BON VIVANT, BAD VIVANT: Born, But Unprepared, To Muffin Run



A motivational quote I appreciate from the Greek poet Archilochus: “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”

But when you haven’t trained at all, like me on the morning of the Lunenburg World Heritage 5km Road Race and Muffin Run, then you fall to the level of your willpower.

On Sunday, June 9, I felt a strong drive to hit the open streets of Lunenburg and see how well I could run five kilometres, despite minimal preparation.

I signed up for the Sunday Muffin Run, a beloved local tradition since 2006, the Monday before the race. 

Over the last several years, I’ve been fortunate to not be in any situations where I actually had to run, and I never went out of my way to run for leisure.

My primary cardio is cycling and playing Dance Dance Revolution at home between work calls. 

And I didn’t have time to prepare for the Muffin Run. It was a busy week.

I spent Tuesday to Thursday at the TechnoSecurity Digital Forensics Conference in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Arrived home just in time on Friday to catch Lunenburg’s 271st birthday at the Academy before returning to work.

Saturday morning, I joined volunteers at a work and learn party building a rain garden at Ne’ata’q, The Food Forest at Bluenose Academy. 

In the evening I presided with Carmen, Issie and Sal over The Barnacle’s Annual General Meeting aboard the Theresa E. Connor schooner in Lunenburg Harbour.

After inspiring conversations with readers and contributors at our AGM, Issie and Sal and I walked up to Bar Salvador, where I enjoyed an incredible Old Fashioned. As we were served our drinks, Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games by of Montreal started playing.

On my walk home, thinking about the 5K ahead of me in the morning, I remembered seeing of Montreal perform at Halifax’s Olympic Hall in 2012. Then, I was a University of King’s College student journalist, proud to be on Alt Lit Gossip’s Alt Lit Players Twitter list for my nihilistic Twitter flash fiction and commentary on the incongruity of life lived terminally online. 

Then, I slept in through the hours that 5Ks are held. Now, I always challenge myself with new experiences, and every day is an adventure.

When I arrived at the grounds of the Lunenburg Community Centre 30 minutes before the race, I was surprised to see dozens of contestants warming up with pre-runs on the outdoor track – “Don’t they know that they’re about to jog another five kilometres?”

I picked up my runner’s bib, and after a warmup led by Matt Kerr of Blue Zone Wellness and Fitness Centre, I waited in line behind about 420 people who seemed completely prepared. 

Folks of all ages had tactical water-drinking vests, crisp shoes, wireless headphones and special belts to keep their phones on them. I felt like Mr. Bean accidentally at the start of a race.

The starting gun went off and I started off on a light jog. It was immediately fun to hit the car-free streets of New Town in a pack of people.

The Muffin Run hits the one kilometre mark on Starr Street. At that point, I felt confident I could finish without getting injured, and relaxed for the rest of the race.

I was surprised to find myself not winded as I hit the halfway mark along the highway by our Back Harbour.

My legs and core started feeling sore as I approached 4 kilometres. I was reinvigorated to see former Lunenburg Mayor Rachel Bailey volunteering to direct racers and cheer us on as we ran up Montague Street. Moments like this – ”the former mayor cheered us all on through the muffin run” – make this town a place I cherish.

The real winners of the race, as far as I am concerned, are the parents who jogged their strollers along the path. A few of these very healthy folks made sure their infants finished the race with a better time than me.

Before I knew it, I was at the finish line. Sweating profusely on failing legs, I found refuge inside the Community Centre, enjoying orange juice and a chocolate chip muffin.

On stage, MLA Susan Corkum-Greek announced to great applause that crossing the finish line was 93-year-old Arnold Robertson, who has participated in every Muffin Run.

My time was 30:29. I placed 257 out of 427, or 19 out of 25 in my Male 30-39 category, which I still have seven years to rise in.

The day after the race, I could hardly walk. It turns out you are supposed to stretch after a run, not just before, which is great information to have for next time.

When you face a challenge for which you have no training, the good thing is – you now have training for the next time you face that challenge.

So here’s to next year, and a big thank you for all of the volunteers that make the Muffin Run a continued success.


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