Archive for December, 2012

Cold, Long Run

December 23, 2012 2 comments
Re-using my Wetaskiwin picture... just to emphasize the cold

Re-using my Wetaskiwin picture… just to emphasize the cold

Today in Siberia Wetaskiwin it was -19°C with a wind chill of -28°C.  Fucking cold.  Nevertheless, and thanks to a wonderful pep talk from my wife, I went out for my long run.  7 laps of a 2.01km city block.  Mid way through the 2nd lap I stepped awkwardly off  a sidewalk curb completely masked by unshoveled show and rolled my ankle a bit.  By the end of the 4th lap my water bottle was frozen shut.  By the end of the 6th lap the sweat on my eyebrows had also frozen.  What an experience that was.  But in the end I completed my 14km run in under 1:45:00.  I’ll take it.

In fact, I’m actually pretty happy with it.  I stuck to my plan and executed the whole distance.  I didn’t bail out.  Not due to cold, or discomfort, or cold, or frozen water, or cold.  I didn’t quit.  I finished strong.  As a Weekend Warrior, that’s what we shoot for – finish strong!

The run also put me over the 100km mark for the month with a full week to go.  Holy Hell!  That’s the first time I’ve eclipsed that milestone by a long shot.

No biking this month

No biking this month

It actually feels really good to look at those numbers.  I’m sticking with the plan.  I’m getting my long runs in (even when it’s crazy-cold).  I’m actually improving.  This is pretty damn sweet!

Now, if it’s all the same to you, I think I’ll avoid using my legs in any way for the rest of the night.



Destination: Edmonton

December 19, 2012 1 comment
Canada's "Winter City"... apparently...

Canada’s “Winter City”… apparently…

Today we took a lovely day trip into Edmonton, Canada’s Winter City.

Did you know:

We decided to hit the road at 9:00am this morning to head off to The City.  Accordingly, I set my alarm last night to make sure I was up on time (I am on vacation, after all).  I had a moment of thought this morning at roughly 7:00am to get up and get my run in before our trip.  I’m glad I rolled over instead.  When I did get up, I was given a weather report: -28°C with a windchill of -31°C.  Really glad I didn’t get up for a run.

Our trip to Edmonton was mostly a shopping trip – with brief detours for food and beer shopping, we otherwise went straight to West Edmonton Mall.  It’s as much a tourist attraction as a shopping center.

Did you know there's a full size water park in West Edmonton Mall?

Did you know there’s a full size water park in West Edmonton Mall?

... and a decent sized amusement park with a roller coaster!!

… and a decent sized amusement park with a roller coaster!!

We were only at the mall for a few hours – and distracted by the water park and amusement park, we actually didn’t do a lot of shopping.  Although, I did find myself a ManBag.  My wife will be so happy with the lack of crap being carried in my pockets going forward.

That's right... I can rock a ManBag... problem?

That’s right… I can rock a ManBag…

Men with ManBags… pro or con?


Destination: Wetaskiwin, AB

December 18, 2012 Leave a comment
It's officially winter up here!

It’s officially winter up here!

Welcome to Wetaskiwin, Alberta.  About a 45 minute drive south of Edmonton.  It’s crazy-cold up here!

Did you know:

  • Wetaskiwin has a population of about 12,500.
  • There are 7 different private liquor stores in Wetaskiwin (or about 1 per 1,800 people).
  • Wetaskiwin has the distinction of having the highest level of car sales per capita in Canada.

It’s crazy – every time I told someone (from Alberta) that I was going to Wetaskiwin, they all, without fail, began singing the jingle “Cars Cost Less in Wetaskiwin” from some TV commercial they all seem to know (which, I can’t find on YouTube, otherwise I would have linked it here – so maybe they’re all making it up).  Welcome to Wetaskiwin Alberta folks!

It’s actually a lovely small town, and currently a winter wonderland (by my Southern Ontario standards).  I’ve been taking every opportunity I can thus far to get outside and go for a walk or a car ride, just to get used to the temperature difference.

This afternoon I went for my first run in Wetaskiwin.  6.5kms – not a long dash, but it was hard.  My lungs felt like I was breathing an ice cube, my legs felt like they were running on sand wherever the sidewalk wasn’t shoveled, and I probably had an extra 5lbs of sweaters and long johns on to keep warm.  Seriously.  The things we do to get out for a run.

Tomorrow we’re taking our first road trip into Edmonton proper.  I’m actually kind of excited (read: really excited).  I love cities.  I’m looking forward to seeing this one.

In the meantime it’s full on Christmas here in Wetaskiwin.  The tree is lit and the carols are playing.  We had our first turkey dinner last night, and today’s treat is Eggnog Fudge.  Hells, yeah!

So festive!

So festive!

What treat do you most associate with the holidays?


Christmas Vacation

December 16, 2012 3 comments
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  Best.  Christmas.  Movie.  Period.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Best. Christmas. Movie. Ever.

Holy shit, it feels really good to be on vacation!  Not gonna lie, I’ve done little more than sleep and sit on the couch since my vacation started Friday morning (and eat cookies – cheers to my cousin for leaving a bag of cookies here Thursday night.  Hooray for other people’s cookie exchange parties!)

Okay, I did go for an 8km run yesterday.  That felt good.  And I’m planning a 14km run today if the rain lets up.  So that’s something more than sleeping and sitting.

Tomorrow we fly out to visit my wife’s family in Northern Alberta.  My mother-in-law sent us a lovely email this morning, with a link to get us excited for our trip…

Geez... doesn't that make you want to rush right out there! ;-)

Geez… doesn’t that make you want to rush right out there! 😉

Almost makes our current slighly-above-freezing-and-rainy weather seem tropical… almost…

I’m really looking forward to the trip.  I’ve never been to Edmonton before (my parents-in-law just moved there about a month ago), and I always love visiting family.  I can’t wait for the next 10 days of great laughter, great food, and great fun (and maybe a few great beers too)…

And for 10 days of running in the freezing cold.  But I think it’s better than running here, in the rain.  I hate running in cold winter rain.  At least snow is nice and fluffy, and doesn’t leave you soaked (not in the same way that rain leaves you soaked).  Even if it is going to be 20°C colder there than it is here…

What would you rather run in?  2°C and rainy, or -12°C and sunny (or snowing)?


December 10, 2012 5 comments
... so tasty

… so tasty

One of my best friends growing up has a French Canadian mother.  Every year (in the rough vicinity of Christmas time… or was it the start of winter?  or maybe just when the grocery stores had them?) she would have a tin of Pirouline cookies at their house.  Loved it.  Ever since I moved out on my own I’ve always treated myself to a tin (or three) at the start of the holiday season… or, ya know, when I saw them in the stores…

Tonight I had a great run with my wife.  Only 6.5km, but she helped me push the pace faster than I would normally run.  My body responded well.  It was a fantastic cardio workout.  I love runs where my heart rate is the limiting factor of how long I can push before a walk break, not the aches and pains in my legs.

So in reward for my good run, while at the grocery store tonight I picked up my first tin of the season.  Such a yummy treat!  Now it feels like the holiday season has begun!

In other unrelated news…

Happy 100th to me!

Happy 100th to me!

… apparently, this is my 100th post.  Cool.  Who would have thought back in January of last year when I started a blog on a whim that I’d stick with it long enough to write 100 posts.  My readership is small (though I love to see where my readers come from – I know there’s a bunch of you lurkers out there… don’t be shy!  I love comments!  I try to respond to them all… except when I get busy or distracted, which happens… a lot.  Best of intentions, right?)  I’m grateful to everyone who takes a moment to read about my adventure.  Slowly but surely, I’m making progress, and I love having you all along for the ride!  Here’s to the next 100 posts!

A pictorial representation of where my blog hits come from... I wonder if I'll ever get to visit all these places.  That'd be amazing!

A pictorial representation of where my blog hits come from… I wonder if I’ll ever get to visit all these places? That’d be amazing!



Slow Saturday

December 8, 2012 2 comments
image courtesy of

image courtesy of

(Pic courtesy of

Today’s a slow kinda Saturday.  I don’t feel like doing nothing!  It’s kinda rainy and overcast and COLD outside.

Today’s a perfect day to sit in bed and read a book all day long.  Or flake on the couch for a TV cartoon marathon (Undergrads anyone?)

Love this show!  Have you seen it?

Love this show! Have you seen it?

Instead I have to be a grown-up.  I get to spend today working.  It’s my last weekend before I kick my Christmas holidays off to an early start, so of course, there’s lots to do.  At some point today I need to brave the cold drizzle and put in 8k (Note to self: buy a treadmill).  And I should do some dishes too.  All exciting things… for sure… but what I’d really love is to put my PJs back on, make a cup or three of hot chocolate, and DO NOTHING.  All.  Day.  Long.

Tell me you don't want one.  Do it.  I dare you!

Tell me you don’t want one. Do it. I dare you!

(Image courtesy of

What would you do on a Saturday morning if you had no Grown Up responsibilities?

Ain’t no thing but a chicken wing

December 6, 2012 3 comments
More comfort food than training fuel... so good...

More comfort food than training fuel… so good…

Tuesday was my sorta Off Day (I say sorta because I still did a 1.5km swim in the morning… it’s funny how I think of days with only a swim as being an “off day”… really, if I don’t have to run, it’s an off day).  I met up with a buddy of mine I don’t see nearly often enough for wings after work.  We stayed and chatted for almost 3 hours.

He put an interesting thought in my head: if I hadn’t moved to Hamilton 18 months ago, would I be the budding triathlete I am today?

There are times in our lives when we make decisions that seem small, but end up having huge impacts in our lives downstream.  I believe we all have a few of them.  For me, I can look back to the summer of 2005, when I had an offer to go back to college for my second degree.  Tuition was paid and bags were packed, but I changed my mind and decided not to move at the last minute.  If I had moved, I wouldn’t have met my wife.

I wonder if moving to Hamilton will prove to be another one of those moments that I’ll look back on some day.  My friend and I talked about who we were in our community, and how sometimes you can develop a perception of yourself that can be difficult to change.  When I lived in KW, I was a lot of things.  I was a drummer.  I was a thespian.  I was a gamer.  I was a lot of things I enjoyed being at that point in my life, but none of them similar to being an athlete, or a triathlete.

Since moving to Hamilton I haven’t touched my drum kit – it sits in boxes in a closet.  I haven’t stepped foot into a community theater.  And I almost never play video games any more.  But I love to swim and bike.  I love to run.  I’ve discovered a new me.

And it’s not to say that I didn’t don’t love my friends and family still in KW, or that I don’t hope to some day live in KW again.  I love getting back to KW to visit, catch up, and share a beer.  Frankly, I wish I had more time for it.  I miss everyone there.  But I don’t know if I discover this new me with the same conviction if I stayed there.  I don’t know if I invest the time, emotion, or energy in finding my new me.  And I like this new me.

Seemed like an appropriate time to throw this pic back in

Seemed like an appropriate time to throw this pic back in… it’s like my Rookie Card

Tomorrow’s my real Day Off in the week (no running, not even swimming – just a 1 minute plank in the morning and that’s it).  Ironically, my wife and I have wings in the fridge waiting to be cooked, and beer in the fridge waiting to be drank.  Days off prove to be great for the soul as well as the body.  And they go great with chicken wings! (see how I tied it all back together there?  Writing magic… or something like that…)

Do you remember a decision you made that seemed small at the time, but ended up having a big impact on your life?

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