Tag Archives: resolution run

My new normal

When I started this journal of my weight loss journal, I argued with rising obesity rates that obese was the new normal. It’s been almost two years since that entry, but the Globe and Mail caught up last weekend.

As this week passed, I reached a new milestone. It’s been a year since I reached my goal weight. This year, I celebrated, but nowhere near as bad as the two week food bender I went on during my downtime between finishing with my trainer and joining Greco. Since I had just completed my second half marathon and was in recovery mode, I had a few indulgences. Well, not really. Kalin and I did splurge at St. Louis a couple of hours after our race, but we had just run 21.1 km. I think we can handle it. Might have had some junk last weekend, but other than that I’ve kept to my usual good habits.

I’ve had a number of questions about how disciplined I am in my eating habits and exercise routine. The truth is, I’m not. I don’t feel disciplined. I pretty much eat what I want. The difference is what I wanted then and what I want now are two different things.

When I started this last year, I truly needed discipline.

The biggest change to my eating habits was the no starchy carbs. In fairness, it was the only change. The nutrition plan I was on didn’t keep me from eating meat and most of the vegetables I like, but gone was the baked potato with the steak, the spaghetti carbonara with my chicken, the pizza crust with my pizza.

I needed the shock therapy. Starting from scratch with new eating habits helped me build a new routine that would not just get me out of the fat suit I was living in, but keep me out once I got to my goal weight. I was also working in a relatively fast paced environment in the Senate of Canada (I know most Canadians reading that last sentence are probably gobsmacked to see the word “fast” in any sentence referring to our Senate) which forced me to adapt my routine to the workplace. I was lucky to have a kitchen with a fridge and microwave where I could store and re-heat meals. There was also a cafeteria on the fifth floor and the Parliamentary Dinning Room (but staff rarely go there without their Member/Senator).

The main thing I learned very quickly if I was going to be successful: bring dinner, too. Some days were harder to judge to when it’s going to be long day so be prepared to have dinner at the office. A routine sitting day can become a long sitting very quickly. I might have to fill in for my boss at an event or represent him at a reception. Stuff like that. While the cafeteria stays open until the House rises, anything remotely healthy would be gone after the supper hour rush. If you have your own dinner on hand, the worst that can happen is that you don’t need to use it. In that case, it’s there for lunch the next day and you have a slightly less heavy bag to lug. Some days, I would eat before I left just so I wouldn’t have to cook when I got home. There were also days where I was hanging around the office between the end of the workday and when I would go to my Running Room clinic so I would eat then. 

As some carbs and fats were added back in, I found the ones I used to eat frequently I no longer craved. I like my whole grain pasta, particularly on the Friday before  a long run on Sunday, but I don’t covet it. For all the talk of bacon in the news these days, I’ve bought all of 1lb since January 2011. Don’t blame me for the impending shortage.

Exercise was another routine I had to start from scratch. I wasn’t a total coach potato when I was fat, but I couldn’t/wouldn’t sustain a commitment to an exercise routine to save my life. When I started with my trainer at Free Form Fitness, I started with two sessions a week for six weeks and then went to three. I also needed to find a time that wouldn’t get continuously pre-empted by my professional duties. For me, the sweet spot was the morning. I was not a morning person, but I realized that I was only going to make it to my sessions if I scheduled them for the times when I knew I didn’t have to be at the office, prior to 8 am. Paying for the service also helps. I can be rather spendthrift, but I want to get my money’s worth. Showing up to my appointments was the only way to do that. Having started this new routine in January, it meant beginning and ending my days in darkness.

Today, I’m working out at Greco LeanandFit four times a week (and may ratchet it up to five) and running three times a week. I’ve completed two half-marathons, both with sub-two hour finishes.  

Speaking of running, I’m instructing again. I’m leading the 5k clinic at the Slater St. Running Room. Kalin is helping me as a pace leader. One of the big challenges with instructing the 5k is it’s the gateway drug to running. Some are using it get back into the sport after years off or recovering from an injury while some are new to running altogether. As such the groups spread out rather quickly on the runs and it’s difficult to effectively supervise everyone. The faster may get out of earshot rather quickly and may run longer their body is ready for. I’m glad she’s going to help where she can. Wednesdays can be long days for work, but I’m thankful for the help.

Going back to shorter distances and slower speeds is going to mean some modifications of the routine. Probably going to have to work out a little bit more to earn that Mello’s breakfast on Saturday, but at this point it’s more “Been there. Done that. Bought the T-Shirt.”

With Thanksgiving upon us, I’m hitting the road for the weekend. No, there’s subterfuge this year. Mom knows I’m coming home for the weekend. It’s a testament to the fact that I’ve so altered my routine that I can go to the old haunts and not succumb to the temptation to indulge … or at least space out the indulgences to fit the routine.

I’m a creature of  habit and my habits sucked. Only by starting from scratch and building new habits, could I succeed. Succeed I did. Succeed I continue to do.

Allons-y!

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Going Continental

Welcome readers of the Running Room Magazine!

For those of you that don’t get the magazine, yours truly was featured in the most recent issue that hit stores and mailboxes yesterday. Here’s the link: RR Mar/Apr 2012. I’m on page 8.

So far, I have gotten a lot of positive feedback on the article and few chuckles over the photos. I’ve been asked more than once, “Who’s the chubby fella in the photos with you?”

To quote a song title, someone I used to know.

Week 52 – Back in the Saddle

What a week.

Before I get started, there’s a lot of new readers to this blog. With the new year upon us, the tradition of the New Year’s Resolution has been much discussed.  Of equal discussion is the unlikelihood that the vast majority of them will be kept. Partly due to the boredom of being in the Moncton airport a full four hours before my flight to Ottawa (Thanks, Dad!), I decided to counter some of the snark with tweets of the link of the photo gallery section of the blog to some of the more famous on my Twitter feed.

As my flight was called for boarding, YouTuber Philip DeFranco sent me a nice reply and retweeted my tweet to his followers … all 248,957 followers.  When I got off the plane in Ottawa and took my phone off airplane mode, it buzzed with incoming messages and push notifications from Twitter seemingly forever. Curious, I checked the blog hits via the iPhone app. In the two hours I had been on the plane, I had over 2000 hits. My previous busiest day was 75. I’ve had more readers this week than the five and a half months this blog has been public.

Thanks, Phil.  Mega thanks.

To get new readers up to speed, I wrote a pair of posts, the cliff notes versions of how I succeeded.

So You Say You Want a Resolution – Part 1

Part 2 – With a little help from your friends

I have a third post on this theme in mind which I’ll probably get to on the weekend, once I find which Beatles tune to play with for the title.

The second half of my visit home for the holidays was pretty non-eventful. It was nice and restful, which was just what I needed. New Year’s Eve was spent at my parents’ house.  It had been freezing rain all day and, as I explained last week, I wasn’t fussy with the idea of spending $100 to go to an event before I bought my first drink. Besides, I had a run in the morning, but more on that later.

Just because I stayed in, doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun. I entertained my parents by reading them the posts I was writing to taunt my sister over Facebook. She had asked who was coming to the polar bear dip by her place. When I signalled my interest, she said I had to wear a “real” bathing suit. NO SPEEDOs. I played around for a bit before relenting. I had her so wound up, though, she called the house the next morning and asked Dad if I was coming and if was going to wear the Speedos. At that point, we knew we had done enough and let her know we were only pulling her leg.

Almost.

We were contemplating going and pulling some prank, like wearing the offending garment over a larger pair, but decided with the ice still on the majority of city roads the country roads to my sister’s would be too treacherous. Passing a van in the ditch in our neighbourhood sealed our fate.  The men of Durham don’t have to be green with envy until next year.

Race Report – Resolution Run

I, along with a hundred plus fellow Frederictonians, started 2012 off with the Resolution Run.  It’s an annual event that is hosted by the Running Room in cities where they have stores.  Ottawa’s was actually the afternoon of New Year’s Eve. It’s a rather popular event. Ottawa’s actually sold out in late October, hence my decision to stay in Fredericton for NYE so I could do the Resolution Run.  While I would have liked to have run with my clinic participants, the Ottawa run had sold out so quickly, none of them had the chance to register for their target race.

It was a little different than my previous runs. It was winter in every sense of the word. As you might guess from the shine in the photo above, the previous day’s freezing rain had rendered our starting point, the Fredericton Exhibition Grounds, into a sheet of glass.  It made for a slow, cautious start.  It was also the first run I did on city streets where the streets themselves were not closed to traffic.  Thankfully, the combination of the early hour, residential neighbourhood, and it being the morning of  New Years Day, meant we didn’t have to share the road with a lot of traffic.

One big exception:  When I rounded the Inglewood/Harewood corner on my first lap through Sunshine Gardens, the entire street was blocked by a pick-up truck and trailer which was attempting to back out of a driveway as the first wave of runners hit his street. I don’t know what, if anything, the local organizers do to notify residents of the neighbourhood we ran through, but one would think if they new that 200 people were going to be running through their street, they would have left before the appointed hour of the race’s beginning.

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/137970121

If you click the link above, you’ll see I recorded a time of 27:22. This would be a personal best if only the Garmin had recorded a full 5K. I probably started it a little late or stopped it a little early, or both. I figure another .1 km would have been at least 8 seconds, so let’s call this 27:30 … ish. A personal best at home before I graduate to the half-marathon would have been nice. Between the terrain challenges and the effect of cold on the muscles, it’s bloody near impossible, though, to pb in the winter.

Didn’t stop me from trying.

It was warm enough that my parent’s did come out for the run. I have them to thank for the photos in this post. The temperature was in the low negative single digits.  Warm compared to the near -30 after windchill that greeted me on my return to Ottawa.

Yes, my return to Ottawa. Despite no reason to otherwise get up at such an unGodly hour, I woke up at my usual pre-unemployment time of 5:30 to hoof it to Greco. I wanted to get back into my fitness routine as soon as possible. The last thing I want is for my recent “involuntary unpaid leave” (how’s that for an euphemism) to be the the reason I go all Flowers for Algernon and regress into the man I was a year ago. That would elevate a momentary problem into a complete tragedy. I’ve signed up at GrecoLeanandFit for the next twelve months. I figure plunking down the money for the next twelve months in one fell swoop will force me to continue. I’ll sign up of the Running Room’s Half Marathon Clinic on Sunday.  The renovations to my building’s swimming pool are now complete and it re-opened while I was home for Christmas. The fitness routine is well at hand.

Of course, the title of this post suggests not just a return, but an end. This is the 52nd week of my year of not being fat anymore. Detail-oriented readers will note that I always numbered it with the beginnings of week, not the end. The end of this week will mark the end of the year long journey. Since I did have some indulgences over the holidays and did not workout as often, some I began at Greco may have been reversed. What side of 170 am I currently at? Honestly, I don’t know. I haven’t hopped on the scale since I returned to Ottawa. I want to get as much time back in my routine as possible before I report to you the final results of the journey.

I’ll certainly be continuing the blog even after the journey’s over. After all, I technically haven’t had a full year of not being fat, most of the year was spent getting to the not fat point.

That, and I really love writing. I may not be writing the next great novel, but I love writing nonetheless. You can’t complete a PhD dissertation, approximately 300 pages on some esoteric topic that only you and your committee may ultimately care about, if you don’t love to write.

The past year was really prologue.

The real adventure lays ahead.

Allons-y!

Week 51 – Home I’ll be, Part 2

Fredericton

(expletive)

I’m still in Fredericton.

Forgive the Captain Willard moment.  I’m actually enjoying my vacation back home.  It’s a much needed break from the pressure cooker that is Parliament in the weeks leading up to the Christmas break. I usually take off within a few hours of Parliament rising.  This year I waited until Monday so I could get in another Running Room clinic night and Sunday practice run with my 5K clinic. Even with a couple of days to get ready, it’s still like the scene in Spaceballs where the ship comes to an emergency stop while travelling at ludicrous speed.

My Christmas vacation usually takes three distinct phases:

Phase 1 – Prepare for Christmas. This is the aforementioned Christmas shopping.  Luggage restrictions make it impossible to get my shopping done in Ottawa.  I also like to coordinate with my sister and parents what was already purchased for the nephews.  I also knew what Santa Claus was giving them.  For the wee ones who may be reading this, I am an Agent of S.A.N.T.A. I am part of an intricate network, like Uatu the Watcher, who observes and reports to inform  the man up north’s naughty and nice list.  For all the hype I made of my dread of the mall this time of year, I ended up spending more on supplements to get me through 2 weeks at home than I did at the mall on presents. For the nephews, I actually used the Claus’ suggestion of an art set for Wes and a chemistry set for Andrew, both of which I found at a pair of stores owned by my friend, Luke Randall, Endeavours and ThinkPlay. I don’t know why I bother going to the mall as I usually end up buying the boys’ presents at Luke’s than anywhere else.

Did they like their presents? You decide:

 

There’s also the health aspect in preparing for Christmas.  As I mentioned, I have to stock up on supplies to keep nutrition plan compliant. While mom is more than happy to offer to pick some things up at the grocery store for me so it’s here when I get home, I’m loathe to give her the full list of what I need.  The good son, I am, I don’t want her running around town looking for brand X supplement when I know where to go to get the brand I want at a reasonable price. So I have her get the simple stuff that she was going to buy for the house anyway like frozen berries and yogurt and I’ll get the rest.  I still have half a jug of whey protein at home from my summer trip, but I didn’t want to brave the holiday hordes at Costco for the rest, so I went to GNC for the veggie greens, fish oil and protein bars. I spent about $150 after tax for two weeks of supplies. The leftovers will be stashed until my next visit.


Of course, no visit to Fredericton is complete without the return to the old haunts.  I made more than one stop at the Garrison District Ale House. The food there is great and they have the biggest beer menu in town. Of course, the only beer I care about this time of year is Picaroons Winter Warmer, from our local microbrewery which won the award for best brewery in Canada this year.  I lucked out this year that the Boyce Farmer’s Market is actually open twice this year during my vacation. Last year, Christmas and New Year’s both landed on Saturdays. There was a special Christmas Eve market on the Friday and then it was closed until January 7th. I flew back to Ottawa on January 2nd.

Phase 2 – Survive Christmas.  Christmas at the Read household is a three day affair.  Since my sister has a young family, we go to the early Christmas Eve mass at her parish on Fredericton’s north side, St. Theresa’s.  The competition for seats can be quite fierce, so we go early for the early mass. The tradition at St. Theresa’s is that the children bring bells  and ring them every time they say “Amen” during the mass. My ears rang for hours afterward.

After mass, we gather at my parent’s place for dinner and give my nephews their Christmas presents from us. When we got back to the house, we discovered Santa had come early for myself and my parents.  This stressed my nephews to no end. Suddenly they were scared Santa had passed over their house because they were not home in bed.  I had to download the NORAD Santa app for my iPhone to show them that he was still on his way.  I guess he delivers to employees first ;).

On the food front, I was mostly responsible.  Our Christmas Eve dinner is a smorgasbord of meat. It consists Mom’s sweet and sour meatballs, cabbage rolls, and meat pie. Dessert is a five layer blueberry tart.  I kept my portions reasonable.

I made my parents post-run Christmas morning brunch of whole wheat French toast with organic hot Italian sausage and hash browns.  The hash browns were an indulgence, but I added onions I threw in some onions that were leftover from when we barbecued steaks earlier in the week so there were veggies.

Hey, I ran 5K in -20 windchill.  I earned that brunch. http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/136307218

Christmas dinner was the traditional turkey and all the fixings. Mom cooked me some sweet potatoes along with the rest of the veggies so I was spared the simple starches of their white cousins.  My brother-in-law’s mother made the turkey. His grandmother made the stuffing, of which I had only a spoonful. My sister made dessert, a gingerbread cake with lemon sauce. I would like to say I had a only little bit of dessert, but my sister’s definition of small portion and mine are two different things.  She was the natural athlete in the family, so she can get away with it.

Phase 3 – Recover from Christmas.  The nephews can be pretty rambunctious.  They’re 9 and 6 and love to wrestle with their Uncle Michael. Andrew even brought boxing gloves to our house this morning. Since my parents thought it was a good idea for the boys to sleep over Christmas night, I was under pretty much constant assault from mid-afternoon Christmas Day until lunchtime Boxing Day. They are savage and relentless. Needless to say, I was battered and bruised and needed time to heal up. I thought the mall was going to be killer.

Andrew has developed the Read sense of humour. He drew a picture this morning of small person wearing big, red gloves hitting a larger person a little below the waistline. He handed it to me and said, “This is what I’m going to do to you.”

My response, “If you ever want to have a cousin, aim higher.”

Part of the recovery means getting back into the exercise routine that I allowed to lapse over the holiday weekend. It’s a little difficult to keep the routine of waking up at 5:00 am and walk to the gym when the gym is now 5k away along a highway with no sidewalk. I’ve gotten my usual runs in.  After posting last week’s blog on Friday, I went for a run in a snowstorm and enjoyed it immensely. http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/135991133 Sunday, Christmas Day, I went for the aforementioned morning run in -20. There is something oddly invigorating about a cold weather run.

On Wednesday, I ran with the local 5K Running Room clinic. They were MIA last week because they had the opportunity to drill with the track coach at University of New Brunswick. In a funny twist, it turns  out the instructor for the local clinic is the wife of a classmate of mine from high school. Fredericton is a very small town.  It was a cold, rainy night and  didn’t know the route, so I kept this one slow and paced myself with the group. http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/137213530

Both Mom and my sister got me guest passes to Goodlife so I could go the gym while I was home.  These were actually my first solo non-run, non-swim workouts since I started this journey and, Good Lord, working out alone is capital B Boring. I clocked some time on the elliptical to warm up and then did a couple rounds of the circuit machines. It was a good workout, but just dull. There were a lot of little things that made me miss the gang at Grecoleanandfit. They gave me a shower towel out of courtesy, but it was going to be $5 if I took out a membership. I guess Loblaws, the owners of Goodlife, take their marketing cues from crack dealers. The water fountains were on the municipal system.  If I wanted filtered water, there were plenty of Aquafina bottles for sale. There were also no spare toiletries or comb in the change room.  The water and toiletries I can understand, but paying for towels? Really? Fail. It’s not like I’m the big city guy coming to Palookaville telling the yokels how to run their business. I’m the local guy coming home and using a national chain, yet it feels like I’m slumming it.  I guess the locals at Free Form Fitness and Greco have spoiled me this year into thinking little things like towels included in your fees or can of body spray if you forget your deodorant is the way it’s supposed to be. In the end, they were free workouts and unlike the last time I was given a free pass to Goodlife, I didn’t have to go through a sales pitch every time I showed up for a workout.

Unrelated note: if your parents named you after a totalitarian dictator, it’s not shameful to have your name legally changed as an adult. It’s smart. You’ll find life a lot easier, especially if you’re in sales. Just saying.

Haven’t decided on New Year’s Eve yet. I know. It’s tomorrow. As Dave Attell would say, “There’s people who have a problem with drinking and driving. I call them cops.” New Maryland’s geographic location vis-a-vis Fredericton makes it a perfect location for the Fredericton City police to stage a New Years Eve checkpoint at the city limits and they do. Every year. This means if I want to drink the car stays home I and I cab it.  There’s a few events in town that I wouldn’t mind going to, but between tickets and cabs it’s going to be $100 before I have a drink. Oh, if I go out, there will be drinking. Given the situation that’s waiting for me back in Ottawa, that money might best be saved for other purposes like the necessities of life or my registration for my half-marathon clinic.

I’ve actually gotten out of the habit of going out on New Year’s Eve. The last few have been non-events for me.  For some reason, I usually pick up a bug and get sick. Usually it’s whatever my nephews have picked up from school.

Remember, young parents, once they hit school, they bring home more than report cards and art projects.

I figure other years, I picked it up while travelling. Last year, God, himself, struck me down for having the gall to chill out in my parents’ hot tub during a snowstorm. I was out like a light by 10 o’clock. The sound of fireworks on the television coverage of Times Square in New York woke me up and told me it was time to move from the couch to bed.

2010

I have once again tempted fate this year, hopping in almost immediately upon my return home. I event repeated this when we had a second storm. So far, I have not felt His wrath. I even smoked a cigar, a Montecristo Churchill, a going away gift from the office.

Before you ask: yes, I’m wearing a bathing suit. Get your mind out of the gutter.

BTW, how are those for before and after shots?

It seems like any plans I make for the night have had fate intervene and expectations dashed, so I will make none of the former to increase the likelihood of the latter being exceeded. Besides, I have a run in the morning. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve run hungover, but I would really like to PB on this one, even if its unofficial, since it’s the last 5K race I run for a while.

My real new year begins at the end of next week. As you can see from the title, I’m starting week 51. For those not up on math,that makes just another week before my year’s journey is complete. That will be more of cause for celebration than the arbitrary passing of a date on a calendar.

Sure, the year is not starting on the best of notes, but I intend for my coming period of unemployment to be like Hobbes’ state of nature: nasty, brutish, and, most importantly, short. I’m sure if I throw the vigour into the job search that I threw into this journey, I will be just as successful.

That written, some cutbacks will be necessary in the short term.  There’s a Beyond the Rack purchase of suits that arrived a week and a half late that will be heading back as soon as I get to the apartment. When I received an email update that it was still pending, I called and tried to cancel it but in the couple of hours between the email going out and my phone call it had arrived at the warehouse, been packed for shipping and was awaiting pick-up.

The operator gave me the good news: I was getting a free upgrade to express shipping so it would be at my apartment in Ottawa before Christmas.

Dude, I’m calling from Fredericton … New Brunswick. I won’t be back until the new year. Oh well, the ten business day return policy will not have expired by the time I get back and three federal, therefore Canada Post, holidays between then and my return will be helpful.

Until the work situation is sorted out, the clothing purchases are on hold.  I bought a little bit more athletic gear with a Running Room gift card that was a gift from my sister and brother-in-law, but that’s the final purchase for a while.  My pre-Christmas shopping trip  and late summer and early fall purchases have me well stocked for winter wear. I was tempted by some items that were 50% off at Robert Simmons, but decided against it. My suit and shirt collection is sufficient until the paycheques start rolling in. I really don’t need to worry about clothes again until summer. Pretty much everything I bought for last summer is now too big. Even the aspirational Speedos are now baggy, and I don’t mean that in a pervy way. I’ll worry about that in May.

Until then ….

Allons-y!

Week 49 – Packing

Made it through the marathon of events on Friday with my waistline intact.  The anticipated events of the day were further complicated when I arrived Friday morning and informed the Speaker’s driver has been stricken with pneumonia and unable to perform his duties.

The fill-in guy?

Me.

Not a problem. Until 5:30 when I have to leave for the Running Room for my 5K clinic.  Thankfully, another staff member was willing to stay until the Speaker wanted to leave.  Thanks, JP.

Overconsumption of alcohol  at my building’s end of year party helped in this regard.  Without going into the gory details, lets’ just say some junk didn’t stay in my digestive system long enough to be converted to fat.  Same for my post-run brown rice sushi. I’m sure if this was a routine occurence, I would be diagnosed with an eating disorder.

No worries of that happening. I don’t intend on getting that polluted for a long time.  Frankly, I didn’t intend on getting that wasted Friday either.  A quick drink became a few drinks quickly. Next thing I know, it’s 3 am.

Needless to say, Saturday was a write-off.  Other than a few errands, it was a productive day of couch surfing.

Sunday’s run helped finally lifted the fog.  There is something about running in the crisp, cold morning air of December that cures so many ailments.

I’ve been doing a lot of packing lately.  On Monday, I’m heading home for the holidays, back to New Brunswick. I’m using Porter Airlines for the first time. Flying to Moncton, where Dad will pick me up and we’ll head to Fredericton.   I have an uncle who lives near the airport, so I’m in no danger of being stranded alone if Moncton lives up to its reputation of being the buckle of the Maritimes’ snow belt that night.

It being the holidays, there are luggage restrictions: 1 piece of checked luggage, 1 carry on. Since I’ll be home for two weeks and plan to run often, including the Resolution Run on New Year’s Day, I’m going to get rather creative at packing. This is not the first time and not unique to Porter this time of year.  I stopped buying presents before I travel a long time ago.  When I lived in DC, I might buy a couple of unique Washington items for my nephews like when I bought these in my first year:

The Christmas presents from my first year in Washington, DC. 2005

Other than stuff like that, I prefer to do my shopping at home.  Less likely to get lost in transit.  My preferred method is actually online shopping. I love ordering the stuff from here in Ottawa, having it shipped to my parents’ house and have it waiting for me to wrap it.  The obvious problem is that since I don’t live at home anymore, I’m clueless as to what my nephews already have or that their parents or grandparents have already bought them.

I’m going to brave the mall of Fredericton.  By the way, Fredericton friends, is the Brookside Mall still a mall? I haven’t been there in over a decade. Everytime I arrive at the one southside mall remaining, Regent Mall, I can’t help but hear the Saint Crispin’s Day Speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V.

Yes, I equate going to the mall in the last few days of December before Christmas with girding for war.

Don’t you?

It’s not just my luggage I am packing.  It’s my office, too. On December 31st, my contract with the Honourable Noel A. Kinsella expires.  I was informed some time ago that it would not be renewed. Thus, an adventure that began in 1998 when I took his Introduction to Human Rights course at St. Thomas comes to an end.  Together, we have elected Premiers, Party Leaders, and Prime Ministers. His support has helped me complete two Masters degrees (even if the second was a technicality, I still have the diploma) and a Doctorate. Even the adventures of the past year would not have been possible without his support.

I have some job applications in queue. Hopefully, one will show fruition shortly.

Crap news aside, another 5K clinic comes to a close.  While there are two weeks left after tonight’s session, my travel plans mean I will not be able to finish with my students. It’s unfortunate, but unavoidable.  To stay would mean travelling on Christmas Eve and returning on the no later than the 9th. That was a crap shoot I was not prepared to take. Frankly, given the news in the last few paragraphs, I need more than a couple of days of hearth and home.  As it is, not knowing back in November when or if I had to be back on the job, conservatively booked my return for Januaury 3rd. I took the clinic out for a drink at the Royal Oak last night for an early end of clinic celebration.  We had some members of the Learn to Run and Half-Marathon clincs join us.  It was good night.  The walk home in the cold rain I could have done without.

As it gets closer to race day, even if it is a fun run, I get more excited.  As I’ve written previously, I’m especially excited for this one because it will be in my hometown.  My parents will finally get to see me in a race.  It’s also my last 5K race before I start the half-marathon training.  Can’t wait.

Allons-y!

Week 48 – So many parties, so little time

Crazy week since the last post.

It’s that time of year. The holidays approach like the Imperial Fleet attacking the Rebels at Hoth.

I can’t wait for them to arrive.  I’m looking forward to heading back to New Brunswick for a couple of weeks to see the family and friends.

It’s the lead-up that’s killer.   Receptions and parties galore.  Again, there’s the one’s we host to which I have to go.  There’s some I want to go because I know I will run into friends.  Then there’s the mandatory ones, like my party’s Christmas party.  It’s usually a pretty fun event.  This year was no exception.  The only problem was it was the last event in a series of events that day which included my 5K clinic.  After the Senate rose for the day yesterday, I did a quick walk through of the Senate caucus and staff Christmas party and the Canadian Wireless Association Christmas party before heading to the store to get ready for the clinic.

Quick visit to the change room and Clark Kent became Superman.  Ran 4.2 k with clinic. Quick change back and off to the party.  Sat with some pretty nice people.  One fellow was from up north, Iqaluit.  We ended up talking hunting.  He showed me pictures of walrus tusks and I showed him some pictures of my friends’ polar bear rug.

With a 5:30 wake-up for a workout approaching, I couldn’t stay very long after the meal was done. The pre-dinner run didn’t help the energy levels much.  Had a brief surge of adrenaline when I got home and unpacked my backpack to find my Garmin missing.  In my rush get back into Clark Kent mode, I left it behind at the store.  Thankfully, a quick Facebook message to the manager and it turned up.

Phew! That could have been a very expensive mistake.

Going to be a similar situation tomorrow night. It’s the Speaker’s Christmas Party tomorrow. I have to duck out halfway through for my clinic, on the way to which I’ll stop by Greco for the grand opening of the Sparks St. location.  After the run, I hope to grab some Freshii and make it back to my building in time to catch the end of it’s Christmas social.

Of course, one the pitfalls of this time of year is the abundance of utter crap in terms of food choices at these events.  I try to avoid the temptation by eating healthy before I go so I don’t get hungry and gorge on junk food while I’m there.  It’s worked so far.  My wieight has remained relatively stable throughout the party season so far. Even when the weight is up a bit, my body fat percentage has been in steady decline.  Even tonight, I plan on having my afternoon snack just before the Speaker’s party and then grab a good meal in between events. Hopefully, it’ll be enough to keep the appetite at bay and keep my energy level up. 

Longtime readers will know one of few consequences of this journey has been the death of the night owl I used to be.  I can barely make it past 11 most nights.  I’m not sure if this is necessarily a negative consequence, though.  When I’m awake, I’m rarely tired.  Compared to the man I was a year ago, I feel supercharged.  Like most cars, though, the bigger the engine, the quicker the fuel burns.  Hey, I’ve gone from being a mini-van to an Aston Martin, so what do I have to bitch about?

In the end, not much.

The 5K clinic is still going well.  A little sad, though, I won’t be there for the end.  Winter travel schedules being what they are, I couldn’t arrange my holidays in such a way that I could keep my clinic commitment for those last two sessions, as well as the Resolution Run.  The Ottawa Resolution Run sold out so fast, it hastened the decision to stay in Fredericton.  It will be nice to do a run in my hometown for a change. My folks will actually be there to cheer me on.  It isn’t a timed run, but I would still like to do a personal best since it will likely be my last 5k run before I start half-marathon training. For the first time since I started grad school, I’m looking forward to being a student again.

Allons-y!