Back in the beginning of October, I found myself facing what I call the season of eating. Thanksgiving dinners, Thanksgiving leftovers, Halloween candy, Christmas party dinners (they start in November and increase in quantity up to the grand finale Dec. 25) and New Year's late-night snacking.
Knowing that I would partake in all the season had to offer, whether food or beverage, I decided a pro-active approach was in order.
I would exercise feverishly up until Christmas, stuff my face and emerge unscathed at hopefully the same weight.
But I know myself, and exercising feverishly up until Christmas usually means exercising feverishly for a week, then recovering for the next three weeks with the help of turkey and stuffing.
So I signed up for a five kilometre run on New Year's Eve, aptly called the Resolution Run, which takes place in Calgary. Now there was no backing down.
Fortunately, my roommate also wanted to start running, so we hit the city track a few mornings per week.
We started out slowly, running only a few laps.
My dog started losing weight. Since I used the running as an excuse to eat fast food, I didn't. But I was proud of my little pug.
Slowly, we worked it up to 12.5 laps (which makes five kilometres). It took us 45 minutes, which I thought wasn't bad for the first time.
Somewhere around that time, my boyfriend's sister, Roseanne, who enjoys running marathons, asked who I was running the Resolution Run with. When I told her I was braving it alone, she offered to be my running partner.
I replied, "I'd rather suffer a bout of cholera."
Actually my mind-to-mouth filter caught that comment, and what came out was: "Sure, that would be great."
Now the pressure was on. When I got back to the Battlefords I explained my impending doom to my roommate, telling him we'd really need to step things up.
We decided to run the whole five kilometres every Saturday and run six laps per day during the week.
This happened only three times. The last time, I ran five kilometres in 40 minutes, by myself as my roommate was nursing a hangover.
Then the cold weather hit. We braved the track a few more times, running a few laps then succumbing to the cruel wind, but then the snow got too deep.
My dog would walk halfway to the track, then lift her paws up while giving me the "I'm dying" look. Harley is OK with the cold ground, but deep snow really bugs her. I haven't figured out why, but think it might be because the snow gets between her toes. She would even sit down in order to lift her hind paws out of the snow. My dog would win gold medals in looking pathetic.
I had to carry her to the track, then she would run behind us in our tracks. But it's really hard to run in deep snow.
We decided to run around the neighbourhood instead. This also happened only a few times, because warm beds are better than frozen eyelashes.
Then came the onslaught of Christmas party dinners, at which I still justified stuffing my face because "I had been running in the not-so-distant past."
So, I ended up doing exactly what I didn't want to do: eating lots and not exercising.
It's too cold. I'm sick. Harley wants to sleep in.
The excuses flowed like the gravy I poured on my mashed potatoes at too many festive meals.
Fast forward to Christmas, D-Day minus one week. D for death, in this case.
Boxing Day, I went running with Roseanne for the first time. I panted my way along, while she ran like the Terminator. She made it seem as easy as eating was for me.
I imagined asking her how she made it seem so easy. Her reply would be: "this is what I'm programmed to do. My cyborg body doesn't get tired."
I didn't get to find out though, as I was panting too hard to ask anything.
Finally the day of dread arrived.
Who would've guessed, but I survived. I was somewhat disappointed it took me 40 minutes (and 33 seconds) instead of the 30 minutes I was hoping for, but really, I was carrying the equivalent of three turkeys.
Later, enjoying a justified beer, Roseanne graciously offered to walk alongside me for another run.
"The St. Patrick's Day run is a 5K and a 10K - do you want to try 10K?"
"Sure, that would be great."
I won't tell you what the filter caught.