I’m 50! Now what?!?

My last post was March 29. I was 49. I can’t believe it’s been a whole month without a post. April flew by so fast. What happened? Well, I turned 50!!!

My birthday week in Phoenix was fabulous. Friends, sun, shopping, golf and fun! I went to Top Golf and PF Chang’s for my birthday with some shopping sandwiched in between. It was a perfect day!

The rest of the week had plenty of golf: I played 3 rounds in the 80s and had a full club fitting at True Spec (more on that in a bit). We spent lots of time outside in the yard, in the sun, in the pool and in the hot tub. I managed to fit in walks most days and a couple of runs, including 50 mins run on my 50th birthday!!

Golf in Phoenix

I played 3 rounds of golf in Phoenix with some reasonable success. I was pretty happy with my spring swing considering this is the first time I’ve played any golf on real grass in the last 6 months. I scored all 3 rounds in the 80s which is a great start to the season. All 3 days were hot, over +30C with some wind. So we had to fight the elements a little. The ball seemed to fly longer than usual in the heat and in the dry conditions. The greens were fast. The courses were beautiful!

Golf Fitting

I booked myself a full bag golf fitting at True Spec. This was a great experience. I got to spend about 5 hours with Mark at True Spec. We worked thru irons, then driver, then 3W then 3 hybrid then wedges and finally putting. I started to tire after the driver fitting, so my 3W and 3 hybrid results were less than stellar. Overall, I was very happy with the results and I learned a lot about my swing and what I should be looking for in gear to compliment my swing.

I was also very fortunate that while I was there, two famous golfers walked in to pick up clubs: Jerry Kelly and Cristie Kerr. I was that close to golfing royalty!!

The downside of this process, especially if you live in Canada, is that everything is manufactured in the US and has to be shipped back home. I was looking at US pricing (+ conversion to Canadian $$), US taxes and shipping fees. Plus any built in margins for profit. Add handling fees, duties and GST when they are shipped to Canada and I couldn’t justify the cost of new clubs. The cost was the same in US dollars as the retail options in Canada. Yikes!

I plan on working with a local golf store to review my results and try to find similar options in Canada. I’ve already found and ordered irons, wedges and a new putter for the season. I’m very excited about that. I go for one more session to look at woods and hybrids. I may end up with a new bag of clubs for this season.

My new irons for 2022 – JPX 921 Forged (4-UW)

It’s going to be a big year for golf. I plan on applying myself fully to improving my swing and working on my enjoyment of the sport. I’m already working diligently with a mirror and video to try to rid myself of a flat swing. This is the year!

Shopping in the US

I had high expectations for shopping in the US. I was looking for several items that are usually cheaper in the US including: shorts with a smaller waist size to fit me I was looking for dressier shorts with a side pocket. Not cargo shorts. But a nice short for golf, but I love a side pocket for tees and ball markers. No one carries shorts like that; I used to get them at Haggar. No more Haggar stores! And I needed new runners. I wear an ASICS GTX 2000 shoe and I have over a thousand KMs each on 2 pairs. It’s time for new runners.

However, it’s apparent that COVID impacted what I used to know as Outlet Shopping. It was really hard to find bargains. A lot of my regular shops had shut down (Haggar, Izod). Prices, once you factor in the exchange rates, didn’t really seem cheaper. I had problems finding the shorts I wanted and the runners I wanted.

Luckily, on our last day in Phoenix, we decided to try one more Outlet location and I hit gold! There was an ASICS store there with a buy one get one 50% deal. And there was a Columbia store that had the shorts I was looking for in my size.

Overall, though, I found that shopping in the US, was very similar to shopping in Canada. No deals. Low supplies and limited sizes.

Travel Experience

This was our first time travelling since COVID hit. We haven’t been out of Canada or out of Alberta since September 2019. So it’s fair to say that we were anxious and nervous about travelling.

Overall, it’s not that bad, but things are different. There is more paperwork. There are more questions on every form. There are more lineups to check vaccinations and documentation. Just be prepared and try to take pictures of everything you need on your phone, and put the pics into a special album.

We were lucky that the rules changed in April so that you don’t need a test to return to Canada. And I’m happy to report that we all returned to Canada symptom free. So we had a successful and safe voyage.

Trailer / Camping

We decided to stop camping this year. So the first thing to handle when we got back into Canada was to put up the trailer for sale. Our site lease ends at the end of April. Luckily the market is hot. I listed the trailer at a good price, and sold in 1 day. The buyer picked up the trailer on Saturday. I enjoyed camping but I’m also looking forward to new opportunities this summer!

Best Shape of my Life

How about that challenge to reach the best shape of my life? Well, things got derailed a little in Phoenix. My activity level was healthy but lower than at home. I didn’t eat as healthy and gained a little bit of weight.

But things are back on track. I just signed up for the Calgary Half Marathon + 5km at the end of May. I’ve been running 15-20km+ on Sundays over most of the winter. On Sunday, I ran a half (21.1 km) at race pace and finished 1 minute over 2 hours (2:01hrs). A 2 hour half marathon is something I accomplished when I was 30. That’s 20 years ago. So I’m feeling great. I’d say that’s in pretty good shape.

But I’ve taken a step back from worrying about it. I’m still trying to be healthy and living well. But I don’t want to miss enjoying life. I don’t want to skip dessert or skip snacking on chips. But I’ve stabilized. I’m back to my morning coffee walks, walks at lunch, and long run Sundays. I’m in a good place!

And most importantly, I’m still sober. And loving it! It’s becoming hard to keep track of how many months now. According to my app, it’s 16 months and supposedly I’ve saved almost $5,000. Where’s my cheque?? Ironically, that’s probably the cost of a full set of new clubs. Seems like a great reward for myself!

Odds and Ends

Life doesn’t stop when you’re on vacation. Sometimes it feels like things back home accelerate while you’re away.

We have an upcoming funeral this weekend. My mother-in-law passed before we left. It’s going to be a tough day. My thoughts and prayers are with the whole family. It will be a relief to have some closure on Saturday.

My dad has been diagnosed with cancer: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He’s gone thru a lot of tests to determine the best course of action. The good news is that the doctor believes that we can reach a full remission. But he’s going to go thru chemotherapy. The cancer is causing fluid build up in his lungs. It’s not fun.

It’s going to be tough for the family. But I’m hopeful. The last time I talked to my dad I told him that it’s going to be tough, but it’s worth it, and he needs to stay positive so that I can spend the next 20 years with him. It’s times like this, you have to remain hopeful. You have to hope for the best.

Hockey

I’m overjoyed that the Edmonton Oilers have made the playoffs this year. There was a time when it didn’t look like they were going to be there. They secured 2nd place in their division and will face LA Kings in Round 1 starting next week. I’m very excited about that. Go Oilers!

I don’t want to get too excited, but a good old battle of Alberta in Round 2 would be epic! So I’ll be cheering for the Flames and Oilers in Round 1. After that, I hope the Flames go down in…..flames. But good luck in Round 1.

Also, *fingerscross*, it looks like I’m about to win my regular season hockey pool. I have a 20 point lead going into the last 4 days of regular season play. It’s almost 100 people, so that’s a new driver or 3W/3H for the year! Yahoo!

Wrap up

Thanks for reading! I hope to get back to a regular blog schedule in May. Have yourself a wonderful day.

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