Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mmmm Burger

So yesterday I was not feeling so great be decided that there were things to be done, and so, I did them.  I ran 10K yesterday morning, faster than my first 10K time last year but not my best time.  I went to karate, even though I missed most of the first class looking after the neighbours cat.  Poor Rascal looked to be in bad shape sitting under the car and I could not just leave him there.  I hope he is alright and I’m going to try to find that out today.  I also biked 32K while people were looking at out house.  All of this work deserves a good meal and so I had one.

A Juicy Lucy Burger.

What’s that you ask?  Well I saw it on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and decided that it looked amazing and wanted to be able to make it at home (it’s not hard).  I make hamburgers now at home with ground chicken.  The reasoning is simple, chicken has about half the calories of beef and less fat.  I don't necessarily have to have lower calorie meals all the time anymore, but this is one of the things that stuck after losing weight a couple of years ago.

So yeah a Juicy Lucy, you make two hamburger patties, as big and flat as possible.  I still aimed to use a reasonable amount of meat though.  Then you put cheese on top of one of the patties and seal over that cheese with the second patty so there is like a cheese pocket in the middle of the burger.  One the show the guy used process cheese, I grated cheddar cheese into mine.  I also had home fries, not deep fried.  Cut up and boil some potatoes so that they are just about cooked, drain them and toss them into the frying pan (hopefully non-stick) with a bit of margarine, salt and pepper) and you just fry them in the pan until the outside turn golden.  You still get that french fry kind of thing, but you are not soaking the potatoes in grease to do it.

Because I used about half a package of ground chicken to make my burger (a bit more than I usually would) the burger was about 500 calories including the bun and the home fries would be about 200. Yum!


2012-05-26 18.22.27

Chicken Juicy Lucy and Home Fries

2012-05-26 18.29.17

Mmm  Cheesy!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sick In The Summer

This bites! For the last few days I have been waking up with a sore throat and a nose full of snot.  I hate being sick in warm weather because it robs me of all the comforting things of when you are sick in the winter.

In the winter you can snuggle on the couch with a blanket and have a hot drink, and warm soup and just hibernate if you like.  In the summer I’m already hot and doing those things would just make me more uncomfortable!

What’s more is that I have big fitnessy type things to do this weekend like run 10K this morning and bike to Omemee in the afternoon and such.  I may still do both of those things but it will not be nearly as enjoyable as if I was doing those things when breathing did not hurt.  I find it a bit harder to be motivated to do the whole running and biking thing while sick and I do to play hockey while sick.  I think is has to do with the fact that I only play hockey two nights a week in the winter and I cannot move those nights around but I can run or bike any day that I like.

However, I still at this moment plan to give myself the usual 10-15 minutes it takes for the stingy-ness in my throat to go away after waking up and then go run, because that’s just how it is.  I want to go running and if my body does not like it, it will have to do something a lot worse than a sore throat to stop me.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fireworks At Daycare?

I work with some pretty amazing people.  We all do some really nifty things with the children.  Each time I see the activities that set out in our room inspired by the children and the way they go in-depth with what is going on I wish I could be more like the ladies I work with.

For the last couple of weeks there has been construction and blasting going on across the road as workers were digging wells.  We all thought this was pretty cool and I took this opportunity to discuss explosives and their effects with the children.  I did feel that we needed something a big more visceral though, something that they could be a part of and see and feel and experience.  With that in mind I asked my supervisor if I could bring in some cherry bombs and let them off with my group.  As long as we observed some strict safety guidelines she was ok with it, clearly I have the best boss!

So that is exactly what we did at day care each of the last two days.  We talked about safety, we all wore safety glasses.  The children, while working with this ‘dangerous’ explosive had no trouble listening to what needed to be done.  We lit off a few tiny fire crackers, and then a couple that just spun in place, and finally the cherry bombs.  It was pretty awesome.

fizz pop

cherry bomb day 2 fire and TP2

The toilet paper covering the top was for extra effect.  Tell me that if you were 3-5 years old and this is what you did one day at daycare that that would not be the highlight of the week!

I am still trying to figure out of to do the types of things that my partner educators do, to just set things out and have the children engage for (what seems like) hours, or to get them excited about letters or making really cool crafts. I think there is a lot more skill in doing those types of things and having them be successful, but until I get that sorted I’ll have to settle for this, I am ok with that compromise.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How I Draw

I am not an incredible artist, but I like to draw.  I do it a lot at work actually for the kids.  They are forever asking me to draw things.  Mostly the girls want dogs and cats and bunnies and rainbows.  The boys want action pictures, Batman and Robin, Star Wars things and the like.  The action type pictures are more up my alley, I enjoy drawing that more.

When I am actually trying to draw something ‘good’ I usually use a reference of some sort.  Most of my best drawings have started that way.  Looking at other pictures, in comic books or even taking pictures or pausing a video.

I thought it would be a bit interesting to actually document this process at least once to share with you all.  I am not claiming to be a great artist, in fact I personally know at least three people that can knock anything I draw out of the park on their worst day.

That being said, this is a drawing I have done today and here is the still from a video that I used for the main bit.

side kick

I moved the right hand as mine was only down to keep my balance on a slow kicking motion.

2012-05-21 14.44.55

I almost always start with the body lines, they generally help me with getting the pose I want and keeping the proportions at least close to proper.

2012-05-21 14.50.14

Then I start to fill out the body, I usually start with the head and work from there.  I still find perspective and overlapping parts a bit tricky, sometimes it takes a few attempts to get things right.

2012-05-21 14.58.34

As you can see the kicking foot actually extends past the rough in to make it the right length.  The guy being kicked could use a little work on the reaction.  Basically though it is a very simple outline to the figures.

2012-05-21 15.04.28

Batman is a bit more filled out now, a bit of definition to the muscles, and the dude getting kicked is a bit more buff and has pants on now.  Generally the style that I draw in is a bit more cartoonish, not is a silly way, but in and ‘easy to animate’ way, like the New Batman/Superman Adventures style.


2012-05-21 15.07.56

Here I have just erased all the construction lines, makes it look a bit cleaner.

2012-05-21 15.14.18

And then tightened up the lines a bit and added some shading to help it look a bit more 3-Dimensional.  There is a bit more detail in here than I typically do especially when I am drawing at daycare.  I am inspired to do this after picking up the volume 1 of the Justice League comics drawn by Jim Lee. 


Clearly that level of skill would/will take me a lot of practice to be able to do.  That and maybe a few years of art classes!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Three Things–Friend Making Mondays


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 over 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!

1. Three of your favourite movies:

  • The Dark Knight
  • Batman: Under The Red Hood
  • The Matrix

2. Three of your favourite things to drink:

  • Coke Zero
  • G2 Preferably the Blue or Orange
  • Diet Dr. Pepper

3. Three of your favourite songs:

  • Currently, Foster the People – Houdini
  • Techno Man – Infrared Riding Hood
  • Afternoons And Coffeespoons – Crash Test Dummies

4. Three people who have recently been a positive influence on your life (outside of your family):

  • Alf, my Karate Teacher
  • Pete, my black belt brother
  • Amber, though she is my wife, she’s too important and has recently shown me just how incredible she is, and so I can’t leave her out.

5. Three things you to do keep yourself entertained:

  • Comics (Batman, Nightwing, Justice League specifically)
  • Movies
  • Exercise

6. Three things you’re attracted to in the opposite sex:

  • Should I state the obvious?
  • Smarts
  • Attention

7. Three things you love about yourself:

  • At the moment this one is a bit difficult

8. The last three people who text messaged you:

  • Amber, my wife Smile
  • Carley, one of the ladies at my work
  • Greg, my brother in law

9. Three things you’re looking forward to this week:

  • A renewed commitment to spending time with my wife
  • It’s a short week for work, so that is nice
  • I started a challenge on and so this week and next I’m looking forward to completing a half marathon

10. Three wishes specifically for yourself…What are they? (Be selfish, and be honest.)

  • I wish that I could undo things where I have hurt people
  • I wish that someone would buy our house!
  • I wish that I could have my Camero

11. Three of your favourite quotes:

  • I reject your reality, and substitute my own – Adam Savage
  • I think Chris is going to be an artist when he grows up – one of the kids at daycare
  • That’s how you do that! – Me whenever I or someone I know does something awesome

12. Three of your biggest fears:

  • That I have learned some lessons too late
    • That’s it pretty much

13. Three of your favourite TV shows:

  • Mythbusters
  • Hell’s Kitchen
  • Tosh.0

14. Three of your favourite things to purchase when you’re shopping.

  • Comic Books (graphic novels)
  • Movies
  • Video Games

15. Three things that you enjoyed last week:

  • Getting a new program at the gym
  • Running
  • Coming up with a list of things we can do with Amber

16. Three things that you always have in your bag or close to you if you’re not a purse kind of person.

  • My Samsung Galaxy phone
  • My ipod
  • My wallet

17. Three types of food that you wouldn’t want to give up.

  • Barbequed meat
  • Sushi
  • Pasta

18. Three things you do to enjoy burning calories:

  • Workouts at the gym
  • Running
  • Biking


19.  Three things you dislike about blogging:

  • Apparently it is a pain to comment on my blog for some people, with the captchas and just the way it goes trying to leave comments and so on
  • Sometimes it is hard to come up with something
  • Finding the line between storytelling and preaching

20.  Three ways blogging has changed your life:

  • Gives me a place to just tell stories and let some things out
  • I’ve learned that so many people are seeking their own inspiration and I try to help contribute to that
  • No sure of a third.


So it seems that the last food thing I posted was one of Amber’s meals even if it similar to what I commonly eat.  This one is all me, but it is something that Amber does enjoy too.


Lamb, beans and parsnip puree.

So good let me tell you.  This is something we commonly have for dinner.  Normally I would only have one piece of lamb but they were a bit small and I had done lots of running and biking yesterday.

In the parsnip puree there is a bit of margarine and feta cheese (we did not have any cream cheese) and some pepper and salt.  The puree idea came from Hell’s Kitchen, they seem to have that on there a lot so we tried it one night and it was great.

On this particular plate is about 900 calories.  600 from the lamb, 200 (I am guessing a bit here) from the parsnip and feta and all that) and a very generous 100 for the beans.  I do tend to over estimate on calories a bit, but on a day when I ran 5k and biked 23K that number of calories for dinner is appropriate.

It’s So Hot

Apparently just looking at my weather widget just now it is only 24C, but it really seems hotter.  I ran the Jackson Park trail today which turns out to be 10.9K from my house to the end and back.  I could feel the sun beating down on me and by the end I could feel that I was just plodding along with more bounce to each step then length. 

I got home and stripped off my shirt on the porch because I was so hot, not something I do typically.  I thought I was only running about 10K so it was pretty satisfying to know I had added almost an extra kilometre, even if I did not mean to.

I complained a bit when I was doing the winter running.  Now that I have been running a couple of times in the summer heat again I think I prefer the coldness of winter to the blazing heat of the summer.  At least in the winter I’m only cold at the start, here in the summer I was hot from about the ten minute mark on.

running as flash

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


So I have run 200 Km all told now since January.  I actually completed this on Sunday but thought that I wanted to write the food thing.  All of last year I do not think that I went that far.  I was not quite as rigorous about keeping track last year.  So I might have been there I am not sure, but this year I have been pretty diligent in keeping track.  Last year I was not sure that this whole running thing was something I wanted to do as an ongoing thing.

Over on the running room site I have said I want to complete 500 kilometres this year running and another 700 on my bike. I think this is pretty doable.  I did not do much running in the early months of the year and now it seems that I am running about 20 Km each week.  Biking will not be that hard as a few trips to Lakefield will easily add up quickly since that ride is 32 Km all on its own.

I think that having an overall goal like that along with the short term instant gratification goals of the races will help keep me trucking along this summer through the heat and everything. 

That over all goal had me out running last night actually, on a day where I fell asleep for about ten minutes on my lunch break even.  It was an example of one of those times when I really could have just stayed home, maybe even had a nap when I got home but chose not to.  And that is an important thing when you take up a desire to be fit or be dedicated to something.  On the days where you really do not feel like doing anything, you do that thing!  Some of the best karate classes I have been to are when I just wanted to stay home and lay down.  Some of the most satisfying times at the gym have been when I am a bit sick but go anyways.  It is a matter of ‘how badly do you want it?’  If you want something bad enough, don’t let minor little things like being tired or the sniffles stand in your way.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I Am Eating This Not Just Because I Can, But Because I Have To!

As you are by now aware if you’ve read most of this blog, I used to be fat.  Like big and fat.  I am not afraid to use the word.  How did I get that way?  Eating, a lot.  And doing nothing.  Now as you also know I do loads to stuff.  Running and biking and going to the gym.  Not just on a schedule but to fill free time as well.  To do all that work takes a lot of fuel, and that fuel for me now is food.  It is not just a mindless past time anymore, eating that is.  It is something I have to do.

Usually I eat healthy things now, whole foods and fresh veggies and such.  These is not much processed food around the house anymore really.  And I do know typically the number of calories I consume in a day.  Normally if I just wanted to stay as is without doing much work I would be eating about 2000-2200 calories a day.  But because of all the things I do, and the muscle mass I have just to maintain what I have I have to eat about 2800-3000 or so.

It really is a great thing to now be at a point where on a day where I have gone running or to the gym I can get a small ice cream at DQ and exclaim ‘I’m not eating this because I want it, I’m eating it because I have to!’  I need those calories.  I think it was my dad that told me about an article he read about some guys climbing Mount Everest.  They were doing so much work to climb and their bodies needed so much fuel to do that and keep warm that they ate sticks of butter!  I’m sure it was not that desirable, but they had to do it to get the calories they needed.  I’m not about to advocate that, or even try it!

There is a lot you can eat that fits into the necessary dietary needs you have, and while the months spent counting every calorie while I was losing weight seemed tedious at times, it aids me greatly now in planning out my food for the day.  Once in a while I take pictures of what I am eating with the thought that I would post them here at some point. Some of it is really good looking food, and some fresh and functional.  With that in mind my typical calories breakdown for the day is 600 for breakfast, 600 for lunch, 800 for dinner and 200 before bed, that’s 2200 calories.  It leaves room for picking at snack at snack time at day care, or dessert with dinner.  I never really account for milk on cereal, or things like ketchup or steak sauce or whatever either.  When I was losing weight it was more like 300, 450, 600 and 100 for about 1450.

So, here is my first food thing.

2011-09-15 18.43.20

Fish, rice and veggies.  I’d love to tell you all kinds of wonderful things about fish and omegas and proteins and stuff.  But I can not.  I am not a dietician.  What I do know is that per 100g there is usually less than 100 calories in fish.  If you make 1 cup of minute rice (dry) and eat the whole thing that is about 300 calories and veggies while filling and healthy have very few calories, especially carrots it seems.  Oddly enough there is milk in the picture, I usually have Coke Zero.  On the plate there is maybe 400 Calories.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Do It Because I Can, Not Because I Have To

Today I have achieved success.  After running in that Lakefield 5K and finishing in 21:20, and being able to run the hillish course around my house in 21:57 I knew that I could crack 21 minutes if I had the chance. A flat course and strong legs would do the trick.

As we know my stated goal at the start of the year for a 5K run was 20 minutes or less.  For the last while I have been inching ever closer to that mark.  For a long time I have been stuck at just over 21 minutes though and I was mentioning to Jodi that I was not sure if I was ever going to get down to 20.  I think part of the whole thing was that I was doing a lot of my running after work, and really at that time my body has already started into shut down mode.  I’m drowsy on the way home or to the gym or karate and it is by sheer force of will that I even accomplish anything at all.

Today I was ready.  It was Saturday morning, I had gotten a good nights sleep, it was a perfect temperature outside, all I had to do was go.  So go I did.  I ran around my block four and a half times, and that equals out to 5K.

5k route

Do not be fooled by the jagged elevation at the bottom.  The difference in the height of land is only about half a metre.  I finished my first kilometre in just barely over four minutes and simply continued to push the pace the entire time. 

I continued my laps and by the time I was on the home stretch I still had a little bit more to give and I made sure to extend each stride for the last kilometre or so.  I bounded past the stop sign at the corner of Hopkins and Cambridge and hit the time on my stopwatch.  I knew I was going to beat 21 minutes, the question was ‘By how much?’


That translates to 14.93Km/h! (9.28mph)

It’s not 20 minutes or less.  But it is pretty bloody close.  I know it is doable now, it is totally within my reach. I can do this.

This experience and a bit of a discussion at karate this morning got me thinking about why, why do I do all this stuff.  And it’s simply because I can.  No one is making me run, or run faster all the time.  I do not even have to do it any more really.  No to the extent that I do.  I don’t have to set out to win races, I don’t have to teach people things.  But I can, so I do.  It is fantastic!

running me copy

Friday, May 11, 2012

Trail Running

When I don’t want to be racing the clock I’ve taken to running the trails in Jackson Park or in behind Fleming College.  Not the wide, flat gravel trails, but the twisty turny thin and muddy-ish dirt trails that go directly through the woods.

I went out and did this yesterday with only the idea that I was going to run for about 46 minutes.  That is as long as it took me to run 10K last summer on the roads.  I put my phone in my pocket so that the GPS and the map my run app could track me.  So I had the benefit of not racing the clock for a certain time and distance, but I was able to know that distance and time when the run was over anyways.

It turns out that I ran 7.88K and that took 46:25.  I look at those number and a couple of the other trail runs I have done so far this year and now I don’t find it so surprising that the Mudnewton last year took me over an hour to run 10K.  On the road that would be slow by my standards.  In the woods though, strides are shorter, and I am not travelling in a straight (or very close to straight) lines.  I am going up and down with the trail, constantly changing directions and going up and down sharp inclines and declines.

There is so much to like about trail running, like the freedom from having to beat my time and the views around me.  Oh and my new trail running shoes are really good, once I tied them up properly.  This element really is where running is enjoyable.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Avengers

It should be no surprise to anyone that has been following along here for a while that I have seen The Avengers (twice).  I even convinced my wife to go and she thought it was good.  And since I saw it I knew that it would end up here on the blog, but what form would the post take.  I’m not really into writing movie reviews, you all can form your own opinion about things like this suffice to say that you should go see it.  I have never read a single Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America or Avengers comic yet I have seen all of those movies (except The Incredible Hulk).  Marvel did a fantastic job of giving these films a common world right from the start in Iron Man and it really made it all come together brilliantly.

Worlds Finest

This is the comic title the features Batman and Superman working together as a team.  I have several of the graphic novels that carry this title and usually they are great.  Putting the Big Blue Boy Scout and The Dark Knight together is something that always intrigues me because as characters they are so far apart.  The first ‘team up’ movie I ever owned carried the same title and I still think it’s great because up until the third act the two of them so not get along, and it’s always fun to see heroes fight (another great part about the Avengers!).


Justice League of America

If DC comics was to put out a movie akin to The Avengers, this is what the title would be most likely.  The problem for them is that so far they have laid absolutely none of the ground work to making that film happen to this point.  Yes Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were amazing movies and really captured the whole Batman feeling but they are in their own little universe over here.  There is no mention or hint to the greater DC universe at all and with The Dark Knight Rises set 8 years after and it being the closing chapter of a trilogy I doubt that is about to change.  There has also been a Green Lantern movie, which I thought was pretty good, but again there is no mention of anything else DC Universe wise.  They even say that Abin Sur is the first alien life form earth has encountered which would mean no one has heard of Superman yet in that movie, which with a new Superman movie coming out next year is not all that of a horrible of a thing.  I think this type of movie could be great and The Avengers has proven it has.  But clearly DC has to start getting some single character but linked on a greater scale movies put out.

I like Iron Man and Thor and The Hulk and all that but I’d much rather see Superman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman do their thing all together on the big screen.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Another 5K Race

I went out to Lakefield this morning to run in another 5K race.  The goal this time, on a route I had never run before, was simply to leave it all on the course.  I was determined to not have any ‘That was great, but…’ comments when it was over.  In that aspect and others it was an absolute success.

I showed up at around 7:30am because I thought the start time was 8:15.  Turns out the start was at 8:45.  I got my race kit and wandered around for a bit trying to keep warm as it was a bit chilly, especially when not in the sun.  During my wanderings I spotted my friend Jenna and her daughter that were also racing.  We chatted a bit and shared our hopes for finish times.

lakefield race

Race time was approaching and I edged my way up toward the front of the corral, the race began and I had to manoeuvre my way out of the crowd.  It took a bit of a sprint to do so, but it was worth the effort, especially since by the time I was able to separate a bit the route was on the sidewalk over the bridge.

It turns out a local triathlon training club was using this race as part of their training and I was following one of their girls for a lot of the way.  She was pretty quick, but I stuck nearby as she was running at a pace that kept me pushing myself for more.  The route was fairly flat only two rises over the whole course as we crossed the bridge each way.  By the time we had run down to the point and back I was one the girl’s heels and closing the gap.

At the 4K mark we were about to cross the bridge on the way back again and I over took her, and then another racer as well.  I rounded the last corner and knew she was just behind me so I picked up the pace a bit more.  When there was about 400 metres to go she just passed me far enough that I could see her in my peripheral vision.  I stepped it up again and so did she.  Over the last 200 metres we were both in a full out sprint.  We crossed the line neck and neck and as soon as it was over I patted her on the back and told her awesome job.  Once she had recovered a bit more of her breath she offered me a low five and told me the same.

According to the official time sheet we were a second apart, but I think it only rounded to the nearest second because it was super close, she just had the edge by a step though.  It was a great push to the end and the result was fantastic.

I finished with a time of 21:20.  In this race that was good enough for 4th in my age group.  I take that in stride this time though as the guy that was 3rd was 25 seconds ahead of me and the #1 place was a guy in my age that finished in like 17:30!!!  The 2nd place guy in my age was also under 20 minutes.  When you are Batman, and you are racing against Barry Allen and Wally West (two of the people that have been The Flash) that come 1 & 2, 4th place is none too shabby.  I was the 9th male and the 12th racer overall.

So far I have been in just  three races, in each one I have been in the top 10 males.  In each of the ones divided by age group I have been 4th.  Pretty good considering I just started running last July.


Summer running me is not as ridiculous as winter running me

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Racing Saturday

Late Sunday night I was looking at the running room's list of races and noticed there was one in Lakefield this coming weekend.  While I didn't think that a regular road race was as exciting as the adventure race I did last year I did enjoy it and since it was cheap I signed up.

The course is along the river road so it will be a just mildly sloping route and I hope to be able to use the race situation to get a new best time for a 5k distance.  This time, unlike the race a few weeks ago I have not run the course at all.  That means that I will not be able to strategize myself out of a medal, waiting for a certain point to go fast.

I'm aiming for a best 5k time period. Which means push to the limits of what I can do, I will not make the mistake of the last race.  When I get to that last dash for the finish line, it will be with the last drops of energy I have that I cross the line.

I do not want to write another 'I'm satisfied, but...' style of blog post. If I give all I have for the whole race and do not just try to push my way into a medal spot at the end, I'll have no choice but to be happy with the event.