We celebrated by going to a friend’s amazing Halloween party extravaganza- we had a fabulous time! Enjoy some photos
Race recap: Cowichan Autumn Classic ‘Run now, wine later’
I ran this race last year and quite enjoyed the autumnal, small and cozy atmosphere of it- the fall colours, the winery, everything! So I signed up as an early bird this year and promptly forgot that I had signed up…Literally falling two weeks after my marathon debut. NOT great timing I guess?
But it took only about a week for my legs to stop feeling like total mush, and for my blisters to heal over and I felt fairly confident that it was going to be ok.
And then I got really sick…and dealt with a strong emotional blow with Tucker, and struggling with the after effects of the COVID+flu shot. Do not recommend, at all. Basically knocked me on my ass Thur/Fri/Sat. And race on Sunday? Yikes.
I slowly started feeling a bit better, but now it’s even Friday after having a cold and things for over a week and I am STILL snotty and nose blowing/coughing up stuff. WTF? My sinuses hurt man.
So last Sunday was not really an auspicious day at all but I’d signed up, felt reasonably ok but not great, and we did it! Ian signed up for the 5k just for something to do. When we drove up island, it was absolutely freezing, with frost on the ground. I was in shock. Two weeks ago we had a heat warning for the marathon, over 20 deg, and now frost? Damn! Luckily I planned ahead a little bit and brought my run gloves, but otherwise was in for a real slap to the face. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr… Plus we were running kind of late, we forgot how long it really took to get up there (an hour, apparently) and I was like arghhhh!
But, all worked out for the best! We hustled and got our bibs, raced to the bathrooms (not long lineups, thank GOD), didn’t have time to put our bibs in the draw 😦 and jogged to the start of the 5k. I was racing both 5k and 10k in a combined race ‘the combo’ where your times are added up and the fastest time wins.
We started and Ian and I were easily right in the leaders pack. I was pacing myself to a reasonable not great time- I didn’t really have the lung capacity to race super fast and my legs were frozen. Plus I wanted to be careful about not killing my lungs for the 10k. Burnout isn’t fun and when I start coughing, I really can’t stop!
It’s a super hilly course- up and down, with the downhill sections being very steep! There is also 1km section through a bit of trail, which is flat but very pitted with potholes, haha. So you went up-down-up-down on that part. I was reminded, with relief, how short a 5k is.
I cruised to a 22:?? and felt good about that. Hard effort but not killing myself. It still felt extremely cold. I then hung out for a bit waiting for the 10k to start. Ian finished ahead of me with a 20:?? which is a great effort- this isn’t a fast track by any stretch of the imagination!
Then the 10k- I learned my lesson from last year and started at the front. Last year I basically ran as hard as I could for the 5k and jogged the 10k…which was a mistake, b/c the combine the times and my 10k was just so.slow! Hit the middle for both, that’s the way to go.
We had more trail sections in the 10k course which was pretty good, but I am always surprised by how slow gravel feels compared with pavement. It is an excellently- marked course, very clear course markers and safe. Still damn hilly, haha. I didn’t really pass anyone, and nobody really passed me much.
It finally started to warm up (well, my body heat was going nuts haha) so I could take off my gloves the last 2-3 kms. A guy running ahead of me shouted that he wished he had my gloves earlier in the race 😉 I was SO thankful I had them. Lifesavers.
I tried to pull myself together for a stronger finish but kind of…blaaahhhhed my way. I felt strong, but nowhere near the lung capacity I could potentially have. That’s ok! I was done within my goal range (45 mintues) just squeaked under 46 hahah.
And it was good for 2nd place women in the combo race, Ian tied me with a 2nd in his 5k for the men’s, and we even got to do a complimentary wine tasting at Zenatta winery! Win-win eh??
This is a fun local race, quite small but well run with excellent and safe courses marked, good volunteers (thank you!!) and nice post-race snacks.
You always remember your first: Marathon recap!
So, I did it. Like any good runner, you turn into a cliche: The marathon runner. SIGH!
I held out for a long time, chiefly because I couldn’t stay healthy enough to train, let alone race, that type of distance. I got a few stress fractures (when people talk about shin splints, they have NO IDEA how bad they can get. Source: me) and I wasn’t able to walk very well so goodbyeee race plans! And then a pandemic, and then another set of stress fractures, and well you know the whole story!
So, this was my time to shine- clearly.
I did train fairly well with a ridiculously ambitious training plan (for people aiming to get under 3:30, and I can tell you the plan was NUTS and clearly designed more for people trying to get closer to a 3:15, in my opinion!).
But…the bugaboos are always there. The gerbils were running wild in my head, I was so anxious. It’s not a joke of a distance and I was aiming for an aggressive time. I chatted with a few runners I knew at the start and told them my time goals and they thought they were agreeable, but when I was pacing with a guy we chatted too and he was surprised that my time goals were that ambitious for my first…So I was kind of knotted up in uncertainty. Go big or go home??
I had a lot of nightmares about the race leading up to the day. Two back to back nightmares about missing the start? Hah. Weird.
The morning was anticlimactic. There was a heat warning for the race, as we are having an incredibly unseasonably warm October- this was the warmest this race had ever been, at just over 20 degrees when we were running! This added to my freakout…
We jogged to the start (a huge bonus of doing a hometown race. Zero travel!) and got into position. The wheels in my brain started to churn- there was NO pacers. None. I was really counting on one, given I am a newbie…And kind of left the idea of pacing to someone else. Big mistake!
But no time to worry, time to focus! We started and it was very congested and very slow. The half marathon started with us, and many racers (half and marathon alike) pretty much went to the front and started…walking. I spent a lot of time and energy weaving, because I am an idiot.
I felt tired right away- good omen eh? The first 10k were uneventful, I had some candy in my pockets and I ate those. It was hilly and winding, very congested. We wouldn’t lose the halfers until about KM 14 I think?
Because of how dangerous the heat could be, I made sure to stop at every.single.water.stop. No skipping- not even one. I don’t normally even go for water in a half, but I knew that could literally kill me this time. I respected the heat warning, and in fact got so hot I started grabbing multiple waters (one to drink, one to dump down my chest).
I was so thirsty. SO thirsty.
My pacing (despite not running tangents due to crowds) was fairly even up until the half way point. I caught a few too fast KMs (4:23s) and toned it down. I’m still so green at this distance…I know it can mess you up badly. By the time we got to the half way point I was hanging on, but also starting to feel concerned…and like maybe this was a bad idea… The tightness in my right hamstring really started to call out to me.
Hah, joke’s on me. It only gets worse from there on!
At around Km 33, the wheels in my brain fell off and I wanted to
b. leave the course immediately and probably
c. get hurt so I wouldn’t have to finish.
Sweat was pouring off me, my core temperature was going crazy and I just couldn’t think straight. I ate a few more Xact Nutrition bars (clumsily, with sugar crystals coating my face, the bar a mushy mess in my mouth) and just tried to hang.
I bounced around with one of my friends until I thought he left me in the dust. I was feeling lightheaded and hot, so hot. After KM 36 or so, it honestly felt like time was slowing down. Everyone was moving in slow-motion, arcing in front of me but still going too fast for me to catch up. My legs, arms, body wouldn’t go faster.
I also tossed an almost full water cup straight into the chest of a volunteer (sorry!) who was standing in front of the trash cans and didn’t move when I was mumbling excuse me as I ran by. There was someone running in a full rhino suit- can you believe it!! It was SO hot man. Woof.
It was pretty funny in retrospect!
I had this thought: Get to KM 39 and THEN you can fall apart.
But then I got there, and the finish seemed so close!! (until you realize it’s still like 3km of winding). Any small amount of hill that normally wouldn’t bother me seemed like Mt. Everest. I wanted to walk so badly, I even stopped at the final water aid station (2km left) to drink in hopes it’d power me further. On a regular day no way would I stop that late in the race!
Clearly I was desperate 😉
Ian was going to watch me and I planned to spy him, but when it came I was so zonked out that I couldn’t do anything but stare straight ahead, and breathe with my mouth open. Hah. He did the half marathon (and got a very solid time!).
My time! Finally! It was good too, 3:17:38 (chip)
I jogged weakly through the finish, saw a chair and sat in it for a bit, then got up and got my medal. The snack volunteers were like: You want a banana or an apple? And my brain was so destroyed that I couldn’t figure out wtf they were asking me. So, I ended up with a banana and then went to the next volunteer and got the apple bag- hah.
I hung around waiting for Ian, and when I couldn’t find him decided to start walking home gingerly. I spotted him in the field of the Legislature and I was soooo glad because then I could lean on him to hobble home! We got home, I couldn’t take my shoes off so I sat on the stairs so Ian could take them off. The aftermath was prettttty hideous. But I hopped in an epsom salt bath for 30 mins and listened to a podcast (Gidget kept coming in to check on me!! ha she is so sweet) and then we were up and walking back downtown to beer festival. Crazy eh? It was SO GOOD!!! I loved it! It was amazing.
And then I walked home feeling pretty drunk but probably just tired and lay on the grass for awhile. Good end to a good day. At that point I told Ian I was NEVER going to run another marathon ever.
We’ll see ??
After a kind of challenging Dec and a January that wasn’t improving….We took a trip to Mexico! Specifically Huatulaco. I had been there before, but not for a few years and after two years of going nowhere and doing nothing…I was beyond fed up, stressed out and unhappy and I WAS GOING DAMMIT.
It was an extremely stressful lead up. In the days that preceded our trip, we had:
- A tsunami warning
- Crazy fog taking over everything and not lifting
- Omicron variant taking over everything and overwhelming the health system, flights, work-staffing, ferries, buses, etc
- One of my colleagues went missing and he is still missing three weeks later
- No third booster shots (I just got mine this week!)
No joke. I was SO TENSE and freaked out going into the holiday. I had no idea what to expect, and how our testing worked to get home, what if we had tested positive and had to quarantine, what to do with the animals and Oats, etc etc etc.
And you know what? It went perfectly fine. Were there glitches, like not having a paper copy of our COVID neg test results and the airport demanding them, when we only had QR codes/apps? Yep! Was there uncertainty? Yep. Was it worth it? OMG YES 100%. For your mental health, go. Just go. Life is too short and too horrible most of the time. Do something nice for yourself, for once.
We swam, kayaked, went stand-up paddleboarding, went into town, snorkeled, went fishing, I did aqua fit and we drank a million crazy cocktails and generally just had an awesome time.
I needed it desperately and I firmly believe so does everyone else.
A few years ago I went to a cocktail event here in Victoria and tried a fun pecan whiskey that was called Revelstoke because they wanted to ‘Stoke the Revel’ and man, it made me laugh every time I thought of it!
So naturally we went to Revelstoke to really get into the party scene 😉
Ok not really but after Christina Lake, we wanted to get some hiking in and my husband is a trip-planner extraordinaire (I am terrible at it, just awful) so we had something different to do and enjoy in each place. We camped for 1 night after an extremely long and kind of tough travel day (avoid Hwy 30…it’s 100km of freaking dirt road and can get very shifty for about 30kms and takes FOREVER)…. We camped at a site just outside the bridge and apparently next to the train, ha.
Not a restful night, really. Plus Gidget decided she hated camping and her max was 2 days, so she was in a deflated snit about it all day and night, refusing to eat, moping around, just nothing. Argh, dogs! The campsite was pretty lame, sites so close you could peer into your neighbours tent but it had excellent clean and nice washrooms with great showers, so no complaints there!
Ok for one night, no thanks for more- particularly if you are Gidget!
We then stayed at the Stoked Hotel and man the rooms were hilariously small- basically like a closet? Oh wait, no closet though, lol. Oh well Gidget was happy to be in a room again at last, where she belongs like a princess 🙂
We did a small loop the first day of hiking at Revelstoke Mountain National Park (up to Inspiration Loop) and found SO many berries- it was amazing!! Thimbleberries, black huckleberries, blueberries, strawberries and wild raspberries. Lucky us! And…lucky for the bears, because we promptly walked into one on the trail. It stood up briefly, but we shouted as we walked back down the trail and it left us alone, thank god. I had Gidget in a backpack, so I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a bear encounter…Eeek.
We then went up to the ski jump and that is a cool 1km straight uphill, hot hot hot! Did some great strawberry picking on the way though.
We had a selection of great restaurants and bakeries to go to, so awesome. We took some bakery items hiking with us for a quick lunch, and it was delicious! That night we went out to the Craft Beer restaurant for some sweet beers, mac and cheese and a lame salad (ok the salad tasted great but the dressing was non-existent?!!) So a bit of a miss there.
The next day we set out for a real hike and could leave Gidget in the room. We chose a very accessible loop at the Park, and it cost $20 to drive up and hike there. It was nice to be able to like drive 30 mins to the top of the mountain and hike from there- sooo easy to access, great for hikers like us who are not serious and don’t want to spend two days doing it.
The loop was about 6m, took us to two beautiful lakes, NO bears and three marmots were sighted!!! So amazing. We walk-ran it (I am still recovering from multiple leg injuries 6 months ago) and it was pretty rocky and tough in some spots. I also tripped as I am running in shoes that are no way appropriate for hiking and almost bailed face-first into a rock. Phew!!
It was beautiful to see and a great way to spend the day. We cruised back, chatted with the Park Rangers, and they suggested another short loop to read more about the Indigenous Peoples who lived on the land. It was an informative and fun little loop (1k?) and after that, a short run back to the car for another KM and we were done!
By that time it was getting very smoky. Unfortunately there are serious wildfires and one started up at Sicamous quite close to Revelstoke when we landed there. The smoke started blocking out the sun 😦 We had the great fortune to only be there for 1 really smoky day and then we were off to Kelowna to visit my family.
We enjoyed a new restaurant that night too- the Taco Club! I can highly recommend, good but pricey margaritas with some unusual twists, and I had the burrito bowl and NO WAY could I finish it- my husband had to. Too much food! Always a good thing 😉
Camping take #2~
That’s right, I have now camped more this year than in my life, basically! Ha. We went up to Stoltz pool at Cowichan River and camped from Fri-Sunday, and luckily the weather was on our side. It was pretty warm out, so we didn’t need to wear too many warm clothes and didn’t freeze our butts off at night, phew.
Saturday I still wanted to ride and let’s face it, hanging around a campsite for an entire day/night?? NOT my thing. Plus it’s a no-service area, so no phones or internet! So we zipped down to Victoria and I got to ride, and pick up grain for Oats. A win-win 🙂
We then had lunch (sandwiches that we made) at Spectacle Lake and it was a lovely day. Headed back to our campsite, packed up our chairs and headed to the river for some chill-out time!
Sunday it was grey and drizzly, so a good day to pick up and go I guess. Decent timing of the weather, get crappy when we’re leaving. All in all, a nice weekend to try and do something different. 🙂
My reviews: Brio hard soda in ‘Chinotto’ flavour! In honour of B.C.’s newest tax on sugary drinks…
So, what would be the taxes on this guy?
Ian bought me this a few weeks ago, and I was intrigued. It’s alcoholic, an Italian soda, but what on earth is it? What is it flavoured with?
Take this journey with me…
“Brio hard soda vodka flavoured with Chinotto”
Yes, I was puzzled. But ready to tackle this flavour! (though at this point, I kind of wonder if my teeth are)
A few months ago I had an epic tooth chip thanks to a freaking stealth piece of olive pit – I had discarded the actual pit, and then broke a chunk off a molar with the leftover shrapnel, and I had to get a filling to cap the broken section off. FML.
THIS weekend I chipped off a corner of my left front bottom canine eating popcorn. No major repairs needed but another filing down, but WTF>>
But I digress. This chinotto flavour was in an eye-catching tall boy can, and Ian got it from Cascadia Liquor store. It’s a super dark, almost murky beverage. You would mistake it for coke for sure. The flavour though? Undeniably NOT coke. Herby, with a subtle wintergreen tang or burn, or whatever makes root beer or sarsaparilla a thing… Makes this a thing also. It’s sweet- very sweet- and the vodka completely hidden within. It’s still fairly low alcohol and very much reminds me of an old-timey soda jerk (why did they call it that? Who is the jerk? I even went down the rabbit hole a few days ago of what an ‘egg cream’ was for a soda fountain and I was grossed out by it…), but anyways, this is pretty good!
It’s not great- funny enough I found myself missing the ‘sharpness’ and carbonation of cokes or maybe root beer, but this was worth a try for sure. It really isn’t highly carbonated, and I feel like that was really missing for me. I coincidentally have been drinking a lot of Bubly/carbonated water drinks..so…. Are those bad for teeth? Asking for a friend?!
And for those wondering what chinotto is? Well, it’s apparently a carbonated soft drink produced from the juice of the fruit of the myrtle-leaved orange tree. You would think it would taste like orange, but it doesn’t. Apparently the Italians also add quinine to their cocktails to achieve that ‘bitter’ flavour. I would say that piece was missing from this beverage as it was very sweet with only a minimal ‘otherness’ bite. I also learned that this drink was served as an alternative to orange juice (for people who got tired of only using the oranges off the myrtle-leaved orange tree???).
Interestingly, this brand – Brio- is actually known for being too sweet. Lesson learned! It is still miles ahead of the horrendous Pop Shoppe alcoholic drinks. I’m looking at you, disgusting swamp-thing nuclear waste green Lime Rickey!! GAG
We had a lovely weekend for the start of November. It’s been so warm- almost freakishly so, coming off a really cold October. Apparently it was the coldest October in 80 years, and then now it’s been the nicest November that I can recall. Funny eh?
We rented a house in Sooke (my friend rented it for oh, about 11 of us…) to celebrate a whole bunch of late- October birthdays, my husband being one of them. We had such a blast! It was really chill, the house was big and since we got their earliest, we nabbed the biggest and best master bedroom. Plus we had our family with us (dog and bunny).
We went on a short hike to Mystic Falls, and it was so warm on Saturday I couldn’t even believe it! No toques or gloves needed.
We enjoyed the hot tub, sauna (though on Saturday night the sauna made me feel sick, ugh!), ate and drank sooooo much. Yeah! We do group breakfasts and dinners, so Ian and I with our friend Jared managed Saturday morning’s breakfast (crepes- sweet and savoury). Delicious but we were a few crepes short unfortunately! We will have to make more next time.
Dinner was an amazing greek chicken night, with salad and greek potatoes and bread. YUM! I ate a ton. Probably why I felt sick in the sauna, come to think of it now…
Breakfast the next day was amazing…Home-made Challah bread, which I have never had before! Turns out one of the guys in the group is a really good baker in his own right, who would have thought eh? It was soooooo good.
We finished up the weekend by visiting the Sheringham Lighthouse. It was neat! It felt really good to sit back, relax and take a few days off from ‘real life’ since things have been just crazy busy in Oct (Kelowna race weekend, Ian’s birthday, Oktoberfest, MEC half-marathon, my mom’s birthday, my parents staying at my place for a few days, etc etc…just nuts!).
I always cherish these weekends. Ah, so nice.
Life & Living it
Wow, the long weekend just flew by! It was busy and yet I had plenty of time to sit on my patio and drink rosé, one of my favourite summertime drinks. Thursday/Friday, my friend was staying with me while she attended to some errands in Victoria, and I also had my jump lesson on Thursday, and my dressage lesson on Friday…Which is a long-winded explanation about why I missed YET ANOTHER run club run on Saturday morning. I’m currently pitching 0-2, soon to be 0-3 (I am missing another one this Saturday, argh)… At 8am, I just don’t have it in me.
Instead I stayed up to visit with my friend and we drank a bottle of wine and a bunch of Caesars. Worth it. I had a killer headache all day starting from waking me up in the middle of the night though, ouch. Hubris. Oh well, at least my lesson went really well and OATS HAS A COUNTER CANTER you guys! Feeble and tentative, but it’s happening!!!
Oh well! I had an insanely busy day on Saturday anyways, I guess leading in from the theme of last week: Busy every day. Had to run a saddle I was trying back out to the ass-end of Deep Cove, ran to the grocery store on my way back to the barn, rode Oats in the field for a brief 30 minutes, ran the 16km I missed that AM, went to the liquor store, another grocery store, and then gas and then home.
PHEW. This mad scrambling was also going on because my husband’s parents were coming over to our house for dinner, and I had thought we agreed on Sunday, because I knew my Saturday was going to be nuts, but they got confused and came on Saturday instead?! Yikes. So, start scrambling!!
We had a really nice visit and shocker, the weather cooperated for once. Then Sunday was dedicated to my leisure: A super fun ride where I practiced a few of the elements we learned on Friday, including trying out our counter-canter a few more times. It was good, not easy and not perfect, but cool to start trying and practicing. Whee! Then I came home and went on a run along the ocean, and also got into a yelling match with some idiot who let his dog off-leash, where it cut me off suddenly and made me trip and almost eat dirt! And it was a big dog too, I could have been hurt badly by this. IDIOT!! It’s always these men that do stupid things, and then act surprised when you get mad at them. Assholes.
Anyways, the run was fun, hot and sweaty, my favourite!
And then Monday (ah, Monday…I love long weekends) was Canada Day! I celebrated by riding my pony in the field again, chilling out and going to a friend’s bbq party, where I also overindulged my inner glutton and was literally sweating all night thanks to my over-eating tendencies. I hate myself sometimes!!! UGH.
Now it’s rainy and Oats has his lesson day today, so no rides for me.
I never wanted you
So, I had a long weekend AND Hopoxia planned AND lots of running and riding and friend time, a dressage lesson and everything is great right? Well…Not so much. But not terrible either, I just got sick after my dressage lesson and drinks out with friends on Friday and just …Didn’t recover and felt shitty all weekend.
I was basically dragging myself around all weekend. I went out for drinks Friday (and had a good dressage lesson!) and then when I came home, I was incredibly thirsty and my throat was so sore and swollen to the touch. 😦 It hurt all night.
Waking up sucked, I felt miserable. Achy, body stiffness, chills, sore throat… Everything felt like it took soooo much energy. I was exhausted all the time. Nevertheless, I rallied and went riding Saturday, before coming home to get ready for Hopoxia. And it was so warm out! YEAH! Finally!
We walked there and enjoyed ourselves. My one quibble- less cider options this year, sighhh…I missed Tod Creek’s options. Anyways, it was fun! Busy as heck though.
We hoofed it home, and I felt awful. Crazy waves of nausea, dry-heaving, etc etc…Ugh… So exhausted I was sleeping on the couch the entire evening. I think I need to re-watch an episode of iZombie because I was trying to watch it, and felt so sick and tired I couldn’t. Bummer!!
Anyways, I felt nauseous, chills, sore throat and body aches all day Sunday too. And I rallied enough to go riding (short rides this weekend, I was feeling just miserable), and I also rallied to take my mom to the Grand Pacific Hotel’s Westcoast Tea that she requested for Mother’s Day (well ok she requested the Empress and I said no to that- it’s $82/per person and I almost had a stroke after I saw how much it cost!!) This was a nice alternative.
It was lovely, she had the tea ($47 per person) and I had a steak sandwich with fries ($22) which was good. I ended up eating some of her desserts because she said she doesn’t like sweet things anymore. They were tasty!!! I was also wearing like 3 sweaters because I was feeling so shitty. UGH. I was freezing, and kind of counting down the minutes before I could go lie on the couch again.
I took Monday off, thank god because I was still feeling lousy. Greeeeeeat. Taking a long weekend and feeling craptacular the entire weekend. Nothing like it eh? I did more riding, and then more sitting around on the couch. Still had crazy waves of nausea, bloating and cramps combined with a runny nose that wouldn’t stop dripping. I did get productive and make a pie though, in between my laying on the couch watching TV.
And now we’re back to Tuesday, with a running nose, no more sore throat thank god, and waves of nausea. Yay?????