And so it begins … again

As mentioned in last week’s post, the passing of the week marks an end to my year of losing weight and the beginning of my year of not being fat anymore. With so many things accomplished in the previous 52 weeks, the next 52 weeks has a lot to live up and will be difficult to surpass. That’s not to say I’m not going to try. I intend to make this year the Godfather, Part II or Empire Strikes Back, the rare sequels that surpass the original, of years.

One lesson learned in the last week: never put “the end” in the title of blogpost. It’s bad juju. I had my first winter run stumble last Sunday. I’ve been running with the 10K clinic while I’m waiting for my half marathon clinic to start.  We were doing 5K on Sunday morning in -33 degree windchill. We also had a few days of snow that instantly turned to ice with the temperature drop, well below the ability of salt (or whatever supposedly environmentally friendly stuff the NCC uses along the canal) to have any effect.  By running at a substantially slower pace and having a shorter stride, I was pretty good until I rounded a turn coming back onto the pedestrian bridge across the canal. My feet slipped out from under me and, like a Looney Tunes cartoon, for a brief moment, I was airborne before plummeting to the ground. I picked myself up and kept going. Not until later in the day, after the adrenaline and post-run caffeine intake had subsided, did the damage reveal itself. Nothing major, just some bruised muscles in the shin region that made moving miserable enough Monday and Tuesday that I took time off from my workouts at Greco to let it heal. Back in the saddle on Wednesday with a morning workout and evening practice run.

Yes, it was as cold as it looks.

Speaking about post-race caffeine.

Running may be it's own reward, but you know what's also a reward? Latte.

A bunch of us normally go to Bridgehead on the corner of Bank and Albert after our Sunday run. This past Sunday, I absent mindedly left my water belt behind and it had my OHIP card in it. How absent minded? I didn’t notice until Wednesday when I went to pull the bottle out of my running gear bag and it wasn’t there. Thankfully, I didn’t need to make use of the healthcare system over my tumble.

As a brief aside, I know what it’s like to show up at a Canadian emergency room without valid coverage. I sought treatment once for a scratched cornea only to discover my provincial coverage had expired. They were more than willing to see me, but the bill was going to start at $375 just to see the doctor. Remember fellow Canucks, our healthcare is an insurance system. Just because you don’t see a bill, that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. While some provinces charge a discrete premium, the rest gets paid through from general revenue, which is fancy jargon for taxes. We all pay our bills on April 30th. The system is great but it is neither free nor cheap to run. Please stop telling our American friends otherwise.  They have their problems which I would love to explain … at my consulting rate of $200/hr.

Back to our story: I wasn’t quite sure where I left my belt and only went back to Bridgehead shortly before Wednesday’s practice run on a hunch. I asked the staff at the counter and they replied “Oh, the run belt? One second.” and went to the back office to get it. It was even still full of water from Sunday. How’s that for service? To whoever found it and turned it in along with the staff: thank you.

There’s a big event here in Ottawa this weekend. Lululemon is having a warehouse sale here. You have to love a company that can make fun of its own customers.

Lululemon is a great Canadian company. Their founder, Chip Wilson, is a big fan of Ayn Rand and recently had “Who is John Galt?” on their shopping bags. Their CEO, Christine Day, was named CEO of the Year for 2011 by Report on Business Magazine, the first woman to have such a distinction. The stock value is through the roof on the TSX.

Oh year, they make some pretty good products, too. Needless to say, they’re popular.

My magic number

I got there a little before 7 am and there already 400+ people in queue ahead of me. It was pretty well organized. In the few minutes between my arrival and when the venue let us in, at least that many more had arrived. I found some great deals, but I have to admit the variety of items for men was pretty slim.

They probably could have used more space for the women’s change room. There was no wait to get into the guys’ room. Of course, that’s going to happen when girls outnumber guys at an event by a ratio of 100:1.

Yes, my fellow males, of the 600 patrons allowed in the first batch, I was one of maybe 6 men.

With the long wait to try on clothes, many women had taken to just finding a space along the wall, doffing their kits (as my British friends would say) and trying the merchandise on.  They were even doing so in line for the cash, using the chorale bars as hangers for merchandise that didn’t fit.

Usually shows like that charge by the song.

There are times where I decry this generation’s lack of modesty. I can do the grumpy old man bit as well as anybody. That wasn’t me this morning. The staff were pretty enthusiastic and it was rather infectious. They were even were giving out free toques and mitts to customers as they left.

Namaste, muthaf*ckas!

The few gripes I have have more to do with the facility than the event, itself. The parking lot could have used someone to direct traffic. I met up with friends and we left in their car. It was probably the only chaotic part of the experience.  The first wave of arrivals was leaving as we were and people were trying to get in. Uplands Drive was backed up in all directions. At one point, they sent out a Twitter update asking people to park at the airport and take a shuttle over. The venue is steel and concrete and, as a result, had terrible cell phone signal and its wifi was useless.  Thankfully, the frequent announcements in the waiting line made up for the Twitter and Facebook updates we couldn’t get.  Believe it or not, the sale is not the only event there this weekend. There’s also a home reno show.

Congress Centre next year? Please?

A tip: if you’re going Saturday or Sunday, go early for when the venue opens at 7 am. This is not the kind of sale you can just drop into. The shortest wait time will be at the beginning. If you make it in that first batch of 600, you can be out of there and back to whatever else you want to do by 10:30ish.

I’m getting ready to start my half-marathon training. I’m already modulating my goals, for the better (I hope). I was planning to be train for a 2:30 target time. After discussing it with my instructor and some of my more experienced running friends, I’ve succumbed to peer pressure and stepped up my game. I’ll be pace leading the 2:15 group instead.

In the meantime, I’m running with some friends in the 10K. The distances right now are long enough that it will ease me into the half marathon clinic.

Looking forward to the challenges ahead.



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