk, no baby elk, and no majestic bucks ready to leap over the 4-lanes of highway.
I've seen deer, bears, cougars, (both wild and in-the-bar kind) - but not one single Elk. I've seen them in the Yukon, but not once on Vancouver Island. I guess they hate the cost of the ferry just as much as I do.

So why all the signage?

Why not warn me about the sketchy hitchhikers, horrible gas prices, and slow-moving elder drivers instead? Warn me about something I'll actually see, instead of some mythological horned beast who's going to endanger me with his presence - this isn't the Bible belt, people.

I think the signage is to make it seem like there are tons of them out there. Keep the tourists on the lookout for imaginary Elk so they don't notice us gouging them with our food and fuel prices.
I'm sure there's an Elk out there - the Government wouldn't lie - but he's probably old, in ill health, and doesn't get within 20km of a highway since a run-in with some Vegan hunters in 1969 who wanted to "commune" with him.

But that's just my theory.

And its a good theory too - one I'll keep reminding myself of every time I see one of those signs....


Friday, July 20, 2012

Three Days, 23 Miles.

I'd offer an excuse for my absence here, but it really doesn't matter - I just didn't feel like I had anything to write about.

I've spent the last couple of weeks running, working, seeing movies (both the Kid-Bitten-by-a-Spider variety and the Talking-Teddy Bear-with-a-Bong variety.) and for the last week, have been doing the Family Vacation thing - we've kept it fairly low-key, and didn't bother venturing off Vancouver Island at all.

For the post title to make any sense, I had to explain about being on Holidays. For those of you who remeber my trip to Vegas in May, you'll recall my Wife has a rule when we are on Vacation: it's a vacation from running as well.

I know - crazy, right?

Since she knows I'm not going to take the whole week off running, we just settle for me not running when we are out of town. That meant our 3 day visit to Victoria put a serious cramp in my weekly mileage. To get back on track I decided to drop my shorter runs this week and just focus on the long runs and steady pace runs.

In a juggling match of epic proportions, I ran my Tuesday 7 mile run on Wednesday, my missed 9 mile Sunday Long Run on Thursday, and my Friday 7 miler was actually run on..well, Friday.

That's 23 miles in 3 days.

Did I mention there was a day at the lake and a minigolf-bumper boats-beach day in there was well? I've spent more time on my feet on my holidays than if I was at work.

And I actually feel pretty good.

I have a light 4 mile run tomorrow, (completely optional) and then an 18 mile Long Run on Sunday.

After that, my holidays are over and I'm back to my sweet routine of running, work, and life.

...oh yeah, I'm going to try to include blogging in there too.


*Did I mention it's only 73 days until my marathon? Any guesses as to how bad I'm freaking out?

Friday, July 06, 2012

Friday in the Park With the Kids.

So with today being our first real day of Summertime heat, I decided the last thing I wanted to be doing was hanging inside with the kids.

Do not confuse Canadian summer heat with what Triple T is going through in Chicago - that shit ain't natural, and I'm sure that the extreme heat they are feeling is just because there is possibly a portal to Hell on Lower Wacker Drive. (That's a road in Chi-town, right? I got it from the Blues Brothers.)

At first I thought I'd take them to the beach - sun, sand, possible views of bikini-clad bodies (there ain't nothing wrong with that) - but the thought of all the shit you have to bring to the beach, plus the fact that you have to lug it all there and back, put a kibosh on that idea. I'm doing yard work tomorrow, so packing crap around today was not in the plans.

I took them to the trails instead.

We went for a hike/walk on the Canyon View Trail - it's a 6km loop over and around the Campbell River - it's at the far end of town, about 20 minutes from my house. We grabbed a bottle of water and headed on our way.

The trail isn't actually red - that's just my awesome MSPaint skills.
I figured the kids wouldn't do the whole thing - that they would tire out and want to quit after the first big set of stairs, but they persevered, (there are benches occasionally) and did the whole thing.

As you can see, there are stairs and stairs and hills and hills. The bench was a welcome relief to them.

The Boys main plan was to make it to the steel bridge over the canyon. The goal? To drop rocks, of course. C'mon - they're six and nine - throwing rocks is in their nature.


The first picture is the bridge - my youngest is holding a rock up. I know it looks like he is giving you the finger, but trust me, it's a rock. The other two are the view from the bridge looking up and then down the canyon. It's pretty high up, and I'll admit, the rocks make a pretty loud and significant splash when dropped from that height.


We then crossed over the dam (that's the swirling water from the outflow) and headed back towards the car. The trail on this side of the canyon is way lower than the other side, so the sound of rushing water is beside you all the way. I'm pretty sure that's why the Boys had to stop and pee a couple of times, and I'm definitely sure they'd be pissed if they knew I posted about it.

On the way back, there was a sandbank alongside the river (you can't see the trees growing out of it, but they are there) and people had carved their initials into the hard, compacted sand. We decided to go along with the flow and etch ours there as well.

(At least I'm pretty sure it was people's initals - it could be the remnants of some sort of Satanic ritual - I may just have inadvertently sold the Boys souls. I guess they can deal with it when they turn 18.)

I guess the desecration of nature's beauty should shock me, but I was just happy to see that none of the words scribbled there were curses or slang for genitallia - having to explain to my six-year-old why someone carved "cock" into the sand would have taken the magic out of the moment.

Since we were almost back at the car, the Boys thought we should have a sit down and just chill for a second. We sat on this bench:

and enjoyed this view:

Until they realized that 3 guys sitting on a flower-covered bench looking at the river isn't the coolest thing in the world. After quickly getting up and talking about how much we all love Hockey, we made it back to the car.

All in all, it took us an hour and a half to walk the 6km. The runner in me groaned at how slow we were, but the Dad in me had a great fucking time.


...and before anyone asks - no, we did not see any Moose.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


Things I'm looking forward to tonight:

- getting off work at 9pm. This many late shifts in a row starts to drag on the soul.

- Speeding (shhh don't tell) into town after work to meet up with the Wife and Sidekick to see the new Spider-Man movie. (Yes, the title of the blog is "....a Forty-Something Man", but let's be honest - mentally, I'm like 18, tops.)

- The coffee and Peanut Butter M&M's I'm going to have while watching what I hope will be a cinematic masterpiece and not a train wreck of epic proportions.

- Finally crawling into bed after a night of fun and friends, knowing that at 5am my running shoes are waiting for me.

Top that - I dare ya.


Monday, July 02, 2012

Bald Ponytail.

I've seen this hairstyle at least 3 times today.

Maybe it's the granola-chewing, tree-hugging, free-loving, never-left-the-sixties attitude of the people who live in the area where I work, or else this dreaded folic nightmare is making a comeback.

It has to be stopped.

As a guy who has noticed his hair slowly creeping away like a coward in the night, (I'd convert to Judaism just for the hat.) I can't imagine a hairstyle that does nothing but draw attention to what you're lacking.

It would be like having a small dick and choosing to only wear chaps.

When I've seen these abominations in the store, I'm compelled to do one of two things:

  •  gently take them aside, assure them that no matter what they think, it just doesn't look good and they should embrace who they are in the best way possible
  • walk up behind them with scissors, cut the damn thing off, and scream "Just wear a fucking hat already!"

I've restrained myself so far, but I think I'll just play it by ear..

..however, I'll keep the scissors handy - just in case.


Sunday, July 01, 2012

I Feel:

  1. That now that things are (relatively) back to normal with my parents health, I can finally take care of that other person I've been neglecting: Me. (I've been informed by the Wife that I should probably include her in that statement.)
  2. That while I have been keeping my running mostly on track (I've only missed two short mid-week runs) the area I really have to get back on track with is Nutrition. Mini-Donuts and Coffee may sound like fun carb-loading, but really aren't the best for me.
  3. That I am a creature of routine, and I need to get it back.
  4. That since I am also a running nerd who likes his data, I could have just about snapped the other day when my Nike Sportband refused to upload my 14 mile run.
  5. That the rage was short lived, as a Non-functional Sportband meant I might get to buy the Nike+ GPS Sportwatch that I've been drooling over for six months.
  6. That right about the time I realized that, the Sportband worked. It was a mixed bag of emotions.
  7. That I really need to take notes more. I had many things to write about over the last couple of weeks, and I really can't think of any of them right now.
  8. That as much as Canadians are lauded for our self-deprecation and humbleness, we get really full of ourselves on Canada Day. I'm all for national pride, but where is it the other 364 days of the year?
  9. That after saying that, I'm sure I'll have to turn in my passport.