Monday, April 14, 2014

Snow Tubing at Sunridge

The final spot of snow in our yard melted away today. Spring has now sprung...or at least a dusty wasteland of brown and grey. It's my least favorite time of year on the prairies.

So...I will take this time to instead call back to one final fun Winter experience that Chrissy and I had this year: Snow Tubing at Sunridge.

On a mid March afternoon with the temperature peaking at a +8 degrees we headed out to the hill to ride Northern Alberta's only dedicated winter tubing park. Before paying ($20 each) we were warned that the runs that day were exceedingly fast from early morning melt on the east facing slope. Of course that only got us more excited as we headed out  to the tube run overlooking the North Saskatchewan River.

Our first couple of runs went well as we got adjusted to the bumps and unstoppable tube rotation. The runs were fast and to keep us from hitting the river they inserted a burlap snow cover and a a couple of crash pad bumpers. 

From the end of the run it was only a short 50 meter walk to the special lift/ride where we hooked up our tubes for a slow ride back up the hill.  I think Chrissy enjoyed the leisurely ride up the hill as much as the quick ride down.

As we arrived early it was only a short queue before it was our turn again. Either way we wouldn't have minded too much as you have your own seat for the wait.

The tubing park had a large cross section of riders on the day we attended. There were of course a lot of kids, but also quite a few 20 somethings and at least 2 other couples on a 'date'. Without sounding too much of a cliche it really is great fun for the whole family.

We'll be back next year!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Turning 35 and Turning Back Time

Last week I turned 35. And with my birthday comes the annual taking stock of my life...and it's a fine life by all accounts: Fantastic loving wife, supportive family, some cool friends, and employment that allows me to make a difference in my community. I have been extremely fortunate.

But am I satisfied? Have I lived fully to match the gifts I have received? Not really...

Last year Chrissy and I talked about a shared general desire to "Be Better".  We didn't attach any specifics to our drive to improve instead we installed it as a mantra that we could use to motivate ourselves against. If we were feeling lazy and wanted to sit on the couch, I could ask myself is this contributing to me "Being Better"?

Of course this is a bit of a loaded question. Is the sitcom relieving stress so I can focus better at work the next day, maybe I'm watching a science documentary, or the news. While I still try to follow the mantra "Be Better" I started to realize that I needed some more tangible goals. The more and more I thought about what it should be the more I came back to the question: How do I feel each day?

A long time ago I used to be an athlete. I loved competition and playing sports to near absolute physical exertion was the greatest feeling in the world. Nowadays, I am an armchair athlete getting out for beer league sports about once a week. Where I was once had energy, and felt fit, flexible and strong, today I just feel...old.

I realized my fitness and in turn my self identity as an athlete, or at least as being fit, would be my specific quest this year in "Being Better". What I needed was a fitness goal.

But what should I set that goal as? I consider myself overweight (~213 pounds) but weight and weigh loss isn't a measure of fitness (an outcome maybe)...I consider myself relatively weak compared to my youth but physical mass and strength on it's own strikes me as vanity....So I did what any person my age who is incapable of making a decision does; I asked Facebook.

I received many great suggestion (which can be viewed here) and evaluated each one in the spirit it was suggested. Eventually, though I would had to make a decision. After much consideration and some research I landed on my fitness goal.

Before my 36th Birthday I will run a 400Metre sprint in under 60 seconds.

Considered the longest sprint in track and field, the strength and endurance training required to the meet my desired time translates well into improving my overall general fitness and enhancing my competency in other sports.

Way back in highschool I remember running the 400 with seconds to spare but today I would estimate that I would probably need an extra 40 seconds. I haven't done an official test time yet, just some rough estimate sprint/jogs (as I can't sprint the whole way).

For reference: In the 2012 Olympics the men needed to run under 45 seconds to reach the finals while the women needed to run under 51 seconds to reach the final.

So now that I have publicly stated my goal to the world at large I better get off my ass and starting working to meet it. I will be updating my progress to my goal as I progress.

Birthday Bonus: With my fitness goal set and Chrissy out of town for work I figured my birthday meal would be a mix of an unhealthy favorite (Drake Sausage) and healthy veggies.

Things I learned from this: phallic food, especially sausage does not photograph well.