As the season of excess winds down, and the month of resolutions begins, we sent reporter Nicole Rimmer undercover to the Resolution Fun Run, one of the events in Prince Rupert that helps people shake off the cobwebs of the holidays.
When reflecting on the last days of 2010, I should have been more suspicious when my usually well-informed editor evaded my query regarding the approximate length of the Rupert Runners “Resolution Run,” held on January 1.
“Hmmm. . . I’m not sure. I think it’s from the fish plant to . . . somewhere.”
This vaguely defined distance turned out to be five kilometres. The idea was for me, a committed non-athlete, to complete the run after engaging in the kind of drinking that leads to pledges of perfect and everlasting treatment of the body as a temple after recovering on New Year’s Day.
The last time I engaged in any kind of regular cardiovascular exercise was when I was had a membership at the Prince George YMCA last summer. Usually, I would be the only person under 50 and not recovering from some kind of knee injury using the elliptical instead of a treadmill.
I agreed to do the story, because as a wise person surely once said, “If you’re not making an embarrassing spectacle of yourself at least once a week, then you’re not really living.”
Chris Armstrong conveniently recovered his talent for relaying detailed instructions at the end of our meeting, making sure that I understood Muskeg News wouldn’t cover my bar tab. Let no one say there aren’t interesting work opportunities here in the City of Rainbows: the chance to debase myself in print AND try something new? I was ready to experience my first-ever distance run of any kind.
Before that, though, the first phase of the plan was put into place. It was 12:30 a.m. New Year’s Eve when the band at Johnny B’s started into “Summer of ’69.” I was already drunk enough to be happily nostalgic for the year that neither Bryan Adams nor myself were actually present for in any meaningful way, instead of being filled with rage at the annoyingly repetitive guitar riff – my usual reaction. The way my friend was balancing both a glass of water and her drink while swaying in high-heels struck me with awe, and I resolved to be a more graceful and serene person who does not respond to certain classic rock standards with unquenchable anger.
My first resolution of 2011 was broken about twenty minutes later. While stumbling out of Johnny B’s in the middle of “Maggie May” and hearing my name, I whipped my head around to seek out the cause of a fleeting moment of sobriety.
“Don’t forget Nicole, you have to run tomorrow,” Chris hollered, interrupting my rant about how Rod Stewart should have knocked off and died right after recording his aforementioned hit, because what use has he been to anyone since? Later some cursory notes made during the night surfaced, including such helpful scribbles as “L. looked good in seafood” (one of my friends had rocked a great seafoam-ish coloured dress) and “outside Johnny’s: Chris or Satan?”
Usually the consumption of either crackers or toast is the first hangover prevention measure taken upon after a night out, but I was under strict orders to suffer as much as possible the next day. Before crashing into bed, I somehow remembered to set the stereo alarm clock. In the past, waking up to an upbeat song has helped during those times when the pillow spins beneath my head. Alas, it was that eternally and depressively lovelorn Irish song-smith, Damien Rice, who first greeted me. So, already somewhat hungover and thus not yet able to stand up completely straight, now I wanted to hide away in a cave near Galway or County Cork.
Before strapping on my sister’s winter boots that are at least one size too large for me, I remembered to stretch first. If pretending that posing in a kind of “inert nauseous worm” yoga stance counts as stretching, that is.
The moment of truth finally arrived at noon. I managed to jog the first half of the run, and then alternate jogging and walking on the loop back from just past Kwinitsa Railway Museum to B.C. Packers. It was only after a kilometre or so that I realized I had forgotten to change into my running shoes. Oh well, I thought. This kind of practice could be useful for survival in the next ice-age.
Rupert Runners Club president Bob Cuthbert, when asked how many “fun runs” the club had held in the past, quipped, “They’re all ‘fun runs,’ aren’t they?” Despite the quiet but persistent clanging in my brain coupled with my burning previously-almost atrophied thigh muscles, even I could appreciate his enthusiasm. Two prizes of ceramic Tim Hortons coffee mugs were given to those with the best costumes: club member Paddy Jones in a santa hat and 2 year-old Owen, who came dressed as a dragon.
If I’m still in town in February, you’ll see me at the track. I couldn’t have been in a less-easily persuadable state, but I couldn’t help but be affected by the infectious passion that these runners of all different levels feel. At the fun run, I resolved to beat the kid in the dragon costume, and I did. It’s important to have goals.
Resolution Run co-ordinator Mike Hamilton said the Rupert Runners Club, which was founded by Chuck McTavish and Ray Leonard more than 20 years ago, exists as a way “to promote health in the community.” For the past several years, the club has held a “Learn to Run” program that is specially tailored for those who have either never run or for former runners looking for a way to ease back in.
The 13-week program begins on February 8 and ends the day after the Crest Glory Days Fun Run, on May 8. “Anyone can run,” said Hamilton, “with the proper training.” For more about the “Learn to Run” Program, information sessions are happening at Cowpuccino’s on Wednesday, January 26 at 7 p.m., or Saturday, January 29 at 10 a.m.
~Written by Nicole Rimmer. The photo above shows Ray Leonard keeping pace with his dog Rowell at the Resolution Fun Run.
Patrick Witwicki returns next week.