Tristars Sooke 10k- Race Recap!

Yes that’s right, the day after we flew back from Mexico (got into town at 11 p.m. on Saturday) we were up and ready to head to Sooke to race a 10k! We did plan it this way, because the VIRA races don’t start until 11 a.m., thank god. Even then, we had a pretty tiring journey home, complete with ‘planes, trains and automobiles’ type of mad, harried scramble, so I was pretty exhausted.

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Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri.

But we got up around 9 a.m. and trekked out to the race! I didn’t have real expectations- Sooke is a rolling, hilly course and I think my best time on the course was last year, with a 44:?? Can’t quite remember what but something like that. I had my watch but it was dead, haha. So, it was freewheeling!

And I have to say, there’s something to that freewheeling. I ran by feel, started pretty quick, slowed a bit on rolling hills, played rabbit with a few other obliging runners (I passed them, then they passed me, and then I passed them again), shouted encouragement to a friend in my age-group who was running well, and just kept going.

My husband ran with me, he hurt his foot in the half-marathon so had to take it easy= running with me.

We hit the turnaround and I was still feeling pretty darn good, considering I was tired and my legs felt like freaking jell-o when I got up that morning! I cruised on, and my breathing started getting a touch more labored. I fought the urge to check my (dead) watch… We hit some more rolling hills, with a steeper incline between 7-8km that really killed my pace, BUT I still had some zip in my legs!

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Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri.

There was a bit of a headwind, but nothing terrible as we rounded 8km-9km…Homestretch here we go! I was feeling pretty confident! Best of all, my husband was able to cross the finish line with me 🙂 and I didn’t get passed at the finish chute, sometimes that happens and it is a killer, haha.

I finished with a time of 43:17, which seemed unusually fast for me, I thought the clock said 43:30 or something, maybe even 44:00- my eyesight is not great. Many thanks to the fine volunteers who kept us safe on-course on a very busy day and road. Great turnout too, and I was third in my age group 🙂 And I’m not going to complain but rather comment that the snacks selection was a tad limited and emptied out really quickly, unfortunately! The first race I have been to that had that happen. There were some really good power-balls but again, went fast.

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Hola Mexico!

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We just went on a super awesome Mexico trip, driving down the Yucatan Peninsula to explore the side/route not taken- the Caribbean side! It was great 🙂

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We landed in Playa del Carmen, which I didn’t really like…It felt like Las Vegas to be honest! Big loud bars, party scene, touristas everywhere and just very overwhelming. If we were there for longer, I know we’d see the ‘real’ Playa del Carmen, and not just the touristy veneer, but for first impressions it was nuts~ Plus we went to a restaurant, the food was quite good but they screwed up our order, when we called them on it, they straight up lied…And we could tell. Bad move, people.

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A diff restaurant, much more humble.

But at least the order we did get tasted good? Ha. Regardless, we were eating what they brought, not what we wanted.

Then we rented our car and were off to Mahuahual. I can’t even say the name right to this day….Much less spell it correctly. It’s a wayyyys off, basically 3.5 hours from Playa Del Carmen. It feels eerily like you’re in the middle of nowhere, haha. And then boom! You are at the ocean, and it’s a really cute little town. Very touristy and has a cruise ship port- but it was very quiet when we were there. It can be a bit of a party town too, down at the far end.

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The condo at Mahuahual.

We had a condo rented via air bnb and it was AWESOME! Cool, breezy, large, good internet, clean and had a fantastic blender that I made GREAT use of. Thumbs up! We did a fair amount of snorkeling and walking around in Mahuahual. We saw about 5 rays, I found a very large snail, almost as big as a conch! I also saw a lionfish.

We got pretty sunburned, but that was okay because soon we were on our way to the jungle! We then spent 1 day at a jungle lodge in Calakmul and it was scorching hot. Holy jeezus, it was stifling when we got there and our cabin sure didn’t have A/C….But they did have a pool! We spent a lot of time in it. Dinnertime and we saw some agoutis scampering around the forest!

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We spent a lot of time at the pool…it was scorching hot! 

The next morning there was much confusion as the state we were in was in a different time zone…Ha. We got up (too early as it turned out) to have breakfast and then head to see the Mayan ruins at Calakmul (the reason we went there in the first place). The ruins are located deep in the biosphere, on a 60-km long journey on a seriously pot-holed and pitted road. It was a long and arduous drive. We did see what may have been a tapir?? several toucans, and a wild turkey attacked our car too, which was frightening.

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Toucan friend

We made it to the ruins and I bolted out of the car and ran straight to the washrooms (another story entirely….bees and or flies. YIKES). There are no services there other than washrooms, so you have to be careful with water and food- you must bring everything with you, and there is nowhere to buy those items at the jungle lodge, so you have to come prepared early.

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We then walked what felt like forever to see the ruins, hidden among the jungle. They were VERY impressive…looming out of the trees. Tons of them too! And we were practically the only people there, only a handful of others. It was screamingly hot too.

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We explored/climbed until we ran out of water and had to go back to the car, having exhausted most of the ruins- at least the neat ones. Back on the bumpy pothole road we went, this time straight to Bacalar, home of the second-largest freshwater lake/lagoon of the famed ‘seven colours’ water.

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It was not disappointing. It was gorgeous! Windy as fuck as we soon learned…But gorgeous! We spent some times swimming in the lagoon, renting space at a fancy and well-maintained beachside resort-type setup in town.

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We then went to explore the centoes (big water caves with freshwater) that was famous in the area- Centoes Azul. It was very cool but the idea of basically this giant pit of bottomless water that goes straight down is kind of frightening when you’re used to seeing and walking on the bottom of the ocean/lagoon floor…. Also I got attacked by a fish that was trying to bite my legs. Reminded me of piranhas!! I screamed and shrieked and swam for the ladders to get out.

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Cenote Azul

We wrapped up our time in Bacalar enjoying some truly fantastic food- I had a very reasonably priced whole roasted octopus, we ordered some GREAT ice cream- Ian had queso flavoured! I had ‘mamey’ flavour (kind of like a cakey vanilla?? It’s red?) And our last night we had what can only be described as a cauldron of meat. Hahahah. Yum though!

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Cenote Azul

Our journey home was arduous, stressful and had me going from 0-100 in like ten beats. UGHH. What we learned from that was- the less moving parts, the better. Next time just get a car from the airport and remove the extreme stress of returning the rental, buying bus tickets, getting on a bus, getting stuck in gridlock traffic, getting into a major huge lineup at the airport (ok maybe that part is inevitable…) but yeah. Freaking stressful.

Anyways, I can recommend our journey. It was amazing!!

Peru final stage: Cusco

By the time we left Ollantaytambo, I was ready to feel better! I wanted to eat and drink well again. I liked Ollantaytambo, but I didn’t like how cars/buses went ripping around the very narrow cobbled streets- it felt too narrow and busy.

Off to Cusco we went, for the final 3 days of our trip. The ride back to Cusco was ok except I felt horribly carsick heading into Cusco- so twisty, winding, slamming on the brakes and oh, the car we hired didn’t have any seatbelts? Joy!

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We made it and wow, I felt like shit.

Cusco was very cool- lots of big older buildings, museums, hotels and tons and tons of pretty good restaurants and bars. Our hotel was super neat, an old monastery that was attached to a church! The church still held services, and the hotel itself functioned as a non-profit to support orphaned girls.

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I loved the hotel, and the town was very neat. The unfortunate thing about Cusco is that it is SWARMING with hawkers of nearly every description. It does get tiring to swat away vendors and tour guides and you name it. Every.single.time. you leave the hotel, without fail. Kind of exhausting.

We walked around exploring Cusco, and did a chocolate-making workshop that was SUPER fun. Highly recommend! It is pricey but worth it. So fun.

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We enjoyed a beer from the best viewpoint in town, for a very reasonable price.

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We also went to one of the best restaurants in Cusco (according to a friend of mine) called Pachapapas – I had the whole roasted trout, and Ian had Alpaca skewers.  They were amazing!! The only thing that sucked was that we were both starting to feel the effects of altitude, and our metabolisms started slowing down. That meant that after 1 meal, we no longer wanted to eat or drink anything…And felt vaguely nauseous for the whole day/night. That meant I wasn’t even hungry for our amazing dinner-bummer! And the thought of alcohol made me feel sick. Man!

We also went to the shabby-chic Coca Museum (it was more shabby than chic hahaha) but a fun little foray.

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In the end, I was glad to wrap up our trip. It was chilly in Cusco at night, but fairly nice during the day. I was wishing I could eat/drink normally again, and quite glad to be back on the road home by the end of our three days.

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Visit Peru- it’s a crazy place and you’ll have a grand adventure!

Back to the barn

I took two weeks off from riding when I was in Peru, but Oats had the lucky opportunity to have a few rides by my friend and her friend. Yes! Unfortunately, his canter sucked. It’s time for him to have a chiropractic adjustment, because a big tell for him is swapping his canter leads when asked for anything remotely more challenging that his ‘one canter’…

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I tested this when I got back and yep. High time for him to have a tune-up, as he was swapping right, left and centre! ARGH. He has an appointment this Wednesday.

But, the good news is that he was raring to go when I got back on-board. Yay! He’s still moving and feeling fine, and I had some fun rides back. I even rode the day I got back (very much NOT recommended, I was a zombie), but I missed him so much I couldn’t resist.

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We had our jumping lesson last night in the outdoor- first time for us this season and it *just* opened. I told Nicole to temper our expectations, ha because I wasn’t sure how it would go after taking two weeks off, and our first time in the outdoor. I should have just kept my mouth shut, because it went great!  Oats was super, and once we got through the course he started really flowing. He started off sticky and backed off (due to the change in footing I believe) but I was quite happy with how the course rode.

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Bonus: We now have rocks to jump, thanks to Nicole and Brenda buying jumps from the other trainer Karen. And Oats jumped them without any issues! Yessss!

It feels so so good to ride again. I always miss him when I am travelling 🙂

Peru adventure: Step 3 Machu Picchu~

Wow, where do I go from here? We left the jungle, spent a night in Iquitos, which is interesting and very much a frontier-town. We enjoyed margaritas (not great) and pisco sours (better) while chatting with a very friendly Dutch ex-pat who was in Iquitos writing a book. Cool eh?

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It was a very noisy town, tons of motos and tuk-tuks roaring around. We took one to the airport the next morning, headed to Cusco and eventually Machu Picchu! Flight was very bumpy which scared me, I hate turbulence. Once landing in Cusco, it became very apparent that both Ian and I had picked up a stomach bug- I blame Iquitos for mine, his was worse with a fever (jungle fever?).

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We then were greeted by our driver, who took is the 1.5 hours to the town of Ollantaytambo, where we would hop on the Peru train to the town of Aguascalientes, which is the landing base for people going to Machu Picchu (if you are not hiking it).

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The drive was fine, despite our stomachs revolting… And then in town, we got the train and it’s actually quite nice! And it freaking better be, considering how much $$$ it costs for a 1.5 hour train ride to Aguascalientes. Once in Aguascalientes, I was stunned by how quiet the town is without any cars or anything. From the jungle to the mountains, Ian and I were a bit shell-shocked, and quite frankly, pretty sick.

We holed up in our hotel room (which was super noisy and weird, with like three beds in it…) but mostly clean? Had a miserable night of no sleep, and were up bright and early at like 6am to try to eat (nope) and get on the bus ($$$) to Machu Picchu. The bus takes 30 minutes of winding up hairpin turns to the mountain. It’s kind of scary too.

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Once up to Machu Picchu, we hauled ass to run to get into Waynapicchu, the ‘younger mountain’ that we had permits to hike up. They only let 200 people hike it per window (7-8am, and 10-11am). I can see why, it’s freaking rough at the top and it was so cloudy and foggy I couldn’t see how far, exactly, the plummet is!

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We huffed and puffed our way up Waynapicchu. I climbed on my hands and knees. It was cool but yeah, not doing that again.

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Once we came down, we then hired a guide to take us through Machu Picchu the right way. Well worth it, I think. We saw so many cool things, including a wild chinchilla! The views are breathtaking. If you do one great wonder of the world, I highly suggest Machu Picchu. It is a pain in the ASS to get to, but worth it if only once.

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Peru- the adventure of a lifetime! Step one: Lima & Radiohead

I actually put this off for a day since I’ve been back chiefly because I don’t even know where to begin! I will start by recapping my adventure from where we first landed- Lima, Peru.

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In Lima, we stayed in the Miraflores district. It’s a very safe, quite rich and fancy area in Lima. There are a lot of poorer areas, and one that is outright unsafe (at the airport, Callao, the port area). Lots of robberies, muggings, etc. But it’s easy to bypass by buying a safe bus ticket that leaves directly from the airport and it’s not an area you ‘wander in to’ by any chance.

We spent a few days in Miraflores in a very nice Air BnB that had a rooftop infinity pool, a ground floor pool and lots of sundecks. Really awesome. It was quite warm in Lima, as the sun really lazer beams down on people.

For our time in Lima, we visited the Pucllana Temple, which is right in the heart of Miraflores. It was very neat, and a cool way to learn about pre-Inca civilizations (there were so many, over 35?!).

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We then went to the historical old city part of Lima, and that was okay…It was kind of a bust tourist-wise because they just didn’t seem to be really set up for lounging at cafes or having cocktails, if you know what I mean? Just, nothing there to sit and enjoy. We did visit the San Francisco monastery, where they have very creepy catacombs. A reasonable price and a super interesting visit/tour through the catacombs. I highly recommend!

In the evening, we went to Barranco. Aside from Miraflores, people stay there. It’s really awesome- beautiful, quirky, funky, lots of people and restaurants and very safe. I loved it! There is also a brewery there, the Barranco Brewery.

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The next few days, we ran along the gorgeous Miraflores sea walk. They are very close to the South Pacific but it’s not a very friendly beachfront. There is no sand, just rocks and the highway runs right along next to it! The waves are also killer… And in the evening, we went to the Soundhearts Radiohead concert!!! WHOOP! The bus to the soccer arena was a flaming nigtmare, and I seriously wondered if I was going to get crushed to death. Yikes. I do NOT recommend taking the bus in Lima. It is a horrible experience.

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But anyways, we made it and the concert was SO GOOD. Radiohead played well to their audience, it wasn’t too crammed, and they had three encores. We left after the second, as I did not want to repeat the ‘crushed in a bus’ experience…But we still had time to listen to ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ which made it allll worthwhile….

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Corvina ceviche

And then it was up at 4am to catch a flight to our next adventure- Iquitos and the Amazon jungle. Stay tuned…

 

Wedding Week?!!

Yep, I was away for a week attending (and working at) my sister’s wedding! It was crazy!!

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To add to the madness, it was in Nakusp, a tiny town roughly 7.5 hours away from Vancouver, located in the Kootenays. My family has a long history there, so it was nice to re-visit it, as it had been about 15 years or longer since I’d been back.

We left last Thursday, after I ran a pretty fun (and lucrative!) track race on Wednesday night. Headed out on the first ferry, picked my friend up from the skytrain, and we were OFF!

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One very long drive later, two ferries, and we were in Nakusp. Only to immediately zip out again to check out these hotsprings (word to the wise: the road up to them is SO ROUGH and I do not advise taking a tiny Honda Fit there, at all. Yiiiiiiikes). Really nice though! Just so tough to drive up, and quite hazardous.

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Won the draw prize! Sweet Frontrunners swag!!

Then, my friend and I went on a run Friday morning and that was it for our free time. It was wedding, wedding and oh, wedding from then onwards….

 

Setting up the hall with chairs, tables, tablecloths (had to wrangle more from their owner), napkin settings, drinking glasses, decorations, so many decorations, lights, the candy buffet- I owned that one, ha- chair coverings, tulle bows, more decorations, balloons, swag, things that hang from the ceiling, flowers…

So yep, that ate up all Friday, and then we hosted the family get-together BBQ at the house my husband rented for us. It was great! We took down the BBQ, and I woke up the next morning to my sister yelling at our window to get up, and move chairs to the beach for the ceremony that was happening at 3 p.m….

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Backyard of the house we rented with a rainbow!

Chairs wrangled, and it looked really nice! Then it was off to get our hair & makeup done. That took FOREVER, ha. I was also working the phones for some real last-minute things (more wine, more lights, the ‘guest log’ that I literally pulled off the beach so people could sign it, needed a marker, helium balloons, etc etc).

Tiring but we made it to the ceremony and it was beautiful! And quick!

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Then it was photos for oh, close to 3 hours…I was STARVING. Ian had to run and grab M&M’s and granola bars from the nearby grocery store. Luckily everything is close together in Nakusp! We wrapped up the photos in a boat (ha, boats boats boats!!!), just as a storm blew in and the wind was something fierce.

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Boats boats boats!

We ran for cover in the nearby Leland Hotel, something of a dive but also the oldest hotel in B.C.! Grabbed beers and appies, and then I called my husband to drive us to the reception, haha. Once there, things smoothed out a bit, but there were a few funny moments…No wine glasses on the tables being one of them! The caterer forgot and had to rush back home to get them. Hahah!~ The DJ was also kind of a moron, and we couldn’t find him because he was wearing all black in a very dark hall. Jeesh! He also played a song OVER the slideshow my husband had made for the wedding, that HAD music. Stop the DJ, he’s out of control!!

Food was great, drinks were flowing, and the most important thing was that my sister had the best wedding of her dreams 🙂

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On the way back home, we stayed for a few days in Penticton. The weather sucked, but we made do with 3 winery visits and 3 brewery visits in one day!

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Okanagan Lake is drowning!