Week 45 – Gearing Up

Winter is coming.

Since the adaption of Game of Thrones was announced for HBO, you’ve been seeing that phrase a lot this year.

In Canada, winter is almost always coming.  When it isn’t coming, it’s here.

Like death, it stalks us all.

I know it sounds rather ominous and gloomy.  The truth is I like winter. Not fussy about the short days, though.  The hardest part of starting my workout routine back in January was the fact that early morning workouts meant leaving my building in darkness and going home from work in darkness.  Daylight happened while I was at work. After a couple of months of this, I have the complexion of one of those emo Twilight vampires without the sparkles.

I love winter activities.  When I was younger, I skied a lot.  My parents would take my sister and I cross country skiing in the woods.  As we got older, we got into downhill skiing.  Growing up in Cape Breton, we were spoiled.  The hill in Ben Eoin was only half an hour form our house in Coxheath, so we would often do our homework after school and head to the hill after dinner.  One of the drawbacks of big city living … okay, medium city living … it is Ottawa, after all … is I don’t have a car.  As such, most ski hills are out of reach.

What I don’t need a car to get to is the Rideau Canal Skateway. 

I live a few blocks from where I took this photo.  I just need to toss on my skates and go.  It gets really crowded during Winterlude with tourists, so I usually avoid it then.

I even managed to skate when I lived in DC.

The reflecting pool at the Sculpture Garden would be frozen every year.  I don’t know how they did it, but they would keep it frozen until the end of March.  By that time, this Canadian would be back in the shorts.  In fact, it was 25 degrees Celsius when I took this photo.  Before you ask, the ice is real, not one of those synthetic all weather surfaces like they had in the Rockville Town Square. There was a nice cafe adjacent to the pool for a cup of hot chocolate afterward.

They also had alcohol, but there were bars nearby that were cheaper.

Winter was always weird in DC.  My friends from the southern US never got used to the cold.  Me, on the other hand, I was always waiting for winter to arrive. The coldest it would get would be -4.  I never got used to the mass panic and chaos that a snow flurry would bring. They would actually call it a “snow shower”.  The idea of American Empire seemed silly every time 4 cm would close down the capital of the free world.

I did, however, miss “snowpocalypse”.

You won’t see guys like this on the Weather Nework up here.

BTW, for those not up on their weights and measures, 22 inches is about 56 centimetres.  That’s a legitimate snowstorm even in these northern climes.

It’s also my first winter as a runner. New season means new gear. New gear doesn’t necessarily mean more gear, though.  With the Running Room’s one year unconditional warranty on its Running Wear brand, I got to return my old gear that I bought when I started in the spring because it’s now too big. Yep, the warranty even covers weight loss. Between my store credit and my instructor’s discount, I managed to fully stock up on winter gear (jacket, pants, thermal undies, socks) for a net expense of $13. Pretty good, huh?

I also took the first step in the next phase of this journey.  I signed up for the half marathon for Ottawa Race Weekend.  I’ll take the Running Room clinic that begins in February.  I will have to pick up some new spring/summer gear along the way because even stuff I bought in June/July is too big.  I really need to give my drawers a similar gutting as I gave my closet earlier this year.

My apartment looks like I’m getting ready to move. Now that my size is stabilizing, I’ve been buying some clothes on Beyond the Rack again.  I don’t have to worry about being a different size then when I ordered. I’ve ordered a few shirts and sweaters as well as some athletic gear.  I think the smallest discount I got was 50%.  Even bought a $700 Invicta watch for $60. Seems like everything arrived this week. One shirt was the wrong size, but they have a pretty good return policy.  Just slap the prepaid return address label on the box along with the return UPC sticker and the purchase will credited to my account.

Winter is coming.

And I am ready.

Just bring it.

Allons-y!

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