Week 50 – Home I’ll be

Thanks for all the thoughts and well wishes over the last week. It has been a little trying, but I know I will get over this slump. Not in the best spot, but nowhere near crisis yet. The important thing is to not use the current stress as an excuse to backslide. That would just add tragedy to the end of a year that has been one triumph after another. I’m already making plans on the employment front, so hopefully something will come up soon.

In the meantime, it’s Christmas with my family and friends in New Brunswick. More so than my previous trips back east, I need this one. The last few weeks of the Senate sitting can be a little nutty. We’re often sitting late, sometimes just to receive bills passed by the House of Commons. Last week we sat late every night. I didn’t have to stay late at the office on Wednesday because of my responsibilities to my running clinic, but every other night 11 pm was probably the earliest I saw my apartment.

This can be pretty dangerous on the weight loss front. I’ve always made my stupid food choices after late sittings. Dinner was sometimes well after midnight, twelve hours after my last substantial meal. This year, I was prepared. The first time I was asked to stay at the office late, I asked for a 30 minute warning when my co-worker was going to leave so I could run out to the Freshii on Sparks St. to get a health dinner. Even though they agreed, when the time came, she left without the agreed upon warning. Thankfully, we only sat until a little past 8 pm and office fridge was loaded with some healthier hors d’ouvres from the previous night’s reception. Strange how it’s the healthy hors d’ouvres that were left over, isn’t it?

The takeaway, pardon the pun, was I can only rely on myself to keep responsible food choices. Knowing what was in store for me for the last week, I prepared for the storm. Even though I had enough meals from the Red Apron to get me though lunches until I left, I made an extra trip to stock up so I could have enough to bring an extra one for dinner and still have a few leftover when I get back. Remember, one of the issues that arose from my summer travels was the need to have food in the apartment for after I get back from my trips. Since I cleaned the apartment of the fresh veggies before I left, it will be great to have some decent meals waiting for me when I return.

For the first time in years it was an uneventful trip home for Christmas. Last year, I made the mistake of not taking the direct flight to Fredericton. While it saved my parents a couple hundred dollars, the combined delays out of Ottawa and Montreal added three hours to my travel time. At least half of the extra time was spent trapped in a Dash 8 on the runway of the Montreal airport waiting for them to load the luggage as four regional flights were departing the same gate area at the same time. All the while, the baby in the row ahead of me wouldn’t stop crying.

Parents, do the traveling public a favour and have the grandparents visit you for the holidays. I understand Jr. is the most precious thing in the history of precious things. I felt the same way about my nephews at that age. The thing is, we understand crying is the only way for Jr. to communicate at that age.  It’s still the most annoying, grating noise in the history of annoying, grating noises. It’s supposed to be.  Evolution has hardwired us to be annoyed so we respond to our offspring’s problem and ensure the survival of the species. We get it. Think of  Jr.s well being, as well, and the germs you subjecting him or her too. Air travel is kind of like what McCoy said of space in the recent Star Trek reboot: disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence.

Forgive yet another aside. As you may guess, crying babies and small airplanes are not my cup of tea.

It wasn’t the worst trip home for the holidays. That was a 22 hour drive from Hell with a seven hour delay in a Canadian Tire in Donnaconna, Quebec. It ranks up there, though. The return last year was actually worse. This time I flew to Moncton via Porter Airlines. Dad has an office there, so he could plan a work day there and pick me up when my flight arrived around supper time. Since they had a 50% off sale back in November, I could book the round trip for two-thirds of what Air Canada wanted for a one-way direct flight to Fredericton.

I’m a late convert to Porter, but a convert nonetheless. They had me at “hello”. The “hello” was at the Porter Lounge. Free coffee. Free almonds. Free wifi. Sold. What can I say? Everyone has a price and I’m incredibly cheap. On the flight itself were complimentary wine and beer as well as sandwiches. Real sandwiches with real whole grain bread and real chicken breast. The sandwiches were snack size, but more substantial than anything Air Canada offered on a domestic flight to the New Brunswick in this century.

Since for reasons mentioned in last week’s post I didn’t do my Christmas shopping prior to my return, my first stop on Tuesday was the mall. Regent Mall. The first stop, however, was not for presents. It was GNC for supplements and protein bars to get me through the two weeks I’ll be home. Since the chain has essentially abandoned downtown Ottawa, it was my first trip. Even after signing up for their Gold Card discount, I racked up $150 bill.

The next stops that day shall remain classified, lest my nephews finally read this blog and start guessing what will be under the tree for them. Apparently, they have become quite the snoops. Must get it from their mother. She was the little devil in our family who would scour every nook and cranny of our home in Cape Breton and later New Maryland looking for yet-to-be-wrapped presents. I was never like that. Never.

Okay, maybe I tagged along.

Okay, maybe I once woke everyone up at 4 am to open our presents. Santa and those reindeer woke me up and I couldn’t get back to sleep.

BTW, Yes, there is a Santa Claus. He smoked my cigars and drank my scotch. Here’s the proof:

Before

After

Of course, I am running into many friends and acquaintances while I’m home. It’s great to see them. Some of them are passing through on the holidays, themselves. I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on the weight loss and the blog. It still hasn’t gotten old.

I’m keeping up with my running while I’m home. I went to Fredericton’s Running Room Wednesday night. Ran in some freezing rain. Pretty much my sloppiest run, weather-wise. Since no one from their 5K clinic showed up, I ran with the 10K clinic. They were supposed to do 8K that night, but cut it back to 6K which was two laps around the Sunshine Gardens neighbourhood.

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/135751238

As you can see, I’m still enjoying the Garmin and it’s functionality vs. the Nike+. I forgot the heart rate monitor for this run, but I was pretty chatty with my running partners so I know I was around my optimum heart rate.

Since the next two Sundays fall on holidays and I don’t have clinic duties, I’m going to have a few runs on my own to get ready for the Resolution Run. My parents are looking forward to watching me run for the first time. The running is something we’ve talked about, but they’ve never had the chance to see it. Of course, Dad’s caveat is if it’s -20, I’m on my own.

Well, Dad, the long term forecast says sunny and -1. Guess you’re coming to the Exhibition Grounds with me.

Allons-y!

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4 responses

  1. Great blog! You should look into Cliff Bars. Brave to run in freezing rain, between my hamstring and potentially busting my ankle I turned back. When I went to walk the dog, it was the icecapades, he just slide on the ice.

    1. Since they’re pretty much available anywhere, I probably should give Clif Bars a try. I usually go for Elevate since the ingredients are fruit, nuts and whey. They’re available at Popeye’s and most organic food stores. I’m still trying to find stores that carry them in New Brunswick. It had snowed most of the day on Wednesday and had just turned to freezing rain, so there was plenty of traction. The ground was a little crunchy and there was no danger of sneaking up on anyone ninja-style.

  2. Sorry you’re having to find a new position – but glad you’re having a long trip home to fortify yourself. I ran in the rain a few nights ago, although this being Texas, it was a warm rain. I’m continually impressed at the weather you brave! Here’s to clear runways & skies and no cranky babies. Safe travels and good running.

    1. Thanks, Andie. We’re getting some snow as I write this. It should make for a fun run when can pry myself away from the laptop in a bit.

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