Slippers for Sneakers

It takes a village to get me off the couch.


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One Long Trust Fall

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It’s been a while my friends. My excuses are lame and too many in number so I’ll spare you. The thing to note here is that we have hit the 10 day countdown to race day. 10 MORE DAYS.

I could describe the way I’m feeling in many words, the most popular choices being: excited, nervous, exhausted, stressed, anxious… Whoever chose to run a marathon the same week as they were moving (with a few days of nowhere to live included), starting a new class, and traveling out of state is a real winner. Oh wait, that was me.

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At least once a day I am asked how I’m feeling about the race. Am I getting excited? Am I nervous? Am I ready? I know these people are looking for just as short of an answer as if they had asked “how’s it going?” but here’s what I really want to say:

To look back and know that I have dedicated the last four months entirely to one distant goal is astounding to me. The last time I committed to anything for more than a few weeks is probably when I was undergoing cancer treatment and that wasn’t exactly a choice, but a necessity. The best way I can describe what this feels like is a trust fall. A four month, exhausting trust fall.

I’ve have to spread my trust quite thin. I put my trust in myself to know that I had the willpower to get up at 5am or go outside in negative temperatures and run. I had to trust my body to heal the blisters and stay upright a few hours into a run and not allow my legs to give out when it felt like I couldn’t take another step. I put overwhelming trust in my support system to pick me up when I was down and push me to keep going and to tell me I could do it when I had already convinced myself that I couldn’t. And let me tell ya, they were there for me in spades and then some.

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The overwhelming part of a trust fall is the anxiety, fear, and rush that comes from wondering if you will actually be caught at the end. The moment when you’ve past the point of catching yourself and there’s no turning back. That anxiety has caused me sleepless nights, emergency mid-run bathroom breaks, and many tears. Can I do this? Will the weather screw us over? Will I be ready???

Some days I feel ready and some days I don’t. I’ll have a terrible run and be sure I can’t do this but Coach Bob will tell me that it was great that I had a bad run today because today isn’t race day. No matter how ready I feel or don’t feel the end is near. I WILL be running a marathon. I have put hard work and heart into this. And I can’t wait to sleep in on the weekends again.

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Race Report: Unplugged Half Marathon

The motto was simple: no frills, no hills. There are no awards, no medals, no swag, no bling, just free beer and nachos at the end. What more could you ask for?

As I mentioned, I decided midweek that I would run this race on Saturday, so there wasn’t much in the way of prep for this one. In fact, I stupidly agreed to go to a boot camp class on Thursday, which kicked my ass and left my legs sore for days. I guess I went for the opposite of prepping.

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Did scope out the course though.

Coach Bob and I set a goal of 2:20, which we thought was attainable but would take some serious pushing it. I clocked in at my last half back in October at 2:27. This would be a big jump to say the least. I wasn’t so confident though. Even as I was standing at the start line, FREEZING, my legs still sore from too many squats and wall sits, I wasn’t sure I would make my goal.

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The start of the race snaked in and out of some cute neighborhoods where people were doing more appropriate, relaxing weekend activities like raking the lawn and day drinking. As usual, I failed to follow Coach Bob’s advice and ran my first few miles at a much faster pace than I had planned. I was thinking that a burnout was inevitable and I would be hitting the wall around mile 8 or so.

By mile 5 my pace hadn’t slowed. At this point I started passing people and never stopped until the finish line. My pace altered by 15-30 seconds here and there as the miles ticked on but my time remained well below my goal. I was surprised how fast the miles were passing. Despite the wind and the cold, the race was almost enjoyable. Around mile 9-10 is when I realized I had ample time to finish and hit my goal. All that training has truly paid off.

At mile 11 is where we came across some real life LARP-ers whose leader instructed the opposing sides to “DRAW YOUR WEAPONS!” and gave me a much needed boost in the last few miles. When I came back 2 miles later and saw most of them writhing on the ground, missing limbs, and still trying to slay their opponents, I felt their pain. But I pushed it all the way to the finish line and left no shred of energy behind.

The supporters at the finish line fueled the fire. I heard things like, “look at that smile!” and “way to finish strong!” I was excited, ecstatic, and so thankful to be finishing! Although the race photos don’t exactly convey the same message…

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Thank god Main Squeeze was there to capture my real feelings at this moment…

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I crossed the finish line at 2:14:55, just over 5 minutes faster than my goal. And a whopping 12 minutes faster than my last half marathon. The word elation doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings. That tangible form of accomplishment and progress means so much to me. It means that all of the early mornings and negative temperatures and sprints were not for nothing. When it comes down to it, it means I’m capable of more than I thought I was and I am feeling truly prepared for the marathon.

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Beer at the finish line definitely makes you want to run faster!

 Just over 5 weeks to race day!


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Spring has Sprung?

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Multitasking is essential!

It’s just about 6 weeks to race day and it couldn’t come soon enough. Everyone around me has been saying “May 24, that’s right around the corner!” But to me it seems like I’m waiting for next Christmas…and it’s only December 26. I told Coach Bob I was in a training slump and having a rough week to which he responded “weren’t you having your rough week last week??” I guess it’s an ongoing slump.

Buuuuuut, a few things have happened in the last week that have put me on a upswing from this slump. First, I knocked out a 10 mile run at a pace that was over 30 seconds/mile faster than what I was shooting for. Sure this is great news and all, but what really made it an epic moment was the fact that I was literally running into the sunset to the tune of Chariots of Fire as I crossed the non-existent finish line. The lighting was gorgeous. And the timing of the tunes was priceless, especially considering I was listening to a podcast that doesn’t typically play music. It was a thrilling moment to say the least and was a solid example of that “runner’s high” that everyone blabs on about. It is real my friends.

IMG_3118Running for hours at a time isn’t terrible when this is your view! Also, I think I found my next sports venture. FYI, that guy is on skis. Right up my ally.

Next, I set out for another long run; this one just under 14 miles. Not bad for a lazy Sunday. I was right on with my target pace the entire time and felt a great sense of accomplishment when I finished. But the point that I totally glazed over as I was in the running zone was the moment when I hit 13.1 miles a whole 6 minutes faster than I had when I raced my first half marathon back in October. Progress at it’s finest, folks.

Speaking of half marathons…I picked one up this weekend. The fact that is it absolutely normal and feasible for me to decide on Wednesday to run a half marathon on Saturday is still blowing my mind. Not gonna get over this one for a little while…

Lastly, I knocked out an entire whole enchilada workout, outside, in 66 degree weather! Minus the fact that the ground was sopping wet, it was gorgeous!! And then this happened…

(null)Thanks a mil Vermont….

IMG_3166It is APRIL.


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Fifteen Miles of Feelings

I officially ran more than I ever have in my life. A whole 15 miles, all in one go…as I had to clarify to many people that didn’t understand and thought I was crazy. But they were right, I am crazy, and running 15 miles in 15 degree weather with 25 mph winds definitely solidified that fact.

A lot goes through your mind when you’re running for that long. And it was not a particularly good running day for me so I was out there for a looooong time. Here’s the general gist of how things went:

The Start: Damn, it’s colder than I thought. I really wish I had worn an extra layer, or a face mask, or a sleeping bag. But I’m outside, on my way to running a butt load of miles and it’ll be over before I know it…just as my running app reports that I have completed 1 whole mile. Maybe this will take longer than I thought…

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The Middle: Guess what? It’s still cold. In order to get in 15 miles my route is twisting and turning all over town and I have to chant the street name of my next turn in my head so I don’t miss it and tack on extra miles. I’m also going from headwind to shelter to headwind to sidewind to shelter and on and on with every turn. Most of the puddles on the sidewalk are frozen and I try tip toeing over them until I slam my foot down into a puddle of slush that is NOT frozen. From then on I’m on and off the sidewalks to dodge around the puddles. This causes me to run over some once thawed now frozen mud, littered with deep footprints from a warmer day that I now trip over causing me to spastically lurch forward nearly face plant into the ground. How many more miles to go???

The Middle Continued: I think I have entered a state of delirium. My legs are swinging like a pendulum that I no longer have control over. I think I took a wrong turn and I’m not sure where my current path is leading me. Oooooh look a field of horses! I wonder what it’s like to be a horse. They run so fast… Why don’t they have those horse blanket things on?? It’s STILL COLD.

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The END: I am listening to a podcast about heroes. These ordinary people who did something extraordinary for someone else who was in danger. I feel like a hero myself. Except that I put myself in this ridiculous situation and I am going to have to “rescue” myself to get out of it. The miles are counting down. I’m kicking myself for choosing a route that ends with a slow and painful uphill stretch. The voice on my running app is so freaking obnoxious, but then she says, “Distance 15 miles” in the most beautifully robotic voice I have ever heard and I wish I could hug her and never let go.

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Post 15-mile selfie. Never looked better.

 

 

IN OTHER NEWS:

I have found the outfit I will be running the marathon in…

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And I am 0 for 3 in remembering to bring normal socks to the gym. Hiking socks for the win.

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The Whole Enchilada

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It’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve last posted and if that’s not an indication of how simultaneously busy and utterly exhausted I am then I don’t know what is. The days have been going by in a blur. When that starts to happen and you finally stop to take stock of the last few weeks that have passed by you tend to remember the good times….or the really bad times. Luckily, in terms of marathon training it’s all been pretty good but that hasn’t stopped the tough days from sticking out in my brain like a sore thumb.

One such day that sticks in my mind is a day that Coach Bob titled “The Whole Enchilada”. As well as I know Coach Bob (his is my father after all) I know that a workout with a funny title will not be fun and sure as hell will be a lot of work. So I went into it will a barely open mind, a slightly ajar mind is more like it.

It went a little something like this:

  • 10 min warmup then…
  • 8 x 2 minutes tempo run on treadmill with following in between:
    • 30 bicycle crunches
    • 25 squats
    • 20 lunges
    • 15 pushups
    • 10 long arm crunches
    • 5 burpees

My first thought was “oh, not too bad,” I texted him to confirm that I was supposed to do 2 mins tempo run, then the crunches, then 2 more mins, then the squats, and so on. I could almost hear the snickering from a few thousand miles away when we told me good try, but it’s 2 mins tempo run, then crunches THROUGH burpees, then 2 more mins and so on. EIGHT TIMES.

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Unreal. No thank you. I should have slept in instead.

It went well until I got to about the third time through. I could only manage to pump out 10 crunches at a time, then splay out on the mat like a starfish for a few seconds, and then keep going. The lunges were slow going. I powered through the squats since I was directly facing the window whose reflection gave me a perfect view of a man doing squats with about a million pounds of weight. So I guess I could tough it out and make it through my weightless squats.

I made it through the sets five times before I felt a pretty significant pain in my right hip and honestly my butt, I guess I should say glute to be more official about it. But seriously my ass was killing me. It was pretty bad during the tempo runs and worse during the crunches. I thought it was a good time to call it a day.

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Sat down to have a nice stretch. Any guesses as to which part of my body was on this mat??

I managed to fit in:

  • 150 bicycle crunches
  • 125 squats
  • 100 lunges
  • 75 pushups
  • 50 long arm crunches
  • 25 burpees

…all before 7am. Not bad for a day’s work. I hobbled out of the gym feeling a bit let down that I didn’t finish. I couldn’t say that I did the whole enchilada. I had a partial enchilada. So I decided to drown my sorrows and fill myself up by taking myself out to breakfast. I may not have had a whole enchilada but I had a part of an enchilada and a delicious breakfast sandwich, starting my day feeling pretty accomplished.

Now if only I could walk normally again…

 


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Speed Racer

The weeks of marathon training keep rolling by. I’m feeling the impending doom of burnout but right now, in this moment, things are going well and I’m feeling great. I may not be singing the same tune after my long run this weekend, but I’m living in the moment!

giphyI bit the bullet and have joined a gym. I’m not happy about it, but it is what it is. The average temperature in February was a whole 7 degrees. SEVEN. And I was out there fighting the cold and just barely winning all month long. Now I’m treating myself to the luxury of a warm, cozy gym where the judgment is high and the treadmills are loud.

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The Dowager judges you.

The last few weeks have incorporated plenty of speed work. At first I absolutely hated it and didn’t understand why I needed to do speed work. Clearly, the obvious next step was to ask Google. This article summed it up in just enough words before I got bored and moved on. It boiled down the main benefits to this:

  1. It improves your running economy. Essentially, shorter, faster repeats train your body to burn less fuel while going further. It’s like getting better gas mileage.
  2. It breaks up the boredom. Distances runners have to run a lot, and it’s more fun to try getting some speed in, knowing it will make you faster overall.
  3. Short, fast repeats allow you to insert some volume of running at a pace that is significantly faster than race pace. If your goal is a 9:00 / mile, you’ll do workouts at 8:10-8:50 / mile, which allows 9:00 to feel easier.

So at least I know now that Coach Bob isn’t just making me do tough, painful workouts for purely torturous reasons. Doesn’t make me enjoy it any less. Buuuuut, when I’m done with those speed workouts and I’ve run faster than normal and I didn’t die or fall of the treadmill or puke or cry, I feel like the most badass chick on the planet. So they can add that benefit to the list.

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Awwww, thanks Demi!

My longest run yet, 10 miles, is slated for this weekend and I’m excited and nervous. It’s been a while since I’ve run that kind of distance, I hope I remember how to cope. Here’s hoping!

Anyone else incorporate regular speed work into their training? Likes, dislikes? Do you feel the benefits?

Happy Weekend All!

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Marathon Training: Month One

bible-motivational-quotes-2One month down, three to go. This week marked the three month countdown to race day. Even though I was already counting down the days it’s seems a bit more real now. This week of training I will be racking up just about 26 miles on my feet. The fact that a few months from now I need to run the same distance in just a few hours is a bit frightening to say the least.

The last few weeks have been following a pretty normal schedule. Some running here, some spinning there, a strength day somewhere in there, a rogue yoga day once in a while. It’s been almost enjoyable. But this week Coach Bob laid down the hammer. He said those things are great and all but it’s time to start stepping up the running and “building a base,” which I will choose to believe he made up just to torture me.

This week included a speed day on the track, a speed/distance day, as well as two days labeled “easy day” that involve running 8 miles…each day, not total. How is running 8 miles easy? Maybe to the freaks of nature that run 7 minute miles but I believe that they are merely illusions.

Just last week the exhaustion hit me. It was a long week of training and work, plus we had some wonderful visits from family and friends. By the end of the week I had nothing left. I was dead in the water at my weekly broomball game and it took a special kind of motivation to head out for a 6 miler when I could have slept another 30 hours. Needless to say, when I saw that this week the running was ramping up I was less than thrilled. I believe we have entered the zone of sacrifice.

When I called Coach Bob to complain of extreme exhaustion in hopes that he would cut me some slack he did not such thing. He instead told me that it was time to think about what was important and, if needed, to cut things out to have more time to do other things. I know he was referencing broomball, but that ain’t happening, Pops. But I did some minor soul searching as well as commiserating with Bro-nami and felt much better. Bro-nami reminded me how great it will be to cross the finish line and to remember that you’re not alone. Because when you’re outside on a long run and it’s -10 and you hate everyone and all you want to do is crawl into bed, the moment you pass another runner you KNOW there are out there training for the marathon too. No one else would be crazy enough be running in these conditions. Here’s to three more months of training and less than a month til spring!

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I’ve been there buddy.


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GTL, minus the T.

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This Valentine’s day weekend left me down in the dumps. Even though I have someone to celebrate with these days, I still think this “holiday” is a load of crap. Plus, our only plans on this lovely day of affection and overspending on chocolate were thwarted by my useless heap of a car. So basically the weekend was off to a wonderful start!

Then I checked the weather for Sunday, the day I was meant to be on a run for an hour and a half. I was hoping for a balmy 30 degrees, no wind, sunshine. And this is what I got:

IMG_2999In case you didn’t catch all of the important parts, I’ll point them out to you. “Bitterly cold,” “…as low as 40 below,” oh and this one is my favorite, “frostbite…in less than 15 minutes.” So it was either flake out and hit the Netflix hard, or come up with another solution. My annoying conscious won and I found myself Googling a day pass to the gym.

Although I just expressed my disdain for running on a treadmill, I didn’t really have a choice on this one. I thought I would just add it into my daily errands just before heading to the laundromat. Didn’t exactly go as planned. After driving to the next town over (where a day pass there was a whole $2 cheaper) I was informed that they closed at 3pm. It was currently 2:10pm, so that wasn’t going to work. I headed back into town, coughed up my extra $2 and hit the treadmill.

Worst part of the experience was that I forgot headphones. Of all the damn times to forget. I had to be in an enclosed room with other people (I hate other people) listening to them grunt and sweat and, if you’re the guy next to me, belch. Lovely. I also was forced to watch rugby on TV, which I don’t understand, and read the subtitle which drives me nuts.

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I did not sign up for this machine.

Lastly, the treadmill told me I was the slowest human on Earth. I sped the belt up to what I thought was my usual pace only to see that it was telling me I was going over 2 minutes slower than my normal pace. Give me a break! I couldn’t figure out how to add more time and all my button pushing stopped the belt twice. Plus, I had to stare a a million different signs and people glaring saying I should only be on the machine for 30 minutes. GET OVER IT, I’m staying on here for 90 minutes. I clearly know the ins and outs of gym etiquette.

On the way out I had a small uplifting moment when I stopped to rummage for my keys and got to read what all the kids at the after school program said Valentine’s day meant to them. And this is what I was graced with:

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Stacy, you have my heart.

I was so dehydrated from running in a heat box with strangers and extremely hangry after this run that I felt sick and worn out. The laundry was not happening. This day of GTL turned out to be a GES, Gym, Eat, Sleep. And I am perfectly fine with that. This experience made me absolutely LOVE my 5:30am run this morning with a temperature of -5. Bring it on Vermont!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY SUCKERS! 🙂


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5 Reasons You Should NOT Do a Cleanse While Training for a Marathon

I love junk food of almost any kind, this much we know. The frequency at which I bring up ice cream alone is sometimes unbearable. It seems that my eating habits as of late have gone WAY off the deep end. Any baked good, sugary treat, or greasy goodness in my general vicinity was being shoveled into my mouth. So when I saw that a friend of mine was organizing a clean eating cleanse I thought this would be a good chance to get back on the right track and stop eating so much CRAP. I jumped on the bandwagon. I am currently on day 4 of 7. As Bro-nami told me, “You just have to get over the hump of the half way point, and then stay struggling, stuck on the hump until it’s over.” TRUTH. It has definitely been eye opening and I know that I am eating healthier but the benefits end there. And so I give to you the top 5 reasons (because surely there are many more) NOT to do a cleanse, especially if you are in the midst of training for a marathon:

1. Being in a constant state of hunger. I have come to believe that there are not enough hours in the day to eat enough of what I am allowed to feel satisfied. The word hanger has been thrown about pretty much hourly. As described in the video below, I have definitely exhibited all of types of hanger in only 4 days! That must be a record!

2. Taking grumpiness to a whole new level. I think I can speak for everyone I live with, work with, or have interacted with at all in the last for days that the hanger I am feeling has made me into a supreme bitch. Anytime someone mentions a food I’m not allowed to eat, my first and only reaction is to scream, “HOW DARE YOU. I AM ON A CLEANSE,” give or take a few expletives. After making brownies in the house the other night, B-Bop is lucky to be alive. It’s best just to steer clear of me til Monday.

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Look at me all excited the night before day one! Meal preppin’ like a boss.

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And now I want to punch everyone in the nose.

3. Extreme amounts of tupperware. In an attempt to eat as much as possible I have been bringing copious amounts of food to work. My poor, cute lunchbox has been forcibly packed to the gills until I realized that I had to expand. It has been rendered useless…

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4. No energy to speak of. I’m pretty sure I have been functioning at the lowest possible energy level just above being asleep. I’m tired at 10am, noon, 2pm, and everywhere in between. I’m not even sure I’m actually awake right now…

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5. Working out is TOUGH. I went for a run today and just felt like lying down on the sidewalk. My average pace was 1:30 over my target for this run. Thing is, I couldn’t move my legs any faster. I was trying but they were giving me nothin’.

But hey, I’m over the hump right? Or I’m at least on it and riding it like a camel all the way to Sunday at midnight where you can find me here:

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Canada, eh?

IMG_2965We took a road trip up to the great white land we like to call America’s Hat, also known as Canada. It was part vacation part business as I was there to play in a pond hockey tournament. We lived it up on Friday, hitting the Biodome, a hipster brewery, and a magical place called Poutineville, where we had to wait for a table at midnight and Main Squeeze ate a bowl of poutine that was twice the size of his head. Good times.

On Saturday, we got down to business and headed to the water for the tournament. There were eight rinks set up on the ice, yes eight! While there were only four women’s teams there were many many more men’s teams, so eight was enough.

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This was obviously my favorite team name. Although “The Eh Team” was a close second.

Day one of the tournament lined us up with three nearly back to back games. Our first was against a bunch of division one hockey players and one Olympian, so I’ll refrain from sharing that score with you. The games were tough. We only had one sub and we were breathing (read wheezing) hard the entire time.

IMG_2989We ended day one with two wins and a loss, putting us through to the next round. We woke up on Sunday ready to forfeit. The final game was against the first team we played and we knew it would be a blowout. Not to mention we were in Canada and it treated us like the Americans we were. It was -18 with the windchill and had snowed all night. After 10+ minutes of 10+ people shoveling snow off the rink we started the game. The snow drifts built up immediately. It was more a game of “where the hell is the puck?” than an actual game of hockey. You would have it on your stick, lined up for the perfect pass, but then it would be gone, either in a snowdrift or sailing off into no man’s land. Let’s just say the surface was less than favorable.

IMG_2990Although, our last game was not the best experience of our lives the tournament itself was a great time. The culture of all the players sitting around drinking Molson, Americans shit talking Canadians and vice versa, real and fake mullets abound, was an awesome one to be a part of. We came in second, even if there were only four teams in our division, but we did way better than we had hoped.

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Real or fake mullets? You decide.

While the hockey was great and all, Main Squeeze and I made sure we ate at some of Montreal’s finest establishments. Hands down the most important part of the weekend was the fact that we ate this:

IMG_2973Yes, that is a bowl of melted chocolate. And yes, that is two scoops of ice cream on top of a waffle. Thanks Canada!