Change #64 & #65: A 5 KM Run, Blonde Hair and Poutine

Done are the days when I would only lace up my shoes for a minimum 5 KM run. Here are the days when 5 KM will kick my butt. 

I ran 5 KM today. Well, according to my watch 4.91 KM. I will not reach my  objective now, to reach 36 KM as per originally stipulated in my training schedule that I created at the beginning of this month. (I am delusional most of the time, but sometimes you must admit it is too, too late.) My objective now is simple – come ill-prepared for the Hypothermic 10 KM run on Saturday (that’s right, it’s 1 week from today) but try not to break anything or die on the course.

My run today was to be 7 km as this would give me a good indicator of how terrible I will feel after the run on Saturday. (It would be 70% of the course.) But as usual, after my walk with my friend and her two dogs, as well as my old faithful Hershey this morning, I made the catastrophic mistake of settling in front of my computer to revise the first 10 pages to the second part to Dragon in the Mirror while thinking it won’t take that long. (Dragon in the Mirror was a short story I wrote last year. I originally thought the story would be a single story, but it’s been well received, and I now have an idea for a second part.) Nonetheless, the 30 minutes I allotted turned into 45 minutes, and then there was 20 minutes fussing with trying to locate my watch, my ID band, and my MP3 player. And as I had a hair appointment at 12 PM, the run was cut short. AGAIN.

5KM it was. As I ran I felt tired, but I only had 40 minutes to complete the run. I ran it in about 37 minutes and change. Apparently if I have poorly managed my time, I can hustle and run quickly if I have somewhere else to be. I know, it’s slow. But for me, it’s in keeping with about the average time I have previously completed 5 KM in with training.  Given my complete and utter lack of training, and my inability to complete more than 3.5 KM in the last month, I thought the time was good.

What wasn’t good, was the fact that I felt exhausted afterwards as I “faked” stretching, tried to hustle through my shower, to Starbucks, and  could barely focus as I drove across the city to my hair appointment.

I incredibly arrived at my hair appointment at the Hair Co-Op that is located on Bank Street with 10 minutes to spare. Caroline is a woman who was originally my hair stylist, but now I also rank her as my friend. I have known her for more than a decade and she has seen me through my father’s cancer, my brother’s accident, and later my brother’s death. As I arrived, Caroline greeted me as warmly as ever.

But I had failed to warn her about what I planned.  I meant to text her to say, it will be different this time. There is a plan for something bigger. Something different. Something WAY outside of my comfort zone. The text never happened. And all I thought was, I’m simply getting “a colour”.

As we made our way to the back of the salon I asked her in a cautious tone, “Did you mix it already?” (That’s right. Don’t mock me. I get the same colour every single time. Although, a couple of times I did highlights.)

She said, “No.”

And I answered that was good, because I wanted to go blonde. I, in an I’m-in-charge-manner, flipped open the book to see my colour options.

Caroline asked me, “Do you know what’s involved?”

My head popped up. All I thought was, what’s involved? It’s colour. It’s yellow colour. That’s it. That’s all. 

She  said it would take a bit longer, probably 2-3 hours. I sat in a chair and looked at my hiking boots, contemplating. In my mind I saw the words that are written on the walls of the Tube in London. The words, WAY OUT. (Translation – EXIT.)

I was already starting to buckle. My child-self had returned. I was afraid. I had no scheduled appointments after. I was not meeting a friend. But, it seemed like a good excuse. The good old-fashioned, time excuse. My fallback. The one I picked up and waved the white flag too whenever I failed to do something.

Then she asked me, “Do you have anything scheduled after?”

I said, “No.”

As she sat beside me she asked,”Did you want to go full blonde? Because we could just do highlights?”

I sat in the chair and continued looking down at my hiking boots and thought, WAY OUT.

And then I said, “We should probably do blonde. I’m doing it for my blog. I’m suppose to do things that make me feel uncomfortable. And, it’s just hair”

Caroline smiled at me and said, “OK. ” She proceeded to go off to do the first mixture. (It’s a 3-step process. Does everyone know that? 3 Steps. Minimum.)

This woman knows me, and knows me well. She’s watched me rotate between the same two hairstyles for almost a decade, watched me barely give an inch in terms of colour preference, and it took some doing on her part to convince me to get highlights. (I loved them, by the way.) She understands me and gets me. And I absolutely trust her.

As she lathered my head with the first solution, she explained the process. Now, I was somewhat traumatized as I sat there wondering, what am I doing?  How will I explain this at work?  but the general process was like this: do the edges with some stuff, then do the scalp separately (I have dark roots), and finally put the colour in.  Later as she watched me carefully, she reassured me not to panic. Because she was taking the colour out (this would not be my colour) and then she was going to put it back in.

When she popped off the plastic cap after the first step, I saw white streaks with dark roots. IT WAS DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT. I would by lying to you if I said that I didn’t want to jump up and run out the door. I could see the headlines now:


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And I told her at one point I thought this.  She laughed.

The problem is once you’re in the middle of something like colouring your hair blonde, and you commit to it, you have to follow through.

Caroline was my counselor through this process. She took the time to explain each step, reassured me repeatedly, this is not your colour, and warned me that when she applied the stuff to my scalp it may tingle a bit. (That it did.)

(Did I mention how wonderful she was? And how I completely messed up her day with the much longer appointment that I planned, that I never told her about?)

When she revealed the final hair it was blonde. She trimmed it, styled it, and now in the short time frame of 3 hours (my appointment started at noon) I was a blonde. I liked it. But like all major changes, it takes time to adjust. To settle.

As well, something bothered me. And I realized it almost right away.

The mistake I made was not doing my make-up. I am religiously lazy about NOT doing my make-up. Can’t be bothered most days. And here’s the thing about being me and not sleeping enough, not eating right, and most days – not exercising: I look tired and haggard all the time. When you have dark hair, like dark clothes, you can hide.  With blonde hair, there’s no hiding. YOU ARE OUT THERE. Whether you want to be or not.


It’s funny though, as soon as I applied some lipstick it made all the difference in the world. Maybe that’s the reason why blonde’s have more fun. They have to make the effort.

I spent a little time after my appointment downtown and then went home. My hubby looked at my hair and said he liked it. (YEAH!) Afterwards, we headed downtown together for date night.

I have never had poutine in my life. And today was to be the day.

Actually, yesterday was to be the day – but hubby and I were both tired so we forfeited it and rescheduled to today.  We went to the Elgin Street Diner and ordered the standard poutine. (They had other varieties, but as I had never had the basic, we thought we should start there.) The poutine arrived with cheese curds and gravy that sat on top of french fries. Hubby and I split one plate between the two of us.


The poutine was alright, but I did not love it. It simply tasted like french fries, gravy and cheese. It was reassuring to know that I wasn’t missing anything in all my years skipping poutine.

That be done – I completed two changes today:

  1. Go blonde or go home
  2. Eat poutine

Mission accomplished, I vote today a success.

And what of the 5 KM run? I failed the challenge of completing 36 KM of scheduled training before the race. I plan to do at least one more 7 KM (maybe 8) before race day and that’s probably it for “training”. One post has already been removed from this blog, so we’re even.

And for those who run that ask, but you are to taper this week? Trust me on this: I need not taper, as I never trained.

Don’t be fooled. Beneath the Goldilocks hair, lies the goofy brunette that mimicks her canine-child, Hershey’s face that he makes as he waits for cheese to be dispensed.



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