Are you feeling hot, hot, hot?

It was a pretty hot week here in Ottawa. We had a heat wave set in on Tuesday and it’s been in the mid-40s, post-humidex, most of the week.  I started writing this on Thursday. When I woke up at 6:30 am to go to the gym, the Weather Network was reporting that it was already feeling like 30 degrees. I didn’t feel like working up a sweat before I worked up a sweat, so I went down to the pool instead. I’ve actually made a few trips to the pool this week… a few trips a day.

We did find a great new place to cool off in the Market. Spoon Yogurt Lounge. It’s a pay-by-weight (55 cents/oz) self-serve frozen yogurt place on Clarence St. It just opened last week. They have about a eight flavours available at any one time, but have 25 flavours they cycle through daily. I got their cappuccino flavour and topped it with some berries. It was delicious. They have some really funky decor and great,  friendly staff. If you’re interested in trying it, they’re having 15% off this weekend. We’ll be back. Often.

The weather made for some interesting running.  Since there was a bit of a storefront moving in on Tuesday night, there was a bit of a breeze along the canal for our 3K. We had no such breeze on Wednesday for our 4K, or should I write 4K with 1K walk because I forgot to stop my Garmin. With the high heat and humidity, I talked Kalin out of running that night. Between her lungs and nagging injuries from the accident, I was worried running Wednesday but conk her out for running in the Perth Kilt Run on Saturday. Thankfully, there was no fight and she agreed.  She could feel her ankle flare up during Tuesday’s run and figured she would be in for more of the same or even worse. The humidity also wreaks havoc on her lungs. Better to save up the energy for race day Saturday.

I still went to lead my pace group. Since I don’t have a back-up pacer, the only way I could ensure there would be someone in the group that would be able to help if someone had to drop out due to heat exhaustion was to show up myself. I know from my St. John Ambulance days in New Brunswick heat exhaustion can set in fairly rapidly. If you aren’t hydrated properly, your body can’t regulate temperature properly and you’ll your body will burn more energy getting it back to normal. You’ll also sweat more from this additional expenditure and potentially dehydrate. A runner, even an elite runner, can go from pooped, to puke, to passed out in nothing flat. I learned this the hard way during my first 5k race a year ago. Thankfully, it didn’t affect me. I did, however, have to dodge people doubling over and puking as I was racing to my first finish. I departed from the usual practice of leaving my phone behind and even packed it into my water belt in case I needed to call an ambulance for an exhausted runner.

I did have a couple runners drop out and start walking on me. They problem is, no one told me until we were almost done. When we reached 4k, I sent my runners back to the store and I went back for my drop outs. It turned out that most of them were repeating the clinic from the previous one. I knew them and when they started walking, I was comfortable they knew what they were doing. I just wish someone told me that.

Still working on communication issues with the new group. My Sunday 2 hour pace group is huge. I have a couple of runners who like to run ahead of me. It’s not that they want a faster run, they just want to be up front. They’re experienced and also friends, so I’m not insulted, but it does create a problem. There’s a “follow the rabbit” mentality of runners that they’ll just keep up with whoever is in front. This wouldn’t be a problem if they knew the route. If the person in the lead takes a wrong turn and takes a third of the pace group with them, that’s a problem. Since it’s my group, it’s my problem. At the same time, letting them make a mistake to show them who’s the alpha dog can be helpful, too.

One thing the heat couldn’t keep me from on Wednesday was the first night of Ribfest. It’s one of the few destination events on the Sparks St. pedestrian mall. For five days, there will be a half dozen grillers competing for best ribs, chicken and sauce. Some also serve pulled pork, brisket and beef ribs. The festival has evolved quite a bit over the years. It used to be sandwiched in the two blocks between Elgin and Bank. It now goes the full length of the mall. The restaurants on Sparks St. will let you use their patios to eat your ribs if you buy a drink. This is a big change from a few years ago. When it started, most of the restaurants and pubs weren’t even allowed to have patios (something to do with a provincial or city ordinance at the time which has either been eliminated or interpreted more generously). As people just used any available space to sit and the garbage cans were quickly overwhelmed, the BIA established a beer garden so people could buy a drink, sit down, and more importantly have people to take away the mountains of cartons generated by the customers.

It was at the beer garden stage that I first visited the festival of carnivorosity. It was my second summer back from grad school when Christian suggested we go. It was the end of a week of similar humidity to this one and I was looking for an excuse to get out of my temporary quarters at the University of Ottawa.

2007 – You think that large gut had more capacity.

One thing I learned the hard way that afternoon, eating lots of food fast, drinking too little, combined with humidity (I had been having seeming weather-related digestive problems earlier in the week) meant that I didn’t keep it down long. We made it to the other side of the War Memorial when I found a garbage can to unload into. Coincidentally, it was next to a hot dog vendor. The sight of me may have driven some customers away from the processed junk to Ribfest.

I mention this less than awesome moment of my gloriously ignorant fat days because if I don’t Christian probably will. It’s not the kind of story you can let a best friend get away with. I know if the situation was reversed, I would.

No such problems this year.  My weight loss solved almost all my digestive problems. I also ate less. Sure we got this from folks at Camp 31:

Tree Hugger Special – Ribs, Pulled Pork, Chicken with beans and coleslaw.

This year, though, the emphasis is on we. Kalin and I shared it. There is enough meat in that carton for two. We did supplement the meal with some fries, also split, to fill us up. I had a couple of beers, but was still well hydrated despite having just had my hottest run ever due to the several litres of water consumed the afternoon prior.

The only thing missing was the activists from PETA to repeat my 2010 encounter. You know PETA. They’re the people that have propaganda campaigns that liken chicken processors to Nazi Holocaust death camps. They trivialized sexual assault earlier this year when they launched an advertisement promoting veganism. They do some good, like providing us with posters of naked supermodels who attest to their desire to be naked than wear fur. Of course, those campaigns only work so long as it’s Olivia Munn or Joanna Krupa saying they’d rather be naked. If it was me, you be throwing animal pelts at me and telling me to get dressed. These guys have mastered the activist pander so masterfully I’m surprised they’re not trying to convince creationists that dinosaurs are extinct because of cavemen over-hunting. If the Flintstones taught us anything it’s that dinosaurs are good eating.

Shit. I just gave them an idea, didn’t I?

Anyhow, I’ve been saving zingers for two years now since one of their number shoved a poster of a pig’s head dangling on a meat hook and asked if my meal had a face.

My response: “Yes, and it was delicious!”

I then started my Anthony Hopkins/Hannibal Lecter impression: “Do you hear their screams?”

At first he thought I was talking about our friend, Piglet. Before he could answer, I continued, “Do you them, activist? Do you hear the screams of the broccoli as you cut it at its ankles? Do you hear the cries of the carrots as you pull them from the ground … by their hair? ”

I then led the patio of the Cock and Lion in a rousing chorus of this Arrogant Worms classic:

Well just the chorus. That’s all I could remember. Insults were being generated in my head faster than my mouth could utter them.

Apparently, they don’t teach about the dangers of keeping fat people from their ribs in activist school. The trolls were stunned that someone was not cowed by their antics (pun intended). They I just finished with “This is the part where you fuck off, go home, and question what your life choices.”

They sauntered off, crestfallen. What in their mind should have been a quick, self-congratulatory trolling of a patio in the dying throes of a genocidal orgy, became a moment of ritual humiliation by solitary fat man, who then was the size of the average animal they were trying to save. He all of people should understand.

Unfortunately for them, he was me and I’m kind of an asshole when I want to be.

Some friends probably read that and thought “There’s times he’s not one?”

My little show did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. A few fellow patrons laughed at my display. One couple came over and told me it was the third time they had swung by the patio since they had arrived an hour earlier. When I asked my waitress for my bill for the two pints of Beau’s that I drank, she simply waved me off and said, “Spillage.” I left the equivalent of my first drink as a tip.

I’m looking forward to a repeat visit to Ribfest before it closes on Sunday. See ya there, jackasses.



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