Tag Archives: city

Where Did the Running Season Go?

When I look at the calendar, it blows my mind that we are already at the end of what I refer to as “my running season” (typically, the period from March to November) and yet I still haven’t gone running yet this year.

How did that happen? How did a whole running season escape on me?

Thankfully, it’s not like I was sidelined due to injury or anything like that (been there, done that!), but I think we can all agree that 2020 was far from normal for anyone.

Much like every year, when the ice build-up on the wintry sidewalks was melting, making them less of a hazard for slipping and breaking an ankle or a hip (a legit concern for us folks on the cusp of “elderly”), I had every intention of getting out, building up my walking routine and slowly graduating to running.

At the dawn of the Covid-19 lockdown, I was working from home and during most lunch breaks, I was outside walking two kilometres to get some fresh air, sunshine and exercise. In reality, that wasn’t too far off from my routine had I been working from the office. Over time, my pace increased with no noticeable complaints from the legs, knees, hips, IT bands or shins. I felt like I was making good progress.

Over the span of a few weeks, I had just graduated to the walk-run combo for my two kilometre circuit, so I was almost there and planning to increase my distance.

But it was the last minute renovating, staging, packing and preparations for selling the house that threw me off my A-game and my plans went out the window.

In recognizing that my brain was programmed with the “A-type” module, I have spent the better part of adulthood talking myself into toning it down, and only unleashing it when the occasion genuinely called for it. To me, getting a house ready for sale was one of those times to unleash, in the hope of a quick sale and maximum return on investment.

After a number of very late nights, there wasn’t a lot of energy left the next day for a run, even though I recognize that a run could have been a healthy antidote to the stress I was feeling.

Just the same, running up and down the stairs like a gazelle, multi-tasking between home projects and hauling stuff into storage was a continuous workout in itself. When combined with grazing on small meals, I managed to drop ten pounds without really trying.

However, the pace of the transition never really slowed down. I wouldn’t call our house a fixer-upper by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems that it has been non-stop home projects ever since, whether to bring the house up-to-date on scheduled maintenance or adding finishing touches and updates to make the home truly our own.

Some of those tasks were time-sensitive or weather dependent, or both. With my plate at the tipping point of full, when a new project would present itself, I would do my absolute best to see if I could postpone it to 2021 (… I hope this doesn’t come back to bite me later, but apparently I need a new crown.)

And of course, those projects were on top of the regular grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and laundry that can easily fill up a week already.

Plus, under Covid-19, my full-time job never really slowed down. In fact, it seemed even more demanding than usual, which I don’t fully comprehend. But I count my blessings that I still had steady work and a steady paycheque throughout.

I confess, I secretly envied people who felt bored during the pandemic.

It’s not like I was completely without exercise during that time. My loyalty to the PBS program “Classical Stretch” was unwavering, as I made time for 4 or 5 workouts per week. And when it came to fresh air and sunshine, I was spending considerably more time outdoors than I did in my previous home, just from performing routine maintenance outdoors or from walking the cat.

But when I break it down, running was my way of communing with nature while still in the city, by driving to one of my favourite parks and running along the Ottawa River or the Rideau Canal. With the beautiful bodies of water as the backdrop, running had a meditative effect for me and offered a great source of relaxation, sometimes acting like a spiritual tune-up.

In our new home in the country, I don’t feel as strong an urge to escape the city anymore. I enjoy nature every time I set foot outside of our house. And because I don’t feel as jostled by the city’s intensity in energy, I don’t find myself needing to look for the refuge that running has offered me for a good twelve years.

It’s not that I don’t miss running, it’s just that I haven’t craved it as strongly as a stress management tool for city living. Could I still have benefited from it? Yes, of course, as updating a home is not without its share of stress. However, the move to the country has been an interesting period of rediscovery and hitting the reset button on everything.

When things calm down with the home projects, I definitely plan on returning to running. It will be up to me to “re-brand” it, for lack of a better term. Will it be purely for the health benefits, will it be to challenge myself psychologically with new goals for personal bests, or will it be to explore and enjoy the scenery of new running trails closer to our new home? Time will tell.

That being said, running is a bit of a blank canvas for me at this point, and I look forward to seeing where the next chapter in running will take me next year.

 

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Sincere thanks for reading!

Have a great day,

André

 

 

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Filed under Health and Wellness, Running

The Housing Market Roller Coaster (Episode 2)

When my partner first suggested moving to the country some time ago, it really didn’t stir up any apprehensions on my part.

I grew up in a suburb of Ottawa in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, at a time when it had a small town feel to it. In its infancy, our tiny subdivision offered the best of both worlds: the amenities of city living as well as the space for young families to grow and thrive. At the time, it was small enough to have its own sense of community and identity, separate from the city a short drive away.

Even though my memories of “village” life are from the perspective of a young boy, I have often entertained the idea of returning to that calmer, quieter, gentler pace as I got older and as life got more rushed and complicated.

Today, my forehead is chronically bruised from the number of times I smack my palm to my forehead for the idiotic things city dwellers do, whether on the commute to or from work, to deal with the daily reality that common sense is not so common anymore, or for the need to repeatedly set boundaries with certain neighbours (i.e., “No, your dog poop in my yard is not acceptable!”)

This is not to say that moving to the country will completely eradicate these problems, but with less density in population, I’d like to think that my forehead bruises will get a decent chance to heal.

When we went to look at the house in the country that seemed to check most of the boxes of what my partner and I were looking for, I admit that my heart started to flutter. Continue reading

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Filed under 50+, home, Humour

The Housing Market Roller Coaster (Episode 1)

My sincere apologies to my readers for the break between blog posts. It wasn’t exactly planned, but it was one of those unavoidable cases of life getting in the way of writing.

As much as under normal circumstances, my little writing voice always seems to be talking to me, the little writing voice just seemed muffled by the sudden spurt of activity recently.

While I like to think of my writing as a way to feel grounded and a way to feel a sense of balance when things get crazy, there was simply no time nor headspace to work on a blog post, even if just to edit one that was close to finished.

The big event that ended up being the centre of my universe for a few weeks was the process of buying a home, and then selling the one I currently live in.

Regular readers might recall that there have been a number of posts in the last year about my (mis)adventures in home renovations: “Fixing the Eyesore Door”, “Don’t Touch the Walls!”, “Why Watching Paint Dry Can Be Fun”, among others. Those posts were no accident. For the last year, I have hit the fast forward button on home renovations in preparation for this very moment.

Even though I knew it was coming eventually, the moment my partner sent me the link to a house for sale out in the country in an email saying simply “OH!”, something started to percolate in the pit of my stomach. Something told me that this was the one and it was time to pull the trigger on the process.

The housing market is pretty tight these days. To see a charming Hallmark-movie style home out in the country that checked most of the boxes on the list of what we were looking for meant jumping into action. Continue reading

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Filed under 50+, home, Humour, mental health