So I am a quarter of the way through my 100 day running challenge, and yes it’s a little nuts to even think of going for a run for 100 straight days. However, barring some kind of injury this is going to happen as it’s a matter of will power, drive and determination moving forward to get it done. There have been days when I didn’t feel like running at all, when I was extremely tired, days when my legs were incredibly sore from a long run the day before BUT every single time I have dragged my butt to the YMCA I have felt tremendous afterwards. It may take a KM or two to loosen things up, or perhaps it’s the right tune at the right time to get me moving but so far I have really enjoyed the experience.
I am loosely following a triathlon (which I am training for) training plan which starts with a base week (week #1) and you add a bit more on week #2, a bit more again on week #3 and then an active recovery week, which I am currently in where you take things relatively easy. So with 11 weeks still to go, I will be ramping it up to another level three more times. I have learned and listened to my body a lot during the last 25 days, and will be altering the run schedule accordingly. For example I will NOT be doing any more long runs back to back during the next cycle… in week #2 I did four 10 km over five days, and during week #3 I added distance everyday of the week culminating with an 11.5 km run right before the start of the recovery week.
The plan this cycle is to increase the number of recovery days in between more difficult runs, especially ones of double digit distance. Most likely there will two recovery runs in between, as I will be creating a plan and training schedule for the remaining 75 days and strategically plan things out. Training for a TRIATHLON is not just about running, there is a lengthy swim and bike element as well, two kilometers of swimming, and 94 kilometers of hard biking around the Lake of Bays with lots of elevation changes. It will be very tough indeed but after 100 runs in a row, I should have the leg strength to crush the course.
I have also been doing weight training four times a week, focusing on arms, chest, back/shoulders, and legs on an alternating cycle. This is new for me this time around during my training plan, as when I did three and half years of triathlons back in 2007 through 2010 there was no strength training to be found. It was a whole lot of swimming, biking and running and not much else. The only element that I would really like to incorporate is some abdominal days, some stretch days and even some yoga days. If I can manage to add these last three elements over the next five months I believe I would be unstoppable on the course.
To start July I celebrated my 45th birthday, and shortly afterwards I had 10 days scheduled off from work for a nice long vacation. One I felt was sorely overdue after the events of the previous 11 months and the experience of separating, selling my house and moving on with my life. I spent a lot of my down time trying to plan the perfect road trip with my kids…
One of my biggest fears was seeing this trip turn into something from the movie Vacation, where is something can go wrong will go wrong. I also feared extended hours in the car with two teenage girls and the potential issues that might arise. I had talked to the girls about what they wanted to do and the things that they wanted to see, and to be honest I didn’t quite get the reaction that I was hoping for from them. They didn’t seem super excited as I was for this trip…
That being said I have learned so much about me, and my relationship(s) with these girls that next summer the trip of a lifetime will happen and it will become an annual tradition. I was a different person back then as opposed to the man that sits here today. At some point I decided to break this road trip into two seperate ones… a trip with my buddies (as I was planning on draggin my daughters to some US ballparks) and one with Emily and Megan.
So upon returning from the States (more on that later) I unpacked, and then repacked the Jeep and we were off. The plan was to head towards Ottawa as I had booked a KOA campground for several nights, on all the back roads to explore this great country that we have. One of the things the boys and I had talked about just a few days before was saving turtles when you would see one trying to cross the road, Ryan was telling the story about he rescues turtles and turns to me and says, “I am sure your the same Ed?” I nodded politely and the conversation carried on. In my head I was thinking that one I’ve never rescued a turtle, and two I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a turtle crossing the road.
Well wouldn’t you know it after only a few hours on the road, there right in the middle was the poor little turtle trying to make it across the road.
We immediately pulled over and ran out into the middle of the road to rescue the poor little guy, when I bent over to pick him up by the edges of his shell he did what all good turtles tend to do. Pull his head inside of his shell and then proceeded to piss all over my left. Thankfully my dexterity was up to the challenge and I was able to Tennessee two step my way out of the stream just in time. We placed the turtle onto the side of the road, and facing in the same direction he was already headed, jumped back in the Jeep and we continued on the way.
Rescuing turtles will always be something that I will now be on the lookout for!
We continued to head North, stopping at not only the Candy Shoppe on the 400 North, we also hit up the Kawartha Dairy for a delicious ice cream cone and pulled over at several national parks to stretch our legs and have bathroom breaks as needed.
Once we got to our campsite in Ottawa and settled in, it was time for dinner. Over the first few months of the this summer I learned how to cook over an open campfire. Not the easiest thing to do as every single campfire will be different in terms of its intensity and distance from fire to food. It requires constant supervision and adjustments throughout the cooking process as too not too burn anything. Yes I’ve ruined a few hot dogs in my day but I pretty much have gotten the hang of it, and not once did I have to break out the Coleman stove that I bought as backup.
Nights around the campfire are my favorite. Sitting there listening to good music, talking and sharing stories, roasting marshmallows and making smores.
My only disappointment with this trip was my inability to get Emily to re-engage with some family time each night. She would retreat into the cabin with her headphones in, listening to her music and sending out an endless parade of SnapChats to her friends. Megan was all in and I had just the best time with her playing frisbee, catch and other games around the campsite. Emily was reluctant to join in on any of this family fun, she wouldn’t even go swimming with us at the pool and the lake.
The next day the weather was not the best and we did some shopping at the Tanger outlet mall in Ottawa and had some lunch while in town. We did a lot of shopping over the summer, getting the girls some fun things along the way and I basically replaced my entire wardrobe and shoe collection this year. I think this shopping trip was my last of this year in terms of clothing as my perception on money and how best to spend it was already starting to change… (more on the that in my #1 post for 2017.
I has asked the girls what they wanted to do while up in Ottawa and two common things come from this conversation, one was to go Zip Lining and the other was the chance to drive the Jeep. Both of these were crossed off the list the next day! I have a healthy respect for heights and was a little afraid of what the day might bring, but it was a beautiful drive over and across a large river dividing Ontario and Quebec that was a delight to see.
The zip lining course was at the top of a mountain and it was a long and winding road up to the top through some beautiful summer views.
We arrived on time, got all geared up and had the chance to watch the group ahead of us finish up with the final zipline back to the base camp. We walked out into the woods, had our orientation and away we went. My only other ziplining experience was in Jamaica and it was much different than what I experienced in Ottawa. I figured it would be a guided tour through the trees with instructors in front and behind us, travelling in a large group. Well that was not the case at all, we were pretty much on our own as the instructors kept watch from the safety of the ground. Being the first three on the course we were able to go at our own pace, and with two adventurous girls leading the way we quickly were ahead of everyone else and having just the best time imaginable.
The course started off with several climbing in and around type obstacles to orientate one from being off the ground and to get more comfortable with the zipline to come. It was actually a really fun time for me and I quickly got over my fear of heights to the point where it wasn’t even a factor. Watching my girls hit each line ahead of me allowed me to see what I was in store for, how fast the line might move and to prepare for each landing. The difference between an 80 lb girl and a 180 lb man are quite different in terms of speed and impact on each landing. I was able to generate a lot more speed across the ziplines than either of the girls were able to do so.
We had so much fun this day, I was able to conquer some of my own fears and felt that I grew closer to each girl throughout the afternoon.
Up next on the agenda was some off road driving in the Jeep after searching for the right road to drive on. With Emily turning 16 later in the year I knew that she would want to get some experience behind the wheel. I didn’t want to just trespass in an open field or on private property so while drive around the water I simply followed a sign for an empty lot for sale. The road turned from paved to gravel, and then eventually to no road at all and we ended up on an abandoned lot down on the Ottawa River. It was perfect!
I drove the Jeep right up to the edge of the water and enjoyed a few minutes of sheer beauty and some peace and quiet. Right up until the girls were attacked by a few wasps… hilarity ensued!
I was able to do some off roading across this lot and back up and down the “road” that led down to this cottage, and I even allowed the girls a chance to get behind the wheel of the Jeep for a trip themselves. Both girls showed no fear and had a blast driving the Jeep with not another soul around.
After several trips up and down and back again we headed back to the campgrounds for another fire roasted dinner of deliciousness. We would spend one more day in Ottawa before returning to the real world back here in Barrie. I know personally I had a wonderful time and learned a lot about myself and what is truly important in life and spending time with my girls. We would go camping several more times throughout the summer as I shared the wonderful world that is mother nature.
It was during this trip that I started to realize just what was important to me, the Summer of George has started with the idea of having the time of my life and doing a lot of crazy things that money could buy you. Sitting in the best seats if you will, replacing a wardrobe, buying countless baseball jersey and matching ball caps, Star Wars battle drones, and many other things… This extended road trip was the beginning of my understanding of what truly is important in life, my family, my friends. Spending time with them, having fun, creating memories. One that last a lifetime and are not easily forgotten or replaced, this thought process I would chase for the remainder of this year and wouldn’t fully understand until mid September.
I’ve had the idea of making a special meal all made with love for several years now, in fact I’ve dreamed about it on several occasions. To every single detail I knew exactly how this meal would go. And while it took several years, and the right timing to actually get around to making it I don’t believe it could have gone off any better.
It was actually perfect…
The preparation for the event started on Saturday with all the baking that needed to be done, first off it was two different types of cookies, a banana bread and my first all love Apple Pie. My goal is always to make sure that items made with love, actually taste good, not to know that even love exists in the product. Home runs were hit with this baking my friends.
On Sunday’s menu was a full Turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Again never having made a turkey dinner filled with love before, I was slightly concerned about the deadly combination of tryptophan and love knocking out all my guests. It turns out I would be partially correct with this assumption.
The stuffing was loaded with love butter, more crumbled on top and underneath the bacon layer. As this would all melt into the turkey and help form the base of the gravy that was still to come. This whole meal was done on the dreams and thoughts I had over the past few years, I didn’t consult a single recipe and just whatever felt natural to me.
The gravy came out perfect with the pan drippings of the turkey, plus a roux made of love and might have been the most potent item on the menu that evening. The vegetables were sauteed in love oil, and the mashed potatoes turned out better than I could have imagined. The whole meal from top to bottom was perfect…
We lost Corey early on, almost right after we finished dinner. Patrick also needed a short winter’s nap and Ryan and I were the sole survivors. There were a lot more friends that joined after they finished working to help with the leftovers and to enjoy the warm out of the oven Apple Pie and coffee sweetened with love honey to end the night.
I could feel the after effects of this meal for a few days afterwards, perhaps I was just basking in the glow of a job very well. Ryan won the wrestling challenge that night as we always try and predict who wins each match and got to walk out with the ceremonial title belt. I was able to cross something off my bucket list of things that I always wanted to do. This meal also marked the last time that love was ever a part of my life, and it was a great way to close that chapter for ever.
This has become a topic of conversation recently between Tiffany and I, it came about while we were baking chocolate chip cookies on Monday night. Tiffany definitely comes from a place of love, and I most definately come from the view of science and it was perfectly illustrated watching her bake cookies.
My background comes from 20 years in the restaurant business, where it was literally my job to be concerned with food cost and portion control. So with this mindset my baking adapted this philosophy. I am exact in my measurements, I think of the cost of chocolate chips when adding them to the batter. I use an exact .75 oz scoop when dropping the dough onto the baking sheets, using a fork to slightly flatten each cookie. The end results are symmetrical shaped, almost identical looking cookies.
Just like ones (in appearance only) that you would buy in the store… they are all the same. Mine just taste waaaay better!
Tiffany comes from the other end of the spectrum and philosophy with regards to baking, she comes from a position of love. Her measurements were not exact at all, she had an instinct as to how much of each ingredient she added, and then when it came time to place the cookies on the sheet to bake she opted with the two spoon method that resulted in in uneven, very different looking cookies.
We debated back and forth about which method was better and why… honestly I never even considered her method for many years, my mom taught me using the spoon method but my experiences and life over time taught me to adapt the portion control, the scientific method if you will of baking cookies.
Looking at the final results yielded two very different looking and tasting cookies based on the same cookie dough. If you were to actually weigh each cookie they were all roughly the same weight, but the taste of the two were very different.
The love cookies tasted better. It was due to the randomness in each one, the fact that they were slightly thicker than science, and had pockets and clusters of chocolate chips that you could taste when eating. The science cookies tasted a bit more like the dough than chocolate, as the chips were spaced out more so you actually got less chocolate taste in each bite as they were thinner and more spread out.
Just another lesson that Tiffany has taught me over the past week and a half…
Chocolate Chipper Recipe
Butter, softened 1 cup
Brown sugar, packed 1 1/2 cups
Large eggs, 2
Vanilla 1 tsp.
All-purpose flour 2 cups
Cornstarch 1/4 cup
Baking Soda 1 tsp.
Salt 3/4 tsp.
Semi-sweet chocolate chips 2 cups
Coarsely chopped walnuts (optional) 1 cup
Cream butter and brown sugar in large bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Beat until smooth.
Combine next 4 ingredients in small bowl. Add to butter mixture in 2 additions. mixing well after each addition until no dry flour remains.
Add chocolate chips and walnuts. Mix well. Drop, using 1 1/2 tsp. for each, about 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets. Bake in 350F over for 10 to 15 minutes until golden. Let stand on cookie sheets for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
That of course is the scientific version, or if you believe in love just wing it.