No Need For Speed – For Now


Today I added another half marathon notch to my belt. Woohoo.

The day started off early with a bowl of oatmeal, natural peanut butter, and honey, plus a coffee (it wouldn’t really be breakfast if it didn’t include a coffee). Oh, and snuggling with Elliot. He really is a snuggle whore – not that I’m complaining.

Afterwards, I got my running gear together and jumped into the chillier than expected Saturday morning air. I’m not sure what I was expecting temperature-wise, but the chill I felt was not it. Thankfully, after a rather lead-filled-legs first five kilometers, I warmed up.

I met my friend Mel downtown, and we proceeded to run 5km out towards Guelph Lake, before turning around for home. It was a great run, and it was nice to spend it with Mel. She’s pretty damn awesome.

My pace was slower than normal on purpose. I figured I shouldn’t push it too much, given that the 30k race was last weekend. Also, I really wasn’t feeling the need for speed, despite my sunglasses – which clearly speak to the opposite.

Anyway, that’s about it for today. I’m currently on the road to Simcoe to get together with my family to celebrate my Dad’s 70th birthday.

Translation – I’m about to get together with the family for what will no doubt be a night of indulging in excellent food, excellent wine, tasty scotch, and plenty of laughter.

A pretty good way to spend a Saturday if you ask me.

This Calls For A Double D-Cup Of Scotch

Khan - showing off his bad-ass superhuman genetically engineered space man-cleavage.

Today is March 30th, 2012 – the 90th day of the year, thank you very much leap year – and apparently also National Cleavage Day. Sadly, I didn’t realize it was National Cleavage Day, otherwise I might have dressed more, um, appropriately.

What’s that you say? National Cleavage Day isn’t about man-cleavage?

Damn, just when I thought I could show off my oh-so-manly chest, my hopes have been squashed.

Ah well. It’s probably to everyone’s benefit that I didn’t unleash my chiseled man-chesticles1.

Anyway, before this post goes completely off the rails2, you might be wondering why someone as cl-assy and mature as myself might be writing about National Cleavage Day.

Well, it started off innocently enough. You see, I decided to ask the all-knowing, all-powerful Google what it might know about today-in-history. I was curious about important births, relevant deaths, and life-changing historical moments. All of these were instantly at my fingertips, of course, but any serious attempt to research vanished the minute I spied National Cleavage Day.

Yes, my mind is that easily distracted.

Naturally, you might be wondering why on earth I was querying the interwebs for information pertaining to today in the first place? Well, it turns out that today is my dad’s birthday. And not just any birthday. Today he turns 70.

Holy crapshark. Seventy years old. That’s equivalent to 25 567 days (including leap years and today). Put another way, my dad has been alive for approximately 613 608 hours.

If those hours were converted into full-time jobs – where we assume 2 weeks of vacation per year and a typical 40 hour work week – they would represent enough time to gainfully employ slightly more than 12 people for 25 years.

If instead we consider the fact that my dad has been alive for over 2 208 988 800 seconds, and light travels at a rate of 299 792 458 metres per second, then the light emitted from a star born on the same day as my dad would reach earth right about now if it were over 6.622 238 182 × 1014 kilometres away. How far away is that? Really far. You’d have to travel to Pluto and back about 55 992 times to cover the same distance3. To put that into perspective, the New Horizons Probe is currently flying through the infinite blackness of space towards Pluto. It was launched in January of 2006, and isn’t expected to reach Pluto until sometime in July of 2015.

Point is, my dad is 70 and that clearly is something to be celebrated.

So a giant happy seven-zero Dad. You’ll be happy to know that I’m having a glass of scotch in your honour while I spend my eve playing with numbers – something I’ve loved to do since a kid; something that you’ve always encouraged me to do; and something that has brought me to a point in my life where I can say without reservation that I love my job and I can’t believe I get to do this for a living. I guess what I’m saying is thank you for always encouraging the nerd that I was, am, and inevitably will be when I too hit 70 years old.

You know what, all y’all? My dad is 70 – this calls for another scotch.

1 Note to all, I apologize for that gawd-awful image. Additionally, in the interest of full disclosure, I have the chest of a 12-year-old boy. Actually, a 12-year-old is probably more muscular than me.

2 Assuming by this point, it’s still on the rails, or even started on the rails to begin with.

3 Where of course we are assuming Pluto is an average distance of 5 913 520 000 kilometres away from earth. Of course.

The Shenaniganning Continues

This is how we plan.

Sometime last year – early November to be somewhat more specific – I received a text from Rick about a new and wonderful adventure.

That adventure was ice-climbing.

On receiving the text, it took me all of about a millisecond to respond with a resounding hells ya.

Well, flash forward a few months – basically just far enough to be a few weeks ago. Rick mentioned to me in an email that he and his family were going to be doing some adventuring once he makes his way back to Ontario for the Annual Meeting of the Statistical Society of Canadain June.

Despite the fact that Rick and I have also planned our own sets of adventures beyond what he’s going to be doing with his family2, I was still the teensiest bit jealous of the adventuring they were going to do. In fact, I may have had a minor pity party as I sat in my office and pouted. Then I realized that Rick should have time with his family and I was just being a big stupid baby. And big stupid babies are the stupidest of all big babies. I did not want to be a big stupid baby.

And then something work related happened, and I completely forgot about Rick’s family adventure.

This is going to happen.

Until today, when I received an email from Rick outlining the details of his family day-o-adventure. But this wasn’t an email to brag or to punch me in the face with his awesomeness – this was an email to inform me about when I should be booking if I decided to join in on the fun.

As if I had to decide. The decision was made before I had even finished reading the email.

I beamed. After calming myself, I sent him a quick text to make sure it was okay to tag along on a family adventure3. Thankfully, his brother Ryan was the one who opened up the adventure to non-family members, so Rick assured me that it was fine. And that was all it took to remove any sense of intrusion from my mind.

Within several minutes, I was on the phone with visa in hand. Several minutes after that my reservation was set. Because that’s how we plan things – an adventure is found, and everything after that just sort of happens without too much thought or effort. And I love that about our adventures.

So there you have it, dear readers. You now have the story of how I managed to book my next skydiving adventure with Rick- June 8th to be exact – the sky is the limit, and I can’t freaking wait.

1 Also known as nerdfest 2012.

Such as zip-lining5, and hopefully the CN Tower Edge Walk6.

I’m guessing that the lag between email, calming myself, and texting Rick was no more than 2 seconds.

Satisfying item #183 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list.

Satisfying item #20 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list.

Satisfying item #201 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list.

More Hours Please

More hours please.

I’m sure this request has been made about a kajillion or so times over the course of my life, but I would really like some more hours in the day please. Just 2 or 3 would be nice.

I’m looking for this extra time because there are just too many things that I’d like to do, and not nearly enough time to do them. And I don’t necessarily mean things like skydiving, bungee jumping, cliff jumping, paragliding, and the like1. I’m talking about all of the nerdy things that I’d like to do. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time.

Example the first: Today I sat in on a presentation by a visiting professor – Martin Pelikan from the University of Missouri at St. Louis – about Estimation of Distribution Algorithms. I won’t get into the details, but I will say that I found it absolutely fascinating. So much so that it prompted me to write down several ideas for my own research program. And I would love it if I were actually able to sit down and explore them further. I’m positive that if what I’m thinking hasn’t been done already, I could easily develop a solution to a set of problems using the methods he presented today. It’s this type of thing that gets my nerd juices flowing and makes me love what I do even more.

It’s also frustrating because I end up with a list of questions longer than what I have time to actually explore. More hours please.

Example the second: I was contacted today by my friend Dr. Beth - yes, the world record holder thank you very much – about an opportunity that we just can’t refuse to do because oh-my-gawd it would be so awesome if it were to happen and we really need to make it happen, why isn’t it happening already? I’m not going to get into any of the details about this opportunity at the moment, but suffice it to say, we are both stoked about the potential. So much so, that I’ve been letting ideas bounce around in the back of my brain since I read her email this morning. My hope is that the bouncing ideas will spawn some super-duper excellent awesome ideas and we can then tackle this project with gusto. Gusto I says!

Having a few extra hours to just sit down and think about this opportunity would be amazing. Sadly, I’ll have to rely on my brain to work on this in the background and hope for something epic when it’s done. More hours please.

So much idea bouncing space.

Example the third: One of my meetings today was with Justin2. We’ve been working on a project for the better part of the semester and are somewhat underwhelmed by the performance of a model that is used quite frequently by ecologists for assessing natural resources. At first we thought this might be an issue with our program, or perhaps a mistranslation of the mathematics and statistics to computer language. But after having gone through the code several kajillion times, after having simplified everything as best we can, after having re-derived the mathematics and statistics for the model, and after having reprogrammed everything, the results are still underwhelming4. This leads me to believe that it’s not us, it’s the model5.

I’d really like to explore this further tonight, however, course prep and assignment grading are also calling my name6More hours please.

Anyway, as much as I repeat more hours please the universe just doesn’t want to cooperate. Apparently it doesn’t revolve around me. Who knew?

1 Of course, these are on the list.

2 My Undergraduate Research Assistant Extraordinare3.

3 I feel like this title deserves a cape of some sort. If I had the time, I might actually make him a cape to wear. And yes, I’d make him wear it. Ha!

4 At least it’s consistently underwhelming. That’s something, right?

5 That sounds like some sort of bad break up joke between a mathematician and a model. Ha! I kill me.

6 And yes, I realize I could be working on that instead of writing yet another blog post, but the break affords me the ability to work into the wee hours of the morn without going completely insane. That’s right folks, I blog for sanity.

It’s Just About The Best Day Ever

Today started off as most other days. I woke up at the crack of early, snuggled with Elliot, prepped for meetings and classes, then made my way downstairs for a wee bit of breakfast. This was followed by a quick shower, a quicker shave, and finding something to wear. In all honesty – it was a typical day.

And then something extraordinary happened.

Earlier today – I think perhaps while I was in a meeting – I received the following tweet.


I want to offer a huge thank you to Dana (a.k.a. @common_st) for passing on this vital information. Not only was I unaware that it was World Whisky Day1, but it reminded me that I needed to buy my March bottle of scotch. That’s right folks, it’s almost the end of the month and I almost forgot to purchase this month’s bottle2. For shame Gillis. For shame.

Anyway, given that I had already agreed to venture to the liquor store this eve in search of something that my brother had asked me to hunt down – which sadly, I wasn’t able to find – I figured this, in combination with Dana’s tweet, was a sign from the universe that I should get off my duff and buy a new bottle of scotch. Because yes, the universe concerns itself with my love affair with scotch.

So, after a short run and some stretching, I sauntered over to the liquor store to find myself my newest scotchy mistress. And because the universe concerns itself with my love affair with scotch, I was drawn to one bottle among the many fine scotchy mistresses available. She goes by the name Caol Ila (pronounced, as the box she came in informs me, Cull Ee-la3). Readers, meet Caol Ila. Caol Ila, meet readers.

Elliot - not so much a fan of the scotch.

A little bit about Caol Ila (pulled from the box):

Brilliant, clean and refined, this golden Caol Ila Distillers Edition has a deep, sweet and smoky flavour profile that suggests the intense, saturated colours of late afternoon sunshine after a storm has passed.

I’m not so sure about the saturated colours of late afternoon after a storm has passed, but I can say that it smells fantastic. Definitely peaty, slightly smoky, but also with a sweetness. Elliot, however, does not agree with this assessment. Of course, that’s fine with me – it just means I don’t have to share it with him.

As for flavour – it’s light, but at the same time definitely peaty and smoky and earthy. In other words – quite tasty. I think this particular scotch has one of the stronger peat flavours of all of my scotches, and I do loves me some peaty flavours. Clearly this is something I will have to investigate further when I finally have my scotch tasting.

ZOMG. So. Good.

Now because Dana (a.k.a. common_st) is awesome, she also passed on the following quote:

“I carry a flask of whisky in case of snakebite & of course, always carry a small snake”-W.C. Fields

This is now one of my new favourite quotes. In fact, I think I’m going to start carrying a small snake with me just in case I need to use my scotch.

Happy World (Scotch) Whisky Day all y’all.

Oh – look at that. It appears as if I’ve just been bitten by a small snake.


2 For those who might have forgotten (or who were never aware in the first place), I’ve set myself the daunting task of buying a new bottle of scotch each and every month of 2012. Ultimately the goal is to establish a collection of different scotches, while also learning about the fine fine spirit that I love oh so much.

3 Which, if said quickly sounds a bit like Leela (from Futurama).

Now With 90% Less Evil

Tired, but not this tired.

It has been just over 24 hours since the 30K Around the Bay, and despite being a little tired, I’m feeling pretty good. My joints aren’t screaming. My muscles aren’t nearly as tight as I thought they might be. My walk to the office today was as fast as normal1. And while I’m tired, I’m not knackered.

I won’t lie though – walking down stairs was a bit of a chore2. It’s not painful or anything that extreme – I can just tell that my muscles are tired. And perhaps weak. And maybe a little angry. I think the lack of fuel, coupled with dehydration and loss of electrolytes might explain that. And if that doesn’t work for you, perhaps the build-up of lactic acid – a result of pushing my body well past the exhaustion point yesterday – will. Regardless, each time I left my office and descended the stairs, it served only to remind me about how awesome yesterday was.

And it was awesome.

On my walk home this eve I realized that all I was thinking about was running. And I wasn’t just thinking about running yesterday. I was also thinking about my upcoming race, and how I might improve my diet so as to avoid another fueling issue. And I was thinking about my time, and whether I want to try for a personal best half marathon, or just run it as a training run? Is a personal best attainable? Hells ya. Is it smarter to treat it as a training run? Probably. I’ve not made my decision yet. I’ll probably leave that decision to the day of the race.

The Tasmanian Devil. Not so wicked. Mostly awesome.

Anyway, I’m home and relaxing at the moment. My feet are up, the fuzzball is dashing around the condo chasing ghosts or something, I’ve finally just celebrated yesterday’s run with a beer, and I am debating if I’m going to do any further work this eve.

Regardless, there is a huge part of me that feels the need to go for a run. Partly because I’m a mileage whore. Partly because I want to know if I can. But mainly because I love running. Fortunately I’m smart enough to know that I need a little bit of a rest.

And since there is no rest for the wicked, I can only assume this means I’m not wicked. Or perhaps I’m wicked-reduced – the Calorie-reduced equivalent of wicked – all the same wicked flavour, all the same wicked fun, but with 90% less evil.

Just to be safe, I’ll restart my training tomorrow.

1 Given the frigid temperatures, my walk may have been faster than normal.

2 I didn’t notice any issues walking up stairs – just down.

Amazeballs And Awesomesauce


As you are likely all aware, today was the day that I ran my first ever 30K Around the Bay in Hamilton. Not my longest run ever, but still a significant distance.

The run was fantastic, despite the fact that I am apparently really stupid when it comes to fuel. How so? Let me explain by first telling you what I learned today – which is, of course, a lesson that is filed under obvious to probably everyone1.

I learned that one should probably eat more than a granola bar and a coffee before they attempt to run 30 kilometres.

Profound, no? Clearly I wasn’t thinking this morning because that is how I chose to fuel my body for the run. I’m what you’d call not so smart. I’d like to blame this on a mixture of nerves and excitement, but this wasn’t my first ever long run. Clearly I should know better.

Anyway, the lack of fuel didn’t catch up to me until later in the race. Probably around the 25 or 26 kilometer point. And it happened really quickly. It was as if all the energy and life in my body and legs was zapped. Perhaps it was a Dementor? The last several kilometres were quite a challenge. It was also around this point that I lost Carolyn. See – she’s actually smart and had consumed appropriate levels of fuel before the run. And she royally kicked ass. Her chip time was 2:47:50. Freaking amazing!

Based on how I felt though, I thought for sure I had blown my 3 hour dream. Fortunately, right when I needed it I got a second (or third, or fourth, or fifth,…) wind. And as if predestined, Edge of Glory by Lady GaGa came on. I realize that not everyone is a fan of Lady GaGa, but I have to tell you, for running – her music is freaking fantastic. Combine the second wind, Edge of Glory, and the screaming crowds, you can imagine the runner’s high that I was experiencing. And if you can’t, I’ll tell you this – it was AMAZING. I couldn’t help but smile ear to ear. At that moment, I think I could have done anything. And this was all I needed to propel myself to the finish line. As I rounded the last turn – turning into Copps Coliseum – I could hear the cheers of the people in the stadium. I knew they weren’t cheering specifically for me, but that didn’t change the way they made me feel. What an incredible experience.

Elliot is verifying the authenticity of the medal. He's good like that.

And the icing on what could have been the crap-cake of an underfueled run?

The gun-time was still at 2:58. Despite everything I’d still managed to finish in under 3 hours. Holy crap I felt amazeballs and awesomesauce. Better than that even. Words can’t describe how great I felt. I had mentioned to Carolyn afterwards that I am not one to normally get emotional at the end of a race – but this was definitely an exception given how crappy I had felt. Don’t worry folks – I didn’t break down into some blubbering mess, but I did feel an intense wave of satisfaction, and euphoria, and gratitude, and I don’t even know what else. All I know is that the moment was perfect. Abso-freaking-lutely perfect.

And the cherry on top of the icing on what could have been the crap-cake of an underfueled run?

My splits were fantastic. I ended up running the first 10 kilometres in 1 hour 21 seconds2, the second 10 kilometres in 56 minutes 8 seconds, and the last 10 kilometres in 56 minutes and 43 seconds. That’s right – despite my craptacular loss of energy and despite the fact that the last 10 kilometres was quite hilly- my last split was only 35 seconds off the second, and still better than my first. Crazy freaking awesome.

And the chocolate sauce on top of the cherry on top of the icing on what could have been the crap-cake of an underfueled run?

My chip time was 2:53:12. Holy freaking crapshark! Talk about a huge bonus!

Anyway, today was a lot of fun, a little bit of pain, and a lot of awesome. Thanks so much Carolyn for sharing this run with me. You are a huge slice of awesome pie and I’m looking forward to our next races. Also, thank you to everyone for your comments on the blog, on Facebook, on RunKeeper, on Twitter, on Instagram, and via text message. Your support helped me get past the ugliness of the last few kilometres. And an extra special thanks to Jamie & Nigel who came out to support all the runners. Seeing your faces gave me such a huge boost. You two rock!

Now it’s time to get back to work. Because the Run for Retina Research Half Marathon is just 3 weeks away. Eeep!

1 Well, everyone but me that is.

2 The first part of the race is usually crammed with so many people that the going is typically slow.

I Wonder Where I Am Right Now

30 kilometres. I've got this.

About 1.5 hours ago (9:30am) Carolyn and I started the 30k Around the Bay race in Hamilton. Eeep!

At this point, I figure we should be at least halfway through the course. If you look at the map below1 – we’re probably somewhere around the 15km point. Of course, I’m not really sure where we are. It will all depend on how we feel. Both of us have been a bit nervous about this race – which is weird because we’ve both been training for this, and because we’ve both run longer distances before. I mean, the marathon is an extra 12.2km, so what do we have to worry about?

We’ve got this.

Anyway, if we are halfway – w00t! If we’re more than halfway, even better. If we’re less than halfway – well who cares? We’re running 30km.

If I’m pacing as I did during my last long run – 5 minutes 20 seconds per kilometre – then I may actually be closer to 17km. And that would be awesome.

But that’s not good enough Dan. I want to know exactly where you are right now! You say.

Well fine. Just because I spoil you, and assuming that I know how to use the interwebs correctly, if you click here you should find yourself instantly transported via the intertubes to a map that should indicate exactly where I am right now2. Seriously. It’s all through the magic and wonder of RunKeeper. And, dear readers, if this actually works I’ll be able to check off items #75 and #250 from my Not-So-Bucket-List list.

Wherever I am, so long as I’m not in agony, twitching on the ground, being carried off the course because I collapsed into a quivering mass of suck-bag, or have lost all control over my bodily functions, I will be a happy man.

See you at 30k!

At this point, I hope to be at least at the 15km point.

1 You know what makes me feel a little throw-uppy? Check out the elevation chart underneath the map. That’s right, after running a half marathon, we finish the race by running uphill. A lot.

2 Oh the interwebs. Is there nothing you can’t do?

A Geographical Oddity

30 kilometres? We've got this

Earlier today I attempted to find a bus to Hamilton from Guelph. Given that Hamilton is about 50 minutes away from Guelph – just down highway 6, and a grand total of 52 kilometres according to the all-knowing and all-powerful Google – I had figured that this task would be a simple one.

Was I ever wrong.

It’s not that bus routes between the cities don’t exist. They do. But to say they are ridiculous is an understatement. As evidence I offer you the following: Greyhound offers bus service between the two cities. However, the service either makes a milk run to Toronto, or a milk run to London. The result – what should be a 50 minute trip turns into a 4 hour trip (if you go through Toronto), or a 7 hour trip (if you go through London). Efficient – I’d suggest no.

Apparently Hamilton is some sort of geographical oddity. On paper – it’s 50 minutes away – but in reality it actually exists in some sort of spatial-temporal wormhole. It might as well be on the other side of the galaxy.

I investigated other bus lines, thanks to my friends on the Twitter. The best option ended up being a direct route from Kitchener to Hamilton. Of course, that meant I’d need to take a bus to Kitchener from Guelph – and that of course was easy. The combined trip worked out to be about 2.5 hours. A far better option than those offered by Greyhound.

But, dear readers, there is a point where cost and time intersect and the return on one is simply not worth the price of the other; at least, that’s my opinion. In this case, spending that many hours on a bus for a trip that was essentially right down the road seemed downright silly. The total cost roundtrip would have been about the same as getting a cab to Hamilton. So I hummed and I haaaa’ed.

Found at the Farmer's Market. Yes, this made me giggle.

And then almost out of nowhere, my friend Beth – who is running the 30K Around the Bay relay – sent me a message to tell me that she’d be able to give me a lift home after the run.

Decision made.

Since I wouldn’t need a round trip ticket, I figured I could use the full round trip fare and book a cab. Convenient. Simple. Private. AWESOME. So that is exactly what I did.

Anyway, I found my way to Hamilton earlier today so that I could pick up my race kit and get my chip for timing my run1. I wandered around the city a bit, and stopped in at the Farmer’s Market. A latte and a snack later, I ventured back to my hotel. I’m currently lounging about watching t.v., awaiting my friend Carolyn to arrive. Our plan for the eve: food, carbo-loading beer, and rest.

Because tomorrow is the big day.

30 kilometres.

And I’m stoked about it.

1 For those interested, I’ll be attempting to live stream my run tomorrow. Check out this link at 9:30 to follow my progress (if you are so inclined).

Just A Tipple – I Have To Run 30K

T minus 36'ish hours.

How is it Friday already? I feel like the week just started and BOOM, it’s Friday.

And given that it’s Friday, that means in a about 36 hours I’ll be starting the Around the Bay 30 kilometre race in Hamilton with my friend Carolyn. Eeep! Anyway, as I mentioned yesterday, whatever happens with the race happens. I’m not going to stress out about running it in a certain time or anything like that. I’m just going to enjoy the run, or at the very least, try not to end up a quivering mass of suck-bag on the side of the street that other runners have to step around or over. Because that would just be embarrassing.

Beyond the excitement of the upcoming race, I have to say that this week was pretty stellar. I managed to get another paper submitted1, and three others sent off to my co-authors for final review (2 of which are first-author papers). The three that are now in the hands of co-authors technically mean that I’m waiting on co-authors for 5 papers as I had 2 others completed earlier in the year. I’m confident that at least three of these will be submitted for peer review by the end of the semester.

Nerdfest 2012

On top of all that, my Undergraduate Research Assistant extraordinaire, Justin, presented a bunch of results to me today and I couldn’t be more stoked. He’s given me a bunch of new ideas for us to pursue, and I think in another week or three we might be able to write-up our findings for yet another potential publication. W00t!

We’re also going to be developing a poster for the Annual Meeting of the Statistical Society of Canada2 assuming the abstract is accepted3. Based on his work, I can’t imagine why his abstract wouldn’t be submitted. I did mention he was my URA extraordinaire right?

As I said – a pretty stellar week. And all this despite the disturbance in the force I discussed yesterday.

And now, to top it all off, I’ve got a softly purring fuzzball curled up in my arms and a tipple of scotch by my side. I don’t think this week could get any better4.

1 Well, I didn’t submit it personally. Almost Dr. Lorna did that. I’m just a co-author on the paper. But it’s uber nerdy and I’m stoked that it has been submitted!

2 Also known as Nerdfest 2012.

3 Actually, because I have so many awesome students I’m going to be helping out with 3 different posters and 2 presentations – again, assuming the abstracts are accepted. I’m uber stoked about this. I may be nerding out just a little.

4 Okay, it would technically be better if there wasn’t the disturbance in the force, but beyond that – it was pretty freaking stellar.

There Is A Great Disturbance In The Force…

One of these bugs might be in me.

And by force, I mean my belly.

You see, dear readers, based on the events of the past 2 days I can only deduce that I have either consumed dairy1 without knowing it, or I have picked up some bug.

How is it possible that I can’t tell?

Well, I don’t exactly feel sick. But I can confirm without a doubt that something ain’t right. 

Whatever I have doesn’t feel like dairy-poisoning2, but it also doesn’t feel like gastrointestinal (GI) disease. None of the standard symptoms are present. With dairy-poisoning, I’m often left feeling bruised. I tend to think of this as the result of some alien-milk baby trying to punch its way out of my gut. Charming, I know. And GI disease often comes with vomiting, fever, chills, etc.

Evil cow. The source of Montezumoo's Revenge.

I have none of these common symptoms. And thank you very much, I don’t want any of them. What’s even weirder is that I don’t feel ill. Well, I don’t feel ill between instances of Great Disturbances In The Force.

Anyway, I’m a bit perplexed as to what exactly I have. Perhaps it’s a happy little blend of GI disease and an evil alien-milk baby. Perhaps it’s something entirely different.

But, dear readers, what concerns me most of all about my current predicament is not the possibility of a GI-disease-evil-alien-milk-mutant-baby-crossbreed. What concerns me is that I haven’t been able to run. And as you may recall, I have the 30K Around The Bay scheduled for this Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be running a lot right now, as I’d want to rest my legs and such for the big day, but I would be running some so as to keep my legs and body prepared.

However, given my current situation it would definitely be unwise to go running. I’m sure we can all imagine the terrible, terrible outcome that might bring.

Regardless, I’m still planning on running on Sunday lest this turn into some full-scale illness. I just hope above all other things that my legs are ready despite the unscheduled rest time. Actually, I take that back. I hope above all other things that I’m not hit with Montezumoo’s Revenge while I’m running on Sunday. That would just be awful in a way I can’t even begin to imagine.

1 Being a card-carrying member of the Lactose-Free Guild, I tend to avoid dairy at all costs due to the dire gastrointestinal consequences.

2 Dairy-Poisoning: what happens when someone who is lactose intolerant is purposefully or inadvertently fed dairy. See also: Montezumoo’s Revenge3.

3 Montezumoo’s Revenge – Ha! I kill me4.

4 I Googled Montezumoo’s Revenge and couldn’t find it anywhere. I also searched for just Montezumoo and came up with nothing. As such, I’m staking claim to this phrase forever and always. Mark your calendars – this is probably the highlight of my career.

An Open Letter To Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,

He looks cute, but don't take your eyes off of him. He might punch you in the face.

I want to start off by saying thank you for the winter that wasn’t. For me – one who hates the cold with every fibre of his being despite the fact that I often can be found running on the coldest of days, hiking icy trails, and sometimes even ice-climbing, or bobsledding – this was a blessing. Walking to and from work were a breeze! Don’t get me wrong. I was still cold, but not bitterly so. Thank you. Me and my parts very much appreciated it.

And now, now you give us this – this amazing week of summer-time weather. Awesome.

But – and please don’t take this the wrong way – I have to ask: what gives? What did we do to deserve this? Or is this some sort of trickery? You’re not going to dish out these amazing days only to punch us unexpectedly square in the face with Old Man Winter? Or are you?

I’m keeping an eye on you.



For those that aren’t enjoying the summer-time weather that Guelph and the rest of Southern Ontario are experiencing, let it be known that today we hit a record shattering 26 degrees Celsius. To my imperialist friends, that’s 78.8 Fahrenheit. On March 21st. The first full day of spring1.

It feels even warmer if we factor in the humidex. That’s right folks, I wrote humidex. On March 21st, which is – in case you had forgotten from an entire paragraph ago – the first full day of spring.

I can’t even begin to imagine what this might mean for the summer (if it means anything at all).

Now, you might be thinking Really Dan? Really? A post about the weather? Is that what this has come to? And the answer is I have no idea. In all honesty though, this is really an extended lead up to something that absolutely relates to the weather. I promise.

As I wrote above, I’m not a fan of the cold. So, given that spring is pretending to be summer you’ll naturally understand my delight. And how am I celebrating beyond wearing short pants (but not these short pants), and smiling like an idiot as the sun shiny rays hit my face on my walks to, from, and around the school? I’ve decided to book a wee adventure.

That’s right folks, I’ve decided to pack up my bags once again, hop on a plane and fly away from my home. My home where the weather is so amazing that a beach visit isn’t out of the question. And to where am I flying?

The record high temperature for March 21 was set in 1979 - at 15 Celsius. Today we hit 26.

Why none other than chilly2 Calgary, Alberta of course.

Wait. What? 

That’s right dear readers. I’ve decided to head to Calgary to visit Rick again. I’ve opted to leave this weather and fly to Calgary where the temperature was 4 Celsius today. Clearly I’ve lost my mind. But let me explain.

  1. I couldn’t say no to the deal. A seat sale meant a round trip flight with WestJet was only $447.23 (thank you so much @FCPenno.)
  2. Further, I had a $250 credit with WestJet that I had to use by April 20th.
  3. Remember that credit that I mentioned just a bullet ago? I bought that off of someone last year that was trying to get rid of it for $160. Which means my trip was actually $357.23.
  4. I felt the need to adventure, and Rick is my go-to-guy for adventure.

Anyway, nothing beyond running and hiking have been planned as of yet, but I’m sure something crazy awesome will present itself to us (it always does). I can tell you this much – I’ll be heading out for Easter weekend. I fully expect Rick to have chocolate on hand to satisfy my Easter related chocolate cravings. I also fully expect Rick to buy me a Better Than Nescafe beverage from The Coup, since last time we failed epically on this front. But most of all, I expect (and I know) that the weekend will be filled with a lot of fun, a lot of laughter, and some most excellent quality time with that ugly dude I like to go on adventures with (pssst – Rick, that’s you – ZING).

Whatever happens, I know it’s going to be awesome.

1 I write full day of Spring, because spring officially began in the Northern Hemisphere at 1:14 AM (EDT) yesterday – March 20th.

2 I realize that Calgary isn’t always chilly. In fact, by the time of my trip it very well may be the warmer of the two locations.

Pssst – There Is No Cake

Probably the most epic swan dive in the history of swan dives.

Remember the videos of crazy adventure seeking adventurers that I mentioned here and here? You know, the videos by Seb Montaz?

Well, believe me when I write that at some point in the not so distant past I had talked about these movies. Moreover, I had talked about downloading and watching Seb’s documentary I Believe I Can Fly: Flight of the Frenchies. After watching the film – which was amazing – and having been so impressed and exhilarated by his work, I immediately downloaded Seb’s other documentary called One Step Beyond: The True Story of Géraldine Fasnacht. If I thought the first documentary was amazing, the second was even better.

What led me to this decision?

Simple – the second film was better because it had more heart. That’s not to say that the first didn’t have heart – because it absolutely did. But One Step Beyond presented a far more intimate and personal story than I Believe I Can Fly. A story that immediately grabbed me and drew me in. The story was powerful and tragic, beautiful and uplifting, and overwhelmingly life-affirming.

You really can’t ask for much more than that for only $6.60.

Anyway, I can’t stress enough that you should watch it if you have the chance. Seriously. Go watch it now. I’ll wait.

Ya. I want to try this.

Of course, you might be wondering why I’m only talking about One Step Beyond now, after having watched the video over a week ago. Well that’s simple – I forget things. The good news, however, is that I sometimes remember the things I’ve forgotten! Amazing, right? As evidence, I offer you this: today I remembered that I had forgotten to write about One Step Beyond because some thing reminded me that I had forgotten it. Confused? Not to worry – it’ll all be clear soon.

Today I remembered the video because I received an email from Seb Montaz notifiying me that he’d released a new short video – a clip from what will likely be a new movie. That naturally led me to remember that I’d forgotten to blog about One Step Beyond. And now you know the answer to the riddle that’s had you on the edge of your seat with bated breath since the beginning of the last paragraph. Feel free to breathe again.

For your viewing pleasure, I’ve attached the new clip below. I can honestly say that I want to try what these guys are doing in this video.

I’ve also included a clip of a young girl learning to ski jump. It has nothing to do with Seb’s documentaries, but you have to admire the bravery of this kid. Not so much in what she was doing (although, yes, you have to be brave/crazy to do what she was attempting), but in how she prepares herself for the jump. Amazing.

Note to my Mom: if you’re reading this, know that the first clip shows a man making a cake. Yes, that’s it – he’s making a cake. The adventurous part of the video involves him juggling eggs and using real vanilla instead of the artificial stuff. Clearly, there is no need for you to watch the clip.

Note to everyone else: there is no cake. Unless by cake you mean awesome. In that case, the clip is so full of cake, you’ll hardly be able to stand it.

A Little Slice Of Heaven

If these were my muscles, they'd all be super tight and unhappy. I think that means they'd have sad faces. Because tight muscles are sad muscles. Ask any scientician.

I’ve opted not to run this eve.

I’ll give you a minute to recover from that ever so shocking news.

It’s true. I’m not running this eve. My knee feels a bit wobbly from my long run on Saturday, and it’s probably best if I let it rest an extra day before carrying on with my training. As much as today would have been an awesome day to run, I’d rather not injure myself before the season even gets started. Especially since the first of this season’s races is this Sunday – the 30k Around the Bay in Hamilton. Eep!

Instead of running, I’m going to spend some quality time stretching as many of the muscles in my legs as I can. The goal is to reduce the tightness in the muscles (especially in the hip flexors), because this in theory should mean less pulling on my IT band. The less pulling there is on my IT band, the less wobbly my knee feels. It’s all very scientific, and I’m definitely not the scientician to explain the highly technical biomechanical bric-a-brac that provides cause-and-effect pathways from tight muscles to wobbly knees.

All I know is that when I apply gentle pressure to some of the muscles, I can feel the result in and around my left knee. It’s not pain that I feel, it’s tightness. Pain would be a problem. Tightness, if treated properly, shouldn’t be. Tightness like this is rather common for me after a long run – so it’s nothing for me to be alarmed about – so long as I stretch and listen to my body when it says it needs a rest. Like today.

Anyway, this means that I’m currently rolling around on my acuball. In fact, I currently have it “massaging” an extra tight spot in my left hamstring. I write “massaging” because what I really mean is nothing like the gentle relaxing experience that one might normally associate with the word. No, in this case “massaging” means placing the acuball on the tight area of the muscle, then applying as much weight as I can while rolling on the ball. The effect is both painful – breathtakingly so – and, at some magical point in time, releasing. Because at the very moment when the muscle fibres seem to finally give in and relax – well that’s just a little slice of heaven.

And really, that’s all I’m looking for this eve: a little slice of heaven.