Sunday, February 26, 2012

Toronto: Science Center, Barberians, The ROM, Fuel House

Amber and I each took a day off work and took a trip to Toronto together, it was a bit of a quieter trip than usual since I have no voice and I was sick enough that I had to focus on what she was saying so I could understand.  We had arranged the time off well in advance and there was no way the trip was getting cancelled.

We went with only a few ideas in mind really, to go to the science center and Barberians on the Friday and then either the Zoo or the ROM Saturday and just see how it all would go.  That was my suggestion really, if Amber had her way she would have scheduled everything to the minute.  My thought was that is we just have an idea instead of a plan, we can’t be ‘late’ for things, we can just enjoy the time.

It was a very snowy drive to Toronto, and for a while we were stuck behind sander trucks going only 50Km/h on the highway! So it took us about two hours to reach our first stop, The Ontario Science Centre.  We went there mainly to see the Da Vinci exhibit and it was quite interesting to see all the things he invented like robot soldiers and gunships along with paintings and the typical things that everyone is familiar with like the flying bat/kite thing and the Mona Lisa.  I wish there had been more hands on things to do within the exhibit like there is in the rest of the Centre.  One thing that was interesting though was that all his codex books were written backwards! Strange.

That evening we got dressed up and went to Barberians for dinner.  If you are a long time reader you will recall that I was there before.  I tried French onion soup which was alright, but not that great, I’m not a big onion fan to begin with so that is not too surprising.  I ordered the same steak as when I went with Matt, rib steak.  It was just as good as I remembered and had built it up in my mind.  so seasoning or sauce required by me, just cut, and let it melt in my mouth.  Up to this point in the day I was watching what I ate, but after ordering a 16oz steak I knew calories were shot for the day, and I was perfectly fine with that!  We also got honey roasted carrots with bacon, so good.  We skipped dessert mainly because Amber and I both felt we were ready to burst from eating so much food.

The following day we had to decide if we were going to the to the Toronto Zoo (and see the baby polar bear) or go to the ROM to see the Mayan exhibit.  Since the sun was not shining even by the time we came back from the whirlpool at the hotel we decided that the ROM was the way to go.  The Mayan exhibit was very cool and it was interesting to see some things from Altun-Ha where we visited on our cruise in Belize and many of the other things.  It was another show where we were not allowed to take pictures which I think is silly, but whatever.  We also checked out the baby dinosaur exhibit which was disappointing!  It was just one little room with about 10 artefacts.  Lame.

It was late afternoon by the time we were leaving the ROM and we decided that we should go to my cousin’s restaurant for lunch, Fuel House.  I’m not just saying this because it is my cousin’s place, but you should eat here is you are in the area!  The food was amazing!  Amber ordered a Roasted Beets and Pear Salad and the house burger, I had the Calamari Po’ Boy and fries.  We each shared our sides and a bite or two of the sammiches.  So good.  The fries were some of the best I  have ever had and the Po’ Boy was just amazing!  They are at 53 Clinton, just northeast of College and Bathurst.

From there we came home and relaxed a bit then I was off to play goalie for our team, and it turns out I played both games.  Our game was a 4-4 tie at the end of the ‘official’ time, in the dressing room we all agreed that one of their goals was scored on a high stick and so I called it back.  In the second game it was a 2-2 tie as well.  In both games combined I only allowed 1 clean shot in, the rest were deflections or odd bounces so I am happy with that.  Especially in our game since we were playing against the best team in the league and missing five of our regular players!

Through this whole weekend and even today I have been pretty sick though, I still have no voice, and while I generally feel alright, my inability to speak is a bit of a pain.  It would have been a bit nicer to chat a little more easily with Amber and my cousin over the weekend.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Up and Down

This week has so far been a bit of a bust.  I started getting sick on Monday and unfortunately slept through Karate times because of the headache I had.  This disappointed me because I know that I will be missing Saturday’s class.

Tuesday was of course pancake day, or Shrove Tuesday.  So I invited my pal Damion over and we had chocolate chip, peanut butter pancakes.  We even threw a few marshmallows  into some but they were a bit of a bust.  So that day was good.

Wednesday I was driving to work, got about a hundred yards from my house, tried to avoid a parked car and my car did not respond to my turned wheels due to ice.  Smash. Not the best way to start the day, also by the end of the day I had no voice.  Due to all the running around after work with cars and rentals and accident reporting and the fact that I could not talk I missed Karate again! Boo!

Yesterday, I woke up with gummy eyes and still no voice, but otherwise feeling alright.  I went to work without hitting anything had a good day and came home early and slept for an hour.  I also had a session with Jodi planned and I was not going to miss that because she is so busy now it is had to get one, and after having missed two nights of Karate I needed to do something.  So I went.  I could not speak and my breathing was pretty ragged but she had three new programs for me and I was excited.

As I mentioned in a comment over at Affection For Fitness, I love getting new things to do at the gym. Jodi labeled each of these things as challenges because she knows me all too well.  We ran through a shortened version of all three programs in the hour we had.  The first program is four sets of four exercises, I do each exercise for tenreps and do as many rounds of the four things as I can do in eight minutes!  For example set one was BOSU crunchies, BOSU squat jumps, BOSU burpees and then BOSU push-ups, each for ten and then as many or the group as I can get done.  We did three minutes yesterday just so we could get to all three programs.  I like this program because I’m constantly changing what I am doing, makes the time go by faster.  There might be one thing I do not like but I only have ten reps of it at a time so it is not a big deal.

The second program is very different and I guess something she just learned about a few weeks ago.  It features squats, bench press and pull-ups and that is it and at about 60% of the maximum weight I can lift. So the squats start off by doing just one in the first minute, then two in the second minute then three and so on.  At first it is dreadfully easy, but by the time I got to minute twelve I was done.  In all it was 78 squats (and after I has just run through fifteen minutes of the program I was just talking about which had a lot of leg stuff in it.

Then the bench press again at 60% but this time it is three reps every ten seconds and the resting position is just having the bar up. Jodi said when she did this she got done 8 rounds and so I said I was going to do 9 just to show her up.  But I only made it through 7 (again we had just done that first program) I accused her of planning this out so that I would not beat her scores.

Then it was pull-ups Tabada style so twenty seconds on, ten seconds off for four minutes!  I think I asked her why she hated me when she said we were doing this, but we did it anyways.  It is using the assisted pull-up machine so for the first half of the four minutes it is not so bad, and I’m allowed to adjust the weight so that I can always get some done, but by the end my forearms especially were killing me!  I can’t even describe the pain, I could not even clench my hands because that makes you flex your forearm to do and that hurt way too much.

Typically for this day I’d do the squats just once, but the bench press and the pull-ups at least twice, but in the interest of time we moved on to twelve minute abs (plus 4).  Jodi had written out twelve different ab exercises like crunchies, oblique crunchies, alternated toe touch, plank, roman twist, bicycle crunchies etc… that each had to be done for one minute, then I was to finish off with a four minute tabada crunchie.  We did all that except the tabada part due to time and her having to meet her next client.

Suffice to say at the end off all this I was done.  I felt pretty good, but my body was totally out of gas.  I was glad I made it to the gym though and got some new programs to be excited about!

Today Amber and I are headed for Toronto.  I took the day off work a few weeks ago and despite the fact that I am still very snotty and have no voice, (she just woke up feeling a bit under the weather too) we are going to go and have some fun.  The science center has a Da Vinci exhibit on that should be cool, and of course we’ll go to Sliver Snail and then maybe the Zoo or something tomorrow. we will see.

All in all I think this week so far has been a bit of a wash, some great, some horrid, but this weekend should be very nice!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Running Record

Monday was a day off and I took the opportunity to run in the morning.  I have not done that since the last weekend of September before hockey started.  I always feel like I have much more jump running in the morning compared to running after work.  I’m not worn out from the day or full of food.

It was about –10C here today (10F) and the air burning my lungs as I sucked it in while running.  There are a few things about winter running that I don’t really like.  I’m either too cold or too hot, there does not seem to be a middle ground.  I’m also very snotty, thankfully my hockey ‘career’ as it is has taught me how to deal with a runny nose and no Kleenex handy – snot rockets.  Seriously if you are congested, go outside and run for 10 minutes, you’ll be clear in no time!

I changed the route around my house today to actually be 5K instead if 5.2K.  As I discovered a couple of weeks ago, 200 Metres is a big deal when you are tracking time and so I thought it would be better to have a course that reflects the distance of my first race (which is only a about seven weeks away – click the link up top to donate!).

The lay if the land is obviously a bit different than the race course but it has the same general properties, two steep hills (one right away) a long gentle incline and a couple of mild down hill sections.  Those couple of weeks ago, after work I completed the 5K race course in 22:59.  Today I ran 5K at my house in…… 22:35!  Not too shabby if i do say so myself. That is 13.28Km/h and 4:31 per Kilometre.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why I Cannot Be A Trainer

As I just mentioned there is no need to fear the fit people, or people even fitter than you.  That said I have had a few people ask me to help them get in shape and while I am happy to offer advice or workout suggestions I don’t know if I could actually be a trainer, even with my experience teaching people at karate.

At karate I can get a feel for who is putting in the effort and who is not, who is there to belong to something and who is there to train.  It really is plain to see the groups of people that there are and how they can be divided up.  My role there is to impart knowledge and demonstrate technique.  If you look interested I’ll show you more, if you look like you are there to just be a part of something, I'll show you some things to make your time enjoyable, if you are there to disrupt others, I’ll give you push ups, that is just how nice I am.

I feel that as a trainer I would be unbearable.  Mainly because of my approach to getting in shape.  I put in the initial work on my own, I pushed myself to go from like 20 minutes on an easy setting on the elliptical to about an hour at a setting where I was dying the whole time and then I got a trainer.

The things I expect from my trainer is simply what I expected from my instructors at karate.  Jodi gives me exercises, and demonstrates how they are done, it is then up to me to do them.  I did not (and do not) need a motivator along the way.  I get the feeling though that people want a trainer so that there will be someone around to pump their tires and tell them they are doing great and to generally support them with a whole bunch of fluff so that they can feel good about doing a workout at the gym like it is some sort of accomplishment they got off the couch at all.

I would expect that if someone says they want to get in shape they actually mean it and I would be exasperated when my client comes to me and says ‘I have not lost any weight! You stink as a trainer!’ Because then I would say ‘You have not lost any weight because your effort level is so low I’d have to be a toddler to limbo under your effort bar!’  If I was a trainer and you were paying me money to get you in shape I’d expect as much effort as I put in.  Is that right?  Probably not.  I know of lots of people at the gym that have done their own miraculous things with their bodies, one guy there has lost over 100 pounds!  We’ve chatted about it and what it takes to get something like that done.  Loads of people have that drive within them, those people I could train, but if the numbers are anything like the ratios at karate I’d end up with one person that really wants to go after it and about thirty that only think they do.

I’m happy to go to the gym with people, I’m happy to give my point of view or advice, I would not mind trying out training someone to get in shape, but I’d want more of an apprentice approach where there is some sort of mutual agreement on how rigorous the training will be as opposed to just taking in whoever and trying to help them out where they really want it or just think they do.  That would be much more agreeable for the both of us.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Travel Questions From Friend Making Monday

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here and at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
FMM: Travel

  1. Where did your most recent trip take you? 
    As far as I can remember my last trip was to London Ontario.
  2. Is there a place that you’d like to visit that you haven’t yet?  If so, where? 
    I would really like to go to Japan, I think it would be a really interesting experience.
  3. Do you travel lightly, or do you cram as much into your luggage as possible?
    Clothes wise I can travel pretty light if needed, though I do usually bring my fan to have on for when it is bed time, I like the noise.
  4. Do your eating and exercise habits change when you travel? If so, how? 
    If I am traveling for just a day or something I don’t worry about it. I just arrange my fitness routine around the trip and eat as I normally would.  Our last big trip was a cruise and I did put in exercise most days since I was up early.  My eating habits did change though, that trip (in January of 2011) was the end of me counting calories religiously.  I ate what I wanted pretty much, but steered away from junk food still.
  5. Tell us about a place you’ve been that you’d like to go back to. 
    I’d want to go back to Puerto Rico, we only had a few hours to stop there on the cruise and the food was great and we did not get to see much of the city.
  6. Do you prefer to travel at a certain time of year? 
    I think that would depend on where I was going.  Since I am in Canada I would prefer to go to warmer places like the Caribbean or say Vegas during the winter and explore my own country in the summer.
  7. If you had to choose, would you go to the beach or the mountains?
    I think I would choose the mountains.  I have a body worthy of the beach now I think, but I would assume that there is more adventure to be had on a mountain.
  8. Have you ever needed a passport to travel? 
    Yes.  For each of our cruises we first had to go to the US and then off to several countries.
  9. Do you collect anything in your travels? 
    when I go to Toronto or something, no.  When I have been in distant lands, yes.  I just try to get something that is representative of where I am.  I have sea shells from Antigua, a Mayan calendar carving from Belize, that sort of thing.
  10. Where do you plan to go next?
    Well we are going to Toronto next weekend, but really that is not exactly a ‘trip’, it is only an hour and a half drive (depending on traffic).  There are no big plans set in place but I know Amber would like to go to Vegas or on another cruise.  I’d prefer the cruise.

Fearing The Fitness Of Others

So one of the girls at work was saying she would like to drop a pound or two, I offered to be a workout buddy, and she said something along the lines of ‘You’d kill me if we worked out together’.

This is not the first time I have got this reaction.  A few times during my stint in school I went to the gym with a couple of the girls, we would be on the elliptical together and at the end she expressed that she was quite intimidated working out beside me.

I don’t really understand why, I know that people work at their own levels and when I have worked out with others I try not to put them in situations that they won’t like.

I like to look around at the gym, sometimes it is just to find something interesting, particularly in instances when I am on the treadmill and tired of looking at the time and distance.  That is more to find something good to look at though.  When I’m doing weight lifting type things I like to look and see what other people are doing though, how much they are lifting, or what exercises they are doing.  Sometimes I will go and do whatever it was that person was doing just to see if I can do it or not.

I don’t think it is necessary to look at someone that is fit and assume they they would put you through the wringer if you worked out with them.  Chances are they started at the same point as you and worked their way into shape.  The only difference between me and an instructor that works at the gym is that they are paid to be friendly and I just am. 

Do not fear the fitness of others, be inspired by it!  I am, or at least I can look at people doing things and think ‘that is awesome’ or ‘if I wanted to work my way to doing that I could’ because sometimes my goals at the gym and that other guy’s goals are different.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


It has occurred to me that my mindset really plays a role in how well or how poorly I do at something on any given day.  And this whole idea I think can be pulled out to fit some of the grander scale things.  I’m sure the notion is not new to you, but maybe it is something you have not thought about in a while.

Let me give you an example or two.  As you know I play goalie at least once a week and now that my brother-in-law’s knee has healed up I’m playing against him a lot of those nights.  The night of his return I went to play with the idea that ‘I have to beat Greg’ in my head.  Now it is important to note that when we play Friday nights the hockey game is not exactly played with a defensive strategy in mind and so the goalies are left on their own a lot.  The players goal is to have fun and score, not to “win”.  So approaching the game with that mindset was a poor decision as when I got scored on I would get frustrated as my chances of winning the game dropped when really aside from putting up a shutout I could not win the game for myself.  The score that night was 9-8 in the end, and typically with my team scoring eight times I would win that game.

The next week I when to the game with the idea that I was just going to let go of winning since I could only affect one small portion of the overall game and just focus on doing my part in the net.  I played a much better game, had better stops and recoveries.  It was still a night where I had six goals against me, but in pickup hockey that is just how it goes, the important thing was the stops I made and I made plenty of them.

So I think what I am saying here is not the whole ‘think positive and good things will happen’' bit, but more of a ‘think about controlling what you can control’.  Everything else is still going to happen, but if you just concentrate on doing what you do it makes things a whole lot easier on yourself.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Playing With Injury

So as you may have read here yesterday I played in a hockey tournament, I didn’t really explain it all out like I did last year I realize, but I’m sure you readers could figure it out.  During the first game of the tournament with less than a minute to go I was reaching for a puck, my body was extended and I got smoked by the other teams best player.  According to the guys on my bench it was an elbow and it connected directly to my head.  My visor smashed into my face and my neck got wrenched. It was not as bad as the snowboarding injury though.

The other thing I had going on was that my left ankle, or maybe it is better to call it low shin, was killing me!  It was hurting last Saturday too, I have no idea what I did to it, but right where that part of my leg is against the tongue of my skate boot was so painful that when I was walking on and off the ice and trying to go through that stepping motion I would have to limp.  Luckily when skating you push off sideways so the pain was not as acute during the games (it still hurt like mad though once my focus was not on the ice and I was sitting on the bench!).

After playing in the tournament I had my regular league game at 8:30 that night and played my usual spot.  A fair sized goose egg was now visible on my high ankle/low shin and my neck had begun to stiffen up a bit.  I played though and got two assists.  I was ready to be done when our game was over but one of the other teams that played after us needed four players, so I jumped into that game as well.  I got two assists there too.

I met Amber at her dad’s house because we are house sitting and he has a hot tub and one of the first things she says to me is ‘I have no sympathy for you’.  It upset me a bit.  She then went on to explain that she had no sympathy because I chose to play four more games after being hurt in the first one and she does not understand that mentality.  Especially since I had the opportunity to sit out of the two games in the evening citing my neck and leg injuries.

I explained that the mentality is that I do what I can.  In the tournament I was not about to stop playing when I was not hurting all that badly.  Yes my lip was bleeding, nose was swollen and I could no098t turn my head as far as I could when I got up that morning, but I was there with my team and I could still play so I did.  It might have been different if I had gotten knocked out or at least had my bell rung.  The skating leg/ankle thing was just pain, once my focus was off my leg and on going after the puck or making a play I forgot all about how my it hurt to skate and just did it.  Play through the pain.  ‘Why?’ Is what she was really asking and the why is because I am tough as nails, or would at least like to be, I was still having fun playing, I was contributing to my team, I was still out-skating people for pucks and making plays.  I think really it is just one of those personality things.  I could still move, I could block out the pain, so I kept on going.  It really is as simple as that.  It is the same type of thing that has me doing all my active things even while I am sick.  I do all these things because I can will my body to do them.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Game 3 - Heartbreaker

Our third and final game of the tournament was a tight checking affair. The first period ended with the other team up 1-0.

The second period, well half really, we were able to up our game a bit and get the game tied up. I assisted on that goal. Late in the game the other team made a fantastic passing play to put them ahead. In the final minutes we had a power play and pulled our goalie. We buzzed in their zone pretty well but could not bang one in. They got a break and scored in the empty net.

All in all it was much better than last year since we were in each of the games and they were close.

My neck is starting to stiffen up now and hurts a bit, but the swelling in my lip is gone. I'm looking forward to tonights game, should be fun, we are shooting on the goalie who played for us in this tournament, hopefully he is worn out!

Sent from Samsung Mobile

Game 2, Not So Great

Our second game of the tournament was not so great. It was a fairly close match really but wejust couldn't contain them in our end on a couple of the shifts. By the time they had 2 or 3 swatts at rebounds the puck would be in our net.

Mark got in a bit of trouble by the ref for knocking our net off in frustration, but then won the next face off, and weaved through the defense and roofed the puck high glove side. I ended up with one assist in the game.

Our next game is at 3 and I am slotted to play defense, hopefully it does not go too badly.

Sent from Samsung Mobile

Game 1 Success

This year our first game was a big success. We let in the first goal but Mark and I scored consecutively to put us in the lead. Mid-game they had the game tied up but with a late game surge we took a three goal lead and carried that to the finish.

With less than a minute to go I was reaching for the puck to clear it out of our end when the other teams best player collided with me smashing my visor into my face. My nose hurts, I have a bit of a cut on my lip and my neck got snapped a little bit, but not to bad really.

Game 2 is at 11 o'clock, hopefully we can get a similar result.

Sent from Samsung Mobile

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Apparently 200 Metres Is A Big Deal

It turns out that really I have been running at a pace that has me at a 5k in less than 23 minutes for a long time now really.  Today I ran the Kms For Care 5k route after work and completed the course in 22 minutes and 59 seconds which is my fasted 5k time ever out on the road.

So that sort of answers the question I had about the treadmill being a liar.  He kind of is, but not too much since my back was killing me and I was feeling a little bit crappy, I’m sure there is room for improvement.

Oh yeah about the title, see the route I run here around the house is actually 5.2k which is not that much longer than 5k, but it is at the same time.  200 Metres is about the length of two football fields, and I have been running that route at about a speed of 13.26km/h when all that is needed to break the 5k in 23 minutes barrier is a speed of about 13.05km/h. 

Which I suppose, means that I should be comparing apples to apples, and not apples to, um, apples with a 200 metre stem attached to them if I am going to figure out if I can get 5k to under 20 minutes or not.

Anyway, back to the main point, out on the street I have now measured a 5k run twice, once at the gym and once on the race route and the time has gone from 24:21 down to 22:59 in two weeks.  Think I can take that down to 20 minutes?  I think it is plausible, we will see.

Don’t forget to click the link up there at the top and support my run for community care.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Therapy Day

Today I decided to take the day off from working my body.  I have spent the last two years working my body as hard as it can handle, which as you can imagine has gone from what any fit person would consider to be a joke to a gruelling endurance event every time I work out.

It’s not often that I take a day completely off, I’m usually at least doing something physical for an hour.  But no gym today, no run, no skating or hockey.  I took the new kitten to the vet for the last of her shots and then went and got a massage.  I'm usually in agony when I go for a therapeutic massage and today was no different.  There is always a knot in my previously damaged shoulder that makes me want to scream.

Alex Ross - Batman Scars sm

I feel like my back looks like this when the session is over, but it always does feel good once the pain subsides.  I’m still loathe to take a day off, I like training I like becoming stronger and faster – Mightier! But time must be taken to let the body recover and mend and grow.

I think it is important to remember that days like today are just as important as days like yesterday, where I do karate and gym time and play hockey all on the same day.  Back at it tomorrow, but for today I feel rested.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Races For 2012

I’ve signed up for three races now, I must be insane.  Last year at this time I never, ever would have guessed that I would be a competitive runner.  Placing in the top 10 at the mudrun last year I think qualifies me as ‘competitive’.

My first race is in April, the 15th to be exact and it’s the charity race I mentioned earlier (donation link at the top of the page folks!!).  It is a 5k race that is fairly flat if it follows the same course as last year (I’m going to email the coordinator and find out) I’m hoping to be able to post a time of about 21 minutes in that race, I do have two and a half months to train for it after all.

The second race is the Warrior Dash that I mentioned earlier as well.  While it is the same distance as my first race it will be a totally different beast, with hilly terrain and many obstacles to get past.  It should be so much fun though and exciting as well.

The third race I’m in is the Mudnewton again!  I just signed up for it last night, as it was the last early bird day (saving me a whopping $5).  Apparently the course will be a bit different while more obstacles and such.  It is a 10k race and comes only a month after the Warrior Dash, which has me a bit concerned since I’ll be training mainly to sprint 5k as fast as I can up till July 21st and then I have to be able to go the 10k distance with a good pace only a month later (August 25th).  Can I train for those two things at the same time?  Last year I was just over and hour doing the Mudnewton after training runs had me doing 10k in about 46 minutes, clearly I have to add a few more hills into my training, not only for this particular race, but for the Warrior Dash as well.

I doubt that I will be adding any more races to the card, I’ve laid out a lot of money just to be in these races, I might feel a bit differently if there is something exciting in May or June, but for now, this is it!