Category Archives: Not-So-Bucket-List item

Curse You Temple

On the ridge of Mount Lady MacDonald (~2600 metres above sea level) with Rick and Paul.
On the ridge of Mount Lady MacDonald (~2600 metres above sea level) with Rick and Paul.

Mother Nature has foiled us again. After much discussion, plotting, and organization, she decided to throw a huge wrench into our Mount Temple conquering plans. With winter conditions and blowing snow, Rick, Paul, and I decided for safety reasons that we should postpone our Temple adventure until next year.


For those of you who don’t know, this marks the third attempt in three years to climb Temple. It has officially become our nemesis. We shake our fists at you Temple. We shake them long time.

Fortunately, being the easy-going lot that we are, a back-up mountain was found. May I introduce you to the splendor and beauty that is Mount Lady MacDonald – a steep 7 hour hike with an elevation gain of 1.2km right next door to the town of Canmore. The peak offers an excellent view of the town and surrounding area, and it also offers an epic knife-edge ridge walk. On one side of the mountain is a near vertical drop to the valley below. On the other side, a very steep drop to rocks and scree below. To put it another way – a straight plummet followed by death if one were to fall away from Canmore, or a long painful fall across mostly flat rock and death should one fall towards Canmore. Exactly what we were looking for!

Me and Paul at the start of the ridge.
Me and Paul at the start of the ridge.

We started the hike at 10am and quickly fell into a good rhythm. Every so often we’d stop for water or snacks, or to catch our breath given our angle of ascent, or to snap photos of the area. The weather varied from sunny and hot, to cold, cloudy, and windy. Extra layers, rain gear, gloves, and toques were added as necessary. Fortunately the snow and wind that had accompanied us part way up the mountain dissipated, leaving blue sky and sunshine as we reached the summit (about 3.5 hours after we started).

The views were breathtaking. We sat for a time at the top of the mountain taking everything in, comfortably resting in the safety of a small plateau. Of course, we didn’t sit too long before we debated the safety of the ridge walk. The photos we snapped only provide a small sense of what we were facing – vertical to near vertical drops on either side, and only a narrow path to follow. Part of the path looked wide enough to walk on, but other parts were quite literally the apex of a triangle. Walking on these areas would demand that we keep our bodies low to the mountain, finding footholds on either side of the peak to secure ourselves. Whatever lay before us, we knew that one misstep would be more than enough to send us over the edge to a rather splendid end.

After a short rest and after snapping several photos, it was agreed – we were doing this.

Leaning over the edge of the ridge of Mount Lady MacDonald.
Leaning over the edge of the ridge of Mount Lady MacDonald.

I took the first steps onto the ridge and realized pretty quickly that this part of the adventure was going to be amazing. I walked upright for most of the first part of the ridge, getting low where necessary. Rick and Paul followed behind. In some spots I was quite literally straddling the mountain – a required move to figure out where next to put my hands or feet. Looking down to the valleys on either side of the ridge was incredible. With every step away from the security of the plateau I found myself feeling more and more blessed at having the opportunity to experience the world in this manner.

We continued on, pushing further and further along the ridge, inching closer and closer to the end of the path. Of course we snapped numerous photos. When we could we walked upright, moving cautiously but confidently from rock to rock, ignoring the potential disorienting effect caused by our peripheral view of the valleys below.

Sadly our adventure was cut short. In the distance I could see another storm coming towards us. We debated the safety of continuing to the end of the path, but ultimately decided we should turn back. This was probably the smartest thing we did all day. As soon as we reached the safety of the plateau we were hit – ice pellets, strong winds, and cold temperatures. Turning back was very much the correct decision. I can’t imagine what the ridge would have been like if we were caught on it during the storm.

Traversing the ridge.
Traversing the ridge.

We quickly made our descent to escape exposure during the storm. Despite the ice pellets and wind, screeing down the mountain was still a blast. By the time we reached the safety of the trees the sun had returned and the temperatures climbed. We rested for a few minutes, lost a few layers of clothing, and began our long descent back to the car.

To be honest, while we’re a bit disappointed in not being able to conquer Temple for the third year in a row, our adventures really have very little to do with any specific mountain. The time I get to spend in the mountains laughing with Rick and Paul is far more important. So thanks nerds for yet another excellent adventure. We’ll get Temple next year.

I May Have Broken The Law

Yes, I do dress up from time to time.

So just over a week ago I made my way once again to the airport for fun and adventure – this time in the form of a wedding1. In Vegas2.

Having never been to Vegas I really didn’t know what to expect, but this trip wasn’t so much about Vegas itself as it was about celebrating my friends Danny and Erin getting married. And what a celebration. Given the law of the land, I can tell you that a good time was had by all. The food was fantastic, and I may or may not have had a bottle of Laphroaig to toast the newly married couple with3. We also had an amazing room for the reception that overlooked the city.

The day after the night before, some of the party-goers and the happy couple headed off to tour the strip. I won’t say I was feeling perfect, but walking around for several hours, enjoying the blue sky and the fresh air certainly didn’t hurt.

Sadly, the well established law of the land – What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – didn’t seem to hold true for me. I don’t know if it was a result of the cigarette smoke in the casinos4, the jet lag, the time change, the handling of money, the casinos, the slots, the time spent on the plane, or a lovely combination of these, but I brought home some nasty bug. I tried to fight it all week, but by yesterday I was down for the count. Fortunately my friend Danny – the groom component of the happy couple previously mentioned – insisted that I stay home and get better. And so I did. Because he knows things about things.

Fortunately I’m feeling much better today. Whatever evil possessed my body seems to be leaving.

Sadly, I’m left with the unfortunate realization that I broke the cardinal rule of Vegas. I’m going to assume whatever punishment the universe sees fit to dole out will be reduced or eliminated as a result of Friday’s time already served.

1 Not my wedding. Don’t be silly.

2 Which means I can cross off Vegas from my list of travel destinations on my Not-So-Bucket-List list. And given my trip to Florida in January, my trip to New York in February, and this trip to Vegas, I’m 3 cities down on my goal to travel to 12 cities outside of Ontario in 20135.

3 Note: it wasn’t so much a formal toast as it was I drank some scotch in their honour.

4 Ew.

5 Hmmm, I’ve just realized that I haven’t updated my Not-So-Bucket-List list in a while. There are a few other things I can cross off – like travelling to New York city for example.


That’s #2394 To You

30km of pure wholesome running goodness.

So apparently the Around the Bay 30km race is less than 3 weeks away. I realized this at some point this morning when I received notice that I had been assigned a bib number.


A bib number means business – serious business. And today I learned that serious business went by the bib number 2394.

Being the very serious person that I am, my first task was to consider any and all mathematical properties of my number. You see dear readers, if my bib number is bestowed with any special mathemagical properties, the going theory is that those properties will rub off on me. In short, mathemagical properties translate to faster, stronger, more awesome-tastic runs. True story.

Honestly, I can’t even imagine what would happen if the stars aligned and I were to get any of the first n digits of Pi. Can you imagine how fast I would run if I were to get bib 314? Or 3141? Or 31415? Mathemagically speaking, I’d be pretty much guaranteed to win. Math doesn’t lie folks.

Sadly, two, three, nine, and four are not the first four digits of Pi. In fact, the appearance of the string of numbers 2394 doesn’t even show up in the digits of Pi until the 8832nd position after the decimal. Truth be told, I haven’t found anything terribly mathematically special about 2394. I do know that 2393 is prime. And 2394 factors as 2*3*3*7*19, but that’s pretty much it. From a mathematical point of view, that’s equivalent to beige.

What does all of this mean? I think it’s obvious. I shouldn’t expect any sort of mathematical wizardry to get me through this run, meaning that I actually need to put in the work to make sure I’m trained sufficiently. And that of course means that I need to get my ass off the couch and on to the treadmill if I expect to complete the race in any sort of reasonable time.

Clearly I have a lot of work to do. Oh math, why have you forsaken me?


Conquer Your Fears Or Die Trying

Yes, but silly bird – jumping off a ledge is easy to do…

Dear readers, this post is to inform you that I am about to do something really stupid. Again.

I know, I know. I get myself into stupid situations all of the time. How is this any different?

Well in this case I might die. Literally. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of melodrama, but in theory it could happen. Whatever does come of my next challenge, I’m not going to be the same man I am today so in some sense the current version of myself is going to be dead. The hope is that the current version of me will be replaced with a new and improved, stronger and more kick-ass version.

That or I’ll turn into a blubbering pathetic half man.

Regardless – I will be changed.

You see, thanks to the Twitter I’m about to tackle my last irrational fear. I had two. I used to be afraid of heights. That is, I was afraid of heights until I jumped off a 30 foot cliff. Now only one irrational fear remains, and if you’ve been reading along you’ll already know what that is. That’s correct, folks – I’m about to go one on one with my fear of all things eight legged. This will be an epic battle of good and evil. I’ll leave you to decide who fights for which side. Hint – spiders are evil incarnate, and I’m made with pure wholesome wholesomeness and the most innocent of innocence1.

With this impending battle in mind it should be obvious that the probability of me turning into a quivering mass of half man is non-trivial. As evidence, you should be aware that my heart skipped several beats while looking for an image for this post. Not because I purposely googled spiders, but because by googling fear I inevitably ended up with random photos of eight legged creepers mixed in with other fear related images. Excuse me while I GAH.

So when will this epic battle happen? The plan is to conquer my fear sometime during the eve of March 1, 2013. And for those curious, I will have all of this filmed for your entertainment. You’ll either observe the birth of a man without fear, or watch as my psyche is broken into a million little pieces. Either way – the entertainment factor should be through the roof.

Of course, given the potential entertainment value of this endeavour, I’ve decided to turn this into some sort of charity event. Details about this will follow as soon as I figure them out.

In the meantime, I’m going to try to forget all the images of spiders I just saw on Google. GAH.

Special thanks – I think – to Morgan Jackson (@BioInFocus), Nichelle Lomas, and Andrew Young for helping to arrange this. Morgan is a PhD student, Nichelle is doing grad work in the same lab, and Andrew has already completed his degree. For whatever reason the three of them enjoy spiders. I assume this means that the spiders have already taken control of their brain stems. That’s what spiders do, right?

To Dr. Beth – know that I’m not joining their side. I’m only doing this so that I might infiltrate their ranks and take them down from within. If I die, remember me as a sexy sexy patriot and avenge my death.

1 I can hear your laughter as I write this.

It’s Time

AtB – I’m coming for you.

In just over 6 weeks I’ll be lacing up to run the oldest race in North America; Hamilton‘s 30km Around the Bay. If you’ll recall, I ran this particular course last year in 2:53:12, despite fuelling myself with nothing more than a granola bar and a cup of coffee1.

This year, based on the lessons learned from last year’s run, I hope to finish with a better time. Assuming nothing crazy happens during the race, training and eating properly should be the key ingredients to accomplishing this goal.

With this in mind it’s clear to me that I really need to ramp up my training now. With 6 weeks to go, I can’t waste any time; the Around the Bay will be here before I know it. And I can’t forget that I’ve also signed up to run the Toronto GoodLife Marathon in May, and the Niagara 50km Ultra Marathon in June. Even if I don’t add any other races to my schedule between now and the Niagara 50km (which I might), I have a lot of mileage to cover to ensure that I run my best.

In short – it’s time to Suck it up Gillis, it’s time to train.

As such, I’ve drafted up the following rough weekend training schedule. This of course does not include the midweek runs that will naturally be part of the training. Items in bold represent races I am registered to run, while the remaining values represent the kilometres I propose to run over each weekend listed.

  • February 9/10 – 10.0km
  • February 16/17 – 15.0km/10.0km
  • February 23/24 – 21.1km/12.0km
  • March 2/3 – 16.0km/10.0km
  • March 9/10 – 26.0km/12.0km
  • March 16/17 – 21.1km/10.0km
  • March 23/24 – Hamilton Around the Bay 30km
  • March 30/31 – 26.0km/12.0km
  • April 6/7 – 21.1km/16.0km
  • April 13/14 – 24.0km/12.0km
  • April 20/21 – 21.1.0km/16.0km
  • April 27/28 – 34.0km/10.0km
  • May 4/5 – Toronto GoodLife Marathon 42.2km
  • May 11/12 – 30.0km/10.0km
  • May 18/19 – 42.2km/12.0km
  • May 25/26 – 30.0km/10.0km
  • June 1/2 – 44.0km/12.0km
  • June 8/9 – 21.1km/10.0km
  • June 15/16 – 16.0km
  • June 22/23 – Niagara Ultra Marathon 50km

If I keep to my training schedule I should run a total of 714.9km (which includes 16 half marathon distances or greater, and 4 full marathon distances or greater) between now and the finish line of the Niagara 50km, not including the distances I run during the week2. Holy crapshark, that’s a crazy load of kilometres.

Of course, life will inevitably get in the way – so as I mentioned above, this is all very draft form. I just have to keep in mind that I managed to log over 350km as part of my Goofy training. While 700+km seems like a lot of running, it works out to slightly more than double the distance, but spread out over 2.5 times the number of days.

I can do this. I will do this.

But first thing’s first – be warned Hamilton – I’m coming for you.

1 I’m what you’d call not the brightest bulb.

2 Thus I’d be able to cross off Run 1000km in 1 year3, and I could look towards completing the goal of Run 1610km in 1 year. I’d also be able to cross off Run 4 marathons in 1 year, Run a 50km race, Run more than 12 half marathons in 2013, and Run 18 half marathons in one year. I’d also be on my way to crossing off Run 24 half marathons in one year. Crazy!

3 As I’d have run 1066.9km between December 1, 2012 and June 22, 2013. Of course, this is all a very big if. It also doesn’t include weekday runs.


What’s Another 7.8km?

I’m pretty sure this is conclusive evidence that I’m certifiable.

Yesterday I wrote about the upcoming racing season. In that post I indicated that I had signed up to run the Hamilton 30km Around the Bay, and the Toronto GoodLife Marathon in March and May, respectively. There was also talk of running the Chocolate Race in Port Dalhousie, and the Yonge Street 10km. I finished the post by suggesting that I might join my friend Carolyn when she runs the Niagara Ultra Marathon – a 50km run – in June.

Well, after checking my schedule and making sure I wasn’t away for a conference or anything of that sort, I took the plunge. And by took the plunge I mean that I officially registered. That’s right – I’ve decided to finally attempt a 50km (approximately 31.07 mile) run. For those keeping count, that’s 7.8km longer than the standard 42.2km marathon. EEP!

Fortunately, and based on last year’s Ottawa marathon, I really only need to train myself to run about 5.8km longer than my longest run (ha – only indeed). If you recall, last year I had to turn around and run against the tide of marathoners as I was in desperate need of a Port-O-Potty. By backtracking I inadvertently added about 2km to the total marathon distance. And really, what’s another 5.8km?

Anyway, I clearly have a lot of training to do between now and then. Fortunately I know that Carolyn will keep me on my toes and on task, because she’s just as insane when it comes to running as I am. She’s also a giant slice of awesome; which is exactly what I’ll need to keep myself motivated and fighting to crush 50km. It’s not going to be pretty, it’s going to require a lot of work, but I have no doubt that Carolyn and I will do it.

We’ve got this.


Let The Race Season Begin

Words of wisdom.

And so it begins.

Today I registered for my first 2 races of the 2013 running season. Actually, I guess the Donald Duck half marathon and the Mickey Mouse full marathon are part of the 2013 race season, but I’m not counting them exactly.

The first race – at least according to my current race schedule – occurs March 24, 2013. Once again I’m going to take on the Hamilton 30km Around the Bay. I’m looking forward to this particular challenge again given last year’s epic fueling failure. If you remember, I managed to eat only half a granola bar last year, ultimately leading to hitting the wall around the 26km marker. Not my smartest move.

The second race will be the GoodLife Toronto Marathon on May 5, 2013. I thoroughly enjoyed running this race last year and am going to see if I can’t best last year’s time. Fortunately I have a lot of time to train between now and race day to improve my chances of making that happen.

I’m also probably going to be signing up for the Chocolate Run again, as well as the Yonge Street 10km race.

Oh, and just for an extra challenge, I think I’m going to join my friend Carolyn when she runs the Niagara 50km Ultra-Marathon. Because really, what’s another 7.8 km when you’ve already run 42.2?

I may actually be insane. W00t!

The Wanderlust Continues

Where in the world should I go?

So it’s Friday night and I’m suffering a mad case of wanderlust. I’ve been suffering with it all week – ever since getting back from Florida. I’ve been trying to distract myself by watching an Arrested Development marathon, but it doesn’t seem to be working. The most recent episode had me considering a trip to Reno. Yikes.

The worst part about suffering wanderlust is trying to determine where I should go. All week I’ve been toying with ideas. New York City? Costa Rica? London? Chicago? And how long should I go? A long weekend? A week? Longer? Should it be all about relaxing on a beach? Or should it be an adventure filled excursion? Do I go somewhere I’ve never been? Or do I return to a place that I’ve been to many times because I love it and haven’t been back in what seems like years?

About the only question I can answer for sure is whether or not to plan the trip in great detail (once I figure out where I’m going). The answer is a resounding no to planning. I prefer to travel where not much more than my transportation and hotel are predetermined. Adventure has an easier way of finding me if I’m not on a schedule. And we all know how well adventure and I get along.

Anyway, I’m making this trip my top priority for the weekend – I must have a decision by Sunday night. Because wanderlust doesn’t just go away. It’s a beast that just gets hungrier and hungrier – demanding more and more of my time and mental energies. And if I don’t have my mental energies, I can’t do my job. Which means science and statistics will suffer. Which means the collective knowledge of the world will suffer. Which means humanity will suffer. And I can’t have that on my conscience.

So there you have it folks – I travel for the sake of humanity. I’m giving like that.

You are welcome.

What’s Next?

Run Goofy, run.

So now that the Goofy challenge is over, I’ve found myself spending the last few days relaxing, getting massages, visiting the chiropractor, eating, eating some more, and, well, eating1. While none of these things are bad, except for maybe the extreme laziness and gluttony I’ve adopted as a lifestyle2, I’ve realized that I need a new adventure.

Sadly, I’m not exactly sure what it’s going to be.

I assume it will involve travel in February – possibly to London or Costa Rica or insert the name of some fancy place I’ve never been here. It may, perhaps, involve an ultra marathon3 in June. Or more skydiving or edge-walking in the summer. Or perhaps it’ll be something I haven’t yet thought of.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I’m wanderlusting and I have no particular thing to focus those wanderlusting energies on.

And so I leave it to you, dear readers, what should I do next? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

1 I guess I’ve also been working.

2 Some of my favourite deadly sins, in case anyone asks.

3 For those not in the know, an ultra marathon is anything longer than the typical 42.2 km required for a full marathon.


Lonely Treadmill


This may sound weird but I feel like I haven’t been running in ages.


I was getting a massage tonight, and while my hamstrings were being put through the paces I actually wondered aloud Holy hell, why are my hamstrings so sensitive tonight?

My massage therapist put on his Are you kidding me? face and I realized how dumb my wonderings were. After all, he has been treating me throughout the Goofy training process so he was fully aware of the demands it made on the body, and exactly what I was doing this past weekend. Strangely, it apparently slipped my mind.

I may jump on the treadmill tomorrow as I do feel like I’ve neglected it over the past 11 days or so. Granted, I should probably wait until I get some new shoes. My current runners have seen enough miles and enough races that I can safely say they are ready for decommission. In fact, since December 1 I’ve logged over 330 km in my current runners. Crazy!

Anyway, I’ll leave the decision to run until tomorrow morning. I may run. I may not. It’ll be a surprise. Perhaps sitting on my butt is exactly what the doctor ordered. Of course, I won’t be siting on my butt for long – there’s training to do for my next race. Which race is that? I’m not sure yet. But I do know there’s always another race.

Night all y’all.


Elliot Seems Pleased

I should have known Elliot would have enjoyed the fact that I brought home the remains of a bird, a mouse, and a dog.

Well, after 4 awesome days in sunny Florida I am home. While I’m sad to say goodbye to the 25 Celsius days spent running around the Magic Kingdom with Mark, I’m thrilled to be home after having completed another of my Not-So-Bucket-List list items1.

When I arrived home, I was greeted by a very affectionate cat. Don’t get me wrong – Elliot is normally affectionate. Today, however, he was insanely affectionate. He was underfoot so much that I accidentally stepped on him while I was walking down the stairs. Oops.

I naturally assumed that his affection was a sign that he had missed me – or at the very least had missed me giving him treats and changing his litter box. But after offering him treats and checking his litter box, that clearly wasn’t the answer.

Perhaps he really did miss me.

It wasn’t until I unpacked that I was able to determine the true source of his affection. As I separated my clothes to do laundry – colours over there, whites over here, stinking running gear very, very, far over there – I came across my medals which I had carefully packed so as to avoid damaging them. I laid them on my bed in a line – partly because I like orderly things, but also because I was reflecting on the weekend and this seemed the appropriate thing to do.

In short order, Elliot pounced.

It was as if the medals were laced with catnip. He grabbed at them, attempted to bat them around, and bit them. Clearly this was much too fun to ignore, so I put the ribbons around his neck to see if he would pose as a winner. Of course, getting a cat to pose for a picture is like trying to herd, well, cats. Instead, he took this as a sign to play. And play he did.

And that dear readers, is the story of how Elliot approved of me crushing a bird, a mouse, and a dog. Go figure.

1 Actually, I’ve managed to cross off two things from my list this weekend. The first is obviously the Goofy Race. The second is completing three marathons in a year (The Toronto Goodlife Marathon in May ’12, the Ottawa Capital Race in May ’12, and the Goofy Race in January ’13).

RIP Goofy

Celebrating our Goofy Race with Scrooge McDuck.

Despite the blisters and the tight muscles and the overworked hamstrings and quads, I can’t stop laughing and smiling and giggling about today.

Mark and I crushed Goofy.

And it was awesome. Don’t get me wrong – it was tough – but to end a race like that smiling and laughing and feeling as good as we did is amazing.

Today’s Mickey Mouse marathon – the second leg of the Goofy Race – started at 5:30am, just like the Donald Duck half marathon on Saturday. I was amazed at the number of people. A sea of people – of all shapes and sizes. Thousands. All to run 42.2 kilometers through the Disney Parks.

The marathon started with a burst of fireworks and then we were off. Along the way, while weaving in and out of people, we saw some great costumes and some familiar Disney characters. We stopped for photos with a few, including Captain Jack Sparrow, several villains, and the characters of Monsters Inc. We also stopped for photos of random signage, because the signs were hilarious (I’ll post these and other pictures as soon as I can).

The race wound its way through all of the parks. Particularly fun was being able to run through the race track – which was filled with vintage cars and some beautiful (and expensive) new cars. I also enjoyed racing around the baseball stadium.

Mark and I also grabbed a photo with a firefighter from Detroit who ran the Goofy challenge like us. While we didn’t grab his name, he was easy to spot. He ran both races in full firefighter garb – helmet, protective gear, and oxygen tank. Amazing.

Anyway, the race was amazing and painful and difficult and everything that makes a challenge achieved worth the effort. I don’t remember exactly when I decided to take on this challenge, but I’m very glad I did. I think my laughter and smile at the end of the race – my giddiness in the face of physical exhaustion – was a result of pushing myself beyond. A reminder that I can do whatever I put my mind to if I only get off my ass and make the first step. A reminder that I am capable of surprising myself. A reminder that I am an athlete.

Of course, I wouldn’t be here if not for Mark – my running partner-in-crime. Thanks buddy. Goofy wouldn’t have been the same without you. And I can’t wait to see what our next big adventure is going to be.

Finally, thanks to everyone for your tweets and messages. They had both Mark and me laughing, a lot.

Anyway, I’m exhausted so I’m going to head to bed now – with a huge smile on my face.

Night all y’all.

Crushed Duck

Get ready Donald – I’m coming for you.

The first part of the Goofy challenge is complete, and as such I am now the proud owner of this shiny new golden Donald Duck medal.

Ooooooh. Ahhhhhhh.

But dear readers, this is only the first part of my challenge. In about 8 hours, Mark and I will be lining up again for the next 42.2 kilometers of running. If the first 21.1 are representative of the entire race, tomorrow is going to be awesome.

Anyway, I’ll write more about the experience later. For now I need my rest.

I’m going to dream about kicking a certain dog’s butt. That’s right Goofy, I’m still coming for you.

Oh – and if you want to follow along as Mark and I run the marathon, click here. The race starts at 5:30am. W00t!

Sometimes Not Running Is Harder Than Running

After kicking the other two guys to the curb, my Hulk self returns to the computer to review a PhD thesis.

Despite knowing that my last long run before the big race this coming weekend was due to an epic eating failure on my part, and knowing full well that I need to take the next 5 days to rest my legs, I spent the bulk of the day annoyed with myself for being so stupid yesterday. Not only that, but a significant portion of my thoughts were devoted to an internal debate:

Evil Dan: You should run today to make up for yesterday’s failure. I mean really, it’s the only way to redeem yourself. Otherwise you’re just a great big wuss-bag who let a potential yarfing, weakness, and dizziness get in the way of you and a full run. I mean, really – unless you’re dead you should have kept running. 

Not-Evil-At-All Dan (spoken all whisper like): I don’t think that’s a good idea. And I really didn’t feel well.

Not-So-Evil Dan: No! No matter how fat and gross and lazy you feel right now – no running. Okay, no more than 12 km. I mean you do feel fat and gross and lazy after all.

Evil Dan (laughing snidely): Pffffft. Twelve kilometres? That’s not even a challenge. You might as well not even run if you’re only going to do 12. You really should run at least a half-marathon, otherwise you’re just half-ass’ing it. In fact, for being a suck about it, you should probably run at least 24. 

Not-Evil-At-All Dan (the rage quietly building): Um, who said I was being a suck?

Evil Dan: Oh, you’re totally being a suck about it. You’re not even willing to do 12. 

Not-So-Evil Dan: Ya, no kidding. Wuss. 

Not-Evil-At-All Dan (the Hulk rage building): NO NO NO NO NO NO NO! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! SHUT UP! I’m in charge here. You two – shut it. Now you – Gillis – go eat something. And while you’re at it, drink some water.

[Not-So-Evil Dan and Evil Dan make a hasty exit, while Not-Evil-At-All Dan pumps his hulk-sized chest in victory.]

Yes, there are apparently at least 3 versions of my conscience. Two of them are clearly on the wicked side of the spectrum, the other not so much. That version – the latter of the 3 – is like the Hulk. At first he’s all quiet like and such, but push him too far and he erupts in a green-Hulk like rage. Of course all of this goes on in my head unbeknownst to those around me.

And so this went, all day, as if on repeat. Every time the Hulk had to burst forth and kick those other two versions of myself to the curb, they would slowly creep back when I was distracted by such things as reading a PhD thesis, finishing one grant proposal, working on another, or attending meetings. They really are persistant little bastards. Fortunately I stuck to my guns – that is, the Hulk version of me kept the upper hand.

Now I just have to keep doing this for the rest of the week as I rest for the big race. Sadly, this is far easier said than done.

The Future Is Shiny And New

These will be mine.

Today, before I jumped on the treadmill for my second last run prior to next weekend’s Goofy Race, I sauntered over to the mall. The mission – to grab a coffee, and then head to Rogers to investigate an international data plan.

Why an international data plan? you ask.

Well, my goal is to set up a data plan so that I can once again use RunKeeper and my iPhone to track both the Donald Duck Half Marathon and the Mickey Mouse Marathon as I run them. Even better, it will allow me to receive messages from people on the Twitter that will be read aloud as I’m knocking off mile after mile of the 39.3 I need to cover to conquer this challenge.

And trust me, those messages from the Twitter are most appreciated. Every time I’ve received one while running in the past, it has given me a huge energy boost. Given that the upcoming races are in Florida and I won’t have the benefit of an on-site cheering squad, the Twitter comments will be even more important to my success.

Sadly, the Rogers store wouldn’t set me up with a data plan. I haven’t the foggiest idea why they couldn’t or wouldn’t. It seems to me that selling data plans would be one of their prime objectives. Instead I’m going to have to call Rogers and deal with customer service. Yippee.

Deciding that I shouldn’t leave the mall empty handed, I made the bold move to finally purchase a new iPad. Oh so shiny. Oh so new. And oh so small compared to my laptop. I think I’m in love.

Anyway, I’m going to try to deal with the gauntlet that is Rogers customer service tomorrow. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.