Thursday, May 31, 2012

A day by the water




Bel Aire Motel, Burlington

Cool art





By Lake Champlain




Views of beautiful Lake Champlain




These swings were all over the park and leisure areas in Burlington.


What a wonderful day!! I spent most of it by or on Lake Champlain.  This morning I walked down to Handy's diner which was about a 25 minute walk.  Had pancakes with Vermont maple syrup.  It was a real old style diner with the counter in a horseshoe shape and seats around it.  No tables. Oldest waitress going but think she was the current owner's mom.  This diner has been in the same family for three generations.  The pancakes were good and fueled me for the walk ahead.
Beautiful walking path
From there I headed down to the water front and the small marina and headed off to the left path.  I was grooving along enjoying myself when I noticed the woman ahead of me do a little skip and look back so I looked as I approached and there was a snake on the right side of the path.  A little garter snake with about 3/4 of it's body arched up and it's head and beady eyes looking around.  Oh man even writing about it gives me the willies.  I am terrified of snakes so this got me freaked out for a while. 

Wheelchair accessible treehouse!
The path went by the railway path then turned into a neighbourhood street then into a park called Oakledge park.  As you entered the park there were stones there just like Stonehenge - it was Burlington's time clock.  Quite interesting. I asked a lady to take a picture of me by the lake and she and her companion told me I should head further into the park and visit a treehouse and also go down by the beach there for a better view.  So I did. I climbed on the rocks which luckily were flat and got a few good shots of the lake from there.  Then I thought  "hmmm..snakes like to curl up on warm rocks...." and left!!! The treehouse was wheelchair accessible so okay for me and my knees too!!! 

Back on the same route to the Lakefront park that had boat trips, restaurants, etc.  I had hoped to take the noon sailing of the Ethan Allan III but there were not enough of us. (they needed at least 15)  Consoled myself with a small Maple Creamee which is soft ice cream with Maple syrup in it.  Oh yum....So I went and signed in for the walk at the Hilton and carried on with the walk through Battery Park where I admired the gorgeous view.  Apparently Rudyard Kipling was there back in the day and said it had one of the best sunsets he had ever seen.  Too cloudy to see a good sunset these past two days...I sat and admired the view and then carried on. 

Then I walked over to Shantys on the Shore and had a lobster roll for a very late lunch.  It was okay - didn't have much of a taste.  Oh well, not every meal can be a feast for the senses unfortunately. I was looking forward to it so much too. Got back to the dock just before 2 p.m. and the cruise was a go so off I went.  Really enjoyed it - Lake Champlain is beautiful.  With the Adirondacks gracing one side and the Green Mountains on the other it is quite the sight.  Really enjoyed myself.  Learned more about the lake but don't ask, I don't remember too much!  It is up to 400 feet deep and is 120 miles long.  That's it folks!!! 

I then finished up the walk discovering a natural foods grocery store downtown so bought a few things including a banana, a couple of rolls and some cabot cheese...for breakfast tomorrow...My friend Donna told me I must try Cabot Cheese and I am glad I did!!  Sneaked a few slices when I got back here.

I think it's a Teddy Bears' picnic!
I then attacked the Church St. promenade getting myself a t-shirt and some gifts.   Then back here to get stuff done.  It was a long day and I'm tired. Packing awaits - hope I can close my duffle bag!

My bus to Montreal tomorrow  leaves at noon from the airport so off on the bus about 9:30 - have to sit down and work out my schedule.  Three busses - I am crazy - and cheap!!!  What can I say I hate taking taxis - or I should say hate forking out the money for taxis.  Rather spend it on fun stuff and food!!! 

Goodbye Vermont...I really really like you and I will come back some day.....

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Great day in "Most Peculiar"


Vermont State House, Montpelier

It was a fab day today in "Most Peculiar" - aka Montpelier. (pronounced Mont-pee-lieer)  That is the local's slang for it per my friend Donna and she should know as she was raised in Vermont....

I was up early and got the 7 a.m. commuter bus from downtown.  The bus driver (named Buddy) knew everyone on board but me.  He was quite the character.  The marathon was this past weekend and he had a picture of his daughter on the bus with her time and he knew everyone who had done it.  He announced on his loud speaker that his daughter had been it and congratulations to all who had done it.  Then as we were arriving in Montpelier he started talking on the loud speaker about drive ins and how there weren't many anymore along with A & W stands.  No one seemed to take notice so I assume he has a little speech every day.  He was very friendly - well they are all here.  The drive was beautiful.  The scenery was so lush and green - loads of trees, ferns, etc.  Gorgeous!!!  

After I signed in at the hotel for the walk and stamped my books I had a Breakfast Monster crepe at the Skinny Pancake - it had Cabot cheese, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, etc. - oh my it was good.  Came with a salad....gee I am getting a few of these salads for breakfast!!  I then started the walk from that point and it was lovely. I popped into a pet store/doggie bakery where I had a conversation with the owner about dogs, life, etc.  She was very interesting.   I toured the State house which was interesting - I think the most interesting was that some of the black tiles had fossils in them.  The outside was beautiful as well.  I then carried on to a river side path (by the Winooski river...) to the peace garden.  Nearly missed it as it was very tiny - luckily I asked some workers and they said this is it or I'd have carried on longer. It was a very peaceful walk amongst the trees.  I turned around and walked the path back into town where I had an iced latte at Capital Grounds. (cute name)  I then proceeded to the Vermont State museum which was pretty interesting.  At least now I know that Ethan Allen didn't start a furniture store. :)  I sat on the huge porch on one of the many rocking chairs there and put in relaxation time until the bus left at 4 p.m.  Montpelier is a lovely little city - I can't see ever going back as I have no reason to but I did enjoy it very much. 
The driver coming back was much quieter but once again the bus was packed.  I walked down the Church St. pedestrian mall and got myself some more scented little discs (I have a burner...am scared of fire so don't burn candles) at Yankee Candle as they were on sale.  Also some maple salt  - should be interesting to try that out on some dishes!!!  Had a Sgt Pepper burger at Sky Burger - one of the best burgers I've had in my life. Cheese, peppers, mushrooms and a wonderful bun.  I am not into McDonalds or Burger King burgers - life is too short to eat crap fast food.  I don't have burgers that often but when I do they are usually more of a gourmet type.   I sat outside and loved it.

I had dessert at Ben and Jerry's.  A child size cup of Cherry Garcia- my favourite flavour.  They have the flag ship store here in Burlington.  I could not get over all the people sitting in outdoor cafes - it was amazing in a small city on a Wednesday evening.  I realize they were tourists but still....it was lively and enjoyed seeing it.  Oh and they have fibre glass Teddy Bears (Burlington makes Teddy Bears here) all over downtown so of course I had to take a picture of each and every one.  And lots of doggies sitting by their owners chairs on outdoor patios.  Love it! 

I took the bus back here and am washing out a few things.  Or freshening them up - I never feel they are clean unless they are done in a proper washing machine.   Just relaxing - I was up at 5:30 a.m.  Last night I got caught up watching Pregnant at 16...don't even ask...I'm ashamed to admit it - it was like watching a train wreck.  I flipped between that and The Waltons.  Yikes. 

Tomorrow I will do the 8 km Burlington walk.  It is supposed to be cloudy and high of 68.  Today was hot and muggy.  I probably won't do the lake cruise but that's okay - hope to spend quite a bit of time by the lake as the walk goes on the path. 

No getting up at 5:30 anyway!!!! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

All talk and no action

Well aside from heavy rain, thunder and lightening that never really got that bad at all it's all finished now.  Still lightly raining but I went over to the convenience store and got myself a liquid beverage :) and some veggie crisps. 

Absolute crap on the TV - how people can watch those reality shows is beyond me.  95 channels and nothing.  So here I sit surfing the net.  Not in the mood to read anything on my ereader. 

Found the bus stop going downtown so all being well I plan to be on the 6:22 a.m. bus from here to catch the 7 a.m. to Montpelier tomorrow.   My backpack is ready to go. 

So exciting that I have a normal bed tonight - I forgot to mention that the bed in the dorm was a thin mattress on a plank of wood - and it was as high as my waist.  Getting in was fun and especially fun on Sunday!!! Not as bad as trying to climb onto the wet marble counter when I had my turkish bath (I still shudder at that memory and the poor girl is probably still recovering from my naked butt in her face as she tried to shove me up but getting there!)   I won't miss that.  The thing is I stayed there in 08 after I came back from Iqaluit and found it quite pleasant sio I obviously was not given a 2nd floor room above the busy road or a high bed....those poor students.... must admit it is nice to have my own bathroom and now I will have my own for the rest of the trip.  Yee haw! Although I am used to sharing the bathroom and staggering down the hall for my 3 a.m. pee. 

Anyway I am excitied about tomorrow and another capital ...always excited to visit new places and the musuem looks very nice.  I have picked out my breakfast place and there is an ice cream place I want to try after the walk.  You know me...it's all about the food!!!  My friend Donna told me I must try Cabot cheese and there is a place that features it in their menu at breakfast.  Thursday morning it's pancakes or waffles with real maple syrup!!! 

Am starting to rethink my decision not to dye my hair anymore - I am not likin' the photos.  Although some lady at the Bywarde market in Ottawa complimented me on my hair in French...at least I think it was a compliment.  :) I haven't seen my natural hair colour in about 15 years let alone with this much gray in it!!! 

The race photos are in - eoowwww...I don't think so....yes I so want to pay $30 for me with my mouth hanging open and wearing sunglasses and looking about 300 lbs...

This motel is really cute - white with red geraniums at all the windows and American flag banners around it.  It is the only privately owned motel in Burlington. 

On the bus from the mall to downtown (had to take three busses to get here - hey I call it an adventure rather than being too damn cheap for a taxi) I had the requisite crazy person talking to me.  Well that is cruel - he was mentally handicapped and quite sweet if not a bit obsessed with Zumba (he figures he should become an instructor as they make loads of money) starbucks coffee (he loves it) and the weather (he told me about ten times it was going to be a good day tomorrow to go to the beach)  So busy nodding and making comments to him I missed saying so long to the fella I traveled with from the airport who has an Amtrak pass and is going to travel all over the US for two months.  I was telling him about my Rock and Roll Groupie tour in 05 and my trip around the south in 08 on the hound.  He will have quite the adventure although much more upscale than I traveled - and much more expensive.  But a cheapie like me - hey I got here for $1.25 and only a dollar of it was my own money. :)  Anyway that is what I love about taking the bus and traveling this way - you meet so many people.  Yeah some of them are crazy but I can't say too much. :) 

Over and out. 

I am likin' that American convenience stores sell alcoholic beverages....hope I can get up at 5:45!!!

Crash bang cha cha cha

Yes it was rattling and rolling here and still is from time to time.  Burlington is under a tornado watch with flash flooding warning as well.  Major bummer as I had hoped to do a 5 km walk this afternoon when I got here.

Anyway I am getting ahead of myself here.  Got a taxi to the bus station due to two bus changes on busy Ottawa busses - got there in loads of time and the bus to Montreal was a little late leaving.  Enjoyed the pretty scenery - lots of trees.  I have not done that trip since 1973!!  Time to visit the washroom in Montreal then on the bus to Vermont.  The border crossing was long as usual - I got through quickly then waited on the bus forever.  The U.S. border guard had taken his grumpy pills that morning - I don't have much luck with border guards in the eastern U.S.  Disovered there was wifi so sent a quick facebook message but quickly put my computer away as like to watch the scenery. 

Arrived at the Burlington airport which is where the terminal is - I realized I had no American coins with me and the fare was 1.25 so asked the tourist info guy if he had change and he said no but gave me 25 cents which was sweet.  Had to take three busses to get to the motel!!  But I did not want another expensive taxi ride as it would be about $25.00.  My last bus change was downtown and according to the schedule the next bus would not be for 20 minutes so I went into a sandwich shop and got a tuna sandwich.  I am so glad I did!!!  It had poured while on the second bus but luckily stopped when I got downtown.  The bus drivers were very friendly and helpful - the third bus driver called me a "young lady".  He was my favourite. :) 

The motel is a mom and pop type place and quite cute.  I had plans to ditch my stuff and go for a walk but checked the forecast as heard rumblings and saw the forecast. Oh well I have a TV and wifi and an ereader so won't be bored. I have a cute little deck as well.  It keeps raining on and off - pouring again right now.  Not good for walking!  This place is not too far out of downtown but I am not familiar enough yet and it is raining on and off with scary lightening and thunder coming through on and off.  I am not that crazy!

Planning to go to Montpelier (the capital) tomorrow - the last commuter bus leaves at 7:45 so have to get downtown by then.  Will have breakfast in Montpelier and then do the 7 km walk.  Was going to do the 10 km but decided to do the shorter walk so I can tour the state capital and also visit the state musuem.  It will be my only trip there I am sure.   Then Thursday I will do the 8 km walk here which takes me along the lake front (Lake Champlain) and downtown.  I hope to go on a lake cruise weather permitting....

Fingers crossed no tornadoes.....

Monday, May 28, 2012

Can't think of a title for this post

This was a quiet bopping around day. Walked around downtown looking in shops and taking a few photos as it turned out to be a glorious day.  I went to the Scone Witch in the early afternoon and had a currant ginger scone with devon cream and apricot jam - I didn't need it but couldn't resist.  And I got myself a cranberry/orange scone for my breakfast....I then went to see the movie "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" which I loved.  Makes me want to go back to India soon!!  I had supper at 6 p.m. at the Parliament pub opposite Parliament Hill - how do I know that - because the Peace Tower chimed at 6 p.m.  I had a quiche and salad - or should I say the Jack Layton quiche - well better than the Stephen Harper pizza!!! However the quiche wasn't the best I've had and could not finish it -will not go back there.  It was neat to sit outside though and see the Parliament buildings.  At one point the police drove in with flashing lights followed by about three black cars with smoked glass windows followed by another police car.   Walked around the market area and popped into a tea shop where I saw some Paul McCartney tea which of course I had to have!!! 
Stopped off at Metro to get some fruit and busy packing and uploading photos.  Not the most exciting day but it's back on the road tomorrow so needed a rest day. 
I don't think my motel in Burlington has wifi so could possibly be off line for a few days.  I thought it did but nothing on the web site to indicate that.  Will see..once I am done I have to take the ethernet cable back so I can get my drivers license back!!! 

Not bad, not bad at all

I feel surprisingly spry after my 21 km walk yesterday.  Fairly tired from lack of sleep (although did sleep fairly well last night - guess exhaustion does that to you!) but otherwise not bad at all.  I could do a 5 k walk but I won't!!  Lots of walking ahead (every day for the next 8 days) so I don't want to mess that up.  Of course it could hit me tomorrow....we shall see. 

Regardless I am glad I didn't opt to go to Vermont today - another reason..Memorial Day with a lack of public busses no doubt (I plan to take the local bus from the airport to my motel) plus the cost of my room at the motel was almost double.   I am excited though - Vermont is uncharted territory for me and I love exploring new places.  The forecast calls for thundershowers tomorrow afternoon in Burlington so not sure on my plans to do the 5 or 7 km downtown walk....27C for my 11 km walk in Montpelier. 

I had breakfast at Cora's - mushroom and brie eggs benedict with potatoes and a huge mound of fruit.  A ton of food and a price to match but it is a rare treat....the benedict was good but so so rich.  I won't be eating for a while now!!! 

Now the laundry is going with almost every single piece of clothing I have with me.  I was holding my bags of dirty clothes really high on the way to the laundry room - let's just say braless under a technical t-shirt is not my best look!!!  Maybe 40 years ago but not anymore!! :) 

Yes I am proudly wearing my half marathon t-shirt today. 

Not sure what the day will bring - I am still really tired and don't want to push things.  I think it will just be a bop around day.  No big plans.  My body is telling me to rest...I love Ottawa and I will be back.  Hopefully in the fall some year. 

Must admit when I had a lay down after the race I thanked my body - thank you legs, thank you knees, thank you right foot which did not give me a second of pain, thank you left foot - you were a little bit naughty but that's okay, thank you makers of Aleve, thank you whoever invited ibuprofin....thank you stubborness.... My right foot gave me about a minute of sharp pains as if to say "what the hell did you do to me" but has settled down happily. 

Can't wait to see what the day brings.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I DID IT!!!

Yes I completed the half marathon - my second worst time ever (4:05) but I am just happy to finish and get my lovely shiny medal.  What a beautiful course...the only dull parts were in Hull and by the war museum but other than that it was lovely.  Passed through some great neighbourhoods - people sitting outside having their coffee and I was envious as I hadn't had one today.  Coffee and long distance walks don't jive too well for me!  I was pretty strong in the first half but lack of sleep caught up with me and I slowed down near the end. 

I am so exhausted it is crazy between the long walk and lack of sleep.  Tomorrow is a do nothing day - go to Cora's for one of their fab breakfasts and then do laundry.  Other than that it will be what I decide but nothing that involves much energy.  I still have 8 days left on this adventure so I need to keep healthy.  I am so glad I decided to go to Vermont on Tuesday...

I am so proud of myself for hanging in there and carrying on and another medal to hang on my new medal hanger!

Eilleen and I went out for a celebration meal tonight to the Fish Market.  It was her treat as I had given her my wall unit when I moved.  I had three kinds of shrimp with herb potatoes and asparagus - lovely.  And a big glass of wine - zifandel as I wanted something light and fruity. 

Early to bed tonight!!

No sleep again!

Another night of not much sleep (perhaps two hours) This is really getting annoying....I am dizzy with exhaustion and I haven't even begun the race....very very disappointing.  I will start but I think I will have to leave within a couple of hours - but there is still a spark of hope inside me and I am pretty stubborn.  However I can not even focus on normal things - could not find my brush and comb - my brush turned up on the floor but my comb is missing as is my ereader and earrings and am too tired to look for them.  If I am too tired to focus on that I think I am too tired to walk for close to four hours without stopping.  Of course as always happpens I fell asleep around 5 a.m. and the alarm woke me at 6:30. 

Tomorrow I plan to do  nothing but go for a nice breakfast if I can stagger that far (although if I only walk a couple of hours that should not be a problem) and go to see a movie...that's it.  Oh and do laundry...



Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thanks to my buddy Eilleen

She told me I could exchange my t-shirt - VERY unusual at a race event.  Hers was too small too.  We did the 3 km Fun Run (well walk - we were the only walkers!)along the Rideau canal followed by fresh fruit, juice, bagels, etc.  I had a container of fresh fruit and some juice and took the bagel (with peanut butter) for my pre-race brekky tomorrow. (along with a big honkin' orange and a banana)  Anyway I raced back here and got my t-shirt and was able to exchange it for a mens medium which fits better - the ladies xl's were all out and that does not surprise me. So that was nice.  Then she gave me a marathon bus tour ticket as she had picked one out for me so off we went to tour the marathon route - we are of course doing the half so a bit different but was a fun tour of Ottawa.  I also bought the holder for the medals...I am saving approximately what that holder cost a night staying here rather than the B and B so thought damn it I deserve it.  I must admit I am not a girly girl - not into most girly things (except hand made earrings and body soap/lotion) but let me loose in a runners expo and all bets are off.  Let's see - one medal holder, one (expensive) t-shirt and a pair of socks.  Wow I restrained myself!! :) 

On the way back I stopped at the Metro grocery store and got a lovely strawberry/almond/lettuce/blue berry salad with a raspberry vinagarette dressing on the side - oh my my - just as good as the last one.   I have laced my chip on my running shoes but waiting for my t-shirt for tomorrow to dry before I put on my race bib. 

Camera battery is charging and I am going to lay down for a bit of a nap before donning my Rider t-shirt and jean capris and heading over to meet Eilleen and go to the pasta dinner. 

I will get my fanny pack ready later...nothing like the anticipation of a race.  We shall see what tomorrow brings....

NO SLEEP

I am cursing myself for going cheap and cancelling the  B and B.  My room is by a very busy road with traffic constantly.  I tried opening the window last night to let in some cool air but it was just too noisy.  |And being close to the bathroom has it's down side such as toilets flushing.  Not good.  If I don't sleep tonight I won't be able to finish the half marathon.  I am going to look into seeing if I can change rooms but not too much hope....very disappointed.  I booked months ago so am so discouraged that they gave me this lousy room.  I stayed here before and did not have this problem.

I did not sleep a wink sad to say so am dizzy and very tired this morning  needless to say.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Great time in Ottawa

It's been a great week.  On Monday a group of us walked in Merrickville which is a very historical town on the Rideau Canal. I got a ride with my friends Donna and Dorri as they were volunteering - they were kind enough to give Eilleen and me a ride.  I was going to do the 10 km walk then decided to do the 5 km walk so I could look in the shops.  I am glad I did - thoroughly enjoyed the walk and took photos along the way.  Very pretty. I walked by myself which was fine as then I could pop into shops and spend as much time as I wanted.  I was actually here three years ago with Donna and Dorri but we didn't walk around - just shopped!  This time I didn't buy anything...just lunch!!!  We had lunch at the Yellow Canoe and sat outside in the shade.  It was lovely.  I had a turkey/cranberry/currymayo sandwich with cold cantaloupe soup.  First time I've ever had cold soup and I really enjoyed it.  Then we went to the ice cream shop for ice cream - it's all home made - I had a scoop of chocolate cayenne ginger and a scoop of orange/pineapple.  Oh my what a combo that was.  We sat in the park and had our ice cream then headed back to Ottawa.

After dropping Eilleen off and retrieving my luggage we went back to the dogs (Donna has a beagle named Benson and Dorri has a Sheltie named Sunshine) and had a relaxed supper of smoked salmon on a fresh baguette with salad.  We watched the movie "Up" which was cute. 

Tuesday morning Donna was meeting our new club president at the office so Dorri dropped us off nearby and I headed off to do a 5 km walk which took me past City Hall, through the Byward Market and behind the Parliament Buildings.  It was a very cloudy day so did not take many photos.  I met Donna back at the office and we went to the nearby chip wagon for a hot dog and fries...very good!!!  We then took off and did another 5 km walk which took us along the canal by the university where I am staying now...unfortunately it started pouring so we had to take shelter under a bridge for a while.  We then bussed it over to Mountain Equipment Co-op - my mecca.  No clothes for me AGAIN - too damn fat. But I did get a few things like a new water bottle and a new fanny pack.   Dorri picked us up and we went back to the house where ribs were waiting for us - Donna had put them in the slow cooker.  Yum!!!  (this is why I don`t lose weight!0 We then watched "How to Train Your Dragon" which I didn't care for.

Wednesday morning off we went to Brockville which is south of Ottawa.  Donna and I did the 10 km walk while Dorri waited for us.   We started off from the Y and headed through the historic downtown which is quite nice and then to the water front - the St Lawrence River.  We met Dorri along the way and we picked up fish and chips and sat at a picnic bench by the river.  The fish (cod) and chips were awesome - as good as any I've had in England.  After lunch Donna and I carried on along a bike path for about another 45 minutes.  Back to the Y and a pit stop and off on the road again - to Merrickville for more ice cream!!!  Then back home where we relaxed - none of us were hungry so I just had a cup of tea if I recall and we watched the first Narnia movie which was pretty good.  I must say every evening I had a dog in my lap - I certainly got my doggie fix!!

Thursday (yesterday) morning we got dropped off and did a 5 km walk near Carlton university and the river. Not too exciting but I needed the walk for a walking program I am on.  We ended up at a dog store/cafe (where you can take your dog) where a Bernese Mountain Shepherd cosied up to me and sat on my feet!  We had a cold lemonade which hit the spot while we waited for Dorrie to pick is up.   We then picked up sandwiches and other goodies at a bakery for a picnic and off we headed to the Gatineau Hills.  It was a beautiful day and we drove up to a look out and had our picnic at a picnic table and enjoyed the view.   SDorrie stopped at each view point for me to get pictures including beautiful Pink Lake (no it's not Pink but it was named for a family named Pink!) I had never been to Gatineau Park before and it is gorgeous.  I can only imagine what it would be like during the fall colours.  No hiking as it was too darn hot plus I am tapering down for the race on Sunday.  No more long walks.  Back home via Safeway - we had a Lemon roast chicken with greek pasta salad.  And watched the second Narnia movie!!! 

Today we had a very lazy morning.  We sat outside and had our breakfast and then another cup of coffee and just chatted.....Donna and I then headed by bus to the expo as I mentioned in an earlier post.  Quite a large one and I got a wonderful t-shirt with the saying on "There will come a day when I cannot do this.  today is not that day".  Very true in my case.  I'd love to wear it for the race but wearing new t-shirts for a distance walk is a big no no so I will wear it tomorrow.  The one I got from the race is too tight..sigh...I also saw a metal plate to hang race medals on - it says half marathon with a runner (or walker) on it - it is expensive but it would  be so nice to hang my favourite medals on there...I have about eleven half marathon medals and counting...I am proud of them...some people shove them to a back drawer but I think we should take pride in our accomplishments.  Anyway I digress - we went back to the house and then Dorrie drove me here.  I had such a good time with them and they were wonderful hostesses and took me so many places  I haven`t been before.

I wandered out this evening and had a mixed salad and lemonade at a market type restaurant in the mall downtown and am now chugging on cold water. 

Tomorrow is hydration day.  If I think I pee a lot now - just wait until tomorrow!!!  I read a billboard in the mall that said if you pee more than 8 times a day that is not normal.  Oh oh.....



I'm sitting here sweating....

Almost five days without internet access - screech!  It is scary how I depend on it.  My friend Donna only has internet on her phone.  Yesterday I quickly scanned emails on her office computer for 15 minutes but no time to blog. 

I am now at the University of Ottawa dorms - no air conditioning...and there is a heat wave...need I say more.  The sweat is dripping off me.  Sometimes cheaping out is a false economy if you can't sleep due to the heat...especially as I am due to walk a half marathon on Sunday....and forget finding a hotel room in this city...

Today Donna and I went to the Expo where I spent a bit of cash...new t-shirt, socks (I have a fetish but these were so cute with little Canadian flags on them..).  I got my race package but alas the marathon t-shirt does not fit me - too tight despite being a size large.  Sigh...they assume we are all tiny runners.  So I guess the goal is to lose 15 lbs at least by September so I can wear it to the next half marathon I do....

On the bright side I was able to get an ethernet card but had to give them my ID to keep to have it....so have internet access in my room. 

Tomorrow morning is the 3 km fun run then I plan to take in the Museum of Nature in the afternoon and the pasta party in the evening. 

I will recap my week in the next post. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Whoa it's hot!

This morning I did the 5 km walk instead of the 10 km as it was so hot.  The tulips were way past their prime as in dead...there were a few there but nothing to what it was....anyway the walk was still enjoyable.  We walked through the tulip beds and beside the Rideau Canal and in a beautiful park like setting.  We got a school bus there and back. 

When I got back I had grand ideas of going to downtown Ottawa but I was hot and exhausted walking to the bus stop so decided to head over to the nearby shopping centre to try and get a couple of things I had forgotten to bring with me. (razor blades and extra shampoo)  I love travel size!!! I stopped at Timothy's coffee (as opposed to Tim Hortons...) and had an iced Chai Latte - yum - and a veggie sandwich which could have been better.  I sat and read the paper in the nice air conditioning for quite a while. 

Now I sit in relaxing in the cool air.  I am really quite tired.  I may be going out later - we shall see - have to make a phone call later.  My friend Eilleen is heading out for another 10 km walk but I just can't stand the thought of walking in the heat.  I believe it's 28 to 30C out there.  With humidity.

Last night's banquet was wonderful - the best meal at a convention yet.  Roast hip of beef with delicious spiced baby potatoes, veggies, salads, chicken - oh my.  And for dessert a plate of pieces of cake - I had the red velvet - everyone was different....very good!!  Sat and visited and then there was a presentation of a walking adventure company.  Lovely photos but it is a little over my budget.  But it was enjoyable.  Visited with some people and then the DJ started..."Twist and Shout" - how could I resist?  Not many danced but we were all in a circle and boogie we did.  Eilleen and I closed the dance floor down.  And I wasn't even drunk...I impressed myself.  Usually I have to be half cut to get up and dance.

I had a wonderful surprise - got a plaque for my four years of being on the Board of Directors - it's really beautiful so that shall go on my wall.  If I can find room!!! 

I really think I will have that nap...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Busy weekend

Well I decided to relax a bit and catch up on email, etc.  Yesterday was all right but did not go quite as I had planned.  Breakfast here is hectic as the Algonquin residence is full of the likes of us walkers, teenagers on band trips, etc. plus families.  They serve continental breakfast but it involves a lengthy wait.  I usually opt for coffee and a bagel, bring it up here and add a banana.  Yesterday morning was my last board meeting...:)  Afterwards a few of us on the board went for lunch.  By the time we left the restaurant I wasn't sure what I should do...I registered for a 5 km walk downtown but on the way to the bus stop I turned around as I realized I would be rushed.  I hate being rushed! So I wandered over to the shopping centre and went into Bath and Body Works again as they had given me a coupon...sigh...of course in my bag I had another coupon but I shall resist....what can I say I love that stuff.  I looked in the New Balance store but couldn't find anything to use my 20% coupon on.  I have quite enough socks, I just got new shoes and the less said about the t-shirts the better...oh well. I hope to hit Mountain Equipment Co-op while in Ottawa.  I felt badly though as probably should not have gone for a big lunch when I hadn't walked - I was really beating myself up about it...I did have a good lunch though.  It was beef, melted cheese,  grilled onions, peppers and mushrooms on top of a a small calzone with a side caesar salad.  Oops just had to wipe the side of my mouth from the drool - it was good!

We attended the meet and greet last night - we sat at a table outside which was nice but it wasn't big enough for the people we wanted to have with us.  They served bbq burgers, chips and pop - supplemented of course by a trip to the cash bar.  It was fun to see walkers I knew across Canada.   We had an early night so Eilleen and I came back here and had a yack over wine coolers and chips.

This morning after brekky it was time for the Presidents Walk - I opted for a 10 km walk this time rather than my usual 5 km- the first time in years.  The walk was pretty good - the best part was through the forest...nice and cool and the smell is heavenly.  It was getting hot though...the wait to get our books stamped was long but worth it - we walking geeks have to get our books stamped.  Back to the room where I had the most wonderful salad I had purchased at Loblaws yesterday - spinach salad with fresh strawberries, goat cheese, almonds and mandarins.  With a raspberry vinagerette.  With a cheese bun - well you didn't expect me to be perfectly good did you.

Off to the AGM at 1 p.m. where a new president was elected - the current vice-president is now president.  Go Ethel!  No one to take my place yet.  I enjoyed my four year term on the Board of Directors but am glad to be back to just being VP of my local club. (all 7 of us!)  I came  back to rest a bit then back for a workshop by New Balance but they moved it to the store and just did not feel like walking over there in my birkenstocks so here I am.  Eilleen can tell me all about it.  Oh it was fun to see Nancy from Hay River at the AGM - we sat beside each other but sadly she won't be at the banquet tonight or walking tomorrow. 

Tonight is the banquet - I plan to have a couple of drinkie poos to celebrate being free....free at last! But can't be too bad as we have a walk tomorrow at 9 a.m.  and it's gonna be a beauty - by the tulip beds at Dow Lake.  I plan to do a 10km.  We will be getting a bus there. I've taken very few photos since I've been here but I think by this time tomorrow I will be telling a different story.  Depending on the weather I may do a 5 km in the afternoon although I have heard that it's going to be a hot one - it was very warm today.  The weather has been glorious with gorgeous blue skies. 

Lots of walkers here - over 400..  Interesting to overhear comments from people on the dorms.  These are college dorms.  We have a bedroom each with a kitchen and bathroom  - they are basic but hey I only have to share a bathroom with one person and I have internet in my room.  The Air conditioning works so well that I had to get up and turn it down last night as I was so cold I could not sleep.  Anyway one guy was bitching on the elevator on the rough towels and how they didn't change them today....duh....everyone pitched in that it's a college dorm and you don't get service like that.  We have two towels each - I brought my own so have a back up.  Yes they are rough but whatever....I am so used to it I barely notice.   I could see his wife was embarassed and even she said I've stayed in worse places.   I'm glad I don't have one of those - yippee to be free in more ways than one! 

Hmmmm...will it be white wine or gin and sprite tonight? 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hello from Nepean

Hi from Nepean as that's where I am - it's now part of Ottawa but don't tell the locals that. :)  The flight was good.  I had the neatest seat - when I checked in it automatically selected this one and it is a single one - no one beside me.  I loved it and of course it was a window seat.  It left bang on time and arrived on time as well - yeah we all love to trash Air Canada but they do a good job most of the time I think. I still prefer WestJet but this flight was cheaper and direct.  Very few of us got off at Ottawa - most were flying on to Montreal.

My friends Donna and Dorri were there to meet me so that was great and off we went.  We had lunch at a chinese buffet - yum yum - and they were naughty and treated me.  Afterwards we went back to the house so I could say hi to Ben the Beagle and Sunshine ("Sunny") the Sheltie.  Then they dropped me off at Algonquin College.  The rooms weren't ready yet so I stored my luggage and headed over to the New Balance store to do a walk.  I decided on a 5k as |I was pretty tired.  I had a terrible time with the directions and couldn't even figure out the way to start - I still don't know if it was vague directions or just tired old me!!  The first part of the walk was pretty boring through a residential area and to me unless they are a beautiful old heritage area they all tend to look the same.  Coming back though was along a pathway on a greenway so that was nice.  Back here to check in which was a long drawn out process but got it done.  I changed and headed over to the Loblaws to get things like bananas and yogurt - they have a complimentary breakfast here but not sure what it entails.  I had a nap as was so tired then started heading out again and thought "screw this" and went to the deli by the front desk and got a small submarine sandwich as was a bit hungry.  Now I am fighting to stay awake and only 7 p.m. Regina time. 

I am in a two bedroom suite sharing with my friend Eilleen who is out somewhere walking now.  I was able to see some familiar faces at check in - saw two of my fellow board members so that was nice.  I am excited for the days and weeks ahead. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Five more sleeps and the addiction of marathons...

Yes five more sleeps and I am off for the next adventure to Ottawa, Quebec and Vermont.  It took a while to get me organized for this trip between two back to back winter holidays and moving but I think it's sorted now and I am getting excited!!  I will attend our annual walking conference which is also the 25th anniversary celebration of our national walking club.  It will be a blast.  I am also planning to do a half marathon - my first since September 2010.  Gulp!  As you know I had to drop out of the one in California which broke my heart in two...but I will do it someday...two weeks from tomorrow...screech!  I am a little behind in my training - I am not really TOO worried but I know walking 21 km without stopping will be a challenge.  And I will not beat myself up if I cannot finish it.  The friend I am doing it with and myself are going out that evening in Ottawa for a nice meal.  I am hoping that I will be wearing my nice shiny medal but if I'm not well I know that at least I tried.  There is not the worry of hurting myself like there was in California.  And you will be happy to know that Eddie the naughty suitcase has found a new home. It is much better suited to travel with people who go to all inclusive resorts and don't need to drag it around on and off trains and subways, etc.  

It is hard to explain to people who have never done a marathon or in my case a half marathon (my poor knees would not like walking 26 miles nonstop) why I love it so much.  It is very addicting.  I have done 13 since 2003 - if I hadn't had problems with my foot from 2007 to 2009 I can only imagine how many I would have done by now....   The training takes a lot of time especially if you only do one or two a year.  However the feeling you get when you cross the finish line and get a medal (and I will NOT do a half marathon without getting a medal - if they don't have a medal forget it..) is fantastic.   I used to obsess about my time but now I just walk and enjoy and take photos.  I am slow - if you are checking my time all I can say is check near the bottom.  Yes I have been last but I am still a winner compared to those people that are sitting on the couch watching TV.  

I prefer out of town races I must admit. Ottawa has been on my list for a while along with  Huntington Beach, Vancouver, the Flying Pig in Cincinnati, possibly Miami, Jackson, Mississippi Blues marathon,....well it's a long list!!  I have ticked off a few along the way (Las Vegas, Whidbey Island, First Light in Mobile, Alabama, Toronto, Calgary, etc.)  but there are still more to do.  Plus some of the races I enjoyed so much and it's been a while so I want to do them again!!!! I sincerely hope I have at least three more years of half marathons in me.  My foot (touch wood!) has been much better in part to my right orthotic being adjusted by my podiatrist.  A new pair are on order but he won't give them to me until AFTER my trip!!!  They have to be broken in slowly and I guess he knows I might be tempted to give them a bit more use on my trip!!!  Well as the saying goes I'd rather arrive at the finish line all used up and say "what a ride" then arrive in pristine good shape but never having lived my dreams.  

It is a fine balance financially between my desire to do half marathons around North America (as well as my obsession to walk in every state and state capital ) and do overseas travel as well.  Add a major move to the mix and well let's just say it is a challenge.  I am still trying to decide where to go this winter as I am hoping for an extended trip to the UK next year in late Spring yet I NEED to get away in the winter.  

Let's not get going on the long distance paths I want to do...that's another post!!!!