Sometimes you just need a few days off. Summer hit, and with our schedules being what they were, we just never got around to booking any out-of-town trips for our week off. And then we realized: we live in an awesome city, have an awesome yard, and really just needed some time to relax. This is what we did.
Thursday July 18
Our morning got moving a little quicker this time. On day six of our stay-cation we opted to drive the dog over to her daycare (getting her out of the scorching house for a few hours and) letting us go on an adventure for the better part of the day.
Attack of the Robot Dinosaurs
Just a few minutes drive north of the city, and just outside the small town of Gibbons, someone has converted a small patch of swampy forested farmland into a science-based education preserve. The Jurassic Forest has only been around for a couple years (I think) but in that time has become something of a secretly-whispered-about destination by parents throughout the city. “Have you been?”
We made the drive for the first time, wending about the ring road and navigating up Highway 28 playing games of “Eye Spy” to distract the backseat cargo who didn’t have the patience for anything, it seems.
The cynical-at-heart might have told you that the destination was little more than a nature walk populated by robotic dinosaurs. But we knew better. Our adventure led use through a winding maze of wooden sidewalks, spanning a modern bit of marshland and rolling away on occasion to offer a view of animated thunder-lizards growling and hooting with recorded sounds that were enough to startle a nearly-six-year-old and leave her asking for assurances on the position of “they’re just pretend, right daddy?”
We spent a good hour and a half there, before bailing back to Gibbons for an awesome pizza lunch at a hole-in-the-wall gastronomic wonder called Sal’s Famous… I wonder if they’d deliver to South Edmonton?
strong>Another Grand Water Fight
Back at home the pool was still waiting –significantly warmed by the sun over the past day and a half– as were the hoards of neighbour kids who had probably spent an impatient morning glaring into our backyard and wondering when we’d be home so they could come over and play.
By shortly after two, the water fight had begun.
From out of no where suddenly everyone had a water pistol of some kind, and a couple of the kids were even wielding water assault rifles –no such thing as old fashioned, these days.
As far as I could tell, it was king of the mountain. But instead of a mountain, the ever-more-murky waters of the swimming pool were the mountain, a precious resource to be defended at all costs.
By three, the mother of the two kids, two-doors-down had climbed through the hole-in-the-fence with their third, and three parents were barking orders at who and what was acceptable targets –definitely not the adults– and playing treaty-negotiators in the final climax of the battle.
By four, the water was covered in a layer of grass and clouded by a haze of sunscreen and dirt, and by five I was getting ready to pull the drain on it.
Of course, the evening wouldn’t be an Thursday evening without the standing obligation of leading my marathon clinic in a Tempo run.
I wandered casually over to the recreation centre –almost too casually as I was nearly late– and welcomed our guest speaker who was chatting to the group about goals and motivation, and just being an all-round engaged runner.
And then, with the threat of a dark cloud and possible rain on the western horizon looming, we laced up and trotted our standard route southward to run a tempo run.
Tempo runs are hard to explain: you want to run fast, but not too fast. You want to be tired, but not too tired. You want to train against a specific heart-rate range, but not rely on that as the only factor. See, tempo running is meant to push your body into coping with lactic acid build-up in your muscles. You train your muscles to be better disposers of waste products by pushing it hard, not giving it any breaks, and thus increasing your stamina by a few notches with each attempt.
We run hard for incrementally more time each week. This weeK: thirty-two minutes. And then home for some food, tv and sleep.